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Philosophers and the end of Summer

Hi friends

Hello from the holiday weekend. I've been immersed in playing bass, finishing my covers for those of you who have pledged to receive a cover song, and listening to the philosopher Alan Watts as I putter around the house and ponder my next move.

It amazes me the wealth of imagination, information, perspective and everything else that some people have shared with the world that I am only discovering now.

Do you have a favourite philosopher? Or writer? Please let me know in comments if there are others I have missed as I have blazed along my path to ... here.

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I also wanted to throw it out to you that a few dates remain for me to pop down to the US for some house concerts. They'd have to be in the next two months, so if anyone thinks they would like to host one, please let me know in comments or email me at grynerofficial@gmail.com.

Also, the show in San Francisco has been announced. Please check my tour dates - I'll be there September 22nd at the Bindlestiff Studio and I hope all you Bay area folks will join me. Ticket info and poster will be available soon.

A big heartfelt thanks to Tom and Paul for hosting the last concerts. You have both done so much for me over the years, and I am still absorbing the greatness of those two nights. Tom - thank you for that wonderful fan letter that put so much in perspective for me.

Love Emm

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STORM-WAITING IS THE NEW STORM-CHASING

Hello friends,

 

This is your mid-summer hello.

 

Life certainly is busy! I took my kids on an impromptu trip to Halifax last week where they experienced both air travel and the ocean for the first time. I am surprised by my own spontaneity and sometimes that possibilities for experiences are closer to my grasp than I often imagine. Fate, seat sales, good luck and good health all play factors in being able to strike parenting gold from time to time. 

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I was so fortunate to spend the day with my "Only of Earth" collaborator Karen Baer, who not only sheds light on life and love, but we also can sort out a few ideas very quickly by simply being together. We are talking about the first book form of “Only of Earth” being a chapter book, as they are beloved by my kids and I often think there aren’t too many chapter books for young girls than address the female experience with humour and resilience. I try not to comment too much on future plans, because they can always change. I will say though that Karen found me the most amazing dagger and they let me on the plane with it, like it was meant to be.

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I’m ramping up for a few solo shows this month. One takes place this Saturday, outdoors in the wilderness near my house. Details are in my tour dates…and then it’s down to the USA to play a few house concerts to some truly lovely fan/friends. One in Brooklyn at Paul’s house and one in Bethlehem PA at Tom’s house. Here's a shot from my show with Danny Michel aboard the ChiCheemaun ferry which did go great. 

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I’ve had a bit of time to be on the air at CBC and they are very nice about letting me pick all my own music. I get to champion local up-and-comers and also play some legends…and I’m getting the feel for how to match music to the show. A few past shows featured some sad news of folks passing away, and it’s often not the time to slot in an upbeat tune about feeling good. A few songs I picked for those moments were “Don’t Need a Reason” by Beth Orton and  “I Wish You Would” by Ryan Adams. I’ll be back on the air August 27 through August 31, so tune in if you are in the area or just look up Listen Live CBC London. 

 

A little sneak peek at the show from NY is in Rare Songs, and soon there will be video to go with it. In my next update there will be a love song shared…right now it’s in an unshareable out of tune state… but that’s what happens when inspirations strikes, you just lay it down however the hell you can.

 

Love you all and thanks for being there for me. I’ve had quite a month of navigating relationships new and old, and I believe more than ever that the only way through anything is love and kindness. And waiting out the storms. Stay strong.

 

Emm

 

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SHORT HELLO

Happy Holiday weekend everyone!

New York and Boston were such immense fun. Thanks to those of you who came out. As always happens when I set foot in NYC, I become wildly inspired. I also found it very eye-opening, and soul-shaking to drive through New Paltz, the little town I lived for 2 years before marriage, before domestic life took over. To be there again even driving through...made me take stock of just what the hell has transpired this past 15-16 years...and how meaningful it has been to reproduce...but also how vital it is that I've got myself back after slipping down the rabbit hole of the modern housewife. :) Hands up - who wants to be a modern housewife. As I thought. 

Earl Slick guesting with me has infused me with tonnes of inspiration. Only someone who played (and so humbly) with John Lennon, Bowie, The New York Dolls, members of The Sex Pistols and Rolling Stones (to name a few) and has seemingly been everywhere and seen everything, including fatherhood...could bring this kind of rock n roll education to my door. We are working on a few songs, and he may even come to guest on another show. I'll keep you posted. It's been a joy to reconnect and I've found quite healing to be around someone who knew David as well as he did. And then there are those immense moments we shared - rocking out at BBC, headlining Glastonbury. It turns out the bond lives on. 

