zondag 20 juli 2014

Mixed up

A Rocket Swing mix arrives in the mail. The first few listens are pure joy, of course. You hear the album as it is going to sound and that is really cool. But... you have to make sure that you listen to every tiny detail. You have listened to a track twice to hear exactly what the acoustic guitar played and if the EQ of that part is as you would like it. Then you realize that you have not paid attention to the hi-hat at all. So, you play it again. The album contains ten tracks, with assorted guitars, banjo, bass, drums, organ, piano, vocals and heaven knows what else. After many hours of listening you are so fed up with that music, you are happy to wash the dishes or mow the lawn. Then you listen to it once again, just to make sure you have got it right. And you think: ‘Wow!’

maandag 14 juli 2014

Heart of the matter

I cannot remember ever recording a song about a bad situation that became worse before the song was released, but it is happening right now. For The Rocket Swing album, I wrote one about the long lasting troubles in Israel/Palestine, the region where once a man brought a message of peace. I am not much of a believer, but I take that message seriously. Like the person in a demonstration against the war in Iraq who carried a sign that read: “Which word in thou shalt not kill did you not understand?” I am appalled how many people in high places with blood on their hands claim to be Christians.
I know this is supposed to be a happy blog about the making of an album, but I just had to write this. The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. And it is not and it is never too late to start.

donderdag 10 juli 2014


The time has come to think about artwork for The Rocket Swing. Once, with a photographer, I discussed a picture of me on a poster. I think it looks great but he did not agree, because I wasn’t looking into the camera. And should there be a photograph of me on the cover? Some say this will increase the sales of the album. I believe that might work for some artists, but it will not work for me. Not that I cannot be photoshopped into something pretty. I just think it is a boring idea.
Of all my favorite albums, hardly any have a picture of the artist(s) on the cover, let alone that they look into the camera. What to do? We came up with an exciting compromise. Believe it or not, The Rocket Swing will have a picture of me on the cover. And I will look into the camera. But it won’t be what you think.

donderdag 3 juli 2014

My time will come

Right now I am in a situation that is new for me. I am at home working on promotion plans for my music while, back in Canada, Dale Murray and Christina Martin are working on The Rocket Swing. On the one hand I feel incredibly privileged. Talented people are working on my music. On the other hand, I wish I was still in Nova Scotia to witness the Rocket Swing grow up. All this excitement is bottled up in me, I want to shout it out, but I have to be patient in this soccer-crazed country.
I feel like a child in a classroom. Many children have their fingers in the air like me and I have to wait for my turn. However, I notice that a lot of you are reading this blog and that sure keeps me going. And one day in the near future, you will be able to listen to what this is all about. My time will come, my time will come.

woensdag 2 juli 2014

Home is where the heart aches

Says the opening sentence of the last song on the Rocket Swing album. I am back home, doing homely things. Arriving in Canada, I was relieved that it was so easy to take my guitar with me on the plane. But you cannot get lucky every time. The plane was full on the way back. I paid CAD 98 and I checked in my guitar with a red label that said “priority” at a desk for special luggage. At Frankfurt airport I didn’t have to wait long. My guitar came rolling out of one of those mysterious portals. I had a sudden hunch to open the case and check the guitar. There it was: a 9 cm crack in the top and, when I had a better look, the case was wrenched. If I hadn’t bought one of the strongest cases in the world, the guitar would have been a goner. Fortunately, the crack can be repaired and you know what? I have hardly been depressed because how important is a crack in a guitar when you just had the lead role in a Canadian dream?