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Tour Diary – Parry Sound, Ont (June 29, 2012)

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Today was an excellent day. Al found his trail; Pete and Marg found a path; Jeff found the water; Chris found his girlfriend; Jared found a new Bobby Orr shirt; and I found a few teeny-weeny, but ever so beautiful smallmouth bass. If you have never been to this part of our beautiful country, then you should visit (put it on your “bucket list” as they say….I detest that phrase). The Georgian Bay (Parry Sound is one of the Bays more active gateways) is a uniquely beautiful part of this world: standing on its rock, one feels in the presence of something enormous, powerful and overwhelming. Tonight’s gig was a fundraiser for the local hospital, put together by Joe Bamford, our bus company’s owner. Joe and his wife Fatima took us all out for dinner at a local restaurant before the gig (Glenn Burney Lodge) tucked away in a little bay, hidden by cedars and pines. I fished all afternoon, and a little in the evening and a little at night after the show, just off the rocks behind the theater. It was such a beautiful spot and there were lots of little guys that were game to play and, of course, always the promise that their big papa was cruising nearby. It was a beautiful little theater and a good audience and we had a very relaxed night on stage.
Unbelievably, I was having such a nice day on the rocks that I missed the Italy/Germany game. I saw a little bit of the second half and watched the Germans final push in extra time. I guess the German coach made a few controversial changes to the lineup and Balotelli was just too much to handle. Italy just seems to know how to win on the big stage, they move on to face Spain and at this point who dares guess what kind of game the final will be. I guess I’ll be rooting for Italy…I have to stick with my homeys (otherwise my house will be egged)….
 

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Thanks for coming to the party! Wilderness pre-orders now available!

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Thank you all for coming to the listening party! We’re glad you got home safely and the place didn’t even get trashed!

As a parting gift, we’ve started pre-orders of The Wilderness. All items will be shipped on March 27th. 

Oh … and if you’re out and about town the next few weeks, we may just be playing in your area as the tour has begun.

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The Wilderness listening party

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

We will start streaming The Wilderness at noon (EST) today. The pre-order for the album will start at noon as well. Sorry for the delay….we will keep the streaming album up for an extra day. Come on back in another hour….see you then.

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The Wilderness (volume 4) – We Are The Selfish Ones

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

When I write I need seclusion: somewhere to sit and stare and think and mutter to myself and plink away on my guitar. I often rely on the kindness of strangers (or family and friends) and borrow their unused rural retreats, where I set up for a week at a time and get lost in myself. It’s a completely egocentric, selfish way to spend ones time…and I love it. I think it’s my favourite part of an album project: the week starts with an empty page and six tuned strings and ends up with a song, alchemy at its finest. One of the locations where I wrote a lot of the songs for The Wilderness was a small cottage in Presqu’ile Park, set on the shore of Lake Ontario about two hours east of Toronto. We Are The Selfish Ones is, in some ways, a song about the process of creating, it’s about sitting and reflecting, it’s a nod to those of us lucky enough to make a living reflecting our inner most thoughts back at the world. Here is my song-writing demo for the song…I ended up adding another verse right before Margo sang the version that ended up on The Wilderness.

He sits alone in his perfect shack
the lake beside him freezing
the sun no longer shining
much past four o’clock.

We are the selfish ones
We are the lucky ones
We are the needed ones

She falls asleep, the book on her lap,
“all things change to something new,
something strange.”

We are the selfish ones
We are the lucky ones
We are the needed ones

We walk along with my hand on your back,
the days behind receding
forward to a day when all we love will pass.

We are the selfish ones
We are the lucky ones
We are the needed ones

He sits alone in his perfect shack
the lake beside him freezing
the sun no longer shining
much past four o’clock.

Previous blogs about the making of The Wilderness, Angels in The Wilderness, Fairytale, Unanswered Letter.
 

We will be having a listening party for The Wilderness on the site on February 23rd (which is the day that we will also start pre-orders for the album). Stop by and give the album a listen.

The Nomad Tour begins on February 23rd. The first leg brings us through the North East USA: Ithaca, West Long Branch, Providence, Ridgefield, Annapolis, Alexandria, Norfolk, Charlottesville, Charleston, Harrisburg, Boston, Philadelphia, West Hampton Beach.

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The Wilderness (volume 4) – Unanswered Letter

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Last Spring a long time friend of the band, John Bottomley, a fellow musician, died unexpectedly (as they euphemistically say in the obituaries these days). John had been living on Vancouver Island for many years. He had fallen in love with the mountains, the rivers and the trees, but, I guess, had fallen out of love with life. At his funeral his mother lamented the fact that John had settled out west, if only he had been living closer to home, back in Ontario, closer to his family and friends, closer to his roots, if only….
Unanswered Letter was the last song that I wrote for The Wilderness and the last song that I wrote for The Nomad Series. It was a few days after John’s funeral and I headed up to Margo’s farm to try and finish off a few songs: a beautiful spring weekend, with all of the streams and rivers roaring and the spring migration gathering steam (not unlike the weekend weather that had inspired the song Good Friday fifteen years earlier). As I sat beside the river that flows across Margo’s property I thought about John and tried to imagine a state of mind in which even the chatter of a returning red-wing blackbird, a harbinger in these parts of warmer, brighter, easier days to come, could be interpreted as a mocking, insulting cry, “I am home and you are not”.

After Pete, Al, Margo and I had worked up a bedtrack for the song I sent it out to Joby Baker in Victoria, to see where his imagination and talent would take the song. Joby had worked with John on his last album, but I didn’t tell Joby what or who the song was about. What I got back was completely unexpected; an eerie, haunted backing track of bowed bass and ghostly vocals. What was most unexpected was that the song now sounded like a John Bottomley song….the mystery of the creative process: it keeps some of us going, until it doesn’t.
Here is the demo that I wrote and recorded that beautiful Spring day:

Her heart torn open
and left like an unanswered letter.

