I first met Tina Newlove at this time of the year in 2012 in a factory loft art space (sadly no longer there) in Kitchener, ON. We performed as part of a series that curated a visual artist and a musician for an evening. Not content with just singing in the midst of art hanging on the wall, I thought maybe live painting would be an avenue to look into and Tina had had plenty of experience with painting on stage. Then I thought it would be a lot cooler if somehow the painting and I could interact more, and that’s when I proposed training a video camera on to Tina’s canvas and projecting the feed over me onto a screen behind me. The singer and the song become sort of subservient (nice alliteration) to the “hand of god” and the brush as the audience watches the birth of a painting, the mess of it all, the seeming disorganization and the sometimes horrifying white-ing out of a part of the image that one might have grown attached to…
It. Was. Amazing. The painting sold (you would be advised to bring along a chequebook), the audience was exhausted, and we had done something a little off the beaten path.
We are very excited to try this again in the lovely factory confines of The Pearl Company in Hamilton, Ontario. Please join us.
It started, actually, as a bit of a lark: when you’re travelling alone, how can you make it seem like you’re not? That, indeed, your travelling companion is snapping off intimate shots? In NYC, you can’t point the camera anywhere without the backdrop being amazing (unlike the cities I frequent in Canada). However, selfies are a drag. So, while in NYC, I placed my phone on the ground, set the timer, ran away, and strolled nonchalantly toward it, trying several times. I posted the result, called it “Vain and Alone in NYC?”, describing how the shot was taken. Then I just kept trying to see how far I could push the un-selfie selfie. Each post on Facebook was accompanied by a little anecdote of shooting the thing…you had to at least be able to not be embarrassed being obviously vain. Someone suggested I hash tag the stuff. So, #vainandalone
The first…maybe only?…full length vid from The Henrys’ Quiet Industry.
A small arty clip from a vid for a song we like to call Glow Fonder but is actually called The Almighty Inbox from the new Henrys recording. Its a beautiful song–I think of it as a prayer, but I didn’t write it so you’d have to ask Don Rooke. Quiet Industry from The Henrys will be available June 11, 2015
At the end of 2014, I spent some time in a small room recording vocals for 11 songs written by Don Rooke, the man behind The Henrys.
The recording features Don on guitars, baritone uke etc, Andrew Downing on bass, Davide DiRenzo on drums, John Sheard on pump and electric organs, Hugh Marsh on violin, Jonathan Goldsmith on muted piano (plus a string arrangement) and harmony vocals from Tara Dunphy.
It’s an odd thing these days, the making and releasing music: it kind of feels like yelling from behind a waterfall. The task this time was made sweeter by the fact that the songs are inventive, emotive, and accessible; the players are all from the “A” team; and the attention to detail on Quiet Industry is a rare thing these days (the record took more than a year to make and most of that time it was one lonely man spending unending hours in a little room in Toronto on the edge of a forest, toiling and tinkering…thus the title of the recording).
The Henrys are an institution in Toronto and have been critically lauded around the world since their debut in 1994. I’m totally impressed with myself that I got to sneak in and hang with the cool kids for a while.
I’ll keep you posted on how you can check it out, concert dates and what not. Please let your music loving friends know about this record.
I don’t dance. Which is to say I don’t dance well, so I tend not to dance. If life or love is on the line I will rise to the occasion but its an entirely self-conscious affair. Which is why I’ve decided that 2015 is the Year of The Dance— kind of a solemn vow to lubricate whatever psychological joints need loosening, and tend to the physical ones, too.
Truth is, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. In the summer of last year, Suzette Sherman ( Senior Artist, Founding Company Member, Associate Artistic Director at Dancetheatre David Earl) choreographed and performed a dance piece to “To Be Open”. I’d never seen a song of mine interpreted in movement. It was humbling, moving, and inspiring. In the early fall of last year, on a whim before heading to the city, I set up a camera here at the shop and danced around like a fool, to no music, just whatever was in my imagination. I was curious to see what I’d look like. I thought of it the same way as I view recording my voice to see what I sound like singing a particular song. To ease the shock, I filmed it in slow motion…much like smothering a voice in reverb and echo to make the performance more palatable. The pics up at the top are from that video. In slow mo, it looked…probably better than it did in real time. Everything looks better in slow mo, though.
Then this New Year’s Eve I danced with my daughter after playing a set with The Dogs. I’d tried to move while playing, but the most I could put together was a pogo of sorts. Now my daughter, she could move, as several patrons noted. As for me, a voice in my head tried to assert calm when I realized people might see me dance— “Honestly, Fuckhead: no one cares.” I’d have preferred a more benign approach, the gentle assurance of a quiet farmer saying, “That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.”
So here’s to the Year of The Dance. It’s a beginning.