At the dawn of 2014, my wife and I separated after five short months of marriage. Needless to say, it was devastating for both of us. It’s been almost a year now and life is much better. While it was difficult to reconcile the split, I thankfully had plenty of positive work to keep my professional life on track. Completing Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985, by then over four years in the making, was priority number one. With 23 separate artists and groups involved, this was also a very challenging experience, without a doubt my most ambitious archival project to date. To those who may not know me well, I am a very empathetic person and the songs and stories of NNA V1 affected me to the core. When tapping into such important music and culture there was a lot to live up to and I wanted to give the artists the utmost respect in presenting their music and history to fans old and new. With the cooperation and help of many, NNA V1 was released on November 25 to international acclaim. I am very happy and feel blessed to have played a part in helping to make this happen. Of course, and as I’ve said many times before, there would be no project w/o the music and music makers from this decisive era! Sending eternal love! I also can’t forget the many heads, hands, and hearts that helped me to complete this massive undertaking. Lastly, I’d like to say “cheers!” to all of the fine folks at Light in the Attic Records for believing in this music enough to release and promote it to the world! We (finally) made it! Good things ahead!
At my lowest ebb earlier this year, there was a new album that lifted my spirits and made me think very deeply about life and the world in which we live, Vancouver-based Dada Plan’s monumental A Dada Plan is Free. The self-released album (now available from Kingfisher Bluez) touched my soul like no other contemporary sounds in recent memory and certainly evoked the excitement of the emergence of Black Mountain and Pink Mountaintops on Vancouver’s musical landscape way back in 2003/4. The ol’ 10-year cycle come true? Funny enough, Black Mountain drummer, producer, DJ, and overall music man Joshua Wells (Lighting Dust, Sur Une Plage) first played me the group’s songs, which he recorded to tape w/ his trademark deft touch. The material sounded fluid, funky, and lyrically focused, perfect for contemplative introspection or dance floor abandon. Upon repeated listens, A Dada Plan is Free revealed even more... Not many musicians today are touching on the madness of this digital age, and none w/o the finesse of Malcolm Biddle and crew. Live, the group has emerged as a beast (as in HEAVY, dig?) with each member contributing a necessary element to the stew: upright bass, congas, synth, sax, guitar, and words of wisdom. Dada Plan is currently completing their second long player and I can’t wait to hear the results! Once again, good things ahead!
The Lido has been another positive change for Vancouver this year. Located at 518 East Broadway, this neighbourhood bar, meeting place, pickled egg vendor, and concert/DJ venue has people talking, drinking, linking, and grooving like nothing else in recent memory. Do I feel a renaissance? YES! BIG thanks to Matt and Kim for bringing this legendary building back to life in such a vital way.
What’s ahead then? Well, more titles in the Native North America series for one. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more details as they appear. As for the rest, all material fit for print will be shared here, Voluntary in Nature!@#$%!!! PEACE
Hong Kong, Vietnam, four Bia hơi glasses for four friends, Hội An fancy dinner, MOR Talk Radio, Powell River, CJMP 90.1 FM, Seekers International, WZDRY/AV, Transmolecular, The Stunt Man, Dada Plan, Thomas Anselmi, Brit Pop Night(s) at the ANZA, Rolling Stone, RIDE reunion, diving, lake swimming, to all of the babies (!!!), Frost-Forward/Hersey/Heedram-Lane/Thompson/Howes clans, Echo & The Bunnymen, .99 cent Plastic Cloud, Radio Maria, General Public, Commodore/Bottleneck/Lido/Reposado DJ’ing, Willie Thrasher/Linda Saddleback at Khatsahlano Festival, Toronto and Vancouver NNA V1 gatherings, Wayne McGhie & the Sounds of Joy re-release, BBNG, The Canadian Romantic, reggae, Raincoast Kombucha, HK BBQ Master, Prontino playlist, digging deeper, Birdapres, Cratery, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Ali’s Roti, Bitundo’s Pizza, Town Pump/Hogan’s Alley, etc… vintage Vancouver matchboxes (thanks Kamandi!!!), The Sadies, Duke Redbird, howdy neighbour, DP for short, road trips, mad mass media, wave maker, Courtenay Tie Dye Arts, Jack Frost’s flowing mane, Ronnie’s Local 069, The Castle of No Return, Willie Dunn (and family), Willy Mitchell, Lloyd Cheechoo and all of the talented artists featured on NNA V1 (and beyond!@#$%!!!), You’ve Changed Records, Dave Doolittle, Rick, The Keg, On Lok, Goldstone Bakery solo sessions, Chinatown, Sound Canada, Jennifer Forward Frost photography, 40 feels, Bron, NNA V1 art director Chris Gergley, UMFM, CBC, APTN, NCI, The Guardian, Record Collector, Lewis Furey (not L'Amour), UK 12”s, CDN 7”s, Pub Nite, Mood Jga Jga, missing an old friend dearly, “Simple Stuff,” the ultimate digging touch of Catalist, The Mighty Pope, Chrana anything, Kaewonder turns 30, tunes, Kokanee crash, China Cloud, Brooks Norman, homemade Willie Thrasher CDs, posters by Sipreano, Webber twins Birthday jam, Will Lawrence (In House Press), Matt Kyrsko visuals, Poppy Family Experience, The Fox, Wang’s Taiwan Beef Noodle House, Salmongang Instagram, Kreative Kontrol, Double Double Land, Jennifer Castle, mono LOVE Da Capo, Kraftwerk LIVE, Michael Head, The Rutles, "Palm of My Hand," Beatball Records, The Mutual Understanding’s In Wonderland, NNA V1 trailer editor Louvens Remy, Tla’amin Convenience Store, Desolation Sound tour, killer killer whales, 80s Dance, healthy food gift basket, Koko sushi booth sessions, the promise of 2015, and on and on and on...