To hear about upcoming shows and recordings by e-mail, send your address to email@example.com
April 2012: Trevor Tchir is now on Twitter, so follow him there for updates on concerts and other happenings. Shows will continue to be posted on this website as well as on Facebook.
October 13: CBC Radio Two's Rich Terfry and Canadian music legend Murray McLauchlan will review Trevor's song "Are We There Yet?" on Drive as part of this year's Song Quest.
I'm excited to be playing the TransCanada Alberta Backstage Series debut concert with my brother, live on CKUA, October 1. Check the "Shows" page for details.
The May tour with my brother, Stephen Tchir, was a lot of fun. Though we have played together in different manifestations for over a decade, this was the first time that we ever toured together. We played Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto, Peterborough, Montreal, and Wakefield (Ottawa area), and were joined by some fine musicians, including Charlotte Cornfield, Peter Webb, Ben Spencer, O'Mally, and Greg Cockerill. Thanks to those who helped make each show special, especially those who found the wonderful room at Chez Le Portugais on short notice when Montreal's Green Room suffered a fire. Cheers, central Canada!
Sky Locked Land was #7 on CKUA's charts for 2009. On a personal note, Kristy and I welcomed our little son, Jasper Tchir, into the world on January 12. Woo hoo!
-Sky Locked Land reached #8 on the Canadian campus radio folk/roots/blues charts, reaching #1 in Lethbridge, and #2 in Guelph and Victoria.
-Thanks to everyone who made the Edmonton area CD release party of Sky Locked Land a success. Musicians who helped me out that night included Stephen Tchir on guitar and mandolin, Michelle Sabourin on violin, Steve Badach on bass, Sean MacIntosh on drums, Catherine Hiltz on trumpet, Mickey Vallee on accordion, and Volya Baziuk with vocals. Scott Franchuk, of Riverdale Recorders, did a great job on sound.
I'm excited to be opening for Wil at the Brixx, next month.
Thanks to See and Vue Magazine for their reviews of the record, and CKUA and CJSR for their radio support. Thanks also to Katherine Duncan of The Key of A, on CBC Radio One.
It's great to have my brother, Stephen Tchir, back playing with the band, after a couple of years in Montreal. Michelle Sabourin also joins the band on violing and harmonies. Good luck to our drummer(s) Dave Meaghre and Allyson Rogers, in their adventures in Winnipeg and Ottawa.
Watch for the Sky Locked Land CD release party, October 10, at Queen Alex Hall, Edmonton.
The CD is now making its way to radio, so if you're a fan of CKUA or CBC, listen out for it. If you have a favourite Canadian university radio station, by all means, request it, because it's there somewhere in their library. If you're a DJ somewhere on planet Earth and don't have the new CD, just let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll send you one.
Sky Locked Land is now available through CD Baby, mail order, or iTunes. Stay tuned to your radios and for the official CD release party in the early Fall. Check out the Myspace page for samples.
Sky Locked Land has just been mastered by Joao Carvalho and will soon be released.
Stephen Tchir returns from Montreal for a week this month, so for those in Edmonton, come join us at the Black Dog Freehouse Feb. 28, 4pm, with Jeff Stuart. Also, I'll be playing with Jesse Dee and Scott Cook at the Blue Chair, Feb. 26. We've also booked a Blue Chair show for June 3 with Montreal's Charlotte Cornfield.
"Athabasca," from Wooden Castles Fall, has been licensed to Oscar nominated documentary director Leslie Iwerks' new film Downstream. Watch for it this year.
I'm happy to be back in the studio, working with Terry Tran at Riverdale Recordings in Edmonton. We're currently tracking an LP featuring some great supporting musicians, including Stephen Tchir on guitar, Pierre Chretien on organ (Soul Jazz Orchestra), Mickey Vallee on accordion, Shannon Johnson on violin, Lane Arndt on guitar, Steve Badach on bass, Allyson Rogers on drums, Al Bragg on pedal steel, Pete Webb doing backup vocals, and Bramwell Park on banjo and backup vocals. We're having a lot of fun and hope to have the record out by the end of the year.
It was a fantastic summer in Europe. Thanks to Mika Vember for sharing an exciting show at Cafe Carina in Vienna. I hope to release a record some time near the end of '08. The Trevor Tchir Band has seen some changes recently, with Stephen Tchir off to Montreal to pursue jazz studies at Concordia, and drummer Allyson Rogers off to the Banff Centre of the Arts. Steve Badach, Mickey Vallee and I are playing as an acoustic trio for this year's live shows. Our first is coming up at the end of the month.
Just got back from a super trip out East - some time in Cape Cod with family, then Amherst to give a paper at a conference on contemporary Marxism, then an exciting week in NYC, staying in Greenwhich Village with an old friend. Got to play a short set at the Nightingale Pub in the East Village, visit some of the old folk music haunts of the 60's, skate on my birthday in central park (thanks Mr. Trump), and drink a few too many at the Great Lakes Pub in Brooklyn. Checked out the weekly jazz orchestra at the Village Vanguard, an amazing Dixieland group at Arthur's Pub, and countless marching bands during the NYC Hallowe'en Parade. Not to mention seeing Jagr and Briere trade goals at MSG. Even got some good work in at the Hannah Arendt archives at the New School for Social Research. A memorable week. Then it was to Ottawa to visit some old friends - got to play again with the Souljazz Orchestra boys, John Carroll, Purple, Pete Webb, Lindsay Ferguson...it's always fun going back. Thanks to Roz MacPhail for initiating what turned into a really enjoyable gig with my band and Jeff Stuart at the Sidetrack upon my return. I've been trying out some new songs and playing more with a new accordian player, Mickey Vallee, who really adds to our sound. Check him out soon! Until next time...
During my recent tour across Canada, I've kept a log of my experiences. Here it is, starting from the most recent, and final, entry.
