Music, Food, and Blasphemy

Four Whores of the Endtimes  

Four Whores of the End-times from “Small Things Shining Bright”

And now for something completely different...

The birth (hatching? Spell?) of this one was a conversation in a truck with Roy Hickling, a singer-songwriter friend of mine after a BadAss session. He had written and performed a song – I forget the theme – with the phrase “a quartet of horse”.

Now there’s an apocalyptic reference for you.

Except he pronounced, or at the very least, I heard the word “horse” with the vowel extended and the ‘s’ softened…

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Foolish Gold  

Foolish Gold (from “Small Things Shining Bright”)


At times inspiration comes at 2:30 in the morning, It’s a strange time between dreams, the end of one and the beginning of another when the body is awake before the mind gets into a sleepy gear.

Which is what my body did with the words of the first line of this song:

“These dusty roads you walk on.”

I have forgotten so many things I intended to remember the following morning that a nighttime prompt like this could not go unheeded.

In other words, wake up and…

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Writing on the Wall  

Constraint is an interesting thing. “Ten-Minute Test” had the limitation of ten minutes and death.

Samuel Pepys, that irascible English diarist, wrote that the thought of one’s impending execution focuses the mind wonderfully.

So there was another session of Bad/Ass. Another constraint, though not so much a limit as a chance to explore something outside our accustomed way of writing. The exercise was to write a song outside of our familiar genre and to write in that genre about a subject not usually…

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Cookin' in the Kitchen  

I like food. I like sex. Any questions?

I wrote this on a long bus ride from where I was living out west to a music studio where I taught. White Rock to Langley is a two hour ride. Lots of time.

I was playing around with the concept of double entendres.

This was following an afternoon of, ahem, shall we say, culinary collaboration.

All sorts of things here. Some of my friends observe of my song-writing that I don’t write in double entendres.

More like single entendres.

Be that as it may.

I like the way garlic and…

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Small Things Shining Bright  

Small Things Shining Bright is the title track of my first album.

I usually write my chord progressions and fingerpicking first, and that is what happened here. A pattern in a slow three, a slow waltz, a sarabande in a suite of Baroque dances. I liked it and held it for a while.

The words were an experiment in paying attention, of noticing the textures of the morning sun, an open window, traffic noise, my partner sleeping, and the thought of coffee in the morning.

The theme of new love found in the Autumn…

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Updates! Updates! Updates! 

It’s been almost two months since my last offering here. Thank you for your patience if you were wondering, “Where the hell has he gone?”

Let me tell you. This is a story in two parts:

The first part begins with a note on my Messenger from an old friend: “I’d like to know if you’d be interested in a summer project.”

This note was sent a few days before the end of June. Summer projects are usually talked about in the early Spring or dead of Winter before. My feeling was immediate: curiosity – I hadn’t heard…

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From communion to countertop 

Maybe it’s because one of the first paying jobs I had was a dishwasher in my father’s kitchen at a business club in London, Ontario. Or maybe it was a childhood fascination with the way my mother put together the ingredients for an Indonesian rijstafel – which was not strictly Indonesian, but more of the way the Dutch East Indies settlers appropriated the table and recipes of the locals and South East Asia’s cooking in general. 

That being said, it was phenomenally good, spicy, varied, and a biweekly Sunday…

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The Jesus Rap 

Sometime in the late sixties and early seventies, a religious phenomenon occurred on the west coast of the United States that revived a charismatic Christian expression of faith and practice. It was popularly known as the “Jesus movement”. Lots of young people, long hair, tie-dye, high-waisted bell-bottom jeans, beads, and guitars. Jesus People, they were called. Musicians sprung up – Barry McGuire, Larry Norman, Keith Green, and such added a singular folk-rock styling to what was admittedly a moribund and…

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Rendezvous of fools  

This is one of my favourite tracks from my first album, Small Things Shining Bright.

Melody came first here. I was cycling on the rail path from Barrie to Orillia, humming and thinking through a different melody structure for a song. The rhythm of the pedaling helped a lot with the groove…

...and then that initial phrase, the minor sixth, da dum, popped into my head. I cycled it around, rolled with it (see what I did there?) and a melody started to form. It’s about 40km wheeling about from Barrie to Orillia…

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You'll Have my Memory  

You’ll have my memory

(TW: for those with religious sensitivities)

I had a past life, at this writing, almost seventeen years ago, as a United Church minister. I did that for twenty years. After a major mental health crisis – another story for sure – either the god I half believed in left the building or I left the household of faith and went AWOL. The result was a new direction to an unknown destination.

I had played and sung much of what folks called Christian music. Immeasurable measures of treacly but…

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