Tour Diary – Anchorage, AK (Sept 5, 2013)

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Alaska is far, eh? I walked out our front door at 4:30am, Pete and I went to our studio, loaded our equipment, hooked up with brother John, drove to the airport, paid Air Canada $700 for our excess baggage, flew the five hours to Vancouver, ate a really average fish taco in the airport, flew another three hours to Anchorage and stumbled in to the hotel….a nifty little fourteen hour travel day. We were last in Alaska about seven years ago and as we wandered the streets of Anchorage, looking for food, memories of the city began to gurgle up. It's much like most cities in the far north, functional. But the one thing about Anchorage that puts it a cut above most northern cities is the abundance of brew pubs. I had a great IPA cask ale at dinner….all is good in the world once again. This short, week long tour is one of those welcome oddities on our tour schedule. We look upon this sort of thing more as an adventure than a tour. This particular one has been put together by our friends at Roots On The Rails, who also promoted the cross-Canada train trip that we did a few years ago. The way this one works is that about forty guests pay a lot of their hard earned dollars for an Alaska adventure and we and our music are a part of that adventure. It all starts in Anchorage tomorrow night with a show at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium (it's a shared bill with our friends Over The Rhine, who are at the end of their own Alaska adventure). On Saturday we all climb aboard a bus and drive 3 hours to Talkeetna which sits just South of Denali Park. During the day I will search for rainbow trout and at night we will do another show at a local venue. Then on Sunday the adventure really begins with a long journey in to Denali Park and a two night stay at a remote lodge in the middle of the park and an acoustic Junkies performance. We then catch a train back to Anchorage and start the long journey home. So stay tuned….hopefully I'll be posting lots of pics with me holding up big fish, Margo being chased by a bear, Pete riding a moose, Al sleeping among the Musk Ox and Jeff examining wolf poop. It should be fun.

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The Kennedy Suite performance – on sale now

As I mentioned in the blog below, our latest project is a collaborative one called The Kennedy Suite. We will be performing the Suite in its entirety on Nov 22 at The Winter Garden Theater in Toronto. This will be a two set night with a debut performance of The Kennedy Suite in the first set. The second set will be all Cowboy Junkies with, we hope, a few special guests joining us on a few songs.

Helping us with The Kennedy Suite performance will be a long list of friends that also perform on the album: Sarah Harmer, Jason Collett, Skydiggers, Lee Harvey Osmond, Harlan Pepper, Jessy Bell Smith, Reid Jameison, The Good Family (Bruce and Margaret Good), The Screwed, The Potion Kings and Ivy Mairi.

This will be a very special and unique night of music. Tickets go on sale today so now is your chance to get snag the best seats in the house. Click here for ticket info: http://roythomson.com/eventdetail/cowboyjunkies

We will be posting a lot more info about the Kennedy Suite album in the coming weeks. Stay Tuned. We are looking forward to seeing some of you in November.

In the meantime there is still time to do a little bit more fishing:

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Kennedy Suite ticket update

Tickets for the show on November 22 at the Winter Garden Theater in Toronto will go on sale at 10am on Monday August 19th. We will post the link here on the 19th. In the meantime…go fishing.

 

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The Kennedy Suite

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It's been a strange summer up her in the Great White North: cool temperatures and more rain than anyone can remember. But I haven't minded so much. Excellent sleeping weather and when it's not raining the air has been clean and the temperature has been perfect for biking around and enjoying our most amazing city. This is truly a great place to live (especially in the Summer). We have been off the road since May and it has given me a chance to to do a bit of fishing (no luck yet with the browns but the largemouth have been very game) and an opportunity to watch my team: the aggravatingly-horrible, ball-kicking-gong-show that is the Toronto Blue Jays. But mostly, we have been in our new studio (The Hangar) finishing off our next project, The Kennedy Suite.

