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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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Ivy Mairi – No Talker

Monday, September 12th, 2011

About five years ago I was doing some recording with a friend of mine when she happened to mention a young woman that she had come across at a few open mic nights at a café that she frequented. She had gotten to know this young singer and was really impressed with her song writing and her underlying spirit. She asked if she could bring her in to our studio so that I could have a listen to her. The singer’s name was Ivy Mairi and she was in her last year of high school. Ivy had no experience with recording studios and had little experience outside of those open mic nights and singing with her family. I was blown away by her voice, the way it was both fragile and powerful at the same time. And I was stunned by the sophistication of her song writing. So we decided to do an album together. Despite Ivy’s lack of experience in the studio she had a very definite idea about how she wanted to represent herself on record. We made a very simple, almost naïve, album, which highlighted her voice and blossoming song writing skills. After we released the album, Ivy went off to university in Montreal. She was undecided as to whether she wanted to truly pursue a life in music. About two years ago she slowly made her way back to Toronto and found a music community that she could grow with, started writing songs again and found a few musicians that shared her vision.

Early this year she walked into our studio with a couple of friends and played me a few things that she had been working on and I fell in love all over again. Later we talked about what she wanted to do with this album, about how she wanted to present this batch of songs as a band and how she wanted to expand her sound, her singing style and her song writing. And I think that, with Lucas Gadke on bass, Matt Bailey on guitar and Mike Brushey on drums, she has done just that. On No Talker there are still the wispy folk leanings of her debut album represented by the delicate East Of The Don and the desolate Bruise, but there is also the fully charged Neil Young-styled No Talker; the bewildering and explosive Kenyatta; the rockabilly rave-up of Scar and the stunning, soul-laced I Can See You. This is a very young artist fully in command of her talent, surrounded by some excellent young musicians. I was very pleased to be the one to push the button, sit back and let them do their thing. Take a listen, and if it makes you feel good…buy a copy…share it on Facebook…tell a friend…we need to help young talent survive…we need things that make us feel good.

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