Archive for January, 2013
Sunday, January 27th, 2013
It was another after show drive last night: two hours to Warwick, a small town in the Midlands near Coventry. It’s a beautiful and ancient little town gathered around the ruins of a 15th century Abbey and an 11th century castle. We stayed in a small Inn, with Hobbit sized beds and some of us were “visited” during the night…it is just that sort of place. We were blessed with a bit of sunshine this morning so I went for a quick walk through the graveyard and across the muddy Commons. This is a part of the country that has been well trod upon, around every corner is a piece of history, lots of blood and intrigue, acts of courage, cowardice and betrayal. The landscape has a distinct Lord Of The Rings vibe, and sure enough, Tolkien was married in the local church and apparently Warwick was the inspiration for a couple of the towns in Middle Earth.
The gig tonight was on the campus of Warwick University (home of the Anarchist Party in the 1970’s) at the Warwick Arts Center: an ugly little room with beautiful acoustics. We were completely exhausted tonight, but we went with the flow and came up with some beautifully weird moments, sometimes exhaustion is the mother of invention. It was a fun night in front of another excellent crowd and a great way to end this little tour.
This has been a fun and extremely intense week. We fly home tomorrow, but not before we are forced to, once again, tithe a large percentage of our gains to Air Canada….we are in need of a hassle free flight. March will be upon us soon and we will welcome the sight of our big bus pulling up beside the curb. See you all very soon.
Saturday, January 26th, 2013
We put a few miles in after the gig last night to lessen the pain of the three hour drive from Manchester to London. We pulled in to London around midday and wound our way through the streets to the Barbican Center that sits in the middle of the city. The Barbican is an ugly child of the 70’s, an example of modern architecture at its finest/worst, you decide. The theatre itself is quite beautiful and a very prestigious place to play. We booked this gig many months ago, in the hope that the long lead time and playing in such a high profile venue would help get the word out. Our gamble paid off and we had a huge crowd tonight.
I never left the building today. We drove in to the underground parking lot and I hunkered down in our dressing room until gig time. I love London, but I’m too tired to explore and it’s just miserable outside. It was an odd gig tonight. We all felt that we played well, but we had difficulty raising the show to the level that we know we can achieve and on the occasions that we did reach those heights we had trouble maintaining. It wasn’t a bad show, it was just a lot of work. The audience seemed a little bit lost during the first set of all Nomad Series songs, but really came alive during the second set, they were a generous and appreciative bunch. All in all a good night…sometimes you reach for the stars and have to just settle for a moon or two….and there is no crime in that.
Friday, January 25th, 2013
A late night last night and an early morning drive today. We all piled into the Sprinter and headed south to England. It was a beautiful drive through the north country, especially with the hills and valleys covered in snow. Jeff, Marg and I were dropped off at the BBC complex in the old Manchester docklands area, which is fittingly overseen by an enormous picture of Dr Who. The whole area has a distinct “futureworld” vibe about it: I kept expecting to see workers scurrying about in identical colour-coded jumpsuits. The radio show, The Verve, was hosted by a famous BBC personality, Ian McMillan (sp?), and was a refreshing twist on the usual radio performance/interview format. We were joined in the studio by a playwright, a poet and an author and a conversation about words ensued. Unfortunately, our brains were still back in Glasgow, in the bottom of a John Smith’s pint glass, so we just followed along, played our song and did a lot of staring in to space.
The gig tonight was just outside of Manchester in the suburb of Sale. We had no time to look around, but we did pass by the Manchester United stadium on the way to the venue, which is sort of like catching a glimpse of Yankee Stadium or Cowboy Stadium or the Duomo in Milan. It wasn’t exactly a beautiful looking room tonight, but it sure sounded great. We had a very good and very fun night of music….another sold out show and another great audience…all is good in our world.
Thursday, January 24th, 2013
We left the deep freeze of Toronto and landed in the damp chill of Glasgow. I’m not sure which I prefer, but I’d toss them both out for the hot sand of any Caribbean Island….I’d even take a Florida beach at this point. Fuck, I hate the cold.
