Kirk is such a stunner. So relaxed. So stylin’
I’ve been doing these little covers lately and I knew Kirk would be such a perfect fit for the vibe I want to set — when we play together Shrinehouse (our Amy Winehouse tribute band), we’re most often found in the corner causing trouble with the other members of the rhythm section.
Kirk showed up to my house for this video with some brownies, some great documentary recommendations and the STRAIGHT CHILLIN acoustic bass you’ll see in the video.
He told me why he picked the song ‘Old Friends’ by Donuts.
[Kirk] “Donuts was a local Toronto band from the mid 2000’s. I first heard this song while my high school ska band was opening for them at the Cathedral. It was my first time seeing live reggae and my first time seeing live music while stoned (sorry mom), I was 16. I picked this song because I play it all the time and it gives me that really good nostalgia.”
Enjoy the vibes and comment if you love Donuts!
I’ve been really loving these collab videos, and one of the first people I asked to join me was my friend Gillian Smith. She’s one of the lovely vocalists in Shrinehouse, the Amy Winehouse Tribute band I’ve been part of for some time now.
Gillian is not only a gifted singer, but she also plays trumpet, and as I learned today, guitar! It was really nice for me to relax and just be a singer on this track while Gillian took care of the chords :p Not to mention, we had a great time just chatting and talking about how we both teach young students. It’s great to connect with other teachers.
Gillian suggested this song by First Aid Kit, the Swedish folk sister duo, and I’m glad she did because the harmonies are BEAUTIFUL. Here’s what Gillian had to say about the song: “I love First Aid Kit because they are sisters, and I learned many of their songs with my own sisters. Their music taught me to harmonize and really listen to those you are making music with. Emma and I chose the song ‘Emmylou’ because of the references to the love stories between musicians that we admire [Emmylou Harris & Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash & June Carter]. Plus the harmonies are beautiful and feel so nice to sing.’
I’ll definitely have Gillian back so I hope you enjoy this pairing!
Love Emma Louise (a.k.a. Emmylou)
BTW, if you’re my friend and want to sing with me, shoot me a message 🙂
Ryan Maguire is a friggin blast guys!
We met at a party in late 2018, and within 5 seconds began improvising songs together – talk about a creative connection! We’ve been playing so much that we decided to learn this really fun, upbeat song that was written and released in October of 2018 by Emily King. Her stuff is really musically interesting and uplifting, so check her out for sure.
THIS SONG IS HARD THOUGH. Ryan and I actually got together to record this on another day, and really loved the result, but just thought the final edit had one too many mistakes in it! The words are fast and rhythmically challenging, and switching between harmonies and melodies while singing with someone else is a feat in itself.
Here’s a shot of us in our first attempt…
Haha, I try hard to make these good for you guys!
Here’s what Ryan has to say about the song: ‘The more we dove in, the more I loved learning the song. It’s very sneaky, super fun and very cleverly written, not to mention funky as hell. I’m so happy we did this collab because I got introduced to a great artist, and had a blast singing and hanging with Emma! It was really nice finding how our voices fit together, this song was great to explore that.’
Thank you Ryan and thanks everything for watching and reading!
Oops, did I do a typo in the title? I meant to say Kate Bush, who is a hugely talented English artist who’s put out nearly a dozen albums since the 1970’s. Wink wink.
When Molly Davis and I decided to collaborate, we almost instantly decided to cover Kate Bush’s iconic 1980’s song ‘Babooshka.’ For me, this song was nostalgic and powerful to record, because it was one of the first songs that I really resonated with as a kid. I didn’t understand why my dad was showing me a video of a woman jumping around with an upright bass in a tight golden suit, but I was into the music that’s for sure. And the song really holds up nearly 40 years later!!!!!
From Molly: “Kate Bush is mind boggling. The music she writes spans from melodic and catchy, to darkly bizarre, to arhythmic chaos, to sci-fi story songs, to deeply emotional love songs… to celtic jigs! She always seems so in control too, something about the way she holds herself that just says gently but firmly “I am here and you will listen.” I’m inspired by her confidence and how that confidence bleeds into her music.”
Back to Emma: This song was also really fun to record because Molly (who fronts the Molly Davis Band, and is a multi-instrumentalist in several other projects) always brings out the trouble-maker in me! She’s so fun. I really love doing skits and playing around with people who make me laugh, so this was an ideal project to record and collaborate on. THANK YOU MOLLY and thank you to my friends who follow this blog – means a lot 🙂
Yesterday as I was going through some computer files, I stumbled upon this song that I completed as part of a production course in my first or second year at york university in 2008/2009. It’s just so crazy to me because at the time I really felt like I was a bad producer – I left the course really comparing myself to others and feeling stuck, like I wasn’t ‘getting it.’ Contrast to yesterday, finding this and just dancing and laughing and really loving this track and being proud of it. I forgot that I’m actually a wicked producer and I want to own that! Hope you enjoy 🙂
LOL, don’t believe me? Check out the full song on my soundcloud!
I just get genuine joy out of singing with cool people, you know?
That’s why I knew I HAD to get Colin in my house to do a lil’ jammity jam. He and I play in several bands together, and when you play with him, it is immediately obvious that he is a rare gem in the Toronto musician community. Not only a technical, high-quality guitarist, but Colin is also the perfect supportive player. He’ll never solo too loud or force his ideas on you – just real honest love and support pouring out of this guy. And if you’re feeling doubtful or nervous (which, c’mon don’t we all feel that way sometimes?), Colin is the guy you go to in order to build you right back up to the best player you could be.
