Thursday, May 28, 2009

in awe

Recording the new album is going so well, and I'm having so much fun doing it, and I'm in such awe of the incredible musicians that are collaborating with me on this project... I'm having trouble thinking about anything else.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

friends converging on "sound in the lands"

I noticed on Trevor's blog that he posted the "abstract" of what he'll be presenting at the "Sound in the Lands" conference... sounds interesting, and it looked like a good idea, so I thought I'd do the same and post the "abstract" of my presentation at the conference as well:

Community Supported Music: An Alternative Business Model For The Arts

In this digital age it has become a truism that “the music industry is in trouble,” and there has been an explosion of “innovative” approaches to the creation, marketing and distribution of music. My presentation will articulate an alternative business model for the arts that is based on a different set of assumptions than the “tour! tour! tour! sell! sell! sell!” mainstream model. The “Community Supported Music” (or CSM) approach is built on the “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA) model, a different way of structuring the relationship between “producer” and “consumer” as partners in a vital community process. Having operated a CSM since 2006, my presentation will invite reflection on the potential of this model for artists seeking to live out their artistic vocation in a way that is more healthy and sustainable in personal, relational, spiritual, ecological, and economic terms.

In addition to the afore-mentioned Trevor, I've also heard tell of other friends from far and wide who are coming to partake in the festivities, not to mention many more from closer by (some of whom will be performing at Mennofolk as well).

Amos Lopez, a friend from Cuba, will also be coming, staying with us for a few days, making a presentation and singing some songs, and I believe the plan is that I'll join him for a few. He also sent me an e-mail suggesting we go into a studio for a day and record an album together. A bit startling, but a rather refreshing approach, it seems to me, as I'm in the midst of a very different kind of recording process...

Anyway, we'll see what happens. Should be interesting.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

newsflash: macs crash too

I guess they won't be inviting me to be on one of those smug "PCs crash but of course Macs never do" commercials...

Got the call this morning that I'll be getting a brand-spanking-new hard drive for my Macbook, courtesy of AppleCare. Considering my well-known (at least to my family and a few close friends) inclination to throw offending technology out the window (physically) when it doesn't work as it should, I think I'm holding up pretty well.

Don't get me wrong. I still like my Mac, I've certainly been more than impressed with the AppleCare folks each and every time I've needed to contact them (yes, it has been a few times), and I am grateful for the relatively hassle-free way this process seems to be unfolding (so far)...

This morning I took advantage of my suddenly-and-unexpectedly-more-available-time to write a new song and do an archaeological dig on my desktop (the physical one). I had forgotten what it looked like a few layers down...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

song circle

This past weekend, after a session at the studio on Saturday (more on that later), we were in London, Ontario with Valleyview Mennonite Church and dear friends Kendall and Charleen... and we got to meet little Tobias (12 weeks old) and be part of his dedication service. A very joyful occasion!

On Saturday we did a "song circle" with some worship leaders, song leaders, christian education leaders, and other interested folks. This was the second time I've done this (the first was here in the Markham-Stouffville area), and I'd like to do lots more. An informal evening exploring the songs they've been receiving as members of SmallTall Music. It's always fun to see the light bulbs go off as people catch on to what's going on with this music... and as we explore different ways that we can sing together...

And the refreshments and conversation afterward were great too!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

a different place

This was a different kind of weekend, as I had 5 different sessions with folks from Trinity Mennonite Church just south of Calgary. That's more than I often do in a congregational weekend, and I was also rather surprised that quite a number of the same people showed up to all 5 events! What a difference it makes when there's a chance to get to know people better, and to have more than one chance to connect with them through the music...

It also made me realize just how limited I've had to become in my song selection for my typical one-hour "all-ages interactive concert." By contrast, over the course of this weekend - according to some quick back-of-the-envelope math - we probably did 35 different original songs...

I know this is no big deal for people that have been doing this for a long time, but for me it was something of a revelation... not to mention lots of fun.

A particular highlight was the session that I was most hazy and uncertain (and anxious) about. Saturday night was billed as an "informal singing time with Bryan" - and I wasn't at all sure what that meant, since I'd done a "concert" the night before (which, of course, included plenty of "singing along"), and was going to be leading singing during Sunday school the next morning, as well as speaking/singing during the worship service... so I didn't want to repeat myself or "steal my own thunder"...

Anyway, I didn't really know what to expect, but people brought their instruments, and their voices - it was a much bigger group than I expected - and we had a blast singing and playing whatever the people wanted to sing, with a few of my originals thrown in here and there for some variety and to get people moving and to give them more time to come up with another favourite. Three pre-teen girls naturally took on leadership in a few of the songs, and that was great to see/hear.

And Shannon brought her flute and accompanied and played a solo on the new bossa nova (it's going on the new CD - can't wait for you to hear it!), and WOW! I was blown away.

What a treat, and a blessing.