Touching’s Debut Album
Isolation Blues, while kinda coming out of nowhere, had been percolating beneath the surface for a long long time.
Back at the start of the COVID pandemic I had a little moment, and realized that I had a bunch of songs sitting unfinished, that were about mental health challenges, being alone, isolation … many of the things that everyone had started experiencing during the first lock-downs. At the time I, like most, thought “oh this’ll just last for a few months” – so Alasdair and I rushed out the project thinking we had a very short window of time where it might be most applicable. Here I am, sitting in my basement studio 18 months later, eyes set on the incoming 4th wave …
Alasdair Dunlop has been my left-hand man on all of these songs. He’s smart and crafty, thoughtful, and deeply talented. We’ve worked together not just on music, either. He helped produce the SpaceLand block parties I threw in 2016. And he was my production manager at Jazz Winnipeg while I was booking that festival. He pushed these songs to a better place.
Dave Quanbury played some guitar and sprinkles a few keyboard parts around. Most of the drums are by Sandy Fernandez, though Ivan Burke shows up as well. To be honest, we can’t really recall who played what for the most part, as these songs went through many many … many different versions before they ended up on the debut album Isolation Blues.
Making our debut album at Paintbox Recording
I used to co-own Paintbox Recording Studio. It’s a swell joint with a great sounding live room, and we’d hole up in there for 3 or 4 days at a time. Make a mess of the place, fill it with cables and pedals and synths and instruments and just live in the songs for a few days, till we ran out of steam.
From 2015 to 2020 I wrote over 150 songs. I’ve got demos of pretty much all of them – some quite rough, some pretty fleshed out. By the time it was all said and done, we had worked up almost 50 songs as potential debut album cuts. The songs on littleworlds come from the same batch of sessions. And the others? TBA I suppose!
Isolation Blues was really important to me, for a bunch of reasons:
It fired up the spark again. I needed something to kick me back into gear … I had been working on this massive number of demos over the past 5 years, but kept on putting off the decision to flip the switch. The switch is now flipped.
It got me thinking about video and filmmaking and soundtracks in new ways. It opened the door to becoming a filmmaker.
I made two new lifelong friends and collaborators. Ali Tataryn and Tyler Funk and I worked as a three-headed collaborative team in a way that I’d never worked before. I really cherished their openness, their willingness, and their own artistry. To take on 10 music videos made and released weekly, in the middle of a pandemic, it said a lot about the kinds of artists they are.
As we move from debut album Isolation Blues into littleworlds, and then into what comes after that, I’m excited. I really love this music. And I love my little team of co-creators. I’m excited to show you what we’re currently making, and I’m excited to see what we make on the other side of that.
I think for a long time I struggled with what kind of story I wanted to tell as an artist. Or even HOW to tell stories as an artist. But that has become a lot clearer to me in the past couple years and in many ways that has opened a really big door for me … and removed a really big mental block … and I think the future looks pretty bright.