Blues Combo

Today I start teaching BLUES COMBOS, a course offered at Comosun through VCM. Here are some YouTube Links for my students. I hope they use them! Many of these songs compare the original Robert Johnston version to the covered version.

Dust My Broom 

Robert Johnston 

Elmore James 

Howlin’ Wolf 

Hound Dog 

Big Mama Thornton

Sweet Home Chicago 

Robert Johnson 

Robert Lockwood 

Magic Sam 

Johnny Shines 

Junior Parker 

Buddy Guy 

Freddy King 

Walking Blues

Robert Johnston 

Paul Butterfield 

Ramblin’ on my Mind 

Robert Johnson

John Mayall

Key to the Highway

Charles Sagar 

Big Bill Broonzy 

Little Walter 

Eric Clapton 

Hit the Road Jack

Ray Charles

Bright Lights Big City

Jimmy Reed

Next Time You See Me

Junior Parker

Fall Update

So many new projects on my plate now I barely know where to start. Laying down tracks for what is still a secret recording project that will knock everyone’s socks RIGHT off!

Now on Spotify
and iTunes

So many new projects on my plate now I barely know where to start. This week I’m very excited to be sending my newly mastered album WAIT IN LINE out to a select list of radio programs. CKUA has been VERY good about playing it, and so far it has climbed up their charts to reach the number 3 position. AMAZING. If you haven’t heard it, check out the music player at the top of this website.

My music history courses continue to be offered at the University of Victoria after selling out last spring with online offerings of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Gordon Lightfoot, Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, and a new course on the History of the Blues.

Registration is open til Sept. 17 for three UVIC courses coming up soon-Boogie Woogie Barrelhouse and Honky Tonk , a repeat of Buffy Sainte-Marie and Gordon Lightfoot , and yet another new course Comedy in Song.

Yesterday I agreed to coach the band ensemble classes at the Victoria School of Music on Tuesday afternoons. And I start this week! So exciting to add this to my small roster of private piano students there in conjunction with the Comosun music program. Over the summer, I was part of a new week long workshop on Cabaret style songs that was absolutely incredible and a lot of credit goes to the organizer Nancy Curry, who is herself and amazing pianist with a deep well of knowledge of that style.

I haven’t played in any bands since I moved to Victoria six years ago, partly because I have been busy composing classical piano music (VISIT the VISTA HEIGHTS MUSIC website for new original sheet music releases!) But this is about to change as I have just been invited to join Hank Lionheart and the Kingpins for some local blues gigs. Look out! I will post the dates and info here. This came about because of TWO blues recording projects I have entered into with the legendary bassist and song writer Jack Lavin. And that happened because one of them is with my old friend Terry Medd who just moved here from Alberta and built a music studio!

My summer was also blessed with an invitation to adjudicate the Alberta Piano Teacher’s Assoc. annual young composer competition. And today, I just agreed to adjudicate another young composer’s event for the local chapter of the BCRMTA (BC Registered Music Teacher’s Assoc.) which is taking place this fall.

And that’s it! SO FAR ANYWAY

The Upside of Boredom

What does a flying banana have to do with boredom?

I think we can all agree, life is short. Other well worn adages resonate equally well: “Time is Precious”, “Live for the Moment” , and so on. Groucho Marx said “Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.” Once one of the most recognizable names in comedy, his joke slides into obscurity as easily as he might have predicted when he thought of it. And you might well now think, who is Groucho?

This July I turn 69. That’s five years older than Paul McCartney’s young fantasy of turning 64. I can still remember what it felt like to turn 20 shocked that a decade had sailed by since I was 10. I knew then that our perceptions of how quickly the clock spins around is somehow skewed. Good times seemed to make an hour or even an entire summer melt away. If only I could somehow slow things down I might be able to wring out some extra life out of this mysteriously rigged system. “A Watched Pot Never Boils.” Aha! I had found the key.

This said, it is hard to enjoy “Watching the Paint Dry.” The edge I had discovered quickly fell flat under its own tedious gravity. It’s now been nearly five decades since I discovered my destiny as a musician as a twenty something. Whenever I play the piano, I might as well enter a time tunnel and wake up on the other side in what feels the blink of an eye. It’s the opposite of boring. Always. And I can’t help it, I have to play.

So I admit I have tried cheating time from time to time. I learned that a nap in the middle of the afternoon can make one day feel like two. I’ve tried multi-tasking but I am terrible at it. A minor victory over the perception of time could be the ultimate definition of a losing battle.

Baby Jan 1952

Time itself is not the enemy. We are all united in this plane of existence in a very one sided alliance with the rules of reality as we march towards the unknown. Boredom is a gift that should never be squandered, so let’s just fill it with love and relax, shall we?

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