Mudtown Interview: B.A. Johnston

B.A. Johnston performs for his first time in Owen Sound this Saturday, November 21st at the Coach Inn (click here for tickets). He granted Mudtown an interview in anticipation of his performance, which will include a donut eating contest, an all-Ween tribute band, and many, many snot-rockets.

Mudtown: Thanks for agreeing to the interview BA.  Your longlisting for the 2015 Polaris Prize sparked some controversy with people coming out vocally for and against your nomination, including an active campaign to get you on the shortlist, complete with its own hashtag #shorlistBA and a Downfall / Hitler Reacts video –   what would you have spent the $50K on if you had won?

BA:  Dunno. I guess I would have invested heavily into Dollarama and A&W stocks, and spent the rest on Savage Swords of Conan. I may have bought a van made in this century.

It’s not unusual for you to end up performing to an audience in a bathroom stall at the end of the night, cramming in as many crowd members as possible. Do you have a preferred kind of bathroom to perform in, or any particular venue’s bathroom that is ideal for the crapper concert?

I can’t really get away from the bathroom encore. The audience seems to want it and they give me trouble if i don’t do it. That being said I prefer a good sized girls bathroom. Sometimes there is poupourri in there.

You’re known as a son of Steel Town (Hamilton, Ont) and a devoted Ticats’ fan.  What do feel are the political-economic ramifications for Hamilton with respect to American Steel’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy application in the United States, and how will this – if at all – influence your songwriting?

Well it won’t really reflect much in my songwriting, but i think US steel are a bunch of crooks. And Hamilton will be left out to dry again, as we as a city tend to vote NDP, so no one gives a shit what happens there.

McDonald’s, or Harvey’s?

Harveys for burgs and shakes. McDonalds for everything else.

On a typical show you switch through playing guitar, playing a keyboard, and singing to backing tracks on a portable CD player – what determines your performance method, and have you considered doing all three at once?

Due to lack of skill and ability i am forced to do them all separate. May be for the best.

The minivan seems to be the preferred BA mode of transport and has been featured in your songs – what do you think of the demise of the minivan and rise of the crossover SUV? Would you ever consider driving a Tesla?

Man, the mini van ain’t going nowhere. You know how hard it is to find a used Dodge Grand Caravan? People can’t get enough of these things. People will always need a big slow dumb thing to drive their kids and crap around in. I would drive a Tesla if i can get a good used one for 2500 and it can haul all my crud.

You’ve been able to capture the Canadian spirit in song unlike any other singer-songwriter of our day, like a fusion of Stomping Tom and the Trailer Park Boys – to what do you credit your originality?  And, where does BA Johnston go from here?

Well,l you got to write about what you know. And, all I do is drive around canada and eat. I guess most people don’t write songs about eating or Regina. Nowhere to go but up from here.

Finally,do you have any words for the people of Owen Sound?

Come on down to the show. Good seats still available.

 

B.A. Johnston’s latest album “Shit Sucks” was longlisted for the 2015 Polaris Prize.  It is available via iTunes, and record stores across Canada.

 

Win Tickets To A Show You Suggest!

Stars, Elliott Brood, the Strumbellas, Zeus, the Sadies, Hannah Georgas, Doug Paisley, Jennifer Castle, the Weather Station, & the Burning Hell – just some of the artists who have played Mudtown events.

Now it’s your chance to have a say in who plays an upcoming Mudtown Records show AND win free VIP tickets to the event!  Just fill in our contact form with your name, email, the subject heading “Mudtown Guest Programmer,” and tell us who your choice you would like to see play a Mudtown event and why. Click here for contact form.

If we like your selection, we’ll contact you, and release the name of the artist through social media once we’ve confirmed their booking.

Good luck Mudtowners – we look forward to your suggestions!!!

NO HATE: A Concert for Community

Owen Sound and the surrounding area has a long history of tolerance and inclusion. From its role as terminus for fleeing slaves on the Underground Railroad to our proud heritage as home to one of Canada’s oldest small town Synagogues, we have shown a historical willingness to embrace diversity. Despite this, hatred and intolerance persist throughout our communities. Stories of racism, sexual assault, homophobia, & other forms of hatred stain local, national, & international news. We have decided to show – once again – that the people of our region stand in solidarity against hatred and discrimination in all forms.

