My Summer is shaping up nicely - i am heading out to the West Coast to play some shows in Vancouver and on a few of the islands with Vancouver Island native John Gogo in July. it will be so nice to be on the coast in the Summer and to visit old friends and make myself better acquainted with John and his music. all of our dates are almost finalized and we will get all the details out to you very soon.
i am also well into a new recording project that i will complete and release in 3 stages between this June and September. this will be the first recording project that i will complete in Edmonton and i am very excited about the collaborations with this city's Arts community that i have lined up for it. the project is called "Fisherman, Farmer, Fool" - each word in the title represents a 3 or 4 song cycle that will each be released separately as electronic EPs as it is produced.
all the parts of "Fisherman, Farmer, Fool" will be recorded and mixed by Scott Franchuk at Edmonton's Riverdale Recorders with an eye ion bringing them all together as a long play vinyl release. Scott was one of the first people i met from the Edmonton music community - i knew him through local Canadian heroes Old Reliable who i had met while i was living in Vancouver and we have got to know each other pretty well in the years since but have yet to record much together. i have always admired his work and the way he goes about it - he is a weathered and measured presence in his studio and i am looking forward to his direction.
another collaborator that i have been looking forward to working with is local Composer and Cellist Christine Hanson. who will bookend the sessions by performing, producing, and arranging the "Fisherman" and "Fool" cycles. though i have known her work for some time and we even share a common history of having lived in Edmonton then Glasgow and then back in Edmonton again, we have only recently started to work together in preparation for this project. so far this collaboration has been very exciting for me. Christine is a very skillful composer and arranger - her expert ear and disciplined approach to music theory has really challenged the way that i write and perform. i am more than a bit of an old fart, stuck in my ways, and it has been very inspiring and rewarding to be shook from the patterns and habits of a lifetime. i am sure that you immediately hear the impact of Christine's direction as soon as you hear what we have worked up together, .A further benefit of working with Christine is that she will be bringing in musicians from the wider community who i have not previously had the opportunity to work with.
Speaking of musicians i have previously worked with, i will also be bringing the members of Ayla Brook and the Sound Men to record some soon-to-be C&W classics for the middle cycle, "Farmer". several years ago, while living and performing in Edmonton, i had a group of musicians working with me called The New Lougans - you can hear some of the work we did together on my site here . after i moved to Scotland this group stayed together and began performing Ayla's songs, i am really looking forward to reconnecting with this talented group of musicians in the studio this Summer.
OK - i'm off preparing for this stuff - i will be updating my progress as it occurs.
My trip was all i planned it to be and then some, despite the terrible weather i seemed to drag around with me, but i wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without a ton of support:
1. from the Canada Council for the Arts who surprised me mid-trip with some funding for my time in Nashville;
2. from Linda and James for sharing their home with me and making sure i got the most out of being in Nashville; especially to Linda who has been a mentor to me since we met in Vancouver all those years ago. If anyone has ever had the misfortune of trying to co-write with me or has attempted to give me advice on my writing, you will know how significant the following praise is: Linda’s writing workshop produced some truly revelatory moments for me. We set and followed a clear agenda that had us working on some material that I have not recorded yet and then discussing and working on some new ideas, approaches, and directions. Everything that we touched on, either through informal discussions or concrete exercises, had some constructive outcomes and i left the sessions changed and confident. I can’t recommend Linda’s home workshop too highly: https://www.lindamcrae.com/nashville-home-workshops
3. from all the friends who put me up (up with me) throughout my travels, who helped set up shows, and who shared a stage with me:
while in Toronto i was also lucky to perform an opening set with support on guitar from David DeLeary for Jack Marks and the Lost Wages the Cameron House - thanks to all for a lovely evening:
I then travelled for my first (FINALLY) ever visit to Nova Scotia. The rugged and beautiful landscapes i passed through and the support of the people who welcomed music as a cultural rather than a commercial entity, constantly reminded on Scotland. I was very lucky to play some Songwriter in the Round shows throughout Nova Scotia with the brilliant company of Kim Barlow and Robyn Carrigan - i had the best seat in the house at all the shows we played - thanks to Erin and Matthew at the Church Brewing Company in Wolfville, to the folks in Shelburne , Sydney, and Seaforth for putting together lovely shows.for us:
I then went for a visit to NYC where i walked for hours up and down 5th and 7th Avenues taking in as many treasures as possible - Art, Central Park, Shows, Restaurants, Bars, Hustlers, Lights, Towers, People, People, People, Car Horns...everything i imagined NYC to be - special mention goes to the Neue Galleria https://www.neuegalerie.org/ for surprising me with some of my all-time favourite portraits by Dix, Kokoshka, Gerstl, Kollwitz, Schiele, Nussbaum, and others - i was overwhelmed at times.
