Longhorns and Margaritas and Getting Lost in Texas (…Airports)

Personal matters in my family have taken me to Florida four times in the past three months. Each time I fly down I end up in a different stopover city. I’ve seen Minneapolis (…airport), Detroit (…airport), Atlanta (…airport) and today I am in Houston (…airport) for three and a half hours. Not enough time to go downtown, but is it fair to say I’ve been to Texas?

On my adventure through this gargantuan epicentre, I took the airport shuttle (a mini sky train) from my landing terminal A to my departure terminal C: a trip and a half in itself cuz this place is BIG.


Got lost and had to back track through terminal E – aka shopping mall where they have the occasional departure gate – a couple of times before I found my gate tucked into a corner of the airport, I think.

Now I am plonked down in a poofy chair overhearing a VERY disgruntled toddler informing his mother that he doesn’t want to be sitting still. At least I think that’s what he’s saying. Sounds more like “MYAH-MYAH-MYAH-MYAAAAAAAH-MYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH”.


The shops are filled with “Don’t Mess With Texas” and “Longhorn” and “Houston, We Have a Problem” memorabilia. Posters advertising margaritas (state drink?) And there is an awesome toy store dedicated almost entirely to astronaut games and gadgets and junior size gear: a plush astronaut helmet tempts me so hard. if only I had remembered to exchange more cash before coming down this time…


Oh, did I mention the giant guitar?




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7 weeks (49 poems in 49 days) – Day 7


Hello? Hello?
Anyone in?
Please call me when you have the chance
Or message me or whatever.
A little “I love you and I hope you’re okay”
Would go a long distance
To bridge you and me.
Glad it is warm where you are
Glad passion brings you heat
You are songbird who follows her song
Just like me.
Here the buds are cracking open the trees
Bare their branches, longing for breeze
I am clothed in spring
I am down to one layer
I am risking the cold
To tell you this.
So please, when you have the chance
Remember, sweet bird, call for me.

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7 weeks (49 poems in 49 days) – Day 4


Pyjama pants, cranky pot
Sneeze into my sleeve.
Little piggie eyes the blanket
Coddle me, if you please
Oh the wretched rap-rap-rapping
My aching head, one big squeeze.
Life is a baker that wields its rolling pin.
Tomorrow I’ll rise with the buttery sun.
But today I’m flat out, flaked out
Today I’m staying in.

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7 weeks (49 poems in 49 days) – Day 3


As the crooners croon
And the lovers sigh
As the stargazers moon
Under dark summer skies
Thanks for the memories
Thanks for all that
Thanks for the presence
Though at times I forget
You bring gifts to my body
We are branches that bend
We are supple and hearty
As we dance in the wind
You make light of my tinder
I am flammable when wet
My lungs are on fire
You are my cigarette
My crooners’ lips
They are streaming in song
Your telescope slips
Into absolute dawn
With skin that is milky
You are way beyond cream
And if I am lucid
Then you are the dream
And if I am music
You are the beat
If I am fire
You are the heat.

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7 weeks (49 poems in 49 days) – Day 2


When a baby is born
Before their eyes open
Before their necks are strong enough to support their heads.
Before they separate their fingers, when they wave only fists.
When their mouths are agape
In tiny red circles and giant gummy cries
They wail relentlessly
For food, for warmth
For sleep and to be dry.

Babies do not give thanks
Babies take nourishment.
Babies do not give thanks
Babies take comfort.
This is biological, an imperative
Survival of the species
That we be loved until we can feed ourselves.

We grow into our gratitude
We grow into our red blood cells
Our eyes grow open to the existence of others.
We grow into our relations
And we grow heavy, like fruit.
That is why we fall in love.
That is why we baby talk our lovers.
That we be nourished, that we be comforted.
For this we give thanks.

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7 weeks (49 poems in 49 days) – Day 1


Blue glowing taxi cab driver GPS lights up the
Interior sending silhouettes out into the night.
On the side streets of the city where the motion is
Humming, sounds of cars and streetcars and motorbikes
An ambulance and a firetruck tag race pass by.
Sirens call flash lights of superheroes and
Rattle of twigs start up on the neighbour’s eavestrough,
I can step inside at anytime

To where it is warm into a hallway overflowing
With winter boots and cowboy boots and
Dancing shoes and daytime shoes and slip ons, slippers and spring in our step
Into the rustling of bedsheets and gentle sighs the sounds of
Sleeping beauties upstairs, I do not live alone.
This belly full of spicy tuna and bites of leftover apple pie
Two glasses of red wine and a tumbler full of water.