Words were not spoken
just left in a spidery scrawl.

Twisted and gutted,
the last of the smoke in the air.

She gets up to leave
and idly fixes her hair.

Words from home, words from home.
What we miss are words from home.

I lost my heart
I left it alongside the river.

That blackbird clucking
songs he knows nothing about.

That bird returning
to a home that makes him sing out.

Words from home, words from home.
What we need are words from home.

We will be having a listening party for The Wilderness on the site on February 23rd (which is the day that we will also start pre-orders for the album). Stop by and give the album a listen.

The Nomad Tour begins on February 23rd. The first leg brings us through the North East USA: Ithaca, West Long Branch, Providence, Ridgefield, Annapolis, Alexandria, Norfolk, Charlottesville, Charleston, Harrisburg, Boston, Philadelphia, West Hampton Beach.

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Hubert Sumlin, Nov. 16, 1931 – Dec. 4, 2011.

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Our friend Ron Wells sent us an obituary for the great Hubert Sumlin (posted below). Hubert Sumlin was very instrumental in the genesis of our sound. In the mid-80’s, when we were jamming in the garage and trying to form an aesthetic and direction, Pete and I would often catch Hubert at a little dive of a club on the then desolate end of Queen Street West (I can’t even remember the name of the place). For some reason he came through town fairly often and would pick up a few of the local “blues” musicians and play two or three sets. There would rarely be more than 15 people in the audience, but Pete and I were always there. In-between sets Hubert would come in to the audience and personally thank anyone that was there and sit and talk. His playing was magical. No matter how clumsy and ham-fisted his back up band was, he was always effortless and fluid and endlessly inspired. At the time, Pete and I thought he was ancient (he was only a few years older than I am now) and that was a great inspiration. But the way he completely owned his sound, the way that his instrument was an extension of his personality was what truly thrilled us. He sounded like nobody and nobody sounded like him. We would go home and dig through our Howlin Wolf collection and sure enough, you could easily pick out Hubert in the groove, doing his thing. Bye, bye Mr Sumlin. Thanks for the inspiration.

Hubert Sumlin, Nov. 16, 1931 – Dec. 4, 2011.

Another one of the greatest guitar players to ever walk the planet has died. Listen to his playing on the album “Howlin’ Wolf,” also known as the Rockin’ Chair Album, and you will know everything there is to know about this man’s exceptional skills.

Early last year I saw him play with Pinetop Perkins in a show I’ll never forget. Sadly, both men are now gone. Here’s a brief part of my review from that show:

“Then, midway through the set, the room heated up when Hubert Sumlin walked on stage. Dressed in a black suit and tie, black hat, black shoes with a swatch of white, and with an American flag pin on his lapel, he was dressed to kill, and just as dangerous. His guitar strap had flames on it brought straight from the depths of hell and just as hot as his guitar playing, as he coaxed sounds out of his instrument that the other players just stood and marveled at. School was definitely in session, and Sittin’ on Top of the World was a revelation the way Mr. Sumlin played it.

Hell hath no fury to match a blues god who’s on fire, and so Sumlin sat down and showed how Little Red Rooster is supposed to be played. Then, suddenly, he stood up like struck with lightning, picked that guitar to pieces, and then sat back down. When he was done, he held out both hands, palms down, as if to say, ” ain’’t that the coolest.”

Yes, it was the coolest. R.I.P., Hubert Sumlin.

Come On Home, Baby

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OweEOTY4B4

Killing Floor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmRmG-fw-3Q

 

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Finally a Cowboy Junkies app

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Some developer friends of ours have created a Cowboy Junkies app and given it to us and all of our Blackberry and Android using pals as an early Christmas present. The app will allow you to access the blog through email and social media. We hope to eventually make it so that you can buy our music through it as well. It’s all free so help yourself:

http://www.joemobi.com/dl/1098

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$2.99 sale extended to Friday

Monday, October 24th, 2011

We have extended the sale period for the $2.99 download of our new album Sing In My Meadow until Friday Oct 28th. But make sure that you check out the rest of the package deals as well. Lots of good reviews for the album are coming in, we’ll post a few soon.

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Contest Winners

Friday, October 21st, 2011

All of the winners emails have been drawn and we have sent out an email letting them know that they are the champions…or something like that. If you haven’t received an email then you haven’t won…but even if you’re a loser, you’re still a winner in our books….or something like that. We’ve asked permission to post the winners names so we will do so in the next couple of days. The rest of you should take advantage of the $2.99 Sing In My Meadow download while you can. Thanks for entering.

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Smackdown in Toronto

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

WWE’s Smackdown came to the ACC in Toronto last night and me and Margo, my two youngest, and Margo’s son Ed, were all in attendance. It was a great night of scantily clad babes, greased up beefcake, too loud music, low and high drama, overpriced merch, pyro and more pyro and lots of great athleticism. We saw Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Shamus, Sin Cara, The Miz, R-Truth, Beth Phoenix, Chris Stratus, Daniel Bryant, Cody Rhodes, and too many more to mention (my fave wrestler these days is CM Punk but he is currently on the Raw roster so he wasn’t on the bill). To top it all off it was Edge Appreciation Night. As you no doubt know, Edge had to retire last year, after Wrestlemania, as the reigning Heavy Weight Champion, because of a on-going spinal injury. Edge is a proud Torontonian and so we gave him a big send off last night…yes, there were tears. I love the WWE. Margo and I decided that getting to a Wrestlemania has to go on our must-do list. I guess we’ll need to do it before the kids get too much older….then again, maybe we’ll save it until were in our 60’s and we don’t have the kids as an excuse to attend…keep it weird and surreal.

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