David Byrne: ‘The internet will suck all creative content out of the world’

[David Byrne (born May 14, 1952) is a Scottish-born musician permanently residing in the United States, and was a founding member and principal songwriter of the American New Wave band Talking Heads, which was active between 1975 and 1991. Since then, Byrne has released his own solo recordings and worked with various media including film, photography, opera, and non-fiction. He has received Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. – THE WIKIPEDIA ENTRY FOR DAVID BYRNE]

David ByrneThe Guardian, Friday 11 October 2013 15.53 BST

The boom in digital streaming may generate profits for record labels and free content for consumers, but it spells disaster for today’s artists across the creative industries. ‘I’ve pulled as much of my catalogue from Spotify as I can’ … David Byrne.

Awhile ago Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead got some attention when they pulled their recent record from Spotify. A number of other artists have also been in the news, publicly complaining about streaming music services (Black Keys, Aimee Mann and David Lowery of Camper van Beethoven and Cracker). Bob Dylan, Metallica and Pink Floyd were longtime Spotify holdouts – until recently. I’ve pulled as much of my catalogue from Spotify as I can. AC/DC, Garth Brooks and Led Zeppelin have never agreed to be on these services in the first place.

So, what’s the deal? What are these services, what do they do and why are these musicians complaining?

There are a number of ways to stream music online: Pandora is like a radio station that plays stuff you like but doesn’t take requests; YouTube plays individual songs that folks and corporations have uploaded and Spotify is a music library that plays whatever you want (if they have it), whenever you want it. Some of these services only work when you’re online, but some, like Spotify, allow you to download your playlist songs and carry them around. For many music listeners, the choice is obvious – why would you ever buy a CD or pay for a download when you can stream your favourite albums and artists either for free, or for a nominal monthly charge?

Not surprisingly, streaming looks to be the future of music consumption – it already is the future in Scandinavia, where Spotify (the largest streaming service) started, and in Spain. Other countries are following close behind. Spotify is the second largest source of digital music revenue for labels in Europe, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Significantly, that’s income for labels, not artists. There are other streaming services, too – Deezer, Google Play, Apple and Jimmy Iovine of Interscope has one coming called Daisy – though my guess is that, as with most web-based businesses, only one will be left standing in the end. There aren’t two Facebooks or Amazons. Domination and monopoly is the name of the game in the web marketplace.

The amounts these services pay per stream is miniscule – their idea being that if enough people use the service those tiny grains of sand will pile up. Domination and ubiquity are therefore to be encouraged. We should readjust our values because in the web-based world we are told that monopoly is good for us. The major record labels usually siphon off most of this income, and then they dribble about 15-20% of what’s left down to their artists. Indie labels are often a lot fairer – sometimes sharing the income 50/50. Damon Krukowski (Galaxie 500, Damon & Naomi) has published abysmal data on payouts from Pandora and Spotify for his song “Tugboat” and Lowery even wrote a piece entitled “My Song Got Played on Pandora 1 Million Times and All I Got Was $16.89, Less Than What I Make from a Single T-shirt Sale!” For a band of four people that makes a 15% royalty from Spotify streams, it would take 236,549,020 streams for each person to earn a minimum wage of $15,080 (£9,435) a year. For perspective, Daft Punk‘s song of the summer, “Get Lucky”, reached 104,760,000 Spotify streams by the end of August: the two Daft Punk guys stand to make somewhere around $13,000 each. Not bad, but remember this is just one song from a lengthy recording that took a lot of time and money to develop. That won’t pay their bills if it’s their principal source of income. And what happens to the bands who don’t have massive international summer hits?

In future, if artists have to rely almost exclusively on the income from these services, they’ll be out of work within a year. Some of us have other sources of income, such as live concerts, and some of us have reached the point where we can play to decent numbers of people because a record label believed in us at some point in the past. I can’t deny that label-support gave me a leg up – though not every successful artist needs it. So, yes, I could conceivably survive, as I don’t rely on the pittance that comes my way from music streaming, as could Yorke and some of the others. But up-and-coming artists don’t have that advantage – some haven’t got to the point where they can make a living on live performances and licensing, so what do they think of these services?

Some artists and indie musicians see Spotify fairly positively – as a way of getting noticed, of getting your music out there where folks can hear it risk free. Daniel Glass, of Glassnote records, who have the very popular band Mumford and sons says: “When you have quality and you’re in the sophomore stage of this band’s career , I think the fear of holding it back is worse than letting it go. Opening up the faucet and letting people hear it, stream it and all that stuff is definitely very healthy.” Cellist Zoë Keating sees it similarly: Spotify is “awesome as a listening platform. In my opinion artists should view it as a discovery service rather than a source of income.”

I can understand how having a place where people can listen to your work when they are told or read about it is helpful, but surely a lot of places already do that? I manage to check stuff out without using these services. I’ll go directly to an artist’s website, or Bandcamp, or even Amazon – and then, if I like what I hear, there is often the option to buy. Zoë also seems to assume there will be other sources of income (from recorded music). If these services fulfil their mandate, there won’t be.

