Posts in Articles
My Big Stupid List of Goals for 2019

I'm back for another round of that most daunting battle with my inner critic.

Last year I set out some big goals for myself and missed a few I'd most hoped to reach. I'm still short a new album release.

If I let failure stop me I'd never set a goal again, and if I did that, I'm afraid the music would simply fade away. It's all too easy to retreat into the safe and comfortable.

And so it is with full knowledge of my naive optimism that I present to you my big stupid musical goals for 2019.

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How I Won, Lost and Stopped Playing the Game in 2018

Way back in January I wrote a stupid blog post. Stupid in the best way – daring and audacious and naive. I went public with my goals for the year.

Looking back, I hold "the year that was" up to the light next to my list of goals. If I angle the two just right and squint a little, they almost line up. But that's not the full truth. There were failures. There were complete surprises.

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Full Heart, Full House (My Afternoon at Empress)

I played Empress Ale House for the first time on October 13 and it went so well that I hope it won't be my last.

This little neighbourhood pub is oozing with charm and short on pretense. It really feels like a "come one, come all - just as you are" kind of place. There were young people and old people. There was an 83 year old country crooner (side note - eccentric old men are turning into my favourite audience members). He would be talking to me between sets and then break off into song mid sentence, watching for my recognition of his country classics. I need to brush up on my country classics.

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How I Learned Courage from 91 Year Old Dancing Ted

Once I've lugged my guitar across 12 blocks of early-winter downtown Calgary, I'm going to play.

Probably.

I've never been to Mikey's on 12th (used to be Mikey's Juke Joint) so I don't know what to expect. I don't know that the open jam I've brought my wife to on our weekend getaway is actually a blues jam. I don't play the blues.

I don't know that most of the people in Mikey's are a decade or two older than me. Or five.

We grab a table at the very back and I slide my acoustic guitar under it before I out myself as a naive folk performer.

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What I Do When I Don't Want to Work

Creativity is the constant remix of component parts. We pay attention to our word, then we capture the good and rearrange it in our own image. We are beauty filters. All creation is collage, and collage needs a constant stream of raw materials. So we must inhale. 

This is more than consumption. This is harvest.

We all have our favourite fields to glean. I thought I’d share a few sources I have found inspiring in the past, and hope you can point me toward some new sources in the comments below. 

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Hey 2018, This is Where We're Going

2017 was a big year for me, and I’m ramping things up in 2018. I feel like I’m hitting my stride as a musician, so rather than doing anything totally different, I’ll be doubling down on what has been working, and sharpening my focus. I’ve got four overarching goals; refine my brand, enlarge my audience, release new music and collaborate.

Each of these targets has some specific goals and actions attached. Here’s how I plan to get there.

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This is how I feel about the Needle shutting down

The Needle Vinyl Tavern, one of the most active music venues in Edmonton, closed indefinitely Tuesday night. This situation is sad on so many levels, and things unravelled incredibly quickly. 

Perhaps all I really want to say, out loud so I know you hear me, is that this just sucks for so many people.

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The Opening Act and My First 40

I had hoped I'd make some new fans of my own through the cross-pollination that an opening gig offers. I did, and this week crossed one more tiny threshold. My email list has now hit 40 subscribers. That's not a big number, but these are some of my best fans. People who are following my story. People who want to know when I'm playing a show near them. These are 40 people I will NOT take for granted. 

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#LetsTalk About Mental Illness

My whole life I have tried to understand what was going on with my mom. Sometimes I did understand. Most times, still, I do not.

But this post is not actually about my mother's mental illness. It's about mine.

Two years ago I started taking medication for Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was terrified to see the doctor. I was afraid to even entertain medication. Driving into the parking lot that morning was a big accomplishment. I recall the details clearly.

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Twenty Four

I've been home now for less than 24 hours. Half that, and most of it spent soaking up sleep. In this short time, the complicated beauty of belonging has unfurled itself like a blooming rose. Or a venus flytrap. 

Already, I have sensed the transference of a psychic weight that comes to any who dares proclaim themselves a parent. It came in sighs and knowing glances, and it came quickly. Which is fair. This is expected. This is heavy.

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When CS Lewis Predicted the Internet, it Was Hell

Where the internet draws us together, I am grateful. But is the web is benign–simply a tool without bias? I'm not convinced. What I see looks more like a spider's web, where you and I sit trapped in a cycle of interactions that are not healthy, but easy. 

The internet is looking a lot like CS Lewis 'Grey Town' – a singular vision of hell he lays out in his book The Great Divorce. 

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