This will be my last entry - on the Alberta leg of the tour. I was really happy to have Pete Webb stay with us in Edmonton. He drove for over 30 hours straight and made it to Whyte Avenue with an hour to spare before we took to the Blackdog stage. We played our tunes back and forth, like we used to in the basement bar at the Royal Oak on Laurier in Ottawa, but this time for the first time in my home province. Thanks to those at the Dog for giving Pete (and me) such a warm welcome. My brother Steve joined us for a couple songs wearing his Oilers jersey - we played just before game 6, the most fun for an Oilers fan. I performed a number I wrote after Pisani’s game 5 overtime winner, giving kudos to the hometown hero and complaining about the police state in my neighbourhood that seems to occur whenever men strap on skates as late as June. Some nights later, out at Mr. and Mrs. Tchir’s place in St. Albert, Pete and I had the pleasure of jamming with Gordie Matthews, who lives nearby, while Bramwell and the Leftovers rehearsed downstairs. Thanks for a fun night of music, Gordie, and thanks to the house hosts for making room for music as always! Soon after, Pete and I drove down the Queen E to play the Vat in Red Deer. Great sound system, and a large room with cool paintings all around. The small but enthusiastic crowd were all Cape Bretoners, it seemed, which was fine by me, missing the East already. We continued to Calgary for two nights of music. First, we shared a bill at A Bar Named Sue with the very talented Jesse Rivest, who recently toured Australia and who put the show together. Pete and I felt right at home in the bar, decorated with homages to Johnny Cash & Clint Eastwood, and wrapped in chicken wire all around. Thanks to the bartender, Sam, for getting up with us at the end of the night on lap slide. Next day, I walked to the Calgary Zoo, said hello to the hippos, the little gremlin monkeys, and the owls that always win our staring contests. That night we played Karma to a very friendly crowd, a perfect wrap-up to the tour. Thanks to Andrew, Neil, and Steph for having me!
I don’t feel as though this tour has tired me out, but rather think I’ve caught the travelling and playing bug. I look forward to some more frequent regional loops, and, just maybe, another large go in a year or so, or maybe after the next album is done - I’ve had too much fun catching up with old friends, making new ones, and seeing this beautiful and varied country to wait too long until next time. If you wonder whether any songs have come from this, there’s one so far, and I think a few more to come... Here are the working lyrics from the first harvest:
Hearts of Avalon
I spent my last wet hours between the Ship and the Rose
All of Water Street it picked up the bill
I Staggered lushed and alone up Battery Road
Felt like sailing off of Signal Hill
My darling stirred from our bed, kept her tears, held my head
St. Christopher impatient at the door
When the jet plane left behind all my blood and best of kind
I felt helpless and hardened to the core
chorus: So keep my fiddle tuned and the pictures in our room
I won’t be away too long
These thick McMurray sands, no they can’t console a man
With his heart back in Avalon
These Atlantic prairie bars, they only go so far
Selling exile requests from pay to pay
How I long for Sonny’s song and the sneak preview dawn
That rises half the night and half the world away
I’ve been saving like a dam, but they drain you where they can
And I’m as dry as this sky-locked land
But that’s a secret that I keep when the payphone pauses creep
And still I swear I’ll be with her when I can
June 14, 2006
I’m back home in Edmonton, getting ready for the Albertan leg of the tour, and looking back on an unforgettable stay in Newfoundland. I left off just before my first Friday night out: June 2. I started the night at Erin’s Pub with my fiddle friend from the Nostalgica days, Evelyn Osborne. The traditional Newfoundland music session was in full swing, including the squeeze box, which I found out is one of the most important instruments in Newfoundland. Last year, they set the world record for most people playing them at the same time in one place. You can buy Accordian Revolution T-Shirts with the Green, White, and Pink Newfoundland Republican flag on them. Erin’s Pub also impressed me with their rationalization, their perfection of the art of drinking, with padded leather head cushions on the wall over the men’s urinals! After a walk up to the Battery to meet some local musicians, it was back downtown to the famous Ship Pub, where I enjoyed a set by the Idlers, a great new Reggae band. This show and the trip in general exploded any idea I might have had that St. John’s music was purely about traditional Newfoundland Irish music - the Reggae, funk, punk, and rock is very strong, and it’s being played everywhere. Everyone seems to play, and there’s no need for extensive enterntainment rag listings - you just walk downtown and check out the posts, then hop to the venues you want to hit that night. Pretty refreshing. On Sunday, June 3, I visited Terry Parson’s CHMR radio show, The Songwriters, played some live tunes, and chatted about the song as a medium of preserving local lore. Terry’s been at it for 29 years, has an impressive record collection, and has interviewed some of the greats. It was a pleasure being on his show. That night I didn’t expect to go out, but headed to the Rose & Thistle open stage, which to my surprise was being hosted last-minute by the great Ron Hynes, one of the best english language songwriters, period. Seeing him at the Edmonton Folk Festival years ago gave me the idea in the first place of some day getting to St. John’s to hear him play at the Ship or Rose, an idea which later developed into the notion of me playing these venues myself. And there he was, at the Rose. I absorbed his set intently, then was honoured to take the stage after him for a set of my own. My friend asked him if he was ever tired of playing Sonny’s Dream, the now famous tune covered in dozens of languages, by many singers, including Emmylou Harris. “No”, he replied, “it’s been so good to me...I love playing it.” On the wall of the Rose was a framed print of the song’s lyrics. There’s a local film made about Hynes’ trip to Ireland, where people were surprised to hear it was not a traditional tune, but rather written by the Newfoundlander standing before them. Now that’s a song with legs. Monday, my friend and I headed to Trinity, a beautiful port about 3 hours north on the Avalon Peninsula. Shipping News and Random Passage were filmed there. Never mind that we watched the horrific Game 1 Oilers