As I've told you, Julia is getting her Masters in Music in Sound Recording at McGill. At Christmas she announced to me that she needed/wanted me to be the subject of her next term's project which was to record a CD for an artist. At first the idea of coming up with a full crop of songs in a month filled my heart with fear and loathing. Once I recovered and realized what a fantastic opportunity it would be on so many levels I eagerly said "let's do it!". The following weeks were spent in a creative zone closely resembling a semi-psychotic state - usually taking the form of walking in the woods muttering into my iphone recording ideas. The truth is, I have spent my entire professional life as a closet Reluctant Songwriter, with an unexplained penchant for putting all other tasks ahead of the most important - writing songs. I'm sure some therapy is in order. Fortunately, I've always responded well to deadlines. I had recently watched a "Ted Talks" by Elizabeth Gilbert on creativity, the theme being "your job is to show up... and it will come". I surrendered to this philosophy... and by god it worked! I showed up every day, all day, and It came. I was elated, relieved and eternally grateful.
With some trepidation about how a mother daughter relationship might translate to a producer/engineer artist dynamic, I went off to McGill for two weeks of 18 hour days in the studios and halls of McGill. To both Julia's and my delight the dynamic was perhaps the easiest we'll ever find between producer and artist. Certainly in my experience it was, and of course, it was her first so she has nothing compare it to! I thought for sure there would be moments of debate over decisions and directions where I might be inclined to say "excuse me - I've been doing this for 40 years Missy - I know what I'm doing!". But instead, a mutual trust and respect clicked in immediately and I was more than happy to hand over the reins to her. She was amazing. She has exceptional instincts and skills and a calm and easy demeanor in the studio. It was a remarkable experience and we are both thrilled with the results.
Partner Bill Runge did four stellar arrangements for us - two string quartet arrangments, and a violin duet Julia and her boyfriend Luke recorded, and a five part French horn arrangement. The recording of the string quartet was thrilling. I recorded a short video to share with Bill since he would have loved to have been there for the session. Between the gorgeous arrangement and the lifelong dedication these "kids" have to the excellence on their instruments I found it profoundly moving. I am including a private link to that recording http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugmnfqKK8Ck&feature=youtu.be
The musicians are listening to the track on their headphones, so you won't hear the song - just their playing. My shooting skills suck, but the audio....heaven.
I was home for half a day to regroup and left for a three-week tour - all solo shows primarily in rural Manitoba and Saskatchewan. I have never seen so much white. It was like living in a black-and-white photograph for three weeks. Someone said to me that it wasn't the cold of the winter that got to her, it was the lack of colour. I get that. The sunset shot above taken near Annaheim Saskatchewan was the a rare exception. But I loved it all - the people, their stories, the wide open spaces, the big sky, and the solitude on the long drives (as treacherous as some of them were!). There is nothing quite like the adventure in my experience - being dropped in the middle of strangers lives, their homes, their communities and their friends and sharing music with them. They are warm, generous, salt of the earth folks. So to all of you - who are now new to my mailing list - I thank you! Really, it is gratitude on behalf of so many touring artists who are the benefactors of your warm hospitality, comfortable beds, home-cooked meals and big hearts.
Bonus - the new songs were very well received which was very encouraging. I don't usually have so much new material to season in a hurry so the response was very helpful.
The album will be finished over the summer and ready in the fall. You're welcome to pre-order, paid or not, by writing me.
Needless to say, coming home to lush green and relatively balmy BC was intoxicating. I immediately dove into finishing the booking and logistics for the next chapter starting in May - Atlantic Canada and Ontario with the trio with Julia and Ted. The dates in this e-mail and all the details are here on my website.
Hmm...a bit more long winded than I intended!
Happy Trails my friend,