Why wouldn’t I sing a particular song? What’s the limit? A few years ago, with my former band, I resisted singing a song that didn’t suit my life. Frankly, it was a fun, but skanky blues tune that just seemed to offend my committed relationship status of the time. These days, I have a ton more songs and the band has added a new selection of wonderful covers to the playlist. No longer do I fret about “living” the songs I sing in a true way. Certainly, my writing is mostly current. Even if the subjects of my new lyrics are not perfectly true-to-life, the sentiments are likely to be. There’s no real limit like that anymore. (…unless you include all the great songs that I can’t sing because they’re written from an uncompromisingly male perspective. So many great songs! Alas!) So writing and performing are not even close to the same thing. Live shows are really a lot like acting! I get my costumes together, the script of my set list, and the band; the cast of characters get together with the plan. Then show time! The cues, the segues and the dynamics of the whole show are pre-planned. As shows go by, I’d know when to wink, and when to sip my drinks to maximum effect. In fact, it helps to go deeper into the showmanship potential of a tune to communicate it to the audience. I learn from the melodies and the currents of the inherent emotions about the nature of the songs, what they mean, and what they were meant to express. Sometimes it’s important to uncover and perform the dance of the rhythms of the songs too. Besides, it’s pretty awesome when the audience is dancing too! As for my own songs, I do occasionally feel a bit sentimental about singing love songs for people I don’t love anymore, or rewritten parts of songs that contain truths that I no longer believe. It’s important to me that I’m able to fully express these songs so I use my imagination and performance tools to deliver the ones that pull my heartstrings. In some cases, song will forever hit home. I’ve even experienced the relearning of lessons that I’ve written into my own songs by singing them. It’s a beautiful, shifting line in the sand between the craft of a song and its interpretation.
Recording season is upon us. LOVE recording. The band has moved out of the rehearsal room and the summer stages and into our chosen studio. Already we’ve based-out seven tunes, which is more than the original five we’d thought we’d do. And then there’s all the “studio-tour” material I’ve been doing. Most of my catalogue is down in digital in some fashion, and some of the recordings good enough to work on just as they are. Love a good take! All-in-all, we have a terrific variety of tunes. From the original five, we added another hard rock tune and a catchy song in ¾. I write in ¾ a lot, so it’s good to represent that for sure. I want to add one of the slow ballads, but not sure which one. Hmm. It’s really amazing to see the boys in the band and my technical producer get excited about the tracks. And this is just the process! Oh sweet process! I’m not even daring to think about the mixes yet. No… trying not to…! Really, though, it’s impossible to imagine the final cuts of these tunes anyway. Not only are the songs out of my hands once they’re passed on to the band, they are even a step further away when they hit the studio. Finally, the songs will transform yet again in the hands of capable mixers. The magic of the mix! A beautiful thing, and an incredible gift. Keep you posted.
Live is the best. August 10th, at Smiling Buddha, will be our last bash of the summer. So excited! We’ve got three sets lined up and ready to go, including five tunes with our guest banjo player Keary Scanlon. Let me tell ya: Banjo changes everything! The instrument seems to make the happy tunes into party-jigs, and bring a sentimental and distant quality to the sweeter songs. Very beautiful. Our last set will feature a darker side of me and my tunes. Get ready to rock out …..after midnight. For the rest of the summer, we’ll be hitting hard in the studio to have an EP for all of you next season. The tunes are ready and our plan is in action. We’re on budget, and our final mixes will be done by one of the best in the Canadian business. Can’t wait to share them with you!
There’s nothing better than a night out with friends and a great show. Make it a beautiful venue with a terrific menu and your favourite drinks, and the scene is set for a memorable evening! This week, we have just such an opportunity to host our fans, supporters and friends for a performance. The band is ready, geared up to rock out on the rock songs, and ready to break your heart on the softer, more sensitive ones. And….I think I’ve finally decided what to wear! Such a gorgeous room calls for a bit of elegance, and such fine fashion takes a bit of thought. Any time that I’ve hosted a party, I’ve enjoyed making introductions amongst my friends. Shows are so often where people meet, and memories are made. I’m looking forward to this show, as well as the next one which we will announce presently. Some of my fans will remember particular songs from previous releases and concerts. It will be fun to find out what they remember! Also, it will be really cool to know what are folks’ favourites of all the new songs, and there are a lot of them! Looking forward to a magical evening with all of you! Kayt.
