Sunday, December 8, 2013

Prelude to Vangelis

I love my bandmates.

I love banter.

There are some who'd say, about rock 'n' roll shows, "More rock, less talk!".  I once had a wonderful station manager at a community radio station I dj'd at who proclaimed that notion loudly and proudly many times over the years, both to those on stage and on the air.  Thankfully it was not directed my way very often!  There are others who would argue that more talk - but not necessarily less rock - is one key difference between a wonderfully entertaining show and a pretty average one.  Some artists go so far as to script their banter, while others use the spur of the moment to put the hitch in their giddy-up.  Occasionally even an album is given the 'banter/intro' treatment to interesting effect, as can be heard on Lee Hazlewood's Requiem for an Almost Lady, wherein each song begins with some sort of babble before the goods hit you in the heart.  If you enjoy this sort of thing, one extreme example from the live setting can be found on Tom Waits' third live album, Glitter and Doom, wherein the second disc is comprised entirely of his banter, taken out of context from before and/or after specific songs, stitched together as one looooooooong track.  It kills parties and makes friends, all at the same time! 

But I digress.  In the context of The Lonesome Weekends, often the parameters of the gig, and the styles of our fearless frontmen, leave me wanting more.  Banter, that is.  Does the audience feel the same?  I can only guess.

If I do hazard a guess, and I'm even 50% accurate, that means that some folks, indeed, are on my page.  To them, I'd like to offer a little bonus supplement to our final show of the year, and first since July (!?!?), this coming Friday at Vangelis in Saskatoon.   

I can only hope - as a member of the band who needs to know the order of tunes being played - that what follows is an accurate setlist, and that my bandmates won't cry foul at all our mystery being hijacked for the sake of a little old blog post.  I do this, however, with the knowledge that there likely won't be a lot of babble before most of these tunes, and that if I had complete and total power over a microphone and/or my musical colleagues, I'd totally bum rush the show with the banter gold you can read below.  Feel free to peruse it, via any technological format, during the show, to get, perhaps, a more nuanced experience of the gig.

Or just fuck it and rock with us, and be glad I only play keyboards!

(Note: all banter to be heard in a loud, slightly boozy, "Helloooooooo Cleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeveland" mid 70s rocker voice for optimal effect.)

Buckskins: Here's the first song we ever jammed, the first song we recorded, the first song on our first record, and the first song you can dance to tonight.....apologies to the opening act!

The Right Thing: Listen carefully, follow this advice, and remember that crushin' cans is plenty fun but way easier when the cans are empty.

Beard: Hellooooooooo Jesus freaks!!!!

Dream: I don't know about you, but some of my best dreams only last a couple of minutes.  Here's one of them.

Gov't Street: Our second record begins with this song, and if you'd like proof, please, go to the merch table right now and find out!

Crooked Line: This is the song Johnny Cash would've written if he'd had more balls and been honest with himself about his habits, about how hard it is trying to walk straight down any sort of line, especially if it happens to be crooked.  I walk the line.....indeed!

(Don't Let That) Bottle Suck You In: Drink up.  Hey is it last call yet?  Where are our shots???

White Lightnin': Mighty, mighty pleasin', pappy's corn squeezin'.  Nuff said.

Crashin':  Ok, for all you lovers in the audience that are cranky with your dates because the freakin' band just won't play anything you can slow dance to, this one's for you. 

Baby: Anyone for a two-step?  Or a line dance?  Anyone??

Pretending: So far this song is unreleased, but we're hoping that David Lynch can take some time off from meditating and cooking cool quinoa recipes to use at least 30 seconds of it for the violent sexy parts of his next movie.......and here we go.....

Chickenshit: This one helped our second record get an 'explicit' designation on - right up there with Wu Tang Clan, muthaf*&^%#$ !!!


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Final Gig 2013


The Lonesome Weekends
Friday, December 13th, 2013
Vangelis, Saskatoon, SK

The Slim City Pickers


The Sea Hags


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gleanings From Ness Creek and Bengough

First off, as a Rider fan, yay for 5 - 0!!

But on a more serious note......

Festivals are fun, awesome, exhausting, invigorating, and, ultimately, if you are lucky enough to be on the stage, fulfilling, scary and awesome (where's the thesaurus when you need it?)  There has been plenty to digest since we played the Ness Creek and Gateway music festivals last month, and it feels like the right thing to do to share some of the joy, none of the pain, and especially none of the NSFC (Not Safe For Children) aspects of our times.  So, without further ado, let us start with:

Steve Earle.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, there might be too much keypad attention towards this guy on the blog of late (he'll never beat Dylan on that front  - right Sleights? - so whatevs), but on so many levels Mr. Earle delivered the goods.  He played a killer set (did Tyler actually request "Copperhead Road"?  He won't let on...) that covered much of his new record, with stops along close to two-thirds of his 15 studio albums.  Sleights, Dev, members of the Pile o' Bones band, Etienne of The Lazy MKs, along with many, many other Saskatchewan musicians there to perform could be seen bug-eyed and giddy throughout the set, and I was easily as floored by that as I was by Earle's genuine enjoyment of playing that Friday night.  Add to that a meet-and-greet after the show that had one fan sobbing with joy at meeting the man (no, I held it together, thanks to my baby and my lady), and I still don't think I've come down!

