Archive for May, 2013

CC CHRONiCLES: CC TAKE THE WHEEL / Learning to drive in Flin Flon, Manitoba

Published by cctadmin on May 29th, 2013

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I’ve never been ashamed to say I don’t have a drivers license but I am also very proud to say I am learning how to drive.  At 34 years old, I have lived my life thus far, never having known what it was like to face that fear.  And I do say fear because I recall being 16 years old back in high school when I had my learners license – I never got passed that stage all because of some awkward driving expereices that compelled me to give up on going the full nine yards with it.

Back then it worked: I eventually moved to Winnipeg, then Ottawa, where having a license was never an issue in terms of mobility.  I could walk, bike, bus, run – anywhere; & yet as independent I felt doing these things, I admit something was missing & I felt hindered in some ways, particularly in the job field where having a valid license is imperative if you want to compete for jobs.  I started having day dreams of overcoming this fear & imagining what it might feel like to hop in a car on my own, behind the wheel, and just go – the possibility seemed so endless!  I could leave a party anytime I wanted ; I could be the guy who offers to drive my friend home when they’re too tipsy; or blare my country music as loud as I want because it was my vehicle.  I especially wanted to know what it might feel like to hang my elbow outside an open window, wind blowing on my face, sun shining & feeling independent on a whole new realm….

I knew that in this year home in Flin Flon, I would not only have an opportunity to remedy this lifelong dream, but that furthermore – I was gonna seize it once  & for all.  After all, learning how to drive in a small town like Flin Flon was considerably less frightening than the idea of learning how to drive in a bigger city – plus, my mom, bless her soul, offered to purchase an old Grande Jeep Cherokee for me to bounce around in & practice in.  I think she felt better about this than allowing me to drive her prized truck; & I have to say I take pride in my little beater.

Within the first four months of returning to Manitoba I studied for & got my learners – this time I felt more proud of myself then I ever did at 16.  It was a milestone for sure.  I practiced a lot over the first months home but I have to admit that over the winter months I didn’t drive much; now that spring & summer are here – there’s no more waiting to finish what I started.

I feel exhilarated & slightly nervous.  I’m gonna do this!  Today my friend Stacey took me out in my jeep & I drove us away from Schist Lake & into town where I took her down Main street, through Creighton, Saskatchewan – back around again & right to The Candy Bar where I treated her to the best ice cream in town.  The sun was shining – my window was down & that breeze was shining in our faces.

Soon I’ll be ready to go for this license!

 


VETiVER : Roll On Babe (2008)

Published by cctadmin on May 28th, 2013

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Never heard of this band before – but as soon as I heard VETiVER‘s ‘Roll On Babe‘ from 2008′s THiNG OF THE PAST I was quite taken.    It appeals to my day-dreamy sensibility – & low & behold I discovered VETiVER is an American folk band that has been making music since 2004.  Ain’t it nice to discover something new now & again?  Here’s my song choice of the day. Enjoy!


SALUTE: Elizabeth Levy’s ‘Something Queer’ Mystery Series (1973-present)

Published by cctadmin on May 26th, 2013

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ELiZABETH LEVY wrote over 80 children’s books in a variety of genres, but as a kid growing up – her long-running mystery series ‘Something Queer is Going On‘ (including titles Something Queer in Rock n’ Roll; Something Queer at the Haunted School; Something Queer at the Ballpark; Something Queer at the Library to name a few) were among my favourites.  I believe I was introduced to them as early as Grade 2 when we’d be allowed to pick books in the elementary school library.  I was drawn to the illustrations, which were always by MORDiCAi GERSTEiN.

I could read about the adventures of amateur sleuths Jill & Gwen, & their basset hound Fletcher for hours on end. I loved to read; & while the details of their adventures are a bit blurred at this point in time, I still recall Jill, with her big red head of hair, & Gwen,  tapping her braces with her finger.  Rounding out the trio was the ever inert basset hound Fletcher.  Together they solved mystery after mystery, balancing each other out in strength – I wanted to be like them!  I could begin seeing many situations & circumstances I found myself in as potential mysteries in the making – weather at school, visiting my grandparents on farm in Saskatchewan, or traipsing around the neighbourhoods & back alleys with my friends.  I was curious & searching for clues to mysteries that weren’t even there!

Here’s to those children’s books of our times that got us using our imaginations! Thanks Mrs. Levy!

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FLASHBACK: ‘Obsession’ by Michael Des Barres & Holly Knight (1983)

Published by cctadmin on May 25th, 2013

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Everyone should get their yearly dose of cheesy 80′s movies (Teen Wolf; Satisfaction; My Tutor; Weird Science, to name a few); which is why I found myself laying in bed all of today doing just that.  To put it in context, I have an injured foot due to an unfortunate minor accident (worry not, I’m in good shape) as well as the beginnings of a sore throat – all of which had me very content to stay in bed.