The rattling of the eavestrough
Grows into a plop-plopping on the ground
Giant drops of spring rain and distinct circles
Leave their silhouettes on the pavement.
It is raining, it is cold and

I am under shelter.
I am thankful for the stillness of a place called home.

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Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine

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Filed under Front Page, Photo-of-the-Day, random, Writing

Heart’s up



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More Than A Hero – find lyrics here!

Pre-orders and thank you CDs have all gone out to those who backed the making of the album during my crowdfunding campaign. As promised, here are the lyrics from the album…


Click HERE to read the lyrics.

And be sure to leave your thoughts about and interpretations of them in the comments sections. I’m curious! :) xo ke.

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Here’s hoping your St. Patrick’s Day is *SPECTACULAR*

Hope your St. Patrick's Day is *SPECTACULAR*

(These were a gift from the lovely and talented songstress, Rosemary Phelan! I love ’em.)

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And now, some Valentine’s Day poems as rejected by Hallmark…

Roses are drying / Violets are pressed / I’m taking you out for pizza / I think you’re overdressed.

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I love you like a library book / that’s three weeks over due.

Roses are red / Violets are shrinking / When I asked you out / What ever was I thinking?

Reddest are thine roses / the violets, a most brilliant hue / do you want to read my poetry? / PLEASE say that you do…

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I have a crush on your friend / but I’ll settle for you.

Roses are red / The flu isn’t fair / If you barf in my bathroom / I’ll hold back your hair.

Roses are grumpy / Violets are a grouch / Quit hogging the bed / Or go sleep on the couch!


Hope you’re having a fine day full of love!

xo Karyn


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In The Studio: “More Than A Hero” Recording Sessions [photos]

In between takes.

Some snapshots from recent recording sessions for the new album! Photo credits go out to Evalyn Parry, who took all but one of the photos in the first five rows above, as well as some of the other ones throughout the gallery; and Mike Bourgeault, who added the choir shot! Click on any of the thumbnails below to pop open a carousel viewing gallery.


You’ll meet the band: Brian Kobayakawa (bass), Champagne James Robertson (electric guitar and banjitar ~ which is as it sounds: combination banjo and guitar) and Gary Craig (drums). Special guests Kerri Ough (backup vocals) and Bryden Baird (flugel horn). The lovely Don Kerr helming the console (producer / engineer, as well as handclaps, percussion and some backup vocals) and of course yours truly (singin’). Aren’t we a fabulous crew?

Hoping these photos capture for you the DYI / creative vibe of the studio. You’ll see Don putting the finishing touches on the isolation booth made from velvet curtains and old doors screwed into to the plywood ceiling and stuffed with sound foam around the cracks. The clutter box makes an appearance as do the superstar shades and the oddly named Yackie Ball.

The Echoplex and eight-track player may or may not show up in a final mix of the album, but I add them here for posterity since Don and I spent an afternoon one day noodling with acoustic sounds in an effort to come up with a loop for one of the tunes.

Oh, and David Hasselhoff pops by for a visit as well.

If you’d like to find out more about the project, including how to get involved as a backer of the album (pre-orders and more!), please visit:

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Ten Things I Learned from the Canadian Songwriters Social Media Challenge.

My first published article! It appears (in much shorter form) in SONGWRITERS Magazine (Volume 16 – Reference Edition 2012/2013).

I was invited to submit it based on my experiences of winning the first ever Canadian Social Media Challenge this past winter, which was hosted by the Songwriter’s Association of Canada.

Here is the full-length version:

Last December I arrived home from the bubbling energy burst of my first European tour, when I heard SAC was hosting the first ever Canadian Social Media Blogging Challenge. The challenge, based on the book “Music Success in Nine Weeks” by Arial Hyatt, offers a structured way to explore social media and other online activities (in particular, blogging) to engage audiences and grow careers as independent artists. The challenge sounded like the perfect antidote to my post-tour blahs and something to keep me busy over the winter months, so I signed up and cracked open the book to Chapter One: Setting Goals.