Kory Istace.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe you don't tune into this blog to read about other local musicians, but let me explain.  First, his set that ended all music at Gateway Saturday night was pretty freakin' great, the drunks still awake were stoked, and his orange shirt with vest and bowtie made him easily tie, if not outright beat, Prpich for the best dressed man award that evening.  Hey, some men just understand show clothes!  This man also understands enthusiasm.  The week prior at Ness Creek he relayed a story to me of how he missed out on seeing Steve Earle due to family obligations earlier in his life, and how his fandom since he was a wee lad had never yet been satiated.  I had never seen anyone so eager to see another artist, let alone have the chance to actually meet him.  That indeed came to pass, and Korey hilariously and graciously relayed that story to me.  It showcased both his humility and, possibly, his silliness, in that his side of the conversation he had with his idol included (I think) no four letter words (!!!), yet did have an overabundance of one three letter word - sir - a word which he bestows on no one, unless he is in serious, serious trouble!  To me, something was completed in the man because of that experience, and judging by the manner in which he told the story, I do not think Mr. Istace would disagree.  Aaaah, festivals......

Playing on festival stages.  Yeah, yeah, yeah (does that ever get old?), who wants to hear about a band member stroking his own band's ego?  Anyways, Ness Creek later on a Thursday evening, and Bengough earlier on a Saturday, couldn't have been both so similar yet so different.  In the former camp: incredibly receptive audiences.  There were some folks engaging in a bit of "foreplay" during our set (Ness), there was my family singing and dancing along and causing me to miss a chord or two (Gateway), and at both places there were just the nicest and most helpful sound/stage crews in recent memory!  In the latter camp, I really feel that a certain percentage of what we do works better when the lights are low, there is no sun, and people perhaps have imbimbed at least to a percentage of what the band has.  At Ness, this was no problem, but at Gateway, well, it is hard to get into a moody, drunkin' rockin' groove just after supper, but thanks to the people who tried!  We did!!

All of our friends, family, and other musicians that did not play music either weekend, but were there because we were, and took everything to another level: Marsh's entire family at Gateway (his bro Pipes met the next level and was on crutches b/c of it!), a large contingent of folks swayed by Prpich to come down and keep it real (Pamps, Kale, German Karl, helllloooooooo!), Mr. Wilson and Mr. King from Saskatoon representing the old guard, true, strong and free, Jim and Kirsten, and everyone else I am too foggy to remember!

Mike and Amber at Gateway, and Deborah at Ness: Thanks, thanks, thanks (three thanks, ah ah aaaah!).  Hospitality, accomodation, sorting sh*# out, all top shelf, all on a level that is encouraging for anyone involved in these festivals for the years to come!

Here's a new tune that we didn't play at either festival; the shot is static, but the perks involve intimacy not normally had in a performance (plus you can steal all of Ty's tricks if you pay close enough attention!).



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Riders or Bengough, Saturday, July 27

Out of all the members of the band, I care the most about the Roughriders.  If you are a fan of anything, success is fun, intoxicating and might become expected.  The last few years has seen success that leads to definite expecations, and now those expectations are being met.  The main questions are two: how hi can they get, or when do they crash?  I'd like to watch what happens this Saturday in Hamilton, as 5 - 0 sounds freakin' awesome, but watching the Gateway Festival audience watching us is going to take priority.  If any of you are debating your Saturday night options and Gateway vs the Riders is part of the equation, here is a top ten list of reasons why you should sway to the side of music vs. professional sports.

In no particular order, maybe....

10) Steve freakin' Earle - if the word legend can be used accurately with players this weekend, he is the only one that fits the bill.  Even if, somehow, by fluke, or bad strings on a guitar, he isn't stellar, he still brings his 'a' game and that is impressive for someone into his fourth (!?!?!) decade of making music.

9) You can PVR the Rider game.  Or you know someone who can.  Bring them to the show instead!

8) Workshop stages poolside: you heard me right!  Listen to workshops with a few refreshments under your belt and your belt underwater, if that pleases your sensibilities.  It'll appease many of ours to be sure....

7) Corb Lund: he seems to be the real freakin' deal, eh? Someone who seems huge, and is, but also isn't.  Killer headliner.

6) The Lazy MKs: yes, everyone on 13th Ave Records is a bit incestuous, so it would be no surprise that this blog would mention them.  But I don't really care about them - you should see them for their guests!  Hint: very few of them sing (I mean the guests).

5) 4 - 1:  still awesome.  Hamilton might be tough to beat, as I don't think the Riders can go much higher than they did against the team.  I'd like to see Fantuz play, but get three catches for 48 yards but give up at least two interceptions b/c he ran poor routes.  But I digress.....

4) Rah Rah: more incest, I know, sorry about that.  However, one of my highlights of last week's Ness Creek show was jamming with Marshall in the mess hall at 6am, after hiking all over the place and also after jamming around the fire.  He got badgered into doing "Jonquiere Tonight" and I sang with him on "Cuba Peru".  I was reminded of how awesome he is, even when he's not in The Lonesome Weekends, and I hear Rah Rah has just a bit of live performance experience.....

3)  The secret awesome vendor:  I recently heard poor reports about vendors at another festival in Saskatchewan, to which someone replied that the vendors at Gateway were second to none.  It is always just delightful to stumble upon something like holskap pie (!?? - just call it honeyberry, it's easier on the brain!) like at Ness.  What could it be this weekend?

