Andy Brown has received a ton of recognition in recent weeks. He won three awards at the inaugural Music New Brunswick Awards (Male Recording Artist of the Year, Emerging Artist of the Year and Pop Recording of the Year for False Alarm), plus he won (more…)
Archive for October, 2010
Hey all, Josh Hogan and the fine folks at Diminished Fifth Records have hooked us up with a cool prize giveaway – a package of new releases from the metal label, in addition to a couple limited-edition items.
These items can be won exclusively by East Coast Noise readers. All you have to do is (more…)
Trouble is, their van’s engine blew up on them and now they’re stranded in B.C. and need about $8,000 to get their van fixed and get back home in time for the Nova Scotia Music Awards, where the band is nominated for six awards.
Luckily, singer Jon Landry was able to (more…)
As we reported a couple weeks ago, Halifax-based musician Kim Wempe recently released her new full-length record, Painting With Tides (Groundswell/Warner).
The album was recorded at Echo Chamber Studio in Halifax with Charles Austin (Buck 65, David Myles, Jenn Grant, Tanya Davis) and features performances (more…)
Halifax-based songwriter and poet Tanya Davis will release her third record, Clocks And Hearts Keep Going, on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Produced by Jim Bryson, Davis’s new album follows the hugely successful videopoem How To Be Alone, which was shot, animated and edited by award-winning indie filmmaker Andrea Dorfman. The video, which you can see above, is approaching the 2-million views mark on YouTube. Keep reading … [Holy crap, I figured out how to use the 'more' tag!]
Cape Breton’s Keith Mullins has been touring the world for years as a percussionist with everyone from Lennie Gallant to Sarah Slean to Paula Cole to Dave Carroll.
At the end of last month, Mullins released his debut solo effort, Localmotive Farm. A mix of folk and rock that touches on sounds from Cuba and Africa, the seven-song effort shows the musical chameleon that Mullins is.
His roots are in Cape Breton Island, and at the age of 14, he started entertaining bar crowds with bandmate, Steven MacDougall (Slowcoaster). After completing a music degree and studies in Cuba and Africa, Mullins turned his passion into his profession.
In addition to touring, Mullins developed and facilitated some drumming workshops, a salsa workshop (with an eight-piece Latin band partly from Cuba) and a songwriting workshop with good friend Steven Bowers. He has delivered these workshops to groups of all ages; in schools, at special events, and at festivals across the country. He was recently nominated in Music Nova Scotia’s 2010 Educator of the Year category.
In April of this year, while performing at Dollywood in Tennessee with a Peruvian Cajon troupe and a Trinidad Steel Drum group, Mullins made a trip to Nashville to record Localmotive Farm with the assistance of long-time friend, cousin and acclaimed songwriter Gordie Sampson.
Mullins sings and plays drums, bass, guitar, congas, bongos, maracas, clave, chimes, wood blocks, tambourine and jingle bells on Localmotive Farm. Special guests include beat-boxer Jay Andrews, Anna Ludlow (fiddler), Tim Isaac (cello), Gordie Sampson (guitar, bass) and many, many more.
A finalist in the 2010 David Suzuki song competition and 2010 Music Nova Scotia nominee for Musician of the Year, Mullins is touring the Maritimes over the next few months.
All that said, Mullins took time out of his schedule as he prepares to hit the road to chat with us this week:
1. Your music resume is lengthy and impressive to say the least. How did your musical journey begin and what do you consider your first “break”?
I’ve played with lots of different bands and different styles too. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t play music. I’m from a musical family. Pretty much everyone in my family plays something. They also like to party. As I’m sure you know, music and parties go hand in hand. My grandfather was a fiddler, he was involved with a TV show in Cape Breton called the “Barn Dance”. He also played on the Don Messer show a few times as well. My aunt Flo Sampson played with him from the time she was about 10 and then when I came along, I would always sit to the left of her and just watch her hands all night long. The family would play anything from Ragtime, Blues, Jazz, Latin, Rock n’ Roll, to Cape Breton traditional songs and the fiddle tunes as well.
I don’t think I ever really got any breaks. I’ve just been doing what I do best and that’s playing music. I’ve always played music for a living and that’s what I’ll always be doing. I’ve been supporting so many musicians over the years that when it was my CD all the musicians went out of their way big time to help me. A good portion of this record was made just on bartered services.
2. Performing with such a wide variety of musicians must have been a huge learning experience. What were some of the most important things you learned over the years?
For sure. I love so many different styles of music. It definitely shows on my record. The absolute most important thing is to show up prepared. Know your stuff. Do your homework. It separates the pros from the con-artists. LOL
3. Why a solo record now? And I should ask, what took so long?
I’ve always been writing music. I have maybe 50 or so songs that I’d like to record. I had to pick seven for this record, not an easy task. But I think a lot of songwriters are forced into doing their own thing out of necessity. Music has always paid my bills, so I’ve been comfortable. And I’m good at supporting people. Yet I’ve always felt the need to play my songs for other people, and it’s only been the past two or so years that I feel ready, in myself, to do it. I think it’s obvious that I’m putting myself out there, and it’s kind of like walking around naked. I guess it’s the right time, I finally feel ready to do it.
