Category Archives: music & the arts

25 years of local music and beer

Toronto indie music and microbrew mainstay C’est What? celebrated 25 years of supporting local brewing and songwriting talent on Wednesday with an eclectic lineup of performers that represented the club’s history as a proving ground for both musicians and brewmasters.

Randy Newman’s overdue fame

A full generation of moviegoers now associates 2013 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Randy Newman solely with the soundtracks and songs he has written for six Pixar films rather than the darkly sardonic ouvre he launched with a self-titled solo album in 1968.

A ferris wheel at the CNE (2012)

They Want Subways (Video)

The final mix of “They Want Subways” is done, and because people tend to skim over unadorned audio on the web I went ahead and created a video for it. Click the “read more” link to have a look, and a listen.

They want subways

At various times during the construction of a new tune, I play a little home version of the David Letterman segment “Is this anything?” and the time has certainly come for “They Want Subways.” It is, much like the Toronto Transit System, a work in progress, but as I haven’t shared any music with you in some time, I thought I’d give you a preview.

One music book to rule them all

I love music books. If I could play a tenth of the music in all the music books I have lying around I’d be some kind of piano hero. I had a piano tuner ask if I was a teacher. Nope. I just like the books. There’s a part of my brain that thinks that owning a book is like knowing a thing. That part of my brain is wrong.

Tipitina and Me transcribed

This is probably some form of copyright infringement, but I have completed my transcription of Allen Toussaint’s Tipitina and Me, and since his publisher’s website clearly states they are not interested in publishing unsolicited transcriptions, I’m just going to give it away for free here.

Tipitina and Me: transcribing in Logic with Melodyne

I have a great fondness for New Orleans style piano solo, and it’s a nut I’ve been trying to crack for some time. It sounds very relaxed and natural, and not nearly as daunting as popular 20th-century forms like stride and rag. But the relaxed feel is very deceptive.

Save New Orleans: 5 years later

A few years back – well, just over 5 years as it turns out – I became a semi-regular Songfight contender, submitting five tunes in total of various degrees of quality. The mechanics of Songfight are pretty simple. Write and record a song based on a supplied title, upload it within a specified time period, and have your song voted and commented on by the forum community.

Wait a minute, this still works

I mentioned a while back that I would touch on the subject of blind Apple adoration, and this post will make an honest man out of me. A few weeks back I picked up a 32GB iPhone 4. I took some time off work. I stood in line.

New arrangements of old tunes

I was asked to perform at a friend’s wedding ceremony recently and given free reign over the music selection as long as I avoided all of the standard wedding tunes. And that’s exactly the kind of direction I like – “Whatever you want, as long as it’s appropriate and unexpected.”