2) "Crooked Line": new song by Devon.  It is perhaps the most intense song in our repertoire right now, and though there are rumours of recording, for the next little while we're going to be a band where you can only hear a lot of new stuff live.  With and without vanity, this song is at its apex right now.  It is kind of like what Kory Sheets is doing.  But remember, you can PVR the game!

1) Listen to the game while you get beer and/or pee: everyone has this sort of technology, that is for sure.  Just please remember if you are watching a band and listening to the game to cheer for a touchdown when the band does something awesome or finishes a song.  Or do it in the port-a-potty.  But then come let me know, even if I'm playing!

Riders 28  Ticats 18


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ness Creek, Bengough, Yippee!

It is officially festival season, and for The Lonesome Weekends this year that means Ness Creek and Gateway!  Last year we were pumped to play our first festival outside of Regina - Judy Mergel's Wood Mountain at the end of August - and while it was an awesome experience with plenty of generous hospitality, the two festivals the band'll be playing this month have got everyone very stoked.

At Gateway in Bengough, there is an incredible lineup that features Steve Earle and The Dukes along with Corb Lund and The Hurtin' Albertans, but apart from these heavies nearly every other band is from Saskatchewan, many of whom we're friends with and/or have shared stages with!  Way further north, Ness Creek features many a fine act, but I am personally most intrigued to see Crooked Creek, who I last saw 11 years ago.  A perennial favourite up there, just to know that they are still givin' 'er is inspirational on many levels.  Is it just because of the hippies?  There's only one way to find out!

The boys in the band are all over the place in terms of what they are expecting from these festivals.  If there is a consistent anything to comment on, it would have to be that Marsh is just keen to play.  With his band.  And hang out.  With his band.  Is it just that he's just happy to rock and roll on a more local scale as opposed to the international stardom that Rah Rah affords him?  Come on out and find out, but do so before the booze starts flowing, you know....well, if you are reading this, you just know!

Devon's a little bit more keen on the proceedings on offer, looking forward to checking out a lot of bands and camping in hopes of countering the hungover tent sweats when the morning sun is blazing.  Apparently this is a genuine fear of Prpich as well.  I now know that maybe I should not share a tent with him!  Thank god Pamps, Kale and German Karl will be there to hold his hand through all sorts of trial and tribulation!  Dev's also excited at seeing Mary Gauthier, as she does a killer version of Fred J. Eaglesmith's "Your Sister Cried", Tyler is pumped to see Blue King Brown (Australian Afro funk?), Sleights would enjoy sharing a stage with Shotgun Jimmy, while not a few of us are amped up to see Steve Earle.  Is it a vain hope that somewhere along the line we get to hang out with the man, share a stage, or perhaps even a cigarette?  Or is it more likely Tyler is f$&*ing going to request "Copperhead Road" and all our credibility gets shot in one drunken request?  It is unfortunate - or not, depending on your angle - that we can't share some adult pops with the man, but at the least none of us will be bringing our dog who happens to be vegetarian along, so no abuse will be incurred on that level... 

There will be more to discuss in a post post-festival, but on a personal level I could not be more thrilled about playing Ness Creek.  11 years ago I was intent on relocating to a tropical climate for a female, as cliched as that might sound.  My world got rearranged and better focused while jamming around a campfire light at Ness in July 2002, with a vibrant stranger from Regina.  After all was sung and done, I said nay to the tropics and said yea to making music on any level in Canada.  Somehow music got put to the side as the stranger and we wound up making more babies than tunes for a while, then life slowly turned a dad into a musician that became a member of a killer band that just happens to be playing Ness Creek in less than a week.  Ness Creek is full circle time for me, and I am grateful beyond words to all the musicians I've ever played with, the organizers of both festivals, my kids and my partner.  As Kurt Vonnegut once said, "Watch out for life.  It'll get you!"  And as I might add, "You should let it."

Or as Marsh might say it, "Kiss The Bottle"!  See ya'll down the road.....


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Getting To Know The Band Part Two

Well, as with Hollywoodland, this summertime season sees this blog being all about the sequels - part twos galore!

After the amazingly well-received first edition of band facts, I did my best to politely decline fan requests for shirt-sizes, birthdates and favourite types of cheese of my bandmates (ok, Dev's is gouda, hell we all love gouda, let's get that out of the way) to focus on way more important items of interest to tickle your sun-addled brain.  So, without further ado, here are more deets of the men who sell themselves and their wares as The Lonesome Weekends.

On celebrating summer

Prpich: Shovelling tons of gravel and working on my tan, simultaneously, along with pitching my new family tent.
Hat: Weeding gardens, blaring 329% more reggae than usual from the backyard boombox, and thinking of ways to explore sun and nudity and get away with it like my kids in the paddling pool.
Dev: Quitting my job and taking an early retirement, just for summer.
Ty: I get out my motorcycle for this time of year.  Of course when it gets real hot out I keep my Scandinavian ass sedentary in an attempt to not melt away.  It's a losing battle.  (Watch the melting in action at a festival show very soon - ed.)
Marsh: I'm not.
Sleights: I just bought some internet, but the internet is lame. I have been working hard, but will celebrate on my trips this summer. Marsh & I will see Dylan and Wilco in St. Paul next week.

