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October 7, 2021

Fall news 2021: bats, boats, and audiobooks!

Grant Lawrence Newsletter Fall 2021

Hello World of Friends!

Here’s hoping you and your family are all doing well! Over here in British Columbia / Coast Salish territory, it’s still all about masks, vaccine passports, plexiglass, and social distancing. And venues are at half capacity or less, which reminds me a lot of my days in the Smugglers!

Speaking of venues, my touring show “Grant Lawrence and Friends” is still on the shelf for the time being, with plans of it returning in 2022.

In milestone news… I turned –ahem– 50 (!!!) this summer! We had a great party on a HOT HOT HOT day in late July in Grace Harbour / Kahkaykay within the Desolation Sound Marine Park, one of my favourite places in the world. My lovely wife Jill Barber performed, as did the kayaking bagpiper Alan McMordie. 

It was so hot that most of the audience spent the entire event in the water, even managing the feat of treading water and clapping at the same time. Thanks to Penrose Bay neighbour Bruce Layzell for carving me a beautiful wooden sign that may sum up the second half of my life: “Rock Me Gently.”

BAILEY THE BAT

My first kids picture book is officially out now! It’s called Bailey the Bat and the Tangled Moose, about a little brown bat who can’t sleep, so it gets up to all sorts of daytime adventures when the rest of the bat colony is asleep. This all started from a bedtime story I would make up and tell my kids when they couldn’t sleep. The story explores themes of -ahem- naughtiness, bravery, coming together for a common goal, and… the consequences of disobeying mom! You can find Bailey at bookstores and libraries anywhere in North America, but I also sell personally signed copies here in English or French. I’d recommend the book for kids up to about age 8-ish who like animals and high-stakes adventure. And to all those who pre-ordered the book, thank you! You are the wind beneath my bat wings.

There will be a few live launch events around BC in October and November, which are listed at the end of this missive.

Here’s some nice early reviews of Bailey The Bat:

“Beautifully written, suspenseful… an ideal shared-read with younger students, one which provides opportunities to discuss themes, while also being an independent read for more advanced young readers.” – CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Kind, brave, and resourceful… A satisfying adventure with a hint of more to come. Hooray for Bailey.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Being a children’s picture book, I was rather surprised by how well the story built up. There is a well-defined beginning, middle and ending. And really, at the height of the conflict, the story got pretty intense and my kiddo was fully invested!” – Good Reads

“I love this book!” – Josh Lawrence, age 8

DIRTY WINDSHIELDS: THE AUDIOBOOK 

This has been a blast to create late nights in my basement studio / couch! This past spring, I released the first part (ten chapters or so) of the audiobook for my book Dirty Windshields: the best and the worst of the Smugglers tour diaries, chronicling my 30-year rock ‘n’ roll journey with the band I co-formed when I was 17. Since most of the ridiculous stories contained in the book have been kept alive over the years from tellings (and retelling and re-re-re-tellings) in our van and in backstages and at parties, it seems only right for me to read these stories aloud. It’s been so much fun, and each chapter has plenty of musical flourishes from the 80s and 90s. Once the entire book is released in audio format, it will go up for sale as an unabridged audiobook sans music, but for now, the chapters are free to download and enjoy. Warning! “Mature content.” Part one is out now and can be heard here. Part two will be released later this fall. Please subscribe to my Superfeed so you don’t miss a chapter.

RETURN TO SOLITUDE

The twelve-years-in-the-making sequel to my first book Adventures in Solitude is finally soon to wash ashore like a really long message in a beer bottle. It will indeed be a riptide of stories that further delves into the lives and adventures of Russell the Hermit, Bernard the German, the Cougar Lady, and the Spaghetti Bandit. Woven throughout like strands of kelp are the misadventures of my own growing family. Consider it Adventures in Solitude: the next generation, even though that’s not the title. Coming spring 2022 from Harbour Publishing!

CBC

I continue to be lucky enough to host Canada’s only national chart show, the CBC Music Top 20, which can be heard three times weekly across the country: Thursdays at 6pm and Sundays at 5pm on CBC Music (the former Radio 2) and Wednesdays at 3pm on CBC Radio 1 or online any time. If you like the Weeknd, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, or Yukon Blonde, you should tune in!

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JILL BARBER

Whoa! My radiant singer-songwriter wife has not sat still much lately, as she figures out ways to navigate a music career through a pandemic. After her series of highly interactive and emotional Side Door Zoom concerts, Jill actually hit the road around BC for select shows that included a helicopter and a lot of wine. This month, she adds to her international touring resume in a major way: Jill is performing in Dubai for the World Expo. Follow her on Instagram for all the visual highlights! With Dubai notched into her guitar strap, that means Jill has performed and worked in Canada, the USA, Europe, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Argentina, and now the United Arab Emirates. Jill also has a new album in the works that promises to be very personal, rootsy, folky and acoustic, containing many of her best songs yet.

LIVE EVENTS

Sunday Oct 17, Whistler Public Library, Whistler BC. Family storytime “Bailey the Bat” reading and signing, with crafts and colouring. 12:30pm. Register here. (part of the Whistler Writers Festival.)

Saturday Oct 23, Collage Collage, Vancouver BC. “Bailey the Bat” launch event.

Come by to pick up a copy of Bailey the Bat and a cool bat craft to do at home!

Have your book signed by Grant and take your picture under our Bailey-inspired window! 2pm-4pm.

