I spent four years (or more!) recording my first album release: “My Neighbourhood“. Prior to that I spent over twenty years writing the songs, performing them in folk festivals, coffee houses, porch parties and for friends.
Why release an album? Well I fancy myself a “songwriter” and have gone to several local songwriting groups. It is a fun way to enjoy music and get a reaction from like minded people who are -not- your family and friends. I needed to have a testament to all the work I have done, largely on my own and quietly, to produce these nuggets of words and melodies. I believe this is a “work of art” and that the songs sound about as good as they can get! I hired musicians to play bass, drums and some piano, trumpet and to do some background vocals. I played all the guitars, a fair amount of piano, some background harmonies and (on one song) bass and drums.
I hope to get some of these songs on tv shows or in a movie soundtrack. But my main motivation is to be able to listen to any of the songs and say “Yeah! That sounds great!”. And I hope others can have the same reaction to a few of the songs. If we can all clap our hands and save a few fairies from dying then it will have all been worthwhile!
Music background: I started playing saxophone in high school and also took up guitar. I studied saxophone at University of Victoria, Berklee College of Music and University of Toronto. I’ve played saxophone in various jazz bands in school, classical groups, saxophone quartets and my favorite experience was with a crazy Victoria group we called “Buncha Hardboiled Guys”. I have a cool example of our ‘style’ here.
I played guitar with a number of people and perhaps the weirdest example of that was the band Violence and the Sacred, an intense group of anarchists and post modern theorists, some of whom lived in a coop house and listened to a lot of Throbbing Gristle. I play on the Cathexis album and designed a cool Fripp-like guitar line you can listen to around 3/4 of the way down this page on the song Mary Brown.
After spending a lot of time messing around with various recording technologies, including BOSS and Acid and Garage Band, I decided to get professional help in order to push the process along. Fred Smith was a great partner. He knows everything about recording, is quick to throw on a banjo track for you, can direct you and others on appropriate harmonies and has a beautiful studio he mainly built himself. It was a pleasure working with him and this project would not have gotten finished without his help.