YOUNG DRONES: VOLUME ONE – A Collection of Noises

Download for free from Bandcamp.

The Macphail Music Program is thrilled to release YOUNG DRONES –A Collection Of Noises as our “Heart Of A Tiger” fundraiser to help purchase cardiac equipment for the new Centre Grey Hospital in Markdale. If you would like to donate please visit the link below and under “Fund” select the “Macphail Music Program, Heart Of A Tiger Campaign” option: www.cghsfoundation.com/donation-form/

This project is also meant to coincide with International Drone Day, May 29. As far as we can gather, we are the FIRST group of elementary school-aged artists and musicians ON PLANET EARTH to submit work for this worldwide celebration. For a program that fosters a creative, fearless, open-minded, outside-the-box outlook on life and music this was VERY exciting news indeed and another “first” to add to our collection!

What is a drone? This is the question that launched this project. Often, the first responses were “a remote-controlled helicopter thingy”. Being from a rural area, some students were able to identify a drone as a male bee. These suggestions led to the musical sense of the word—a long, continuous, (endless?) sound. Online classes participated in rich conversations about what different sorts of drone there are (instrumental, mechanical, natural) and provided countless examples of each (bagpipe, old fridge, waterfall). Bigger philosophical questions were asked—do we exist in a constant drone of sound/s? Is silence, or freedom from noise, possible? Virtual debates ensued—how is a drone different than other musical concepts like ostinato or pedal point? High school/university music stuff here!

Grade 4 to 8 students, in an attempt to make this project as creative and fun as possible, were then tasked with capturing, recreating or recording drones to submit. Josh Richardson and the good people at Mudtown Records agreed to compile and curate these sounds. This local record label has supported recording projects by the Macphail Music Program over the years and I’m sure they were a bit surprised and even overwhelmed when over 100 Macphail artists/engineers submitted work for this community-spirited project!

Many thanks to Darlene Lamberti at Centre-Grey Health Services. She has been nothing but encouraging over the last few years and we are so pumped (get it, heart fundraiser) to offer our work for the second year in a row to help the overall health and well-being of our community. Endless thanks to Josh Richardson for faithfully putting our Macphail musical magic out into the world.

Please give generously if you are able. We would like to eclipse the amount from our Covid 19 fundraiser of last year!

– Charles Glasspool

Thank you to Charles and the students of the Macphail Music program for involving me with this unique and exciting release. It is fascinating to hear these young drones, the different textures, timbres, and tones emanating from the wild. One can sense the exploration in these sounds and an attention to the environment, taking a lesson from Pauline Oliveros’ concept of ‘deep listening.’ It is a pleasure and a privilege to help produce this very special collection of drone noises.

– Josh Richardson

Album art by Sadie Phillips

Covid-19 Relief Fundraiser: There Was A Storm Last Night

Donate to the Centre Grey Health Service Covid-19 Relief fund in honour of Colleen Vandenberg by clicking here AND download the album “There Was A Storm Last Night: Sounds From The Macphail Music Program” from Bandcamp for FREE by clicking here .

From the album liner notes:

In 2016 Josh Richardson and Mudtown Records set up a live, off-the-floor recording at St. John’s United Church in Flesherton, Ontario. Over 100 Macphail Elementary School Music Program students joined by a handful of high school students from GHSS, staff and community members participated in a mad, magical, messy afternoon of one-take only captures of the ideas, the songs, the music presented here. The second track here “Duties Of A Lighthouse Keeper”, by the wonderful group Human Highway, was picked up by the national music magazine Exclaim! I’m not sure they have ever featured an elementary school ensemble before or since? Our Macphail Tigers Concert Band featured here as well went on to win a Platinum award at the prestigious Music Alive festival in York Region, receiving an invitation to play against the best elementary school bands in the country. Of course, this wonderful group went on to earn a GOLD medal at the Canadian Musicfest Nationals finals in Ottawa. This certainly represents one of the finest and most memorable years of my endlessly beautiful times at Mac Music.

Originally, the release of this album was meant to support a bursary/fund/scholarship for students of this tremendous campaign as they moved on to post-secondary studies. Given the dramatic turn of events in all of our lives, we would like to offer this recording as a fundraiser for the Centre-Grey Health Services COVID-19 Relief Fund. There is an important reason why and her name is COLLEEN VANDENBERG.

