Such a gorgeous, iconic location!
Trying to find a family event on the island this Christmas?
Get your tickets now for Cookeilidh – Making Spirits Bright
Saturday December 17th at 7:30 pm.
We will be playing a variety of celtic and festive songs of the season in this beautiful theater. We will also be joined on stage by the world class O’Brien Irish Dancers so get your tickets today and mark your calendar!
Tickets are available now at…
This favorite little thing in life goes back so far that I’ve forgotten when. Somewhere in the 80’s, back before I noticed girls or had my first 8-bit Nintendo game I found this in the house. There was no planning or plan with borrowing it from dad’s office and using a blank tape. I remember using the q – tip to try and clean the tape heads with alcohol. I remember my fascination with its mechanism and the fact that I could record myself doing little skits and singing songs. Like any child with a favorite toy it was me, cross-legged in front of the recorder, holding down play and reverse to make that screeching sound that everyone hates while I scanned for the intro. Eventually there was a second machine which had the high speed feature. Novelty of making myself into one of the Chipmunks lasted for a bit.
The use of the machine lasted to today. There is something about the solid reliability of tape that digital can’t match. I’ve used multitrack digital but it always feels like I get lost in the engineering role. I’ve used tape 4 track of course, and had so many Type 2 tapes for this but what I remember is doing a really lofi song recording with two machines recording over and over until the first track was like a distant echo. Every detail of that magic machine was a curiosity. The smell of its speaker, the buttons I never understood to use. Something about the recording process was so interesting as well, which I still find in the recording process. When it’s recorded it’s like the songs enter their own universe with strange phantom sounds and foibles. Mix tapes of songs are like a musical diary.
Oh and with the band…yeah I’ve got a couple tapes of them (switched to digital more recently out of convenience but am considering returning)
And as a kid who also liked things like Robotech and Tron there was this idea when creating any kind of battle. It’s supposed to be a gun thing from Star Wars. It just looks like…well…two pencils and a tape.
Those days are past but the use of my tape recorder still remains as the primary songwriting platform to this day. The tapes of songs are great as they can’t get lost somewhere in the bowls of a hard drive, just somewhere in my desk. I still have the Walkman that after recording a multitrack song would take it for a “test drive” walking through Cook Street Village with headphones to see if the song felt right outside of the home recording environment and see what I could change or add. And of course, for anyone who knows about my band Cookeilidh or the blog post on being a celtic bassist, yes…i still have where it all started…with an extra whimsical ” o ” 🙂
Created by TomPogson.com
Created by TomPogson.com
Everything can just happen with one phone call. This is how it all started for me almost ten years ago now. That was the start of frankly the longest running work I have had to date…my beginning with Cookeilidh.
Dave Cook and I had jammed before in other projects but at that time I was just working, writing, busking on government and playing the occasional open stage gig. I kick myself for this but I had sold off alot of my extra gear so I just had a fretless Peavey Axecellorator Bass, my acoustic guitar and my multitracking equipment for making songs. It’s sounds fancy but there was way more stuff back in the day and this is why the early days is all pictures of me playing that off-gold badly beaten fretless. It is all that existed. Even my guitar bag was multipurpose and hung so low that if I wasn’t careful the bass would hit any curb I stepped over (part reason for its battered look).
Anyways Dave and Kim had just started trying celtic just for fun on the gorge as his wife Kim had gotten into it and people were already liking it (they weren’t busking…just playing for fun) I met up with Dave in a James Bay coffee shop and he gave me a tape. Yeah a tape. It was back in those days. The more we talked about the project the more interesting it sounded. It was a whole world of music I was just being exposed to and playing to that tape became something I did daily just for fun as well as listening to all the celtic music I could find. I use digital recordings on my laptop now to practice to but I still haven’t really stopped since that first cassette that started with Dave strumming some sustain chords and stating “Ok this is Mairi’s Wedding.”
Naturally my role is a little unusual being the bassist in a trad celtic band but for almost ten years now it has worked. There is alot of learning to fill the holes up between the instruments and not crowd them. Some listening to celtic piano helped back in the day as I’m almost just a bigger badder version of a left hand. Mostly joking there but so much is just taking what songs we do and finding how my instrument can enhance it.
It’s like they say about drummers.
It’s good when you don’t notice them. That sounds bad but it isn’t. And now and again we backup guys get our moment.
And when it’s good it’s just priceless!
Got to go practice soon 🙂
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