4. Did you have a vision for this record? Did you know exactly what you wanted it to be?
Yes. I knew that I wanted it to sound “pro” and I picked the musicians based on how their playing would fit into my music. I had a vision for this record for a few years and had been denied a few grants trying to make it happen. Then Gordie offered me his studio in Nashville after playing him a few of my songs one night. I knew I wanted to include so many of the people that I’ve played with for years and I feel I have a deep musical bond with. One thing that worried me was that I could see that my songs were all totally different. At first it worried me that I wouldn’t be able to “brand” myself but came to the conclusion that this is me. This is the way I am and this is the way I write so I’m putting it out there.
I knew I wanted to start with the cohesiveness of a young, indie band. I feel hugely connected musically to the band Caledonia and they were the first piece of the puzzle. Actually, I feel extremely connected to all of the musicians on this record. In my opinion that’s the greatest thing about the record.
5. How did working in Nashville and working with Gordie Sampson affect the project?
Gordie is a long time mentor, friend and cousin of mine. We’ve lived at each other’s houses growing up at different points (he’s six years older than me). His sister Amy, an exceptional musician in her own right, I’ve been singing with her for my whole life and she’s all over the record as well. To me, Gordie is like a sponge. I see all the best musical traits of our other friends in Gordie. He has the ability to take anything and run with it. He’s a brilliant musician, and so supportive. He’s always in the moment, and free from judgment. He has had a remarkable affect on me in my whole life and on this record.
7. Tell us about the Rhythms of the World project. Is that still going on?
Yes. I have done workshops for the past eight years in schools/festivals across Canada and parts of the U.S. Basically I go into a school with a ton of drums, show the 100-1,500 students how they’re made/played and then teach them rhythms that I learned while studying in Ghana and Cuba on the spot. I have a lot of fun with it. Over the years I’ve learned to adapt it to any level, primary to university. I love playing for young people. They get so excited about the show. I’ve done shows from an alternative school where the police had to take a student out for his last strike of misbehaving to 1,000 Asian kids in Edmonton where you could’ve heard a pin drop.
8. What song, album or artist have you been listening to most lately?
Most records I listen to are of the artists I play with to stay prepared. Lennie Gallant, Caledonia, Havanafax, Salsa Picante, but I’m also loving Thom Swift’s Into the Dirt lately.
Artists that I love are Daniel Lanois, Willie Nelson, Paul McCartney, Tom Waits, Paul Simon. I also have a huge obsession with Cuban music … Isac Delgado is my favourite lately.
9. I understand you operate a farm in Cape Breton? How do you find time to tour the globe and run a farm?
The farm is at the end of a dirt road in Coldstream, N.S. which is close to Stewiacke. My wife Jody Nelson heads the farm side of things and I’m mostly a lackey. hehe I help out when I can. Things for me really pick up on a daily basis in the fall and through the winter with touring shows and workshops. Summers are less busy so I have more time to help with the veggies and animals. It actually works really well. I love the balance that farm life creates for me, it keeps me sane and grounded. I really like the idea of working towards self-sustenance. The product is so much better for you in taste and nutrition as well. We also just had our second child in June, so it’s been a hectic summer. We wouldn’t have it any other way though. hehe.
10. You’re touring the Maritimes into December. What are your plans after that? Long-term plans?
I will always be playing music. I hope that it can evolve into me playing more of my own music as time goes by. I also am working toward it growing into a team of people who can help me in my journey. Music is what I know best and I’m very passionate about it. I don’t really have a choice in the matter, it’s just something that is inside of me. The location and amount of people may get smaller or bigger but I’ll always just be playing.
11. Anything else you’d like to add?
The idea of this record is that anything created on localmotive farm is a product of localmotive farm. Be it children, dreams, veggies, or music. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for the opportunity to let me share what I have to offer.
Check out Keith at the following dates:
Oct. 14 – Halifax, NS – Company House (Full band CD release concert) w/Steven Bowers
Oct. 20 – Rawdon, NS – Rawdon District School
Oct. 21 – Stewiacke, NS – Winding River Consolidated
Nov. 2 – Truro, NS – Marigold Theatre w/Havanafax
Nov. 4 – Annapolis Royal, NS – King’s Theatre w/Havanafax
Nov. 4-7 – Yarmouth, NS – Nova Scotia Music Week
Nov. 10 – Sydney, NS – Harbourside Elementary
Nov. 10 – Howie Centre, NS – House Concert
Nov. 17 – St. Stephen, NB – St. Stephen Middle School
Nov. 18 – St. Andrews, NB – Vincent Massey Elementary
Nov. 19-20 – St. Andrews, NB – Kennedy House
Nov. 27 – Halifax, NS – The Carleton (matinee)
Dec. 1 – Halifax, NS – Company House, opening for Lovestorm
Check back to EastCoastNoise.com next Friday for a chat with: Kim Wempe
When we last spoke with Nova Scotia folk singer Dave Gunning a year ago, he was touring in support of his latest release, We’re All Leaving, and was gearing up for a tribute album to Atlantic Canadian music legend John Allan Cameron.