From the get-go, Colleen has been an unflinching and stalwart supporter of the Macphail Music program. She has been band manager and muse, nurse, chaperone, comforting force, and friendly face to HUNDREDS of Tiger musicians over the years. Words cannot my express my gratitude to this otherworldly superhero and front-line worker. How many times did she get off a night shift at the hospital just to sit on a school bus for hours on end and travel to some festival far away? ALWAYS bubbly. ALWAYS cheerful. ALWAYS THERE. In some ways, she is as responsible for the success of our award-winning, nationally-recognised, touring, travelling Tigers Concert Band as the kids involved or yours truly. This recording is TOTALLY dedicated to you, Colleen Vandenberg. Thank you. C

If you would like to make a donation to the Centre-Grey Health Services COVID-19 Relief Fund follow the link here. Be sure to direct your donation to said fund.

www.cghsfoundation.com/donation-form/

From Josh Richardson:

This was a very special project to be a part of. The students were so clearly engaged by Charles and his enthusiasm. What a captivating group of young people, listening carefully, and exercising their own creativity in such a beautiful way. I really hope that this can continue. Thank you to Charlie and all the students for involving me in the project. I was moved to tears by the performance. With much respect, Josh

Dibiki-Giizis by Chegahno & Richardson

This track was recorded in my sun room on June 29, 2007. Jake Chegahno heard a pre-mix just before he died in early 2017. It’s name is the Anishnabe word for moon, which literally translated means ‘dark sun.’ Jake was Anishnabe from Neyashiinigmiing (Cape Croker)and loved Gerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, so I thought it appropriate, being recorded in the sun room, and remembering the Dead’s song “Dark Star.” The photo is the ‘Chegahno’ illuminated musical glass, created by Patrick Dorfman for the Silent Film Ensemble and named for Jake. Chii Miigwech Jake.

– Josh Richardson, June 27th, 2018.

“…a gorgeous, soothing work.”

Exclaim! has called Josh Richardson’s latest ambient work “a gorgeous, soothing work.”  Read the review of the double EP “Book Ends” in full here.  Stream, or download the album here.

Richardson will perform a new ambient work entitled “Ataraxia” at the Georgian Shores United Church in Owen Sound on Wednesday, August 23rd at noon, as part of the Noon Hour concert series.  The event is free.

Listen to “Spheres” from the double EP “Book Ends” below.

Lupercalia 2017 Lineup & Trailer Released

Lupercalia will be looking to heat up the cold Ontario winter in Owen Sound come February, and organizers have just unveiled details about the festival’s 2017 instalment.

The event will be presented by Mudtown Records and is set to take place on February 16 and 17 at various venues across town.

So far, the list of confirmed performers boasts the Woodshed Orchestra, the Surfrajettes, WHOOP-Szo, L Con, Taktus, Tween, Tim Glasgow and the Silent Film Ensemble.

There will also be programming that includes a Truth & Reconciliation & the Arts roundtable discussion, as well as a an exploration of Owen Sound’s musical history and plenty of local food and beverages at the Luper-culinary Locavore Lounge.

Tickets are expected to go on sale on Saturday (December 17). Single night tickets are $25, while full weekend passes are $40. Foodies can also opt in for Tasters Tickets that will include gourmet food and drink that will cost $65 for a single night or $110 for the full weekend.

Find full Lupercalia details and updates over here, and check out a video trailer for the upcoming festival in the player below.

– Sarah Murphy, Exclaim!

