Thursday, December 15, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
The tour continues...... Above are pictures of us in british towns such as Carlisle, Blackpool (coney island on acid), Hartlepool. The crowds have been very attentive and the people are very kind. The picture of the red car is us driving into Scotland. We had breakfast in Lockerby and went shopping at the Salvation Army. We have the day off tonight and tomorrow we will be playing in Swindon. We are full of tea and Coronation street and we have heard that there is snow home...which we don't miss one bit.
Check out our BBC interview and live recording at the following link
You will also find a couple of pictures of us up there as well.
Friday, December 02, 2005
1.JENN & DAVE REHEARSING IN LONDON
2.MARK CROZIER (our booking agent) AND JENN AND DAVE OUTSIDE A BEAUTIFUL CATHEDRAL IN BRIGHTON
3.JENN, JASON & DAVE WITH SEAN O'HAGAN IN LONDON
4.JASON AND DAVE ON A BUS IN CURTLINGTON
5.JENN GRANT RUNNING FOR HER LIFE ON THE ESTATE
6.JENN & HER FRIEND LIZ AFTER OUR SHOW IN GLOSSUP
7.JASON & DAVE LAUGHING AT JENN
8.THE VIEW FROM OUR ROOM IN THE MANSION
1.JASON RECORDING AT THE BBC 2.JENN DURING SOUNDCHECK IN BRIGHTON 3.DAVE & JENN OUTSIDE THE MANSION WHERE WE ARE STAYING IN OXFORD 4.THE MANSION IN OXFORD 5.THE SECRET BATHROOM 6.DAVE REHEARSING 7.MARK STONEY (our driver & recording artist) 8.PETE AVES FROM THE HIGH LLAMAS
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
We played Glossop the other night and aside from it being a cancerquarium, the show went very well. The people were sweet and the we went to the world's only indian/ol' english pub while we were there. Last night we played Brighton at a great place called PRESSURE POINT. After soundcheck we went to a vegetarian burger place called Grubbs. You have not lived until you have had a peanut butter/pineapple/banana veggie burger. After that we went to a vegetarian/vegan pub called George's and had some tea. The show went very well despite a small turnout. Jenn did a little solo set and she was brilliant. After the show, we drove to the english channel and then danced to Billie Jean in the car. We have the day off today and tomorrow we play in London with the legendary Sean O'Hagan.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Thursday, November 10, 2005
The "A Heavy Blinkers Trio presents selections from HEALTH" show at Tribeca was a bona fide success. It was very well attended and we received some great press from the Daily News and the Coast, which I will put up on this site soon. My mom and dad, Dave's parents, and Jen's mom all went to the show, so it was indeed a family affair.
We also demoed a tonne of material, some of which will be on this site in the weeks to come.
For those of you in England or France, here are the "A HEAVY BLINKERS TRIO" dates.
Fri Nov 25th - Norwich Arts Centre
Sat Nov 26th - Glossop, The Globe
Mon Nov 28th - Brighton, Pressure Point Weds Nov 30 - London, Dublin Castle Thurs Dec 1st - Oxford, Cellar
Sat Dec 3rd - Manchester, 14 Lloyd Street Sun Dec 4th - Carlisle, The Brickyard Weds Dec 7th - Swindon, The Beehive Thurs Dec 8th - Salisbury, Old Ale House
Sun, 11th: Yesterday Pub-Roeun France
Mon, 12th: Shari vari-Roeun France
Tues 13th: Fleche D'Or-Paris France
Pete Aves (the guy in the pic) from the high llamas will be playing guitar with us and the brilliant Sean O'Hagan (the brainchild behind the High Llamas) will be playing some shows with us as well!! We would love to see you all out there.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
Sunday, October 16, 2005
A downsized version of Halifax's The Heavy Blinkers, currently performing as a trio, came to Toronto yesterday for a performance at Canadian Music Cafe as part of the Toronto International Film Festival . That was by invite only but the the band played an intimate show at The Casbah in Hamilton ON later that day. Fortunately, I was able to catch that show. Unfortunately, the show was criminally underattended. I was one of maybe 8 people in the audience yesterday(not counting some of The Heavy Blinkers' Jason MacIaasac's family who were in the audience). Even though I'd gone to the show solo I still enjoyed the artists' sets immensely. The Heavy Blinkers were playing as a trio and perform some new material whose song names you can catch over at their blog. The 'Blinkers yesterday evening consisted of Mr. Jason MacIsaac, David Christensen, and their hired vocalist Jenn Grant who they'd only met a month ago. Jenn's taking over vocal duties for Ruth Minnikin who's currently on tour with her own psychedlic-country band The Reels. As much as I enjoy the delicate vocals of Ruth, there was a robustness to Jenn's vocals which was really awesome to hear. Yes, did she nail the vocals and then some. Instrumentally, the songs were basically down to keyboards and acoustic guitar with a nice touch of clarinet on several songs. If you're a fan of The Heavy Blinkers' brand of orch-pop/Brian Wilson inspired music, I guarantee that the new songs will pierce your heart. And remember these were acoustic versions. I'm looking forward to the gussied-up band versions.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
News From The Great Beyond
Heavy Blinkers in the Studio
"I recently saw a documentary about Roswell and it renewed my faith in the fact that something dodgy is going on. I am not sure if the government is reverse-engineering spaceships or anything, but why the hell not?"