On that note, a film crew videotaped and recorded the show at the Rockwood so GUARANTEED, as my friend and fan Bob Reid suggested, Insiders will get that first look. It's all in the editing stages now. 

I'm re-thinking my graphic novel for Only of Earth as well...time is a gift, and allows you to carefully choose your path. I can't wait to share it with you. I had a run-in with Lights at the airport recently and it was great just to riff on art, music and motherhood over overpriced airport coffee. I do think she and Karen will be fast friends should they ever meet. 

Oh and go do yourself a favour and listen to the About U album by Muna. My new favourite music.

Enjoy the summer - you guys mean the world to me. 

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UPDATE FROM A JUNE BUG

Now that the record is out, life has been flying by at lightning pace. Talking about the record is invigorating, as I get to re-live a lot of the making of it. I enjoyed talking to "Fresh Air" on CBC about the making of things, and I do think being a radio host has given me a better perspective on being an interviewee! For one, I now know that longer answers are better, so I'm able to dive into my veins and heart and bones and really talk about the album. Unfortunately, that means I have to talk about the marriage smash-up, but, as time goes on, I find myself with a stronger spine it that regard and in many ways, consider my solo status more natural...as a woman with so much to accomplish in the next few years.

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I am still inspired by my launch week in Winnipeg, and have been trying to find a reason to make a jazz record there...whether I write the songs, or someone else works with me...I'm not sure. But I sure would like to do a record of that flavour after my brush with Greg...but mostly as a gift for my dad, who quite frankly deserves a jazz record by his daughter after 20 years of these pop shenanigans!

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At the last minute I decided to do all the publicity for Days of Games on my own, and I've been doing not bad for a pop veteran. Again, a reminder that if you've been doing something for a long time best not to doubt things. I was fortunate to get an airing on Acoustic Cafe this week which goes out all over the USA and Canada. Again...airing the ups and downs, but also with a hint of optimism.

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I've given myself a few self-imposed holidays...they usually come in the form of concerts as I find them the best medicine. I traveled to Buffalo with Sleahy and cPan to see Def Leppard and Journey and it's always very healing to barge in on the Defs quiet room, drink all their whiskey (yes I'm back onto now after the marathon, but in small doses). But mostly to see that this band has really put their heart and soul into a very well-produced show. It's a testament to how much they value themselves and believe in themselves, when let's face it, some of the world has not! I almost died when I realized the band had a day off 400 yards from where Trent Severn were playing. And then fast forward - suddenly I'm playing my uke bass in front of Rick Savage...and the most of the cats stuck around for the whole show! I was able to thank Joe for inspiring me to write "big choruses". Also in attendance that night was Kim Mitchell, who I listened to incessantly at age 12. 

Charged up from this event, I enjoyed hooking up Def Leppard and Matt Nathanson, just before Matt dropped his EP of Def Leppard covers. I take GREAT joy in connecting people/things. e.g. Bowie and Hadfield. ......space oddity and.....err.....outer space.

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The after effects of the marathon have been surprising. I of course dove into a pool of grilled cheese and whiskey right after and didn't run for days...actually had some ankle pain for a bit....but what I recall now is an immensely healthy feeling....and being propelled on by a belief...and a love. I encourage all of you to set some kind of a goal for yourself that involves getting up off your arse and being active. I mean, sure....I guess I ran my half-marathon in Greg Lowe's memory but the real gift was to myself. Anything is possible, is basically what i'm getting at in this pep talk. Share with me what you're doing. I wanna know because I have to set some new goals for myself. Always remember the ever-important WHY you do something...and the best reasons are for love.

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The recent news has been hard to take, a reminder of all of our own struggles...and the more people talk about their stories, the better off we all are. I think of my friend Brad Walsh...married to a very successful designer...he is fighting the good fight, and my beautiful web designer who helped me make this very site you are making...we all have our battles but in these people and in you I see so much power, beauty and hope. Because when we share, we are being brave. Some of you share with me all the time here and I thank you...because every time I hear from you, or read a letter, or read a post...I'm humbled. I might be climbing out of my abyss, but it certainly was an abyss and for it, I took no shame in relying on modern medicine....to get through what I would call a situational depression. And therapy, in whatever form you can find it. Music - crank it the fuck up. People - cut out the ones who bring you down, the toxic ones....who fill your heart with doubt. Just delete them from FB/phone right now. You don't owe anyone an explanation.

