Archive for the ‘The Alder Fork Projects’ Category


August 25, 2011

The release dates of Tracts is rapidly approaching and the songs have rounded into form. I am incredibly excited about this collection. It may seem like bluster but I really believe these are the among the best songs to ever come out of The Alder Fork. The track listing (in no particular order) is: Random Places We Meet, Who Wants To Know, Space, Ghosts and Mysteries, and Summer Running Down.

I also want to mention that I will be releasing a second collection of 5 songs at a later date. The Lost Spoons will feature 5 acoustic song. One is the familiar Twenty-Five from The Lights I See You In Shadow. The other 4 songs are brand new and two have never been heard before by anyone.

More details about both are coming soon.

Beautiful Skies

November 11, 2010

Recently I have been thinking about the moon and the stars a lot.  Not so much the technical aspects, but more the real majesty of the universe. For a place that is so filled with empty space it is really very beautiful.  For millenia, people have tried to find meaning in the stars, without any real success.  The only real meaning to space is the underlying principles that govern the formation and movement of objects.  Some people would say that ignoring a “deeper” meaning robs the universe of its magic.  I think that trying to force an explanation onto reality serves to minimize the true wonder that really exists. Yes, there may be more to the universe than we can see, there may even be a supernatural explanation to existence. For me, however, there is only the inescapable fact that the universe is beautiful, mysterious, and full of unrealized possibilities.  This is the starting point of my latest project.

I don’t intend to write an album about stars and planets, but rather to play around in possibilities. My hope is to explore some familiar topics in new ways.  I also promise that future posts aren’t so self-indulgent!

The Return

November 10, 2010

It has been quite awhile since I’ve posted here, but I am feeling a renaissance for The Alder Fork blog (and maybe podcast too).  This post is a short one to announce a new album is in the works. Tentatively titled “Sliver of the Moon” it is percolating in my mind as I write this.  I’d also like to note that I am always open to guest writers on my blog so if you want to submit an article, please feel free to do so.


From The Harbour Out To Sea

May 16, 2009

This land is your land, this land is my land.

Another Victoria Day weekend has arrived in Canada.  It’s an occasionally debated occasion in this country.  Everyone is in favour of a day off in the middle of May, but some aren’t so sure we should be celebrating a long dead monarch who never visited this country, and represents the deplorable concept of imperialism to a large degree.  Regardless this is a chance to shake off the winter and be hopeful for a long, warm summer.

In honour of the weekend here is a new song from my upcoming album The Colour I Remember MostCoast to Coast was written back in the fall as a folk-inspired piece. I immediately shared it with my good friend Matt in the hope that he would cover it.  In the meantime I’ve tweaked it in my own style.  Lyrically this track is at first a meditation on the economic crisis that has gripped the world, but my intentions were a bit deeper than that. I was thinking about what people focus on in their lives, and what events leave long term effects.  I might have been wondering how history will remember this period of time.  I might also have been spouting some philosophical nonsense. You be the judge.

As with all my songs this one is subject to change. Enjoy Coast to Coast.

A Sliding Double

May 15, 2009

I’ve slowly been tempting you with poems over the last little while. Since I am off to a Blue Jays-Yankees game this evening I thought I’d leave you with this:

Victoria Park

You could hardly believe that I was here
60 years later
A patch of dirt and a grassy hill
Were the last connection between us
You were taller and with a heavier bat
Cleared the fence
The gathered fans
And the trees beyond
I was lucky if the ball dropped in
For a single or a sliding double
I imagine you were as light on your feet
And that while I snagged line drives
Before they could touch the earth
You would twirl your arm
And snap your wrist
To say goodnight to another pretender
A big hitter
The grandstand is empty today
But I’ve seen the pictures
When ladies
And suit wearing children
Crammed together
To catch a game
Many people still pass by
Through 7 innings
But they are focused on the road
Or their dogs
Or the sunset in the distance
In the top of the 6th
I let my mind wander
To a different time in space
When you stood out on that mound
And destroyed their dreams
With speed and movement
Clever spins
Crooked breaks
Until a snap of the wrist
Accompanied by a furious swing
Restores my attention

All This Was Mine

April 20, 2009

When youve got a dream like mine, nobody can put you down.

Bruce Cockburn

A Dream Like Mine

About two weeks ago I mentioned that I wanted to spend a post discussing The Alder Fork Projects and what my vision is for the future of this work.  This blog and my podcast are both more popular than ever, and I have a number of exciting interviews planned in the coming months.  I think that I am slowly figuring out what I do best with both mediums and that hopefully means the content is regularly improving.  The most exciting news comes from the music side where my newest work is well on its way.  I have several musicians coming into the studio in the coming weeks and I’m preparing to really roll this one out.

