Posts Tagged ‘Nowhere Girl’

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Tinkering Away

December 1, 2013

km 064Well! The recording has been going somewhat painlessly. Imagine that!? This is our third go around together in the studio and I think we might finally be hitting our stride. We still have a few overdubs to go and then onto editing and mixing. Yeah!

I also realized that in the past year since he’s been with us, I’ve never officially introduced our newest addition to the band. We now have keys! It started out as, “Come out and jam with us!” one night and …. well, the jam session never ended. Gladly, I’d like to introduce our key master, Patrick. He went to town on all the different pianos available at the studio. He especially took a liking to the Petrof grand piano. Man, it sounded amazing. We’re even showcasing his vocal and songwriting chops in one of the songs.

We’re itching to get the new tunes out there but – patience. That’s what we keep telling ourselves. So I am off for a few days to visit my really cool aunt in the States, while they do the rest of the lead guitar overdubs this week. Then it’s acoustics and background vocals when I return. I’m hopeful to start some new writing again. Being away always seems to clear the cobwebs from my head. It’s like a new, clean canvas set on the easel just waiting to be splattered with some kind of new idea.

We’ll see!

Later!

NG

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Gearing up!

November 23, 2013

ImageToday is the day! Just finishing up my morning cup of coffee before riding over to the studio. We’ve picked one closer to home this time. We’re all pretty excited about the new tunes and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll have great energy vibrating around us this weekend.  I’m always a little jittery on the first day. Not sure why. Guess it’s just getting used to playing in a new space for the next 48 hours straight – well, almost. We will be going home to sleep. 🙂

Well, here we go.

Peace out and see you on the other side.

NG

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Bang On!

October 18, 2013

bang on

 

Two-by-four’s are like scissors; you shouldn’t run with them.

I have mentioned before that one of things I love about living in my neighbourhood is that you are always amazed to find things that still amaze you! Just got back from the grocery store and on my way across a busy intersection, I see two guys running to make the light carrying a two-by-four piece of wood in each of their hands. Not outrageous but strange nonetheless. Where are they going with these pieces of wood? What are they building that they only need four pieces?

The bigger question is: what would happen if one of them – or both tripped and fell over, thus dislodging the large segments of wood from their possession and possibly whacking someone in the head or face that was also crossing the street? Like me! What if they tripped and the wood slid into the moving traffic. Cars slamming on brakes , cyclists being thrown off their bikes; it’s not a pretty sight. Just what were they thinking, you might ask?

They weren’t. It’s kind of like when I wasn’t thinking at all when I smacked myself in the face with my GUITAR. I’m sure most of you know that an electric guitar can pack quite a bit of weight. Yeah. Ouch! Let me tell you, it was the stupidest thing I think I’ve ever done. – Okay, you can stop laughing for second! I was putting the strap over my head like normal but I guess I misjudged the distance of my head to the body and wham-o! Right in the kisser. The initial zing reverberates through your skull like a crazy trip for a millisecond, then instantly anger and frustration. I might even say rage enters the picture. I let go of the guitar and covered my mouth. That’s when the guys noticed something was up. (Typical men. How can you not notice me making out with a guitar?!)

I could’ve dealt with the blow but it wasn’t until they asked if I was okay that my anger and frustration exploded and I ……. teared up. That’s right. I almost started to cry. I know! How many times do I have to remind myself? There’s no crying in rock and roll! Duh! Everyone knows that. But man, until you get kicked in the face with the top end of a guitar you might think differently. Luckily I have some great band mates. Our bass player just sh-luffed the whole thing off and said, “Ah, I’m sure you’re not the first and you probably won’t be the last to do that.” And then he carried on about the business of plugging himself in. Gotta love that!

So my point to all this is – think. Think before you pick up a guitar. Think before you run across the street with loose two-by-fours. You might be safer with scissors! (Just kidding.)

Well, short and sweet today but thought you might get a little giggle out of my fat lip. Although, I have to say that my pride is more bruised than anything else. Oh well. Just another day as a muso.

Later!

-NG-

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Turning the Paige

September 15, 2013
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Photograph by: Jason Cipparrone

Life always has a funny way of leading us down interesting and captivating paths. Sometimes we don’t even realize the road we are traveling on until we arrive at a destination and see that this was one of the stops we’ve been meaning to make all along. A serendipitous occasion.