And what does one do when laying in bed all day? Surf the net for one; I found myself perusing Youtube for anything shiny to distract me; landing upon a certain 1983 bomb of a movie called ‘A Night In Heaven’, starring LESLEY ANN WARREN & former teen hunk CHRiSTOPHER ATKiNS.  The movie is hardly worth reviewing here; it was pure guilty pleasure: bored school professor (Warren) flunks charming student (Atkins) for flubbing his way through class.  Low & behold he’s a student by day & stripper at night – where the professor eventually lands herself when her zany sister comes to town.  An awkward affair ensues – we get some soft core porn scenes with the sexy Atkins, who is most interesting to me because his short-lived career of films (all of which he was a scantily-clad boy-toy) indicates he really was sort of a flash in the pan.  Every cougars wet dream.  I also recall him playing Sue Ellen’s much younger love affair in the mini-series ‘Dallas’ in the mid-80′s.

Best moment for me came when it was time for the prim & proper sexually frustrated professor to discover her recently flunked student doing his strip tease at a very 80′s discotheque, adorned with a lot of 80′s women screaming & carrying on uncontrollably.   Atkinson, or rather ‘Ricky The Rocket’, as his stage name goes, enters in full on stripper-astronaut attire, gyrating & seducing women to this MiCHAEL DES BARRES & HOLLY KNiGHT song ‘Obsession‘; done again in & around this time by one hit wonder group ANiMOTiON. Personally I enjoy this original version more. Quintessential 80′s moment set to a very typically 80′s song, which I enjoyed enough to sit through the rest of the crappy tale.  How it ends is irrelevant but I can say it would be interesting to hear Warren & Atkins give their behind-the-scenes commentary if anything – to at least answer the question: “What were you thinking???”

Enjoy it for yourself!


CC CHRONiCLES: Five Easy Pieces open for The Abramson Singers; Ukrainian Orthodox Church / Flin Flon Manitoba 2013

Published by cctadmin on May 20th, 2013

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Just two evenings ago FiVE EASY PiECES opened for Vancouver-based band THE ABRAMSON SiNGERS @ Flin Flon’s very own Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

A small, quaint, charming space – St. George’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church was by far one of the best settings I’ve had the honour of playing in before.  Being Ukrainian myself, the sights & scents inside took me back to the many little churches like this that I have visited in my lifetime, having seen them because of my beloved Grandpa & Grandma Stan & Mary Demchinsky, who passed away in 2009.  In fact the church they are both resting outside of, which is located in vast & open landscape of Saskatchewan is a lot like this one in many respects, with all  the beautiful details.  I couldn’t help but think of them as we arrived & began stage set up; ironically I was born & raised here in Flin Flon yet I had never entered this church though I had passed it countless times though out my lifetime.

Needless to say this church set the stage for the night of music & fun that lay ahead; giving the perfect atmosphere as well as sound.  It was a treat to open for THE ABRAMSON SiNGERS, a fine band – & without doubt we were happy to play for a crowd of just under 100 people, all very warm & enthusiastic.

Thank you to Luc & Katie (of ‘BABA’S HOUSE’, respectively) & THE ABRAMSON SiNGERS for the invitation to get up & do our thing; it was a honour & pleasure to sing amongst such talented musicians.  I enjoyed meeting you & had there been more time I sure would have loved hearing more about your travels. I wish you the best on the remainder of your tour – & keep on inspiring folks with your music.

As a side-note, we of FiVE EASY PiECES were one easy piece down, as Derek Kemp was ill & unfortunately couldn’t make it at the last minute, so he was sorely missed to say the least.  Below are some images taken during set up – & one of THE ABRAMSON SiNGERS in action.  Enjoy!


CC CHRONiCLES: Two Little Sisters / Flin Flon, Manitoba 2013

Published by cctadmin on May 20th, 2013

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Something I’d like to do a little more often in life, & particularly on this website of mine, which I tend to view as a sorta crock-pot of my world as it may be – is to honor the people, places & situtations I get to be a part of.  Trouble with that for me has always been – where does one draw the line?  I certainly don’t like sharing too much about my personal life or the personal lives of my friends & family – one ought to be mindful in sharing things with a sense of purpose.

In the case of these photos – I wanted share them as a testament to those little moments in life where I find myself surprised & touched by the love of people’s families. I have many wonderful friends, old & new – I haven’t necessarily plastered photos of their personal lives on the internet regardless of how often they inspire me yet these chosen images sum up something rather simple yet so big about life: the love of family.

I was invited by a friend to come to her two daughters joint birthday party & from it came a few colorful images of those tiny ‘moments’ that can pass all top quickly but are worth remembering forever.

Thank you friend for inviting me in – may you & your family be blessed! Enjoy these.xo


FLASHBACK: Joan Baez / ‘No Expectations’ (1970)

Published by cctadmin on May 20th, 2013

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Always had a big thing for American folk singer, songwriter, activist JOAN BAEZ; a talent with a distinctively strong vibrato voice & a penchant for songs about social issues.  In my high school days I went on a Baez overload, idolizing her career performing in coffee houses, romancing DYLAN, & a lifelong commitment to political & social activism in the fields of nonviolence, civil & human rights & the environment.