Join us on Saturday, June 27th at the Roxy Theatre in Owen Sound, as visiting and local musicians raise their voices against hate. Featuring performances by Sonic Unyon Records recording artist Terra Lightfoot, eccentric entertainer and music educator Friendly Rich & the Lollipop People, Toronto art-country hipsters Beams, plus local performers The Sportswriters, Pete Devlin, & Deanne Hallman. Tickets are available online here, at the Roxy box-office, or by phoning (519) 371-2833.

All proceeds from this event will go to benefit the following not for profit groups: M’Wikwedong NCRC, The Women’s Centre Grey and Bruce Inc.,Grey Bruce Pride, United Way of Bruce Grey, & the Owen Sound Emancipation Festival.

Five Years, Foggy Hogtown, & Silent Film

We’re just putting the finishing touches on our latest podcast, which will include some music from popular Toronto bluegrass quintet the Foggy Hogtown Boys. They play the Mudtown Music & Arts Series on March 28th at the Roxy Theatre with fiddling phenom Linsey Beckett opening. Click here to purchase tickets.  Apple users can download, or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. Android and other users can subscribe by RSS feed. Or, you can simply stream, or download it on your computer via Soundcloud.

A big thank-you to everyone who attended the Silent Film Ensemble’s performance to the Great White Silence. We were overwhelmed at the response and look forward to our next silent film event to-be-announced for the latter part of 2015. You can watch OSC Media House‘s video of the Silent Film Ensemble’s “Tom Sessions.”  The video is part of a continuing series of collaborative, live performance videos created by OSC Media House and Mudtown Records.  You can watch a playlist of the videos via Youtube.

And, last but not least – March 27th marks Mudtown’s 5th Anniversary!!!! Thanks to everyone who has made this possible – you are too numerous to mention, but we want to know how much we appreciate and love you.  We will be celebrating throughout the year with special fifth anniversary events, so stay tuned!!!

Newsletter, Podcasts, Concerts, & more!

Along with being able to sign-up for our newsletter via Facebook, we’ve got all sorts of new stuff to talk about.

Our newsletter will feature event announcements, special offers, free downloads, links to podcasts, and other tasty tidbits.  So take 20 seconds to subscribe, ’cause you won’t regret it.

We’re prepped with haggis for our ‘Muddy Burns Day‘ celebration at the Coach Inn next Saturday with Scatter the Cats & Beggars Road.  You can hear a track from the Cats on the most recent edition of the Mudtown Radio Podcast, which you can subscribe to and download for free via iTunes, SoundCloud, or RSS feed.   Alongside them are tracks from Daniel Lanois, Mudtown festival alumnus Jennifer Castle, plus new tracks from Del Bel, Beams, and more!  It’s free, so you can’t really go wrong.

On February 21st the Silent Film Ensemble will return to the Roxy Theatre to perform their 12th original soundtrack. They will play to a 1924 documentary filmed by of the British Antarctic Expedition entitled “The Great White Silence.”  Theatre goers are asked to dress in ‘black and white, or formal attire’ to give the event the look of the era.  The Silent Film Ensemble has put on some of our most popular and enduring events.

Mudtown’s Year in Review

What an incredible year!

Despite having to kill off the Mudtown Music & Arts Festival, we rallied to have our best year yet.  We played host to two Juno Award winning bands, saw the release of more music from Mudtown, discovered some incredible new bands, made new friends, held cool afterparties, and learned more about what Mudtown Records is about: you.  You attend our shows.  You buy artists’ records and merch.  You tell your friends about us.  You give us ideas and feedback.  Thank YOU so very much for making 2014 a year to remember for Mudtown. And happily, 2015 already has more fantastic things in store.  It will be our 5th Anniversary and we’re looking forward to celebrating it with you!

Decemberrific!

Wow. What an incredible month.

First off, we had an fantastic time with the extremely down-to-earth and wildly entertaining Strumbellas at the Roxy Theatre (and incredible VIP after-party at the Kathmandu Café). The band had the audience on their feet applauding before their encore and left with what is surely more fans and friends. Not to mention their fantastic openers and tour partners Sam Cash & the Romantic Dogs who rocked our sleepy town into an appreciation for their musicianship and song craft.

