The Mix plays two nights at the Hooter this weekend.
Come out ya’ll!
The Mix plays two nights at the Hooter this weekend.
Come out ya’ll!
Once upon a time, CC Trubiak wrote a song called ‘Prairie Boy’. The year was actually 2010. The setting, Ottawa, Ontario. At the time I was a full-time social work student at Carleton University, working my way through the program in hopes to one day become a qualified counsellor. However, as a singer/songwriter I was just getting my feet wet in terms of working on the independently recorded They Say I’m Different (Torrid Productions).
While I was studying at Carleton I got word that a two-day conference called Victims Voices Matter was being put on by the Ottawa Police Service queer liaison committee and Ottawa’s queer community centre project. The conference itself would cover a wide range of topics from reporting homophobic violence to letters from victims of hate crimes and workshops on queer terminology.
I thought the conference idea itself was a great one; not only did it seem progressive but somehow I thought anything that encourages the breakdown of gay stereotypes and the building of bridges between the ‘gay community’ and the larger society was good in my books. You could imagine my surprise when one of the organizers contacted me directly to invite me, as an openly gay singer/songwriter/social worker to write a song in honour of this two-day conference.
I took the opportunity seriously – and thus went home and worked on a song that I felt would hopefully encapsulate my story in a snap-shot. After experiencing bullying in my own youth growing up in Flin Flon, I could appreciate how the conference was about building support and understanding between the queer community and police officers.
Out of it came ‘Prairie Boy’; a song that draws a lot of visual images of feeling like a loner in an unwelcoming world. A young ‘fairy’ boy who’s a vulnerable, yet resilient dreamer. Not only did I get the chance to perform it at Victims Voices Matter, but I was able record it as well – produced by The PepTides band leader Claude Marquis.
I recall about 150 people attended the conference, with RCMP officers joining police from Hamilton, Cornwall, Peterborough and Waterloo. It seemed to me that the conference generated discussions and broke down some barriers. I for one, was honored to be a part of it and looking back on it today after some time – I can’t help but be proud of how this little song was born.
Once upon a time Ottawa’s Elmdale House Tavern hosted a launch party for They Say I’m Different. The launch itself took place on July 26th, 2011 and it marked one of my first ‘real’ live performances as a singer/songwriter.
As someone who grew up paralyzed whenever faced with singing in front of people, everything leading up to this milestone was pretty scary; and in a city like Ottawa, which is just bursting with professional musicians, it was even more so. The seeker of growth and change within myself however, compelled me to face my fears. What better occasion to start doing that than having your first independently recorded project to promote?
They Say I’m Different is a little folky album that was recorded over 2010 and I had assembled back up support from friends and fellow artists Danniel Oickle (piano, backup) and Olexandra Pruchnicky who were there with me that night at Elmdale House Tavern. I frequented the tavern myself for years and watched a lot of great performers do their thing there – so I was pretty excited at the thought of launching the album there. To this day I still get nervous standing in front of a crowd, and on this occasion I was especially anxious – all the generated interest in the album and the launch had me fearful I wouldn’t live up to the hype. Yet, there I stood, arms open.
A couple of things stand out in my memory; one being that my sister Ebony and her partner James actually came to Ottawa and saw the show. That brought a comfort to me, an element of home – and I still remember her crying from her table, embracing me afterwards. It affirmed for me that I was facing my fears with good reason; because behind my fears was the real me, and that’s what people were gonna get from my shows. From that day forward.
The other standout about this memory was feeling a great sense of love from the crowd; comprised of familiar Ottawa faces and a lot of strangers. To this day I’m thankful for the opportunity, to the Elmdale House Tavern, Danniel and Olex for being a part of something very special to me. THANK YOU! Here’s to conquoring fears!
Photograph courtesy of Bonnie Findley.
Thank you for the music. I sometimes think to myself that I’m lucky to have music in my life, as a way to express things inside. In actuality I have the hardest time telling people how I feel, particularly if how I feel includes anger or confusion or resentment. Pain. Its easy as one-two-three for me to listen. But to share myself honestly all the time? It can be a difficult thing to do, and perhaps especially for those of us who are very sensitive people to begin with.
That’s why I love coming home and picking up my guitar, weather I’m just fiddling around or seriously working on songs. I write from a very personal place but I also love story-telling. It helps me to focus on melodies or create them along with the words inside that get otherwise very scrambled up in my head whenever I’m faced with opportunities to actually say them in life. There are many times I go through writers block, which gets irritating when you might have a slew of thoughts inside that are all cluttered up but you’re incapable of speaking. Even just humming along with my guitar gives me an anchor and an appreciated feeling of comfort. I’m also very excited about a batch of songs I’m working on; and I’m proud to say I have some very special people in my life who I’ve been collaborating with more, as a way to share and make some hopefully stellar music in the collective process. I think there are going to be some special things ahead.
Special thanks to my Dad for buying me this guitar last Christmas and to my sister Ebony for helping him with the big surprise. I’ll always cherish this guitar.
Back in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s, I poured over Rolling Stone Magazine. Didn’t a lot of music lovers? The articles and interviews were pure escapism, but I especially loved the cover photography; often capturing many of my musical idols in their glory. It seemed there were a lot of great entertainers; and in my mind, to really make the ‘Rock and Roll dream’ come true, as I naively perceived it, you had to land ‘on the cover of the Rolling Stone’. I enjoyed that misperception.