An amazing thing happened: as I worked through the weekly assignments I discovered I became more active and interested in clarifying the direction of my career. Instead of grumbly waiting for someone to swoop in and discover me, I knuckled down and got to it myself. Nine weeks later – after delving into a variety of topics such as how to better use Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and the trusty homepage – I concluded that marketing with social media was… fun! And also effective as a series of tools to help build a solid, professional foundation for my music.

For this issue of Songwriter’s Magazine, Lily Cheng (who was also one of my fellow blogging buddies) asked me to jot down a few things I learned by doing the challenge. Here are ten of them for your enjoyment, in no particular order.

(1) People love a good story. Talking about what moves you to curiosity about the world is much more engaging than hearing that you just released a new album. Everybody has just released a new album. You, on the other hand, are the only one with cool insights on how to make homemade soap using the flowers you picked by the side of the road. The fact that you made the soap in your tour van while driving to a festival in Kamloops is what makes the story gold. [Woah, that would be neat.]

(2) People also love a good picture. Simple tip: add visuals to your posts wherever possible. But not clip art. That’s just lazy. Check out wikipedia for interesting archival photos. Do word searches on google and see what comes up. Having said that, it is REALLY important that you make sure not to steal someone’s work. You hate it when someone downloads your songs from fileshare, right? Same goes for visual artists. Make it a habit to ensure the image is available for use under a Creative Commons license. [For more info: check out creativecommons.org] Better yet, create your own images, photographs, videos and add those instead.

[Ed. note: Er… um… yeah. I’m breaking my own rule here by not posting any photos in this blog entry. But I’m trying to evoke the feel of print media here.]

(3) When posting an update on your blog or website, remember that some of your readers will be new to you and your music. Every entry you post will be the first thing that someone somewhere somehow stumbled upon while cruising about the web. You don’t have to rehash the minutiae of your birth place and musical upbringing, but it can be a good idea to provide some context for your post. I’m fond of including a one or two sentence summary along with links to previous posts at the bottom of each entry. This helps to familiarize your reader, and discourages them from bouncing away because they are confused.

(4) On the other hand, sometimes brevity is best.

(5) There will be technical difficulties. This will usually happen on the day of an important deadline, ie: your internet will cack out at the exact moment you need to upload one final image before sending out a newsletter to your mailing list about tonight’s last minute show you just got invited to play. Moments like this, I have learned, can provide the perfect opportunity to dig your teeth into larger existential questions of human frailty and frustration. They are also good times to refill your coffee mug and have a quick stretch on the porch.

(6) Your website is your home. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are your local cafes. They are excellent and necessary platforms, and great places to run into fans and friends. But cafes come and go, whereas at the end of the day with any luck your house is still standing. So don’t forget to spend time making your website awesome. Remember, too, to invite people to visit by creating posts on your website, then linking back to them from your status updates and tweets.

(7) Similarly, don’t be shy to ask people who take pictures and videos of you at your shows if you can have digital copies of the files to post on your youtube channel, eg, separate from their posts. As long as you give a person proper credit, they will likely be delighted to be included by name on your team!

(8) Speaking of feeling part of the team, take a moment to remember what it felt like when you fell in love with a favourite artist. You wanted to be connected; you wanted to be involved. Now that you are the artist that people are falling for, enjoy the interactive nature of online media! Let people connect. That’s the social in Social Media.

(9) Oh boy, this is a long list. Did I mention that it can be good to be succinct? For example, there is nothing cheesy about the 15-second pitch. (“Hi, I play [genre of music]. I sound like a cross between [well-known artist] and [well-known artist.]”) Some people feel boxed in by the “sounds like…” stuff, but it goes back to the idea of providing context. Please be more creative than my example, but keep it short and evocative. If you’re not sure what you sound like or what your strengths are as an artist, ask your friends and fans to help you out.

(10) Finally, and perhaps my favourite discovery while doing this blogging challenge: social media can give you an amazing sense of empowerment as an artist. You don’t have to wait for Billboard to write an article about you. If you have something to share, you can put it out there yourself. Create your own narrative as an artist, and maybe one day Billboard will pick up on the buzz. Maybe not. But regardless, you will still be actively engaged in doing your work. This is especially a good lesson for me because I admit that I am an approval junkie. I want people to like me… nay, love me and my music. Who doesn’t? But this desire for approval sometimes causes me to be passive: the hope that a “musical authority” will lift me up and validate my work. The brilliance of social media, and in particular blogging is that it gives you the ability to define your legitimacy as an artist on your own terms.