Mudtown Series Spring 2016

The Mudtown Music & Arts Series is pleased to announce its spring 2016 lineup featuring three heavy hitters visiting the new Heartwood Concert Hall in Owen Sound for the first time. The series features the best in visiting and regional musicians and artists, seeking to connect both artist and audience with an expanding creative network.
Peterborough’s legendary saloon symphony, the Silver Hearts, will make their inaugural appearance at the hall onSaturday, April 23rd. The band recently completed their first recording in over 10 years with engineer James McKenty (Blue Rodeo, Cuff the Duke), featuring 13 golden favourites to be released by Mudtown Records later this year. The group’s sprawling ragtime ‘n’ blues sound has garnered widespread praise, taking them as far as Japan to perform. This will be the Silver Hearts first visit to the area since their 2014 near-capacity performance at the Roxy Theatre with the Sadies.
Saturday, May 28th will see Toronto bluegrass quintet the Foggy Hogtown Boys bring their ‘‘Carters & Cash’ tribute to the Heartwood Concert Hall. The concert will feature bluegrass renditions of songs made famous by the Carter Family – the first family of American Country music – and Johnny Cash (husband to June Carter). This will be an exciting show for both fans of country and bluegrass. The group is comprised of some of the nation’s best bluegrass players and display a dizzying ability as they share a single ‘cold stage’ microphone, like Grand Ol’ Opry stages of the past. It promises to be a fantastic evening of music respecting old time music and its roots.
And, on Saturday, June 18th, St. Catherine’s based 14 piece brass funk and hip-hop band My Son the Hurricane bring the tour for their new, yet-to-be-named album to Heartwood Concert Hall. The group was garnered praise throughout festivals and venues for their high energy, dynamic performances, which include original music, alongside original takes on retro classics. Local lovers of the bizarre, tWeen – a tribute act to weird wave rockers Ween – will open.
For showtimes, tickets, and information visit just look under the events tab, or call (519) 416-8696.

Lupercalia back this February

From Scott Dunn for the Owen Sound Sun-Times. Click here for original article.

 

OWEN SOUND ­- Lupercalia Winter Multi­Arts Festival is being revived, offering up entertainment just when people could use it most ­ ­ in the dead of a Grey­Bruce winter. Lupercalia, scheduled for Feb. 12­13, had a three­year run ending in 2013. The festival brought indie music in multiple city venues at a time of year when there were no significant events like it and there still aren’t, organizer Josh Richardson said. The winter festival is returning because he has more time since cancelling his summer Mudtown Music & Arts Festival in 2014 and because people asked him to, Richardson said. At Lupercalia, Richardson says people will be able to enjoy Mudtown’s flavour of entertainment. Greg and Joanna Bottrell of Heartwood Concert Hall will host the headliners acts at the Lupercalia Winter Multi­Arts Festival Feb. 12­13 in downtown Owen Sound. (James Masters/The Sun Times, Owen Sound) NEWS LOCAL LupercaliabackthisFebruary By Scott Dunn, Sun Times, Owen Sound Wednesday, December 23, 2015 5:51:56 EST PM “I think that people have come to realize that the kind of stuff that we’re doing is not middle of the road, top 40 pre­fab folk or pop ­­ if you can have pre­fab top 40 folk. I think we’re offering something different, but still with broad enough appeal that most anyone could hop in an enjoy themselves thoroughly.” There are two headliners, The Sadies, a Juno Award­winning roots­rock band, and Souljazz Orchestra, an eight piece, Afro­funk fusion band, Richardson said. “If you like to dance and if you like rhythmically based music with lots of horns, this is your thing, it will be electrifying.” Another band, Friendly Rich & the Lollipop People, will bring its “Frank Zappa meets Tom Waits” style played by band members who are among Toronto’s best session musicians, Richardson said. Skye Wallace, Hervana and Cupcake Ductape will also perform. The recently opened Heartwood Concert Hall will be the main venue, where both headliners will perform. Richardson said more locations and schedule details will be announced in the new year. Heartwood co­owner Greg Bottrell spent 25 years in the music business in Toronto, including as booking agent for the Rivoli night club in the 1990s and restaurant and club owner in the 2000s. He said he still owns a restaurant/concert venue/dance club in Kensington Market. “It’s nice to see Josh bring some of the more indie acts up to this region because either the kids aren’t creating that type of music and nor are they exposed to some of those bands,” he said. Lupercalia will also have workshops, panel discussions and author and music journalist Stuart Berman, a contributor to online music magazine Pitchfork, will speak at an event called “Rock ‘n Writing” at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library. It will be free to kids and everyone else will pay a small fee, Richardson said. Playwright and spoken word artist Cathy Petch will perform and there will be a “Luper­Culinary Lounge,” featuring the best in local food and refreshments, Richardson said. In 2010, Richardson started OTHERfolk Festival, his downtown response to the landmark Summerfolk music festival at Kelso Beach, which he criticized for having too narrow a definition of folk music. OTHERfolk continued until 2013 when it was renamed Mudtown Music & Arts Festival, which he cancelled in 2014 due to slow ticket sales. His Mudtown Records, a regional record label, continues to present The Mudtown Music & Arts Series year­round. Lupercalia weekend VIP and general admission passes are available at MudtownRecords.com. Early bird tickets are on sale until midnight tonight. Early bird weekend passes are $80 for general admission, $110 for VIP tickets, which guarantee access to all Lupercalia concerts and attractions. Single day passes will be for sale if capacity permits.

