Archive for September, 2009

The Festival Is Coming To Your Computer

September 29, 2009

New podcast is up tonight. As always you can find it over on the sidebar, or subscribe to it on iTunes (so you never miss an episode). As promised this is the first snippet of material from The Alder Fork Festival.  You can hear all of Matthew Blacquiere’s fantastic performance.  Matt is planning another show in the near feature that will be recorded and likely available for purchase. He has never failed to move audiences with his witty stories, magnificent guitar work, compelling voice, and folk sensibilities.

There has been a slight delay in making/selling a recording on behalf of EDACWR.  The wheels are in motion to make that happen, it is just taking longer than expected.

A Better More Fruitful World

September 22, 2009

You and I we’re gonna live forever.


Live Forever

In recent weeks, several folks, including a scientist, have made claims about impending human immortality. These claims are usually preceded by an “if” statement or some other sort of qualifying remark.  The possibility of being able to live incredibly long lives raises some interesting questions.  The one I am most interested in is, how would immortality change the way human beings live their lives.  If it became possible to beat death by disease and natural causes would people eliminate the less natural ways of dying?  Would people take fewer risks, commit less violence, incite fewer wars, and generally try to live safe lives?  Or would the battle for scant resources increase as human population rapidly increases?  The technology to sustain life indefinitely may only be available to the more affluent countries of the world at first, but slowly the entire world would reap the benefits.

People generally act violently to assert power, obtain some goal, or to defend themselves against a threat.  Being medically immortal does not eliminate any of those elements from the world.  It does create an incentive against dying from unnatural causes that is, potentially, stronger than the current one. Will that be enough to bring a more peaceful world?

Another question raised by possible immortality is the effect on those whose religious beliefs include a conception of the after life.  Would those folks eschew perpetual life to taste the life beyond?  It is essentially a choice between a known existence and an unknown belief.  There is no doubt that many world religions would be faced with major philosophical issues.

The science of immortality is something I will be keeping an eye on in the coming years.

Oh, Canada

September 16, 2009

A new episode of the podcast is available. This week I talk with Amanda Putz about her new (or actually new again) show, Bandwidth, on CBC Radio One (Saturdays at 5pm).  We also discuss the Polaris Music Prize.  This ever more prestigious Canadian music award will be handed out at a gala event on Sunday evening.  The short list of nominees is:

As always Amanda’s passion for Canadian music knows no bounds. She is among the most knowledgeable followers of our indie scene. The first episode of Bandwidth is available from the North by East West blog.


September 15, 2009

One of the most positive outcomes of The Alder Fork Festival was the inspiration and opportunity to create an eating disorder/weight preoccupation awareness video.  This 1 minute piece features the voice acting talents of three friends of mine.

Continuing Coverage

September 13, 2009

In the aftermath of last night’s festival, great little pieces of the evening are trickling out.  First up we have a video, courtesy of The Alder Fork drummer Martin, of the band’s opening number Coast to Coast. Enjoy!

Gratitude and Satisfaction

September 13, 2009

The biggest event on my calendar every year is The Alder Fork Festival. Last night’s version was a rousing success.  The music was great, the cake looked fantastic, and we raised a substantial amount of money for the Eating Disorder Awareness Coalition of Waterloo Region.  Thank you again to The Clark Institute, Matthew Blacquiere, Dave Fallis, the members of my band, the fantastic volunteers, and everyone who came out and supported such a worthwhile cause.  I am already contemplating next year’s version.

The exuberance of the crowd, and the talent on display were the two highlights for me. This was arguably the best festival in the 10 years I’ve run it. The performances were top notch, and the whole evening ran without a hitch. If you missed this year’s event you will still be able to contribute to in the coming weeks, when a recording of the festival is released for sale. All proceeds of the sale will be donated to EDACWR.

Something To Do In Kitchener Tonight

September 12, 2009

If you are looking for something to do in Kitchener-Waterloo  tonight, that’s Saturday September 12th, please come on down to The Registry Theatre (122 Frederick St.), for some great music in support of an awesome cause. Dave Fallis, Matt Blacquiere, The Clark Institute, and The Alder Fork have teamed up to support the Eating Disorder Awareness Coalition of Waterloo Region. Doors open at 6:30pm and the show starts at 7pm.  Admission is $10 with all proceeds going to EDAC.  Hope to see you there!

Oh Ca-na-da

September 8, 2009

I have often written about my appreciation for the CBC in its various forms.  The fact that Canadians have a large national broadcaster, makes it possible for our creative people to find an outlet (there are of course other non-CBC channels, like Bravo, that follow a similar mandate). After changing direction a few years ago, CBC Radio 2, has embraced a very pro-Canada identity. From the Obama playlist to their most recent endeavour, The Great Canadian Song Quest, the folks at Radio 2 have been waving a giant Canadian flag at their listeners.  Canada is a very patriotic country, despite assertions that we are much more passive then the United States or most other nations for that matter.  Canadians beat their chests in more subtle, but no less constant ways, usually promoting our superiority in matters ranging from beer and comedy to health care and rates of violent crime.

As for The Great Canadian Song Quest, it seems to be a neat idea, similar to that of Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois and Michigan albums.  The details are available here.  Essentially, the plan is to pick 13 places in Canada and pair them with 13 songwriters to immortalize them in song.  This is a potentially great idea on several levels. First, the idea of the CBC commissioning work for several Canadian artist is, in my opinion, exactly the sort of effort they should be involved with.  Much like producing home-grown television programs, I’d like to see the CBC find opportunities like this one to promote the creation of Canadian music.  Second, the outcome of this contest is bound to be at least a few enjoyable and/or fun songs about places in Canada. I can only hope some of the locations are obscure (think the Hip’s Bobcaygeon). Last, even though the listeners of Radio 2 is probably made up of people who already appreciate the breadth of contemporary Canadian music,  a project like The Great Canadian Song Quest will draw wider attention to some unique talent. Although I will reserve judgment until the project is over, kudos to the folks at the CBC for dreaming it up.