And he sings! What? Dream collaborator ❤
Here’s what Colin had to say about the song!
“Washington Phillips was a man who wrote his own gospel tunes, who played an instrument of his own making, and who promptly vanished into history shortly after recording this remarkable music. The enigma of his music is only deepened by the evident passion and fervor with which he delivered these strange songs of simple faith.”
Here’s our version – enjoy!
Lately I’ve been really excited by the idea of collaborating with other musicians, specifically to record live covers. So naturally, when I was brainstorming who I would most want to work with, Paige Peters, the mega-powerhouse vocalist and founder of the group Shrinehouse (a 7-piece Amy Winehouse tribute band that I play keyboard for) immediately came to mind.
Paige pretty much right away suggested ‘Too Beautiful to be Good,’ a 1968 Franciene Thomas song that I had never heard of before, when I asked her what she would like to sing with me. But once I listened to the song I loved it’s feminist message.
To me, it seems that Franciene is angry that sometimes women who take a lot of pride in their appearance are stigmatized, and often seen as vain, less-than, and empty. I honestly can relate. Many times, even here in the Toronto music scene, men have assumed that I am less capable because I am a woman, because I like fashion, or because I am a singer (and therefore probably not a competent instrumentalist as well). How maddening.
Anyway, I loved the song for that reason, and also for its rich arrangement, complete with horns and flutes.
Working with Paige was so easy considering that we’ve been playing and gigging together for over a year. Once I transcribed the chords, we sorted out our parts and did about 2 run-throughs before recording this version in ONE TAKE. It was so fun. I honestly had tears ROLLING down my face from laughing so hard. This girl is so enigmatic and talented. Whew!
After Paige and I recorded the song, I asked her what her process was coming into the session with me. She said, ‘I’m haunted by Thomas’ voice in the recording, so I tried to emulate it in our version. I had listened to Pink Floyd the night before [we recorded], in particular Clare Torry’s truly Awesome vocal performance in ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’. Clare Torry said she tried to make her voice an instrument for the track she recorded for Pink Floyd, so it inspired me to do the same when emulating the flute part on our cover.”
Hope you enjoy the song!
‘Ello sneaky people!
I haven’t posted in a really really long time. I originally envisioned this website to be in service to my songwriting – and when I put that on the back-burner a year and a half ago, I stopped updating this site. Sorry, duuudes.
But this site is not here just to serve my songwriting, it’s in service of me and my community. THIS WEBSITE IS MY SERVANT. Serve me, peasant!
So, with no real insight other than, YO GUYS I’M STILL ALIVE, and HEY, I HAVE A WEBSTE, I’m feeling like sharing some of what I’ve been up to lately…
1. GOAT SIGHTINGS WITH MUSH AND YUGS
2. GRENADIER POND + AUNTS = PRETTY NICE LIL’ JAUNT
Cutie sunshine High Park sisters. Their cool cuz they have their hands in their pockets.
3. AND LASTLY, HERE’S A SEXY PIC TO KEEP YA GOIN’
So humbling when you open the camera by accident.
Das’ it, peeps.
Here’s a little improvisation I did awhile ago after watching the film Ernest & Celestine. It was a cute little movie that made me feel incredibly peaceful and grateful for the friendships in my life. Improvisation with intention!
On July 1st, 2015, I moved into my first bachelor apartment, eager to begin a new chapter in my life. This wasn’t the only big change in my life – I had also just quit my day job to focus on music, and between that and living alone, I knew I was going to have a lot of time on my hands. So it was with this in mind, that I decided to go without internet at my home for two months. I didn’t want my productivity to be zapped with Facebook scrolling and movies all day. I also wanted an excuse to get out of the house now that I had no roommates. So, here I am, September 1st, my first day at home with Internet, and I think I learned some useful stuff. Here are my top tips:
- Youtubing Justin Bieber on repeat from your phone while you’re unpacking will use up all of your data. In one day.
- Laundromats usually have free Wifi.
- Laundromats have owners that will start to recognize you if you keep going in solely to use their free Wifi.
- A lot of time, when you think you want to go on social media, you really just need a nap.You may be part cat.
- Being bored, lonely, and sad are emotions worth paying attention to. Sometimes we distract ourselves from these when we should put our attention on finding healthy ways to experience and deal with them. For example, calling a friend, working on creative pursuits, learning to calm ourselves through self-talk and relaxation techniques etc… And sometimes when you are distraction-free you realize you might need help outside of yourself like a therapist, coach, mentor or friend.
- When I had to use internet, I needed to make sure I remembered everything or it might not get done until the next day. To counter this, I started writing ‘internet to do’ lists before I left the house. This allowed me to be incredibly intentional about what I was doing online, and realized how unintentional I had previously been.
- That being said, YOU NEED SOME UNINTENTIONAL TIME. Filling a day to the brim with intentionality and productivity is near impossible and hella stressful. Sometimes you need to just chill, bro.
- When you order the cheapest thing on the menu (usually herbal tea) in order to stay for hours at a cafe with free Wifi, TIP HEAVILY.
- The hierarchy of free Wifi, in terms of speed and reliability, is as follows:Starbucks < Library < LAUNDROMAT.
Overall, I learned that it’s not actually a big deal to go without internet. Sure, it was annoying not to be able to answer work emails right away, and be out of the loop on some things, but your real friends will text you and your work can call you. It’s worthwhile to let go of distractions and deal with yourself every once in awhile.
Next month, NO PHONE!
Just kidding ;p