If you’d like to read more about the challenge, including my forays into the philosophical, check out my weekly entries from the challenge right here on my blog.

Pop by my website for a visit too: www.karynellis.com.

Karyn Ellis moved from Parkdale (Toronto, Ontario) to the foothills of Cariboo Mountains of British Columbia in the winter of 2011. Now she lives by a river and two creeks writing playful, bittersweet indie-folk songs about every day wonders, beauty and hope.


Filed under MSi9W3, Music

Interview with Justina Smith


Turn on images to see a photo of Justina Smith and me

At Robson Valley Music Festival
Photo by Doug Koyama.

I met visual artist Justina Smith at Robson Valley Music Festival two summers ago. She was sitting in the outdoor dining area ~ beside her on the table, a book brimming with notes and sketches and other fascinating bits of paper. We hung out together over lunch, and I discovered she’s a very cool cat. Since then we’ve kept in touch, and I’ve been following her work through her website: www.justlittleart.com.

When it came time to decide on artwork for my new album, I knew I wanted to commission an artist to create original paintings for the cover and insert. Justina immediately sprung to mind. I asked her, and she said yes… hurray! We are figuring out the design now, so it will be a month or two before I have a sneak preview to share with you. Meanwhile I thought it would be fun to introduce you to Justina Smith and some of the other folks who are the creative sparks behind the new album, More Than A Hero.

This past week, Justina and I had a virtual sit down over email to talk about her work. Justina Smith lives in Edmonton, Alberta.


K: You often paint animals wearing quirky expressions and / or human clothing. These are some of my favourites in your web gallery, and they first attracted me to your work. Where did the idea for those portraits come from? Is there a concept/meaning you are setting out to express with them?

Turn on images to see Clad In Plaid, a painting by Justina Smith

Clad In Plaid by Justina Smith

J: The anthropomorphized animals were actually inspired by my friend who happens to be a tattoo artist. He had given me the idea of animals in suits and so I painted some….and when people saw them, they loved them. I had a blast painting them so I started painting them in a variety of other clothes too…plaid shirts, lace collars, madmen style dresses. I like to challenge myself to paint new things, so I think about what animals I HAVEN’T painted yet…and then paint pictures of those. I have a little series planned for Christmas of animals in vintage hockey gear. I’m pretty excited to start on those!

K: How does a painting start? What sets off the spark of an idea?

Turn on images to see Open Cupboard, a painting by Justina Smith

Open Cupboard by Justina Smith

J: There are fewer things that DON’T spark ideas, but my inspiration comes from all over. Paintings I see in galleries, lyrics from songs, silly things I think of while on a dog walk, conversations with friends, or random people talking to me about my work and saying things like: “hey….have you ever thought of painting…….?” I have a book of ideas (the Great Book of Art I call it. I’m currently working on the 2nd edition) where I sketch things out, keep color swatches and palette samples and I also have an idea wall in my studio. It’s quite literally a wall that is slowly being covered by bits of paper with tiny sketches and notes on them. Most of the paper is bits of scrap from the chit printer at the cafe I work at. I tend to jot down an idea that comes to me while I’m working and then hang the little paper on the wall when I get home, so I can paint it later.

K: What’s the most unusual painting you’ve been commissioned for?

J: The most unusual commission to date? I guess it would have to be a painting I did of a dude’s old Chevy truck and vintage motorcycle. They both had the same off white/teal paint job, and he commissioned me to paint a picture of them on the same canvas. It got me interested in painting pictures with older vehicles in them…..so it’s not so strange now, I guess.

K: How about the coolest location you’ve found yourself painting?

J: I painted at my sister-in-laws wedding this past summer. Just in my watercolor travel sketchbook. But it was very cool capturing the moments of the ceremony as they happened. The finished sketches turned out awesome, and she loved them too.

K: If you could do a portrait session of your biggest hero (living or dead), who would it be?

Turn on images to see Sunflowers And Crates, a painting by Justina Smith

Sunflowers And Crates by Justina Smith

J: My biggest hero? Goodness! Creatively, I guess Emily Carr. I love how she painted how she wanted to paint….despite the lack of enthusiasm for her work in her hometown of Victoria. I admire how she would camp out in the BC coastal wilderness alone with her animals so she could paint and sketch and be immersed in the things she loved most…. the quiet and the trees…. the largeness of the West Coast. I love her writing and her painting. She was a double edged sword, that one!