I also don’t understand the claim of discovery that Spotify makes; the actual moment of discovery in most cases happens at the moment when someone else tells you about an artist or you read about them – not when you’re on the streaming service listening to what you have read about (though Spotify does indeed have a “discovery” page that, like Pandora’s algorithm, suggests artists you might like). There is also, I’m told, a way to see what your “friends” have on their playlists, though I’d be curious to know whether a significant number of people find new music in this way. I’d be even more curious if the folks who “discover” music on these services then go on to purchase it. Why would you click and go elsewhere and pay when the free version is sitting right in front of you? Am I crazy?

Artists often find this discovery argument seductive, but only up to a point. Patrick Carney of Black Keys said in 2011: “For unknown bands and smaller bands, it’s a really good thing to get yourself out there. But for a band that makes a living selling music,” streaming royalties are “not at a point yet to be feasible for us”. How do you make the transition from “I’ll give away anything to get noticed” to “Sorry, now you have to pay for my music”? Carney’s implied point is important – the core issue is about sustainability; how can artists survive in the long term beyond that initial surge of interest?

Are these services evil? Are they simply a legalized version of file-sharing sites such as Napster and Pirate Bay – with the difference being that with streaming services the big labels now get hefty advances? The debate as to whether those pirate sites cannibalize possible sales goes on. Some say freeloaders wouldn’t have paid for music anyway, so there’s no real loss; others say freeloaders are mainly super-fans who end up paying artists in other ways, buying concert tickets and T-shirts, for example. Though, as author Chris Ruen points out in his book Freeloading, if you yourself didn’t pay for any of the music by your favorite bands, then don’t be surprised if they eventually call it quits for lack of funds.

Musicians are increasingly suspicious of the money and equity changing hands between these services and record labels – both money and equity has been exchanged based on content and assets that artists produced but seem to have no say over. Spotify gave $500m in advances to major labels in the US for the right to license their catalogues. That was an “advance” against income – so theoretically it’s not the labels’ money to pocket. Another chunk of change is soon to follow. The labels also got equity; so they are now partners and shareholders in Spotify, which is valued at around $3bn. That income from equity, when and if the service goes public, does not have to be shared with the artists. It seems obvious that some people are making a lot of money on this deal, while the artists have been left with meagre scraps.

The major labels are happy, the consumer is happy and the CEOs of the web services are happy. All good, except no one is left to speak for those who actually make the stuff. In response to this lack of representation, some artists – of all types, not just musicians – are forming an organization called the Content Creators Coalition, an entity that speaks out on artists’ behalf.

Is there a fair solution? And does it matter? Historically, musicians who weren’t among the top pop stars were never well-paid – isn’t that just the way it goes if you decide to make music your calling? Like writers and fine artists, most of them will never make a living doing exclusively what they love doing? Is this griping equivalent to Metallica’s complaint about Napster – viewed by many as the moaning of a bunch of fat cats who were out of touch? Were recording artists simply spoiled for a few decades and now those days are gone? Even Wagner was always in debt and slept with rich women to get funding – so nothing’s new, right? I know quite a few fine artists who teach – presumably to make ends meet and to allow them the freedom to do what they want. But I don’t see hordes of band-members getting comfy spots in universities anytime soon.

The larger question is that if free or cheap streaming becomes the way we consume all (recorded) music and indeed a huge percentage of other creative content – TV, movies, games, art, porn – then perhaps we might stop for a moment and consider the effect these services and this technology will have, before “selling off” all our cultural assets the way the big record companies did. If, for instance, the future of the movie business comes to rely on the income from Netflix’s $8-a-month-streaming-service as a way to fund all films and TV production, then things will change very quickly. As with music, that model doesn’t seem sustainable if it becomes the dominant form of consumption. Musicians might, for now, challenge the major labels and get a fairer deal than 15% of a pittance, but it seems to me that the whole model is unsustainable as a means of supporting creative work of any kind. Not just music. The inevitable result would seem to be that the internet will suck the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left. Writers, for example, can’t rely on making money from live performances – what are they supposed to do? Write ad copy?

As Lowery has pointed out, there’s no reason artists should simply accept the terms and join up with whatever new technology comes along. Now I’m starting to sound like a real Luddite, but taking a minute to think about the consequences before diving in seems like a pretty good idea in general. You shouldn’t have to give up your privacy, or allow all sorts of information about yourself to be used, whenever you go online, for example.

I don’t have an answer. I wish I could propose something besides what we’ve heard before: “Make money on live shows.” Or, “Get corporate support and sell your music to advertisers.”

