Tajik Boy by Jon Brooks

I went out to see Jon Brooks twice this weekend. Jon is a folk singer in the great protest song tradition.

“The highest aim of song is to invoke empathy – to offer that rare sight of ourselves in others. In this sense, the folk singer is simply trying to politicize love, hence, my contention that today’s songwriter should be a lobbyist for compassion to be our principle representative in government office.”

I first heard him earlier this year when my friend Ray was opening for him at the Black Sheep, in Wakefield. Later, I “friended” him on MySpace and we messaged back and forth a couple of times and, at one point I mentioned that I had sponsored refugees from Kosovo and he told me he was writing some songs on the refugee experience. He then asked to interview me on my experience.

I am looking forward to that… He’s someone whose convictions and voice I admire.

Listen to “Tajik Boy” by Jon Brooks.

PhotoHunt: Numerical

This week’s PhotoHunt theme is Numerical…

I was wracking my brain trying to think of something for the theme and then took a break to edit and save a recording I made this evening on my new toy…

Omnitech Digital Voice Recorder

The term “digital” comes from the  Latin word “digit” meaning finger, because the fingers are used for counting (I am a finger-counter, myself!). Digit also refers to numbers, of course!

Without going too deeply into the hows and wherefores of digital technology, digital technology uses numbers, letters and symbols to represent information. Digital technology allows us to record, transmit, and display information easily and quickly. As well, unlike analog methods, digital communications are generally error-free, copies of copies can be made indefinitely. The technology allows information to be stored and transmitted in smaller and smaller devices.

Digital technology allows me to record quickly, easily, and very satisfactorily, with a minimum of equipment, photos and now sound.

As for the sound?

Pretty darned good! The room was large and there wasn’t a large audience (and some insisted on talking through the show… 😦 ). I was right up front and there were sound issues. However, the first set which was my friend Ken solo on acoustic guitar was great. With the larger band that followed, which a much louder sound and a number of instruments, the sound wasn’t very good.  I was only using the device itself to record the sound and not the mic.

Ken and Rob are playing tomorrow night so I will try with the remote mic and also try adding some acoustic foam over the mic and the built-in mic and see if there’s a difference.

Andy White at The Blacksheep, and the usual beautiful drive home.

For some time, now, I have been hoping to get to see Andy White. But since Andy White is an Irish Musician who lives in Australia, the chances were pretty slim that I was going to see him in these parts.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

andy white – if you want it

I was surprised and pleased to hear that not only was he going to be here in the area, but he was going to be at my favourite venue, The Blacksheep Inn, in Wakefield, Quebec.

So…. I headed off to Wakefield, arrived early enough to order AND eat something from the restaurant next door (great food at a reasonable price!), run to the bank machine, AND get a spot right up front. Andy is really personable and a great songwriter.  While the crowd was small (something we have to rectify next time he is in town!) it was enthusiastic. I think most of the audience were familiar with his music and had seen him before. I am new to his music and have only heard the songs he has on his MySpace page, so I was really interested to hear a wider selection of his work.

He is great!

Andy White

Andy’s songs are pure magic, both in terms of the lyrics and in terms of the on-stage sound. He said towards the end that sometimes his guitar, which is a small 12-string (I’m not sure if it is a guitar or another guitar-like instrument… It is the size of a child’s guitar but puts out an incredible sound), seems to just have a mind of its own and start doing its own thing (in a good way)… It starts to hum and vibrate and reverberate, and coupled with some pedal-tweaks by Andy, you get a surround-sound,  synthesizer experience! I was so caught up in the music I didn’t want to videotape, which is a first for me.

Some favourites? “Looking for James Joyce’s Grave“, “If You Want It“, “Italian Girls on Mopeds“, “Travelling Circus” (My favourite of the favourites).

Andy also co-wrote “If I Catch You Crying” with Stephen Fearing for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings which I didn’t know until this evening. That’s a favourite song from the B&tRK CD…

Andy White, at The Blacksheep

After the show, I took a brief trip up the hill to the cemetery behind the Blacksheep to see whether you could see any stars (it’s a great spot for viewing). Unfortunately, there was some cloud cover and a bright moon, so the stars weren’t terribly bright.

It is a cool night and the smell of woodsmoke was in the air.

Coming home, I took the River Road down through all the little which have been (why oh why do they do this?) renamed Chelsae… Completely idiotic, if you ask me since the signs all down the highway has “Chelsae” in large letters and the old name in brackets. Why not just leave the damn name alone? Was there anything wrong with the names “Farm Point” or “Larimack”? Of course, this was an idiotic fad of the late 1990s to create “megacities” which petered out when most of the smaller communities which were absorbed into the much larger ones found (no surprises, here) that they gained nothing from amalgamation and lost autonomy. I STILL have to put my address as Nepean, despite being told “Oh, that’s Ottawa” because if I don’t my mail gets lost…. ten years after amalgamation.