K: We met two summers ago at Robson Valley Music Festival in Dunster, British Columbia; Doug Koyama pointed us out to each other, saying we looked like twins. Hahaha! It seems from reading your blog that you are often adventuring around from festival to festival with your sketch pad. Does that mean you a music fan? Would you say you feel camaraderie more towards musicians or other painters? How do you see music and painting linked together?

J: I have just started going to music festivals in the last 3 years. So far I have brought my sketchbook to the RVMF and the Edmonton Folk Festival. Like any trip I take my sketchbook on….it helps me capture the moments of the trip in a very tangible way for me. I see things better when I’m focused on drawing them. I always listen to music when I’m working in the studio. I either have my itunes up, or am listening to CBC radio 2 or CKUA. I have quite a few friends that are artists or musicians or both. I love hanging around creative people and environments of all types. Creativity begets MORE creativity….and for me, inspiration for painting comes from seeing and listening. For me, painting and music are firmly linked. For some of my other creative friends….even more so as they paint AND play instruments.

K: Sooooo… what’s your favourite colour? :)

J: My favorite color changes all the time. Right now, my favourite paint color is naples yellow. It’s a color that mimics low sunlight at this time of year. It’s beautiful. My favourite color to wear, is green. My favourite shoe color is red and my favourite dog colors are rust and black. (Rust for my golden retriever, Gershwin…and black for my border collie mix, Luke)

K: Sweet or savoury… which one and why?

J: Sweet AND savoury! Rose lemonade! Lime and rosemary macaroons! Pumpkin ale. Maple & bacon….in anything! Why choose? There are so many tasty options that involve BOTH!

K: Oh yah, you’re totally right! Yum! Okay, one more question…

K: If you had one super hero power, what would it be and why?

Turn on images to see Magpies In A Study, a painting by Justina Smith

Magpies In A Study by Justina Smith

J: Superhero power…..hmm…..the power to freeze time. Sometimes cool things happen to fast for me to draw them, or inconveniently I’m driving and seeing something cool whizzing by….and it’s happening too fast for me to capture it on paper properly.

K: That would be awesome! :) Thanks so much for sharing your time and thoughts in this interview, Justina. I’m excited about the new paintings!
Check out more of Justina Smith on her website: www.justlittleart.com


This is the first interview in a series introducing you to the amazingly talented people behind my new album, More Than A Hero. Support the making of the new record… CLICK HERE to find out how you can Jump In ~ Be A Backer! xo Karyn


Filed under Interviews, More Than A Hero, Music

This Is Not A Boring Day

Sometimes the astrologers DO get it right.

I am currently at the Vancouver airport on a three-hour stop over en route to Toronto. Sitting outside the terminal, on this brilliantly sunny day flipping through The Province reading the comics, doing the sudoku puzzle, checking out my horoscope…

Turn on your images to see a photo: "This Is Not A Boring Day"

Friday we start rehearsals, and Monday I go into the studio to spend the next couple of weeks finishing up the tracking for the new album!!!!! There is a dreamlike quality to entering the recording process. After months of writing and prep work and requisite administrative to-do lists, I ought to pinch myself that in less than a week from now, I will be standing in front of a microphone articulating my emotional reaction to the new creations.

And even though I am severely underslept… a bi-product of my loathe-to-pack that kept me up until 3:30am last night… Yes, I AM feeling alive! And, yes! I’m loving the experience!! I should head back to that newspaper and get caught up on politics, on religion. Or maybe I’ll just read my book, The Piano Man’s Daughter by Timothy Findley, and enjoy the foreign country he has created inside the written word.


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Attention all Cowhands! Shooting Star is posted.

Yes, folks. That’s right! The latest addition to my Homemade Music Video Project (number four) is up on my youtube channel.

If you’ve been following my blog, you may recall earlier this spring I invited fans ‘n friends to send in video footage inspired by my tune, Shooting Star. In fact, you may be one of the people who sent stuff in. Hurray! Over twenty people were involved in creating the shiny, awesome footage you see in the finished video, which I edited together to become the latest addition to the Homemade Music Video Project.

