Wrap on Recording The Goldblacks

Why even do a solo CD?

Well first, these two weeks was a whole lot more than just recording. Last night marked not only my last night on vacation which I used for recording my first solo effort, but it was also my first day back on stage with Cookeilidh after almost the same two weeks.

But recording this now was for a mix of reasons. After ages of collaborative things I wanted to prove (mostly to myself) that I could be creative without someone to lean on. I was inspired by the project Low Roar which was essentially started as Ryan Karazija by himself in his kitchen in Reykjavik with a guitar and a laptop. (He’s since gone full time and has way more production going on).

I also had been working with the keyboard and for some reason got into this Instagram habit of a post per day, primarily a song. Some were covers like “Up Where We Belong” but some weren’t and they gave rise to songs like Reason, which this little teaser clip comes from…

I also had a few songs from the past and just this desire to create things that don’t necessarily fit in a Celtic band. It is fun to lead the charge, but of course it’s more demanding so I knew I wanted to give myself some actual time off to do it. I certainly learned a lot over both this recording process and the time building towards it. I’ve decided to give the whole thing some time so I can work out what to do with the project in post. I am busy with Cookeilidh and that’s still moving forward so how do I incorporate this new thing in? Anyways I will be releasing singles before the now May 1st release, starting with She Lives There and Reason.

The process hasn’t always been easy, which is one of the reasons I’m very proud of it, whatever it does. I’ve found myself listening to it regularly, like when I was in Vancouver filming parts of the She Lives There music video. There are parts I’m really proud of, even if they are less straight single material like Precipice, Missed Connections and parts of Secret Star.

Can’t wait to share more of this with you!

Thanks for checking me out!

🙂

Tom

Advertisements

Week One

It’s the first week for everyone which is partly the reason for the title as it’s also the first week of Goldblacks recording.

And my first time off in about eighteen years, which naturally, I used to work on something.

As I’m writing this, the protest here in Victoria is marching up Fort Street in solidarity with the BC First Nations who are, long story short, being put through the same crap that they did in Standing Rock. Really unfortunate this still needs to be sorted out but great to see such a large crowd of support on a rainy January day.

For those who we should be building bridges with we are quarreling with, pulling Elders (First Nations seniors) out in the snow.

Here’s a link to more about their first week.

For me the first cuts of each song are recorded and now it’s going over, fine tuning, remixing and some rerecording. Just did a live version of Take Me Higher, a song that’s been around for just decades, it being requested many times including at work and on a #4 bus

I also have some plans for a music video for She Lives There and maybe two more. I did that Such a Drag one to kick the year off but Ill have to see. The main thing is to finish the CD in time for this Summer.

First Cookeilidh rehearsal is this week so getting ready for that, with the focus being on Robbie Burns as his day comes up on January 25th.

There is a few shows this year that we’re doing including Craigdarroch Castle with the address to the Haggis. The castle has been a wonderful partnership with us all these years and we are very lucky to play such a beautiful Scottish castle for this date. If you are in Victoria at any point check it out, and especially during Robbie Burns or Christmas season.

Inside Craigdarroch, the last being us two years back!

It has been a politically busy first week, but I think that’s because we are finding more and more that we can’t take things for granted.

We should be all able to enjoy life at it’s fullest or as Freddie Mercury sang

“this could be heaven for everyone!”

Cheers,

Tom

Victoria’s Hidden Gems – Fairfield

If I tell you about a place with long beaches of little sunset coves, interesting local history, people watching, shopping and great food you might immediately be thinking I’m describing somewhere in the Mediterranean, maybe near the high end living of Monaco.

But no, in this first installment of Victoria’s Hidden Gems, we start in my neck of the woods… Fairfield.

With a history that goes back to literally the first landing by Victoria’s founder James Douglas, where the sounds of our early streetcar trams echo, the just-out-of-town pleasures of our community are just minutes away from your cruise line or hotel lobby. The title of Fairfield itself covers quite a large area, from the vibrant fun of Cook St Village to the Observation tower where this photo gazes down to the soft sandy beach cove of Gonzales Bay. This sames waterfront curves all the way around to Beacon Hill Park and eventually the downtown Victoria harbor, creating some amazing walks perfect for sunset romantic strolls past turn of the century homes. Along this same waterfront, near Clover Point when you near the corner of Dallas and Cook St, you are actually near an old military post used by Canadian forces during World War One, with it’s only evidence being the slightly wide fields and the round concrete stairway that can take you down to the beach facing the Salish Sea and the distant snow-covered peaks of the Olympic Peninsula.

