Showtime

Celebrate Christmas starts tonight. Lots of work ahead to get things ready for the first show at 7pm. So excited for downbeat.

First Snowstorm Of The Winter

Found somewhere in my Facebook feed and consistent with the first snowstorm of the season.

Sadly, this instrument lacks two strings. Must be some kind of tribute to bassists.

Sold Out

Celebrate Christmas is coming up fast. Two shows this year, one on Thursday and one on Friday.

Friday’s event is sold out. We still have a few tickets remaining for Thursday.

Wonderful show of support and the team is really looking forward to a great couple of evenings at the Isabel.

Here is our stage plot and setlist.

Time to change out the guitar strings and get ready to play.

 

 

Celebrate Christmas 2017

Celebrate Christmas is coming soon!

Tickets are moving quickly which is great to see. This is our first year running two shows and with three more weeks before the first show, it looks like we are well positioned to sell out both nights.

Thursday night orchestra:

And Friday night orchestra:

Worked through vocal rehearsals last night. Rehearsal 2 with the full team on Sunday afternoon.

This little project keeps me very busy. I love the season of Christmas and the joy and the hope of the Christmas message.

Looking forward to sharing it with all of our guests in a few weeks.

Celebrate Christmas IX/X

It is that time of year. That time when most of my spare time is focused on getting Celebrate Christmas ready to go.

We are running two shows this year, December 14 and December 15 at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Kingston, Ontario.

We used to run one show but we sold out the past two years and for this year we are going to offer two events along. We will also be honoured with a very special guest appearance by my good friend Trevor.

This will be my final run for Celebrate Christmas. The event has come a long way from when I first started it nine years ago. We hosted the event at Bay Park Baptist Church and the first year looked like this:

And now it looks like this:

Regardless of what it looks like, each year has been special in its own way. We share the joy of Christmas and the reason for the season with so many people. The music we share is our gift of Christmas to our family, friends and neighbours.

There will be certain things that I will miss in my retirement years. Celebrate Christmas will be at the top of that list.

Sound City Studios

Tom Petty passed away yesterday. Very sad news.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers recorded a number of their albums at Sound City Studios including Damn The Torpedoes, Hard Promises and Southern Accents.

Sound City was started in 1969 and became a private studio for a period between 2011 and 2016. The studio reopened earlier this year.

From their website:

Originally built as a factory for Vox amplifiers, a studio was added in 1964 to test amplifiers. After a few years the building was purchased by Tom Skeeter who partnered with Joe Gottfried in 1969 with the intent to operate a commercial recording studio: Sound City Studios was born. Despite a few high profile sessions such as Neil Young, Dr. John and James Gang, the studio struggled to stay afloat for the first few years.

Then in 1973, the studio invested in purchasing additional equipment to attract clients. But it will not be until a young couple named Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks came in to record their debut album that fortune changed.

Through a chance encounter with drummer Mick Fleetwood, the couple joined Fleetwood Mac and went on to record the start of a string of hit albums. The release of their eponymous album in 1975 made the band superstars and put Sound City firmly on the map. It also further reinforced the reputation of the studio as one of the greatest drum room in the world.

Soon the 70s saw a flood of stars finding their way to Sound City: War, Elton John, The Grateful Dead, REO Speedwagon, Santana, Foreigner, Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, Peter Frampton, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers among others.

The studio had purchased a Neve desk back in the early days, an 8028, that Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters later purchased for his own studio.

The 1970s and 80s were such an amazing time for music recording and it is wonderful to see Sound City Studios reopen its doors. So much history there.

One Fine Morning

Original release was 1971. Here is a live cut from 2017 which has Skip Prokop’s son Jamie on the drums.

Skip Prokop Passes Away

Skip Prokop spent a lot of time in my Toronto studio. We worked on a couple of projects together for his son Jamie. I had known Skip for many years, way back in the late 70s and early 80s when I was a session player. We lost touch and reconnected after many years and then started working together on Mercy Train.

Skip died yesterday. I loved the man and it really hurts to see him gone. He was strong in his faith and I know that he is home in heaven now. He lived an incredible life.

A few shots to share from the time we had together.

Skip cared deeply for his son Jamie. And Jamie is an exceptional talent. Much like his father.

This was the kit that Skip used most of the time when playing live. Skip also played Monolith drums. For many of the sessions, we used the Monolith kit. Bill Hibbs provided Skip with a lot of support. Monolith drums was co-founded by April Wine drummer Jerry Mercer and Bill Hibbs.

Skip had a rare musical talent as well as terrific production skills. He knew how to draw the very best out of a musician.

I did live sound for one of Mercy Train’s concert events and my wife, Lorraine, caught this shot of Jamie playing on stage with his dad. This was the first public performance for Mercy Train at an outdoor concert in Ontario. They were on the same card as Casting Crowns. The band was outstanding and it was really impressive to see just how amazing Skip and Jamie were as live players. Skip was in his early sixties at the time. He was still very much a monster player.

Very sad to learn of Skip’s passing. I’ll treasure the time we spent together.

Goodbye, old friend.