There are horses, dancing, shooting stars, cowhands, cowbells… even a cardboard trombone! Enjoy! I for one felt many moments of teary glee throughout the editing process. Huge thanks goes out to the following shooting stars: Tania A, Laurie, Washboard Hank, Diane, Oscar, Bella, Talya, Joanna, Gautam, Guido T, Conny, David, Leslie, Tania S, Shannon, Andy, Kat, Jay, Ken, Guido O and Sonia!

And now, I present: Shooting Star: Homemade Music Video Project #4


Here are a couple of earlier blog posts about the making of Shooting Star:

Here are the Shooting Stars! [Photo Gallery]
I Want You To Be My Shooting Star. (Call for submissions.)

You can also read more about the Homemade Music Video Project here.

And why not Subscribe to my Youtube channel while you’re at it!


Filed under Music, videos

Yo Ellis…

Q: Haven’t heard from you in a while. What are you up to?

A: Back in BC after an amazing Ontario tour and a few days at the Rooster recording studio working with Don Kerr on the new album.

Now I’m here on day two of the Artswells Music Festival in Wells BC. The town is bustling alive with people, and music spilling out from buildings and people sitting on various patches of grass. I’ve removed myself from main street to chill out for awhile before meeting up to play some percussion and do some singing on Dave Newberry’s set at 8pm at the Tempest Church just up the street. I played at that venue this morning; the acoustics were amazing. It is gonna be fun to sing a little “Rock Bottom” and bang on the tambourine tonight.

Yesterday marked the ending of an amazing four day songwriting workshop, which was also held here in Wells. Dave Bidini and his band (Don, Paul & Kevin) were our trusty and brilliant facilitors/teachers. 18 writers + Dave and co. spent 7 hours a day in a room hanging out with a bunch of freshly written songs… teasing them apart, getting at the meat of the tunes. (Thus the need for the chill out this afternoon.) I am *deeply* inspired to challenge myself to craft better songs whenever/wherever I can. During the songwriting course I finished a new tune called “More Than A Hero”. Rock ‘n Roll! And definite album material. I have already had the opportunity to try it out live twice in front of Artswells audiences, and the song seems to be well received.

“If Harrison Ford had been on board
On the day you threw your keys out the window.
And if Johnny Cash had hid your stash
Would you have needed to make a crash landing.
Or would you still be flying?

I think it’s gonna take… more than a hero
I think it’s gonna take… more than a hero
I think it’s gonna take… more than a hero
I think it’s gonna take… more than a hero
to save you from yourself”

I also started writing a murder ballad (of all things!) this week about the daughter character “Lavinia” in Shakespeare’s play “Titus Andronicus” (Shakespeare’s most maligned play, and a terrible tragedy. Not sure I even dare read it. So I’ve been Cole’s Notes-ing it on the internet.) The tune is spooky, and I love it. I’m thinking I need to finish it because it would be a fine addition to the new record.

Q: Yo Ellis, are you ever going to finish that Shooting Star video any time soon?

A: Yes! Next week I finally have a breather from touring and recording and festivaling. First thing I’m going to do is sit down and edit that sweet little babe. Till then, it’s All things Artswells! See yah. xo k.

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“Uh oh!” [Video]

Link to youtube video of Cymbal Playing Monkey on Taloola's Cash Register

My heart leapt a little (okay… a LOT!) when I saw this cymbal playing monkey on the cash register at Taloola’s Cafe in Windsor Ontario. With the exception of a tap-dancing miniature pony, could this be any better a fit with Shooting Star?

Brian took this short video before our show last Friday night. For the rest of the tour every time one of us smiled or cracked a giggle, the other would turn and ask “Monkey?”. You can bet that was the reason why… resulting in several shuddering, guffaw meltdowns. (Speaking of meltdown: did I mention we were touring around Ontario in a non-AC Honda Civic during this huge heatwave?! Yes folks, some looooopiness occurred.)

I seriously contemplated going back the next day and offering the cafe $100 if I could please PLEASE keep this monkey! (Taloola folks, if you’re reading this… well, um… just saying!! ;-) )

PS, Monkey was fine in the end. Had a dislocated shoulder that, I was told, happens from time to time.

