Learning 40 tunes in two days for a four hour set in a club with no air conditioning in the middle of a record heat wave. Debuting new songs at a gritty east side club more accustomed to hard rock and than soul. Surviving jazz school and attempting to find a voice that will be heard through the cluttered maze of the music industry. These are just some of the experiences that would provide the context and inspiration for "The Land of Make Believe".
In the Spring of 2010 BJ Block began work on a follow up to his debut instrumental album "Glitterball". This next record was to be another instrumental album with the addition of an occasional background vocal for ambiance. After playing a number of gigs together around the city it seemed only natural to recruit Dawn Pemberton, a staple of the Vancouver RnB, Funk and Jazz scene, to provide the vocals. Dawn agreed and the two would meet a few months down the road to collaborate once the tunes were mapped out. The album was nearly finished when the two ventured on an experiment; there was one song in particular that had potential for lyrics throughout, so for the fun of it and with no expectations in mind, the two began writing together, with Dawn taking on the task of writing melodies and lyrics to the track. After only one writing session, the two met a week later and effortlessly played the song from beginning to end. This first draft would remain unedited and became "Just Be", the first single off the new album. Inspired by the success of their first effort they decided to tackle another tune. Once again, after only one writing session they had their second song penned, the first ballad on the album called "Turn it Around".
It was around this time that BJ had lined up a gig at The Bourbon, located on the upper east side of Vancouver, with his instrumental quartet. Dawn agreed to headline the show with her group The Soul Syndicate to lend support as the show was late on a weeknight, a tough night to draw crowd. During the sound check Dawn sat in with BJ's quartet, and they performed 'Just Be" and "Turn it around" for the first time in front of a sparse audience of locals and friends, as soon as it ended the room exploded into applause and drew a massive enthusiastic response.......six months later, "The Land of Make Believe" was recorded in just three weeks in a small studio North Vancouver.
Initially approached as a children's album for grown-ups, "The Land of Make Believe" explores adult challenges through the eyes of a child. Rooted in Soul, Rn'B, Jazz and Funk, the album is uplifting, playful and thoughtful, showcasing musicianship developed from years of playing, practicing and touring.