collapse in Trinity - the rest of the stay there was beautiful. Quiet ocean inlets, wild moose and horses, sound of loons and swelling waves. Wet, cool air. Tuesday, we walked the Skerwink trail, one of the most breathtaking hikes I’ve ever done. From high on the rock peninsula, the view of open sea is preluded by towering sea stacks, visible through cliff-edge Tuckamore tree windows. We next visited Kerley’s Harbour, one of the hundreds of Newfoundland coves where old fishing villages had been resettled, completely upended and moved, to larger serviceable centers in the 1960s. The still waters of the cove are met by the still silence of the ghost settlement - wooden houses gradually crumble to the mossy floor. We tour numerous outports, where once bustling cod wharfs now quietly decay, the remaining houses of some ports now owned largely by American summer visitors, the economy sustained by tourism, complete with theatre troops representing the old way of life of the ports, before the moratorium. Before heading back to St. John’s, we stop at the St. Paul Anglican church, an impressive wooden structure, adorned inside by plaques commemorating loved ones lost to war or to the sea, a dusty Union Jack, and colourful stained glass of crosses and anchors. Outside, the parish tombs, rubbed dull by salt wind and spotted by orange lichen, lean backwards from the harbour - some have leaned since the late 1700s. That night, June 7, I played the Ship Pub, hosted by the St. John’s Folk Council. It was a great turnout and I was honoured to play the room, most especially to share the tune Wildmere, a song about Easterners forced to leave their family behind to pursue financial opportunity in the Albertan oil patch. I learned something important about respect for one’s audience this trip, most especially if a song touches on the realities of that region. I feel like writing more about the island’s exodus, but it’s something that demands time and care, not to be trivially undertaken. You can smell a rush job a mile away. Thursday, I played the S.S. Meigle Lounge in Seal Cove, Conception Bay South, a bar owned by Terry Parson’s family, in tribute to the ship that their father engineered for many years. Thanks to all who put that show together! Friday was the first sunny day since I arrived in Newfoundland. I walked down to the harbour, a place of great political activity over 500 years, where some of the first European governance in the new world was negociated or fought over. I then made my way up Water street to the Battery, a collection of small wooden houses that grow like barnacles to the rock cliffs above the harbour. Narrow, winding alleys. Old war forts below. I passed the narrows, with Fort Amherst across the way, and continued up the trail toward the eastern tip of Signal Hill. Waves crashed at the foot of the steep cliffs. I reached the edge and stoof before the blue sea...three ships climbed the slope on the last hours of their trans-Atlantic trips. I tried to absorb the colour, the space, the sound, the sun, and the wind. I tried to conceive the vast distance between where I stood and the next solid land, as well as the huge distance I’d come since Edmonton, by bus, car, or ship. A jet plane shot out from behind the hill, and 24 hours later I found myself in that jet, leaving the Avalon below. In the quick climb to the clouds, I took in the entirety of St. John’s and its harbour, where life and music abounds. Right before my eyes, the rocky arms of the peninsula stretched out to their sea, as they have for millenia. Months ago, when the idea for the tour was an inkling, I saw a drawing of these arms in an atlas, but now here they were. I travelled by land and water for six weeks across Canada, playing just under 20 shows, then saw St. John’s harbour, the Halifax airport bar, the Toronto skyline, the Sleeping Giant of Lake Superiour, and green Albertan farm squares in a single day as I shot back across my steps in a flying metal tube. I still don’t know what to make of this.
June 2, 2006
Hello from St. John's, Newfoundland! Halifax wrapped up with as much fun and newness as it began. I was thrilled to see the Oilers wrap up the series against Anaheim, albeit in a strange environment. I was one of two people (Edmontonians away from home) watching the game on a little screen in the corner of a cavernous Barrington Street bar called the Oasis, where the other 500 patrons were screeming at Ultimate Championship Fighting. The last five minutes of the game, including the heartstopping too-many-men and delay-of-game calls, Roloson's no-rebound saves, and our ultimate zone clears, all happened between fights, so folks did count down the Canadian team victory in the end. Nothing like Whyte, I imagine. I turned to the other Edmontonian and told him about my tour. He didn't seem interested. He was the only Westerner in his regiment, one that would leave for the Gulf next week. It's like that all over Halifax (perhaps especially at the Oasis) where the people of the Forces are very much in the town itself, and the reality of their missions and how it affects their lives and families is more readily communicable to the civilians who share the city's space. It's a little different from CFB Edmonton, near Namao, whose relatively short distance from the core of the city seems to me now like a large, artificial buffer. We were two Edmontonians in Halifax watching the Oilers make their first trip to the Cup Final since the years when we were too young to appreciate it, but aside from this shared moment, the essential difference in our 'tours' made a marked impression on me. Sunday, my friends Catherine and Simon took me out on a sunny day to Lunenburg, where I saw the Bluenose II, and then to Peggy's cove, an experience in the awesome power of the sea. We stopped at Mahone Bay for fish and chips, then back to Halifax in time for sound check. It was fun sharing the bill with someone as talented as Amelia - I don't get to hear her often, so it was such a treat. I stuck around an extra day, Monday, when my Navy friend Rob put his boat in the water out at Eastern Passage, then took me out for a cruise around the Halifax Harbour, around Point Pleasant Park, where much of the hurricane damage occured, and into the Northwest Arm. Got to pass the historic Pier 21, where many initially set foot on Canadian soil. Drove out to the Halifax explosion memorial, from which you can see where it occured, through a path of trimmed trees. The dammage to the north end back in 1917 was impossible for me to imagine before seeing this area, and the devastation truly was huge. Thanks to Rob and Lindsay for a great evening of BBQ and song afterwards. Ended the night at Tribeca, just late for Old Man Luedecke (shoot!), a terrific banjo man who plays the Ship the week after me. I hope to make it back to Halifax soon! The bus ride to North Sydney, Cape Breton Island, was beautiful. The Cape is a land of lush hills, amazing ocean vistas, and blue rivers and lakes. Got to meet some locals on the voyage (hi Jess and Kyle), including a young man from Port Hawkesbury (just across the Strait of Canso) who now lives on Whyte Avenue. Watched Buffalo and Carolina game six at the Bottom's Up bar, where I was the only patron. I could of sworn I was at the Quinte Hotel, but there was no one else to bleed red flowers, and the yellow flowers were fresh. Stayed at the Alexandria B&B, then rented a car and drove out to Louisbourg. I'd studied Louisbourg and its historic place in the early 18th century battle for the New World, especially in the French immersion system with its emphasis on the history of Nouvelle France, so it was meaningful to experience. One fifth of the original town has been restored, and the main building still stands, with its canons fixed on ocean approaches, its chapel depicting the fixed authoritative order of God-Angels-King Louis, its filthy jail cell immediately across the hall from the chapel, the decadent Governor's quarters, and the humble unmarried officers' quarters. From the fort, you can see across the harbour to the point of the first ever lighthouse in Canada. I made my way back to North Sydney by way of the town Main-A-Dieu (Hand of God), whose cemetary sits at the edge of the open sea. An hour later I was on the Caribou, a passenger ferry who, along with the Joseph and Clara Smallwood, make the six hour crossing from North Sydney to Port-Aux-Basques, Newfoundland. I'd never been out so far at sea as to not see any land, so the experience was an impressive one. The water was calm, the horizon marked continuously by a white line of fog, and I spotted two small whales. The Rock was visible as one dark line, two hours before we arrived. We reached the harbour town just as the sun set, painting looming cliff silhouettes to the west of the town. The Caribou stopped and pulled an impressive reverse park, given the narrow space it had. After dropping off my bags at the Heritage House (thanks Anne!), I went for a few bottles of Black Horse and an inaugural shot of Screech at the nextdoor pub. The only other patrons were workers on the ship who'd just completed their two-week shift in its belly, and were lightening their heads before their night time passage back home to Cape Breton. They were all exhausted. In the morning, I started a rainy 13-hour bus ride across the Rock. I enjoyed it despite the length, as it is my last bus trip of the tour. No lost luggage yet. The scenery just north of Port-Aux-Basques, and then surrounding Cornerbrook, is outstanding. The Table Mountains remind me of those between Riviere-du-Loup and Rimouski - flat topped, long, looming, and lush. Fresh water lakes sit at the foot of these Mountains, however. My uneducated impression of Newfoundland as treeless was shattered by a day's worth of mixed forest. We roared into St. John's in the dark; the driver must have had a pregnant wife to get to on those wet roads - I wasn't the only one hanging on to the seat rail for false security. I was happy to step off the bus, and especially happy for the quick night time tour of downtown. This morning, my friend Greg and I visited Signal Hill and its ruins of the old soldier watering hole at the edge of the world. From there, you can see the fog-capped Eastern-most point in the hemisphere, as well as the narrows and basin of St. John's harbour, where ships of all stripes, including German U-Boats in WW2, have paid their visits over the years. On the heights of Signal Hill, I thought about how I'm closer now to Dublin then to Winnipeg, a dizzying thought, having played in Winnipeg and stood at Riel's grave just weeks and shows ago. Greg and I walked around the hilly and colourful downtown, made a stop at Fred's Records to pick up some Sherry Ryan, Mark Bragg, and Ron Hynes, then stuffed ourselves with Fish and Chips, Lemon pie, and Birch Beer at Ches's. I'm resting for my first Friday night out in St. John's - wish me luck...
May 27, 2006
Great 24 hours in Halifax. My friends from Ottawa now living here, Catherine, Simon, and Ron, showed me a cool time last night at Rogue's Roost and Tom's Havana Cafe. They say Keith's tastes like it should here. Personally, I enjoyed Garrison's. This morning, relieved to not be suffering from said Garrison's, I had the genuine pleasure of being a guest on Bev Lamb's 21 year running CKDU radio show, Touchstone. If you'd like to hear what we talked about or played, you can go to ckdu.ca, where the show is archived. Isn't that an awesome way to revolutionize radio? Whisper the podcasters: "We know." We talked about the tour, what went into the recordings, Smithsonian Folkways, Holger and the Albertan folk music community, Bill Bourne, the Rheostatics, Canadian politics... he asked me what I thought of Harper...on air... Anyone touring out to Halifax - Bev's show is a must and he's really willing to have us on! Great radio man. It's funny - I didn't have breakfast or even coffee before the show, so if you do hear the repeat broadcast online, forgive me for my flubbing up of "Knowing You're Alright" in one of those "where am I ?" performance moments. After the show, my friend and I headed to Halifax Harbour and Stayner's Wharf, where I tasted the Maritime rival to Creemore Springs, a delicious ale called Propeller Extra Special Bitter, brewed right in town. I later visited the brewery to pick up a bottle, and it was conveniently located beside the best record store in town, recommended by Bev, Taz Records. This place has a huge collection of rare 33s and 45s. I picked up 33s of Johnny Cash: Mean As Hell - Ballads From the True West; Stompin' Tom Connors: Souvenirs; Traveling Wilburys: Volume 1; and Doc Watson: On Stage featuring Merle Watson. After feverishly postering Barrington street for tomorrow's show, I met up with my old friend Amelia Curran (check out her music through the links page) at the old Academy building, right by the Halifax Citadel, where she's been recording her latest album in a top floor loft room over the past month. She had recruited twenty or so of her musical friends from the city to help her out on a singing track. The vibe was fun and friendly - I can't help think that the Edmonton, Ottawa, and Halifax crowd would love eachother. After a way too expensive pint on Barrington, here I sit...and the Oil one game away from the dance!
