field study live

well folks, as i have mentioned we recorded last week’s show at the cultch. the second set of new songs, called this riot life, is fairly bombastic and presented some recording difficulties. dave sikula, our engineer, battled masterfully with a wide range of volume and energy levels. that set has some great moments on tape and some that are better left to the lovely memory of the live show. but i just sat down and listened for the first time to the first set, which was a performance of field study with full band. it’s a very nice recording. very nice. so that is something that we might make available as a special internet record this year. maybe with a few of the new songs thrown in…..

anyway, let me refresh your memory as to the Swell Band. we have skye brooks on drums, martin walton on bass, jesse zubot on violin, peggy lee on cello, ak coope on clarinet, and patsy klein on vocals, keyboard, flute, and percussion. a deadly team. and here is us playing plants, on january 28 2007 at the vancouver east cultural centre. (more…)

more silver

so in fact, there are still 3 songs from silver left to post! here is the track order (also listed in the music pages): 1. Bedlam 2. You know that song? 3. A Toast 4. Instructions 5. Stepdaughter’s Delight 6. Nostalgia Song 7. Comrades 8. Who will protect them? 9. The Heart 10. Road to Nowhere

silver is a bit of a motley beast, made quickly and energetically. it has alot of flaws, in my opinion, but also alot of spirit. not a bad trade off, really. so here is track 2 for you, a medley that the fits have recently taken on. the fits had a grand time at the railway club this past weekend, by the by. queen fans may have noticed that we are adding one song from A Night at the Opera to every set. by the summer we should have the whole album down. and that’s a threat.

p.s. i know that “alot” is not really a word. it’s something i’ve stuck to since the 1st grade. (more…)

blood in the jungle

so last night after a long day of charting songs and making demos, me and the husband hunkered down to watch Predator, the late 80s schwarzenegger vehicle. it had everything! muscles, blood, cigars, quips (sample quip: after a guy has had a knife flung through his midriff, pinning him to his simple guerilla tent pole, arnie spits out “stick around!”), early cgi, primitive regression, and carl weathers. alright, maybe that’s not everything but it was alot.

and here’s something else. this song follows “the heart” on silver, which i posted for you last week. you may have noticed that “the heart” ends kinda abruptly. that’s because it connects directly to this, one of my favourite songs of all time. when we performed silver at the vancouver folk music festival one of the reviewers complained that choosing this song as our finale was meaningless. i disagree. i think this song embraces nothingness and ecstasy in one big warm hug. i cry every time i hear the band kick in. (more…)

sleepy saturday

here’s the penultimate song from silver. the line “the heart does not pound without cause” is from the poet anna ahkmatova, and was pointed out to me by my friend stephanie aitken. (more…)

do the collapse

howdy folks. gosh, i’ve gotten so accustomed to this blogging thing that taking a week off seems like a sin. i guess this is how it all starts. slave to the internet. i’ve been home recuperating from tour, which always takes longer than i want. but thankfully, when i wake up at 4am with jetlag i can lie in bed and think about the new record, which is a compelling and lengthy obsession. i have an incredible band for the show in vancouver in january: martin walton on bass, skye brooks on drums, peggy lee on cello, patsy klein on voice, jesse zubot on violin, and ak coope on clarinet. killer. worth flying out for, if anyone is feeling wealthy out there. it’ll be a premiere of the new songs with full ensemble, plus a reworked version of field study.

here’s one of the new songs for you, actually a song almost 2 years old but just now coming into its own. this recording was made at the hive (on barry’s birthday, as you will hear) with about 30 pals stuffed into the main room all singing and playing together. we added a few instruments later, and made this spirited version of lucklucky. (more…)

silver bedlam

As this post appears i am arriving in london! i love the magic of time stamping. London is the home of bedlam, of course. The Bethlehem Hospital was one of the earliest and longest running mental hospitals in the worlds. i mean the world. The word ‘bedlam’ is a quick version of the word ‘bethlehem’. i believe the hospital building is now the war museum, and i’m hoping to get a chance to go there this trip. they had an interesting use for photography in the early days at bethlehem hospital. they would take your photo when you were Crazy, and then again when you were Sane. my god, i’d love to see those photos.

this is the version of bedlam from silver. it’s the same performance as on auditorium, just a different mix. you can go watch the video for a very different version of bedlam on myspace. and now i promise i will never post about bedlam again. (more…)


another song from silver. a kind of fake eastern european wedding song paired with lyrics from a book of songs for jewish soldiers. there’s another version of this song that i reworked for the leaky heaven circus production of Birthday Boy in 2003. that one has lyrics taken from the Song of Songs. maybe i’ll put that on the new album (recording in april 07, probably for release in the fall), since i have a kind of biblical theme going on. just warning you. (more…)


Here’s another song from silver, the limited run ep that sold out years ago. This is one of my favourites, and co-written with one of my favourite people that i’ve never met. Ove Karlson is a great swedish musician and writer, and I unwittingly stole this music from him. I heard it on an album of folk music, i didn’t read the liner notes and assumed it was traditional, and wrote words for it. When i was putting silver together i went back to the folk album and realized that in fact the music was written in the 1980s. I promptly contacted Ove to explain myself, and lucky for me he is one of the warmest people on earth. We have since become close friends over the email and the snail mail, and I hope very much to visit him on his island in sweden one day. I imagine him as a large and friendly cello playing bear.

As this post appears we are landing in Berlin! (more…)

internet bidness a continued oddity

so there are a few bugs in our ordering system, but everything is still going well and people are receiving their records. basically, any money coming in through paypal is working great, but a few times the order hasn’t shown up through word press. in these instances, i’ve been emailing folks (because paypal sends me contact info with the deposit notice) and finding out what they’ve ordered and how to send it. weston (my superb webmaster) is sleuthing around, but if anyone has notes on the process and how easy/awkward it is please send thoughts over here. never fear, the orders are going out fine. you people are keeping me busy! thanks.

and here is a song from silver, my ep that sold out long ago. i’ll be throwing the whole thing up for download over the next while; this song is called Stepdaughter’s Delight. (more…)

even more bedlam

this is a live track of my band (barry, martin, patsy, peggy, ak) with nick krgovich as a Special Guest at the album launch for kildeer in vancouver, april 2005. nick is the ringleader of the band p:ano. he arranged and played all the instruments on the kildeer version of bedlam, and for the show he came up with a completely different arrangement. full of arrangements, that guy. (more…)