Then came the final leg of my journey - i already spoke to the time i had at Linda’s place but i also got to see a fair bit of Nashville - the absolute glut of music on Broadway, the Country Music Hall of Fame, so many guitars, great shows at The Station, The Nashville Palace, and 3rd and Lindsley, and some fantastic southern food. I was lucky to tag along for a short trip around Tennessee with Crossing the Caney, a new group that Linda performs with that includes some really talented folks who can boast close associations with musicians i have long admired like John Hartford, Chet Atkins, Vassar Clements, and Hoyt Axton. Thanks to Kris and Dale Ballinger and Mark Howard for inviting me along for the beautiful little drive through southeastern Tennessee, i never imagined how gorgeous the state of Tennessee is and how welcoming its people would be.
Now it’s time to let the real world settle in again - i’ve got some big plans brewing - stay tuned - check out Linda's workshop page and drop her a line - you won't regret it.
Got a pretty nice poster done by Travis Salty for my upcoming tour
John Guliak is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has been performing original material for over 40 years. John's music contrasts the isolation of his prairie upbringing with his later experiences in the urban landscapes of Glasgow, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto.
The songs that result from this perspective have been compared to those of other uniquely Canadian voices such as Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen. His whiskey and cigarettes baritone, described in Nerve Magazine as, "one of those character voices that should almost be trademarked," places him in the company of such singers as Merle Haggard, The Handsome Family's Brent Sparks and Rufus Wainwright.
In 2004, he released 7 Stories and 13 Songs, the second CD for Mint Records that follows his 2002 début, The Black Monk. In 2016 he self-released Fluke or Flounder which was produced by Paul Rigby. You can read reviews of all these recordings by going to the Press page.
John's live shows have been applauded for their honesty and intensity whether he performs solo or with his band Prairie Flounder that at any time will likely include some of your favourite local artists.
In 2015 and 2016 he attended the Musician in Residence Program at The Banff Arts Centre and also attended a 3 week residency at Rest For the Wicked in Brussels, Belgium in 2018.
February/March - Shows in Toronto/Nova Scotia/PEI - Residency in Nashville
I am very excited to announce a little trip out east and then down south which includes a show in Toronto at The Burdock with Jack Marks, a trip to Nova Scotia and PEI with shows with Kim Barlow and Robyn Carrigan. I am then headed into the US for a little sight-seeing in NYC and then for a 10 day stay at my old friend Linda McRae's home in Nashville where I will work on some new and emerging material. My buddy bobby yiannakoulias did this great little animation for me.
Sorry you haven't heard from me in awhile - i've been working on some exciting projects and all shall soon be revealed. In the meantime please enjoy this video of myself and Jason Kodie (KODIAK) performing the song Dust from 2016's Fluke or Flounder. BIG THANKS to the multi-amicable Daryl Payne who wore all of the hats making this video for his home project: Feature Wall
Spring Tour is booked! Dates in Alberta and BC are confirmed for May 2018 for the 'In the Round and All Together' tour featuring myself, Jason Kodie, and Jody Shenkarek. Thanks to all the bookers and friends of bookers who helped me put this all together - your support and patience are really appreciated!
I am kicking off the new year in style earning a designation of "municipal treasure" by The Edmonton Journal's Fish Griwkowsky in his year-end review of live music.
January 11 - February 17 I will taking a little trip that has me playing shows in Amsterdam, Glasgow, and Brussels as part of an Artist Residency that I will be attending at Rest For The Wicked in Brussels - details to follow
THESE JUST IN AND RIGHT ON TIME FOR XMAS
John Guliak, Kim Barlow, and Robyn Carrigan