Music currently grooving to

PrpichWhispering Bill Anderson, Nick Lowe, Bonnie Prince Billie, Dwight Yoakam.
HatDevendra Banhart Mala MalaJuana Molina Un Dia, Cesar Evoria, Big Sugar.
Dev: Sixto Rodriguez and Ratatat.
Ty: Empire of the Sun Ice on the Dune, Charles Bradley and the Menahan St Band No Time for Dreaming, The James Hunter Six Minute by Minute (seriously, I can't say enough about this record. It's as if Ray Charles and Sam Cooke got together and had a bastard English baby. I have to thank Babs for the find!)
Marsh: Tim McCashin.
Sleights: Patti Smith Easter - she's a poet, a seer, the Wanda Jackson of the 1970s

Thoughts on Thriller

Prpich: It always grosses me out, how MJ's bones are sticking out of his wrists on the album cover....disgusting!  And baby tigers?????
Hat: It makes me rethink my recent reassessment of Paul McCartney, though half of it is awesome. I used to think Sir Paul was only capable of syrupy schlock, then I got McCartney, Ram, and McCartney II. However, "The Girl is Mine" makes me violent. Perhaps those three were the exceptions to the rule? Anyways, "Beat It", really, cannot be beat. Listen to it again and shake your tail feather.
Dev: Mmmmmm, isn't that a ride at the Melfort fair?
Ty: It's alright but it's no Off the Wall.
Marsh: No comment.
Sleights: It's the Jurassic Park of records.

Cake or Pie? Why?
Prpich: Cake, cuz it's cake! And b/c most people can't make pie.
Hat: Pie, b/c it is way more sexy than cake.  Think about it.  You know I am right.
Dev: Pie, cuz I've had bad cake but never bad pie! 
Ty: Unfortunately, for me these days it's neither (gluten/carbs), so.....coconut milk ice cream!
Marsh: Chips.
Sleights: Pie, b/c it's less sweet than cake, and if I need less of anything in my life right now it is sweetness.

The best part about being a musician is.....

Prpich: Playing with Hat's wife.
Hat: Meeting a wonderful assortment of people that dig what I/we do - hey, it doesn't happen often in life, in any context - so I totally soak that in as much as possible.  Also, making a joyful noise by all means possible, but mostly electronic keyboards.  Oh, and knowing that even with lugging gear, I/we win everytime compared to anyone golfing (except par 3 of course, that's awesome).
Dev: No matter how often you tell yourself "I'm getting too old for this", you keep playing.
Ty: Most likely the sex...buth then there are those drugs too...oh and the Rock and Roll...hmmmmm.
Marsh: Drinkin' beer and makin' friends.
Sleights: Manipulating sound waves.

Alright then, satiation from band info is nearly complete!  Let's give the drummer some respect and end off with a little bit of The James Hunter Six.  See ya soon!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Jam Space Part Two

Well well well, it certainly does take a while to process a night away from home, but now that the process is done, let's have a go at the whole shebang....

The air conditioner worked just fine!  The drummer, along with the rest of the band, sweated in no disproportionate amount, or at least no one said anything about it to us, and believe me, the audience was within sweating-on distance from all members of the band!  Richard Groulx and his staff were courteous, welcoming, hospitable, and just generally all around awesome the whole evening.  Add to this a sold-out crowd and a pretty solid performance by the band and I'd say a big "yes" to playing The Jam Space again.  I'd also say a big "yes" to any band pondering a gig at Richard's place, especially if they are (rightfully) leery about playing in yet another small town in Saskatchewan.  It is not just another small town in Saskatchewan.  It is The Jam Space.  It is Lemburg.  And it should be seen as a go to place both for fans and musicians that care just a bit more than the average bear.

One thing that struck me about Lemburg's most excellent destination was how it felt just like the coolest living room ever, with couches, comfy chairs, a corner bar, and oodles of vinyl album covers.  I got to counting them, then realized that there were many things to count about our time in Lemburg and vicinity that night (possibly because I've spent too much time recently with The Count's Sesame Street CD?)  Stats certainly can be boring, but they also can paint an interesting picture all their own for those inclined to see things that way.  So, for all the fans of numbers and percentages and the like, and for fans of the band in general, I present to you:

