#StoryBetweenTheSongs – Tim Moxam – Honesty

Some of the most defining moments of our lives take place in our twenties. We try on different skins, shedding old ones as we grow and evolve. We are the adventurer, the entrepreneur, the creator, and the worker. We are the traveller and the tourist, the sloth and the slob, the hipster, the heartbreaker, the fraud, the fake, the grifter. We retain bits of each manifestation of our developing personalities, eventually forming a version of ourselves that we choose to present to the world around us. Deep down inside, though, beneath each mask we wear is our honest selves. That, we cannot hide from.

The Honesty video concept was born well before we recorded the song. I wanted to grow my hair out and was thinking of how readily we are judged based on our appearance; how we choose to dress, use makeup, and cut and style our hair. A year later, we wrapped our first shoot date for the video, during which time I hadn’t shaved, cut, or really groomed myself at all. It was very interesting to experience people’s reactions to my appearance during that time, especially when my moustache hair became so long it started curling into my mouth. These reactions fuelled me to push the project further and, after shaving everything off for the first shoot and taking a five month break to grow it all out again, we did a second shoot, experimenting with even more looks. The result, brilliantly styled by Jukka Suutari, captured by James Cooper and Teo Weyman, and edited by Ryan Thompson, is Honesty.


Tim Moxam refuses to rest. A full-time Musician and Carpenter, his quietly dazzling folk-pop arrangements reflect the tireless patience, precision, and quality he brings to his work. And when his day is done and he starts to sing, the only sensible thing to do is listen.

Marlborough Hall, Moxam’s brilliant second full-length album, is the hotly anticipated follow-up to 2016’s Soft Summer, which yielded CBC radio chart-toppers ‘Meant to Be’ and ‘Harvest for the Queen’, while building on the 2013 global breakthrough track ‘Live in the Bedroom’. That track, from his debut EP Blue Son, was featured on the hit BBC show Orphan Black, a fitting backdrop for a performer who lives dual lives. “The worldwide feedback I got from Live in the Bedroom was a real confidence booster,” Moxam says.

Since then, the one-time member of beloved indie rockers Great Bloomers has played alongside a wildly diverse roster of marquee names including Donovan Woods, Cœur de pirate, Corb Lund, The Strumbellas and Terra Lightfoot, tackling full-scale home renovations in his time off.

Marlborough Hall marks a substantial development in Moxam’s work. “Soft Summer was about loss and heartbreak, about being traumatized by love and relationships. Marlborough Hall is about maturity and confidence”, Moxam says. “It’s about coming to terms with who I am and owning that. It’s about honesty.”

The album was recorded in early 2018 at Toronto’s Union Sound Company with Chris Stringer, acclaimed producer/engineer behind noted gems by The Wooden Sky, Elliott Brood, and Timber Timbre. Marlborough Hall sees the return of drummer Joshua Van Tassel, bassist Charles James, multi-instrumentalist Adrian Cook and vocalist Ivy Mairi — who rank among Toronto’s most notable players.

Originally wanting to name the album Honesty, a title borrowed from another of the album’s nine tracks, Moxam settled instead on Marlborough Hall. “One night spent at the Marlborough Hotel in Winnipeg came to represent an unforgettable moment in my life where I met my ‘destiny’ face to face, and decided to take control of it. Each song on the album represents an incident since that moment where I, confronted with a choice, was unapologetically honest in my decision making. And so, Marlborough Hall has come to represent the pursuit of honesty in everything I do.

A forthright voice rings clear throughout Marlborough Hall. ‘Rich Man’, the album’s sparkling, thoroughly hooky, and propulsive first single describes Moxam’s frustrations of balancing full-time construction work with a demanding music career. The candlelit, hypnotic ‘All I Feel’, featuring a compelling vocal performance nudged forward by ambient sax and synths, eavesdrops on his negotiations of the terms to the end of a long, faithful friendship. ‘Honesty’, the slow-building “title track that wasn’t” brings a sudden swell of backing vocals into a show-stopping finale and reiterates Moxam’s raw desire for the blunt truth.

“The purpose of existence”, Moxam offers, “is to engage in some practice; to produce something”. And so, Tim Moxam offers us Marlborough Hall. Within its walls, we are introduced to a character whose hands are never still, which betray a restless mind that never settles; someone that seeks precision and quality with every pursuit; and who, above all else, demands nothing but the honest truth.

