Andrew James Barker: Gunslinger Part 3

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Painting teaches me how to make music. Tells me how to use space, and how simplicity is 99.99% the best choice. Visual art also opens up horizons of possibilities otherwise unthought of. i.e: what if the main subject is half out of frame, and how does that idea translate to music? A lot of things come down to the mix.. if there was an inter dimensional element to a piece of art (an excepted component of modern art) how could such an idea translate to music? The song ‘the mystery zone’ by spoon is a great example of effectively conveying such a feeling. Verses cut out mid phrase as though they have vanished like an observed electron would do. Very cool.
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I think we are on the verge of music catching up with modern abstract visual art, and I am very excited to see it come into the mainstream. Kendrick Lamar is doing it. Frank ocean is doing it. Lots of people I’ve yet to discover must be doing it. Jazz and modern classical have been doing it arguably for a while now, but the people have not yet accepted it totally. Probably because we are by design more visually developed than aurally. For me, in regards to my future as a creative person, the visual arts and music will hopefully continue to inform each other in new and exciting ways.
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In anticipation of Saturday’s launch of “Gunslinger” I’m excited to share the debut of “Ocean Salt Breeze” from the album featuring paintings and artwork by Andrew James Barker:
Be sure to join us for the launch of “Gunslinger” this Saturday Oct 21st at Gerrard Art Space:
Gunsinger poster
Gunslinger launches digitally worldwide on October 24th, 2017 on Eastside Confectionery Records and will be available on iTunes, Spotify, GooglePlay, Deezer and more!

Andrew James Barker: Gunslinger Part 2

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With painting nothing is ever ruined. Even after the ink or paint has spilled and bled all over the place, once it’s dry you can pick yourself up where you left off and make the best of it.
It’s actually in those times when the stakes are at their highest, or when you’ve already kinda failed, that you can throw the risk of failure out the window and get on with it. It’s also that tightrope of anxiety and abandon  from which the best work originates.
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Of all things to bring me back to considering making art again, the first inklings came while refurbishing pipe organ components (lots of leather pneumatics and little mechanical parts). Being in a shop gave me access to a lot of materials similar to an artists studio, and a lot of tools. Working with my hands on those components is a very craft like occupation . While in idle time waiting for something to dry (or in the case of hide glue, warm up) I’d often find myself doodling , or arranging scraps of leather into artful images… and it felt great! Then the thought would gently seep into my head ‘maybe I should make art again’?
‘We’ll see’,  I’d reply.
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Then one strange day while my friend , fellow songwriter and indie label originator Eric Brombacher (of Eastside Confectionery Records) and I were scheming about my future album releases told me he wanted me to draw or paint for my next release I was immediately thrown into a state of dumbfounded joy. The medium for getting my art out into the world had just fallen into my lap and it felt profound.
Did he know that I used to love making art? How could he?
‘I used to draw and paint a lot’ I said, thinking to myself so did everyone and their grandmother. Well, I decided, I’m going to do it! And I’m going to show that I’m just not everyone and their grandmother!
Eric believed in me, and that was just the little push I needed.

I think paintings are like steak, better under done than over done. A revelation I hope I can remember and put into practice often.

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 Join us for the launch of “Gunslinger” by Andrew James Barker on Saturday October 21st, 8:30pm at Gerrard Art Space (1475 Gerrard Street East) — Special Guests: The Bop Fi’s!

Andrew James Barker – Gunslinger: Part 1

For me making visual art has a direct connection to expression, to ‘saying something’, and rediscovering this immediate expression has reminded me (after having studied the craft of music for such a long time) the importance of expression over craft in music.
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I think I stopped making art because there were people who were better at it than me, and that made me envious, and the envy took the fun out of it. Now, I try to just make art for the joy and self growth it provides me. Of course there is a part of me that hopes people will be able to relate to my work and discover something of themselves within it.
Painting and drawing was one of the first things I did as a child that gave me self esteem, but also one of the first things I did that got me into trouble. Apparently, while attending kindergarten, I painted a picture of a naked lady. The teacher thought this was unusual and told my mom. I still don’t see what’s wrong with painting a naked women? I guess all good things in this world come with their share of controversy.
Fast forward four or five years and there I am drawing on my desk. The best one I ever did was a portrait of a ninja I did in my grade 5 portapack. I remember this habit of mine being major source of conflict between my teachers and I. Drawing was much more rewarding to me than listening to the lesson, and I had the source of pride that when the class switched over to the next period, my desks next inhabitant would enjoy the fruits of my labor.
There is a transient element to painting that this memory brings to the fore. The fact that the painting wasn’t mine anymore after it was finished, and that I had to let it go in order to fulfill its destiny. One well meaning teacher tried to get me to tape paper down to my desk and draw on that, but it just wasn’t the same… years later I discovered a similar lack of connection with prophylactics. On a technical note, I liked the way pencil shaded into the desk top in a much more malleable way than it did with paper, and I didn’t like the stark white of the paper compared to the warmer desktop finish. I was indignant that the teacher thought the cleanliness of my desk took precedence over my artistic expression and development. Why couldn’t they see how important this was? Why didn’t they know how it was one of the few things that I felt I could do that made me unique and of value? Why would a so called educator want to take that away from their student? From a child? It still boggles my mind. My parents and sister were pretty supportive, and
I would be remiss to not account the few teachers who did encourage me. There were some, but mainly it was the impressed comments and looks that my peers gave me that kept me going. That is, until I stopped.
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Later there would be discouragement from friends, looking back I think it resulted from either envy or a myopic understanding of who I was as a person… to a degree, maybe I was responsible for that by misrepresenting myself to my peers out of insecurity.
This was after I’d pretty much stopped drawing or doing anything artistic other than music, and if I made an offhand remark that I liked art and had some talent, they’d laugh and say something like ‘ya andrew, the artist, haha!’
Being sensitive, this would make me crawl even further from considering making art again.
But art wanted to come out, and it would in bursts when given a chance. All it may take was a pen and a loading dock on a summer job and I’d lose my self for an hour here and there.
Join us on Saturday October 21st at Gerrard Art Space for the launch of Gunslinger by Andrew James Barker:
Gunsinger poster

