THE UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELING MUSICIAN
In the winter of 2009 I looked into an old trunk that had been with me for a while. Inside it had a cardboard box filled with dat tapes and cassettes of unreleased songs. I listened to these tapes and thought I should preserve them and transfer them to digital before they start to fade. Music has a peculiar relationship with time. For me it’s like a fairytale.
It sounds like someone else I’m listening to. It moved my heart. The witchy rig of time brings its own revenge. Songs are experiences. One must look back to the banquet of childhood, to the stories in the Black Forest. To the nights of travel, Partings. To the smell of kitchens blowin down the avenue. Chance-meetings in the evenings of spring. To the moon/changes upon the stages. Steppin into the unknown. To the paintings in the hallways. The magic shadows.
I used to play solo acoustic shows at a place called Hilly’s canteen run by Hilly Krystal owner and propieter of CBGB’s in New York. He used to tell me the Bowery was a road where royalty traveled up in the 1800’s. I traveled down to Nashville, went on to Charleston where a hurricane had just passed through and went to Savannah and visited Captain Flints upstairs room where he died in the book Treasure Island. Went to Atlanta and played in Athens. I mostly slept in my car and on friends couches and when the day was as gray as pigeons pajams I stayed in scruffy hotels.
I headed north and could feel the Appalachian wind In the Carolina states. I would drive through New England and Main and Vermont to get a feel for early America.
Across the border and into my native country. I was living in Toronto then and things were shifting. Toronto was like a little village back then and I was writing songs in my apartment on Queen street in Parkedale. I would hop in my car and go to the Hammer (Hamilton) to record the songs I had been writing. I sat in the oldest bar in Toronto, the Wheatsheaf when an old friend said I should call my album Bibliotheque du Soleil. Library of the Sun.
During the cold winter months I would make treks to New Brunswick where I was on the look-out for stories of an older Canada. I found one in The Hell-fire preacher Jacob Peck. I remember the faces of those who used to come out of the dark woods. As if they were tree spirits.
I would make treks to Algonquin park, north of Toronto often because I grew up always around forests and they whispered to me. One winter I did a photo shoot in a snowstorm up there.
When it was released Library of the Sun sparked some interest and I was on the road touring about 150 backwood bars with a 3 piece band.
I traveled down to New Orleans and recorded at Kingsway studio’s which was a great studio that is no longer there. A lot of heavy records where made there.
I moved to Vancouver in late 1993 and the city was really happening.Took the red road to the sea. Where planets,comets and fables meet. The Seattle thing was going on, and Vancouver was in the hive. I was touring across Canada in a van and taking trains and small airplanes. My backing band was always changing.On bumpy rides in blizzards through the fog and dark mountain roads.My singing voice changed as I moved through the landscape and the
railway rattled through the country. We were rippin up the little wooden stages. I remember one summer night walking onto the stage in the Laurentian mountains(North of Montreal) where the crowd roared. It all blew wind in my sails.
I was living in a haunted apartment called the Winchester in Vancouver and writing songs for what would become Blackberry. The record company I was with then BMG wanted a hit song. Well the music industry is known to treat artists like a gypsy treats a stolen child. Not enough love in the world. That’s what I say.I had an american friend at bmg Bob Jamieson and he helped me get there. I went to Hollywood and wrote a song called ‘You lose and you Gain” with David Kershenbaum. Did a demo and a few hours later there was a major earthquake. I guess you could say we shooked the earth. It went to #3 in Canada and became a major hit. I tried to get it released into the US market but was told they only take American. Funny cause that’s where the song was written.
Spooky was the working title of Raggle Taggle because things were spooky. It was hurly burly time.
Laughin leprechaun’s eating stew drinking from small jars of mountain dew.I was writing and reading the Upinishades andPercy Shelly in Paris and railing through Europe. In London I visited the national writers library and saw the original notebooks of Shelley, Keats, Byron. They were so ridiculed and misunderstood in there time. Exiled from there own country. They helped carry the Lamp of Shakepeare back into out counsiuosness. I carried around The Tempest in my pocket. Raggle Taggle has a bright psychedelic sound, and was mixed in a little house in SolvangCalifornia. It was one of the first if not the first pro-tools record.
In 2000 i moved to Bowen Island and wrote a book of poetry called Here’s the Candy that was released in London. I also wrote and recorded The Crown of Life, Star in the Singing grove but that is another story.
In 2005 I was in Barkerville the old gold mining town. Playing in a duo called the Scadaddlers. I came upon a poem by Rebecca Gibbs.1886. A black women who came via the underground railroad. I put some music to it.The sound of another centuries trains. A little bit of strange Old Canada.
My intention has been to document a time, and to dismiss the ghost.