What's next you ask? Boston!!! The Courtyard concerts!!! I am so psyched to truck down there, collect my VISA for touring (first one since Bowie)...and rock Boston and then rock NYC with Earl Slick.

BOSTON JUNE 15th  Boston Public Library Courtyard

NEW YORK JUNE 16th Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 

I've decided Slicky is playing on 4 songs...Shadow Girl, A Mission, Summerlong and .... you guessed it "Space Oddity". It is so healing to hang out with that man and talk about David...because we both knew a corner of him, Earl much more than I. But his stories reaffirm all that I recall and suspected about DB...his heart...his brave mind....his walking on hot coals....his failure to care what other people thought. Slicky is a little like Keith Richards or something...so we're gonna blues-rock up some of these songs and have a great time. I hope you'll join us. If not, I plan to film it and share it down the road.

Big love! Stay strong...Emm. 

PS: Here I am fixing a hair-mergency in yorkville moments before Def Leppard came to my show with Trent Severn!! I know it's just hair, but the woman who stepped up to the challenge (Kamila) was a total angel. Again, someone who just went totally all out for a complete stranger and now....her kindness is having ripple effects.

Thanks for reading. I'll also post a new rare song I found called The Deal. TOTALLY putting it out there. xo

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PERMISSION FROM EMM

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In my story “Only of Earth”, the main character Trynn is a young woman who has to overcome countless obstacles to find peace within, to find a home for a living creature, to find a home for herself. It might sound like every other sci-fi epic you may have come across…pictures of Sigourney Weaver fighting for her life come to mind…and damn, she did in her underwear. But as you will learn soon, whatever we think is normal…has already been done, is always unique because we can see ourselves in the books we read, the music we hear….the paintings we look at…..and in my case sometimes, I can see myself in the very substandard baking that I do. 

 

But don’t worry. This diary isn’t about baking. Maybe the next one will be.

 

In every corner of my life I come across people who are constantly fighting a battle. 

 

For sure, I have been too but careful not to dwell on too much. 

 

There seems to be a fine line between wallowing in your own struggle, and owning it. A very fine line between giving in…and pushing forward. 

 

Lately I’ve been thinking about the power of music.

 

As I prepare for some of my upcoming shows, I've been digging out songs from the past. And goodness gracious (I don't think I’ve ever said “goodness gracious" before….) some songs are coming in very handy…as places to put my unmet needs…my turbulent emotions. Suddenly some of the notes I've received from you, about how music has helped you, ring true.

 

Acid for example…is hard to get through these days because it is as though i wrote it last year.

 

Math Wiz…a song I wrote to merely have a tune with some numbers in it, has brand new meaning.

 

This Mad…I almost pulled it out at a recent show and in some ways, glad I didn’t because that song is a little like a slippery slope. I really have not ever been this mad! Perhaps some of the songs I wrote as a teenager or a 21 yr old…were unintentional gifts to my older self.

 

And then there’s the other side of music…the tunes you can just crank to mask all the hurt…to just lift you to a slightly elevated place, where you might be able to start dealing with things. That’s when I turn to the unabashed unforgiving over-produced loveliness of 80s music. Maybe you want to try this yourself today…or next time you’re in the car, just surrender to some orchestra hits…some really massive snare drums…and some very ridiculous guitar solos. 

 

Put in a guilty pleasure and watch the sparks fly.

 

This seems like a day where we all need to give ourselves permission to just enjoy something…just shirk your duties and do something you deserve…think about the victories instead of the failures. 

 

If anyone gives you trouble, tell them Emm said you were allowed to indulge.

 

Top top top top secret track. A sneak peek of my writing with Joe Elliott. To all my victory kids…keep battling the monsters…keep deciding you’re just gonna win…love Emm

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GOIN' ZON

There's no turning back now. 

The album and the first single are slowly going out into the universe. It's a bit like fishing...not knowing what you'll pull up from the lagoon...of busy minds...of music lovers...of people exhausted by music...and now it's hard to tell whose CD players are in the landfill, so there's been a bit of sending out the album, as well as digital links.

I promise to get back to reading these blogs, just as soon as I can find my microphone underneath all the papers on my desk.