For me it was indeed a pleasant surprise to attend a solo show with my favourite, Paige Cora of The Ruby Spirit. She has spread her angel wings across a new breadth of sound. The set enveloped me in a different way from previous Ruby shows. Sitting alone at the piano with sprinkled accompaniment from a cello, horn and trumpet; her voice softer than usual yet still packing the same strength of emotional impact, embraced you tenderly and swept you gingerly through the ride of freedom. That’s what it felt like to me. The nakedness of it made me, as an audience member, feel lighter – free-er. I was enchanted in a a new way. Just when you think Paige has shown you all her tricks, she appears in yet another new light. The illusory angel strikes again.

I hope she continues to explore this new side of her music for a while. It’s definitely given me some renewed inspiration and I finally realized why I had been tinkering with a new song idea for a while but didn’t quite know where the words were coming from. They were coming from a searching ache for getting to the core of who you really are.

I wonder if we’ll ever really know before we move onto the next plane?

NG

We Are One

Standing still on the boulevard

I was trying to keep myself from crying

Tried to run but didn’t get very far

There were too many minds dying

To know

Where are we going to and where did we come from

Keep dancing around your truth

but when it’s said and done

We are one

We are one

We are one

Cast aside but still running wild

I had to find my way back home

Crawl and hide but I’m still on your side

It’s in your nature to roam

Where are we going to and where did we come from

Keep dancing around your truth

but when it’s said and done

We are one

We are one

We are one

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Island Memories Continued

July 21, 2013

Here a few more entries from my trip last summer:

Friday, June 15, 2012

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The after shower sun dips in and out of the low-lying clouds. I wait at Uncle Nic’s Naturopathic office while he sees his patients. His friend AnaBela will be by soon to scoop me up and take me down to the centro comercial while he works today. She was nice enough to pick me up to meet up with him and his partner for lunch. It’s amazing how so at home I feel here. I still stumble a bit with the language but think I’m still doing better than most. The time here is really helping me recharge my battery. It’s only been two days but I’ve already immersed my way of thinking (for the most part) to the way it is here on the island. Home seems so far away and far back in time. I was able to hop online this morning to check e-mails and nothing major has happened. I’m already thinking I could get used to doing this every summer. Hmmm.

Just like back home, everyone is complaining about the economic crisis but all the bars and restaurants are still pretty full. People are reshuffling where they are putting their money, perhaps. Just wish they’d shuffle it into buying some Cd’s my way. Being here makes me wonder what life would be like to just move in another direction. What would I do? Would I get bored? Would I – or how would I re-invent myself? Hm. No one knows.

For now I’m enjoying the lazy schedule and am forcing myself to re-acquaint with the Portuguese printed word. (I’m trying to get through their version of Vogue magazine.) Perhaps it will give me some song inspiration? Inspiration. The illusive drug of my existence. So seldom. So fleeting.

NG

Monday, June 18, 2012

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Uncle Nic’s garden

These last few days have been tremendous. Uncle Nic has been taking me all over the island. I’ve been reacquainting myself with the memories of my childhood when I spent a few summers here. So much has changed but so much is still the same. I spent the evening at my grandmother’s house, (she is no longer with us) and it was a little emotional because the last time I was here, she was still alive. I was amazed to see how much of our family history Uncle Nic knows, remembers and has preserved. I was even lucky enough to have him give me a few of our family relics: my great-grandmother’s favourite bowls, I think originally made of porcelain? Not quite sure but you can see its age in the relenting crevices of its surface. Wonderful and amazing. Sometimes it makes me sad that I don’t have anyone to pass it on to but I’m hoping that a few of my cousins may want to pass on our history to their kids one day.

Aah. The weather has been lovely, as far as I’m concerned. There have been really no beach jaunts and even though most of the days so far, have been grey, I’ve been quite content with the peek-a-boo game the sun has been playing. It’s still reasonably warm with a beautiful breeze – just perfect. As we speak, I am sitting on the grass with Less, the German Shepherd, and Blacky (not sure of his name still- he’s the black lab – should really try to find out) by my side. The birds continue to sing and chant and I feel better than I have in ages. This is just what I needed.

Forty-eight hours from now, I will be on a plane back to the real world. But I’m not going to think about it! So, for now I’m going to lie back and read the book that I brought and for the next two days I am going to continue enjoying the in-between-patient lunches with Uncle Nic and the endless hours of story-telling at the day’s end. Add a splash of his fun friends and all the funny shenanigans they crack with each other and it will cap off the funnest most restful vacation ever.