The Lonesome Weekends, The Jam Space, and Tim's Cabin, By The Numbers

  • 73 album covers all over The Jam Space's walls
  • 55 The Lonesome Weekends stickers/beer coasters distributed
  • 50 (approximately) attentive, enthusiastic and energetic audience members
  • 50% of Fishbone's album tolerated in band van before Michael Jackson showed up
  • 37 beer drunk by band members
  • 29% of cds sold
  • 25 songs played over two sets
  • 24 sausages barbequed
  • 21 eggs scrambled
  • 20 hours spent away from home
  • 17 shots in the dark (5 in the cabin, 1 near loss of weapon b/c of same)
  • $15 spent by patrons to get in
  • 13 cigarettes smoked, herbal and otherwise
  • 4 publicly acknowledged designated drivers happy to hear the song "Ain't No Shame In Being Sober"
  • 3 packages of bacon consumed
  • 3 buns eaten by non-refined-foods-consuming drummer
  • 2 songs danced to by more than one audience member (hey hey Misty!)
  • 2 eggs consumed raw
  • 2 packages of particular periodicals purchased by roadie that ultimately were of no help in dealing with statement below
  • 1 incredibly accurate, appropriate and prescient statement uttered by roadie that should've been better heeded for the evening "I'm still pretty glad it's not a real gun"
  • 1 non-adult in attendance (hip hip hooray Laz!)
  • 1 empty beer can lobbed at a singer
  • 1 terse public warning to non-singer
  • 1 encore
  • 1 borrowed banjo
  • 1 growl at a woman's hair (by a man in the audience)
  • 0 requests for Bob Marley
  • 100% chance of doing all of it most of it all again sometime down the road apiece
Thanks again to all who came out, staff and audience members included.  Please mark July 6th on your calendar, as it will be the second of three 13th Avenue Records showcases at The Jam Space, this time featuring Brass Buttons (50% returning players 77% different roles, 92% different vibe).

Here's one outta leftfield (in the world of rock 'n' roll at least) to send you on your way.  The Count!  And Cookie Monster!  Ah hah hah!......


Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Jam Space, Saturday June 8, 2013



I note this not because I think people are not paying attention.  I note this because for us in the band, the "jam space" is not in Lemberg, and it would be pretty crazy, unfortunate, and ultimately fruitless for all concerned if people came anywhere near where we jam that evening!  Yes, as some of you know (or not - like the hippies speak about the 60s: if you can remember, you weren't really there) that space has been a scene of good rockin' nights, both rehearsal- and post-gig related, but there will be no action there that night.  Still, the similarities between the jam space and The Jam Space are numerous: there will be drinking, there will be smoking, there will be at least five people making original music, there will be off-colour jokes, on-colour jokes and very colourful jokes as well.    Shotguns - of the beer variety - have the potential to go off.  People probably will clap and someone will likely ask if some of us are in The Lazy MKs.  We'll say yes, come back at the end of August.  I'll leave it at that, as any more divulgence and I might have to consult a lawyer, so I'll say that all the action will be in Lemberg, Saskatchewan, at The Jam Space, operated and owned by Richard Groulx.

I first heard about Richard and his bold new venture when good compadre of Regina music Tim "Tico" and/or "Boom Boom" McCashin and our very own Sleights played there sometime last year.  Nice reviews by fellow performers make for easier gig-taking decisions later down the line, and I for one am incredibly stoked to play a show at this intimate venue due east of Regina.

Apart from popping my (our?) Lemberg gig playing cherry that night, one thing I am looking forward to is learning if any upgrades have been made to the place.  Not that I have reports of the place not being awesome.  On the contrary, as I've already noted.  However, in a recent poll, Mr. Groulx publicly asked what would be the most important improvement for customer experience at The Jam Space.  The options were: air conditioning, creating more space for patrons by relocating bar to former 'office' room, higher seating in the back row, or installing a projector.  One comment given in response to a vote for the a/c was about how a certain July show was the hottest they've ever had.  I personally find this an intriguing prospect as we will be playing in June, and our sister band Brass Buttons will be playing in July.  The drama starts now.  Which band can handle the heat better?  Will the crowd wither before the band does?  Who buys more beer, the band or the audience?  Is it better to stay sitting or stand and rock in such a situation (I vote for the latter).  And would anyone take back their vote for having higher seating in the back row instead of enduring the sweat of a drummer being all over them?  Ok, that only happens in our jam space, but you just never know.....

Still, there is only one way to find out how it'll all shake down.  Come on down to the jam space The Jam Space and kick off the first of a triple-header of 13th Ave Records shows over the summer in Lemberg.  You don't want to be the one hearing about it second-hand now, do you?  Tell all your friends, and if they are on the book of faces, follow the link for that as well:!/events/553350328036384/

To send us off, here's some Lee Hazlewood featuring Nina Lizell: "I may be small but I know I'm right for you.  No big cowboy can do the little things I do"

Amen, Lee.  Speaking for the hearts of The Lonesome Weekends, decades before we existed.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dylan Proves His Worth -- Yes, Even In The 80’s

Hat asked me to write something about Bob Dylan as his birthday is coming right up here. So I wrote this list, called: Dylan Proves His Worth -- Yes, Even In The 80’s. I hope you enjoy it. 
- Chris Sleightholm

A friend of mine once told he’d rather listen to bad Dylan than good anybody else, because bad Dylan is better than good anybody else. I didn’t necessarily agree with him at first – and I’m still not sure I totally agree – however, I appreciate the sentiment. Anyway, when discussing Dylan’s greatness a lot of people I know will almost always bring up Neil Young, and can’t decide which of the two is better. I myself have debated who is better many times; and there never seems to be a winner. However, I recently found a reason that makes Dylan the clear winner. Q: Who recorded better songs in their “lost” 1980’s eras? Answer: undoubtedly Mr. Dylan. Neil’s work in the 1980’s (which could be another post altogether) is scattershot at best, and haphazardly produced and performed. Most importantly Neil does not have a truly great work on any of his albums between 1983 and 1988. Anyway, the following list provides five songs/reasons why Dylan proved his greatness even during these lost years. (It should be noted here that Dylan did record a lot of serious garbage 80’s).