My impression then was, to even have the chance of getting on Rolling Stone one had to come equipped with an exceptional talent; for not everyone in music got exposure. Thousands of prolific songwriters, musicians and vocalists never received that prestigious distinction. You had to have that edge, that ‘thing’, if you were to realize the dream. I still remember discovering the 1974 issue with Tanya Tucker, which headlined: “Hi I’m Tanya Tucker. I’m Fifteen. You’re Gonna Hear from Me.” It was like “Whoa!” My mind was blown that someone so young could go there based on their vocal talent… It inspired. The years gave amazing covers, featuring The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young – the list goes on and on and on. Annie Leibovitz in particular, shot a lot of my favourites; with assignments like the John and Yoko cover, or Bette Midler or Steve Martin…. Various images became a youthful ideal for what rock and roll was; to me it incorporated the ability to write and perform entertainment (music, acting, comedy) in such a way that the ‘high-ups’ at Rolling Stone even deemed you ‘worthy’. Ha!
Back then of course, we did not have the internet; so I’d wait patiently for bi-weekly issues; combing through each one from front cover to back. If the cover art appealed to my ideal, I’d keep it tucked away on my bookshelf along with any others. Still have a lot of them today. Why I keep them still? Nostalgia.
I loved singing and writing, and because I was a loner who spent a majority of time doing these very things (including much daydreaming); I too, fantasized of what it might be like to live life creating music. Being on the road. I wondered how I might one day get that cover shot on Rolling Stone. By the Annie Liebovitz. What would that look, sound and feel like? Maybe this dream was the same fantasy of thousands of kids across the world?
As time went on though, I became less and less dedicated to following the musical and political publication; I think primarily because I also began to a) grow up and chase life instead of dream about it and b) lose interest in whatever was going on in ‘mainstream’ pop culture as I cultivated my own pathway. They say in life you have to stay true to yourself, whatever that means to each of us. There is no offence to the artistry out there today per se, but even now I can’t appreciate the featured artists or the cover photography itself, not as I did back then. Who was it recently used the word ‘reductive’? Along with that loss of appreciation of the art of Rolling Stone – I have also long since put away those daydreams. Too busy writing – trying!
In the late 90′s I used to work at a Winnipeg Blockbuster Video (an experience in itself) – I’d see the issues coming in over time, more and more featuring Brittany Spears and X-tina, or Backstreet Boys. Less and less did things hold my interest; girls and boys of all sorts just standing purposefully naked with breasts and bums tooched out so unnaturally. I mean, I suppose it was ‘sexy’; and sex sells, which I really could appreciate, from an aesthetic and horny perspecitive . However it registered that you didn’t really have to be all that prolific; you didn’t even have to have anything interesting to say about your music. It appeared however, have to turn people on. Make money. ‘Edge’ as I was familiar, was replaced with sex appeal, in my mind; which is absolutely fine. I just no longer subscribed to it, pun intended.
Why do I choose to write about this today? The old dream re-occurred to me recently – that reverie of my Liebovitz cover shot and the accompanying story of my aspirations and schemes of artistry and success. I had to smile; the youthful self and my previous conceptions verses my own current views on entertainment, media and Rolling Stone Magazine itself. Fame.
In the end I think that Rolling Stone Magazine is forging on as it should; representing what is trending in music, as it likely did since its birth in 1967. I don’t know exactly what has changed or what is even important to the mass public. Perception has evolved. Oh, I still dream and I still desire recognition if I’m being totally honest. I remain a dreamer! Maybe the difference is – I’m grateful enough today; just knowing that I can sing and write and perform. That I’ve experienced it and continue to. Music is my first love. The recognition and the ‘Rolling Stone Cover’ aspiration itself, no longer holds weight; nor does my attraction to ‘fame’, as I understood it to be. I don’t need Rolling Stone or stardom to write and sing or do whatever it is I do. I want to say what’s real to me weather its sexy or appealing to the mass public or not. Regardless I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do.
The nostalgic in me will still keep those old issues though. :-) Props to the past!
Leaving Las Vegas I couldn’t help but be happy; Alain and I caught up with his brothers and their significant others and we all enjoyed living in the moment. At home again, I think about what I’d personally like to make happen moving forward; as life post-Les Miserables feels like a new opportunity. Question becomes: what would I like to see happen?
Number one on my priority list is to strengthen my overall health. Between the appendicitis, a flu, back problems and general fatigue I can tell this ol’ body is needing some proper care and I can’t wait to feel that strength fully return, speaking holistically. Its on the mend; each day an opportunity to regain equalibrium. Give me sunny days in my backyard, time laughing with my family and loved ones and routine sleep and I’ll be good as new!
I am very excited about some new songs I’ve been toiling away on for the past 2-3 years. As a matter of fact, Tiny Army had larely been recorded in Ottawa prior to my return in 2012 so once hittin Manitoba ground it was refreshing and inspiring, songwriting-wise. The process has already began involving other talents, creatively and production-wise. Gets me all excited, this process in motion. I enjoy this stuff.
Three years after the Ottawa chapter closed and the Flin Flon chapter opened – I can safely say I am ready to focus energy back on original music. Since returning I’ve been working away on various projects with a lot of local talents; singing in a couple of different bands, playing coffee houses and fundraisers, even trying my hand at a Broadway Musical (Les Miserables). These things have provided fun, growth and community. Nows the time to make original music a priority again. Now is the time to enlist my Tiny Army Band and get the train prepared help tell these stories.
*****Check out some random Las Vegas images below by double-clicking.
Thank you Kara P for picking me up this awesome stage shirt in BC!!! I love it! Can’t wait to wear it!
The song I wanted to record: Light of Clear Blue Morning. The reason: its one of the first tunes I ever learned on guitar and its a song I personally find meaning in. Try as I might to record it today I couldn’t do it! Not for the camera at least. Oh well. C’est la vie!
I thought the least I could do was capture the moment, after all the star is the #29 grey sweatshirt I’m sporting. It was my dads. Its its all I ever have I will be happy.
Stay tuned for more music tho!