NG

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

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“Blacky”

It’s late morning. Suitcase packed. Dressed and ready to go to the airport in a few hours. I just came in from enjoying a coffee while standing by the frog pond. With the reptiles conversing with song and birds chattering about, it’s tough to have to say good-bye for now. It’s been spitting rain all morning and even though it makes clothes end everything damp, I enjoyed being enchanted by mother nature. Less and Blacky are by my side and as I think how everything is perfect in the world, the sun peeks out and smiles down on me.

A beautiful end to a perfect week. And even with very little sleep I feel refreshed. Most nights were spent telling stories of the “old” days and funny anecdotes from Uncle Nic’s previous life experiences. But although refreshed, I find myself wishing I could stay just a few more days but real life is waiting for me on the other side of the ocean.

I hope I can get my songwriting juices going again I was hoping this trip would re-juice the creative flow. But even though I spent a few days on my own tinkering on Uncle Nic’s guitar, I felt nothing come to me.  I’m still not sure if I should be worried because it’s going to be almost a year since the last full song. I’ve written, “Red Light”. We’re now in the midst of mastering the recording of it.

Well, maybe once I get back to North American soil and have the chance to look back and ponder on this week in utopia, something will jump at me and give me the jolt of the inspiration I need. Guess only time will tell.

NG

Friday, June 22, 2012  –  The Return

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It’s funny how once you return to your real life, it almost feels like your time away didn’t really happen. Did I really experience all those wonderful trips and interactions? Or was it a dream? A figment of my imagination? I remember watching the city grow near as the plane continued its descent back into the city I had left behind only eight days earlier. Everything seems too flat, straight, boring. I’m a hopeless romantic and endless dreamer. Always have been. Because of that I get easily caught up in the romanticism of what’s out there. But I know once I get used to there, I will only wonder what’s back here. Human nature, I guess.

I am glad to reconnect with my amazing family of friends but I must admit, I was fighting pretty hard to hold back tears as I said good-bye to Uncle Nic. I actually think he might have been as well because he kept this hard smile on his face, always, like he was forcing himself not to get emotional. So sweet.

Once back here, I’d hope that I’d get a rush of songwriting ideas but … nothing. I’m going to try not to worry about it. We’ve gotten our EP mastered finally. Now we are onto working on the album art, which is exciting because we are slowly getting ourselves organized to do a photo shoot with some really cool ideas. We’re going for a very artistic approach. So we’ve got stuff on the go. It should keep us going until Fall when I’m hoping to have a final product to have available at shows. Perhaps in the interim of all this final “touch up” work, the creative juices will flow again and we can work towards our next recording.

Hmm…. the universe always seems to have a plan for me.

NG

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Summer Time

July 2, 2013

j1School is out and the summer has officially begun!  It’s a holiday today and everyone is out celebrating the Nation’s birthday with cottage trips, lake-side strolls and fireworks, of course. Where does the time go? (Can’t believe I’m starting to use phrases like that.) It’s incredible how you can think you’ve got all the time in the world and then suddenly realize there’s a gig just around the corner or you look through some of your old lyric pads and be shocked when you realize the date was from last year or older.

I was recently thumbing through an old notebook I carried around with me last summer, hoping to pick out any brilliant song ideas that were left cleverly, buried there. (insert snicker here.) And I came across the diary I kept when I traveled to the Azores. It was cool to read it a year later and remember what I experienced. I was still stuck with writer’s block back then and desperately trying to find my groove.  Thank goodness that’s passed – for now! Thought it might be fun to share, since I usually do with my travels.

So here it goes:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A very full first day in Sao Miguel. It’s been thirteen years since I last set foot on this island. I was just a kid. This island once so removed from my familiaritieIMG_0145s, now so removed from my memories of it. This place, this culture that used to stretch out its dirt roads to welcome you now presents its slick asphalt highway to get you from one end of the island to another. The main city now has its own doors (archways) to the city – or doors to the ocean depending on which side of them you are standing on.

7:20am the plane landed and it was a wonderful sight to see my favourite uncle, Nic, awaiting my arrival. Surprisingly a wave of emotion came over me as this is the first time I arrive here alone. It reminds me of the family that used to be here but is no longer as well as the family that didn’t come along this time.

