Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Six years/Six pack: Shawn Clarke

MFS has turned six! My introductory thoughts on this landmark can be found here, but long story short: I asked some folks to pick some of their favourites to help me celebrate.

Today's list is from Shawn Clarke, who I think I first met after he played beside a campfire in Dufferin Grove Park back at a Static Zine launch party. I mention that in part because that's the level of real-world, specific detail that you'll find in his songs, lifting them above generic singer-songwriter sentiments. There's also a craftsman's attention to musical detail on his recent sophomore album William that proves (as the list below indicates) he has more on his mind than just pleasantly-strummed guitars.

Timber Timbre - Trouble Comes Knockin'

I played on this! And I didn't realize that there was a recording. Now when I tell people I played saxophone with Timber Timbre I can say "Check it out! I have audio proof!". This show was something else. Taylor Kirk is able to captivate an audience in ways I could only dream of. I'd spend most of these shows with a huge grin on my face, like "I can't believe I'm here". Oh another fun thing, Joe posted this on my birthday!

Olenka Krakus - Flash in the Pan

I'm not on this. I played with Olenka frequently around this time, but for some reason I didn't make this gig. I played one show with the hybrid Autumn Lovers/Wilderness of Manitoba band at the Garrison, and it was a wonderful experience. This is really lovely, and more people should listen to Olenka, who I feel is one of the finest songwriters this country has.

Colin Stetson - Judges

I've never had the chance to see him live, but the music of Colin Stetson really gets me excited. Never happy just playing the notes, Stetson explores the endless sonic possibilities that can be found in, on or around the bass and baritone saxophone.

Jennifer Castle - How or Why + Make a Man

Pink City was my favourite album released in 2014. Poignant, concise songwriting. It was really the most... for lack of a better word... "Adult" record I heard all year. "How and Why" is a great example of her talent as a songwriter. Here it's coupled with "Make a Man", a song I wasn't all that familiar with before, but really enjoyed.

The Weather Station - Seemed True

I initially checked this one because I thought "Oh could this be an unreleased Weather Station song?!". And I guess when Joe recorded it, it was. It's actually a tune called "Seemed True", it can be found on her lovely EP What Am I Going to Do With Everything I Know. But, wow, what a beautiful singer/songwriter/guitarist Tamara Lindeman is. She breaks my heart. Every. Time.

Tim Hecker - [excerpt]

This is something. I feel like Hecker is one of the most important musicians working in Canada today. I don't have a lot of objective reasoning to back that statement up, I just sort of feel it. Picking one of his tunes was tough, Virgins was my late introduction to his work, so "Prism" would have been a good choice... but I've been listening to Ravendeath a lot lately, so there's that... ultimately, I went with these "Excerpts from a live music score", because it really captures what makes Mechanical Forest Sound special. Joe was able to capture something here that you can't find anywhere else.

You can always click on the tags below to look for more stuff from these artists. Has there been a half-dozen songs posted here that made an impact on you? If you'd like to get in on the action and make a list, feel free to send me an email:

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