Saturday, September 7, 2013

Handmade, Second Editions & Ars Ephemera

Handmade recording setup in my living room
Recording of the Handmade CD has begun! For the first time, I will be recording piano at home, which feels amazing. My piano, my schedule, my house. Mine, mine mine.
I am awaiting copies of Genesis On Piano Volume 2, Second Edition from the printers. Since I am nearly sold out of the First Edition, I took the opportunity to make numerous little improvements and corrections.

 The parts are written for the next Colossus Project CD: Decameron Part 2, the follow-up to the wonderful first volume made in 2011. The scan above is of my own copy of this CD -- I listen to it all the time. 

It is a wonderful privilege to belong to a circle of people all doing it for the love of it --- the very best reason of all.

The track is named "Lost And Found", based on the Decameron story of Day Five, Tale 3,  and is a chamber music piece featuring:

Tamara Hrycak, violin

Tamara and I have played together over the past ten years on a number of musical theater shows in Toronto
Lydia Munchinsky, cello

Lydia and I have also played musical theater together, and she was a part of both of the previous Ars Ephemera tracks as well.

Karen Shakespeare, flute

Karen played on both of the previous Ars Ephemera tracks.

David Myers, keyboards

and of course, me, noodling around on keyboards and things.

The track will be submitted for the end of September.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

EuroTour 2013, part 5: Nice and Paris

After the last show in Verviers, I flew to Nice in the South of France for a well-deserved week on the beach. I have been there before and couldn't wait to go back; I was not disappointed  :)
view of Nice and Villefranche, France

right across the street from where I stayed in Nice, France

To see all my pictures of Nice, visit my Dropbox folder

Croissy-Sur-Seine, France

After a magnificent week in Nice, I took a train to Paris to meet up with friend, guitarist extraordinaire and my double, Jacques Friedmann. 

The Dynamic Duo in rehearsal
Jacques and I are preparing a CD of us as a duo: 4 of Jacques' originals, 4 of mine, and 2 Genesis covers. 
We spent a week rehearsing and will continue the project via Internet and subsequent visits.

taking a break from rehearsal

Jacques has brilliant original songs which are not being promoted presently. I will be putting them on my website

To see all my photos of Croissy-Sur-Seine, visit my Dropbox folder

Saturday, August 3, 2013

EuroTour 2013 part 4: Verviers

After my two days relaxing in Brussels, I took the train an hour east to Verviers, where I would play the last show.
Hall in Verviers, where I have played with TMB, apparently  :)

 I guess you know you've played a few shows in your career when you think you've never heard of a town before, and then you show up, and not only do you recognize every building around you, but you realize you've played there before! 

I made my way through town to the Spirit of 66, where the gig was going to be.

You can see me on the playbill down at 01/07 --- somebody decided to call the show 'Genesis Revisited' (not me) --- I think they were confusing me with Steve Hackett's tour!  :)

Anyway, the owner and technician were very friendly and we started setting up the show.

Here you can see the iPad I had at my side during the show. I used foot pedals to change the visuals at the right time. 

This was the splash screen for the top of the show.

 The Spirit of 66 is a wonderful classic rock club with lots of wooden furniture, and where the walls have endless stories to tell. 

I love this kind of environment, what a great vibe. Here is one of the doors in my dressing room.


 Here you can see the piano mover getting ready to set the piano up, with the club owner standing on stage and the technician down in front.

Soundcheck , photo: Martin Christgau

 Here I am playing in soundcheck. It was so nice to have a Yamaha C7 to play; it is the same piano I have at home.


Can Utility & The Coastliners,   photo: Martin Christgau

I got a great surprise when Martin Duimel and his wife Jacqueline showed up from Holland. Martin has been a hardcore supporter, has produced shows for The Musical Box, and organized my first European solo show in Holland back in 2008.

