Follow UP

Comfort Zone – I was on a TV show in 2011 called “Canada Sings” – two workplace “glee clubs” competing on each episode for a charity of their choice.  The first day filming rehearsals, I found out there was dancing too! In interviews with the director, the phrase “comfort zone” kept coming up (as I was clearly “stepping” outside mine doing a big dance number while singing), leading to this song.  The recording includes several of my fellow cast members: Yoro Noukoussi plays percussion, and Tim Payne and Graham Myrfield (who sang leads in the show) each taking a verse. (Read more)

Swept Away – My whole goal with this song was to portray a sexy flirtation with total equality, rather than objectifying someone – we are both the subject of the song.  Even if the relationship is never going to be serious, that equal participation is important.  I’ve always hated the phrase ‘out of your league’ or putting someone ‘up on a pedestal’ so I set out to puncture some of those myths in this song, while preserving the spirit of excitement when you truly connect with someone new. (Read more)

Not Jane – A real-life experience where a girl named Angel (for real) swooped down out of nowhere while a friend and I had coffee on Commercial Drive.  She turned out to be a teenaged model skipping high school to do a photo shoot later.  We shared a few memorable moments and she moved on, leaving a subtle wonder in her wake as we exchanged glances thinking, “did that really just happen?”  I couldn’t resist turning it into a song later the same day, with the twist of turning Angel into the “plain” name, and not Jane. (Read more)

I Know You – I wrote this while busking down on Granville Street, which I used to do regularly on Friday and Saturday nights, milking the exiting bar crowds of coins while they drunkenly requested Free Bird and Stairway.  Sometimes there were quiet moments between waves and I would noodle around, and idly write something new while waiting for more people to show.  That’s how this song came to be; I still have the two tiny scraps of paper I wrote down the minimal lyrics on to be sure I remembered it. (Read more)

Be Alright – It might seem odd, but on my second “solo” album — intended to chip away at a massive backlog of songs I never got to use in any bands I’ve been in over the years — we included a song by Eric Lefebvre.  It’s one he never got to play with the Top Drawers (our other band) or elsewhere and he asked if we could do it, so I thought “why not?”  It just so happened to fit the developing theme of following the UP in life perfectly (nothing more positive than the line “It’s gonna be alright”), so it was in.  We had a great deal of fun recording this, especially building up all the harmonies and some incredible keyboard work by Derek (OK, and some sweet guitar soloing by me). (Read more)

All The World – I came across a George Herbert poem (from 1630) and music popped into my head as I read it.  Naturally I imagined many voices singing the chorus and choral verses in a call and response exchange, and I got to use some good ones on this recording: Graham Myrfield and Tim Payne joined the rest of my band singing around one microphone. (Read more)

Voyageur – When I read Six String Nation by Jowi Taylor, it blew me away – the story of how one incredible guitar, called “Voyageur,” was lovingly crafted (by Luthier George Rizsanyi) out of some 64 different pieces of Canadian history.  I was inspired to write this song, paying homage to hockey sticks from Gretzky & Paul Henderson, part of Rocket Richard’s Stanley Cup ring (inset in the 9th fret), and many more pieces.  I only wish I could’ve fit more of them into the song!  The most crucial top piece was cut out of the Golden Spruce of Haida Gwaii, a great honour as that tree, felled before its time, is still sacredly guarded by the local Haida.  It is my dream to one day record this song with Voyageur. (Read more)

The Artist – This is from a poem I wrote way back in university days.  I sat across from a now-forgotten woman in a small seminar and watched while she doodled a gorgeous pair of eyes in plain ink on a sheet of paper.  They seemed to stare right at me, as I certainly did at them.  It was an emblematic moment that made me think about the process of creativity and expression, how art always needs an observer or audience to truly come to life.  The lines blurred between the artist drawing and the one using words (and later music) to capture the feeling. (Read more)

All That – Brandy and I really hit it off when we met: our first year was magical, full of perfect moments and the promise of many more.  I had already written a lot of love songs though, so I wasn’t sure I could go to that well again and capture the incredible feeling of love in song – no pressure or anything!  But inspiration won out, and songs started flowing, of which this is likely the best. (Read more)