For food we have absolutely got you covered as well, with lots of great little pubs like The Ross Bay situated across from the austere Ross Bay Cemetery which is the resting place of James Douglas himself along with other famous names like artist Emily Carr, there is the Oxford Arms in Cook St Village, a variety of small Cook St restaurants serving everything from Italian to Ethiopian food and speaking of Cook St Village, it should be almost be called Coffee Street Village as you can get the dark brew in about 10 places in 3 blocks. No lack of places here to sip and watch the world go by, all a two block stroll through the leafy sidewalks to Beacon Hill and especially it’s bandshell where you can hear world class talent or in summer weekends take in one of our “Free B Film Festival” movies in the park.

I’ve really only cracked the surface of things to do in Fairfield too. It’s amazing for hiking as you’re at our Island’s southernmost point so it’s easy to navigate your way about and if you check out online sites like Harbourliving.ca you can see what activities are happening right now, including live music and the Moss Street market which takes place all summer and is definitely not one to miss, or the Moss Street Paint-In just down the street from the Victoria Art Gallery and around the corner from the beautiful Craigdarroch Castle which was the home to a wealthy Scottish Coal Baron and a place to not miss especially around Christmas where it is decked out in all it’s festive colors and music travels through every curve in it’s oak panelled interior.

If you stop by Cook Street grab a coffee and send me a wave. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

😉

Tom

5 ways to pass time in Transit / Morning Transit

Off we go

See what I did there? If not that’s probably ok 😏

But seriously, stay tuned for my upcoming 5 things to make use of time in transit when there’s no wifi. I’ll put that down there after the first bit.

Kind of miss my other headphones. I’m using more normal earbuds but they’re not wireless, oh… nevermind. Just realized I could flip the phone the other way. Still gets a bit in the way when holding to type in landscape.

…what? Don’t look at me like that. It’s all about details. …what?

Ok enough of that. Today is mowing the parent’s lawn which is also in Saanichton so it’s on the 72 bus like I did on Monday. If you go two back you can go on that Fab journey. Yesterday was rehearsal which was fun and I got to try out my new bass which will be debuting on this weekend at the Victoria Highland Games. Here’s one of me back in the day with my old Peavey Fretless…one sec, I have that photo around here somewhere…

There we go! Now you can find out more about my band/music on the music part of my site or simply go to cookeilidh.com which I know is a bit old school for some so here’s a link to our Instagram too. I’d do our other stuff too but there’s a lot and that could take a whiiiiiile lol.

It’s actually kind of interesting being on the 72 as it’s the one bus in Victoria that connects to both the airport and the ferry, so like the 75 that goes to our famous Butchart Gardens…ok, one sec…lol

There we go! And trust me, that barely does them justice. Look them up too when you get a chance! Anyways the 72 and 75 are the two (feels like a Monty Python bit here) rides where you run into lots of folks from other countries, some with suitcases and some with backpacks. I’ve done it too which brings me finally too…

Five ways to pass time in Transit (no wifi)

Wi-Fi’s an easy out but imagine your in, like, the BC interior or somewhere with nada. Maybe it’s diff now…anyways…

1) Writing.. Not only this now but I have worked on entire stories and characters on the bus.

2) Scheduling with note pad app. Already doing something so it’s such a bonus.

3) PDFs. Predownload and read any classic. Presently doing Boefius and the Consolation of Philosophy

4)classic car games. I spy and so on. You can do it to yourself. See anything blue? Red?

5) Reach out! Take off the headphones and let the world happen. Not forcing it but you might get in a conversation with the most interesting people. Just like the discussions on liminality, it’s in these nuetral places in life where you could make a life changing connection.

Laters!

Tom

New YouTube channel!

Still in the process of setting this up but now you can see two new songs on my new channel with lots of links to other media!

Includes new song this morning called “Thank You Blixa” which was inspired by the early work of Blixa Bargeld.

I plan on doing more with this including uploading some of my live off the floor shows which are normally for liveme broadcasts.

(You can find me there as TheRambles, sometimes guesting on GroovyWoman’s as well!)