What’s at stake is not so much the survival of artists like me, but that of emerging artists and those who have only a few records under their belts (such as St Vincent, my current touring partner, who is not exactly an unknown). Many musicians like her, who seem to be well established, well known and very talented, will eventually have to find employment elsewhere or change what they do to make more money. Without new artists coming up, our future as a musical culture looks grim. A culture of blockbusters is sad, and ultimately it’s bad for business. That’s not the world that inspired me when I was younger. Many a fan (myself included) has said that “music saved my life”, so there must be some incentive to keep that lifesaver available for future generations.

Commentary: That is a good article and one to make us reflect on the consumption of music and ask the question “is being a musician (artist, what ever) a viable way to make a living?”  I am passionate about music  but I have been forced to reflect on music and in particular on live performances.  I am forced to ask myself what is the actual value of music. At a basic level, professional music maybe has no value. It doesn’t feed the hungry (including musicians), it doesn’t create medical cures, stop wars, is not particularly culturally uplifting, nor does it serve any particular social function any more, nor does it do anything that it is in any way productive. Similarly, professional sports is in the same bag. We have been conned. Music, and sports, only have value if you are a player. It is a recreational activity and to recreate you have to participate. Passive listening or watching doesn’t  fill the bill. The more music I see on the concert stage the more inclined I am to think that for the performers it just another day at the office. Who who wants to spend time and money watching people drag themselves through a show that is word for word the same night after night? “Live shows” on the average concert stage are not really “live”. They are pre-canned consumer products on a par with what we buy in the supermarket. Having said that I still get a charge out of small venue performances such as at the Studio / Stage Door, BJ’s Creekside Pub, The Driftwood Concert House, Centre 64, the chamber music concerts at the Knox Church and the numerous private gatherings of performing musicians though out the area. Here spontaneity still thrives and the music is very much “live”. In the larger venues, even as small as The Key City Theatre, I am disinclined to attend. RON SEXSMITH was in town and he was talked up as a must see. I had a CD downstairs so I threw it into the CD player and quickly re-discovered why I don’t listen to it. He has a horrible voice. I couldn’t get past the first track. Similarly with INDIGO GIRLS. If they are so good how come I never play their CD?  Why spend money or time on music that I don’t even listen to at home? The old fable about “the king has no clothes” has come true. The general audiences, most of whom do not have clue about music, who wouldn’t recognize quality if it fell on them, are still susceptible to the con but I suspect the falling attendances are partly a response to the sight of “the king with no clothes”. Not very pretty. The symptoms of what David Byrnes is talking about are already being manifested here in our little back water. Over the last little we have been inundated by many performers who, under normal circumstances, just would not be playing in our venues. We have become slaves to celebrity culture  and view these performers through the lens of nostalgia. Why are we being inundated by performers well past their outdate? I think it is because the market is well and truly drying up and every over the hill hack performer in the sunset of their careers is scrambling for performance time and space and is squeezing out the next generation. I think we are seeing the disappearance of the working musician as we once knew him/her. And I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. One can only hope that professional sports is not far behind. Millions of dollars paid to sports celebrities. Are we out of our freaking minds?

[PS – Why David Byrne figures so high in my musical landscape is because he produced  a four CD anthology of Brazilian music some years back that I still continue to play to death]

Here are some interesting links CBC Radio   Talking Heads – Psycho Killer



Symphony of the Kootenays: “in the pit” with cellist Liz Tremblay

 Liz TrembleyIt’s a jungle out there. Or, at least a forest of wood. The over whelming view of a symphony orchestra is the string sections at the front. Sure there are other instruments in the orchestra but, like electrical wiring and plumbing, they are mostly out of sight. The prevailing color scheme is amber and brown so that the grey of Liz Tremblay’s carbon fibre cello is a not an unpleasant disruption in the traditional mosaic of a symphony orchestra. For centuries string instruments have been constructed out of wood by highly skilled artisans and high quality instruments are expected to last “for ever”. Having said that, a vintage instrument of today is not the same instrument that left the artisan’s shop hundreds of years ago. They change, mature, have accidents,  are repaired  and modified to preserve the sound and to stay in top condition. Wood is a renewable resource and, except for the voracious appetite for high quality “Tone Woods” for quality musical instruments, should be sustainable. Some of these woods are going into short supply and governments have been forced to enact legislation to protect endangered species. Of particular note is the threatened Brazilian Rosewood, Indian and African Ebony. The exploitation of these woods is protected by legislation and luthiers are required to only use wood from certified sources. To offset the dwindling supply of traditional tone woods builders are turning to others from lesser known species and, more recently, to the use of Carbon Fibre. The later has been used in a number of products, including guitars, for years. A musician, Luis Leguia of the Boston Symphony, who has a passion for sailing noted the strength and resonant qualities of carbon fibre boats and started experimenting with the use of that material in musical instruments. Over the years, with the help of Steve Clark, he developed a line of instruments using carbon fibre  that is lighter, stronger and cheaper than the best of traditional instruments. And, against the conservative tide, they are gradually becoming accepted as instruments of choice  (Luis and Clark Instruments). These are not “plastic toy” instruments; their construction and finishing still requires a high level of craftsmanship and dedication to produce an instrument that will satisfy very discerning customers.   Carbon Fibre cello – part 1  Carbon Fibre cello – part 2