Such is the theory of The Heavy Blinkers' Jason MacIsaac. The Nova Scotia based band is in the midst of recording new material for a CD entitled Health, but music wasn't all that was on his mind. In fact, as he is writing an email to this writer, he checks Area 51 on a few remote satellites. After 10 minutes he returns and reports. "I couldn't make much out, but I didn't not see aliens. I don't know, I have so many bits and pieces of Roswell info as mental furniture in my brain, I can't separate fact from the Dwight Yoakam/Kyle McLaughlin movie."
After this bit of journalistic and scientific insight, the conversation turns to music.
Having lived in both NY and LA, the competition to be noticed is fierce. Being tucked away in your corner of the world, does making music, and honing your craft, become easier?
I am not sure if it makes it any easier, but there aren't as many distractions, to be sure. I live in a city of about 300,000, and it's very much a tourist town. I spend most of my time at my piano in the dark, in my living room, with a cat on my lap. I am a firm believer that Nova Scotia's four VERY distinct seasons inform my writing and perhaps the overall mood of our city. Out of the corner of our eye, we see things being born, growing, and dying, year after year. I think that subconsciously it has an effect on a person. When I look back at lyrics that I have written, many of them seem to be preoccupied with the weather and the life cycle. On a more practical level, it is often too cold to go outside, so I will default to tea and my piano quite a bit in the winter. I get more writing done in the winter than the other three seasons combined.
What can you reveal about the "Health"?
Health is a song cycle about martyred saints, people who are lost and who have lost, and ultimately death, I suppose. It's a really upbeat album. There are many female characters that occupy the Health songs, and in many ways they are related. Most of the characters are amalgams of historical figures and women who had an impact on my childhood. It's a pretty depressing, sparse set of songs. That being said, there are two or three songs that lyrically have nothing to do with the rest of the album, but they were written at the same time and I was in the same head-space, so to me, they warrant inclusion.
I read on your blog (The Heavy Blinkers Album #5 Blog) that 'Health' was going to be a double album. That is quite an ambitious undertaking. When did you decide to go that route and what factors entered into making the decision?
Everyone, and I mean everyone, I know is telling me that it should be a single album. Perhaps two albums of material will fit on one disc as with our self-titled album, so I can cheat that way. It's just awfully hard to divorce songs from an album when there is an overarching narrative that must be told. Getting rid of a particular song might be tantamount to getting rid of the conclusion, or the body, or the intro etc. I consciously decided to make a double concept album and I am not looking back and imposing "concept album" status on it. It was written that way. For better or worse, I have a plan.
You have been debuting various tracks from 'Health.' What are the advantages and disadvantages of that strategy.
I'm just trying to suss out how they will be received. I already have the order of the songs figured out, so it's weird playing them out of context. It's even more weird playing them alongside older material, but it is thrilling to play them nevertheless. Most of the songs are a bit austere, and, lyrically, a bit (and I hesitate to use this word..) poetic. Historically, Heavy Blinkers gigs have consisted largely of the upbeat danceable material out of respect for those who want to shake a tail-feather. These new shows are more for people who come in from the rain and who would rather just listen to music, hopefully some pretty music that will inspire them.
Are you a type A or type B personality? What effect does that have on the day-to-day operations of the band?
I guess in some very specific way, I'm type A. When it comes to the music, I am a driven workaholic, always busy, impatient, etc. However, when dealing with people, I am definitely type B. I am a very laid back person, but my music is precious to me and I can get cranky. Everyone in the band is good friends and there have been very few fights over the past seven or so years. I'm a pretty lousy communicator when it comes to trying to express the music in my head to other people, and I am sure that it is frustrating for the band at times.
I noticed you did some shows with Jenn Grant. Is Ruth Minnikin still a member of the HB?
