Deep in the Pocket proliferating through the waves on CBC ("a great way to start your day!" and other great stations like CiTR, CJSW, and CKCU ("great songs"). Meanwhile, having a blast doing shows and other shed jams with my new fusion quartet, Doppeltwänger, featuring Michael Vaughan (bass), Max Ley (drums), and Adam Tryczynski (lead guitar).
The BRB @ The Rickshaw - December 1, 2016
--CD RELEASE DATE/SHOWS--
DECEMBER 1ST at the RICKSHAW THEATRE, WITH THE LIVING AND THE BALCONES:
featuring: Adam Tryczynski (guitar), Julia Pinckney (vocals), Jen Lewin (keyboards), Adam Jones (bass), Brendan Krieg (drums), Jeremy Vint (trumpet), Ellen Marple (trombone), Tim Sars (saxophones), and Benton Roark (vocals and guitar).
In light of events that have occurred since November 8, I'm copying a blog post from my composer site here:
November 2016 - Blue Notes
I grew up in the American South. Many times in the years since I’ve left, I’ve found myself in conversations with non-Americans trying to convince them that our country isn’t as racist as they assume. My argument always ran along these lines: Racism will exist anywhere where fear and insecurity exists (so pretty much everywhere in some way or another), but with the States, the problem is closer to the surface than elsewhere. The disease was systematic when our country was in its early stages, and so its symptoms, having flared up repeatedly, are more diagnosable. The problem was close to us all, and therefore in some way, one could argue, more manageable than stifled old world racism, right? A sort of “devil-you-know” mentality?
The last few years have proven this attitude shamefully wrong. With the repeated slayings of innocent black men by law-enforcement officers, with the normalization of racist rhetoric at political rallies, and now, with acts of aggression on the rise even in the few days since America elected a man whose name is too embarrassing to type, race relations appear to be at a low point in my lifetime. This kind of blatant bigotry doesn’t feel like a devil I know. Instead, it feels like an ancient beast I hoped was gone from this part of the world is all of a sudden at the helm of a circus horror-show of angry and desperate minions. Whether its my ex-pat vantage point (yes, I type these words from my home in Canada), my generally (though waveringly) optimistic outlook, or the liberal “echo-chamber” reinforced by social media and conservative-branded “elitism”, this devil has apparently been hiding in plain site, and it is one that threatens to undermine the essence of social progress.
It also challenges the pride I feel in being a Southerner. Born and raised in Atlanta, I grew up in a city that, though it had its struggles, was touted as a hopeful example of what the term “New South” could mean. The center of Southern commerce, a hub of Southern culture, a shining example of diversity in government (the last white man to hold mayoral office was in 1973)… I will generalize and say Atlantans are proud of these traits, as they are simultaneously proud of being Southern. Despite this pride, I’d often hear non-Atlantan Southerners challenge the authenticity of the term: “You’re from Atlanta? That ain’t the realSouth!” Apparently, after all the time I spent exploring the corners of my region, from cities to sandy beaches, to swamps, to farms, to the lush and deep river valleys of Appalachia, in the end, I was a city-boy, and a Democrat to boot. So, basically an elitist double whammy, and not a “real” Southerner.
Then, as if to confirm this assessment, I moved first to Ohio, then to New York, then to Canada. I’ve lived in Canada for the better part of a decade, and I’ve remarked on more than one occasion the allure and fascination many Canadians feel for the American South. To the Northerners, it represents more than just warm weather, it represents a particular way of life imbued with tradition, a connection to the land and old ways of knowledge, with folklore, a rich literary history, with hard times, with small town feuds but also neighbourly acts of kindness. It doesn’t hurt that the music to emerge from the South ever since the birth of the blues exerts an immense cultural influence over the globe, with figures of jazz, country, blues, soul, hip hop, and rock n’ roll that are now as large and pervasive as myth.
Well, I grew up there, and the South is all of those things to me too. It holds uglier things as well (e.g. the poor benighted assholes posting in black face on social media), but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the ugly parts obliterate the beautiful parts of Southern heritage. More than ever, I feel the need to assert the good aspects of where I come from, the need to know what we must all fight for now, and that attitude holds not just for the South, but for America, Canada, and the world.
On December 1st, I’ll be releasing a record that I’ve worked tirelessly on with my band for over a year, Deep in the Pocket, Still No Change. Recently, while listening back over the songs – which are an assortment of tales from various perspectives – I had a eureka moment of realizing what in many ways the record is: its an ode to the South. Well, that was before America erupted in a shitstorm of post-election vitriol and confusion, and while I have had to take renewed stock in my own work and its meaning, the assessment holds. The South, much like the whole country, is a dynamic, beautiful, colourful, and yes, at times a very fucked up place…in other words, a giant paradox.
In retrospect, I have tried to reflect all of that with songs that span the range from the ironic to the sincere, from the realistic to the absurd, from the hopeful to the dark and aimless. Some of the characters in the crazy theater of my album are backwards, while some embody the wisdom of change; some are lost souls on the road, and some believe in the power of community. Most just want to throw down and party with people they love. I hope my Southern friends will find meaning in the record, and I hope it will give my Northern compadres a sense of the complexity, richness, and enigma that exists down yonder.
To all you beautiful blue notes in what may now seem like a hopeless sea of red, this one's for you. I hope it will strike a chord.
DEEP IN THE POCKET CAMPAIGN REACHES 100% GOAL, KEEPS ON TRUCKIN'
A massive THANK YOU to all that have pitched in, we're so grateful for the support you've shown us! It's been a long journey so far, and there are still many exciting steps ahead as mixing, mastering, and design are finalized and as the release show is scheduled (details on that coming very soon).
If you still want to pre-order goods, the lines are open at PLEDGEMUSIC.COM
SUMMER SHOWS ANNOUNCED
AUGUST 18th at THE SHIP in St. John's, NL.
JUNE 23rd at the FOX CABARET in Vancouver, with JPJQ and the Jen Lewin Band.
BR and the Rollaway Allstars are hitting the stage en masse in 11-piece band format featuring the old gang and special guests. Pick up your tickets HERE. This one's going to a blast!
PLEDGEMUSIC Campaign is in full swing:
Check out the video, pre-order your copy of Deep in the Pocket HERE and get two brand new tracks - The Devil Can Row, and The Cavalry is Coming.
DEEP IN THE POCKET STILL NO CHANGE - PRE-ORDER CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED!
Deep in the Pocket, Still No Change by The Benton Roark Band. Ten original tunes, two of which are DONE and officially released as previews, making up a full LP available for pre-order via PledgeMusic.
I say a new project, though many of the Rollaway gang are on the record and the style is rooted in the y’all-ternative genre purveyed by the denizens of that fine outfit. This one is a bit more of a diversified effort though, recorded with a cast of good friends and amazing musicians from across Canada and the States and co-produced by the one-of-a-kind badass Guillermo Alberto Subauste. Check out the promo video. Visit the PledgeMusic site. And get your sneak peek tracks with any pre-order. Thanks for stopping by, and remember to keep the fort rockin!
WINTER IN TORONTO WITH THE BRB
KICKING OFF NEW ALBUM, DEEP IN THE POCKET, STILL NO CHANGE, AT REVOLUTION RECORDING
ROCKIN THE GLADSTONE HOTEL FOR THE TAPESTRY 35TH ANNIVERSARY BASH WITH PHIL ALBERT, ADAM BEER-COLACINO, KATHLEEN ALLAN, KRISTIN FUNG, DAN MORPHY, AND GUILLERMO SUBAUSTE