Back in 2014, or maybe 2013, just minutes before I was getting on the plane to California to record my first album, Janna Graham and I went out to the ice of Great Slave Lake to make some sound recordings of vintage ice saws cutting the ice. Now, after six years, Terry Woolf has put together this beautiful video of my friends and I harvesting ice for Snowking’s Winter Festival. I believe that the footage is shot by Terry, Anthony Foliot and Wade Carpenter, all on their phones. Thank you Terry!
The new album goes on sale on Monday December 21, 2020! It’s called From the Railyard to the Woodyard. There’s Vinyl, CD, and Digital. I’m super-excited to share it with you! Recorded back in February, in Nanton, Alberta, with producer Steve Loree and a great group of musicians (Brad Brouwer, Paul Holden, Jimmy Roy, Scott Duncan, John Gorham).
Here in Yellowknife, the album will be available at a couple of my favourite local stores: Weaver and Devore, and the Down to Earth Gallery. Please note that Weaver’s will only carry the vinyl for the first few days (it takes a lot of counter space), and that Down to Earth Gallery is not open on Mondays.
You can also find the album online. For online orders of Vinyl or CD, or for digital downloads, please check out ryanmccord.bandcamp.com. Another option if you’re in Yellowknife is to call or text me at 444-0322. You can listen on Soundcloud. If everything goes as planned, it will be available on all the major streaming platforms too.
The long-awaited new album is almost here! Currently nearing the completion of manufacturing, on vinyl and CD.
Since I’ve got a new music video coming out soon, I have some tracks ready to go for when things like the Western Arctic Moving Pictures 48 Hour Music Video Competition come up, I can submit a song for the creative filmmakers to make something great. Thanks so much to Cat Fauvelle and Miles Johnson for putting together this video, and congratulations to them for tying for the Audience Choice award!
In the 1970s Craig Mishler spent some time in Old Crow and northern Alaska, and wrote a scholarly book documenting Gwich’in fiddle music and culture. It’s called The Crooked Stovepipe; Athapaskan Fiddle Music and Square Dancing in Northeast Alaska and Northwest Canada, and it’s available at the Inuvik Public Library. I had it out a few years ago. The video shows Charlie Peter playing some tunes in 1972 – there are some familiar ones, and some interesting variations of them too.
The Punch Brothers take traditional bluegrass instruments and play everything from classical music to contemporary rock. This tune is an old bluegrass number that they play in their own exceptional style. All of the band members take amazing solos in this video.
A fiddler I know of back home once said that people often asked him if he was into Stephane Grappelli, to which he replied “I’m more a Stuff Smith guy.” Having never heard of Stuff Smith, I promptly looked him up, and found this old video of him playing some outstanding jazz fiddle.
I have no idea how I stumbled across Fiddlin’ Al Arsenault, but he’s a riot to watch perform. Aside from this old news clip, there’s also a good video of him playing the Black Mountain Rag.
I just returned from a week in Nanton, Alberta! After several months of preparation and anticipation, I got to spend the better part of a week working with Steve Loree at his recording studio, Crabapple Downs. I’ve wanted to work with Steve for a while after hearing some of the great work he’s done with other musicians that I look up to. I was also excited to work with the group of great musicians that he brought in for the recording – although I’d never met any of them, I was confident it was going to work, and it did. We had three of southern Alberta’s finest – Brad Brouwer on drums, Paul Holden on Bass, and Scott Duncan on fiddle and mandolin, plus the great Jimmy Roy from Vancouver on lap steel and telecaster. These guys were the perfect complement to my music (some of which is brand new and I’d been cramming to complete over the last few months). The music is now in the mixing and mastering stage. In the meantime, I’ll be working on artwork for the album (yes, there will be an actual album, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for vinyl). I look forward to sharing it with you soon!
This past weekend was the 13th annual Old Town Ramble and Ride here in Yellowknife. It’s a neighbourhood celebration of music and art, and of course exploring the area and checking out local businesses, most of whom are supporters and participants in the festival.
I’ve lived in the Woodyard (the neighbourhood, not the pub) for nearly twelve years now, and have performed at nearly every Ramble and Ride. It’s one of the highlights of my year in terms of performances, being so intimate and down home (and close to home).
This year I had the honour of being featured in an article in the festival’s Old Town Rambler, in a photo and article by my neighbour Fran Hurcomb.
If any one person could be said to embody the spirit of the Old Town Ramble and Ride, it would have to be Woodyard resident, Ryan McCord.
In 2003, Ryan moved to Yellowknife from Ontario. He biked the entire way here. Today, his yard is home to about 25 bikes, in various states of repair. Many of them are classic bikes from the 50’s and 60’s, some of them looking for new homes. In keeping with his love of bicycles, Ryan remembers participating in the bike workshop at the very first Ramble and Ride in 2007.
Ryan began playing guitar in 2005 and played his first Ramble and Ride gig a few years later outside Squatter’s Books on the Government Dock. He also remembers playing in the back room of the Down to Earth Gallery during a memorable storm which pounded the festival on the Saturday afternoon a year or two later. “I think I played at almost every Ramble and Ride,” says McCord, “although I might have missed one.”
Over the years, Ryan has played with several bands, including The Dawgwoods, Back Bay Scratchers, Bluebird Island, and the Old Town Mondays. These days, he’s still making music although he’s not affiliated with any one band.
“There’s a lot to like about the Old Town Ramble and Ride Festival,” he says. “I like the walking and cycling theme and I like that it combines the arts with Old Town. It also gives people a good reason to come and wander around Old Town and check it out.”
McCord is currently working on his second CD and we know it will be a hit with his many fans across the north. You can catch Ryan at this year’s festival on Friday night at Down to Earth Gallery and on the Government Dock on Sunday afternoon.