Ruth is still a member of the Heavy Blinkers. Recently, Ruth has been on tour with her psych-country outfit and then immediately back on the road with her "Traveling Wilburys" style super-songwriter group. Working with Jenn was born out of necessity., but she is a gem! Her spirit is infectious and she understands the importance of nuance. We have been very careful to do totally different material, and to present it as a trio. It's a totally different animal. We flew to Toronto to do the Toronto Film Festival and we leave at the end of November for a two week tour of the U.K.. Jenn is wonderful.
Finally, when will the new material be released?
I am hoping that all the tracking will be done by the summer and that it will be out this time next year, but we may see Roswellian aliens before we see Health. I will keep you posted.
1.I recently did an interview with a New Mexican blog/E-Zine where I talk about Health. The zine is called THE GREAT BEYOND and the link is here http://greatbeyondmusic.blogspot.com/
2. A Heavy Blinkers Trio will be playing a dozen or so new songs from HEALTH at the Tribeca in Halifax on Thursday November 3rd at 9:00pm sharp.
3.A Heavy Blinkers Trio will be leaving for the U.K. in the end of November for two weeks of shows, promoting HEALTH. There are new dates popping up every day and I will have the dates posted here and on our website in the days to come.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
I am writing this from my sister's house in Ontario. Jenn, Dave, and I played the Toronto Film Festival, debuting six songs from HEALTH. Aside from a ghost in the keyboard, the show went really well. We then drove to Hamilton and played with Julie Dorion and she was (of course) wonderful. Hopefully we will avoid the hurricane and get home tonight. HEALTH recording continues this week. Above is a picture of us in Toronto and the article from the coast www.thecoast.ca that goes with it.
" Half of the Heavy Blinkers -- with Jenn Grant subbing for Ruth Minnikin, now there's a stylistic difference -- performed a slew of new songs hopefully from the fabled double album. Grant put together a lovely book of lyrics for herself (she only had a few weeks to learn the songs). She went to Value Village with her mom looking for the right sized book, picked a Winnie the Pooh volume and painted it red with sparkles, pasting the lyrics inside. It's quite the work of art. Sorry I didn't get a close-up."
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Sadly, Ruth was on the road with her new awesome psychedelic-country band The Reels (check them out!!!) , so she wasn't able to rehearse for the Toronto Film Festival show. However, I enrolled local chanteuse Jenn Grant www.jenngrant.com to breathe life into the new HEALTH compositions and she is an angel. The pictures are of Jenn and Dave, as we rehearse the "heavy blinkers trio". We will be in Toronto this Thursday and we will be unveiling new HEALTH songs
GOD BLESS HAZEL
WAITING FOR A RIVERBOAT
as well as doing a couple of oldies. It should be a helluva great time. Once we fly home, it's recording and nothing but recording.
Friday, September 02, 2005
I was thrilled to no end when my Google News Alert showed me that an article had been written about my blog!! A huge thank-you goes out to Soul Shine Magazine for their consideration. www.soulshine.ca/news/newsarticle.php?nid=2451
The article has put a fire under my butt to write more frequently. We haven't done much in the studio this week, as I had to do some theatre shows last weekend and now we are knee-deep in rehearsals.
Currently, the heavy blinkers trio is rehearsing for the Toronto Film Festival. We are playing in a series that includes Ron Sexsmith, Sarah Slean, Steven Paige (barenaked ladies, Buck 65, to name a few. From there, we are doing a couple of shows with labelmate Julie Doiron http://juliedoiron.com
We are debuting 5 new songs from HEALTH, so if you are able, come down and hear what we are up to.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Next week I have play rehearsals, so I won't be able to get into the studio before then. However, we are soon recording the piano track for this choir piece that I wrote called "SILENCE YOUR DRUM". All of our favorite friends and haligonian singers will be singing on this song and there will be pictures from the evening, ASAP.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Last night, Andrew, Dave and I recorded at Andrew's new studio called "COMMON GROUND studios". We were working on adding orchestral harmonica, flute, glock, and percussion to a new song called "SOUNDS BETTER THAN IT SOUNDS".It is really coming along and I am convinced that it might be the best song on the new album.
I also did a demo of a new song called "INDIANA'S CALLING" which features my first foray into the world of drumkit! It was sloppy and poorly executed, but the kernel of an idea was captured. I also had the chance to prog it up by playing 5-string bass.
We recorded from 10pm until 4am. By the end of it all, I was delirious and full of Pepsi to the point of low level seizures. Andrew engineered the procedures and managed to lay down some vocals and percussion. He also played for us a demo of a new song that he has written about the blinker's time in Cologne Germany. It is super-sweet!