A year later, he’s hit the road again (tour dates are below), this time in support of that very tribute to Cameron.
Gunning joins us this week to talk about the new album and the influence Cameron had on his own career …
1. Tell me about the new album. What kind of an influence was John Allan Cameron on your music?
The first live concert that I ever saw was a John Allan Cameron show and Stan Rogers opened that night. I was only eight but I was left with a fairly deep impression and folk/Celtic music would always remain warm and fuzzy to me. Every time that John Allan came to Pictou County me and my family always went to see him. I’ve had many influences over the years but John Allan was my first.
2. Paying tribute to your heroes must be nerve-wracking. Did you feel pressure to emulate his sound or make it your own?
It was about half and half between keeping close to the original John Allan recordings and making some of them my own. For the ones that remained close to the originals I used a 12-string guitar and thumb pick. Using the thumb pick was difficult at first but definitely gave a more ‘John Allan’ sound and feel to the 12-string tracks. There is no one who could ever really sing like John Allan so I didn’t attempt that. It was nerve-racking at points for sure but I grew up on the material, and I certainly know it inside out.
3. On your website, you wrote, “I became quite obsessed with the project …” What were you obsessing over?
I think at the time I was obsessing over the 12-string guitar parts. This question also ties in to the above question in that John Allan is one of my heroes.
There is a certain feel to John Allan’s rhythm guitar playing that I felt was important to capture. I would spend time with headphones on and almost dissect the songs and tunes to try to figure out how I could have that ingredient present on this tribute.
4. Did you struggle at all with song selection or did it come naturally to you?
I could have done three tribute CDs and as it stands I ended up with 17 tracks on this recording. Certain song choices were obvious. I wanted to pick songs that represented a good cross-section of material that he’d recorded and performed live over the years.
5. Has any of Cameron’s family heard the album? Have you received any feedback?
His sister, Jessie, came out to see the Port Hawkesbury show and she was extremely proud, supportive and complimentary. I just received an e-mail this morning from John Allan’s wife Angela and she is excited to see me play in Ontario because she’s heard about the show and the album from Jessie.
Because the release is so new, Angela and Stuart (John Allan’s son) haven’t yet received their copy in the mail but I’m certainly hoping that they’ll appreciate it the final version. Stuart played on the record so he’s already heard most of the material. He said that it gave him chills and he loved it.
Before I got into the project I wanted to make sure that I had Angela and Stuart’s blessings. I’m extremely grateful to the family for letting me into their very personal space.
6. You’re on the road again now. Are you performing mostly Cameron material or are you mixing it up a lot?
The current tour of the Maritimes is a John Allan Tribute concert. I am doing some of my own material as well. It’s funny because I get to be my own special guest on these dates. The tour of Ontario will be mostly my own original material but from now on there will always be a John Allan song played here and there at a Dave show. I think that it’s important to keep these songs going.
7. What song, album or artist have you been listening to most lately?
My good friend Matt Andersen’s Christmas CD that has not yet been released. I’ve had a couple of days off here and there and Matt asked me to help produce his Christmas record so I’ve been working on and listening to that lately. I did go on a Lyle Lovett binge last week though.
8. Tour dates between now and mid-November take you through the Maritimes and Ontario. What’s the plan after that?
I find that if I look too far down the road that I get stressed thinking about all the things that I have to do. There are dates booked as far ahead as this time next year and I’m always picking away at writing here and there. I am looking forward to being home for Christmas and doing some shows locally and spending time with Sara and the boys.
9. And the last time we spoke, you mentioned that your wife was due with child No. 3. I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask how it feels to be a dad three times over …
The little fella’s doing great. His name is Aengus Alexander but we call him Gus. There’s a certain bit of weight knowing that there are three little guys to look after. I’m certainly torn between the road and home.
10. Anything else you’d like to mention?
For a couple of years between 2000 and 2001 I had the pleasure of working with John Allan. He hired me as his bass and guitar player. Every night that I played with him he always featured me half-way though his show getting me to sing a couple of my songs. He was just a great guy and an extremely supportive artist and role model for many others who now follow in his footsteps.
Dave Gunning tour dates:
Oct. 1 Sydney, NS Membertou Trade & Convention Centre
Oct. 2 Antigonish, NS Bauer Theatre
Oct. 3 Amherst, NS Tantramar Theatre
Oct. 5 Liverpool, NS Astor Theatre
Oct. 6 Saint John, NB Blue Olive
Oct. 7 Fredericton, NB Charlotte St. Arts Centre
Oct. 8 Truro, NS Marigold Cultural Centre
Oct. 9 Pictou, NS deCoste Entertainment Centre
Nov. 18 Halifax, NS Casino NS Compass Room