Handmade Guitar Showcase

Had an amazing time at the Handmade Guitar Showcase today!

Got to play an outstanding cross-over mandolin by Mario Beauregard (my friend Dave Barrett also got a chance to play the mando) and two brilliant guitars by Sheldon Schwartz. The instruments were fantastic, but equally as good was getting to spend some time the builders. Really smart, nice guys!

Probably the nicest thing though was getting to meet up with Peter Janson again and to meet Steve Davidson for the first time. Peter and Steve are on tour in the US right now and they had a day off, so they drove up from Rochester to the guitar show here in Toronto. Lots of fun listening to them play and to do some jamming with them! They’re playing in Pittsburg tomorrow night, so if you like first rate acoustic guitar music, please go and check them out!

Good To Be

"Good To Be" by Jamie BonkI’m happy to announce the release of my new single and video, Good To Be! The track features Henrik Bridger (bass), Dave Patel (drums) and Sonya Mitlewski (keyboards) and I can’t thank them enough for their great playing. There really is nothing like good players to help lift up a track.

The working title for Good To Be was A Touch Of Zaw (short for A Touch Of Zawinul). When I starting writing the track, I was trying to get a touch of the upbeat, percolating vibe that Zawinul sometimes had with Weather Report and the Zawinul Syndicate. While Good To Be really isn’t a tribute track (there certainly is a bit (or a lot!) of a Daft Punk/Nile Rodgers feel in there), I hope the tune shows my respect for the music of Joe Zawinul and puts a smile on your face!

The groovy, fast moving video for Good To Be was created by my brother, Randy and his son Khalin. I think they did an amazing job tying together video shots, photos and cinemagraphs (moving photos) into one quick paced, fun video.

Good To Be is a digital-only release and is available now at most online retailers, including iTunes.

End Of A CD Era

Just like most people, I can very comfortably put my head in the sand. While I knew this day would come — I’ve been selling out of all of my CD titles — I was putting off making a decision about what to do about it. Should I press up more CDs or not?

Other than a few short run CDs for Necessity, my last few releases have been digital only (they were only available as a download), so you would think my decision would be an easy one. But it’s not. I put a huge amount of time into the CD format. Spent time learning about printing, pressing, shipping costs and learned a few hard lessons about distributors along the way too. I’m an indie, so I’ve also done a whole bunch (read thousands and thousands and thousands…) of packing up and mailing CDs. I guess you would call that skin in the CD game.

But the reality is, pressing up thousands of CDs in the current market is not an easy decision for me to make. And short run CDs are such a hassle — they cost a lot to make and they don’t play in every CD player. To top it off, I’m finding I’m endlessly busy these days doing non-creative stuff. That has to change and part of that change is stopping selling CDs. So I’m taking my head out of the sand — it’s all digital from here on out.

Back On Your Life

I think, like many artists do, that writing can be a kind of therapy. I simply feel better after putting my feelings into a song. And this song, Back On Your Life, is a special kind of therapy for me. Last week a former student and now friend gave me a call and asked to meet with me. Hadn’t seen my friend in four or five months, but that wasn’t that odd — life happens and we all get busy. When we met up it was absolutely, painfully clear that my friend was profoundly, terminally ill. I wish I could say there was an upside to this, but there isn’t. That meeting really was a last goodbye.

I had been working on Back On Your Life for a few years now. Yes years and I could never finish it. This song isn’t really about my friend — it’s about Sonya and me and about getting older. But I will always be thankful that the meeting with my friend gave me the sense of purpose to complete the song.

This version of Back On Your Life is a demo with my very less than stellar vocals. Maybe I’ll re-record it with a “real” vocalist. Maybe not. Either way, I’m happy it’s done.

Here are the lyrics:

Verse 1

So some of our dreams were broken
Some lost, some unspoken
Don’t need to know
What the hurt surely shows
That this was all we had to give

Pre-Chorus

Look away
For a moment
Look away
And you’ll be looking

Chorus

Back on your life
Back on your life

Verse 2

Today I look at
Could have beens and should haves
With more life behind me
Than there is in front of me
But that was all I had to give

Pre-Chorus

Look away
For a moment
Look away
And you’ll be looking

Chorus

Back on your life
Back on your life

Verse 2

When the time arrives
To say goodbyes
You need know
That I loved you so
And I’ll miss you always

Pre-Chorus

Look away
For a moment
Look away
And you’ll be looking

Chorus

Back on your life
Back on your life

Chorus Out

Back on your life
Back on your life

“The First Noël” – KJAZZ Radio UK’s Highest Ranking Festive Song for Dec. 22!

A huge thanks to KJAZZ Radio UK for their continued support and for making The First Noël their highest ranking festive song! I’d also like to again thank Wendy Irvine for her outstanding vocals and Sonya Mitlewski for her beautiful keyboards… The song wouldn’t have been nearly as good without them on it!

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