Posts in Music
Are You Making Connections?

Have you ever found yourself in a good situation by seemingly random chance? Then, when you look back at it, you realize a connection led you there?

The people I've met have determined the course of my entire life, and my music career is turning out to be no different.

This past Saturday night I got to sing for a SOLD OUT crowd at the Blue Chair Cafè. I was there – and the place was sold out – because of Rob Heath.

I've got a few more incredible examples that have led me to a radio hosting gig and some recording time in Vancouver at no cost to me.

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Trying To Be Free

It's the end of July and I'm sitting in a shack under the stars in Santa Fe, New Mexico, sipping whisky with friends.

This particular whisky is peach flavoured, and not very good. A friend of mine loves peaches. And loves whisky. So this seemed perfect. She, like me, comes from a religious background where drinking is taboo. There's a shiver of rebellion as we pull this bottle of oblivion from the shelves of the Saints & Sinners liquor store.

The whisky is too sweet and too fruity for most of us in the shack, but not for my Christian poet friend. She's fallen in love with peach whisky without first learning how to pour a sensible amount. The sugary, smooth whisky goes down too quickly and none of us notice.

Over the next half hour, we watch her sway from teetering to toppling over as the liquor sets in. I hold up the bottle and it’s nearly half gone.

I get worried.

We wait it out while she lies on the bench, moaning and asking if we love her. Of course we do. Beyond telling her this, we're not sure how to help her. We are half a kilometer from her dorm room, down a steep hill. There's no way we can get her there without a commotion and some bruises.

We stall for time. And then the miracle begins.

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Angel Acoustic - Now Free on Patreon

This is not the version you've heard, but the song as it was originally written. A different key. Different instruments. Different vibe.

As a way to say thank you to my current supporters on Patreon – and perhaps entice new people into our Patreon community – I'm releasing this track ONLY to my patrons. And unlike my major releases, even the $1 supporters get this track totally free!

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Song Story - "I Want To Be Known" Is A Song Born In The Cold And Dark

When you hear the horns on I Want To Be Known, you'd never know the darkness it came from. Horns often herald something glorious, but I wasn't writing from a place of triumph or fanfare. I wrote this song from defeat. 

The melody found me in the mountains just outside of Canmore, Alberta. 

My wife and I escaped the city for our anniversary weekend. The air was crisp but warm enough for a winter walk. Snow fell like stars and–best of all–our Air BnB had a hot tub. 

I needed this break. 

I'd just learned that yet another job I'd been hoping for fell through. I was overqualified, which, to me, reads "you're a great fit somewhere, just not here." 

I felt like a misfit. Out of place. Adrift.

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Listen Local: Travis Matthews

I saw this week's Listen Local pick play at a Soft March show. Travis Matthews was our opener. He's funny and captivating. He's got great stage banter. At one point he invited a girl up on stage who'd been dancing her way through every song. She became his improv backup dancer for the rest of the night – even through a slower, sadder song – and Travis was unshaken.

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Listen Local: Soft March

Soft March – today's Listen Local pick – have just put out a ton of music. They've been working hard this past month, and I should know because Soft March is my other musical adventure.

I joined Soft March in the spring of 2018. At that point they'd released their debut album, Farewell Party, which I had nothing to do with but had already been getting into. The songwriting is strong and Paul Jensen's vocals add a texture that keeps things interesting.

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Listen Local: 100 Mile House

Today's Listen Local pic holds a special place in my heart. 100 Mile House is the first local band I really dug into.

Long before I knew the depths of our local music scene, I was running sound at The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse during the Kaleido Festival. I'd never heard 100 Mile House before, and I was a sound-tech amatuer. They were gracious, easy to work with and sounded fantastic despite me. I could have listened to them all day, and bought a CD so that I could.

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Von Bieker Shows Up (November Gigs)

I have a whole pile of live shows coming up in November here in Edmonton and I would love to see you in person at one of them!

Here are the places you can come see me this month and some insight into which one might be the best pick for you.

The best news? All of these are FREE (tips, of course, are encouraged).

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Listen Local - F&M

Ryan Anderson was dressed in a black suit I recognized from his stage performances. It's likely not the exact suit, but close enough to be on-brand.

He'd also seen me play, and remembered the bow tie. This weird stuff works, people.

Ryan was kind and full of the wisdom gained from experiences like playing 150 shows in a single year with his wife and musical partner Rebecca.

F&M play "folk noir" - a genre made up like "bowtie rock" to try and capture some unique edge of the music they make. And it captures their sound so well.

Their self-proclaimed "joyful melancholy' is all over their just-released record, "Lessons from Losers."

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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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