Listen to Tim Moxam on Spotify

#StoryBetweenTheSongs – This Way North – Night Terrors

The #StoryBetweenTheSongs with This Way North

“I (Leisha) wrote this song late last year, during a difficult period in my life, in an attempt to explore my nightly struggle with the sleeping disorder of night terrors. The song is about the intersection between dreams and reality and has taken on a life of its own in this realm.

The film clip was shot in Brisbane, in an old 1920’s artisan building overlooking the banks of the Brisbane River. We had the most amazing time shooting with some wonderfully hard working uni students and the brilliant director Vanessa Cox.

The song was recorded at Yikesville Studios in Melbourne. It was produced by our friends Shane O’Mara and Simon Bailey (Pony Face). The track melds punchy slide guitar and Cat’s deep, raw drumming, to sonically capture the experience of night terrors.”

#StoryBetweenTheSongs – Hannah Miller – Still I Rise

A new feature from Stanstead House Concerts Network – SHCN

The #StoryBetweenTheSongs with Hannah Miller

Q: What was the inspiration for your new single – which was part of a recent episode of ABC’s hit series ‘Station 19’? The song has some serious weight and punch to it..

A: I wrote “Still I Rise” for a sync bootcamp – I do those from time to time for my licensing company (Sorted Noise). They pair us up, a writer and a producer, and give us an assignment to write to. They even describe a whole scene (a fictional one) and tell us to basically write the soundtrack to it. If I remember correctly our scene was a kind of apocalyptic, end of world scenario that the characters were determined to survive and conquer. So the honest answer, and the slightly non- artistic/romantic reason that song exists is because someone told me to write it

BUT, I believe that even in a song assignment scenario, our own influences and artistic expressions will rise to the surface. The assignment might be a catalyst but the actual writing of a song is always (mostly,hopefully) a genuine artistic effort. The lyrics and melody were my contribution to the awesome track that the producer, Jermey Lutito had built, and the lyrics of the chorus and bridge were very much inspired by the Maya Angelou poem of the same name. In my head it’s always been a little bit of a female empowerment tune, but I’m not sure that’s how everyone hears it, which is great, b/c I hope any song I write is universal enough to be applied to whatever situation the listener needs it for… 🙂

Feeling like a pretender






World renowned fiddler Pascal Gemme and me

Last Spring, I was invited to share my story at the Music Cities Forum held in Vancouver BC as part of Juno Week. As the room began to fill with music festival programmers, creative economy leaders, and political representatives, I realized I was as far away from my comfort zone as I could be while still remaining on the same planet.

Internally, I was a nervous wreck by the time it was my turn to present from the podium. There was an incessant voice in my head telling me (with a Monty Python accent) to “Run away!” and I almost walked right off the edge of the stage because I was so freaked out about being up there.

I had rehearsed my presentation on the plane trip, and in the hotel, and in my head. I had it down cold. Of course, when I got started I immediately went off-script.

I confessed to the packed room that I felt like a pretender – like someone who had no business being in the company of so many amazing music industry leaders. I told them that I expected the doors would burst open at any moment and someone would point in my direction and yell, “There he is! Get him off the stage!”

There was laughter, nods and knowing smiles.

In that moment I knew while I was well outside my comfort zone, I was still in the company of people who were willing to accept me in their midst, to listen to my story, and to offer ideas designed to help improve the SHCN project.

The voice in my head faded away and was replaced by the buzz of a positive adrenaline rush. My time on stage seemed to fly by and afterwards, at a cocktail reception, several people came over to tell me how much they enjoyed my presentation. More importantly, each of them said they loved knowing they weren’t the only ones in the room who felt like imposters or pretenders.

It’s funny how we are so quick to doubt our own abilities when we step out into the unknown. My experience taught me to cut myself a little slack and allow for the space and time required to grow as a person. I still feel a bit like a pretender however now I recognize I can use that feeling of trepidation as a motivator to learn more, execute better, and to never stop exploring the edges of my comfort zone.

Thanks for your consideration. Be well. Practice big medicine.*

– Hal

Drop me a line via email – newman.hal@gmail.com

*Big Medicine = the right people working together at the right time
will be Big Medicine. I’ve been saying ‘Be well. Practice big medicine’
for as long as I can remember. It is my own very personal version of
‘Sawu Bona’, the Zulu greeting which means ‘I see you’… I see all of
you, I see your good works, I see the difference you are making in the
world.

