Quebec and New Brunswick, here we come! (or, mon français est très mal . . .)


Mon July 15, 2013

10:00 am – left early with the best intentions of getting to Quebec City by approx. 7 pm, but we all know about best intentions . . .

Loading the car was tricky, as I had a full PA, keyboard, stand, laptop, cooler, luggage, cables galore, and of course everything had to be double and triple-checked.  Almost left without my chargers!!  No room for a chair or bench, so I will hopefully be able to use something on the road.

I realized I needed posters and some promotion for my shows and I hadn’t had time to print any up.  So I left early to stop and print some of them.  Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long, and I was able to get back on the road fairly quickly.

3:00 pm – got to Kingston – and then I realized I was going to hit Montreal in rush hour.  No way around it, crossed my fingers, and . . . sat in glacially slow traffic for an hour.  Geez, Montreal, why do your highways have to be so hard to follow? Thank God for Google.  Although, it would help if you had the correct names for the highways.  Some of them have changed, you know.  Just sayin’.


Loving the new ON ROUTE stops – last time I took the highway they were all closed, under construction.  Really good job, though.  Reduced waste from water, electricity, all environmentally friendly-like.  And WI-FI!  But . . . couldn’t you have something besides Tim Hortons and Pizza Pizza?  Really?


There is 10 km of construction for every 1 km of clear highway from Montreal to Quebec City.  I’m not kidding.  Half the time you are driving in one lane, *on the shoulder of the highway*!!  Do you guys really need to repair the *whole damn thing* at once???

7:00 pm – stopped for dinner at a McDonalds between Montreal and QC.  My painful French is met with their painful English.  Hilariousness results.  Got to dig out those Grade 9 French texts again . . .

9:00 pm – FINALLY arrived in Quebec City.  Then . . . . got lost for about half an hour.  WHY DOES EVERY TURN END UP ON A HIGHWAY???  THAT YOU CAN’T GET OFF FROM???

9:30 pm – checked in at the hotel . . . and crashed.  Nice warm bath to relax my aching back from 8 hours plus of driving, and then bedtime.

NEWS ALERT: Guess what? Nova Scotia is an hour ahead of Toronto.  Good thing I realized this THE NIGHT BEFORE MY GIG IN MONCTON.  Clocks ahead one hour before bed.  Going to be leaving EARLY – 8 more driving hours on the road and I have to be there by 8 pm.

Tues July 16, 2013

8:00 am – had a truly awful continental breakfast at the hotel before heading out at 8 am (really 9 am Nova Scotia time!) – how the hell do you mangle “un café, s’il vous plait, merci”??  I guess I needed the café before ordering.

Checked Google Maps to make sure I could find my way out of the hotel without a half hour detour, and I was off to Moncton.


CONSTRUCTION AGAIN!!!  Geez, guys, is this a Quebec make-work project or something?  Basically on and off every 5 km to the New Brunswick border.

Yes, New Brunswick has crappy, bumpy highways.  But at least there is no construction!!!

Interesting New Brunswick notes:  everyone speaks French here first!  Bit of a shock.  Big French community here, everyone is bilingual.

The speed on the highway here is 110.  110!!!  Ontario, do you hear that??

1:00 pm – stopped in Edmunston, NB for lunch, and back on the road to Moncton!


Slight detour to try out the Iron Throne.  😛

6:00 pm – arrived in Moncton ahead of time (yay!  No construction!!).


6:05 pm – got lost again trying to find the club (thanks crappy Google Maps) and honestly didn’t know where the hell I was.  Ended up getting back on the highway, retracing my steps about 50 km and starting all over again.


7:00 pm – Finally found PLAN B!  Lucky for me, as I was supposed to be starting at 9 pm (I had 10 pm on my schedule!!).  No problem. Quick stage setup and sound check, and then . . . BASHED MY HEAD ON A SPEAKER.  Really hard.

I was already dizzy from a long day of driving.  Smashing your skull doesn’t help that very much.  I actually have a welt there, even after icing it.  Apparently this is just an initiation ritual at Plan B.  It is hanging at perfect head height at the corner of the stage just as you walk off.  Some advice guys:  POST A SIGN.  PLEASE.