Apart from the environmental issues these instruments address a number of other significant concerns. There is the cost of course. High quality vintage instruments can be priced up into the stratosphere and are simply out of the reach of the average student and professional musician. The Luis and Clark instruments, compared to your average quality guitar (around $2,000) may seem expensive, but compared to their wooden counterparts they are at least attainable. The carbon fibre Violins and Violas are around $5,000 / $6,000, Cellos around $7,000 and the Bass is around $12,000. Wooden instruments are very susceptible to climatic conditions. Carbon fibre instruments are generally immune to dramatic variations in temperature and humidity. A touring Ontario musician reports that even in sub-zero Canadian conditions these instruments can be left over night in transport vehicles  without coming to harm. When taken indoors and allowed to warm to room temperature they respond without any ill effects. This is an attribute that must have had some appeal to Symphony of the Kootenay cellist Liz Trembley. She has lived and performed in Bermuda, Ontario and Calgary so she understands the impact and dangers of climate on fine instruments. The carbon fibre cello instruments are very strong and light and the flexibility of the construction techniques allows for design modifications that improve the comfort and playability of the instruments. And, on top of all that they are stunningly beautiful with a great sound.

Here are some more images of Carbon Fibre instruments.

 Liz Tremblay  Liz Tremblay   Liz Tremblay Carbon Fibre Instruments  AppleMark LuisandClarkCELLO.backcarbon@@@@@@@@@@@

Read any good books lately? (#1)

I divide the populace up into two groups – readers and non readers. And, of course, as I am biased, readers are the more significant group. They are the ones whose imagination is fired by the written word. And among the readers there are the ones who are into ” molecules”. They like to have a book in their hand; they like the feel of paper, the physical act of turning the pages and being surrounded by walls lined with books. Then there are the “bits and bites” advocates who have no particular attachment to the physical presence of a traditional book. They are just as happy to get their fix via an e-reader, tablet  or computer screen. They consider themselves more eco-friendly and point to the waste of paper, storage space and the difficulty of finding that particular volume in their crowded living spaces. Regardless of their differing points of view they still all love to read. There was a time back in the dawn of the modern computer age that the notion of books becoming obsolete was considered a real possibility. Any casual stroll, on any given day, through any books store will demonstrate that the promise of the demise of books has be greatly exaggerated. My son, a child of the computer age, a confessed computer geek, is an obsessive reader. I guess all those trips to the Cranbrook Public Library when he was growing up sowed the seeds of a life long passion.

So back to the original question “read any good books lately” can be answered in the affirmative. Now retired, one of the joys of this new found condition is having the time to read and reread as many books that I can get my hands on. One of my criteria for identifying a good book is the desire to re-read the just finished volume. So the top of my list at the moment is  REAMDE by Neil Stephenson. I have read and re-read his spectacular Cryptonomicon and will probably re-read it again. Not everything of his has been to my liking, his Baroque Trilogy I couldn’t finish. His material always seems to have a “teckie” edge with plots that involve technology to some extent. The title Reamde is a corruption of the name of a file, Readme, that is nearly always appended to new software. Part of the attraction of this novel is the opening and closing locations in the Kootenays. The particular geography isn’t exactly as we see it in this area but there are recognizable locations that will definitely resonate with local residents (is that Fernie or Nelson he is talking about?). Geographically the novel ranges far afield from the Kootenays to  Seattle, China, The Philipines, Northern British Columbia, and back to the Kootenays and finally to Idaho. The plot revolves around international terrorism and on-line role playing games. I have never played computer games so that part of the plot is somewhat outside my experience and the whole genre of role playing is beyond me. And the concepts of financial profit from playing these games seemed a little far fetched. However, my geeky son came to the rescue and cleared away some of the fog and misconceptions. In answer to my question ” Is there really a virtual economy in these games that can be transferred back to the real world and real money?”. Here are his comments:   “Ah Reamde – yes, that was a good read, and along with Anathem has redeemed Stephenson after his Baroque Cycle trilogy (which I failed to finish even the first novel). And yes, there are virtual economies in these games – so much so, that many of these games companies actually have economists on staff to manage the economy, just like a Chief Economist would do for a country (printing money = “how many magical swords should we make?”). The practice of “gold farming” – using cheap labor in countries such as China to “farm” virtual goods in the game and then sell them to westerners who don’t have enough time to dedicate to the games to build their characters, is a lucrative business. In fact, many of the Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORG – think Dungeons and Dragons / Tolkien-esque stuff, or military strategy games) have had to struggle with the question of how to limit this black market without killing the interest in their games.  It’s a delicate question – how do you make the game hard enough to be interesting and challenging, without making it so hard that casual gamers can’t enter the game without immediately getting their asses handed to them? How do you, as a game company, make money from the obvious market for shortcuts (i.e. “buy the magical sword that would otherwise take 900 hours of gameplay to earn!”) without pissing off the hardcore gamers, who will perceive this as a “only the rich can win” game. In truth, these games are less like games, and more like entire worlds. They have their own economies, rules, mythologies – Tolkien would be envious. While there are guided epics/quests in the games, the worlds are effectively an open field with only a few “hooks” for whatever quest you might be on… It’s a hell of a long way from Pacman’s “eat all the dots, don’t touch the ghosts, and once you’ve eaten all the dots, start over, but faster and with more ghosts”. The games are immersive and complex, and they can be all-consuming. There’s a reason that the MMORG “EverQuest” is known colloquially as “EverCrack”. Even outside of the Dungeons & Dragons type stuff, there’s whole leagues of other online games. If you have a computer or a console, you can log in to things like XBox Live and play head-to-head against an opponent that’s halfway around the world, any time of the day. Talk about breaking down global barriers. It’s one thing to get schooled by your buddy when he’s sitting beside you on the couch – entirely another thing when a bunch of Chinese kids living on a couple bucks a month are schooling you from an Internet cafe, and you’re hearing the audio channel in your ears as they taunt you in a language you don’t even understand.” So there you have it, an education in an email.