SHCN – http://www.stansteadhouseconcerts.net

Salons






A few years ago in Montreal, I attended a workshop on presenting modern circus. I love circus. The mix of music, drama, acrobatics, magic – it is simultaneously immersive and captivating.

I must have felt emboldened by the energy in the room. I found myself standing up to ask a question of the world-class panel.

And so, in a darkened conference room filled with a hundred or more participants I formulated my question about scalability. En francais – in French.

I explained that we present events in intimate surroundings in mostly rural settings and wondered aloud if circus could be scaled to be performed in a ‘salon’ (livingroom).

The panel members were very animated in their response – talking about how circus could be presented in any ‘salon’ (theatre) – no matter where – if the technical requirements could be met.

I remained standing and politely requested a follow-up question. I explained I was talking about the much smaller version of ‘salon’ – one where the audience sat on sofas, kitchen chairs and on the floor.

There was some nervous laughter and several participants turned to see who was asking the question. I had, inadvertently, captured the attention and imagination of the room.

We had a chat right there about what it means for audiences out in the countryside to be able to connect with performing artists – with musicians – in a way that just can’t be replicated in a big city venue.

How by sharing that experience with children their imaginations are sparked and they have dreams and understand the power of live performance… so they reach for the stars because an artist took the time to visit their small town.

How by going out to where rural audiences live and work and play, artists (and the brands which sponsor them) are showing real respect for the folks who may – one day – make a pilgrimage to see those artists perform in a much bigger venue.

To their credit, the presenters not only assured me it was possible but established lasting relationships with our organization to ensure that we could make it happen. I love that story. I also love that I was invited to visit the Cirque de Soleil’s own salon (theatre) and wander around backstage. And dream a few dreams of my own.  Sweetness.

Be well. Practice big medicine.*

Hal

​​*Big Medicine = the right people working together at the right time will be Big Medicine. I’ve been saying ‘Be well. Practice big medicine’ for as long as I can remember. It is my own very personal version of ‘Sawu Bona’, the Zulu greeting which means ‘I see you’… I see all of you, I see your good works, I see the difference you are making in the world.

And that’s a wrap for the 2016 Stanstead House Concerts Network season






And that, my friends, is a wrap for the 2016 Stanstead House Concerts Network – SHCN season… 23 concert events in 12 months in 2 countries…

Special thanks to Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards, Nick and the Babes, 10 String Symphony, The Bombadils, Belle Starr, John Jacob Magistery, Jordie Lane & Clare Reynolds, The Slocan Ramblers, Yann Falquet & Pascal Gemme, Christina Martin, Oh Pep!, Amanda McCoy & Pandel Collaros, The Mae Trio, Mark Reeves, The Secrets, Francois Jalbert & Jérôme Beaulieu, Po Lazarus, Nikki & Andrew Waite, & THE RECORD BREAKERS… for creating musical magic in our homes..

Giving voice – with special thanks to Taylor Swift






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When we moved out here to Stanstead, the century-old house we moved into held the unlikely key to a treasure. It came in the form of a broken-down third-rate department-store guitar with five intact strings and a slightly warped neck.

Sophie, our eleven-year-old daughter, adopted the guitar as her own. A family friend added a sixth string and tuned it by ear.

And Sophie took her guitar to her bedroom and taught herself how to play. She used her iPod to download how-to videos from the internet.

Sophie loved the music of Taylor Swift. So she armed herself with chord charts and lyric sheets. And she practiced ceaselessly.

And slowly the sounds became songs.

She entered the town’s talent show with a friend and together they captured second prize after singing a beautiful version of ‘Our Song.’ They went back the next year and won first prize with ‘Mean.’

Almost two years after she first picked up that old guitar Sophie and I made our pilgrimage to Steve’s Music in Montreal where she chose a Big Baby Taylor.

And then she went back up to her room with her new guitar and practiced every evening. We must have heard ‘Love Story’ and ‘Red’ a hundred times.

She sang ‘Teardrops On My Guitar’ in her first appearance at her high school followed by ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘Santa Baby’ at the holiday show.

Sophie sang ‘Love Story’ at her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration in a restaurant at Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont. It was an amazing few minutes and when she was done even the folks at other tables applauded loudly.

We were primed for the release of ‘1989’ long before the latest Taylor Swift album was released. Almost immediately, Sophie was working her way through the new songs – capturing their essence while singing and playing guitar.