5. “In The Garden” from Saved (1980): Saved was Dylan’s first studio record of the 1980’s. I personally enjoy almost the entire album for a number of reasons, but more specifically, because of this song. Dylan displays a deep knowledge of musical theory in the bizarre chords he employs. His use of harmony is uncanny – in the way that the strange, haunting vocal melody interacts with the flow of the music underneath. I will be the first to admit that the lyrics leave much to be desired, but the zeal with which they are delivered match any of the vocal performances of Blonde on Blonde. The definitive version of this song is from 1986 when Dylan toured with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (who doubled as his backup band). Dylan has played this song quite consistently until 2002.

4. “Most of the Time” from Oh Mercy (1989): Maybe this one shouldn’t be on the list as Oh Mercy is considered a return to form for Dylan. It may have been a return to form, but it was not sustained (especially when viewed against Dylan’s next comeback work Time Out Of Mind, and nearly every release henceforth). I think that it is one of Dylan’s best songs because of its simplicity – the why-didn’t-anyone-think-of-that-before kind of thing. Lines like: “I don’t even notice she’s gone most of the time,” and “I can’t remember what her lips felt like on mine most of the time,” are so packed, not because of what he is saying, but because of what he is not saying. Though the narrator of this song is not thinking of her most of the time, he is still thinking of her some of the time. This idea is somehow unsettling to me as a listener, because it shows the ghosts in the narrator’s mind, without saying it outright. The ghost is there, between the lines. An excellent acoustic version of this song appears on Bootleg Series Vol. 8 (2008).

3. “I’ll Remember You” from Empire Burlesque: A beautiful epitaph to a failed relationship, which Dylan manages to pull without being overly sentimental. This song is the antithesis of his other caustic breakup songs, like “Idiot Wind," and he shows that he actually does have feelings, and is very aware of how he messed up this relationship – but still he’ll remember her. His vocal in this version is crazy intense, especially at the end of the bridge: “didn’t I, didn’t stand beside you? With the rain blowing in your hair, ahhhhhh.” This song was important enough to Dylan to be included in the 2003 film Masked and Anonymous. It is also one of the only true duets on any of his studio albums.

2. “Blind Willie McTell” from The Bootleg Series Vol.’s 1-3 (1991 – song recorded in 1983): Much has been discussed about how Dylan allowed such a near-perfect song to remain unreleased for eight years. It was originally recorded during the Infidels sessions, and not release until the first Bootleg Series (1991). This is the type of song that only Dylan could conceive and pull off. The landscape of the song is nearly tangible from the opening chords on the piano – you know Dylan is going to take you somewhere, and you want to know where it is. The cadence of the Bootleg Series version is mesmerizing. This song is a staple in Dylan’s current live set. There is not much that can be said about this song, other than if you haven’t heard it yet you ought to do yourself a huge favor and listen to it. There is also a version of this song with a full-band arrangement available on various bootlegs.

1. The entire Infidels (1983) album: This year marks the thirtieth anniversary one of Dylan’s true masterpieces. There’s too much that could be said about the greatness of this album, but I’ll just say that it is certainly in my top 5 Dylan albums. The opening lines to the album are: “Standing on the waters casting your bread/while the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing/distant ships sailing into the mist/you were born with a snake in both of your fists while a hurricane was blowing/freedom just around the corner for you/but with the truth so far off, what good will it do?” (“Jokerman”). How much better can he get? Other great lines include: “he’ll (Satan) ride down Niagara Falls in the bowel of your skull” (“Man of Peace”); “[man] worships at the altar of a stagnant pool/and when he sees his reflection he’s fulfilled” ("License To Kill"). There is too much to be said about Infidels and I don’t really want to say it; I just want to listen to it with you. Just bring a bottle of Bushmills and let’s listen to it sometime.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Approximately 72 Notions on Bob Dylan aka Birthday Wishes to/about/related to His Bobness

Well, last night at rehearsal we rocked "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", and we are officially stoked for playing The Cathedral Village Arts Fest this year (location and time to your right) on Bob Dylan's birthday!  We're on with Piper and the Coat Riders Gates of Dawn no less, and it is the 72nd birthday of His Bobness even.  So, with that spirit, we present you with 72 ways in which Bob Dylan and The Lonesome Weekends are inextricable linked.  Some might be ways in which we are so utterly in debt to the man, while others might just be fanboy geekiness.  Sure, TLW obviously will get nowhere near Dylan in a bazillion different ways, but still, somehow, for a certain number of men in the band, we do follow in his footsteps on any number of levels, and that is, to speak like Oasis' Liam Gallagher, joost fookin' grrreaaat (sans sarcasm).

Does it work to say that while Bob's been on the cover of Rolling Stone 23 times (regardless of what you think of that rag), TLW has been thrilled to be in The Leader Post AND Prairie Dog?  I think so.  Also, Bob and TLW like women, smoking, drinking, eating meat, performing, touring, and the like perhaps to the detriment of any notion of healthy living.  Bob believes in God, and TLW believe in an 88% certainty of something else out there.  Bob's a boxer, some of us have watched boxing.  Bob wears western wear, and we would like to make more money to buy better western wear.  Uum Kalthoum is Bob's favourite singer, and The Hat has a double cd of her, that he bought at Sears of all places.  The music she delivers is weird and foreign in Jim Jarmusch kinds of ways, but entrancing nonetheless.  Bob is a trance artist himself, and is not that dissimiliar to jam bands, of which local band Sun Zoom Sparx is a sort of cousin of 13th Avenue Records.  "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" was one of the first songs The Hat and his lady first jammed to, and it is the first Bob cover TLW did when it got started.  It is interesting to think of Bob writing that tune when he was just a new daddy.  Bob has six kids, TLW have five (possibly more in the future?), and on the children angle, Slow Train Coming has "Man Gave Name To All The Animals" a tune so excellent that Townes Van Zandt covered it. 