The ups and downs of single parenting, and navigating ... single life... have been peppered by little victories. Neil Gaiman "liked" the video on Twitter. And an old friend of mine ... I emailed him to get him some music and his vacation response came back to say "I'm off the planet!" Turns out Drew Feustel is on the Space Station, so I'll get him some music somehow. I had flashbacks of 2013, when NASA sent me the very detailed instructions/etiquette on mailing a human in space.

Bottom line, don't upset the human in space!

Perhaps how we treat people in space, should be how we treat each other.

I feel happy to share some of the promo things I'm doing with you.

Tomorrow, if you're in Toronto, you can tune into 99.1 FM and hear "Imagination" on Big City, Small World. The show "Fresh Air" will eventually have me in at some point. There will also be an article in The Sarnia Observer this weekend, and in print on Monday, focusing on my collaboration with Frank on the project.

And this Wednesday I shoot a new music talk show with Karen Bliss for Vintage TV where I talk about my favourite and least favourite album covers (airdate TBA). While exploring Diamond Dogs Vinyl (a small but excellent shop in Stratford Ontario) I came across this cover:

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I'm not sure if it's in the favourites or least favourites! But apparently Zon was a prog rock band from Toronto from the late 70's. There's part of me that wants to make Part 2 of Only of Earth pure prog. Let me know your favourite or wackiest album covers.

A second night has been added to The Palm Room in Winnipeg, so now I am there 2 nights - May 3 & 4th. I'll be doing an in-store at Into The Music on Osborne on the 4th as well, sometime around 7pm. All of those dates are with Larry Roy, who was a colleague of Greg Lowe's...and I'm so thankful to have him with me for that special week in the Peg. He is such a phenomenal guitarist and has even agreed to get up at an ungodly hour to do a morning show on Global TV. Then again, I'm pretty pleasant at all hours...although my kids may disagree. 

Some of you know I'm running a half-marathon in Greg's honour, on May 6th. Thanks to those of you who helped me reach my goal for the Canadian Cancer Society. Coming up on the  first anniversary of his death, a lot of emotions are swirling around. I also think about his wife, and his family. 

What else can you do, as an outsider, but put energy into good things...and music.

Tomorrow, it's a 15k run. Not sure how that works in an ice-storm, but I'll let you know.

I am hoping to add a few more dates in the US. "Imagination" goes to radio on Monday...just as Mercury moves out of retrograde, which basically means it will skyrocket to the top of the charts, and unicorns and rainbows will shoot across the sky and morph into a jackpot that will land at my front door, along with a suitcase full of chocolate and 80's cassettes. Anyway keep your fingers crossed for me! I'm excited to have it out there, and thanks for making so many dreams possible.

Stay strong, Emm

 

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HAPPY EASTER

Well, after photoshopping a bunny behind Tom Keifer of Cinderella (...get it, April (Nobody's) Fool + Easter?...see my FB page) and labelling about a million Winnipeg White Out cds, I spent the rest of my Sunday approving my biography, going for a run (only about a month till the half marathon in Winnipeg) and preparing my VISA application for my US dates. So much to do! 

Also, what a big week with the video coming out! So exciting for me. And Frank sure did a great job. I get the same thrill as I did when my rock band Trapper opened for Def Leppard...sure it's fun, but it's great to take your brother along! Or maybe he's taking me along this time. 

I put up a new song which I thought might be interesting for you to check out. It's something I wrote recently and I don't often put up a work in progress. Usually my process for writing is this:

1. Come up with the idea.

2. Record it as soon as possible so I don't forget it.

3. Revisit it later to write a second verse, or a bridge or add a solo. 

So here's an example of a song that I probably will re-visit. I definitely see it with a beat and flushed out quite a bit, but this is how everything starts.

I also liked the theme of this song...as lately I find so many boys/men/boyz II men are getting brave and opening up about their struggles. I see it in my son, I see it in some of you, I see it in friends. And what is a passing comment or a slight frustration often signals to me that so much more is going on beneath the surface.

So, if Blackwinged Bird is a song for the ladies...this may become a song for the boys.

Stay strong...

Love Emm

PS...here's a sneak peek of the poem + art book for "Days of Games".