May 26, 2006
Hello from Halifax. Just completed a six shows in six days run, so I haven't been by the computer much lately. It was a wet ride from Guelph to Montreal, but an exciting night of music and poetry at Casa Del Popolo once I got there. Thanks to Alex, Ben, and Darren for a great couple of days. The poetry featured performances by Sean McGarragle, John Sobol, and Taqralik Partridge, with Fortner Anderson hosting. I followed up with a short set of music - I always enjoy playing for poets. In the morning, I enjoyed my usual Montreal favourites, coffee at Cafe Olympico, smoked meat at Schwartz, and a hot bagel at the Bagel Shop on St. Viateur. Then, I took the drive down St. Urbain, whose landmarks tell an important chapter from the book of English Canadian Literature. I walked to Depanneur Cafe in Mile End and played an afternoon show - great patrons and atmosphere. Then, I enjoyed a black pepper beer at a nearby pub with my old friend Zosha - thanks to her and David for putting me up. This show was the first of three in which I introduced the tunes in french and sang in english, something I'd recommend to anyone who feels like playing through la Belle Province. It was a fun way to put my years of french immersion to use. It felt just a little peculiar to use la belle langue to explain the exploits of Ukrainian Albertain moonshine makers. I wonder how much was lost in translation. A town like Montreal, though, she's heard it all... After hopping on the Orleans Express up to Quebec City, I checked into the Auberge international de la jeunesse in old Quebec. I visited the CBC radio headquarters on St. Jean, then walked up to the Citadel and les Plaines d'Abraham, the theatre of Wolfe and Montcalm. Visited some old churches, including the first stone one in New France, the Chateau Frontenac, the old Quebec Chamber of Commerce, and the French Consulate. Though very touristy now, this part of the country is a historical and aesthetic must see. I played an early set at Peter Farrell's charming Irish pub, Nelligan's (named after the young, crazy, Quebec poet) on St. Jean street. Peter is a dedicated and crafty publican, enthusiastic about bringing more music to the city. I recommend his venue to anyone (especially singing English tunes) who want to play there. My set was followed by a killer improvised traditional Irish and Quebecois jam, amplified by tube mics hanging from the ceiling. I took in the jam from the bar, getting to know very warm locals (thanks Veronique, Pierre-Lou, and Eric), trading stories from our homelands, learning that the word St. Lawrence 'river' is a petty understatement, and continuing on my Boreale binge. I got up for one more three song set and was joined by a great piano player, and Martin, the old fiddler from La Bottine Souriante. I tried Wind At Water's Edge, Helene, and Ivan Wassam out on the crowd. Got up early and had a breathtaking bus ride to Rimouski. Green, rolling countryside to the south, and impressive mountain cliffs to the north, lining the Fleuve. One can barely see the other shore. Catholic church spires and old farm houses spotting the road-side. And finally, sunshine, a good omen. Jean Marc Robichaud from Radio-Canada Bas St. Laurent showed me around town, which is gorgeous. Then it was off to the studio for some live playing and discussion with host Lyse Bonenfant and Susan Woodfine, who helped put the concert together along with Heritage Lower St. Lawrence, which promotes English cultural activies in the region. The radio spot was a lot of fun. Thanks to these folks, as well as Josee Bouchard for everything. The concert was at la Grande Salle du Paradis (if only I could play all my shows at venues with such promising names). It's an old converted theatre, with high ceilings and bronze coloured stage curtains. I had a great time playing for those who made the trip from around the region to be at the show. Thanks to Carole and Nadia for hosting at le Paradis! I'll be sure to return to Rimouski. The bus trip from there to the New Brunswick border, through the Metapedia region, was surreal. First, I was way over tired, slipping in and out of sleep. Second, the land was amazing - mountains thick with lush growth, rock cliffs, beautiful rivers and lakes, and small, colourful towns around every corner, in every valley. My interest in various church architecture was peaked on this leg of the trip. There were old cemetaries announced by graphic, black stone crucifixes. It's strange, I thought, that I'd never heard of this beautiful stretch of land. Of course, in English Canada we know very little about the Quebec landscape, for the most part. I feel lucky to have gone far past Quebec City, to meet some of the warm people there, and affirm, in my mind, the title of la Belle Province. The mountains end at New Brunswick. It's a flatter, yet equally lush land of lakes, rivers, and farms. Stayed with great people in Moncton and enjoyed a day off. Got to unwind by the Petitcodiac river. Thanks Chris and Allyson, and husky dog Mook, for a great evening. The rain returned in Nova Scotia, my first time here. I was struck by how the land just north of the Springhill mine area, along the main highway, reminded me so much of the land north of Edmonton. To my untrained eye, the tree mix and lilt of the hills are similar to the ride up to Lesser Slave Lake from E-Town. Maybe I'm just home sick. I was woken from the comparision by a Jack Pine rising far above the shorter, thinner trees. Right, we're still east of Falcon Lake...
May 20, 2006
Since last update, I've played a couple of shows in Pete Webb's old stomping grounds, namely Stratford and Guelph. Stratford is a beautiful little town on the Avon river and we got to jam with many of Pete's friends at the Boar's Head Pub at the Queen's Inn. Thanks to bassist Jeff Laughton for putting me up. An unexpected bonus to the Stratford stop was recording a new version of Pete's song 'Sister' at the Swamp studio just outside of town. What an amazing studio, in terms of vibe, sound, and atmosphere. Pete sang and played guitar, Jeff played bass, and I played harmonica and backup vocals. It should be out in a few months, in time for our Alberta leg together. We drove to Guelph in the evening yesterday, after the session, and shared a bill with Brian Dunn at Jimmy Jazz, downtown. Got to walk up to the Cathedral that frames the city, look for my mother's old apartment downtown from her Guelph U days, and then make it back for Pete's opening set. I got to hear Brian for the first time and really enjoyed his set. I finished up the evening, playing until after 2am to a good listening crowd. Thanks to Tim for having me there, and for stopping the guy on the street from stealing my Creemore pint from through the window at the back of the stage. Off to Montreal today. Cheers.