9:30 pm – it was a slow night, but the people who drifted in and out were very supportive and appreciative.  Took some requests (Elton John, Supertramp), but people seemed genuinely interested in hearing original material.  That’s a nice change!  Had a nice chat with a couple of guys from Moncton.  One of them bought me a beer, the other joined my mailing list and promised to bring down more people if I came back again.

Plan B provided accommodations upstairs from the club, which was a nice touch.  No A/C though, on one of the hottest days of the summer, in a room with no circulation or windows.  In an apartment shared with four other sweaty musicians!  Everyone was friendly, though, and I made some new fans, some new friends, and came away with a great impression of East Coast generosity.  Thanks, guys, and I hope to see you again!

Next up:  Nova Scotia!


Lots of excitement for 2013!


Well, it’s been a while since I posted, but there are so many exciting things coming up that I just had to provide an update.

It’s now a NEW YEAR, so it’s time for lots of new things!!  How about a couple of great shows to start with!


Saturday April 13th at Habits,

and a huge one at Musideum on Wednesday, May 22.

Both will be with a full band, and the Musideum show is going to be featuring a beautiful Bechstein grand piano (fifth member of the band, perhaps?), and it will also be filmed and recorded live!  I’ll also be introducing a very special guest – the lovely and talented Holly Cheng on violin!

But wait!  That’s not all!  😉


I have four brand new songs that I will be showcasing along with material from my most recent album “Great Expectations”!  I have been a very busy, busy little songwriter the last couple of months . . . those who know me well can tell you it often takes me 6 months to finish a song.  So this is a big deal for me!

And last, but certainly not least . . .


I’m going on an East Coast tour!  Yes, plans are already underway with a great amount of help from a wonderful East Coast songwriter by the name of Jenny MacDonald.  Jenny has been a terrific help with setting up a series of shows in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for me, and the details will be coming very soon!  In the meantime, don’t forget to check out her CMW show at the Cameron House on March 22nd (7 pm).  She really deserves the support!

You can read about the new shows at my website here:

And I will be posting some new videos featuring some of the new songs soon!  You can always check out my latest videos here:

Thanks, as always, for your wonderful support, and I hope to see you all at my upcoming shows in Toronto or out east!




“Great Expectations” is now out!

Thanks so much to everyone for coming out to the CD Release at C’est What!

It was a fantastic show with a *lot* of talented performers and a wonderful audience!

Here’s a little sample:

The CD is now officially released!  Available at all CD retailers as well as all of the regular websites!  Enjoy!  Let me know what you think!  Would love to have some feedback.

All the best,



Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

It’s been a busy holiday season and it’s starting with a busy 2012!  The CD is now 95% done (just waiting on the final mix!), and the promotional plan is just starting to come together.  Things are looking good for a spring/early summer CD release!

I’m making sure this is being done properly this time ’round, and I’m currently looking for promotion and distribution while finalizing the artwork and manufacturing.  It’s an exciting time, and there’s a heck of a lot to do!  This is uncharted territory for me, as the last two recordings I made were never released or marketed properly.  This was for good reason, as they sucked. 😉

Seriously, I was not 100% happy with the final product, so nothing happened with it.  It was a learning experience.  🙂

This time, though, it’s full steam ahead.  Pulling out all of the stops!  I have had some fantastic tracking with Harrison Fine and Jason LaPrade, some wonderful musical performances from too many musicians to mention, playing a great variety of instruments.  There’s a string quartet, a vocal choir, a real 9 foot Yamaha CF III Grand, Rhodes and Hammond organ, killer bass and drums, and a lot of love.  Add some killer editing and mixing from Mark Zubek, simmer, and voila!  One finished EP (almost)!

It’s been a long process, that actually started with bed tracks for two of the songs at Humber College in 2007.  So I am immensely happy that the recording phase is finally coming to a close, and I can get it out there!

Please help get the word out if you like the music, and there is an album trailer here for your listening pleasure:

Stay tuned for a video trailer, and a definite CD release date to be announced soon!

All the best for 2012!




