The Haziest Days of Summer


I don’t even know where to start. There is just so much going on out there in the world that it makes my head spin most of the time. Thank god for music - that’s all I can say (no religious affiliation intended). Whether I’m thinking about it, writing it, planning its form of expression, or playing it to folks, it is the gift that keeps on giving. It makes me happy and deeply grateful. Sometimes it makes me cry. I feel so overwhelmed by what it does to us, for us, says about us - the stories shared, the hearts wooed and opened and cajoled into spilling. It’s our saving grace. Our safe place. And it’s so damn fun to play with other people!

Which leads me to the FIRST thing I want to tell you….if you’re ANYWHERE within driving distance…

This Monday, Aug. 27, I will play my FAVOURITE venue in the world (so far) Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay (north of Victoria) with a band of musicians I love so much – Julia Graff (well, that’s a given that I’d love her!), Kirby Barber, Geoff Hicks, Cindy Fairbank and Scott Smith. We’ll be playing most of the tunes from the new album and after a painful culling of the set list to make room for those new songs, a selection from 1976-2016. That’s the only downside to a long career – having to turf so many songs I love to play from the shows. But the pay off is the thrill of playing the new songs.

My son Mike and his family are here with us in Victoria - if you’re at Butchart Gardens see if you can spot the guy who looks just like me!

I’ve been in solo mode for a long time – in many ways really. There’s lots to be said for solo, both as a performer and in life. It’s a different kind of trip to be driving without having to worry about the comfort of one’s passengers. Kind of a free-for-all really. Never bored, never lonely. Or I’m in such denial I never feel it - I guess the end result is the same!

I appreciate my friends who have strong partnerships and move through life as a couple with such team work and mutual support and cheerleading. It’s a beautiful thing. A little too rare, I’m afraid. Friends are a huge support.

And as I move out of the hermit writing phase to record and perform with a band of musicians, I am in heaven! From the engineers (daughter Julia and her partner James, of course) along with Cindy Fairbank, Rob Becker, Geoff Hicks, Scott Smith and contributions from Michael Creber, Cara Luft, Dave Barber, Kirby Barber, and some surprise singers, I am I swooning with what they have brought to the music. Their unique musical sensibilities to serve The Song – man oh man….it’s simply the best.

Before The Smoke, I spent a lot of time out in my plastic Canadian Tire kayak which is one of my favourite things to do. Incomparable. And lots of bike rides that invariably magically bring forth solutions to lyrical or life puzzles I’m trying to solve. It always amazes me how reliably the strategy works.

I often take my “real” camera with me on my lap in a plastic bag when I go out in my kayak. An admittedly foolish and risky act, but it allows me to capture shots like the heron above. At one of my favourite spots on on the Saanich Peninsula it’s kind of a zen sport – sneaking up on seals, otters and herons, poised to capture them before, and during, their escape once they see me.

Okay, so there’s THAT!! Then there’s the fires – oh my god…the fires.

And the horrible post-apocalyptic smoke. Remember when summer used to be such an innocent and special season. Now….very different. I will never understand how anyone could blithely claim that human behavior has had no impact on the state of the planet we inhabit... that scientists have some sort of conspiracy going with their evidence and warnings. Sigh.

Okay – back to la-la-la-ing my way through it all!

The new album will be finished by the end of the year and out very early in the new year. And dare I say, it will be good. Really good.

Hope to see you out there somwhere my friend - happy trails and be kind to each other...



Julia GraffComment