May 16, 2006
Writing from Toronto... Had a wonderful last few days in Ottawa and now here. It was exciting to play for the Nostalgica Cafe crowd on Friday, May 12. It was a packed party, and a late night as usual at the Cafe. Pierre Chretien brought out his melodica, while Pete Webb sat in on bass, so a planned solo gig turned into somewhat of a preview for Saturday's Zaphods show. The Zaphods show, with Pete opening, was a highlight of the tour for myself so far. Thanks to all who came out, including old Dunvegan friends - thanks to Tom Stewart for the great sound - and especially thanks to all the musicians who joined me on stage: Pierre Chretien on organ and melodica, Steve Patterson on sax, Phil Lafreniere on drums (these three from Soul Jazz Orchestra), Pete Webb on bass, John Carroll on lap slide, and Neil Gerster and Lindsay Ferguson on backup vocals. I have so much fun playing with these people. We taped the show and might put something up on the site soon. Had a fun time after at the Laff - thanks Tom and Jordan. My week in Ottawa was a memorable and emotional homecoming. I'll miss my friends there.
Drove to Toronto with Pete on highway #7, which is much more scenic than #401, through some beautiful country. The farms are impressive, especially considering how much clearing of old growth trees had to be done years back for anything to grow. While there's a lot of country between towns along the #7, it's not wilderness in the sense of Northern Ontario, but rather humanized, worked, cultivated property, almost the whole way. It made me think of Purdy's poem "The Country North of Belleville." We had a great time playing the in-the-round style show at the Tranzac, especially hooking back up with former Ottawan from Readable Ink, James Turner, and his drummer Christian Ivangelics. The Tranzac atmosphere and patrons are great - real music fans - many of whom play around town themselves. Thanks to all my old friends who came out for the show. In the morning, Pete (who has just moved to T.O.) showed me some of the city. The day included breakfast on a College street patio, visiting great record stores, meat shops and head shops in Kensington Market, and running into formerly Edmonton-based singer-songwriter Ben Sures over coffee. Pete and I returned to the Tranzac last night for the open stage, which was one of the best I've ever been to. Got to meet and hear talents like David Celia, Michael Laderoute, and Lucie Idlout, who were all fantastic. I played Smoky Lake Moon and Georgie. Thanks to James Turner who was right when he said that Tranzac shares much of the same spirit of Nostalgica. Having a great time.
May 11, 2006
In the Byward Market this morning, cement laying Senator fans pick fights with a cyclist wearing a black and red helmet and a Buffalo Sabre jersey announcing SATAN. The city is sore from last night's loss. Glad to see the Oil making it respectable, though. I haven't checked out that much hockey, however, with so many old friends playing here in town this week. Part of my tour, then, has been about listening. The triple bill in Hull was great, as was the trio of John Gilles, Phil Lafreniere, and Steve Patterson at Nostalogica Cafe on Tuesday - Phil and Steve and producing amazing music down in Mexico these days, but are joined by John when in Ottawa, producing a great mix of American traditional and Latin sounds and rhythms. Another John - John Carroll was entertaining last night at the legendary Chateau Lafayette. If you're ever in Ottawa, he plays every Wednesday. Check out his great album on his site, which you can find through this site's Friends page. John is the real deal urban troubador - I met him when he played every day in the Byward market on his steel guitar. His songs are colourful, set in the deepest rhythmic pockets of American country, blues, and mountain music, and his between song hysterics add an important element of the absurd that great songwriter/perfomers need be tuned in to. My friend Pete Webb, also tuned in, returns to town today - can't wait to play with him again. We'll both be at the old Nostalgica open stage tonight, which Carroll now hosts, but I'm excited too to later cross town and finally hear my old friends Soul Jazz Orchestra at their new Babylon home. Take care!
May 8, 2006
It's sure great to be back in my other home town and playing with and for old friends. Thanks to everyone who came out to the Manx last night. It was fun playing bass with Purple again and testing out some new tunes on familiar ears. It was also great to drink my favourite beer in the world (a cold pint of Creemore Springs at the Manx) for the first time in a year. Man, Creemore has to get to Edmonton, somehow! And they're not even paying me to write this - I could only wish! Had a great day yesterday driving up to the Gatineau hills in Craig's 1969 yellow VW bus, then canoeing in his restored 1910 wooden beauty in a shield lake. This morning, I'm enjoying being back in the Byward Market, where everything is so filled with life - where people produce, trade, appear, and meet day and night. Every city needs a place like this. I think it's fitting that Parliament overlooks this place, or that this place keeps an eye on Parliament.
I was lucky enough to catch a killer show at the Rainbow here on Saturday - Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, and Fats Kaplan - just awesome. Earlier, I got to hear a show that I came to Ottawa especially early in the tour for - the legendary Lucky Ron's 4pm Saturday show at the Chateau Lafayette. If you're ever in Ottawa, he's a must. He's in better form than ever after 20 years of spreading the Lucky word and the crowd was just as crazy as I remember...maybe more. I think that given Lucky Ron's show and the Blackdog Freehouse Hair of the Dog series in Edmonton, it seems to me that 4pm on Saturdays is the perfect time for a show. It also felt good to be in my old stomping grounds at Cafe Nostalgica. Tonight, a bunch of us are checking out a fellow Edmonton folk singer, Melissa Majeau, who is playing the Manx - then it's across the river to Hull to see Melissa Laveaux, Kevin Grant, and Patricia Rodi Aux Quatres Jeudis. Haven't been there in years!
May 6, 2006
It's wonderful being back in my central Canadian home of Ottawa for a week, catching up with old friends and playing some shows. Nice to set the suitcase down for a few days, after a frantic week on and off the bus. Thanks to Loplop's in the Soo, and all who came out. To Kristy's family - I had a great time! Put up posters on Queen Street in the Soo and noticed that they're tearing down the Memorial Gardens, where #99 became #99 as a Greyhound. Tearing down the Gardens again. The bus ride from the Soo to Ottawa was made more enjoyable by sharing a seat with Rae Spoon, who's also on tour this month. Nice to run into a fellow touring musician during a busy week. The bus driver in Sudbury almost sent by luggage to T.O., so a word to Greyhound travellers who don't want to buy new music equipment or clothes every city - always watch and see your suitcase through!! It's pretty and humid and warm in Ottawa - looking forward to checking out the Lucky Ron show this afternoon, then playing one of the best pubs in the country tomorrow at the Manx.