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Here are the Shooting Stars! [Photo Gallery]

Yesterday the last DVD arrived with footage on it for the Shooting Star video. Okay, I can tell you right now this is will be AWESOME FUN editing together the stuff that came in. The creativity and sense of wacky is GORGEOUS! Since it is probably going to be a few of weeks before I have a chance to finish the video, let me share with you readers some snap and screen shots from the submissions. A little taste of why I am so excited about this project! :)

Starting with… David F. from Thorold and his crew from Lake St.Peter (Ontario), who were the very first folks to send in footage.

Turn on your images to see: David, Andy and Leslie Cowpokin' in Lake St. Peter, Ontario

David, Andy and Leslie Cowpokin’ in Lake St. Peter, Ontario

Not only that, but I found this familiar face included in the files David sent me. Washboard Hank heard about my project through David I presume? – here he is… wearing full bells ‘n whistles!

Turn on your images to see a photo of The one and only Washboard Hank winding up.

The one and only Washboard Hank winding up!

Turn on your images to see another photo of Washboard Hank and his (cow) bells and whistles.

…to play his (cow) bells and whistles.

Next came footage from Guido T. & Conny S. This may have been the furthest footage traveled to get here – all the way from Dusseldorf, Germany! (Later, you’ll see a submission from Solingen, Germany too. I’ll have to double check the distance in google maps.) Here is an example of horse power not only under the hood, but behind the wheel too.

Turn on your images to see: Pony On The Autobahn (With Fuzzy Dice)

Pony On The Autobahn (With Fuzzy Dice)

A few days later, I received a memory stick full of footage from Toronto. Tania, Diane, Oscar, Shannon, Bella and Ken scripted several colourful scenes… an entire song’s worth… filmed them in a park in their “one-horse-town”. The memory stick included on-the-set photos too. Here are a bunch, starting with some shots of fabulous artwork by Oscar.

Turn on your images to see this drawing of a Sky Full of Stars!

Sky Full of Stars! (by Oscar Sza)

Turn on your images to see the drawing: Blazing Trail of Star

Blazing Trail of Star! (by Oscar Sza)

Turn on your images to see Chalk Drawing

Chalk Drawing (also by Oscar!)

Here is the whole gang (minus Tania, who is behind the camera.)

Turn on your images to see Parade in the Park

Parade in the Park!

Some close ups of the feature actors:

Turn on your images to see: Giddy Up Horsie Ride

Giddy Up Horsie Ride ~ Shannon & Bella

Turn on your images to see: With that awesome hat, Ken could also be called Oblio :)

Ken! (who with that awesome hat could also be called Oblio :))

Turn on your images to see Diane On The Set of The "One Horse Town"

Diane On The Set

Then I received this lovely postcard in the (e)mail, It’s from Guido O in Solingen, Germany…

Turn on your images to see: This was taken last November when I played there at Tom Bombadil's in Solingen

This was taken last November when I played there at Tom Bombadil’s in Solingen.

Next, Kat Leonard sent me some fabulous footage of her dancing around the stage one afternoon (By the way, Kat & I were co-participants in the blogging challenge I did this winter!). Here are a couple of screenshots:

Turn on your images to see: Kat Dance #1

Kat Dance #1

Turn on your images to see: Kat Dance #2

Kat Dance #2

Then Tania A. sent me some cool abstract footage of stars being lit up by a spot light and also a short clip of a pinwheel spinning. Here are some still captures of the shining stars:

Turn on your images to see: Tania's Glowing Star #1

Tania’s Glowing Star #1

Turn on your images to see: Tania's Glowing Star #2

Tania’s Glowing Star #1

A few days ago I received the penultimate submission from Laurie in Lilloet. That’s right folks, we’re home on the ranging with a bonafide cowgal and horse. [And yippee-yi-yeee, I used penultimate (meaning: second-to-last) in a sentence!]

Turn on your images to see: Laurie and her horse

Laurie and her horse

Turn on your images to see: It's to the range she's bound!

It’s to the range she’s bound!

Turn on your images to see: Beauty!


Yesterday I received the last submission. A delightful scene in which Jay F. dances around in his hallway. He also included this still photo on the DVD:

Turn on your images to see: Jay Showing Us The Words To Shooting Star

Jay Showing Us The Words To Shooting Star!