Almost at the finish line . . .

Hey folks,

Just a quick update inbetween major studio sessions!

Finished most of the tracking now for most of the songs on the EP.  There’s going to be a surprise cover song in there now – a last minute frenzied arrangement of a famous 80s song (think of a successful Australian band from that time period and you might guess it!) that has come together beautifully, complete with a string quartet.  Many thanks to the talented Soohyun Nam and Roslyn Green on cello & violin!

Most of it was recorded at Jason LaPrade’s new studio (Crystal Clear Productions), with bed tracks recorded at Point Blank Productions with Harrison Fine.  The majority of the tracks are now at Studio Z with the incomparable Mark Zubek doing final editing, mixing and mastering duties.

Because of the late completion date, we’re going to set a battle plan to release the whole thing in early 2012, so it doesn’t get lost in the Christmas rush!  This will also leave time to get some really good artwork, design and fabrication, as well as time to plan an awesome CD release.

Stay tuned for more updates!  Coming soon – a “trailer” for the new EP, featuring clips of some of the new songs!!




EP Construction time . . .


Construction has started!

It’s taken about 4 or 5 years to get to this point, but I’m finally putting the finishing touches on the EP!

If you’ve been keeping score, you know that I have 3 singles already done (Eye For An Eye, No More Hellos and Cavalry).  But I wanted more than that for a finished album.  So I’m heading back into the studio at the end of September to record 3 more, two of which (at least) will also make it to the EP.  I’m excited because I have two brand new songs, in addition to the older material, and a cover song as well.

I’m currently rehearsing with two other top-notch musicians, Aaron Spink (drums) and Alex St. Kitts (bass).  Both of them have played with me on and off for my live shows over the last couple of years, and things are sounding really good!

Here’s the battle plan:

End of September – bed tracks at Point Blank productions with Harrison Fine

Overdubs and vocals at Point Blank/Crystal Clear Sound with Harrison and Jason La Prade

Final mixing with Mark Zubek at Studio Z.

Not sure where to get the CDs pressed yet, and I’m trying to organize some graphic design/artwork as well.

Crossing my fingers that I can pull it all off inbetween work, sleep and life in general! 🙂

Until next time,

j.a.g. out!


Awesome August!

Live at Graffiti’s, Toronto Aug 2011

Hey folks!This is my first blog update in a very, very long time.

Here’s the quick rundown:

The new website is up!  Visit it at:

Let me know what you think, sign up to become a fan and get free stuff!

Some great stuff has been happening over the last couple of months:

I just finished sitting in on piano with the internationally-renowned flutist and composer Ron Korb, which was a lot of fun.  He played two intimate shows at Donald Quan‘s studio in toronto, Q Music, and I had a chance to play some instrumental world music in a fantastic setting, for a rather big change! (formerly Nate Daniels band) has finished their first EP, which I played keyboards on.  A unique band with a great atmospheric sound, look for their CD release (which I am playing in) at the Horseshoe on Aug. 10!  I have played keys with these guys for 3 years now.  Frontman Nate Daniels is a captivating performer, and I really get a chance to experiment with synth sounds and atmospherics as well as the traditional keyboard sounds.

I’ve got 2 other exciting things coming up in August –

#1 – my own EP, many years in the making (but not completing!).  Various setbacks have continuously pushed the completion date back, but it now looks like the recording & mixing should be done by October.  Release date not too far afterwards!  I’m excited to be working with some great musicians and studio people, including Mark Zubek (who was responsible for mixing my 3 current singles).  There will be at least 5 songs, and I’m really excited about finally getting it finished!

#2 – the infamous Toronto music stalwart Marcus Walker has asked me to record some piano & hammond for him on his upcoming album.  If you haven’t heard of Marcus, he is a very talented singer, songwriter and guitarist who is *always* playing somewhere in Toronto.  I met him at the Free Times Cafe many years ago and offered to sit in with him – since then we have played about 6 shows together.

I’m keeping a low profile for the next little while as I gear up for all of these things and focus on getting some really good tracks recorded, but look for me again to be playing some live shows in the fall!

All the best,