Sunday Nov 22, Iron Dog Books, Vancouver BC. “Bailey the Bat” reading and signing, with bat crafts. 2pm – 3pm. 

Wishing you good health,

Grant Lawrence

Desolation Sound, BC

October 2021

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May 27, 2021

Dirty Windshields audiobook is here

In 2017, Grant Lawrence published his award-winning third memoir entitled “Dirty Windshields: the best and the worst of the Smugglers tour diaries”, which renowned New York City rock critic Ira Robbins hailed as “the perfect companion to the band’s mega-fun music.” In 2021, Grant is reading aloud each outrageous chapter in audiobook form – with plenty of musical flourishes – to verbally recount the many years of shame and glory spent on the road with the Smugglers. A few chapters are released each week. Warning: “mature” content. You can listen and download the chapter for free here.

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March 26, 2021

Spring Newsletter 2021

Hello World of Friends!

As always in these times, while we emerge cautiously from the anxious fog of the past year, I hope this missive finds you healthy and happy. It’s been heartwarming to see and hear from so many American friends who have already been fully vaccinated!!

Like our maple syrup, things roll out a little slower here in Canada. Put it this way: the only shot I can line up for in Vancouver is espresso. But things are starting to prick up. At this point, if you are a British Columbian and saw Rebecca in the theatre (the version starring Joan Fontaine in 1940, not Lily James in 2020)… you’re up! That means that my 80-year-old Dad finally gets his jab this week. My 77-year-old Mom is up next week. 

My wife Jill and I can expect ours hopefully sometime in June. You? While many of us wait it out, dreaming of hugs and crowds, here’s hoping that I can provide you with a bit more distraction with this spring update.

BAILEY THE BAT

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I’m thrilled to announce that I am now officially taking pre-orders for signed copies of my first children’s picture book entitled Bailey the Bat from Orca Books! It is wonderfully illustrated by Acadian artist Noemie Gionet Landry and tells the fast-paced and suspenseful story of a little brown bat named Bailey who can’t sleep during the day like the rest of the bat colony, so Bailey sneaks out of the roost for all sorts of daytime adventures, this one involving a young moose and a wolf pack. The book evolved from bedtime stories I tell my kids, so it’s aimed for children ages 4 to 8 roughly (inspired by Casey from Mr. Dressup, Bailey is gender-neutral). The book will also be published in French, and the official release date for both versions is September 14, 2021. Pre-order your personally signed copies here.

ADVENTURES IN SOLITUDE 2 (working title)

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I’m relieved to have finally handed over the manuscript to Adventures in Solitude 2, the follow up to my first book of the same name that was released a decade ago on Harbour Publishing. “Adventures in Solitude 2” is very likely not the title… but I don’t have an actual title yet so if you’d like to suggest one, please do by replying to this letter! The book follows the continuing Desolation Sound-and-beyond adventures of many of the colourful scallywags you met in the first book, such as the Cougar Lady of Okeover Inlet and the Hermit of Desolation Sound, as well as some new ne’er do wells, like the Spaghetti Bandit, and… my kids! The publication date is slated for spring 2022. Check out my first three nonfiction books here.

LOOKOUT ZOOMOUT SHOWS

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As I am sure you are well aware, one of the major casualties of the pandemic has been the live entertainment industry. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we are social animals who need to gather for collective experiences. That’s why we decided to hatch a monthly series in early 2021 called the Lookout Zoomout, a virtual reunion of some of the best and most beloved musicians from Lookout Records, the American record label my band the Smugglers called home for ten years in the 1990s and 2000s. Lookout was most famous for launching the career of Green Day (now in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame) but also fostered the careers of many others. Most especially, it was a family of pop-punk bands, and that’s what the Lookout Zoomout shows have managed to recapture in fun and emotional ways through live performance and audience interaction from around the world. The final installment of the series is this Sunday March 28, and features a stacked line up of great musicians. It would be awesome to see you there. Tickets are available now through Side Door Access, the concert platform co-founded by my brilliant singer-songwriter pal Dan Mangan

CBC

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March 13th 2021 marked exactly one year that I’ve been working mostly from home. Though unlike most of my CBC co-workers, I’m allowed to hop on my bike and pedal down to CBC Vancouver once a week to tape my CBC Television music segment. I also continue to have the honour of hosting the CBC Music Top 20, the weekly round up of the best songs on CBC Music. It’s Canada’s only national countdown show, it’s a lot of fun, and I get to work with producer Mary-Anne Korosi, who is another old punk like me, and someone who I have worked with at the CBC for over twenty years. And I tape the show from home! The CBC Music Top 20 can be heard three times weekly across the country: Thursdays at 6pm and Sundays at 5pm on CBC Music (the former Radio 2) and Wednesdays at 3pm on CBC Radio 1

JILL BARBER

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My wife just released a tres chaud remix of her joyeux song “Le monde est beau”, the video for which features a lot of our home movies and sweet memories from the early years of our kids (minus the firehose torrent of bodily fluids). And Jill starts recording her new album in April!

That’s all for now. Let’s hope the jabs keep coming and we all get to hug each other at folk festivals and beer gardens and sweaty clubs and sun soaked wharfs very soon. I miss you!

In the words of B.C.’s Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry, “be kind, be calm, be safe.” Once vaccinated, the first nine beers are on me, eh?

Wishing you good health,

Grant Lawrence
Desolation Sound, BC
March, 2021

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