So there is enough “teckie” stuff, adventure, murder and mayhem in this book to keep one’s interest up for many late night reading sessions. Who needs sleep when some much is at stake? This is a good read and one that will definitely go into my re-read list. The book is available from the Cranbrook Public Library.


Symphony of the Kootenays – New Beginnings

Symphony of the Kootenays – Concert #1: New Beginnings, Key City Theatre, October 20, 2013, 2 pm

 Symphony of the Kootenays New Beginnings TB 09CONCERT PROGRAM:

RODEO – Aaron Copland (1900-1990) : Buckaroo Holiday / Hoe-Down

CONCERTO FOR OBOE Op.9 No.2 in D Minor – Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751) Featuring Mr. Gerard Gibbs on Oboe : Allegro e non Presto / Adagio / Allegro

THE MOLDAU – Bedrich Smetna (1824-1884)

Symphony No.4 Op.90 in A Major “The Italian Symphony” – Felix Mendelssohn (1809- 1847)

 Here are some images from a very successful concert.

 Steen Jorgensen      SOK Jeff Faragher   Gerard Gibbs  Wendy Herbison - Concert Master  200a.  250.   Sven Heyde  208.  240. Jeff Faragher  210.  222.      Alexis Moore 294.  Gerard Gibbs  216.  Grant Freeman  Jeff Faragher   240.  Ruth Sawatsky John Galm  Anne Scott   Grant Freeman Jeff Faragher   Gerard Gibbs  Dave Ward and Tim Bullen   Liz Trembley  Wendy Herbison  Sven Heyde   Dave Ward   Jeff Faragher  Gerard Gibbs and Terry Jeffers  Jeff Faragher  Jeff Faragher              Jeff Faragher

Members and Patrons of the Symphony of the Kootenays would like to thank St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino, Prestige Hotels and Resorts, Tamarack Mall, and Sweet Gestures for their generous donations.


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Home Grown Coffee House – the first of the season

Home Grown Coffee House, Saturday October 19, 2013, 8pm at Centre 64 in Kimberley.For over 30 years Kimberley’s Home Grown Music Society has presented regular Coffee House performances at Centre 64 during the winter season. Once again the season kicked off with a batch of local performers most of whom can be called Local (more than 10 years residency in the area) and most of whom have performed on this stage in the past. The line up for the evening  Alphonse Josephincluded Alphonse Joseph (Vocals and Guitar),Terry Mackam (Vocals and Piano), Sound Principle (Barbershop Quartet), Jim Marshall (Guitar and Vocals), Bill Renwick (Guitar and Vocals), Emilio Regina (Piano and Vocals), Karly Ross (Spoken Word, Vocals and Guitar) and Alex Buterman  (Vocals and Guitar). To start the evening Alphonse broke with his usual blues inflected material to perform an original “down home” Cape Breton piece called Spirits of the Coal, followed by the Dobie Grey Terry Mackhamstandard  Drift Away, and the two originals Tell Me that You Love Me  and Just Your Fool. Following a technical glitch Terry Mackham abandoned his electric keyboard in favor of the old upright. He performed a Neil Young classic, also an arrangement of Christina Rosetti’s Who Has Seen the Wind and some “anti-devil” music the Gospel tune And Glory Shone Around. The Barbershop Quartet (Michael, Gert, Joel and Rolly) started their set with Hi Neighbour, followed by a medley of Gospel Tunes, a song from way back when cowboys were cowboys (1890) Ragtime Sound PrincipleCowboy Joe, and the two final songs, Once Upon a Time  and An Irish Blessing. Jim Marshall appears to have moved back to this area on a more permanent basis. Permanent enough to invest in the renovation of a music room  Jim Marshallin his house. In this new comfort zone he has been hard at work writing and practicing such tunes as  Light Cafe, Anticipation, Bill RenwickMy I-Phone, and Hard Times all for our enjoyment on this fall evening at the Home Grown Coffee House. Bill Renwick has an affection for the songs of John Prine and Neill Young so John’s comic piece Please Don’t Bury Me was an appropriate opening song, followed by Neil Young’s classic Old Man. As evidenced by the songs Hold me in Your Arms Tonight  and Baby You’re the One Bill also writes some pretty strong material. He finished his set with an original blues called  I’m Gone, Gone. Emilio Regina did covers of Bruce Springsteen’s One Step , Two Emilio ReginaSteps Back and also a Bob Dylan tune. Karly Ross is neither black, urban or anti- feminine so I guess her opening piece could not be called rap music. It was a spoken word performance more in keeping Alex Butermanwith “the slam poets”. The piece was untitled so I have taken it upon my self to dub (no pun intended, well maybe yes it is intended) to title the piece The Dating Game.  She followed this marvelous piece of rhetoric with a couple of original songs. Alex Buterman was the closing act of the evening with Ain’t no Sunshine when she’s Gone, 60 Days, Listen to the Music, and a Bluegrass original entitled Bubbly Water.