May 4, 2006
Thanks to all in Thunder Bay (especially, Ryan, Mignon, and Helene) for their hospitality and interest in the show at the Apollo on May 2. I just love that room, and Sheila, the manager, has her artistic mind and heart all in the right place. Great sound from Graham, too. Thanks to Heather MacLeod at the CBC for our interview and our spot following the Harper budget review show. Heather and I met at Calico's, a great new cafe just beside the Hoito. I got to do a really fun spot as well at Lakehead University's new radio station CILU, in a great little house with awesome natural light, right on Oliver. I was Dave's guinea pig, recording my new tunes Wildmere and Georgie on his new mixer, then playing them minutes later on the show Jen's Bent. Thanks to Dave, Jen, and Jason at the station. It's fun to see what a station has to do when they're in the process of setting up their new digs.
Didn't get to see the Sleeping Giant for the fog. In fact, didn't get to see much of anything from Thunder Bay to Wawa, when it finally cleared up. I did see the Winnie the Pooh statue in White River where he's from, putting his concrete honey between me and the fog. One bad part about bus travel is that you can't stop if you want to visit your favourite parts of a certain stretch of road. For instance - Old Woman Bay past Wawa should be a prescribed stop and full breath of lake air for everyone travelling the #1, but we just kept on past. It should be a stop, that is, if it wouldn't cause heaps of trash to pile up, something that does happen everytime a Greyhound stops anywhere scenic, I found. Old Woman Bay is one of the most breathtaking places in our country, hands down. Then, to make it worse, we passed right by one of her competitors, Agawa Bay and its pictographs, another can't-miss. To anyone who knows about this spot and is a Canadian poetry fan, I at least made sure to listen to Al Purdy's take on it on my headphones a couple times as we passed. Got some nice shots out the window of signature northern pines, like the kind that end up on debut albums entitled Greatest Hits by famous Canadian rock bands. Looking forward to tonight's show at Loplop's in the Soo. Take care for now!
May 2, 2006
Finally on the road! It's funny to be celebrating the Oilers first playoff series win in many years from Thunder Bay, but I'll take it. Do Leaf fans ever cheer for the Oilers?
Well, thanks to K.L., my folks, and my brother Steve for joining me for the Saskatoon and Winnipeg shows. We had a great time playing at Cafe Vivant - thanks to Shannon for her hospitality. If anyone is in Saskatoon, check out this venue for its great retro furniture, picture window, and awesome borscht. The audience in Saskatoon was very warm - I look forward to including this stop on my next Western trip. Got to see some very cool old Ukrainian Greek Orthodox churches along the way, eat perogies in Yorkton at Grumpy's, and teach K.L. how to shoot darts at Lydia's on Broadway in Saskatoon.
Winnipeg was fun too. Thanks to Val and Tom for their kindness. Steve bought an old black accordian at the biggest flea market in town, while I picked up a 1974 WHA Winnipeg Jets booster magazine featuring the all their first European players, plus a couple copies of a vinyl "On est les boss!" by Les Louis Boys au Festival du Voyageur from St. Boniface, 1976. I'll give one copy to my old organ buddy, Pierre Chretien. Speaking of Louis, we visited Riel's grave at the St. Boniface Cathedral, a beautifully restored church front overlooking the Red River, which I was happy to see wasn't flooding just yet. We also made it to the Red River book store in the Exchange, peeked in the Royal Albert Arms Hotel, and parked across from the Burton Cummings Theatre. K.L. calls Winnipeg the Montreal of the West. We had fun at the Academy gig - which has a great sound system and nice atmosphere. No one even complained when we shut off the big screen to start our show, despite it being the third period of the Canadians game. Is this a sign of Winnipeg hockey resentment or Winnipeg music enthusiasm? Hmmm... We just loved Marcel Desilets' set so please check out his site and enjoy!
Outside Winnipeg, I crossed the sign marking Canada's longitudinal center. Then, later, by Falcon Lake, I decided that that area was the real longitudinal center of this country. In a span of two minutes' drive, you see your first swimmable lake from Highway 1, Group of Seven pines emerge, and so does the first exposed granite. Prairie meets Shield. The rock islands in the lakeland near Kenora was beautiful, too, and my back survived the first Greyhound day. Good sign. Watched the Oilers take Detroit that night - Pisani and Hemsky for city council - all is good!
April 25, 2006
It's time to hit the road! I'm off on my Canadian tour at the end of the month, so check out the 'shows' page for dates and venues, this 'news' page for updates from the road, and the 'photos' page for images from my travels.
In other news, I'm pleased to say that my song Wildmere has made it to the finals of the Calgary Folk Festival songwriting contest in the Albertan song category. The finals will take place from 2pm-6pm, April 29, at the Ship and Anchor Pub in Calgary, at which time all songs in the finals will be performed. Since I'm away on tour, the talented and generous Lane Arndt (AA Sound System) has offered to perform my song on my behalf. Thanks Lane! Good luck also to Krista Hartman, a talented Edmonton songwriter and musician, who will be performing her song Dusty Road.
Jan. 26, 2006
The video for Fifty-Three Bells is now up on the music page. Thanks to Pixie Cram for a great job - she shot it on Super 8 tape in Ottawa. Also, thanks to Jean-Claude Batista for technical help getting it up online. Hope you enjoy! Pixie can be reached at pixie_c @ hotmail.com if you would like to drop her a line.
Jan. 15, 2006
Happy new year! To all of you in central and eastern Canada, watch for me Greyhounding through your town this spring. I'll be on tour, solo, all the way to the Ship Pub in St. John's. I'm in the process of confirming dates right now, so check the 'shows' page now and then for details on a show near you!
Nov. 29, 2005
I had a great time last night playing at the tribute to Moses Asch, the founder of Smithsonian Folkways, at Convocation Hall on the UofA campus. Cheers to the ethnomusicology department for hosting a great event. For those folk music and recording fans around Edmonton who don't know it already, we're sitting on a goldmine of roots records, being the only place other than the Smithsonian in D.C. with the Folkways collection. And there's a listening room right at the University of Alberta. Check it out!
