Posing behind Hank Snow's sparkly suit, A welcome sight after a snowy walk at 5am! With the CPO's Resident Conductor, Karl Hirzer. A sign that's been a beacon for me for decades. Inside the Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Studio Matt Ohla (Calgary Folk Fest) & Deicha Carter
on display in the lobby of the NMC.
with CKUA's David Ward and the NMC's Lead
Interpreter, Nathaniel Schmidt.
(Deicha & the VuDudes, The Torchettes).
Also, cardboard Baba.
Posing behind Hank Snow's sparkly suit,
A welcome sight after a snowy walk at 5am!
With the CPO's Resident Conductor, Karl Hirzer.
A sign that's been a beacon for me for decades.
Inside the Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Studio
Matt Ohla (Calgary Folk Fest) & Deicha Carter
I knew it was going to be a crazy week.
In early February, I spent about a week working out of CKUA’s Calgary Foundation studio. It’s in the beautiful West Block of Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre- in the old King Eddy building where I’d played (and stayed) for dozens and dozens and dozens of nights! Back when I was a drummer full-time, when the King Eddy was a blues bar… and was in a, uh, less gloriously beautiful state than its current incarnation. Back when it was, hmmmm, shall we say-in a state of advanced grittiness?
Well, there was so much Calgary music I wanted to check out, I had to hop right to it!
SUNDAY: The ever-hospitable David Ward picked me up from the bus station and whisked me right off to Studio Bell- which had just thrown the West Block open to the public for the first time ever, that very day! Insanely exciting! Just touring the Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Studio… well, that was a lifelong dream come true
Then it was straight off to the Oak Tree Tavern in Kensington to meet up with Calgary’s unofficial rock’n’roll ambassador, Danny Vacon- to chat about the vibrant Calgary music scene, the great new album by the Dudes (recorded at an alpaca farm!), and enjoy the Oak Tree’s Traditional Irish Music Session… some of which found its way into our microphones!
MONDAY: Kicked things off with Stephanie Ralph from Calgary Meals on Wheels, learning all about about their delicious February-long fundraiser, the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest. Thanks to Rosso Coffee for the in-studio Orange Blossom Hot Cocoa!
Next, I hit Arts Commons for an audio art installation in the busy +15 Hallway. Thanks to artists, Barnaby Bennett and Patrick Whitten, for walking me through their mesmerizing piece, Hypnagogia (11:13).
Then I headed to Grammy Award-winning musician, Donald Ray Johnson’s house for some coffee, a plate of marshmallow cookies (!) and his thoughts on what made him move to Calgary from sunny L.A., nearly three decades ago
Then a bus, a taxi, a bit of sprinting, and another bus later, I was treated to a tour of C-Space, an absolutely mind-blowing project that finds dozens of artists, entrepreneurs, arts groups, schools- all sharing space, resources and inspiration in the historic old King Edward School site.
TUESDAY: Met up for a lunchtime pint with brilliant young singer-songwriter Mariel Buckley at one of her favourite haunts, Cold Garden Beverage Factory in Inglewood, to record a fun chat (and some authentic factory-ish noises).
And wow, then straight to Mount Royal University Conservatory’s beautiful Bella Concert Hall, home to shows by everyone from Feist to Yo-Yo Ma to P.J. Perry. So gorgeous!
WEDNESDAY: Miesha Louie of Miesha & the Spanks stopped by CKUA to hand-deliver the band’s brand-new record — and fill us in on how it was co-produced by a member of legendary British band, the Buzzcocks.
THURSDAY: Despite the Narnia-like snow and cold, I received an on-air visit from Deicha Carter (Deicha & the VuDudes, The Torchettes) and the Calgary Folk Fest’s Matt Olah (Matt rode his bike!) to help preview this month’s Block Heater music festival.
Later, I grabbed some lunch at the Blues Can with Calgary musician Tim James. Pulled pork nachos!
Then off to a tour of Studio Bell’s amazing East Block! Took a photo that made it look like I was wearing Hank Snow’s sparkly suit. Recorded the room-sized Kimball Theatre Organ in action. Crazy fun.
FRIDAY: Despite not being able to dislodge an intractably snowed-in car, the Calgary Philharmonic’ Orchestra’s Resident Conductor, 28-year-old (!) Karl Hirzer heroically made it into the studio to discuss the CPO’s Symphonic Tribute to Prince. Pretty awesome.
Then, another in-person delivery! Colton O’Reilly of YYC band I Am the Mountain stopped by to chat about the band’s soulful new album, and their wacky-cool new video.
Finally, I hosted an evening with The Northern Pikes at Studio Bell. Amazingly warm-hearted guys, a wonderfully frank discussion, and a killer live acoustic performance at a phenomenally inspiring facility. Out on a high note!
SATURDAY: Back on the bus in the morning, full of gratitude and warm Calgarian vibes. (And possibly carrying some locally-roasted coffee beans & YYC craft beer in my luggage.)