Speaking of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle said once that he'd stand in Bob Dylan's living room, on Bob Dylan's coffee table, in his cowboy boots, and say that Townes Van Zandt is a better songwriter than Dylan.  I love Steve Earle, and TLW is keen to play The Gateway Festival with him (same day would be crazy cool), but he is a chickenshit, because he neglects to mention whether or not Bob is actually in his own house when all this is happening. Even Townes probably told Steve to shut the fuck up, but, you know, drugs rule (pre-jail Steve Earle is something I want to read about, and apparently he's writing a book!)  And everyone knows Bob has enjoyed drugs.  He has stated "I think everybody's mind should be bent once in a while", and 111% of TLW (the extra 11% is Pipesmanda) are masterbenders of the mind, or at least aficionados of that notion.  "Come over here pony, I wanna climb up one time on you" is one helluva lyric, and would take cajones/cojones to sing - TLW has sung about killing and really should sing more about ponies, like Bob.  Still, we do have "Now she's pukin' in the bathtub, I'm watchin with my longjohns on"

Maybe that does not comprise 72 links between Bob and us, but that is 72 minutes of typing, and 72 minutes is a grand amount of time, the amount of time that a solid double album pushes you for its duration, kind of like Time Out of Mind does, one of Bob's finest albums ever.  However, to end this post in honour of Bob and his completion of the sixth cycle of 12 years, along with our thrill of performing in his long shadow on the same planet as him on May 24th, 2013, and to preview yet more spilled ink on Bob to come from Sleights quite soon, here's something no one else will touch for decades, if not centuries, to come, created when the man was around the same age as me.  THAT is just nuts. 



Monday, April 29, 2013

George Jones: This Possum's Gone To Heaven

Coming back from a show in Saskatoon a few months back - and prior to handheld devices taking complete control of the tunes in the band van - I got up some nerve to throw on a George Jones cd, hoping that my enthusiasm/drunkenness would allow the rest of the band to not completely dismiss him or me outright.  A couple of us already were pretty big fans, and enjoyed hearing the corny but rockin' early tunes along with the waaay too syrupy strings that added gravitas and melodrama to George's incredibly heart-rending takes on classic songs like "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "The Grand Tour".  Others, if I recall correctly, were not completely stirred from their hungover dreams.

After the roadtrip, it was my pleasure then to lend Sleights my boxed set of the man.  Although I do know that in our band's early days Marsh would sing a version of "Just One More", it had been a spell since George made an appearance in what we regularly do.  I should also mention that Dev had included "Tennessee Whiskey" as well for a while, so the man really, as I think, and type, and realize with less guessing and more clarity, did have a bit of a place in what we do/did live as a band.

Still, at a time when I was bugging people to learn some Dwight Yoakam (hey, it could've helped in, ok, maybe not), it was a great kick to find myself and the band digging into "White Lightning" and seeing it never leave the setlist so far this year.  It became even more apparent how Mr. Jones had affected my bandmates as Piper and the Gates of Dawn, of which Marsh and Sleights are part of, just recently included a version of "Why Baby Why" (I think that was the song....I was a little bit tipsy by then) in amongst their usual noisier rock and roll.

Anyways, he's dead, and that sucks.  But for The Lonesome Weekends, we'd be a way more sober band with way fewer awesome songs about drinking if it weren't for George Jones.  I know there are plenty of places one can find tributes to the man now that he's gone, but I recommend you check out the link below, from a site that typically steers clear of anything stereotypically Nashvillian.  It has an interesting angle on how he managed to mess up publicly with dignity, and if that ain't appealing and/or meaningful to you in some way, well, then you just might've stumbled onto the wrong blog.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting to Know The Band, Part One

Who doesn't love a good list that divulges everything you've ever wanted to know about the dreamboats in the band, um, of your dreams?  Tiger Beat, 16, Mojo, and Rolling Stone all understand the value of digging deeper into the wonderful, life-affirming qualities of the stars that make our world go round.  Even the most jaded music fan will admit to being safer, warmer, and perhaps even happier basking in the knowledge that Jim James, for example, spoils himself by bathing in caramel (that explains the awesome hair!) and that butterscotch encourages him to get intimate.  I know I'm a much better person going out in the world today with that under my belt - thanks Exclaim!

With that said, here's the beginning of a semi-regular feature that enables you, the curious and devoted fan, to be the first on your block to dish the dirt share the joy of the inner workings of the boys in the band, and to see that we are always, unbelievably, on the same page.

Thoughts on Tusk by Fleetwood Mac

Sleights: Overrated.
Hat:  Life w/out Tusk is like an egg without salt, or a kiss without a beard!
Prpich: In the Top 50 albums of all time, mutha#&$%*!
Dev: Never heard it.
Marsh: Not sure what it is...
Ty: Booooo Tusk!