October Podcast: Andrew Barker ‘Gunslinger’ & Album Art

Good day!  We’re excited to announce and celebrate the upcoming release of ‘Gunslinger’ by Andrew James Barker!  An album, a concept and lots of great original art:  Accompanying this album is a collection of original art created by Andrew himself, and we discuss this on the podcast, along with some exciting Eastside happenings … And given the significance of the cover art created by Andrew for this album, we decided to have a discussion on album art that we’ve known, loved and been inspired by …

As always, we have a Spotify playlist featuring the albums and songs we’ve discussed on this episode:

To celebrate the launch of ‘Gunslinger’ Andrew will be publishing a series of blog posts describing the genesis and inspiration of the project.  The first blog post will launch on Thursday October 5th.

And mark your calendars!  The release party happens October 21st at Gerrard Art Space (with special guests The Bop Fi’s)!

Gunsinger poster

 

Eric Brombacher of “Eric & The Soo” featured on Campfire Chords!

I was excited to be featured on an episode of Campfire Chords, a new YouTube series produced by Todd T. Hayes that showcases singer/songwriters from Toronto and beyond and allows them to share their music and give instruction on how to play a song of their choice.  In this video I give step by step instruction on how to play “Listening To Neil” from the Small Town Dreamer album.

Stay tuned for future episodes featuring more artists from Eastside Confectionery Records!

Eastside Podcast – Ep. 009 – Welcome iSpy!

This month we welcome gypsy jazz quintet iSpy to Eastside Confectionery Records and discuss and celebrate their new EP release: “The Art of You”. The podcast finishes with an intimate performance by iSpy!

And hey if you’re digging the vibe, you can see the band “LIVE” at our next showcase on Friday September 15th at Gerrard Art Space! (See Event Details Below)

link: soundcloud.com/user-64591847/episode-009-welcome-ispy

As always we include a Spotify playlist containing all songs we’ve discussed during the show! Be sure to give it a spin!

Catch iSpy ‘Live’ on Friday Sept. 15th:

ISpy + Maggie Christl Live at GAS

We are excited to announce our next showcase event! It’s “Ladie’s Night” and we are celebrating the beautiful music of two amazing ladies that we are so proud to have in the family. Kicking things off is Margaret Christl, a seasoned and storied traditional singer who has recently also focused on writing and composing music of her own. This will be Margaret’s first Eastside event and we are so excited to share her music with you. Closing the night is the multi-talented Rebecca Everett and her outstanding gypsy jazz quintet iSpy … hot off the heels of the release of “The Art of You” this band will keep you dancing in the aisles with their vivacious styling and revival of an era gone by!

Both acts will have new music (and new CDs!) available for sale at this wonderful event! See you all there!”

iSpy & Maggie GAS 2017

 

Each month Eastside Confectionery Records artists gather to talk about music and songs and the artists create them.

Credits:
Eric Brombacher (Eric & The Soo, The Del Fi’s)
Rebecca Everett (iSpy)
Tak Arakushi (iSpy)
Dan Mock (iSpy)

Host: Eric Brombacher
Announcer: Mark Brombacher
Produced by Eric Brombacher
Theme Music: “Listening To Neil” by Eric & The Soo

Welcome Sin City Boys to Eastside!

Eastside Confectionery Records are thrilled to welcome Sin City Boys to the family, especially as they celebrate 25 years of Rock n’ Roll! Sin City Boys were formed way back in 1992 by Kevin Jollimore and Gerard Popma. Bringing together influences from Hank Williams to The Rolling Stones with dashes of Gram Parsons, David Bowie, Spirit, Deep Purple and more, Sin City Boys have been delighting audiences across Toronto for a quarter century. During this successful (and continuing) run, they’ve recorded an impressive body of work, releasing 4 great albums in the process! Here at Eastside we’ve got big plans to re-release special 25 Year editions of each of these albums, and to ensure that all of their music is eventually available for all to enjoy online! We’ll also be digging deep into the archives to unearth previously unreleased and rare recordings from the bands extensive career … stay tuned!