A performer for over 55 years there are no shortage of classic albums or songs, but after a 10 year hiatus from listening to her I found myself humming this cover version of hers; the MiCK JAGGAR/KEiTH RiCHARDS penned ‘No Expectations‘, from the 1970 album ‘One Day At A Time’.  Well worth checking out!

 


CC CHRONiCLES: CC featured in Ottawa’s Xtra! / Issue #255 May 9-June 5, 2013 / ‘Praire Rebirth’

Published by cctadmin on May 15th, 2013

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Last December I was contacted by an old pal of mine named Kaj Hasselriis, whom I’d met at the age of 17 when I first moved to Winnipeg.  Kaj is a fantastic person & our friendship is unique and greatly valued.  Not only is he a friend but a very talented and adventurous free-lance writer, who although is right now living in Paris, was at the time residing in Toronto.  At the time he was writing for the publication Xtra! & he wanted to know if I’d be interested in doing a possible feature.

Though I’d done some previous media before with regards to projects I’ve worked on, I was particularly interested in taking him up on his proposal because, for one, I love and value Kaj, but two, because I appreciated the opportunity to share a little bit about my story.  Kaj’s interest was primarily in asking me about my experiences in growing up queer in a small town, only to leave & return again almost 15 years later, in my case, for professional development.  Something about timing of this year and all that I have experienced personally, professionally and creatively made the opportunity seem not only fitting but somehow serendipitous.

It was a lot of fun, as well as enlightening for me to consider his questions about my background & for that I’m really pleased.  Also, while he made no promises that the article would even see the light of day, I felt a sense of accomplishment in having a platform to share but a piece of my life with a friend.

Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to eventually learn that the feature made it into the Ottawa publications.  Thank you Kaj, for sharing the opportunity with me, as well to Darren Holmes for providing the photograph.


CC CHRONiCLES: CC #2 on Reverbnation’s Folk/Alt-Country Charts / Ottawa 2013

Published by cctadmin on May 15th, 2013

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I enjoy when life kisses you with an unexpected surprise.  I returned from Ottawa on Mother’s Day to a slew of emails I intend on catching up on (trust me I will!); in amongst these emails was a notification from Reverbnation indicating my music currently holds the #2 spot on the Ottawa Folk/Alt-Country charts.

It reminds of a past where I never had the courage to extend himself in any capacity, much less in a way that could subject me to a lot of criticism.  I was a dreamer for sure, but I could never bring myself to fully share.  Our value is never, or should never be based on something outside of ourselves, like accolades or awards – yet there is something to be said for the feeling you derive from discovering that you can face your fears; that its ok to celebrate surprising yourself from time to time.

Here’s to surprising even ourselves!

Check out the profile below at www.reverbnation.com for an inside look & thank you to those who are tuning in as I go along.


CC CHRONiCLES: ‘Tiny Army’ Recording Session / Ottawa 2013

Published by cctadmin on May 15th, 2013

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In addition to experiencing the finer things of being home in Ottawa last week, I was also able to board that familiar bus out to Aylmer, Quebec, for a visit with none other than my friend & collaborator Darren Holmes.  Beginning in 2011 Darren and I embarked on our recording project ‘Tiny Army: The D. Holmes Sessions’ and while I’ve been anticipating the day when we can set this baby free from the get-go, I have undoubtedly been enjoying every step of its progress.

Moving to Flin Flon hasn’t slowed down that process either; in fact although much of the vocal tracks for ‘Tiny Army’ were laid prior to my leaving last July, we’ve spent a great t deal of time chipping away at the rest of production; via countless emails & several enjoyed phone calls.  I’m proud to say that it’s a real labor of love and for all of those to who have contributed to this ‘tiny army’ I am eternally grateful and inspired; roughly 2 years and 16 tracks later – it is undoubtedly something special, & I think I speak for us both.

Naturally when I made arrangements to come to Ottawa, Darren was high on my priority list of folks to see; not only had I missed our regular coffee talks but was itching to do some more work on the album & time was of essence.  I was real happy he was able to receive me & more so that we could get a couple of great mornings in to do what has felt long overdue.

It’s really difficult to put into words just what this opportunity means to me, but I will say in those brief hours of catching up and recording I was able to find great excitement & inspiration & I’m ever thankful D has welcomed me into his world, both in family and creative connection.

In addition to re-recording vox on the Aileen Martella penned ‘Open Up My Heart (You’ll See A Tiny Army)’, Holmes original ‘Meant For Me’ and my redo of ‘Illusions’ I was able to nail a newer original called ‘Hole In My Rowboat’, which I wrote in my time up North in Manitoba.  Subsequently we talked at length about artwork for the album & all that creative stuff which will help us as we prepare to package & eventually launch it.  Again, the release date is TBA but I can only say that the wait is going to be well worth it and my life has taught me a great deal about the value of patience.

Check out my little gallery below for some visuals of our time together at D’s home & studio. And stay tuned!