On the road down through “Chelsae” I spotted a bunch of what I thought were raccoons but discovered was a pride of cats out for a prowl. There must have been 5 or six all darting across the road. Luckily for them, I was taking my time on the road.

Crossing the Interprovincial Bridge, on the Hull (oh… SORRY… the “Gatineau”) side of the river, there were a whole lot of fire trucks, ambulances, paramedic vehicles, and police cars with flashers on. They fire engines seemed to have their spotlights trained on the Ottawa River on the North side. Not sure what was going on.

Bird Music

PhotoHunter: Music

For an update on my PhotoHunter LAST week, please check out the link here.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a “bit” of a groupie… There are a number of local bands, as well as well-known artists which I follow and/or am friends with.

I photograph and video-tape a lot of local events and bands.

Lately, because of my mother’s various ailments and my own medical issues, I have sort of gotten behind on the production of the videos I have taken over the last year… WAAAAAYYYY behind. Same with the photos, although because they are easier and less time consuming  to download, I have less of a backlog.

Some of my favourite images are…


Shawn Brown, Dave Kerr, and Janice Fitzsimmons - jamming



Rob Smith


Ken (Ken Workman and The Union)

I posted these in another PhotoHunter challenge.

Wanda Jackson

Last night, Cat and I went out to see the legendary Wanda Jackson!

Wanda Jackson in 1959

Wanda Jackson in 1959

Nat, at The Elmdale House Tavern, scored a coup and managed to book her for two nights. Wanda is AMAZING and had the audience screaming. She was backed by the stellar Lustre Kings (not to be mistaken for the Reggae band of the same name) who also opened for her. Even without Wanda, it would have been an amazing show.

Being right up front (thanks to Ray and Michelle keeping seats for us… I had to go in to my office right across town for a rush job and would have been lucky to get standing room by the back door had they not…) I had a rig-side seat for one of the best shows I have been to in my life! I managed to get video of part of the Lustre Kings set and (I think) the entire Wanda set.

Early in the day, Ray got a call from Nat, the co-owner of The Elmdale, asking if he could “bring along his equipment” for the show. Mark Gamsjager, the guitarist for The Lustre Kings, as luck would have it, is suffering from some sort of back pain and was, when Nat called, sitting in the Emergency Room at a local hospital and was likely not going to be able to play. Ray spent the day sweating and learning all of Wanda’s set-list. Ray was both enormously relieved and mildly disappointed (and profoundly honoured to be considered) when, late in the day, Nat called to let him know that Mark was heavily medicated but able to make the show. At least he was able to enjoy the show, himself.

The chance to play back-up for a rock-and-roll, Rockabilly, and Country music legend of the caliber of Wanda Jackson would have been a true honour, I am sure.

The Legendary Wanda Jackson at the Elmdale Tavern Hotel, September 3, 2009 ~ Backed by the stellar Lustre Kings

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More videos of the evening here

PhotoHunter: “Entertainment”

My favorite entertainment is my friends in the band… or friends in bands. I have a lot of musician friends in a lot of different bands. They include…

Ken (Ken Workman and The Union)

Ken Workman


Ian Cook

Ian Cook

Rob Smith

Rob Smith

Ken Workman

Ken Workman

Shawn Brown, Dave Kerr, and Janice Fitzsimmons - jamming

Shawn Brown, Dave Kerr, and Janice Fitzsimmons - jamming

The Sunbleached Skulls

The Sunbleached Skulls

“8:30 Newfoundland”, a new Canadian anthem!

Mike Plume has a new CD out (which I purchased!) and it has what I consider to be the new Canadian anthem. If this doesn’t make your goose bump, nothing will. It is goosebumpy with Canadian-ness!

I have played it so many times, already, that I may have to get a replacement CD!

Please give it a listen and PLEASE pass it along to all your little chums. If we work real hard, we can get this on the airwaves repeatedly ebfore Canada Day.

Mike Plume (from his MySpace)

Mike Plume (from his MySpace)

I also went to see Mike at The Black Sheep in Wakefield on Saturday night. What a GREAT show!

Mike Plume, at The Black Sheep, Wakefield, QC

Mike Plume, at The Black Sheep, Wakefield, QC

An Emotional Fish – ‘Celebrate’ 1990

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “An Emotional Fish – ‘Celebrate’ 1990“, posted with vodpod

The Winner Takes It All

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Freddie Wadling & Sebastian Öberg – The Winner Takes It All (Live Guldbaggegalan 2008)

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