Mudtown Interview: Terra Lightfoot

Terra Lightfoot plays the Heartwood Concert Hall next Saturday, December 12th to what will (likely) be a sold-out audience.  Last time she was in Owen Sound it was with the Dinner Belles, who played an inspired set of originals and classic country covers to a small sold-out show at Rocky Raccoon Café in support of their latest album “The River & the Willow.”  Fast forward a year – Terra has a hit solo album, a cross Canada tour under her belt, and has just played Massey Hall.  But, she couldn’t be more grounded.  

Mudtown: Why is Hamilton the worst? (For an inside on this joke, follow Terra on Instagram here.)

Terra: So many reasons. The waterfalls, the hiking trails, the beautiful views of the harbour, the restaurants, art galleries, venues, the cheap housing, SUPERCRAWL, two beer festivals, our new Collective Arts Brewery and ManoRun Organic Farm.

You’ve played a number of dates opening for fellow Hamiltonian Daniel Lanois, who has worked with U2 & Bob Dylan, among others, and is a noted songwriter in his own right – how do you think (if at all) Hamilton has influenced his songwriting, and / or your own?

Well I think there’s a sort of grit and dirt involved when people think of Hamilton. For me that never comes out.  I write about the nature, the streets and places I gravitate toward, the views of the city from different vantage points. Dan has told all kinds of stories about growing up in Hamilton. I think it informed parts of who he is as a person, just like any city does. He’s very honest and true to himself. I don’t know if he’s written any Hamilton centric songs. Maybe the new instrumental music he’s writing is all about Hamilton?

The scene in Hamilton seems pretty strong right now (sensing a theme?) with lots of venues for live music, the  successful Supercrawl festival, the Green Belt picnic, plus producing acts like Arkells, Whitehorse, and yourself – what do you think other scenes (think Owen Sound) can learn from Hamilton?

I think that Hamilton has pockets of different scenes all over the city, just like any place…so we have different venues, different genres, young people, old people.  It’s important for any scene to be inclusive. I am just as supported by the punk community in Hamilton as I am supported by the blues community, or the rock community. I focus on supporting them too. Even if you are not into each band in your city, you still support them and talk about their shows. The last part I would say is supporting the out-of-towners when they come through – Owen Sound seems to have that part locked down! It’s Hamilton’s weak point for sure.

Your voice – justifiably – has garnered a lot of accolades, but you’re also a skilled guitarist.  What guitarists do you like, or have influenced you?  Are any of them from Hamilton?

Well I love Luke Doucet’s playing.  He’s an honorary Hamiltonian. I am really into Chet Atkins right now. I’ve always loved his playing, but I’m starting to follow it more. No surprise he called himself “CGP” – Certified Guitar Player.

Owen Sound, or Hamilton?

DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!

When you were in Owen Sound last year for the Mudtown Music & Arts Series you played in the well-respected Hamilton group the Dinner Belles at the former Rocky Raccoon cafe.  It was a tremendous show, which displayed great group cohesion and formidable musicianship.  How is playing with your solo band different?

I love playing with the Dinner Belles, because we just get up there and joke around. It’s fun music too.  And, it doesn’t matter if you hit a wrong note. It’s funny. My (own) band is understandably maybe more serious, about the songs, lyrics maybe. I’m much more vulnerable in presenting my work I guess. Brad Germain from Dinner Belles also has a solo project, Spruce Invaders, which is a space rock band. So cool.

Finally, do you have anything to say to the people of Owen Sound before the show next Saturday?

People of Owen Sound, your town is great.  I really loved playing there last time, and I can’t wait to see you all again!

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.