Opening Salvo

Thanks to Caroline Chan or “All the Year Round”, I can welcome you to my new and improved website!  I am most excited to have this opportunity to be “Living Out Loud” a bit and share with all who are interested some of mine and the bands’ musical musings and machinations.  It is here that thoughts, ideas, lyrics and works in progress will be updated on a frequent, or likely, infrequent basis!

My opening salvo – a rumination about The Shiners.  While the name came from my son’s off-the-cuff suggestion, the band has evolved over time and dedication into its own distinctive sound and vibe.  The Shiners are made up of good friends, all hailing from their own distinctive backgrounds, musical and otherwise.

Astrid Foster, with her sweet sweet harmonies and melodic bass lines, comes to us (via Hamburg, Germany) with her solid experience playing in the country western bars of Calgary.  Simon Law lends us his “Funky Ginger” soulful approach that he has fostered these many years as a successful musician and member of his other band, Soul II Soul – as a Shiner he plays drums and keys, creates rhythms, bass lines and gorgeous arrangements for our original tunes and adaptations.  Dr. John is our very own Garth Hudson – the band’s musicologist and multi-instrumentalist, coming up with forgotten keys and creating guitar lines that make the songs sing.  He also plays beautiful keys on some tunes.  And then there is Jonathan Marks, injecting his virtuoso Stephan Grappelli come Mark O’Connor vibe on violin and mandolin.

You’ll have to come to a gig to experience the Shiner’s unique brand of roots music. “He Once” exemplifies – my intimate lyrics and song, finessed with Simon’s gorgeous instrumental melody, exacted by the harmonized duet between the Js’ guitar and mandolin, anchored by the flowing but solid groove of Astrid’s bass, and made even richer by a three-part harmony acapella bridge.  It’s one of my faves, soon to be recorded.

My closing salvo for this first entry – I am thrilled to host a house concert on Valentine’s Day that will feature not only acoustic musical sets from me and the Shiners and my good friend Arlene Bishop, but also from the talented (and visiting) Scottish musician and resident of France, Fraser Anderson. All you have to do is listen to Fraser’s “Rag and Bones,” and the sumptuous bass lines from none other than the great Danny Thompson to know why this is a rare honor and great pleasure.

Hope to see you out at a gig, or at least virtually connect.

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