July 19th – Calgary CD Release Party!: At the Cantos Piano Museum in the National Music Centre. 7:30 For Tickets and information go to: http://gordonpaul.eventbrite.ca/#
July 5th – Kelowna House Concert: 2236 Shannon Ridge Drive. Time TBA
Video Shoot for “Fields”
I am pretty excited about being done filming of the video for the song “Fields” that began over three months ago with friend and videographer Andrew Manuel. Although the video was filmed with simplicity in mind, there were a couple of unique challenges nonetheless. The first was lighting. Andrew had a pretty clear vision for the kind of lighting he was after for this video, that being “golden hour”. Since the entire film was shot in a wheat field outside of Calgary, we had to be ready to go at a moments notice. When the weather looked promising it was a rush to get out there and work quickly to take advantage of the light. The second challenge was moving an upright grand piano back and forth to the field – twice!! Of course it was all made possible by a host of volunteers who came out to help with the lifting and set-up, so many thanks to all of you! I also want to thank the landowner, whoever you are, for letting us use your beautiful field for this shoot. It was darn near perfect!
Reviews for “Everything’s Okay”
“My initial encounter with the disc rendered a “this is not bad opinion”. But after repeated listenings, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s actually “extraordinary”. It’s the type of album that tends to grow on you rather than wear thin over time.” (Peter Fleck, CLN)
“Gordon Paul’s “Everything’s Okay,” the title track off his debut album, speaks truth to fear over a melody which will haunt you on repeat listens. A fan of dynamic range, Paul builds his song in the David Ford tradition, layering delicate strings over a soaring piano melody, giving room for the subtle grains of his voice to fill our headphones with the sounds of comfort and gently answered prayers. “Your love knows no darkness,” he sings as the strings rise, and though we’re no more clear than we were at the start that things truly are going to be alright, at least we have those magnificent surging notes to go back to in our uncertainty.” (Jonathan Sanders, Hear Hear Music!)
Perspective is an interesting ‘commodity’ in today’s world. The flood of information that continues to drown everything that has gone before it in its own wake is a variegated beast. For most youth, this is simply the world around them; they know nothing else. To the Boomers and beyond, many of whom never really learned to program a VCR, they seem to posses an aloof-like approach to the craziness; sort of happy to go along to a point, but just as happy not to. Then there is the sandwich generation. I think we are called Generation-X. In my opinion, no other group has felt the tidal power of the digital age more than us. We have lived this whole story from its inception, when the projected market for the computer was around six. When the internet was just a glimmer in Al Gore’s retina. When the floppy disk was still, well, floppy. We’ve gone from horse and buggy to being able to make a cake from your iPad.
Why do I rant about this? Because I am a musician who grew up on turntables and cassettes. Music was something tangible yet mysterious. It was valuable. It was an art form that cost you something to possess it. Purchasing a new record was an event full of pomp and circumstance. You had to hoof your arse to the local record store where some living encyclopedia with a beard and birkenstocks enlightened your mind. The music store was almost always a buzz of activity, like an orchestra tuning before a concert. Bottom line, it was just a completely different mindset, and it was fun.
Compare now to today. The contrast is nothing short of an epic paradigm shift. Don’t get me wrong, progress is progress and there are immense benefits and opportunities being enjoyed by this socio-technological shift. However, I believe there is much we should attempt to hold onto from the past. I am not saying that the record store should make a triumphant return. I am just saying that as the thread between real and virtual is threatening tangibility in our lives, maybe we should strive to remember the old and perhaps find ways to venerate some of those traditions into everyday life. When was the last time you just rang a neighbors doorbell just to chat or mailed a good friend a hand written letter? I think what makes those activities special is that it costs us something to do and it places value on the recipient. Bottom line is that it takes some effort and some time; but I think there is a reward in it. Those actions are tangible and real.
How does this all apply to music you might ask? Well, I suggest we find ways to make it special again. First and foremost, when you find an artist or a band that you just love and you intend to add such to your music devices – support the artist! Whether you have a problem with the big music companies or not is irrelevant. By not paying you have chosen to say to the artist that what they have labored intensely over is worth nothing. You are saying to them “its okay that I’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands, on MP3 players and the like but I should be able to fill them up with your art for nothing.” Nobody buys a new car and expects free gas? The second thing to do once we’ve paid for the music is………listen. “Well duh, I just bought the stupid thing, why wouldn’t I listen to it?” What I mean is really listen to it. Growing up my brother and I used to stay up late listening to my Dad’s old vinyl records. The TV wasn’t on, the lights were off, and we just sat and listened. The smell of the tubes heating up in the amplifier, the lights glowing from the stereo, the crackle of the vinyl etching its way to the start of the record. Bliss. We did this for countless hours and I consider it one of my fonder memories in life.
Friends, enjoy life. Enjoy your technology (I know I do). But set it aside sometimes. LISTEN to your music. Pay for your music. You are only helping artists when you do. Find a chair, turn off the lights and watch the stereo lights glow. Escape into the music and let it feed your soul. And as the great Bruce Cockburn once put into song “slow down fast.”
Its been an arduous few weeks of being crammed up in my little box of a studio in my basement. But alas, the work has finally paid off and I am in the final throws of finishing my first album!! I was fortunate to have put the mixing portion of the album in the very talented hands of Sheldon Zaharko, a Juno winning West Coast transplant to Alberta. Needless to say, it has been a pleasure to work with him. Not only am I loving the mixes, I loved how easy and fluid it was working with him.
To this point, I believe the album is going to be called “Everything’s Okay” since it is a collection of songs that ultimately focus on enduring life’s many challenges but that in the end, with our faith and hope rightly placed, everything will be okay. Through the many emotional roller coaster rides of my own life and those around me – both the big ups and extreme downs, I’ve come to realize how magnificent life really is.. No matter your circumstance, life is worth living.
I’ll end this post with an encouragement. One of the songs on the album is called ‘Robber’ and it is about one of the thieves who is being crucified on the cross next to Jesus. In that Robber’s moment of greatest need, likely feeling the extreme weight of immense failure and despair that his life was ending on, Jesus was able to say to him “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” God is never done with us. Whether it is the day of our birth or moments before the end, our lives are precious to God. He is always there to take what is broken and turn it into something good as he did with the Robber. And that friends, is worth singing about.
Till next time,