To celebrate this important milestone (25 years!) as well as to welcome them to Eastside, we are dedicating this month’s podcast and playlist to none other than the Sin City Boys! Listen in as lead singer Kevin Jollimore and lead guitarist Gerard Popma walk us down memory lane and share with us how this great rock n’ roll journey began…

Kevin met Gerard in 1984 when Gerard was playing in the Toronto band “The Dice” and Kevin was busking on the corner of Yonge Street and Dundas. Both had moved from small towns to the “Sin City” to pursue their rock and roll dreams.
When Kevin and Gerard put together Sin City Boys, it was as a vehicle to play original music that the two had developed over many sessions with a four track tape recorder and a couple of guitars.

After countless gigs at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern and across southern Ontario, and two successful CD releases, Kevin decided, in 2000, to refocus his musical energies, and Sin City Boys broke up. In 2003, after a chance phone call from an old fan, the guys decided to get back together, on a smaller scale, and play a one- off reunion gig. The gig went so well, they have reunited for good. The result is what we have today, the critically acclaimed, much beloved Sin City Boys, doing what they do best, for nothing other than the love of music.

And now in 2017, Sin City Boys begin their next chapter: things change, nothing stays the same, but rock n’ roll prevails! Kevin and his wife have pulled up stakes and moved back to Nova Scotia but his rock n’ roll heart still beats, and he’s busy re-establishing himself as an artist and performer in his childhood hometown. Sin City Boys live on, but now with a less frenetic pace, looking towards doing 4 ‘special event’ shows over the next year, and hoping to continue that trend as Kevin plans to make regular visits back to his beloved Toronto streets and barrooms. Gerard meanwhile has plans to sort through his massive catalog of written but un-recorded songs with an eye towards releasing an album (or two) of his own … and we here at Eastside are eager to help and be a part of that! So stay tuned! We’ve got much to share about the Sin City Boys in the coming months, and we’re working hard to get Gerard’s music out there as well! And Kevin’s always writing, and he’s got a few more tricks up his sleeve for sure, so we anticipate some more exciting news on that front as well!

So join us in saying “Congratulations!” to the Sin City Boys on 25 years of rock n’ roll!

It’s here! “The Art Of You” by iSpy

Announcing the release of “The Art Of You” a 3-song EP by gypsy jazz quintet iSpy — now available on iTunes, Spotify, AppleMusic, GooglePlay and more!

This EP is the first in a series of recordings for the Toronto based group and features 3 original gypsy-jazz songs written by Toronto based songstress Rebecca Everett and arranged and performed by her band iSpy.

Preview the album here on Spotify:

Recorded and produced in Toronto at Bluesound & Music by Russ Mackay (Iron Maiden, Gowan) and mastered by Peter Moore (Bob Dylan, Cowboy Junkies), the three song EP was recorded entirely live off the floor using mostly vintage analog equipment to capture the live, organic sounds that define the gypsy and hot-club genres of music.

This Friday July 14th 2017 iSpy will be celebrating this release with a live performance at La Rev in the Junction (2848 Dundas St W).

Kicking off the EP release performance will be Eastside’s own Andrew James Barker who will be playing songs from his album “Low Moon” and previewing music from his upcoming release “Gunslinger” (7pm) followed by two full sets of iSpy (8-10pm).

iSpy EP Release – Friday, July 14th at La Rev!

Eastside Confectionery Records is excited to announce our next musical celebration!

On Friday July 14th 2017 iSpy will be celebrating the release of their debut EP “The Art of You” with a live performance at La Rev in the Junction (2848 Dundas St W). This EP is the first in a series of recordings for the Toronto based group and features 3 original gypsy-jazz songs written by Toronto based songstress Rebecca Everett and arranged and performed by her band iSpy.

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Recorded and produced in Toronto at Bluesound & Music by Russ Mackay (Iron Maiden, Gowan) and mastered by Peter Moore (Bob Dylan, Cowboy Junkies), the three song EP was recorded entirely live off the floor using mostly vintage analog equipment to capture the live, organic sounds that define the gypsy and hot-club genres of music.

Kicking off the EP release performance will be Eastside’s own Andrew James Barker who will be playing songs from his album “Low Moon” and previewing music from his upcoming release “Gunslinger” (7pm) followed by two full sets of iSpy (8-10pm).

ECR Podcast Episode 007 – Now Streaming!

Good day! This month’s episode ‘Final Cuts’ features your host Eric Brombacher along with panelists Andrew Barker, Craig Robertson, and Jerry Leger. We get together to discuss all of the great musical things happening at Eastside Confectionery Records. Naturally we also drift and meander through various music-related (and some non-music related) topics.

In this episode we revisit the concept of song order and placement on albums, our first episode discussed ‘first cuts’ so now we go to the end of the album and check out the closers! We cap off the show with an intimate performance of “Just Let It Go” by Eric & The Soo.

And don’t forget to listen to the accompanying playlist to hear all of the great songs we discussed on the show!

Until next time!