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THERE GOES A LIGHT

Hello all. Just some exciting news that we are starting to roll out "Imagination". Afforded the luxury of some listening time, I updated the "Imagination" mix and it is here for you guys to hear. I'll also post the video here for viewing before it goes live. I am hoping Bowie Wonderworld, the Bowie fan site will premiere it. Thank you for being patient with the sparsity of posts lately, it's been quite a battle to get hours during the day to launch the record. Oh a video of my short US promo trip will be up shortly too. Wheeeee! 

 

 by Karen Baer

by Karen Baer

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BACK TO ZERO

I’ve been a bit buried under a rock with all of the work that needs to be done. I'm still sending out packages, I'm finishing the manuscript for the book, and all the while, kids are complaining of achy bellies, one had pneumonia, and then also a tour being planned for my trio Trent Severn has added up to…well, not a lot of diary-writing time.

 

I notice that as I ramp up my half-marathon training, the decision to ditch drinking has made me feel about 10 years younger, so I’m sprinting around the house in a very good mood through it all.

 

Now, I write this not in judgement. I’m the first person to imagine myself sailing away on a sea of Scotch in my old age. Perhaps you’ll all join me. We’ll have a listening party for the old tunes, and then we’ll just pass out, somewhere at the 5 minute mark of Stereochrome…and then wake up to a group sing-along of Hook Machine. But for now, this makes a lot of sense.

 

Lately, my focus has been on giving. I thought I was at my maximum potential for giving last year, and I pretty much shut down when I decided I had given too much. But this year, I seem to have knocked down a wall in the ever-growing mansion of my being…and there’s just a little more energy for giving. 

 

The thing is, a lot of people - by this stage in their lives - have made fear a full-time occupation. And for someone like me, the blind optimist, (brave or blinded, not sure which am I - to quote from my own lyrics) finds a fearful outlook very frustrating. So I work to get beyond it, to understand it, or to meet it with love in the cases of certain friends. Even my kids are sometimes are riddled with fear, but their fear stems from the unknown…so instead of throwing up my hands and wondering what the f*** is wrong with them and why can’t they be better, I’m finding ways to calmly connect with them.

 

The other thing about giving which has been liberating is to let go of people who cannot give you what you want. And possibly the reason why they can’t give you what you want, has nothing to do with you. Maybe they just don’t know how to give period. 

 

My half-marathon is May 6th in Winnipeg. It's put on by Police Services and honestly, I am not quite at the state where I can see myself running for 3 hours. But I am running for 60 minutes, at times, so it’s quite possible that I can meet my goal. Ah well, let’s just say right now, since I am the blind optimist, that I will meet my goal. 

 

The “why” behind the half-marathon, which I should add raises money for Cancer research, is of course Greg Lowe…who stays with me in a variety of ways and this memory is starting to become more positive, and less riddled with sorrow. The only way I am healing from the loss of this fantastic human and musician is by talking to people who were close to him. That’s been very scary for me, because the people who knew greg, are not people that I know very well. So … i’ve had to, in some cases, be very forthcoming with perfect strangers in order to find the right people who will empathize with the loss. Also, healing has come by exploring some of his old songs. By plopping myself smack-dab in Winnipeg for the release week, where there are a few cool events lined up. A show at The Palm Room which is just a nice casual room with a grand piano, and hopefully an in-store will shape up at what was the old Music Trader record shop in Osborne Village. 

 

So for all of you who are going through a tough winter…keep talking about it. Throw caution to the wind and talk to whoever you feel will listen and have the right spirit for taking in your words. Bury yourself in your favourite music and go for a walk, even if it’s 30 minutes. Think for a moment about the “why" in your life, and attach it to an action. You’ll be amazed what it might breed in your life, what energy might spill over into other parts of your life. And move as slowly as you need to through these things. 

 

In other news, the video for Imagination is being assembled, rendered, cooked-up, and dusted with fairy sparkles by my brother Frank. I haven’t seen anything yet but I can’t wait to post it here first. that song was the first I wrote after Greg passed away, after I honestly couldn’t imagine writing a song he wouldn’t play on. “There’s goes a light, a flicker of something good…like a brick wall, we’re back to zero.”

 

So just remember, when you reset to zero, you have the pleasure of starting over…

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FLOAT ON: A PEP TALK (SORT OF)

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Isn't this wonderful weather we’re having? It's great to know how it feels on Neptune, isn’t it? 

 

This weekend, Karen visited.