As for my vision of The Alder Fork.  When I started this thing several months ago, I thought it would be a fun diversion for a little while, and that I would eventually move on to other distractions.  Instead it’s become an important art of my daily routine and a focal point for many of my interests.  This has meant I can incorporate my annual festival and my love of social causes into my otherwise arts-based projects.  I want to emphasize the importance of supporting social causes as a central component of The Alder Fork. It is one part of the projects (along with the band) that I want to see grow in scope and success.  I think it is very important to make a positive contribution to society, even in the smallest way.  For that reason I will continue to write about social causes and feature some guests on the podcast who represent agencies and events that raise awareness of a wide range of issues.  The Alder Fork will likely grow in many directions in the coming weeks and months.  It promises to be a fun ride.

The Unassisted Play

February 13, 2009

My post yesterday proved to be quite popular yesterday thanks in large part to a mention on truehoop, arguably the number 1 source for daily NBA information on the web.  So thanks to Henry Abbott for that (and whoever tipped him off).  I want to do a quick follow up today to clarify and expand some points (also because I am preparing for a job interview so my mind is already going 100kph).  As I see it my idea of a semi pro/amateur regional basketball (or other sport) league rests on a few key conclusions.  They are:

1. That people naturally enjoy live sporting events because of the excitement and passion that is created.

2. That people generally love the city they live in more than other nearby ones, if only because they are inherently competitive

3. That local talent is more sympathetic than talent from elsewhere.

4. That although the level of play would be below that of any professional league, the low price point would overcome the talent deficiency.

5. That talent could come from those high school players who couldn’t go to college or university, and players who had used up their eligibility or were done school.

6. That civic leaders would openly support the idea of community building.

7. That national sport organizations would like the potential for grass roots development through academies, tournaments and coaching opportunities.

8. That families could find affordable entertainment that their children can relate to.

9. That by limiting player expenses, travel costs, and partnering with local government running a franchise is feasible with minimal sponsorship.

10. That by utilizing alternative media and the internet the league can be highly accesible to its fanbase.

11. That the owners are committed to growing the game and the community.

I don’t think these are unreasonable propositions.  This discussion is going to continue on a new blog I’m launching called The Unassisted Play. It will be a place for me to share lots of sports related thoughts and hopefully generate some discussion.  It will also allow me to focus The Alder Fork on the main topics it has always been about while scratching my sports itch. The Alder Fork will go on as usual.

Six Things You Didn’t Know About Alberta

February 9, 2009

Culture diverse as it can be.
This is the land of opportunity.
Welcoming friends, night and day.
That’s the way I pray Alberta stays.

Alberta (Official Provincial Song)

Today is Part III of our lovely series of Canadian provincial information posts.  You can learn six things about Southern Ontario or the GTA by clicking on the links.

My good friend Kern is an Albertan through and through.  He doesn’t wear a cowboy hat, or work in the oil industry, but he’s spent more days at Drumheller than any young person should, and eats enough free Stampede breakfasts to feed a small country.  Kern grew up in Calgary and has returned there after 7 years in Ontario and BC.  He’s an earth scientist by trade, and a lover or fighter planes, dinosaurs, and yurts in his spare time.  Watch out ladies he’s also single and quite the catch. Without further ado, Six Things You Didn’t Know About Alberta!

Howdy! My name is Kern and I’m a buddy of Pete’s, as well as a proud Albertan. Pete’s asked me to write a guestblog regarding 6 things you didn’t know about Alberta. I’m glad he did, as during my periods of residence in other provinces, I have found a surprising lack of knowledge about Alberta even from fellow Canadians. So, I’m going to use this opportunity as an excuse to clear a few things up about both Alberta and Albertans in general, in addition to revealing other interesting tidbits about this wonderful province. So, here goes:

Not all of us are cowboys!
Believe it or not, not all of us subscribe to the cowboy culture that our province tries to promote so rabidly. Yes, I’ve gone to the Calgary Stampede a number of times but I’ve only limited my visits to the fairway rather than the cowboy-themed events that the stampede is known for. Nor do all Albertans wear skin-tight jeans and cowboy hats, or at least not in the big cities (I can’t speak for Okotoks or Cochrane…). People who dress like that are liable to be ridiculed, same as anywhere else in Canada. And, speaking of big cities…

Yes, we really do have BIG cities!!
This is plainly obvious to any Albertan, who are aware of the size of our two largest cities:  Calgary (population 1.16 million) and Edmonton (population 1.08 million), which together comprise the bulk of Alberta’s population. However, I found in the east that many aren’t aware of this fact. Some have even assumed that Calgary itself is home to less than half a million, and that the province of Alberta is largely rural. This is partially understandable as neither Calgary nor Edmonton (or both of them combined) come close to such eastern colossi as Toronto or Montreal, but they are still quite sizeable cities which are as dynamic and busy as any major metropolis.

