"It's great. I get up in the morning. Walk downstairs. Have a coffee. Play my bass. Next thing you know it's midnight. I don't have to walk more than fifty feet a day if I don't want to." - Bazil Donovan
This record started out as a demo. Jim and I had been talking and thought it would be nice to hang out at the farm awhile, play, possibly even record an EP. The funny thing about this band and recording is that when we start rehearsing for a record we make these blaster tapes, and even though the sound quality is a little trashy, they have a great vibe. The songs are fresh, everyone is working on a part, learning the songs; there is a feel to those tapes, relaxed, almost tossed off but still intense.
The next stop for us is to do a demo to help us realize the arrangements, as well as send copies to the record company so they can hear what we're up to. We make these tapes live to DAT and, again, I love the energy on these tapes. I can feel us playing together and the songs are new enough that the spontaneity is still alive in them.
Finally, we get around to making "the record". We head into a studio, hire a producer and start recording in the conventional way by layering the drums, bass, etc., etc. I both enjoy and hate this method and have always liked our blaster rehearsal tapes the best. I've often wished we could release those tapes as they really capture the sound of the band (I've always liked those records that were made before multi-tracking changed the process). So when Jim called me in April '93 and suggested that we bring the Comfort Sound Truck out to the farm to demo our new stuff, I thought "Great!"; we'd be able to rehearse and record everything live on track and I'd get to stay at home. Great idea.
The farm is a comfortable place to hang out. It's about an hour's drive Northeast of Toronto, close enough to be accessible but it feels a world apart. It's a big old farmhouse with lots of bedrooms, a pond, fields, the moon, the trees and the stars with fireflies and Northern Lights. So in June of '93 we all moved out to the farm - the band, families and friends. We set up in the living room - Mimi and Mark cooked, people hung out and we played music. It was great to make music in this atmosphere, people always walking around and the sun coming in the windows.
Bazil was in charge of quality control and each day when we finished, we'd listen back to what we had recorded. It quickly became apparent that the quieter songs (the songs where Glenn was playing with brushes, James was pounding away on an upright piano built in 1906, Kim was in his corner on Dobro or Dreamsteel, Bazil on rock steady bass and Jim and I on acoustic guitar), those were the songs that captured the spirit of what it felt like to be sitting in that room playing music.
So we decided, forget the demo, forget the EP, this is a record! At first we thought we'd get real fancy and record an acoustic record, and then an electric record and release them a month apart. But we reconsidered and decided to concentrate on the record before you now. This album was recorded in 5 days, between July 5 and July 9, at the pace of two songs per day (except "Dark Angel" and "Tell Me Your Dream", which were recorded in Manta Eastern Sound's studio 3 with Sarah McLachlan on August 16).
Knowing that we had enough material to do an electric record allowed us the freedom to commit to an acoustic record (or should I say that Glenn agreed to do a whole record playing with brushes, knowing we'd soon make a record in a style he was more accustomed to). Everyone in the band had to commit to this idea, and everyone played and listened with their whole heart and being. I think this record captures, on 24 track, what I've always enjoyed best about our blaster rehearsal tapes, with the songs and playing remaining fresh and spontaneous. I'd like to stress that this is not another fucking unplugged record, not some lame reworking of our catalogue to make a quick buck. This record was made this way because we needed something to challenge us as musicians and satisfy us as songwriters.
And lastly, praise be to the strength of woman. Not only does she suffer the pain to bring us into this glorious mess, she also teaches us and inspires us to love. Love is the one thing that all life is a preparation for.
We were very fortunate to have some very musical friends join us and contribute their amazing energy on this record. Sarah McLachlan is an immense talent. Her voice and musicality are transcendent, her generosity overwhelming and it is a joy to be in her company. Anne Bourne is an inspiring and calming presence. Her confidence and musical sense of adventure would inspire any musician to play beyond themselves. I cannot thank either of them, along with all the musicians who performed on this record, enough for their gifted and generous souls. - Greg Keelor
All songs © 1993 Blue Rodeo Productions.
PRODUCED BY: Blue Rodeo
RECORDED BY: Doug McClement and Peter Hamilton with the Comfort Sound Mobile, Toronto
MIXING ENGINEER: John Whynot
ASSISTANT MIXING ENG.: John Rodd
MIXED AT: Reaction Studios, Manta Eastern Sound
MASTERED BY: Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound
Sarah McLachlan: Vocals on "What Is This Love", "Dark Angel", "Know Where You Go" & "Tell Me Your Dream".
Piano on "Dark Angel" & "Tell Me Your Dream".
Anne Bourne: Cello on "What Is This Love" & "English Bay". Vocals on "Cynthia".
Colin Linden: Guitar on "Tell Me Your Dream".
Caroline Richardosn: Chimes and Rainstick.
Sarah McLachlan appears courtesy of Nettwerk Productions. Colin Linden appears courtesy of Columbia Records/Sony Music Canada.
BOOKING AGENT: Trick or Treat Agency - (905) 831-9191;
Artist & Audience * (212) 721-2400
MANAGEMENT: Susan Gentile for Blue Rodeo Productions
Dana Millman for Gold Mountain
ART DIRECTION: Kenny Baird
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS: Rose Kallal
TYPOGRAPHICS: Leesa McLellan (Bits Per Minute)
COVER CONCEPT: Kenny Baird/Rose Kallal/John Milchem
All songs by Keelor/Cuddy, except "Til I Gain Control Again" by Rodney Crowell. All songs published by Thunderhawk Music, except "Til I Gain Control Again", published by Jolly Cheeks Music BMI.
For correspondence and touring information write to us at: PO Box 185, Station C, Toronto, Ontario, M6J 3M9.
IT'S LIKE THOSE TIMES...
When everything in your life seems to be leading you towards some unknown, yet strangely familiar conclusion, and it's not until you reach the end, if you ever do reach an end, that you realize that coincidence has been conspiring to guide you into this particular window of the eternal now. This record was sorta like that. It just happened and it was a very pleasant surprise. So thanks to all the guides and earth angels who generously contributed in its making: Kevin Douglas for doing just about everything and tuning guitars; Mike Oksman for guitars and gear; Ken McNeill for all around surround sound; Sue Gentile for keeping it all together; Doug McClement and Peter Hamilton for recording sound; Mark and Mimi for keeping us well fed and contented (the best takes were always after dinner); Anne Bourne for her breath; Sarah McLachlan for her honesty; Andy and Josh for hangin' out; John LaRoque at Ring for his Fender-rama; John Rodd for tea; Jim Keelor; Chuck Morley; Colin Doroschuk; Lesley; Kevin; Charlie; Lori; Faythe; Rael; Dwayne; Ethel; Sarah; Morgan; Val; Paul MacIsaac; Dana Millman; Barb McAdorey; Paula Amato; Cam Butler; Michael & Kay White; William Morris Agency; Arelene Tully; Elka Yarlowe; Yamaha Canada; Kevin; Mike; Rob; Jerry & Greta Gray; The Shekhina; Peavey for their help and support, Dave Tollington, Everyone at Warner Music Canada & Everyone who hung out and helped.
Love always to Rena, Devin, Emma and Sam.
Dear Carolina, your inspiration constantly moves me towards sweeter moments of madness.