Along with that, we announced our next Mudtown Music & Arts Series show, which will be a Robbie Burns celebration at the historic Coach Inn with masters of the celtic jig & reel Scatter the Cats with equally talented scotch songsters Beggars Road. We’ll have haggis, pipers, and verse from the Bard for what guarantees to be a memorable event.

To finish off our year we’ll be celebrating with a free show – a Holiday Happening! – on Saturday, December 27th at the Kathmandu Café with a Mudtown Allstar Band, vintage vinyl, giveaways, and more than a couple of surprises.

The Week That Was

It’s been almost a week since the Dinner Belles & Beams brought their artful roots sounds to the Kathmandu Café in Owen Sound, yet we’re still basking in the afterglow of a show that will serve as measure for those to come. You can read a review of the show over at the blog Rrampt (click here).  We’re biased, but have to say that it was an amazing show.  Beams’ performance blew everyone away with their entirely unique brand of art-folk, and the Dinner Belles showed that they are pros – true masters of their genre.

We also released Woodworker’s live performance video filmed by Nelson Phillips for OSC Media House’s “Old Courthouse Sessions.”  The Old Courthouse Arts Building in Owen Sound is slated to be sold and we would like the video to – at least – showcase this amazing piece of architectural heritage, if not give weight to the desire to keep this as a place for artists and performance.  Click here to watch the video.

And now, we look forward to our last show of 2014: the Strumbellas w/ Sam Cash and the Romantic Dogs on December 6th at the Roxy Theatre in Owen Sound.  The Strumbellas won the 2014 Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional album for their LP “We Still Move On Dance Floors.”  VIP tickets include a pre-concert meet ‘n’ greet with the bands, front row seating, and a catered after party at the Kathmandu Café (formerly known as the Rocky Raccoon Café).  This promises to be a highlight of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

Woodworker & OSC Media House

Mudtown duo Woodworker teamed up with director and filmographer Nelson Phillips of OSC Media House to shoot a live, off-the-floor video at the historic Old Courthouse Arts Building in Owen Sound over the weekend.  Phillips – who just saw to fruition his first successful film festival and finished production on his “Feral” documentary about youth, memory, and the outdoors – is a graduate of OCAD, where he concentrated on film.

The pairing of Phillips and Woodwork is a natural one – not just for the reason that Phillips and Woodworker singer-songwriter Jonathan Cox both show ample beard growing capabilities; both Phillips and Woodworker share an affinity for their locale (Owen Sound, Ontario) and an appreciation for fine craftwork.  So, it would make sense that the both should gather at the Old Courthouse Arts building – a historic and architectural gem in the city – to shoot their short music film.

See more of Phillips work here and listen to the music of Woodworker here.

At the time of this blog post, Phillips was working on a rush of the film stating “I want to get it done before the baby arrives.”  His wife Natalie and he are expecting their first child at the end of November.  Good luck to everyone!

 

Mudtown All Candidates Forum On The Arts

On Wednesday, October 22nd, Mudtown Records hosted an all-candidates forum on “The Future of the Arts in the Owen Sound Economy” at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library.  All candidates that were able to attend did.  You can watch video of the forum in its entirety by clicking here.  The Owen Sound Sun Times covered the event, as did OwenSoundHub.org.

The purpose of the forum was to have candidates share their views on how the Arts may contribute to the growing of the Owen Sound economy; and, to answer questions from the public regarding their views on the subject.  It was clear although many of the candidates recognize the significant contribution of the Arts to the local economy, very few thought of Arts related business in the same light as other more ‘traditional’ businesses.

There was mention of “exceptions for nonprofits,” “an innovation centre,” a “river arts project,” and other creative ideas from candidates, but no candidates talked of the Arts as business.  Perhaps this is owing to the venerable status we often give to art and artists.  Or, maybe it’s because they had their fill of business at the earlier Chamber of Commerce debate and the talk sponsored by the Owen Sound DIA.

It was a very positive event with much discussion generated.  But, the crux will be what successful candidates do on council in order to generate money through the Arts.  They were all ready to change an obscure bylaw prohibiting the ‘operation of a musical instrument’ in a residential neighbourhood.  Current councillors were happy to tout how much money we spend on the Arts in proportion to how much we spend on Sports.  But no one – perhaps wisely – wanted to show us the money.

 

Vote in the your local Ontario municipal election this Monday, October 27th.

 

NOTE:  No candidate mentioned the culinary arts.