New Year = New Album

My resolutions for 2013? Sit up, roll over, crawl, walk, get some teeth, and learn to eat stewed peas and sweet potato without looking absolutely horrified/disgusted. Dad’s New Year’s resolution? Make a great record. Never one to shy away from a challenge, he’s already assembled a dream team of musicians to help get things started…

Aaron Davis: Producer/Piano – “Incredible ears. He’s the only person I’ve ever met who can separate chords and melody in his head – instantaneously.”

David Piltch: Bass – “Sweetest upright bass tone in the world – and that’s no exaggeration. He’s played with everybody: K.D. Lang, Bonnie Raitt, Alan Toussaint, Soloman Burke, John Legend…”

Kevin Breit: Guitar – “Super-imaginative, recklessly-creative, freak-genius.”

Davide DiRenzo: Drums – “Doesn’t over-play. He really understands the dynamic of the song and the band…”

John “Beetle” Bailey: Recording engineer – “My headphones were an immediate sonic dreamland!”

The next task? To get a handful of the finest musicians in the Maritimes to record backup vocals. As for me? I guess I’d better get back to that bowl of sweet potato mash… (sigh.)

Studio

A Gift For You!

A belated Merry Christmas to all! I’m happy to report this blog post comes with a gift for you, my faithful readers. Remember back in the Fall, when I bragged about starring in a music video with dad and Measha Brueggergosman and her son Shepherd? Well, the project is complete, and it’s a thing of beauty, if I do say so myself. Check it out: me and Shep and a bunch of our baby friends hamming it up on camera. I bet even Scrooge himself would crack a smile!

Sexy, Silly, or Sacred?

Dad’s about to embark on his annual Singing for Supper tour to raise donations for New Brunswick’s foodbanks. The big dilemma? Choosing the Christmas carols to include in the holiday set! It’s a surprisingly difficult task. There seem to be three types: traditional, religious songs (Silent Night), fun-loving kids songs (Frosty), and then there are the turtleneck-wearing, eggnog-drinking crooner numbers (Chestnuts Roasting). Some tunes blur the lines too: have you ever heard Lou Rawls sing Little Drummer Boy? A bit too steamy for these infant ears! So what’s a guy to do? Go sexy, silly, or sacred?

Smells Like Home

Fredericton, NB: Well, we’ve finally made it home to the Maritimes. I must admit, I’m a little sad the tour is over. It’s no wonder, really, as I’ve officially spent half my life on the road! A thirst for adventure seems to be in my blood. The moment I realized I’m the daughter of a true road warrior? It had to be when we walked into the Marriott hotel in Vancouver and dad said he could recognize the hotel chain by the smell in the lobby. We laughed, until the bellman confirmed it: turns out, they actually pump a Marriott scent into all of their buildings. Crazy, right?
Yes, it was a great trip. The perfect trip, really, if you don’t count the lost items (my bedtime book, Little Nutbrown Hare, mom’s hot water bottle, and dad’s long johns – all sorely missed.) My only regret? Not taking a daily snapshot of the weird and wonderful pictures on the hotel/motel room walls. There’s the pastoral, child-in-the-garden stuff, the ubiquitous, Manhattan skyline shots (especially strange in rural Saskatchewan), and the brightly-coloured abstract designs. But nothing tops the creatures-of-the-forest series… ah-WOOOOOooo!

Magic Mountain

Whistler, BC: It was a magical end to an epic tour. The boys pulled off what they called their best performance of the season, and then we got to wake up and ski/snowboard down some of the best terrain in the country. I stuck to the black diamond runs, mostly – and spent most of the day working on my 180 Encyclopedia Brown Triple Flip with an Inverted Nancy Drew Splatter Drop. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen dad look so happy. I guess he spent every spare moment in junior high on a snowboard, and he rarely gets to re-live the glory days; so spending a day on the mountain was pretty much the best possible reward for a job well done. You deserve it, dad! It’s been quite the ride. And I must say, our time in beautiful British Columbia did not disappoint – a postcard-worthy view around every corner…

Good Fellas

Courtenay, BC – North Vancouver, BC: Good to have bandmates who are versatile. When Alan Jeffries and Kyle Cunjak signed up for the tour, we got more than just a couple of excellent musicians. When our car radiator blew on the road, Al took one look under the hood and knew exactly what was going on. Turns out, he’s a pretty decent mechanic! Helpful to have another dad along for the ride, too. Alan’s son Caleb is almost three years old, and while we’re off exploring the Canadian wilderness, he’s hanging out on a tropical beach, while his mom works as a biologist in Jamaica for the season. Needless to say, Alan’s missing them both like crazy. (Check out Caleb’s sweet blog… the inspiration for my own! http://calebscoastallife.blogspot.ca/) And then there’s Kyle: the man with the sweetest moustache this side of the Rocky Mountains. When he’s not playing bass in a number of bands, or running a label and a music festival, he’s taking incredible photographs with cool, old-fashioned, film cameras (You’ll find some nice shots of our trip here: http://instagram.com/cunjak). Kyle’s also a swimming fanatic – he recently became the Canadian correspondent for http://www.swimmingholes.org/… and he takes the gig very seriously! Best road uncles a kid could ask for…

Last Lap

Vernon, BC – Surrey, BC – Coquitlam, BC: It’s hard to believe, but we’ve made it to the LAST week of the tour. I’m amazed at the pace these guys have been able to maintain! Playing a two-hour show every night takes some serious stamina. In some ways, spending most of the day in the car makes sense on a tour like this, because it forces everyone to kick it back a few notches – and conserve their energy. Dad employs a few other tricks as well; especially when it comes to protecting his voice:
1/ A cup of hot water at every meal instead of cold (a slice of lemon is a nice touch too…)
2/ Mini humidifier on the bedside table in the hotel room (very necessary inland, where you hang up a wet towel and it’s dry in an hour!)
3/ Humming exercises leading up to soundcheck (think: hound dog meets seal)
4/ The occasional square of dark chocolate to get the adrenalin going (make that three squares. Or maybe four.)
Touring has been amazing, but I must admit I felt a bit nostalgic when I saw this backstage at the Surrey Arts Centre!