And now, six years since we moved into this old house, seventeen-year-old Sophie has harnessed her dedication and passion – and having successfully auditioned last Spring – is now studying Pop Voice in the Music program at Vanier College in Montreal.

I count myself among the legion of loyal Taylor Swift fans. For good reason.

In my case, I give thanks for Ms. Swift’s ability to help Sophie find her voice – and for providing continual inspiration to keep making sweet sounds with her guitar.

Be well. Practice big medicine.

Hal

PS: Big Medicine is my nod of respect to a First Nations expression that, roughly translated, means the right people working together at the right time will be Big Medicine. I’ve been saying ‘Be well. Practice big medicine’ for as long as I can remember. It is my own very personal version of ‘Sawu Bona’, the Zulu greeting which means ‘I see you’… I see all of you, I see your good works, I see the difference you are making in the world.

Stanstead House Concerts #37 #38 #39 – Amanda McCoy featuring Pandel Collaros






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“Wow! From rocking out to Amanda McCoy & Pandel Collaros channeling their inner Jimmy Page/Robert Plant for an incredible blow-out-the-jams spine-tingling acoustic cover of Led Zep’s Whole Lotta Love to getting to hang out and share the experience with childhood friends.. The music… wow! Incredible performance by a tight duo of guitarslinger blues/folk singer-songwriters – original tunes mixed with a few covers – and a near-classic version of John The Revelator.. and a searing Deep South revisiting of The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down…” – #37 Montreal QC July 29 2016

“Wow! Amanda McCoy & Pandel Collaros treated us to another beautiful evening of music in our livingroom… with a couple of Neil Young covers added to the mix capping off a great night !” – #38 Stanstead QC July 30 2016

“Amanda McCoy and Pandel Collaros performed tonight in the Cabaret Room at the Catamount Arts Center and blew us all away!” – #39 St Johnsbury VT July 31 2016

 

Fair Trade Music






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I am at once very proud and astounded to announce we are the first Fair Trade Music 1000* venue in all of Canada.

Right, I know what you’re thinking – I’ve heard of Fair Trade coffee, chocolate and other stuff, but music? What do you mean?

More and more musicians are risking more and getting paid less to work as folk/roots artists and singer-songwriters. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) believes – and we agree – that musicians should be paid a fair and just living wage and have a good and safe working environment as a right, not a privilege.

I got lucky early in my career as a marketing/business development consultant. On my second interview with a potential client I was introduced to the concept of playing for tips. The experience changed the way I looked at the art and science of creativity forever.

The potential client was in the household goods marketplace. My interview was with the Chief Executive Officer. He wanted guidance on exploring new markets for their products. He was fully engaged in the conversation.

And then we came to the part about my fee.

He suggested that I provide my services for free for six months and if he “liked what he saw” he’d “pay me a certain amount.”

I was taken aback – and yet – somehow I mustered a reply. I suggested his company could send a semi-trailer full of their products over to our street. Everyone could try their products for six months and if they liked what they saw, they could pay the company a certain amount.

The conversation had definitely taken a turn.

He barked at me, “That’s patently absurd.”

With the proviso that I don’t know anything more about the music business than what I have learned in the past 18 months as a house concert host, I have a very difficult time understanding why anyone with a venue thinks it’s appropriate to ask an artist to play for tips.

Musicians are artists and there’s a price to be paid for their creativity. When we invite artists to perform in our livingroom it is because we enjoy the sound – the tunes – the sweet grooves they are crafting.

We instituted a guaranteed minimum fee because our house is out in the country and there’s always a chance the crowd will be on the sparse side. A share of the gate – or playing for tips – can be pretty tough sledding when there are only a dozen folks who braved the cold or the distance to gather in the livingroom.

There’s a cost for an artist to take a chance on us and travel out to our part of the world. We’re two hours from Montreal QC or Burlington VT. The road which leads to our driveway can be lonely – and yet when you arrive at our driveway, there’s always a warm welcome for both our audience – and our musical guests.

I didn’t take the marketing gig for those folks. I vowed to never work for tips. There’s a price to be paid when my brain is engaged on your behalf.

And so it should be with musical artists. They don’t need ‘exposure.’ They need our support – and they need to earn a living wage so they can craft more tunes.

Thanks for your consideration.

Be well. Practice big medicine.

Hal Newman

The Stanstead House Concerts Network is online at www.stansteadhouseconcerts.net and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/StansteadHouseConcertsNetwork/

*American Federation of Musicians, Local 1000