UPDATE: July 2012
Luckily for me, I’m a dawdler. I still hadn’t edited the video by the time I started my tour of southern Ontario this summer, so I was able to receive one last submission. After a fine and fun House Concert in London Ontario, I was talking with my host – Joanna – about the video project. She showed me the amazing, sparkly footage of her daughter, Talya, dancing with an aunt at a wedding. I asked if I could include it in the Shooting Star video, and she said yes! :-)

Screenshot from the HMVP Shooting Star video featuring Talya and her Sonia Aunty

Screenshot from the final video ~ Talya and her Sonia Aunty!


And there you have it! Horses, dancing, shooting stars cows and cowbells. Sheer awesomeness. Thanks again, I am so thrilled with what was sent in! And I can’t WAIT to see how it looks once everything is edited together.

So give me a few weeks here… I am thinking of editing the video while I’m on the train traveling across Canada in early June. [Aside: Once again I am taking part in VIA’s OnBoard Musician Program playing music on board in exchange for passage. Pretty sweet deal! When I’m not playing shows, eating or staring out the window at the prairies, I’ll let the rhythm of the wheels on the track evoke the gait of a horse. Hopefully inspiring some good creative editing.]

Okay. Give me a few weeks to post then. Till then… Wishin’ you far! :)


Filed under Music, Photo-of-the-Day, videos, Writing

Hopping Back On The Ol’ Hobby Horse

Random Thoughts Buzzing Around My Head Right Now

A bit of downtime happening here in my personal blogosphere. Maybe it is a much needed rest after the mara-blog-athon of this winter’s blogging challenge, where I lived and breathed this place. Although I am definitely proud to be crowned winner of the Canadian Social Media Blogging Challenge, turns out a girl needed a breather come spring.

Maybe it is the lulling effect of this gorgeous, warm weather we are having this May. Right now I can hear the chirp of birds echoing through the forest behind my house. (I can also hear the buzzing of mosquitoes waking up from their winter slumber. Less chirpy, that sound. *sigh*) But other than the bugs, wow… it has been stellar these past few days.

On the other hand, it could be the result of all the non-blog writing I’ve been doing lately. I seem to be existing in a vortex of deadlines for grant proposals, cold call emails and other administrative blah blahs. Ugh. In fact ~ ladies & gentlemen ~ right now I should be finishing up another proposal that is due this Friday – I am hoping for travel funds to return to Europe this fall. (Fingers-crossed please!) But, alas. I am not writing that. I am writing this.

Images of Mosquitoes

You could also look at these as bird food.

I know there are plenty of words out there / in my brain, but sometimes sitting in front of my laptop type-type-typing depletes me. Ever have that sensation? It is a weird, hollow feeling, and I simply cannot string two words together. Marshall McLuhen’s Medium is the Message. Maybe staring into a lightbulb (aka my computer screen) for hours is turning my brain to mush. A moth drawn to flame… zaaaap! (How meta… writing about how I’m having trouble writing!) What I really need to do is to stand up, step out into the yard and rub my feet into the freshly mowed grass. Reading a book and/or listening to music helps too.

Speaking of reading, I have been sitting outside on the front deck of my house catching up on my friend’s blog about her coast-to-coast bike trip across Canada. A gift to herself on her 40th birthday, she started out in Ucuelet BC two weeks and a half weeks ago and as of yesterday she had reached in Castlegar BC. Lucky for us, she has been diligently (and hilariously, in an understated sort of way) documenting her travels. I am inspired by the hugeness of her adventures! If you like bicycles and courageous women, you can follow Kate’s journey too by visiting her blog here: katebikes.wordpress.com.

Image of a Hobby Horse

Hobby Horse Fact: “Baron Charles von Drais patented the hobby or dandy horse in France in 1818. The hobby horse was a forerunner of the bicycle and was introduced into England in 1818 by coachmaker Denis Johnson, who took out the British patent.” No pedals. You propel it with your feet.

My bike’s still in Toronto, so I will only be hopping on the ol’ hobby horse figuratively today. Instead I will tear off my socks and go for that toe-hugging coolness of the grass that I mentioned earlier. Clear my brain. Get this darn proposal written…

PS, if you yourself need a little dose of chirping birds chirping, here is a lovely 9 1/2 min. video I found on Youtube through a random search. I didn’t upload this, but it sounds close to what I’m actually hearing (a little more rambunctious, perhaps.) I thought I’d share it with you to give an idea of what my day as been like so far and so that you can have a breather too!

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Filed under Writing