I've included some new song samples on the music page, including a live version of Ivan Wassam, a live version of Peter Webb's Jesus Christ Hammer, and a live pre-production version of Summer Country Lady, from the November sessions. In other music news, I've been writing a lot lately towards the next album, and trying to plan some regional touring dates. Please check back for shows in your area.
It's finally snowing where I'm at. Time to sharpen the skates...
May 24, 2005
Wooden Castles Fall LP is now available on 12'' vinyl. See the Music page for more details.
Thanks for everyone who came to play or to listen in Ottawa on the weekend for my Ontario release of Wooden Castles Fall. Thanks to all the musicians involved in the two shows: Pierre Chrétien (congrats on the wedding), Steve Patterson, Phil Lafrenière, Peter Webb, John Carroll, John Gilles, Rozalind MacPhail, Lindsay Ferguson, Craig Simon (thanks Cara for a great visit), Neil Gerster, and Yael Wand, who played a great couple of sets at the Manx on Sunday night. Cheers to all the fine people at Zaphod Beeblebrox and the Manx Pub.
Thanks also to Pixie Cram, who has produced a music video for my song Fifty-Three Bells on super 8 film. We screened it at Zaphod Beeblebrox before our set on Saturday night.
It was great to be back at the Nostalgica Café as well - many thanks to all the family there. Thanks also to CKCU radio at Carleton University (a great station), especially Joe Reilley and Rachel Hauraney (and her dad) for having me on their shows. It was a lot of fun. I really hope to be back Ottawa's way as soon as I can - I miss you guys a lot.
May 5, 2005
It's time to head back to my other home, Ottawa, for the Central Canadian release of Wooden Castles Fall, on May 21. See the 'Shows' page for details. My travelling partner (among other things), K.L. McKay, is making an exciting dip down to Southern Ontario during our stay to feature her SPIRE Poetry wares at the Toronto Small Press Book Fair. Check out the 'Friends' page soon for a link to her new site.
In other news, you can now purchase my CDs through CD Baby. Indiepool distribution is also getting involved. See 'Music' page for details.
In music news, my friend Sharon Coward from Toronto (see 'Friends' page) has just released her debut folk-pop CD and it's great!
April 10, 2005
Thanks to all who came out to the CD release party at the Sidetrack last night. The band and I had a wonderful time. Five O'Clock Charlie and Mark Davis played stellar sets. Thanks to Michelle Sabourin for singing back-up and violin - she was great!
Many of the musicians on Wooden Castles Fall form a jazz/funk/afrobeat group in Ottawa called The Souljazz Orchestra, also formed out of Nostalgica Café. Coincidentally, they also released their CD last night - it's their debut, called Uprooted. You can find a link to their website on the Friends page.
In other listening news, I've been glued to Bramwell and the Leftovers new self-titled debut since it came out - a definite must if you like roots music with great songwriting, care of Bramwell Park. It reminds me a bit of Ry Cooder's Boomer's Story record.
To Melissa Majeau - now touring Europe with her acoustic guitar and songs - good luck wherever you are!
March 23, 2005
Samples from the new album are now available on the music page. Also, check out the merch page for details on the new pins and stickers. Looking forward to the CD release April 9 at the Sidetrack and have also added an early June date at Blackdog. For those in Ottawa, I'm coming your way in May for the release. Happy spring to all!
February 21, 2005
The Wooden Castles Fall CDs have finally arrived here to Edmonton, jetisoned high above the Great Lakes and Prairies from the nation's capital in their cardboard casings. If you'd like one, just check out the music page on this site for my address, send me a cheque, and I'll send you a copy! For those in Edmonton, come on out to the Powerplant next Sunday for a show with Captain Tractor, as well as to the CD release at the Sidetrack, April 9.
January 17, 2005
Thanks to all who came out the Cargo & James show in St. Albert with Illfit Outfit. I had a great time playing the older songs solo.
Check out the Wednesday night concert series and open stage at Victory Lounge (Edmonton) going on now. I caught Bramwell Park there this week, which was a great show, and had a blast jamming with the members of the band during the open set.
The new CD is off to the manufacturer and the release show is booked for April 9 at the Sidetrack. Come on out if you're in town!
January 11, 2005
Congrats to Five O'Clock Charlie on their fine new CD and a great release show at the Sidetrack. The album sounds super, thanks in large part to producer Terry Tran. As for my upcoming project, we've sent it away for manufacturing and there should be a release party somewhere in Edmonton end of February.
December 22, 2004
Thanks to all who came out to hear the show at the Sidetrack Café last night. Cheers to Ayla Brook and Jeff Stuart for great sets. It was the first show for the band's new line-up (Steve Tchir, Allyson Rogers, Steve Badach) and we had a great time.
Check off the 8th of January for Five O'Clock Charlie's CD release party at the Sidetrack. AA Sound System is opening.
Congrats to Melissa Majeau and the Muse on their CD release last week. The album sounds fantastic and the show was a lot of fun!
December 1, 2004
Check out the shows page for details about my upcoming show at the Sidetrack Café, Dec. 21. Just checked out Bramwell Park and the Leftovers at Remedy - it was great show! Watch for them around Edmonton. Listening to some older Damien Jurado lately - Ohio is a song that still gives me the chills.
November 17, 2004
It was great seeing everybody from Ottawa during my visit this month! I've started the PhD here in Edmonton and it's great to meet new people in my old town.
The new Trevor Tchir Band line-up has formed: my brother, Stephen Tchir (of Five O'Clock Charlie) on guitar and organ, Allyson Rogers on drums, and Steve Badach on bass. Look for my first Edmonton gigs in the weeks to come.
While in Ottawa last week, Brent Charbonneau and I finished up the artwork for the upcoming album, so look for it in January.
Also, keep your eyes out for the new Five O'Clock Charlie and Soul Jazz Orchestra albums - I've heard the masters/mixes and they're awesome! Check out their websites on the Friends page.