The Kennedy Suite is one of those albums that is extremely difficult to describe. It's a rock opera, a musical, a song cycle, a melodic psychological exploration of the people, characters and events surrounding the assassination of John Kennedy. We didn't write it and we don't even perform all of the music on the album, but we are proudly putting our name to it and “presenting” it on our Latent Recordings label. It is one of the most intelligent, creative and moving piece of writing that I have come across in decades (ever since Jesus Christ Superstar entered my life at the impressionable age of eleven) and it is one of the most exciting and unique projects that we have been involved with in a long time. The narrative of the song cycle takes place over the course of the weekend of November 22 – 24, 1963. Starting with the Kennedys' arrival at Love Field in Dallas and ending with the President's funeral in Washington DC. Each song is written and sung from the perspective of someone, real or imagined, that had a connection to the assassination. JFK, Jackie, Ruby, RFK and Oswald are all represented as are: three sisters giddy with anticipation for Kennedy's arrival at Love Field; a motorcycle cop riding in the motorcade determined to protect the Presidential couple to make up for his own failure to save his own family; a police detective assigned to escort the suspect Oswald but caught up in a delusional reverie about his high school senior prom, and many other assorted characters. The Junkies (myself, Alan and Pete) along with our good friends Andy Maize and Josh Finlayson (The Skydiggers) perform as the band for most of the songs. Margo does a turn as Jackie Kennedy and delivers one of the most compelling and heartbreaking performances on the album (would you expect anything less?). Each song has a different vocalist and working with all of this talent has been the one aspect of this project that has been the most exciting and satisfying. Joining us are: Sarah Harmer, Jason Collett, Hawksley Workman, Doug Paisley, Martin Tielli, The Good Family, Jessy Bell Smith, The Screwed, Harlan Pepper, Lee Harvey Osmond, The Potion Kings and Ivy Mairi, as well as a large and varied assortment of musicians. As I said, it's a difficult project to describe. We have chosen to record and release an album that requires repeated listenings, a record that needs to be sat with and mulled over and that even needs liner notes to be fully appreciated. This is not a blueprint for success these days. But we have you and we know that there are enough of you out there that still want your music to challenge and inspire you.

We don't have a set date for the release just yet, but we are aiming for the end of October. We do have a very special concert planned for November 22 at the Winter Garden Theater in Toronto. It will involve most of the performers on the album. Tickets for that show will go on sale next week (I'll post more info about the show as soon as we have ticket info). We will be blogging a lot about the making of this album over the next couple of months and we will be creating a seperate website for it….so stay tuned. In the meantime here is the lyric for the song (Disintegrating) that Margo sings on the album. This is Jackie Kennedy (as imagined by the writer) sitting on Air Force One, heading back to Washington with the body of her husband, still wearing her blood-splattered clothes so that the world could see what had been done to her husband, wracked with survivors guilt and suddenly struck by the horrible realisation that maybe the bullet wasn't meant for him, but for her. As I said, it's an amazing piece of writing, crossing effortlessly between the literal, the historical and the figurative, ultimately inspiring, but not afraid to creep into those dark under-explored recesses of our thoughts and actions and to shine a little light on the complexities that make humans, human.

Disintegrating

In glazed eyes and red stains

I’m thinking this has to be

The biggest case of “I told you so”

 

I know I’m being petty

But when Nellie turned and said,

“Can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you…”

I almost laughed before you put your hand on my knee

 

To stop me,

Please stop me

Like I couldn’t stop you

From disintegrating

 

The young woman you waved to

For that moment I hated you

I imagined you dead and that I was finally free

 

And that’s when it happened

Did I will it to happen?’

Was all I was thinking as I

Held your head in my hands

 

This is a tight sleeve,

The fucking engines of this plane are shrill

My lips are bloodless

 

Please, stop me

Please, stop me

Like I couldn’t stop you

From disintegrating

 

The face of that young aid

Glancing back over LBJ’s shoulder

Did I overhear him say, “Hey, I’ve got a sure-fire way to win a second term

Put a hit out on his wife

The sympathy vote would be a landslide”?

You weren’t really thinking that, were you?

Did you?

 

Were they killing you?

Or were they just missing me?

And if you were in my place

Would you be…Disintegrating?

 

 

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On Canvas, WHYY

We are proud to be featured by Philadelphia's WHYY On Canvas show. They came out to our Sellersville, PA show this past spring, filmed a pre-show interview and recorded the show. Looks and sounds pretty darn good….check it out:

http://video.whyy.org/video/2365053000

 

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Congrats to the Blackhawks

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Lee Harvey Osmond on Polaris Prize prize long list

We are excited to announce that Lee Harvey Osmond's "The Folk Sinner" has made the long list for this years Polaris Prize. For those of you who don't live in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, the Polaris Prize is awarded annually in Canada to the artist with coolest facial hair, or the most tatoos….or maybe its for the best album voted on by those with the most facial hair and coolest tatoos. In any case, the winner gets a nice chunk of change and its always good to be recognized for a job well done…it's also a great album. If you haven't had a listen, please do so by going to the Lee Harvey Osmond website where you can listen for free.