It’s funny how our memories can keep our hopes and expectations frozen in another time – another era. But in reality everyone and everything moves forward. We arrive at uncle’s “garden estate” as I’ve decided to call it. Surprisingly, he no longer lives in my grandmother’s house (which is now his house but he has rented it out.) He now lives in a new property just outside of Ponta Delgada in a smaller township called Lagoa, which means lake.  And I call it his garden estate because it’s probably a full acre – if not more – of floral paradise. The long drive invites you up to the four bedroom homestead which I affectionately call “The Manor“.  All around are flowers and plants to a horticulturalist’s delight. Wild orchids, hydrangeas, hibiscus (the biggest I’ve ever seen), lemon trees, banana trees. A crop garden with rows of kale, garlic, tomatoes, exotic fruits like apple-melons (yet to try). And lastly an animal sanctuary where two geese roam free with their friends the chickens, a rooster, pigeons, rabbits, ducks, three pigs and a proper turkey to rule over them all. It’s like a mini version of Neverland Ranch without all the carnival rides!

Along the drive, when you look south, you are treated to breathtaking views of the Atlantic. On a clear day you can even see the next island over, Santa Maria. The air is fresh and swirls lightly in a welcoming embrace. The hillsides are lush and green. his man-made pIMG_1509ond full of frogs and lily pads bid you an inviting hello.

Home. There is an unspoken, settled feeling that I’ve come back home after so long.

After a neat breakfast and a brief tour, I promptly collapse onto the first bed I see and have a “nap” that will end up taking me seven and a half hours into the other side of heaven. I awake to uncle Nic’s friend AnaBela who is warm and charming despite her regular use of expletives. She instantly puts me at ease with her comedic ways and commentaries on frustrations of her day to day activities. With her, we take a quick trip into the city where new hotels now stand and a whole ocean front scene creating an Ocean Drive ambiance with an infinite row of open air restaurants lining the shore. It’s a new Sao Miguel I am seeing. Much more modern than the horse-back riding culture of when I was a child. The island always seemed to be a century behind the rest of the wIMG_1421orld but it’s clear to see that in the last two decades, the island is all caught up to 2012 with their internet cafes and ipad-toting intellectuals ordering cappuccino and downloading the latest Lady Gaga videos. This baby sister has finally joined the party of its older sibling, the main land.

We arrive back at midnight and proceed to do three hours of catching up, which always include Uncle Nic’s infinitesimal anecdotes that always leave you gaping or exploding with laughter. I’ve missed that. I’ve missed his story-telling, the sense of connection to my past, my grandmother, my family.

So at 3am we finally decide that we’ve got seven more days ahead to continue catching up.  And after biding each other good-night I am off to enjoy and much earned, full night’s slumber. Tomorrow will be another adventure, I am sure.

NG

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Infectious

March 9, 2013

ImageAfter a musical, magic carpet ride and two curtain calls I am still flying high from the fury known as Serena Ryder. Those that know me, know that I have a huge, HUGE girl-crush on her. Every time I walk out of one of her shows I feel like I could float out of the venue. She just keeps getting better. There’s something almost unexplainable about her. Her energy is enrapturing and it’s just so damn magical – for lack of a better word to use to describe the experience. It’s nearly impossible to sit still through her show. At times, I was surprised to notice just how much I was grooving, shaking, tapping, dancing, girating as I was locked on the vision that was Serena.

One of the two highlight of tonight’s show was during her first curtain call when she took to playing the drums. It was so powerful, the whole 800 seat theater had no choice but to get on heir feet as if pulled by a force beyond anything they were aware of to just dance, clap, sing and just be plain happy. I know it sounds like a Hippy Jamboree but she really does have that affect on people. Not only is she an incredible vocalist and invigorating guitar player but she’s also just so bloody like-able.

That brings me to the other highlight of the night which was when she called up a little girl, who was dancing in the front row, up to sing with her while she closed the show. I felt myself being transported into that little girl, Alicia from Burlington, Ontario. What an experience to be watching someone in awe and have them notice you and invite you up to join them. It was so touching and exciting. I can’t stop gushing about it. You’d think she’d asked me to go up there. (I most certainly would not have handled it as gracefully as Alicia did as I’d probably be a bumbling idiot.) But what touched me was that in that moment she may have changed the course of a child’s life right then and there. She’ll always have that memory of making that momentary connection with a star and this may just be what propels her own dream to pursue music. It always begins with one moment.

Infectious. It’s the only way to describe her that says it all. The only way from here is up for Miss Ryder, in my books. I raced home to write this entry before I forgot this elated feeling as we always seem to do in the light of day. And I’ll probably be up late tonight trying to work out some new song ideas  of my own. Inspiration via Serena, of course.

Aaaaaaah. There’s nothing like turning the knob on the door of a new room you never even knew was there. (Lady Gaga reference.)

Thank you and Good Night.

Harmoniously,

Nowhere Girl

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