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Most of my attention over the last couple of months was directed at completing the recording of our second CD – In the Clouds by the Big Sky Gliders. There is nothing like a deadline to focus your attention and when the fellow who records us announced he was moving to the coast, it was all hands on deck to finish all the recording and mixing. It all seems a little anti-climatic now, but we had a couple of weeks of long sessions to complete everything. But it is done – over a year from to start to finish and around 100 hours of actual studio time to get the finished product.

The new recording by the Big Sky Gliders

The new recording by the Big Sky Gliders

We don’t have the physical copies yet as I am still working to complete the artwork, but you can listen to the new recording at www.bigskygliders.bandcamp.com.

Have a listen and we hope you enjoy the fruits of our labours.

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More Music

The Big Sky Gliders (of which I comprise one-third) made our sixth appearance at Flower Fest this past weekend. They bill themselves as a ‘micro-festival’ and it is held on an acreage near Lake Wabaman, west of Edmonton. And for the third time we were rained on and had to play inside the cabin on the site.

A wet start

A wet start

It was a bit chaotic as we had to move all the equipment inside from the main stage. And I did something I haven’t done in quite a long time – I broke a string on my RainSong guitar. What was annoying was I wasn’t even playing – I was just putting it on the stand and the G string let go at the nut. This taught me a valuable lesson – carry a replacement set of strings. Luckily Don had a set so after a quick repair, we were ready to go.

Don mocking me as I change my guitar string

Don mocking me as I change my guitar string

All in all, it wasn’t our strongest set but we have a good response and Breezy (the organizer) let us do an extra song, so it was a good time all round.

Helping Don on "Something I Miss" - one of Don's tunes

Helping Don on “Something I Miss” – one of Don’s tunes

I think next year we will opt for an afternoon slot – hopefully before the thunderstorms move in!

The Big Sky Gliders at Flower Fest 2013

The Big Sky Gliders at Flower Fest 2013

 

 

 

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Genetics

I had a very nice experience today. My second son Ian invited me to come and watch him play in a band at Edmonton’s City Hall.

It was really gratifying to see Ian up on stage, playing with confidence and obviously enjoying himself. I would like to think it is genetics 🙂 Good way to spend an afternoon.

'Diamond Mined' playing at Edmonton's City Hall

‘Diamond Mined’ playing at Edmonton’s City Hall

Liam and Ian (right) on stage

Liam and Ian (right) on stage

Second son, Ian, on stage

Second son, Ian, on stage

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I have taken the Myers-Briggs personality test a number of times over my career. It is either a testament to the test or my personality that I have scored the same each time I have taken the test. For those unfamiliar with the test, you are scored on four different dimensions – Extroversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling and Judgment/Perception. Your score takes the form of a four letter designation that indicates where you scored highest on each dimensions. For me, I have consistently scored as a INFP (the N stands for Intuition).

So, as an introvert (and a strong one), it is interesting that both in my career and my private life I have been involved in activities that require me to be out in front of people. I was an environmental education specialist for 12 years and much of that time I was teaching or leading groups ranging from kindergarten students to seniors. My musical career of course means I am out in front of an audience. I think every non-musician has mentioned to me at least once they don’t know how I can get out there and sing and play. And there are days when I wonder as well.

A number of years ago I got to discussing the topic of extroverts and introverts with one of our senior managers. He told me that he was a strong introvert. I was a little surprised as he led national initiatives on environmental issues and at times spoke to hundreds, if not thousands, of people. I asked how he managed to survive in that role as an introvert and he told me that he could do it – but just leave him alone afterwards.

I saw an example of this in my own behaviour last Saturday. We were playing in a small lounge called the Velvet Olive in Red Deer, Alberta. It is just under a two hour drive from Edmonton. We met up around 6 in the evening to make sure we had time to look over the stage, set up and do a sound check. It was a bit of a challenge with the stage being smaller than we are used to, but we made some quick decisions and set up the best we could. At 8:30 we started playing. We went for about an hour, took a break and then played until 11. It was a good gig – lots of positive feedback and we did a good job. We finished on an uptempo song and then started to tear down.