R&D leads to Rock and Roll! After five months of rehearsals, we’ve begun to explore the studios in Toronto for the making of our first EP. Although we’ve selected a studio to record at, I’m also getting around, looking into other places to get my catalogue tracked for several reasons: The songs have to be laid down so that I have them recorded in their original state before others make their contributions to the arrangements, and for band members and guests to become familiar with. Speaking of guests… …who likes the banjo?! (Me, me, me, me!) Oh! The studios! It’s all so fascinating seeing what all the studios look like, sound like, and what they all have to offer in terms of services. They’re amazing. …Not to mention the legacies of all the artists who came through those rooms before us. Totally mind-blowing to think about that! So many great sound guys in T-dot, who’ve recorded those legendary albums we all love. Humbling. Performing opportunities are continuing to present themselves. I’m discovering more about how to go about getting gigs. It’s a bit of a trick to be prepared. And seein’ as tho we’ve only got a few bits of media so far, it’s all about showing our best stuff. …And don’t we look awesome! Look for a few more audio clips to appear soon. …And someday, it may all lead to a bit of R&R, but in the meantime, it’s a whole lot of work and play rolled into our rockin’ studio sessions and shows!
Man! We love to play. We’ve just posted some new videos of the band in rehearsal. We’re getting ready for a fun community gig at Reba’s Café on May 27th. What a great way to start the summer performing season! In addition to our whole Kayt-Lucas-Band-sound, each of us has our own stuff. Some are originals and some are our favorite kick-@ss covers. Should be a great time! Come out and join us. It’s been really fun preparing all of our material: The songs, the photos, the videos, the playbills, the artwork, the websites, links and uploads… …our gear, our styles, our wish-lists, our favourite instruments. What a blast! We’ll be looking forward to posting other upcoming gigs and events as they’re confirmed. Or, if you’d like to book us, we can be contacted at any of our online sites – including this one. Summer’s a time for playing outside! My last Café Novo gig was on the patio! So great to be in the shade on a beautifully sunny and fresh day. Hangin’ with my neighbours and friends. And my mocha-latte from Novo (that I just can’t live without!). I’m concerned that soon, it’ll be too hot to wear my cowboy boots to play shows! At least I can wear belt-buckles without danger to my mando. My sorry guitar-totin’ friends live in danger of belt-buckle-to-guitar contact. Such damage!
Inspiring conversation last night. It can’t be denied that musicians are facing a time in history when folks don’t want to pay for what we do. Restauranteurs are reluctant to hire bands when satellite radio is cheap, and doesn’t eat or drink. At the same time, there are more players out there, than ever before! Open mics are routinely packed and there are so many home-made tracks on the net, that a listener could never hear them all. And, of course, downloading for-free has cheapened the trade for everybody. The paradox that we discussed last night is this: Mature musicians resent playing for free. It’s not like the old days when (as Chris Coole, old-time banjo player, sings about) the $100 gig was the minimum for a musician’s take in a single evening. But for young musicians, who aren’t there yet, how do you get good without playing for free sometimes? How do you catch up with the Big Boys? (Now there seems to be a phenomenon of mature players who long for the good ol’ days, and won’t leave home for less than the top-dollar standards of old. But then those guys stay home for ten years, and that’s not what I’m talking about here.) There seems to be a shut-out in the live scene for the youngsters. They’re expected to be humble and poor, and live the starving artist life-style. And, like the paradox of trying to get one’s first credit card, the entry-level musician risks being shunned and wrist-slapped for trying to gain the necessary experience. Finally, mature musicians most definitely have the right to demand the value of their talents, because they’ve honed their skills over the course of lifetimes. That’s real value. And that’s what audiences want to hear! The other paradox of the new net-based music economy, is that the public is really no longer allowed to experience the true talent of the artists because the tools or technology can disguise mediocre musicians as decent ones. How often has an audience been dismayed at the poor live performance of a favourite recording artist? And, vice versa, how often has an audience been stunned by the exceptional skills of a band whose recordings have made them sound “small-time and accessible” through recording techniques. I think these issues may have some meet-in-the-middle solutions. Mature artists teaming up with younger ones, for example. After all, music is an oral tradition of learning and teaching down the generations. Concerning the “recording/playing live” gap, I believe that musicians have gotta make sure they’ve got the goods (ability to perform live) to back up their awesome recordings. As we joked about last night, YouTube sensations can fall as fast as they rise if there’s backlash. If a band can’t play, the public will abandon an artist quickly. So sad. Kind of a long blog today, but this stuff is important and pressing. The business of music has been on my mind a lot in the last few months. The final paradox of this entry, and perhaps the most poignant, is that most musicians never consider the biz. They just want to play! And who can blame them. But while it might not be fun, it can make a lot of people, a lot of money. And it pays to build the foundations of a good business. Cuz, after all….. without a bit of a plan, a shot in the dark is still a shot in the dark.
