Two more songs for your listening pleasure

Hello friends old and new,

This week we’re unveiling not one, but TWO songs off the upcoming sound recording, The Jafsy EP. One is dark and one is light, one is deep and introspective and one is shallow and fun.
Up first is our song “Whispers” (the dark one). This one’s a deeply personal song about how violence against a person can spread like wildfire through their social circle, infecting the people who care for them with concern, doubt and fear. More specifically it’s our attempt at speaking out against violence toward women, which seems somewhat poignant given what’s happening in places like India or Williston, North Dakota.

The second ditty is a more light-hearted affair (henceforth, to be known as the “light one”). The music was written as an attempt to emulate those old fiddle songs that captured our hearts on the Anthology of American Folk Music and update them to the times (and take away the fiddle, because we don’t know how to play the fiddle… yet!) Lyrically, the “light one” is about drinking and carrying on the way that we so often do, and kind of about sex. So, without further ado, this is “Dog’s Gonna Howl”

Yet Another New Song

We’re going to continue to release another new song from the EP every few days until February, when we’ll unleash the whole dang thing on y’all. This is the third installment and the second song on the record. It was inspired by a newspaper article I’ve since lost, but we turned that scrap of paper about old European Catholic schools and dead children into a song about how we often look for comfort in the things that try to destroy us. It was also our attempt at incorporating a field holler or work song influence into the music. It also took almost two years to write.

Another new song

Given that we’re growing ever-closer to the release of the Jafsy EP we thought it opportune to release another song to whet your appetites, or at least make us feel better about procrastinating over finishing the artwork.
This one’s an original. It’s called “Charles Lindbergh, reflecting on the death of his son upon his death bed”. It’s about the diffusive nature of cynicism within the global conscience. And ghosts. Here it is:

New Song: The Coo-Coo Bird

Back in 1927 Clarence Ashley recorded a song called “The Coo-Coo Bird”, which is likely most notable for its inclusion on Harry Smith’s beloved Anthology.
Anyway, the song flew around the global consciousness for a few decades, garnering renewed interest during the 1960’s folk revival and Ashley’s return to the stage, then flittered around the ether of old record collections and grandparents basements for a few decades more before it planted itself neatly in our brains and engorged our hearts and sense of historic relativity until we felt there was no option left but to record our own version.
While it certainly can’t compare to the original we believe we did it some justice, and as Ashley himself was often heard to say before performing it “I don’t know if other people sing it the way I do or not – and I don’t care.”

The song will appear on our debut EP entitled “The Jafsy EP”, which is set to be released in early February.

Tout à l’heure.

Mini-tours are Good for the Soul

We added a “shows” section so that you can keep up with our live appearances. We’ve been taking to the stage more and more, so it seems, and as so often happens with musical types it’s giving us that specific infection that ails that specific segment of the population: wanderlust. And so, with that spirit in mind we’ve started organizing a short, four-day tour around the Golden Horseshoe of Ontario with Darren Eedens, who is someone that any fan of the banjo or high-octane and fun folk music should check out.

We played a last minute show with him on Saturday at the Cameron House and it was great fun. The crowd was very receptive to the plunking of the banjo and I met a lot of very nice people who carried with them very kind words.

Also, a note: During the first Saturday of every month, unless otherwise noted, I play with a fine collection of people called The Whiskey Hearts Collective at the Press Club. It’s a lot of fun and it’s free. Come by and share a drink and sing along if you get the chance.

And for the visually inclined agoraphobics out there we’ll be adding new videos soon.

Take care.

Recording, websites and Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr.

Well, given that I’ve finished up recording the debut EP and I’m starting to get some small tour plans in the works I thought it prudent to up the ante as far as our web presence is concerned. So this is an attempt at fulfilling that longing from within myself for internet posterity… Or something.

Anyway, back to the aforementioned recording. 8 songs recorded with the ever endearing and always affable Ryan Cox of DARC Productions in his home close to the Eastern boundary of York County. After a number of false starts and abandoned attempts at recording it’s nice to finally have something in the can, as they’re wont to say. Previous forays into the world of studio recordings had been derailed, in large part, by over-ambition on my part and as a result we took a basic, simple-as-a-foot-stomping-on-wood approach this time around. There were no more than 3 takes for any of the songs, which were recorded live-off-the-floor, just the nakedness of the banjo and my vocals. There are mistakes as a result, warts and broken teeth, but we hope they serve to breath life into the record, to give it personality and good moral character so that the listener might enjoy an experience as close to that of a live performance as possible. But we did overdub one guitar track and, more importantly, the stomping of feat:

The songs contained therein deal lyrically with monsters and ghosts and death and trying to breathe life into dead things. Of particular note is a song entitled “Charles Lindbergh, reflecting on the murder of his son from his death bed”. (It’s a long title, I know, but I wanted to give the somewhat oblique lyrics some context.) The song was written three days previous to its recording and was inspired by a book I discovered on the dusty shelves of a storied book store (bad pun) in Kingston, Ontario. It’s called “Kidnap: The Story of the Lindbergh Case” by George Waller and it’s well worth a read if you can track it down, both for its tale of a truly captivating case as well of its depiction of a much more innocent time than now. It’s humbling to see how much the world has changed since the days of Lindy; the story of his life following the kidnapping and death is possibly even more intriguing.

But, I digress, back to the record:
We have some pretty neat and unconventional ideas for the packaging that we’re very excited to share with the world. It requires that we take a class to learn certain aspects of the manufacturing process, but we’re pretty confident it will be worth it when we hold that neat and unconventional design in our cold, gloved hands.

If all goes according to plan the songs will be released, complete with fun and intimate packaging, in the early, cold months of 2013.

There is also some talk of some mini-tours around Ontario in and around February–partially to celebrate the release, partially to get out of town for a bit… get in a dodge to get out of dodge–and a tentative foray to the Eastern provinces is being discussed amongst the kinds of people who discuss such things. And let me assure you, we are these kinds of people.

Well, that’s it for now.