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Glyntor: a tracking device

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We had an amazing time brainstorming the illustrated book, looking at paper samples, visiting local book shops, looking at old books, new books…feeling their covers, touching the embossing, leafing through the dreaming within the pages…thoughts, words, guide-books to fantasy lands…graphic novels, books about gnomes, modern offshoots of Alice in Wonderland…

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Because KB - as I call her - and I go back so far, we also spiralled down the rabbit hole of reflection, mostly on the last decade and a half. She was the “best man" at my wedding…a beautiful, fairy-tale event on Maple Lake up near Haliburton…my then-husband and I drove away from our wedding with “Float On" blaring by Modest Mouse. People envied us. We were deeply in love.

 

Fast forward to present day. Where I feel almost like a single parent…being the primary caretaker through the week for my kids. I can’t say that I have found forgiveness, or a way through yet…although some days are joyous and I feel my old self bouncing around inside my body. Other days, I shake my head and wonder what went so terribly wrong.

 

Whenever I get introspective, I notice a number of you have stories to share that parallel my own mystery. I wonder where you put your turmoil, or joy, or epiphanies…if not into music. 

 

I remember a day I used to make drama for the sake of a song.

 

I certainly didn’t cook this one up!

 

Mark Manson the writer covers the topic of “victimhood chic" in his book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k”. I leafed back to that segment of the book this week and it reminded me that there are so many others out there who have a more dire tragedy on their hands. Although the love of my life threw in the towel, and we weren’t provided the opportunity to work on our marriage (counselling is a two-way street, and therefore must be agreed on by both parties…sadly)…I am grateful he is still on this earth. To be a dad to my kids. 

 

I have said that to people this year…"it could be worse. At least someone didn’t lose a leg or something”.

 

Although some times I have looked down and wondered if I lost my heart.

 

KB’s visit was like a galaxy hugging a planet….her presence enveloped me with love and bravery. My eyes turned back to this project…to the "Why" of doing it at all.

 

And sure, we are self-publishing. And I am self-releasing. And I have, for my own sanity, severed most ties with the music industry. And the world. :) But I still feel like I am winning…to have all of you to listen to these songs…and to have KB to illustrate the feelings behind them, the ups and downs we all go through…to bring life to this world, to try to let go. 

 

Stay strong all you lovely people. We have each other. 

 

 

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HAPPY THINGS

With all the darkness going on in the world, I wanted to share some happy news headlines as well as a new song.

Last year, I was asked to write a song for the Dreamcatcher Project which was a performance put on by Confederation Centre in PEI. This song was inspired by a workshop I was a part of in Toronto earlier last year. Led by Toronto theatre guru Mary Francis Moore, a handful of young kids got together on their march break to talk about fear, breaking down boundaries and making the future better.

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WHY NOT?

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WHY NOT?

Friday night.

Just me. And you guys.

Hope you’re all doing very well.

It’s been a very busy stretch of parenting, music-planning and getting ready to send out the new album to those of you who Pledged on it. Thank you again for getting me to this stage.

I think Imagination is going to be the first single. The first step is to shoot a video for it. I dreamed up a half bass / half keytar that I hope my brother Frank will now…build. Hope you don’t mind Frank. Just dreamed up this weird instrument and now it’s time for you to find your toolbox. And not leave your house for 2 weeks.

Seriously, just between you and me, I can’t find anyone who has made one of these. Possibly it could be the fact that it’s very difficult to play bass and keyboards at the same time, but come on, why would you not want to try, or at least alternate now and again…using a little imagination.

I found this online, it may become the inspiration for our piece. It was built in 1974, says the internet although the CDs next to it would suggest that the photo was not taken in 1974. I suggested to Frank - "just build it", and he said, "well, it wouldn't take that much more to make it work". Which is Classic Frank Gryner.

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As I’ve been reflecting this week on life, its twists and turns, and trying to put into practise the art of “letting go” - which sounds like we should all circle up, smoke a big one and listen to some Phish bootlegs - I’ve recalled some of the great advice I’ve received over the years. Experience of course is the best teacher, but sometimes other humans are. I’ll get to that in a minute.

 

For me letting go is the hardest thing to learn. I think possibly that I can let go better if I just jump in to life. That’s very hard to do at my age. But since Greg died, something I’ve tried to adopt as a life motto is…”why not?”. I remember at the end of the play, asking Greg to go for a beer, and he said “why not?”. And in one of my Pledge updates, when Leonard Shaw was laying down B3 on The Passing of Ayro, my friend Genevieve said, “I'm so psyched you’re putting B3 on this” and he just said, “Well yeah, why not?” So I try to be a bit more “why not" these days.