When I started out as an artist in my early 20s, I knew it was as much a business as any other. I'd grown up with dreams like anyone else, but I had a revelation when I was about 14. I had a dance teacher who said "The most imprtant thing in this business, is to be consistent." I was startled, not by the idea of being consistent, but by the revelation that even dancing is a business. I became motivated by that. Music is adifferent kind of business for sure, but the follow-through is the same. I just took two weeks off playing live and rehearsing to do some very profound research, and to get my legal foundations in order. Seems daunting? Not at all. In fact the more I know, the less I flounder, lost in the wonder of it all. I have lots of songs. I just have to plant the seeds and grow them. I'm the garndiner, so I've got to protect them from rabbits and aphids. Talking to other misicians is great too, because we can help each other. Hiding and holding tight doesn't promote a healthy band situation. Community does. Speaking of community... I can't wait til summer! Lots shows and my new instrument is almost ready. Oooooh, can't wait to meet her.
So my little “Stonewall” tune is like a pet project while I incubate the real studio-stuff. Fun! I’ll have another one out soon -for the pleasure of the mandolin-haters. (That’s inevitable.) I’m sincerely appreciative of the folks who’ve given me constructive criticism about the tune. Soon to add a bass line, and some beginner rhythm stuff. I also want to try doubling….separating out some of the lines so as to broaden the sound. A few folks had interesting song-writing comments about the structure not having a really clear chorus. True! It’s kinda like verses and bridges, without super-highs or lows. It may prove to become a piece of another song yet! I love that idea. Or it may make more sense as a mood piece for film or TV. Who knows? It’s still a pet project. So what can a song be for? Ooooooh. So many possibilities! Reasons for it all. Film & TV, of course, singles, album trax, videos, commercials, personal songs, orchestrations for all kinds of ensembles, mash-ups, muzak, downloads, fresh-pressed-vinyl, streams, backgrounds, foregrounds, themes, dance, plays, parties, cafes, bars, studios, theatres, arenas, stadiums, cheers, rants, poetry, cars, camp fires, environments…….. And what kind of song can a song be? Any kind at all.
Our rehearsals have been very exciting lately. Concentrating on the first fifteen songs, we've got a really nice set. It's so awesome to hear new takes on a few of the old ones. I'm getting ready to go into the studio to lay down the ghost tracks for an initial 5-song EP. Very exciting. Having done lots of studio work before, preparing with the band is a pleasure! Bill holds me responsible for my arrangements, pointing out all the little nuances that I don't even know I'm playing. I really appreciate that he's listening and making me aware of these things. I write out the charts, but I miss the little things because they're unconscious! The boys have joked that making decisions about the little things is how they keep their marriages together! I love this. Roy teaches me about the emotions of the songs. He experiments alot, with lead lines that are complimentary to the vocals. Sometimes, he plays notes that just tear me apart. My own words get stuck in my throat, and tears threaten. Listening to him is like hearing the songs for the first time all over again. Michael's percussion is like a revelation with every song. I don't usually write with rhythms in mind, so the interpretation of beats and textures is fascinating for me. I know Michael from my former dance carreer, as he plays for classes, and I'm used to listening to him. I trust that I can meet his rhythms with whatever I'm playing and just know that he's got it. For the first time (in two bands and several recording processes) I've got the legal stuff prepared, so the project is going to live past any conflicts. I've learned this the hard way, how important it is to protect the work. Now I know that with so many contributors to any musical endeavor, I'm the writer at first, then I'm the nurturer and bodyguard to the songs and the products they inhabit. Oh, what a buisiness! On to the studio.