December 24, 2023
Hello world of friends!
Happy holidays! Hope this finds you somewhere comfortable with someone or something that you love.
It was a busy fall season, as the travelling “Stories and Songs” cavalcade continued to tour to nice places like Fanny Bay and Denman Island. Many people ask why I tend to bring the show to mostly small towns, islands, and –ahem– resorts.
I spent so much of my life in a touring rock band, playing many a disreputable downtown dump painted black with no windows, reeking of cigarettes, urinal pucks, and stale beer, that nowadays, if I’m going to be on the road, I’d like the destination, the gig, to be somewhere that I actually want to go to. Not that I would trade any of those rock ‘n’ roll days for anything, but let’s just say that, these days, I prefer Savary Island over CBGBs.
I finally did do a holiday version of the show in my adopted hometown of East Vancouver at the beautiful Historic Theatre at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre which may become a yearly event… we’ll see. Thanks to all who came and to all of the performers: Luke Wallace, Jill Barber, Dan Mangan, Charlie Demers, and Dawn Pemberton. And the kids!
New shows for 2024 are listed below.
Adventures in Solitude kids book (!!)
It seems like Adventures in Solitude, my first book that came out in 2010, keeps on keepin’ on with many different… tentacles… shall we say.
- There was this amazing spread in Cottage Life Magazine featuring beautiful photography by Grant Harder.
- There are my many spin-off audiobooks and podcasts: deep-dives into real-life characters like Russell the Hermit, the Cougar Lady, Handy Candy and others.
- And every once in a while, someone will contact me about turning the book into a movie or a TV show… the latest being a Hollywood director-type, who envisioned Liam Neeson in the role of Russell the Hermit… but the treatment he sent me was so far from what actually happened that it alarmed me… In his fictional version of the story, Russell and I went on the run and robbed banks or something… I’m more attracted to the weirdness of what really happened.
So… the latest incarnation of Adventures in Solitude will be a children’s picture book version, focussed on the time my sister and I – suburban TV nerds, both – were coming to terms with having a remote family cabin in the wilderness of Desolation Sound.
The book is being illustrated by the awesome Ginger Ngo, a friend and collaborator for many years. This is our first book together and I’m honoured to be working with her.
“Adventures in Desolation Sound” (for kids!) will be released in the fall of 2024 on Harbour Publishing.
Speaking of books, English author Neil Gaiman apparently once said: “a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it has a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”
Thanks to a woman named Bev Shaw, the town of Sechelt, BC on the Sunshine Coast has been very fortunate to have the same independent bookstore for over 35 years, having weathered every threat to come along from Kindle, Kobo, Amazon, etc… but Bev’s energy and passion kept all that at bay with her loyal customer base and her incredible support of authors like me.
Bev was there for me from Day One, literally at every event I have done on the lower Sunshine Coast, hauling in the boxes, setting up the table, and selling the books with zeal. We became trusted friends.
Very sadly, Bev Shaw passed away in November of this year. Over 400 people attended her memorial in Sechelt. Her sudden departure from this world is still shocking, and she will be deeply missed. But the good news is this: her family is keeping the bookstore open. So when you visit Sechelt next, make sure you stop into Talewind Books on Trail Avenue, and pay respects to the legacy of Bev Shaw.
Rock in the Family
Looks like we have another performer in the family. Our ten-year-old son Josh has formed his own rock band called Blue Jay Valley. They have written their own original songs, and have recorded them (with the help from one of the dads). They also played a sold out Halloween show with more all ages concerts planned for 2024. You can listen to their first song, “No School”, that Josh mostly wrote, including chords and lyrics, on the Blue Jay Valley bandcamp page.
Last minute stocking stuffer alert? Give the gift of a live show in BC? I’m thrilled to be doing Stories and Songs shows in 2024 with an incredible line up of musicians, including my old friend from Halifax… Joel Plaskett!!
Fri Jan 26, Tir-Na-NOg Theatre, Bowen Island, w/ the Luckies (Shari Ulrich, Jeanne Tolmie, Hilary Grist), Hayden Roth, Wylie and John Stiver, Jill Barber. SOLD OUT
Sat Jan 27, Tir-Na-NOg Theatre, Bowen Island, w/ the Luckies (Shari Ulrich, Jeanne Tolmie, Hilary Grist), Hayden Roth, Wylie and John Stiver, Jill Barber. SOLD OUT
Sat Jan 27, Tir-Na-NOg Theatre, Bowen Island, w/ the Luckies (Shari Ulrich, Jeanne Tolmie, Hilary Grist), Hayden Roth, Wylie and John Stiver, Jill Barber. MATINEE – tickets available.
Thu Mar 7, Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney, w/ Joel Plaskett, Ashleigh Ball, Lindsay Bryan, Rob and Andrew from BUM
Fri Mar 8, Community Hall, Galiano Island, w/ Joel Plaskett, Ashleigh Ball, Imogen Moon
Sat Mar 9, ACT Theatre, Maple Ridge, w/ Joel Plaskett, Ashleigh Ball, Jill Barber
Fri Apr 26, Venables Theatre, Oliver, w/ Jay Malinowski, Lindi Ortega, Stephanie Cadman
Sat Apr 27, Creekside Theatre, Lake Country, w/ Jay Malinowski, Lindi Ortega, Stephanie Cadman
Sun Apr 28, The Effie Arts Collective, Kamloops, w/ Jay Malinowski, Lindi Ortega, Stephanie Cadman
… summer shows coming up on Savary Island and Powell River …
After a successful series of concerts in the Pacific Northwest USA, my lovely and talented wife Jill now takes her show to the Eastern Seaboard USA in January. Tell your American friends or ex-pat Canadians!
Sat Jan 13, Poisson Rouge, New York City
Sun Jan 14, Club Passim, Boston
Wed Jan 17, Jammin’ Java, Vienna, Virginia (Washington DC)
Thu Jan 18, City Winery, Pittsburgh
Fri Jan 19, Stage of Herr, Harrisburg, PA
Sat Jan 20, New Spire Art Centre, Frederick, Maryland
Sun Jan 21, City Winery, Philadelphia
Happy Holidays, happy life, and hope to see you soon.
All the best from the west,