There was a young couple at the bar and they started up a conversation with me as I started to pack up. Now, I wasn’t rude, but I realized that I really didn’t want to talk to anyone at that moment so I made some small talk and then excused myself to continue tearing down. It really was the introvert in me coming out. I was drained and with the prospect of a two-hour drive ahead, I just wanted quiet. There seems something to this personality stuff … my coping mechanism kicked in after putting myself out there on stage.

Singing on stage at the Velvet Olive in Red Deer, Alberta

A two hour drive home in the dark helped to restore equilibrium. It is good to recognize these traits in one’s self. So don’t expect a lot of chatter after a gig.

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Busy Days

I started this music stuff far too late … but having said that, I am having a great time. This last week was a very busy one for the Big Sky Gliders. We played four different times in a week in venues ranging from craft fair to a lounge to an aviation museum hanger.

Playing beside an Avro Anson - a WW2 navigation trainer - at the Alberta Aviation Museum

Playing beside an Avro Anson – a WW2 navigation trainer – at the Alberta Aviation Museum

We started the week playing at a craft fair. Mid-week, we played at a private function inside the Alberta Aviation Museum. That was a unique venue to say the least.

Our friend Izzy sitting in for a song

Our friend Izzy sitting in for a song

On relatively short notice we were asked to play a fundraiser for a local art gallery. The following day we headed to Red Deer, Alberta to play at a lounge called the Velvet Olive. It was probably the smallest stage we have ever played on – I would guess smaller than 10 x 10 feet – but we had a blast. It is nice when people are disappointed when you shut down. Busy days and now, hopefully, we can get back into the studio and continue work on the second CD.

Playing at the Velvet Olive - close quarters on stage

Playing at the Velvet Olive – close quarters on stage

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It was our turn to play at the Heart of the City Festival today. One small problem – it rained, big time. Our set was scheduled for 12:15, but when we arrived the organizers said we couldn’t use the ‘electric’ stage because water and electricity don’t mix well together. The idea of the festival is to have two stages going – one playing while the other is setting up. With one stage unavailable, this made the process a little more difficult. At one point we were contemplating doing the entire set with only acoustic instruments – which would have been interesting because I have never played four out of the seven songs with anything but my bass. And between us, we had two guitars, a bouzouki and banjo. Losing the keyboards and bass would have been a challenge.

Rain

Rain

Luckily they solved the issues and we able to use our full stage setup. The sheer volume of rain meant no one really wanted to sit outside to watch, so we turned everything around and played to the back of the stage which was covered.

The crowd seems to be enjoying themselves!

The crowd seems to be enjoying themselves!

So we launched into the set and after all the drama, it turned out pretty well. No major screw-ups and lots of fun. The sound guy did a good job, especially given the circumstances he was working under. We even made the 6 o’clock news as a camera from a local station filmed part of the set.

The Big Sky Gliders at the Heart of the City Festival 2013

The Big Sky Gliders at the Heart of the City Festival 2013

Many thanks to my daughter Kathryn for taking wonderful photos. Thanks to the friends who braved the weather to watch us play as well as my second son Ian and Jim’s wife Wanda. It means a lot to have the support. And a big thank you to the organizers of the Festival for their hard work in making it all possible.

A little rain can't stop us!

A little rain can’t stop us!

 

 

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We are playing at Edmonton’s Heart of the City Festival on Sunday June 2, but I decided to go down to the site and take in a friend’s group who were playing today. The group is The Capoeira Academy, which I have learned is traditional Brazilian music, dance and surprisingly martial arts. It is very acrobatic, rhythmic and at my age, something I am not going to get involved in – although the drumming looked and sounded like a lot of fun.

Amanda

River Goddess

The first piece was a song and dance about a river goddess. It was quite haunting and my friend from work danced amongst the audience while the group played on stage. Following that song, the musicians assembled in front of the stage and began to demonstrate the marital arts portion.

Martial Arts

The Capoeira Academy demonstrating Brazilian martial arts

There was no contact between the people but it was choreographed to the rhythm of the musicians and the performers displayed amazing athleticism. All the members of the group participated, including the little ones. And they were obviously enjoying themselves. To finish, the group invited people from the audience to participate. It was a lot of fun and I would go back to see again. Now, we just have to get through out set tomorrow.

Demonstration 2

Audience Participation

http://www.capoeiraacademy.ca/

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