Sunday, October 29, 2006

Off my beaten path

My fortress at Yellow Door: accordion, piano, shakers, melodica, and the Yellow Door gnome.

Last night's gig with singer-songwriter-guitarist Michael Reinhart was a real pleasure. Having focused on composition so intensely the last little while, it was a nice balance to play stripped down music. What was truly revelatory was that the songs bear many of similarities to each other, but can be vastly different; it's the little variations within a more macro structure that reflect the true art of songwriting. It also marked my debut on accordion - Michael studied the instrument for eight years, and what I had been playing on melodica in rehearsal evoked faint reminders of it in Michael's ear. I asked him if I could try the accordion (a beautiful Randall), just for kicks, and it wound up meshing with the sound of the songs better than the melodica did. (No left-hand buttons were harmed in the performance of this material. I'm not that adventurous.)

We were joined on the set by two wonderful singers, Robin Gorn and Sarah Wendt. When the music is so sparse, any addition of texture and colour stands out, and these two tender voices enhanced the music perfectly. The rotating guests (and, in my case, rotating instruments) kept things interesting musically. Solo singer/songwriters (and solo instrumentalists, for that matter) can sometimes get bogged down in monotony. Sarah also sang and played French horn with opener Matt Tomlinson, who has great energy and humour in his writing. I look forward to hearing, seeing and playing with them all again.

Off to New York again tomorrow. Hopefully no ghouls will plague the train ride. On the last return trip, a nun (presumably - she was wearing a very similar habit to Mother Teresa) was removed from the train at the Canadian border, and no one was very sure why. Dr. Eddie Henderson's the special guest at the Smoke jam on Monday night, and there's all manner of events All Hallow's Eve - if I can still score a ticket, I'd like to check out the MMW/Sharon Jones bash at Hammerstein, but I may just head over to Tonic for the CMJ Cantaloupe showcase, featuring R. Luke DuBois, So Percussion, Ethel and more.

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