Anyways subscribe and watch two new clips aaaaaat…

Tom’s Youtube Channel

Diner Lights Ep1 Road’s End

Bus Depot on Douglas Street, Victoria, BC 2014

Sam knew something was wrong.  It was the first time they had ever separated, but the reason for it seemed perfectly legit.

“Ok man, can you just go ahead and we’ll meet you there.  We’ve gotta sort shit out with Donna.”

That was the last thing Gav told him at the bus station in Vancouver.  The gig that night didn’t happen because it never would have.  The next one was a fall through as well for reasons of some kind of confusion between Donna and the venue which turned out to have way less money and naturally Gav wasn’t going to go for that.  They could have played anyways but Gav was in a mood.  Donna suggesting busking didn’t help.  Nothing like being stuck in a rainy night in a hotel where everyone pretends the others aren’t there.

The next show would have been some place called Steamers in Victoria.  There was a local funk band called Three Sixty that was going to open.

Sam sat on the wooden bench inside the old bus station, looking stupidly through the houses in a real estate magazine.  It was the only thing you could count on to be free.

There were payphones but he didn’t know if they were on the ferry or even on that last leg that goes through all the farms and small communities in the Saanich Peninsula.

All he could do is wait.  He looked inside his pack of cigarettes.  Not many, but he wasn’t too bad.  He looked around but the place still had those ashtrays on the metal stands so he lit up and blew smoke towards the stained plaster roof.

“Excuse me!”

Sam almost dropped the smoke as he looked up to see a man looking at him from behind the sliding glass window of the bus station’s office.

“Sorry, man…I thought,” he said pointing towards the ashtray.  Some places were becoming non-smoking but then, why would the ashtray still be out?

“No, no you got a phone call buddy.”

Sam butted the dart out and went over to the glass window, the next of his guitar bag hanging over his bag on the end of the long bench.

He picked up the phone.

And got the news.

The band was over.  Donna and Gav had just this huge fight.  Like, huge.  Like cops were involved.  They hoped he could somehow get back to Perry Sound.  After that Sam didn’t really take in what they were saying.  He just felt faint.

“Yeah, that’s fine.  I understand.  No it’s ok.”

Sam gazed off into space while the man in the back occasionally looked at the young man with the mess of dark hair whose face had just gone pale.

“Right.  Bye.”

He put the plastic black phone back on it’s cradle and nodded to the man with the striped white shirt and grey balding hair.

“You ok, there?”

“Oh, uh thanks,” Sam stammered “Yeah.”

Sam went back to his stuff and just sat there.  He picked the cigarette out of the ashtray and struggled to find his lighter.  Then it wouldn’t light.

“Come on!”

Nothing.  It was out.  He tried shaking it.  Sometimes that stuff works.  It didn’t

“Here,” said the older guy holding out a pack of matches.

“Oh, thanks man!” he said quickly getting them and sitting back down again.  He lit up and looked at the matches that said Empress Taxi.

He had some money but only just enough to get back to Ontario.  That’s what he should do,, he thought.   Back to the group home where he was staying. Back to that tiny room in late October with the frozen air coming off Superior.  He looked at the board and the next bus back to the big station across from Science World was coming up.  He would have to buy a ticket soon.  From there he could get a bus to Winnipeg and from there he could get that same route they took months ago, just heading east.

He sat with his smoke and looked out the window where the bus that brought him here was still lurking under the canopy out of the light rain.

 

(Ps I must add, my band is fine lol)

 

Things

Interesting watching the building crumble across the road.

Hauled down by men with thick gloves, defiant to frost a foreman’s rough speech, the old

taskmaster.  They break center first, cutting, smashing

breaking and then sweeping, clearing away what was there before.

They spread to the wings.  It’s still going on now.  You wonder if it will ever

ever end, but it will.  And as it falls you know it will.   That part of the city

is alien land.  You see what’s it like when it’s cleared, when it’s fully cleared, before we.

ever set our devious plans.

 

One day the last stone will be swept

away.  It’s just a memory.  They’d have to convince you that you

drank coffee, bought that book on Vaudeville’s

fall.  New memories will be shaped

on the place the stones became powder.

 

demolition.jpg

Making Spirits Bright 

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…

http://marywinspear.ca/event/cookeilidh-making-spirits-bright

Cheers,

Tom 

😄