All the colours of the rainbow…
While in the recent past Alberta has been much “whiter” than other provinces, today the province is host to quite a diverse population. Roughly 1 in 5 Albertans belong to a visible minority group, and a similar percentage of Albertans have a mother tongue other than English. This can be seen by a visit to any of Calgary’s large shopping malls, where a multitude of ethnicities and languages is plainly visible and/or heard. So yes, my fellow visible minorities, you have nothing to fear from Albertans. Come for a visit, and we promise that we’ll refrain from lynching you and/or exposing you to public ridicule of your exotic appearance and mannerisms.

Warm winters and annoying headaches
Yup, temperatures can increase into the double digits even in the midst of winter. This is due to an interesting phenomenon called a Chinook, whereby masses of warm air periodically blow in from the mountains and increase temperatures to springtime levels. As an example of what a Chinook can do, the temperature can be -15 degrees on one day but then increase to +10 within 24 hours. The result is a winter punctuated by periods of warmth that can last for weeks if Chinooks are frequent enough. This isn’t always pleasant, as many people suffer migraines due to the sudden pressure changes, and the large volume of melted snow result in rivers of sludge and water invading busy roads.

Home to the World’s/Canada’s largest….
Alberta is the proud home of the world’s largest pysanka, or Ukrainian easter egg. This is located in a small town named Vegreville, near Edmonton, and was built in 1974 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It’s also a symbol of the significant Ukrainian population that currently resides in Alberta. As well, Alberta is home to Baitunnur, the largest mosque in Canada. This Calgary building was completed in 2008, and it services the worshipping needs of the Ahmaddiya Muslim community in the city. So, yeah…long story short, apparently we like things BIG!

We’ve got heritage!
Finally, Alberta is home to Canada’s largest concentration of World Heritage Sites (5 out of 15 in all of Canada). These include the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and Wood Buffalo National Park. All in all, a nice collection of sites which make Alberta a fairly interesting place to visit.

So grab a cowboy hat and your tightest pair of jeans, and come on down! My personal bias aside, Alberta really is a pretty cool place to visit with lots to see and do. Whether you’re interested in cowboys, native culture, Dinosaurs or f***ing big easter eggs, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Wild Rose Province!

Unrealistic Comparisons

February 8, 2009

Love, love me do, you know I love you.

The Beatles

Love Me Do

I am a fan of history both old and new.  I have been rereading Peter Brown’s insider account of The Beatles, The Love You Make. For 400 or so pages Brown treats the reader to the fascinating story of the world’s biggest band.  It was published in 1983, so many of the events depicted were relatively fresh in his mind.  Although I would never compare any of my own accomplishments to those of The Beatles, especially in regards to song writing or popularity, I find the conception of Apple Corps to be somewhat similar to The Alder Fork.  Besides the obvious natural imagery in the name, the vision that Paul Mcartney expressed in at a press conference in New York City sounds a lot like my ideas about The Alder Fork.  He said, “It’s a controlled weirdness, a kind of Western communism. We want to help people but without doing it like a charity.”  While for the band this ended up being a way to avoid paying taxes on their fortune, and to spend money on wild schemes, it was a dream that still has merit. I lack the financial resources to give away money and tell people to “Go away and do it,” as Paul wanted.  I do hope, however, that The Alder Fork can contribute to helping people realize their dreams.

Before I start to sound like a pie-in-the-sky dreamer, my point is the one advantage of my “business” model has been low cost for realitively high output.  To some degree the impetus of success for The Alder Fork is the work of a community of people that is slowly growing around it. This will hopefully lead to something much bigger in a few months but I’m keeping that a secret. For now I am happy with how things are progressing on the new EP, the blog, the podcast, and a few other fun little projects I’m currently working on. I highly recommend checking out the book I mentioned above if you are at all interested in the back story of the most influential band of all time.

Doodledo Doodledo

February 7, 2009

Spinning tales, you ride away.

The Alder Fork

HG Plant Companion 3.1

Today, I am pleased to share a new version of HG Plant Companion with you.  The melody and lyrics have been altered. This is likely not the final version of the song, but this is the direction it is headed.  I have already given the original story of this track in a previous post. You can read about it and hear the earlier version there.  The lyrics convey the same story but in a more succinct way.  I think the changes have enhanced the musical quality of the song.  On the next episode of the blog I will be debuting some more songs from the new EP. You voted on the name and the top selection was: The Colour I Remember Most. At least one of the other options will be appearing as a track title on the album, and it will be available in CD form for those who want it.  That is all for today, please enjoy HG Plant Companion 3.1: