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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Blog Anniversary, and my latest REM column!

Where does the time go?

Today is the 10th anniversary of this blog space, but it seems a bit watered down, given that I have moved much of my online publishing efforts elsewhere. 

I really need to get back here more often than I have been as of late.

To make amends, here a link to a random column from this day in time:

Picking that out of thin air, how did I last 10 years DOING what I was doing?

Well, to atone for THAT travesty of your time, here's a link to my latest humour column in REM, with a link to a reading I did of the piece live:

Hopefully that works a little better for you...


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Life Is Surreal To Say The Least...

You really can't make this up.

As it happens, two of my current writing efforts that circle back to my time spent with Okanagan writer, friend and mentor Dona Sturmanis are out (or will be out) directly around the time of her passing this week. 

That photo is just a snapshot of an old publication she stewarded out of Melvyn's Living Room in Westbank (now West Kelowna), where I started to take courses and generally loiter about as often as I was able to.

A piece that I first read at an event years back in her Peachland home is going to come out shortly in my national real estate column - for the second time.

She howled at that one, and it went on to be my most widely published piece.

The piece comes out shortly in REM (Real Estate Magazine).

As it happens, a gentle and hilarious soul that I came to know there also figures in to a recent piece of mine.

I did a feature on Kelowna author, poet and humour writer Sterling Haynes, which happens to be in the most current issue of Freefall Magazine. 

She may have recently left us, but her work supporting writers continues to bear fruit...

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Discover Dona

Discover: Dona Sturmanis

An award-winning poet, journalist, and feature writer - but above and beyond her own stellar writing career, Dona Sturmanis was a mentor for more writers than I can count - myself included.

Very much dismayed to read this morning that she had passed away, but her son Leif, a chip off the old block to say the least, wrote a magnificent post on Facebook for her world of friends, family and fans.

I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without having met Dona. She was the creative spark that continues to burn to this day...

I'm flying out the door to work, but here's a link to a piece that I posted from a reading she organized - I think at Lois Lane in Kelowna.

Don't let God overwhelm you with assignments Dona....relax a bit now.


Sunday, March 06, 2016

Frank Turner, Northcote and Mo Kenney - Some kind Of Wonderful!

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls
Mo Kenney

MacEwan Hall, Saturday March 6, 2016

Well, unfortunately the pics I snapped for this event didn't turn out sharp enough for formatting into my online Calgary Herald space, so I'll post them here regardless along with a few comments about the show. Great night of outstanding music from Canadian's Mo Kenney, Northcote, and English folkster Frank Turner And The Sleeping Souls.

First off, apologies to all the artists for the low quality images, which do not speak at all to the quality of the work they did onstage last night - what a great blend or music, and the crowd jammed the place to capacity for the gig...

Mo Kenney

Opener Mo Kenney clearly had fans in place as she went through her set - from where we were standing at that point, you could hear folks singing along, and it was a great introduction for anyone not familiar with her catalogue. 

Just a few highlights for me had to have been the wonderful In My Dreams, Sucker For Your Face, and The Happy Song, which she prefaced as a balm for all the sad songs she tends to write. 

Sad maybe, but catch-your-ears for sure lyrically. Her co-write with Joel Plaskett Déjà vu was another  great piece, and her pair of covers (Bowie's Five Years, and Tom Petty's Yer So Bad, which she came out to perform with Northcote) make it no surprise at all to see all the recognition she has garnered.

Matt Goud - Northcote 

Speaking of Northcote, I've been a bit out of the rock scene as of late given my current focus on folk roots and blues, but these fellas sure brought back memories with their bright, no-nonsense set. 

I saw acts like these back when I was the age of most of this audience (to avoid getting carded at the beer garden, I pointed to my hair...), and Northcote doesn't miss with how they do it. This is a group poised for a breakthrough as evidenced by the production team on their latest album, and the demand the group has seen - over 160 shows in 2014!

In particular, songs like the sturdy anthem Hope Is Made Of Steel, A Thousand Nights, and Counting Down The Days all point to these gentleman making a mark, and having legs while they're at it. 

Frank Turner

And your headliner? Well, sweet Maggie on a rock, this Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls act is a special kind of incendiary... 

There was a Celtic band out of Kelowna (Kinship) that I used to think was high energy and in your face. 

Great Big Sea was known to be a bit raucous on occasion.

Frank Turner makes any preconceived notion of "explosive", "volatile", or "combustible" quaint by comparison. The Celtic roots are evident, but the exquisite combinations of buzz, punk and power folk were the catalyst to set this crowd on fire. 

By the time he switched to an electric guitar, it was already clear he could have rocked the house with a ukulele, but the faux track the band apparently works into recent shows featured that aforementioned buzz, and the electric guitar was the appropriate instrument to bring that segment of the show forward.

Frank Turner and (at least one of) The Sleeping Souls

Mandatory sing-a-longs that really required no prompting,  energy that appeared unabated by the time I had to leave, this was the capper on a great evening of folk-based music. 

Certainly not your Grandpa's folk music...