 

I also recall what my Music Industry Arts teacher Terry McManus said to me one day a few years back. I sauntered into the MIA office at Fanshawe College during one of my “periods of doubt” regarding the music business and Terry just said to me quite simply, “Emm, you’ve never waited for anyone.” And I loved that. That someone could be so bold and remind me of a simple truth. And that as much as I champion self-reliance, there are some of us who simply need the reinforcement of other humans. Who know us. Who see us when we can’t see ourselves.

 

I think Terry is a member of the Insiders Club so thank you Terry for that bit of advice, which lives on. And I’ll send it out to all of you, because surely, we are all waiting for something, whether we realize it or not. It’s liberating to know that more than often you really can think of something you want to do, and just decide to be in charge of it. 

 

Of course, is anything really in our control? 

 

I should also thank some of you for your comments on my recent diary entries. Some of you have mused over the songs on the albums, some of you have gotten really in-depth with analyzing the meanings of them, and it gives me great strength and joy to know you are listening so closely and sending some of that energy back to me.

 

It’s also the birthday weekend of a friend of mine and Insider member Tycho Manson. I met Tycho at Songstudio where I led a workshop and he was in it. I just wanted to say thanks Tycho for being a super-great friend to me all fall. I’m not an easy person to be around, but Tycho filled my ears with so much great music I had missed from the 70’s and 80’s. Fleetwood Mac, when they were bluesy. China Crisis…if you’re a fan of Steely Dan look that one up. I’ll send out to him and all of you a new rare track…which actually, is from the 90’s. It’s called “Sweet Nothing”.

 

And you can all use it as an anthem of unrequited love. Sometimes people just don’t come through, and whoever didn’t come through for me in 1994, got this little jam inspired by the Gin Blossoms song “Found Out About You”. Remember that? Don’t worry, I won't be writing any songs in the style of Blues Traveler or Sister Hazel. Or…maybe you wish I would. Anyway, it’s not gonna happen.

 

This was recorded by Stuart Brawley, who ended up producing The Original Leap Year (the album that came before Public) and Northern Gospel. It features a little firecracker named Mike Alonzo on the guitar. And it was recorded in the studio, on 2-inch tape at Fanshawe College.

 

Here’s to the past, and letting it go.

 

5 min 22 sec read

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GRATITUDE

The clouds are pressing down here in Ontario, but the wolf moon fought to shine through the last few days. I've been trying my hardest to focus on GRATITUDE these past few days. For the small things. And focusing on gratitude they say, will lessen some of the thorns that poke through the snow drifts. Shall we all try it?

I'm obviously thankful for you. Already, this forum has allowed some of you to voice your thoughts and fears and I'm reading everything and taking it all in. 

I deliberately told some of my extended family NOT to sign up for this membership club so I could enjoy a little back and forth with my fans without the heat of prying eyes and the social media limelight, and i'm enjoying this corner of the world to breathe, to riff, to write. 

I am thankful for Karen Baer. She put on the trousers at my wedding in 2004 (along with a Debbie Gibson shirt) and stood up beside me. And as it has all come crashing down, she has once again resumed that role as my Best "Man"...and given so much to the early days of Only of Earth. I did not know how close we would once again become.

The focus right now, is the book. And the first video. 

In the spirit of "Instructions" by Neil Gaiman, as well as other works that appeal to both adults and children, such as versions of Alice in Wonderland that we both love, Karen and I are starting to trade ideas on how the "picture book" might take shape.

It's important that it feels very special, so we are hard at work - trading ideas and researching the best way to put everything together for you.

I wanted to share a few of her latest illustrations.  Although we are discussing the book, some of these drawings were done as groundwork for the first video. Which is an interesting dilemma. What song to do the first video for? I have my choice(s). What are yours?

Speak soon, love Emm

 

 Tree by Karen Baer

Tree by Karen Baer

 Search Party by Karen Baer.

Search Party by Karen Baer.

