A New Chapter- Goodbye Vancouver 

Ari and I have been in Vancouver for 2 years now and it has been such an amazing time.  We've played countless shows with loads of local bands, busked at the farmers markets, hiked many a trail, biked around the seawall, visited the beaches, toured with friends, learned some swing dancing, seen so much of this province and in the meantime we learned so much more about who we are, want we want and how to do it.  We have an exorbitant amount of memories of this beautiful city and the people that live in it, which is why it is so sad to be leaving.  

In case you haven't heard yet we are relocating to Salmon Arm, quite possibly for the foreseeable future. It's the place you drove through between Kamloops and Revelstoke on the #1 Highway.  It's such a lovely town with a big appreciation for Roots and Blues music.  It's in a good position for us to tour to Calgary and Vancouver and it also has a mighty fine pie shop.  Moving to the country is something we've both been thinking about for quite sometime. I know I've been talking about having fruit trees and a garden by a creek for many many years now, not knowing if my chance would come.  But it has!  Soon we will be "setting up shop" in a new town, with new friends to make, old friends to invite over, and many new memories to create.  

It's exciting to think of the possibilities.  It's fun to think about the quiet that you can not get in the city.  The darkness.  The stars.  The trees.  The bears and bees.  Honey!!  I'm so excited for people to visit.  

We plan to come back to Vancouver as much as we can.  We will miss it so much.  Thank you to all of you, you know who you are.  (If you're reading this than you're definitely one of them)


Basketball and Music 

Basketball was my first love.  I was always about a foot taller than most growing up, so I could beat anyone one on one in my class.  Except maybe Norman...  nah, I could even beat Norman.  I was always coming up with different dribbling techniques, like the snake dribble, or the ol' up-high-over-the-shoulder-behind-the-back (I'd have to show you that to do it justice, it's a dynamite move), all sorts of spinoramas and what-have-you.  When it came down to playing with the team though I wasn't very good.  Court vision sucked, I couldn't box people out for the rebound, and my post-up moves were sub-par for a tall guy.  So I didn't really contribute too much to the overall good of the team... except we did win the championships in grade 9...  anyways, movin' on, I think I kind of have a point here...

Playing guitar or any instrument is very similar, it's easy to get all caught up in the flashy and new, but if you don't practice fundamentals, you're not gonna win the game.  (obligatory- we talkin' bout practice)  Gotta work on your timing, gotta work on rhythm... use a metronome, I'm finally starting to use one more and more after however many years of playing.  Jam with people as much as you can, but don't just wank on solos, it ain't about showing off, it's about complementing each other's music.  Listen.  You can always learn from others, no matter what the skill level.  The more you learn, the more there is to learn.  Seems when you start learning how to play music, you realize that you can't hit certain notes at certain times, but then as you keep learning, those rules and barriers topple over, and then you can seemingly hit any note at almost any time.  Gypsy Jazz is a good example of what I'm trying to get at.  Fundamentals first, then break the rules.

Basketball was my first love.  Still love it, though I don't play as much.  The thing I love about it is that you're in the moment and relying on your teammates.  Sure, you're thinking a few steps ahead, but it's all concentrating on the game.  All other thoughts are left behind.  Lessons I learned on the basketball court can be applied to music or any aspect of life-  Work on your overall court vision, and your meat-and-potatoes fundamentals.  It ain't all about you, we're in this together.  

Alright, that's it.  Started out just writing randomly, but turned out to be an advice column I guess.

You Won't Find Me... 

Jasmin's first post.

Tonight, after watching a video of Justin Trudeau talking about being a feminist I decided to put on my headphones and listen to Amelia Curran, one of my favourite female Canadian songwriters and my heart felt compelled to write a blog post about something important to me.  Women!!  

In 2011 I found my self at a cob building workshop put on by the MudGirls on Denman Island, off the coast of Vancouver Island.  The idea behind these workshops had a lot to do with women empowerment.  The price for the workshop covered the costs of the (amazing) food and our labour was used in exchange for the learning experience and new skills we were gaining, plus child care was provided by the group as well (we all took turns watching the kids).  Cob, for those that have no idea, is basically just clay, sand, straw, water and elbow grease.  We were a group of about 20 or so (mostly women) building a quaint house for a single mother on a magical piece of co-operatiive land, surrounded by forest and salal bushes, with deer wandering around unafraid and children running and playing constantly.  

It was a turning point in my life, being around so many strong, brave women.  I realized that, though it may be scary and uncomfortable at first to go against the grain, you never know who you may be inspiring to do so as well.  So it became less about how uncomfortable and scary I felt about being my true self and more about how my confidence can affect others positively.  Though I still battle with confidence issues and always will I try my best to put on a brave face and go after what I want.  This to me is one part of how women can help others be empowered.  The other way is to be supportive of others.  Believe in your friends!!!  

This is a very emotional topic for me.  In fact I had a moment where I felt like it was totally cocky to say that I want to empower women but I know that is a silly emotion.  Because I do.  We do have extra challenges and are more prone to confidence issues, clearly.  Therefore, I will always have underlying goals in music to try to empower myself and others to take their lives into their hands, to stand up, speak out, BE CONFIDENT.  

Women like Amelia Curran, Sarah Harmer, Ruth Moody and all the countless songwriters that I personally know, you are giving others a gift!!  I thank you.  It is very much appreciated.


You've got to walk... 

Hey.  Ari here.
First post on this new website.  I'm dedicating it to my favourite artist of all time, Mississippi John Hurt.  When I first heard John Hurt's gentle voice and finger style, that was a moment that changed my life, as I know happens to a lot of folks when they first hear him.  I play and sing a John Hurt song or two almost every day when I'm busking or playing shows with Jasmin, so I don't always listen to him these days, but I have him on right now- Lonesome Valley on Pete Seeger's rainbow quest.  It still hits me in the heart, and my eyes have welled up with tears.  

Call me sentimental or whatever, it don't matter, I'll be listenin' to and playing his songs for the rest of my life.  Every once in awhile, somebody will come up while I'm playin' a song of his, and comments that they are glad some younger folks are still playin' his songs.  And I can see it in their eyes that they are touched deep down in their hearts, and my eyes might well up and I get that  tingling sensation in my head and neck.  That's about the best feeling that I get from playing music, the feeling of keeping a tradition alive, the feeling of connecting with a stranger on a deeper level.  That right there is what it's all about.

Some guy on youtube had a nice comment on when you first hear John Hurt-  "Its like sitting in plastic furniture your whole life then finding wood."  I like that.  Below is "Since I Laid my Burden Down."  Can't say I have a favourite song of his.  This just what was playin'.  I like the photos on this one.  If you read this, maybe post a MJH song or one of your favourite old blues/country/folk artists here!  I always love to chat about old blues :).