It was a long journey, 36 hours between sleeps, including a six hour lay-over at Heathrow while BA searched for a plane that could fly. And it was an expensive journey, $1200 in excess baggage fees. But we made it and, as anticipated, fresh pints of John Smith’s were waiting for us at the end of the journey.
I like coming to Glasgow, if for no other reason than the Scots are such a welcoming and friendly tribe. Perhaps it’s the familiarity; there is a lot of Scottish blood running through Canadian veins. I don’t have much of a feel for the city, itself. It doesn’t have the natural charm of Edinburgh, but there is something genuine about it. The gig tonight was part of the three week long Celtic Connections festival, which takes place all over the city in different venues. Tonight we were placed in the Kelvingrove Museum: an enormous Victorian building housing the oddest collection of art and artefacts, everything from a spitfire to a stuffed elephant to a priceless Dali. They used the Great Hall for the gig which probably seemed like a good idea to the person who envisioned the gig, but if they had asked a sound engineer or musician if the room would work with a PA in it, they would have passed on the venue. Stone and marble with a 100 foot high arched ceiling never goes well with a kick drum. It was a nightmare for Jared and not very pleasant for us on stage: a big, echo-y mush. The urban myth about this building is that once it was built the architect came to visit and discovered that it had been built backwards. In his despair he killed himself. I think he came to see a rock show here and just couldn’t handle the mess. On the positive side; the show was sold out and the Glaswegians showed their class and gave us a warm welcome and plenty of support; we also got to listen to John Murry who opened for us and also had to fight the sound but made me want to check out his album; and we got to rummage around in the wardrobe room…always a good time.
Monday, January 21st, 2013
We'll be in the UK this week playing in Glasgow, Manchester, London and Warwick. If you are in the neighborhood please drop by and say hello. Otherwise, please follow along on the tour diary which I'll be posting here as we move along. This time tomorrow I'll be sucking back a pint of John Smith's bitter…I can hardly wait.
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
The new Lee Harvey Osmond album is now available through their website and in fine Canadian record stores everywhere. The album features a beautiful duet with Margo and guest appearances by many of Canada's best musicians, singers and songwriters. So far it has been garnering a lot of great press and attention. We think most of you will appreciate it's spooky vibe and contrarian nature….in other words it sounds real cool.Here is the new video for the song "Break Your Body" featuring a beautiful Judy Garland-ess vocal by one of Canada's treasures, Hawksley Workman, and featuring a debut acting performance by Kathleen Edwards. Take a listen (there is a free player below)…if you like it, buy it and/or share it with your friends….we need more people like you.
Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
We are very excited about an upcoming Latent Recordings release. Next Tuesday we will be releasing Lee Harvey Osmonds second album "The Folk Sinner". The album was produced and recorded by…me….so I may be biased, but it is a folkin' fine piece of work (get it?). It includes performances by many of Canada's musical luminati like Hawksley Workman, Oh Susanna, members of The Skydiggers and The Sadies and a beautiful duet with Margo. You can take a listen to the album for free at Exclaim.ca . And if you pre-order the album before next Tuesday you will get two free bonus tracks (including a very cool version of the Rolling Stones "Dear Doctor" featuring a duet with Mary Gauthier). So please support the burgeoning acid-folk movement and at the very least take a listen. Here is the first video from the album for the song Devil's Load. It is taken from the film "My Father And The Man In Black" which features some LHO music and a film score written and recorded by….me. Enjoy.
Friday, January 4th, 2013
Ivy Mairi's album "No Talker" was picked as one of the ten best local releases of 2012 by Toronto's NOW Magazine. "No Talker" was released by our Latent Recordings label and wass produced by….me. If you haven't had a chance to listen please lend her your ears (the free music player is below), we think you will be pleased. If you like what you hear you can buy "No Talker" and Ivy's first album "Well You" for the absurdley low price of $5.99. Here is what Now said about Ivy's album:
Island-raised, Parkdale-based singer/songwriter Ivy Mairi was struggling with polyps when she recorded her sophomore disc, and there’s a raspy crack to her voice that contributes to the album’s intimate, vulnerable vibe as Mairi sings soulfully about past relationships, a lost musical instrument and hopes for a loving future. It’s a grower of an album that gets better and better with repeat listens.