To see all my pictures from Verviers, visit my Dropbox folder

Thursday, August 1, 2013

EuroTour 2013, part 3: Switzerland and Belgium

After my wonderful stay in Italy and the great show in Padova, I needed to get to Blonay, Switzerland in time for the second show the following night. We knew it would be tight, but I arrived 15 minutes before the show! So there was no tech, just me and the piano, but we had a great time anyway!
w. Viviane and Patrick Golaz, Blonay, Switzerland.

My hosts, Viviane and Patrick were very warm and friendly; it was a very enjoyable evening with the concert taking place in a community center in the middle of Blonay, a very small town nestled in the mountains near Lausanne.

w. Roger Forgues and Stefan Kaufmann, Blonay, Switzerland.

A lot of the local population was at the concert, as well as some serious Genesis fans from far away!

time to eat in Blonay.

There was local food and drink after the show!

The next morning, it was time for two days off in Brussels, Belgium.
The Apocalypse (Shiels) Brothers in Brussels

At Brussels airport, my new friend Paul told me I would recognize his kids because they were carrying a Genesis time signature.....

I love Brussels and was looking forward to relaxing there. My hotel was right in the middle of things, just off the Grand Place, where there are numerous incredible buildings like these.....

Brussels is a particularly great city for both shopping
and eating

w. Paul Shiels in Brussels

My Irish friend Paul took me to a killer Thai restaurant in Belgium. Now there's a rich combination!

If you would like to see all my pictures of  Brussels, please visit my Dropbox folder

Thursday, July 25, 2013

EuroTour 2013, Part 2: Padova, Italy, 1st Concert

After my recuperation day in Venice, I took a train to Padova, 60 kms away, location of the first of my three concerts. I was again greeted at the train station by my host, Michele, and taken to my hotel. Another beautiful Italian city I've never visited before....

Once we had completed the guided tour of the city that Michele offered me, I returned to the hotel for a bit before we met up with the members of Duke, a local Genesis tribute band for a wonderful supper.

The very friendly members of Duke.

After supper, I got to sit in on one of their rehearsals for an upcoming performance in Verona....

In the Duke practice room.

Next day, it was time to get the first show up and running! After the customary technical problems for the first few hours, everything ran smoothly and the show was a real pleasure.
playing Seven Stones

talking about my meeting with The Great One

playing Mad Man Moon

promoting each other's CDs, with Paolo Chiarandini

After the concert, I got to meet a lot of people, including the ultra-talented Paolo Chiarandini, who learned all my arrangements by ear(!!!) and made his own CD of them, as well as performing them in the same venue as I did.

with Michele Maran, the organizer, and a brand new fan!

I was also introduced to the best kind of Genesis fan: a brand new one!  :)

concert hall in Padova

It was a night of sharing great music with really nice people in a beautiful town. 

The tour got off to a great start...

To see all my photos of Padova, visit my Dropbox folder

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

EuroTour 2013, part 1: Arrival In Venice

My amazing 2013 trip to Europe began June 24th, when I left Toronto, bound for Venice, Italy; it was my first time heading to that fabled city. I was met at the airport by Michele, my fantastic host and producer of my upcoming Italian show.

What I quickly learnt about Venice was that as beautiful as one might expect it to be, it is more so.

I had heard over the years that the water was smelly, but I did not detect anything in the couple of days I spent there.
I met someone else on my trip who also said they smelled nothing bad about the water while they were there; in fact, it smelled of nothing at all.

So I had the following day and the next morning to get over my jetlag, although I found it interesting that this time I had no detectable jetlag as such. 

I was told that after making the same trip enough times, the body adapts to some extent. When I first flew to Europe, I needed a week to feel better; this time I felt fine the very next day.

Unfortunately, Venice is being deserted, as the cost of maintaining a home, with the water perpetually eroding it's  foundation has become prohibitively expensive for the locals, who are leaving at the suggested rate of 1,000 buildings per year.

Piazza San Marco. My hotel was just off to the right. Below, with my host Michele Maran.
For all my photos of Venice, visit my  Dropbox folder