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Big Hair [Demo 2013]

Big Hair [Demo 2013]

Lyrics

I've been livin with a childhood guilt trip
Still workin' with the pain its unfortunate
Trying to look for a voice in a paper cup
Yeah
Sometimes you just gotta gotta get out
All the dirt is on the hammers and I can't be loud
I'm with Petty and I won't be backin down
Gonna rock some
Big hair no pain
Jump up and down
Like nothing's changed
Got the look your lookin for
I'm gonna be a rock star

I was givin me an 88-key goodbye
I was told to get rid of myself and hide
Get a cover get a cover of a magazine
Well
All I know is that fear is that nasty beast
Turns your soul into a full course fancy feast
But tonight I'm my own metal queen
Gonna rock some
Big hair feel no pain
Jump up and down
Like nothing's changed
Got the look your lookin for
I'm gonna be a rock star

He keeps comin' after me
Asking for money for the damn Cds
But zero percent of zero equals nothing
He don't know
He better go and rock some Big hair!

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ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A HEART I CAN FOLLOW

5 minute 05 second read

This week I realized I had better hire a publicist for my record!

I took the VIA train into Toronto for some meetings last Friday.

I’ve been very taken by the way Iskwe and Sarah Slean have been hitting the media lately, so I sort of back-tracked and in led me to Beth Cavanagh who has just started her own PR firm. Looks like she’s the lady for the job.

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Feast for Eyes

Feast for Eyes

written for Days of Games, but not chosen for the record.

Lyrics

oh in the cellar
i was a lake
cracked at the deep end
Let this let it be a mistake
Singing let this let it be a mistake
Singing
I climbed fourteen steps
Talked to my mother
She said “Man they are just this way”
Let this let it be a mistake
Singing let this let it be a mistake
Singin
Flesh on pulp
I’m dead in my skull
If i’m feast for eyes why do I believe in anything?

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My Side of the Room

My Side of the Room

Lyrics

On my side of the room the sweet smell of victory has left me alone
I’ve forgotten the ways I used to win
We insist on divisions instead of walking away When we should just walk away
There’s no escaping this feeling once we’re in

I gotta get out of here the best way I know
It’s a circle we draw when we can’t let go

Come over if you can to my side of the room
I’ll make you understand
The only way we’ll say goodbye
Is on my side of the room


If love is meant to be strong why do I feel so weak
With every move that I make
A late-night resolution isn’t good enough this time

I gotta get out of here the best way I know
‘Cause the boundaries between have hurt us so

Come over if you can to my side of the room
I’ll say it once again
The only way we’ll say goodbye


We know what should be done
We know what we should do
We know the answer
As we look each other across this room
I gotta get out of here the best way I know Because you’ll turn it on wrong if I don’t choose to go.

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FUCKING HELL

6 minute 30 second read

Just my luck. Four solo shows booked this year and I happened to get sick right before the first one.

A frenzy of vocal maintenance has earmarked this week. Luckily my vocal coach Mitch has been readily available on text. He encouraged me to “think like an injured athlete” and make everything stretchy and don’t push. Warm-ups were essential but I only did about 10 minutes as opposed to 40...

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Musical Journey

6 minute read

It’s been a very long time since I wrote a journal. I did it many moons ago, and some of you who read those journal entries are still hanging with me today. I could wrap my heart around you. I write to you from a place that bears quite a bit of resemblance to my 21 year-old self…i feel like the world is ahead of me once again. The tightrope of solitude is once again mine. Well, not when the kids are singing nonsense and doing body tattoos jacked up on cupcake sugar. But, perhaps we are all alone at the end of the day.

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The Unknown / I Will Rise

The Unknown / I Will Rise

Lyrics

All the years on the rock
We are so few
We are wolves hunted
Put a babe in that womb
In the morning move
Before The Taint takes us all

Minnows swim to the sea
Meet a sort of death
In an oval net
Swirl the Milky Way
In a crowning fray
See you turning in the crystal

Fear and love
have us
Running
To the arms of the unknown
Kicking up dirt
In the universe
Order’s bound to disappear
We're running into the unknown

[guitar solo]

When the dust has died
We will set up land
Where yesterday turn magic
Try to see the sun
Through the drone cover
Like the over-queens we were

Fear and love
have us
Running
To the arms of the unknown
Kicking up dirt
In the universe
Order’s bound to disappear
We're running into the unknown

[guitar solo]

Here we'll make a life
Forge that fear into an artifact
Find the sun in blackened clouds
Lit by men untrue

I will rise
Turn these tears into knives
One slow breath at a time
Make our own light
Make our own life alone

I will rise
Turn these tears into knives
One slow breath at a time
Make our own light
Make our own life alone

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