Karly RossSo ends another fine night of music. The Next Home Grown Coffee House will Be November 30, 2013. Tickets are available from the Snowdrift Cafe and Centre 64.

Jaclyn Guillou Quintet at Centre 64

Third Concert in the Fall Jazz Series: The Jaclyn Guillou Quintet, at Centre 64. October 18, 2013, 8pm  Jaclyn Guillou website

 Jaclyn GuilloIn a departure from the previous Jazz concerts the Jaclyn Guillo Quintet was presented in a cabaret format in the downstairs studio in Centre 64. The sound and style of the quintet lent itself to the ambience of a cabaret and the opportunity to partake of wine and beverages also helped create a more relaxed informal atmosphere. Also the piano in the studio was a top quality Kawai that begs to be played. Apart from the obvious advantages of the venue and Ray Gareau’s light and sound enhancements, there was pay back for the use of the grand piano. Bruno Hubert, the quintet’s pianist was more than willing to spend many pre-concert hours tuning this marvelous instrument. So when Bruno sat down to accompany Jaclyn Guillou (vocals), David Blake (guitar), Andrew Millar (drums) and James Megen (bass) all the ingredients were in place for a night of fine music. By this time the expectations were high and the quintet did not disappoint. Somewhat similar to the Norbet Kogging jazz performance of a few weeks previously the musical emphasis was on original material done in a jazz style. Although there was a sprinkling of familiar tunes, such as Cry Me River (Dinah Washington),  No Moon at All, Wayne Shorter’s Yes and No, Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life, a Joni Mitchell song (from her album Blue), a blues and a Brazilian tune,  the normal jazz staples of the  “great American songbook” were largely put aside. I was caught in cultural limbo when one song was introduced as one that every Canadian knows. It turned out to be The Land of the Silver Birch. I was not born or raised in Canada. Apparently every Canadian kid that’s been to summer camp knows the words to this tune. The band works as a collective with contribution from all members in arranging the tunes. There was lots of straight ahead jazz with solos by Bruno Hubert on piano and David Blake on guitar. David sprinkled his solos with some lively Wes Montgomery “octave riffs”, a musical spice that we never get to hear in this area. David is a student of Vancouver’s ace guitarist Bill Coon and it shows in his playing. Andrew Millar’s deft handling of brushes and Brazilian rhythms is also another little spicy tit-bit that is not heard too often in this area.  Classic rock does not lend itself to these types of explorations. This is a band of dedicated professional musicians. Jaclyn is the only member with a “day job” – she teaches music.

Jaclyn Guillo  David Blake   Jaclyn Guillo  Keith Nicholas  Jaclyn Guillo  James Megen Jaclyn Guillo   Bruno Hubert  Jaclyn Guillo  Andrew Millar   Jaclyn Guillo  Andrew Millar  Jaclyn Guillo  Feet  Jaclyn Guillo Keith Nicholas  James Megen  Bruno Hubert  Jaclyn Guillo  David Blake  Jaclyn Guillo    Andrew Millar  Jaclyn Guillo  Bruno Hubert Jaclyn Guillo   Feet  Jaclyn Guillo    David Blake   Bruno Hubert  David BlakeJaclyn GuilloDavid BlakeThe organizers of the event would like to thank the following sponsors The Burrito Grill, Pedal and Tap, Our Place and Mountain Spirit  for their generous support and contributions. I would like to thank Laurel Ralston, Keith Nicholas and all the staff and volunteers at Centre 64 for their dedication in presenting this fine evening of music.


Can it get any better than this?