You can find more info about the Polaris Prize here

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First October Shows On Sale Now

We're very excited to be making our first stop at the new City Winery in Chicago for two shows on October 26th. Tickets went on sale today.

Details are here and here.

We will be adding shows in Minnesota and Michigan (and some other places) in the near future. Stay tuned.

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The Good Family Album

We here at Latent Recordings headquarters are proud and excited to announce the release of The Good Family Album by the newly minted, multi-generational, super-group, The Good Family. The band is a family affair essentially made up of two iconic Canadian bands: The Good Brothers and The Sadies. Fathers, brothers, mothers, uncles, cousins, nephews, sons and nieces abound in this band and the one thing that glues it all together is supreme musicianship. Folk, bluegrass, country and some good ole Southern-stomp blend together on the album to make up one of the most captivating traditional-styled albums that I have come across in a long time. You can listen to the album for free by clicking on the player below and if you like what you hear please do yourself (and the musicians) a favour and buy a CD or a download of the album. Enjoy.

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Tour Diary – Santa Cruz, CA (May 4, 2013)

This is not a bad town in which to end a tour. I've always liked it here, there is a certain impermanence about it, a beach town with lots of hippies and surfers and vagrants and many, many entrepreneurs…its a good blend. The weather was distinctively cooler today, but that's ok, none of us had the energy to travel too far from the bus and venue. We had a fun night on stage, a perfect ending to a very good tour. There are encouraging signs out there, as with the February tour, attendance is up, merch sales are climbing and the band is playing great….all of this helps to get us back out here when the time comes. We have a couple of one-offs scattered throughout the next three months, but mainly we'll be staying close to home and beginning to ponder about our next project. We will also be finishing up a collaborative project that we have been working on for about five years, which we plan to release on November 22nd….but lots more on that to come over the next few months.

In the meantime, the Leafs came out skating and won game 2, so there is hope for at least a competitive series. We carry those dreams back with us to Canada. A huge “thank you” to all who have followed us by checking in on the diary and especially to those of you who spent your hard earned dollars on tickets. Please keep an eye on this space for all things Junkie related….have a great summer, be safe and have fun….we'll be back out there before you even know it.

JASON LENT FOLLOWED OUR TOUR BUS BACK IN 2011 AND SUPPLIED US WITH HIS TOUR DIARY. HE WILL BE DOING THE SAME FOR THE COMING WEEK. HERE IS JASON'S SARATOGA DIARY: We ditched sleepy Saratoga after breakfast and ran right into the million or so cars trying to get to the beach on a bright and sunny morning. By the time we pulled into Santa Cruz, the weather had turned grey and the temperature was falling fast. The Rio has been home to the Junkies on many occasions over the years. The converted movie theater is nothing glamorous as a rock club but the management has always treated us Junkies fans like royalty. Today was no exception and the good vibes always translate into an awesome show in Santa Cruz.

Tonight's show ended the tour on the highest of highs. The band continued to deliver exceptional takes on the Nomad series and an unexpected addition of "Ladle" to tonight's mix was razor sharp in its ferocity. Presenting the Nomad series as a separate set worked extremely well in the live setting and hearing "Damaged From the Start" each night was a moment to cherish. The second set brought out even more songs that we had not heard on the tour including "Crescent Moon" and the entire River Trilogy. The band let it rip on "Murder Tonight…" during the encore and then the amps were unplugged and the bags were packed to go home. Over eight shows in eight days, the band played consistently brilliant and the changing set lists made each night unique and special.

Last Saturday, I bumped into Margo in a hotel lobby in Seattle and life following the tour resumed just as I had left it. This run down the coast was engineered by long time friends Chris and Stephen and I had the pleasure of not planning any of the details. In fact, the one detail I did plan, my flight home, I booked a week from now which caused some stress after the show tonight when I realized the mistake. Junkies fans, new and old, crossed our path all week and the friendships were easily rekindled. The band and crew were, as always, generous with their time despite the grueling schedule. As I sit here packing my bag (for my new flight from San Fran in a few hours), I am again reminded of how blessed I am in life. To Mike, Margo, Pete, Al, Jeff, Jared, Farns, and the fans who shared a beer or talked story with me this week, thank you for everything and I will definitely see you down the road.
 

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