Desert Island Disc

Sleights:  Lee Hazlewood The Very Special World of Lee Hazlewood, Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde, The Band The Band, Neil Young and Crazy Horse Zuma (4-way tie, check back another time for 4 more methinks!)
Prpich:  The Beatles White Album
Dev:  Ratatat Classics
Marsh:  Bob Dylan Time Out Of Mind
Hat:  Meat Puppets Up On The Sun, The Upsetters Super Ape (tie)
Ty:  I'll take an LP. Any LP actually, with the record pulled out. Inside I would have as much string as would fit with a knife and flint strike. In the mean time while you are all blissed out to your music starving to death, I will be slow roasting whatever exotic animal I have hunted over my nice toasty fire. And no, I will not share my food or fire with any of you no matter how much Lee Hazlewood or Bob Dylan you offer in exchange. This is a survival situation not a vacation!

On Spoiling Oneself

Sleights:  Buying records.
Hat:  Wake up, inhale, exhale, smile, repeat.  Add whiskey on occasion.  And pancakes.
Prpich:  Make more music, watch old '30s movies, Extra Old Stock.
Dev:  Salvation Army.
Marsh:  Chips n' beer.
Ty:  Premium dark roast coffee beans.

And don't forget that next week is Juno Fest, and we're on at The Artful Dodger Saturday night.  To plan other activities for the low, low price of $30 over two days, check out this handy grid for your perusal:


Thursday, March 28, 2013

JunoFest, Gateway Festival, Here We Come!

When yours truly was a lot younger, I heard of these mythical things called sweet summer jobs.  You applied for them in early spring or even late winter, but didn't actually start to do them until May or June or July.  I was a pretty lazy student, so that explains that, but now that The Lonesome Weekends are the ones looking for summer gigs, I understand the excitement of good news when the snow is still here!

While accidentally reading The Leader Post I was blindsided by the headline on page B2 in the Arts & Life section, "Earle and Lund will be heading to Bengough".  We already had confirmation of our participation in the 9th Annual Gateway Festival, July 26 - 28 (online tix:, but I did not know about that stuff!  Some of the players in the band, along with others in bands we're tight with that'll also be at Gateway were stoked about the chance to play on the same stage as Corb Lund and Steve Earle, and I feel incredibly giddy at the prospect myself.  Any chance you get to even come near your heroes is just plain awesome.  I almost interviewed Earle once upon a time, and feel grateful that while I did not get to, all others were equally denied!  Even so, playing the same stage/festival is a few notches higher on the 'fu$# yeah' scale, wouldn't you say?  After all, one of these guys is a stone-cold legend, and the other is working towards that in his own way.  If any of us get to even one-tenth of where they are at and/or have been (except jail....and seven or so divorces), that is icing on what has been a pretty sweet musical cake so far.

Bengough is still months away, however, while the Junos are just around the corner.  As a band that hasn't clarified any long term plan beyond "world domination", being included in this is something of an honour to be sure.  A colleague of a friend mentioned how so many bands felt it would be an easy thing to get into JunoFest, or that it one wouldn't need to work at it.  That man scoffed at both notions.  I can't help but agree, as being part of something like Bengough is awesome, but being part of hosting the country's awards on some level is pretty mind blowing.  Spend the 30 bucks and dig into plenty of music that, in this fashion, won't be here again any time soon.  Details at  But make sure that on Saturday, April 20th you are at The Artful Dodger to get cozy and boozy in time for our set.  We've never played there, we've never played JunoFest.  This is what it is all about.

I'll let the men I gushed about earlier have a little battle here.  Until the next one, remember that for every mile of highway, there are two miles of ditch.



Sunday, January 13, 2013

January Rockin'

Happy New Year fine feathery friends of TLW!  And a big thanks to all of you who came out to any of the shows in December.  We certainly had a blast playing Amigo's in Saskatoon with Young James, enjoying Bugsy's in Moose Jaw, and playing in perhaps our favourite local venue The German Club with Erin Passmore and Jeans Boots.  Of course, ending the year in 13th Ave Records Rendevous at The Artesian was nothing short of amazing, and a few members of the band are still getting over it!

We're off on the road a bit this month, and are heading once again to new territory.  Saskatoon has been very welcoming over the last little while, and that trend continues this month when we share a stage with Zachary Lucky at Vangelis Tavern.  He's an awesome singer/songwriter, and you might've seen him play the same night we opened for The Deep Dark Woods a few months back.  Check him out here:  It'll also be interesting to play the same place a day after our friend Belle Plaine does, and we'll be sure to keep things hoppin!

We're also heading to the deep west of Saskatchewan later in the month, as Lucky Charlie's has graciously given us a two night stand to proffer our wares.  Two night stands are always "intriguing" propositions, and one of the more "intriguing" ones we' had was in the deep east of the province at The Beef in Estevan.  Noting how different (or not) these corners of the province are in their love for drinkin', dancin', and rockin' will be a time, and should give us a few more stories and/or songs in the near future.

So head on out, embrace what Saskatchewan has to offer in the wintertime.  Watch out Swift Current, here we come!  And to get you in the road mood, here's one person's wonderfully blurry take on our time in Estevan.