Tony Dekker at the Driftwood Concert House

Tony Dekker at the Driftwood Concert House, Kimberley , Sunday October 13, 2013, 8pm  check the website Tony Decker of Great Lakes Swimmers

Tony Decker

Darin contacted me by email on Wednesday setting up a concert for the following Sunday evening. My first thought was “good luck fella, it’s Thanks Giving”. As it turned out, even with such short notice, the concert was virtually sold out. Only a couple of last minute cancellations defeated the absolute maximum capacity of the room. While on vacation down south (Utah, I think) Darin and Jen had hooked up with Tony Dekker a couple of days earlier and managed to finangle a concert at the Driftwood that fitted with Tony’s tour of the West Kootenays. Tony Dekker was unknown to me and, once again, it was trust in Darin’s judgement that urged me to attend. Tony may have been unknown  Edison's revengeto me but obviously there appeared to a significant number of fans in the audience who were more than familiar with “his” band THE GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS. They have been around for about 10 years and are great favorites on CBC radio. The opening act was a little different. It is not every day we get to hear an Edison vintage cylinder phonograph playing, what I guessed to be, vintage Hawaiin music. What followed was a very laid back evening of acoustic music. Without the whine, and completely in tune, Tony’s voice had echoes and overtones of Neil Young. The emphasis was on smooth vocals and strong song writing with minimal finger picking guitar accompaniments. There was no flamboyant rock and roll stage craft to degrade the performance. With the exception of a Tom Waitt’s cover and Gordon Lightfoot’s Carefree Highway it was a night of original music. Some of the songs in the program included Somewhere Near Thunder Bay, I Saw You in the Wild, Moving Pictures – Silent Film, Where in the World are You Now, The Great Exhale, Talking in Your Sleep,  Concrete Heart, On the Water, Rocky Spine, When the Sun Fell Down and the song Changing Colours. The last mention song scored a cover, complete with big orchestra and big production, by Josh Groban. That’s quite a scoop for GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS, a band that must be well under the pop  music radar. Just think of those royalties – maybe there was enough to cover the expenses of a tour of the Kootenays.

 Tony Decker   Darin Welch   Tony Decker 020.  Tony Decker  006. an audience of oneTony Decker

 Changing Colors sung by GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS

Changing Colors sung by Josh Groban


Thanks Darin, Jen and Silas for more great music and thanks for letting me tamper with the lights.



LOCALS COFFEE HOUSE – THE FIRST OF THE SEASON, October 12, 2013, 7:30pm at the Studio / Stage Door, Cranbrook

This was a very auspicious start to the season – LOCALS Coffee House played to a sold out house on Saturday night. The local musicians, from novices to the most seasoned veteran of the coffee house circuit, were all set for the night’s activities. Dennis Kerr (vocals and guitar) moved to area recently and he kicked off the night with songs about his new found East Kootenay experiences. Songs such as I Am Getting Sick of it , Bull River Mosquitoes, Fort Steele and Dean Brodie’s Brothers. Shauna Plant is a well known local performer in The Rosie Brown Band who played a little later in the Issac Plant evening. In the meantime her children are seeking to displace her as the premier musician in the family. Her son Isaac was joined by his sister Meaghan and her friend Morgan Bulloch (the back up vocalists who will henceforth be known as the M&M’s) for a set of Josh Ritter songs that included Joy to You Baby, Certain Light and Kathleen. There is a rumour going around that Issac has resorted to sticking screw drivers into power The Rosie Brown Band - Paige, Cosima, Janice and Shaunaoutlets to get his hair into such tip top shape. The Rosie Brown Band was one member short for their performance. Their dobro player and fellow vocalist, Heather Gemmell, was way off in the boonies on a hiking trip. The gorgeous vocal ensemble is the signature ingredient of their sound and that remained intact for Long Gone and Cosima Wells’ showpiece Oh Suzanna. Janice Nickli on upright bass, Paige Lennox on banjo and Shauna Plant on mandolin shared the instrumental solo chores. The band member were obviously enjoying them selves. Steve Lungall, otherwise known as Pot Luck Steve, with the aid of his beautiful assistants, Shelagh Redecopp and Shauna Plant did the little one scene performance Steve Lungalof the Drunken Scotsman and his prized “member”. Also on the racy side was the Grit Laskin song The Photographers. To ensure that we were not all destined for a quick trip to hell Steve finished his set with a Gospel song.  Larry MacKenzie is a long time song writer and guitarist and over the years has been a staple on the local music scene. In his domestic life Larry tends to over build so when he started building a new wood shed he didn’t realize how much he over built until his wife appropriated the building to use as a car port. Never-the-less he took time off from these construction chores and hooked up with bass player Ferdy Belland to stroll though some of his original material. There was some choice slide guitar on one particular tune. The songs included A Day at a Time, Be a Good Little Boy, A Ha Ha Road, and My Shoes. The last act of the evening was Sheva (Van and Shelagh Redecopp) with Steve Jones on upright bass  Shevaand young Drew Lyle on vocals and mandolin. With a whole new batch of songs that included Next Go Round (Old Crow Medicine Show), Flowers in Your Hair, Trials and Troubles, Stubborn Love and and a wonderful fiddle instrumental called Midnight on the Water. The instrumental was in the unusual fiddle tuning of DDAD. The highest compliment I can pay to any performer is one “where the music takes me some where else”. It doesn’t happen often, in fact the last time was at a concert by the clawhammer banjo player Chris Coole, but on Saturday night Sheva  took me way, way out there. Great job guys.  As always the volunteers make LOCALS possible and thanks must go  to all of those behind the scenes for creating a such wonderful evening. Here are some images from the night.

Meghan Plant and Morgan Bulloch   Paige Lennox   Isaac Plant Shauna Plant   Shelagh Redecopp   Cosima Wells  Janice Nicli  Paige Lennox  Van Redecopp  Meghan Plant & Morgan Bulloch  Drew Lyle  Shelagh Redecopp   Shauna Plant  Steve Lungal (Potluck Steve)   Janice Nicli Drew Lyle   Ferdy Belland   Cosima Wells Paige Lennox  Janice Nicli   Van Redecopp Shelagh Redecopp   Steve Jones  Paige Lennox  Shelagh Redecopp


La Cafamore presents Celebrated Trios

La Cafamore presents Celebrated Trios at the Knox Presbyterian Church, Saturday October 5, 7:30 pm.

 La CafamoreHow did she do it? In that day and age the idea of “career woman”, if it ever occurred at all,  would have been considered an oxymoron. But Clara Schumann (1819-1896) was a single mother with 7 children and a busy concert career and she did manage to survive as a “working mother”. Of course, something had to go and in her case it was the demanding avocation of composer. Still, there are compositions of her’s out there. Case in point. La Cafamore (Carolyn Cameron – Violin, Nina Horvath – Piano and Alexis Moore – Viola) performed the Scherzo from the Piano Trio, Op.17 in concert at the Knox Presbyterian Church on Saturday. It is an interesting piece, somewhat jazzy in texture with rhythmic syncopations somewhat reminiscent of early ragtime. This is a composition that probably predates the compositions of the the flamboyant American pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk who started experimenting with indigenous American musical motives in the mid to late 19th century.

In classical chamber music the Piano Trio is usually piano, cello and violin. La Cafamore’s usual cello player (Jeff Faragher) was not available, so after arranging some suitable transcriptions of the cello part, Alexis Moore, on Viola, substituted for Jeff. The Viola and the Cello are an octave apart but are tuned the same way (CGDA) so the implementation of the substitution was possible. So with this configuration the group tackled Joseph Haydn’s Trio in G and Beethoven’s Trio in Bb (The Archduke). Alexis felt that the major challenge, surprisingly was not the Beethoven, but rather the Haydn trio. The music in this concert is what I call “music in the middle”. Joseph Haydn had left behind the the polyphonic complexities of the Baroque period to pursue a clearer compositional style. In what became known as the Classical era he was followed by Mozart and, to some extent, Beethoven. In the latter, elements of the gathering histrionic storm of the Romantics were on the horizon. The coming shift in music  finally matured into the complexity of the late romantics. There you have it – from complexity to clarity and onto further complexity, ie. “music in the middle”. So in keeping with “music in the middle” this was an enjoyable program of clear, precise compositions by masters of the Classical period, Haydn and Beethoven, with a little taste of the exotic in the music of Clara Schumann. Just my cup of tea.

 Stage   Alexis Moore  Nina Horvath   Alexis Moore   Carolyn Cameron Carolyn Cameron            Nina Horvath Nina Horvath           Alexis Moore Carolyn Cameron Nina Horvath Carolyn Cameron Alexis Moore     Carolyn Cameron  La Cafamore

This particular concert was part of La Cafamore’s fall tour that included performances in Silverton, Rossland, Fernie, Invermere, Cranbrook, Crawford Bay and Nelson and was supported by the Columbia Basin Trust and The Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance. Dr. R.J. Cameron and Drs. Jane and Rob Gray must also be thanked for their sponsorship of the tour and Pastor Ron for making this exceptional venue once again available to La Cafamore. This is undoubtedly the finest chamber music venue in the area.

Symphonic music performances are the major marque events that attract the most significant amounts of sponsorship support and money. I think Carolyn Cameron and her colleagues in La Cafarmore, The Selkirk Trio and The Kootenay Brass Quintet should be more than commended for their unflagging efforts, without major corporate sponsorship, to get quality music out in front of local audiences. Over the past few years we have been treated to some stellar performance of music that are somewhat off the beaten track. It is extraordinary that we have managed to hear live performances of George Crumb’s Black Angels, and Steve Reich’s Different Trains, just to mention two, here in the small communities of the Kootenays. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.