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I’d Like to Believe We Can Do Better

A couple of new songs in demo form:

They say better ways don’t exist

But surely we can do better than this

And that’s pretty much it.

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A Christmas Album by Voices Arising

Well, me, really, but Voices Arising are a side project through which I can record and release more choral-type music, rather than the folky-alternative-rock stuff I do as A Montreal Paul. Here is is, then…six tracks, including two originals.

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Time for Some Wintry Holiday Tunes!

Sleigh Ride“, music by Leroy Anderson, words by Mitchell Parrish.

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The song that gets someone through a dark hour

Leonard Cohen in a 1988 interview:

If you don’t like something and think it’s cheap, unless you really have a great sense of responsibility for your culture, I think it’s best to keep it to yourself. That might be the song that gets someone through a dark hour […] All this plumbing the culture-mongers do is quite irrelevant. If someone has the grace to write a song that touches the hearts of thousands, I think it’s a matter for applause. Or of silence, if you think the air has been polluted by a song.

According to the Guardian, where the interview appeared, Cohen was responding to Martin Amis’s critiques of Simon and Garfunkel’s music “ being not so much art as therapy and of Suzanne Vega producing a style of music that is both symptomatic of, and reinforcing, a climate of passivity and retreat.” (please note that I cannot find the original 1988 interview or any text of Amis’s critique).

What I love about this quote is not so much the dismissal of these sorts of critiques of songs, as the idea that a song can “get someone through a dark hour”, can touch people’s hearts, and that this is the most important thing when it comes to considering their significance. My songs have certainly reached nowhere near as many people as those of Cohen, Paul Simon or Suzanne Vega, but the nicest thing anyone ever said about my songs is that some of them helped her through a rough time. I hope my songs and words will reach more people and help them with whatever inspiration, healing, or venting they need at a given time.

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RIP Leonard Cohen

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Ephemeral Electoral Concept Album 2016

With two weeks to go until the U.S. election, here’s a new limited-edition release consisting of tracks I’ve been working on that seem somewhat relevant to the overall mood surrounding this campaign (one specially composed for the album, with three other songs inspired by the horrendous U.S. election campaign).  It is pay-what-you-want this time, but it will only be available until a few days after the election.

The songs:

Here We Go Again: Starting things off with a waltz…the melodica, which I play here , sounds a lot like an accordion, but seems easier to play. “The least we can do is try to be civil”…will subsequent songs maintain this conciliatory tone?

The Leader Song: Apparently not. This dates back to 2009 although I rewrote some of the lyrics late last year. It begins with a quote from The Simpsons episode “The Joy of Sect , because why not.

Online Fight Tonight: Comment sections on many websites have long been smoldering dumpster fires, and fighting often erupts on social media, but during election campaigns tensions flare up more than usual.

Not Following You: A mournful piece featuring wordless singing, spoken word, a piano loop from and samples courtesy of artist, producer and musician Shane Watt.

Shock and AweThe Trump campaign has been disturbing to say the least.

Do You Suppose?I wrote this over a decade ago but, sadly, its disgust with people who get ahead in politics with smears, slander and dishonest nonsense is as timely as ever. This is a full Shane Watt production.

FascistsIn many countries the far-right has become an unapologetic feature of the landscape, and the Trump campaign has it made it clear it’s happening in the U.S. as well.

Refugees from RealityThe sheer horror sometimes gets to be too much and then we have to retreat into fantasy. Some people never come back and they carry on as though their fantasy is reality since it is what ought to be. This song originally emerged on my Awaiting an Awakening album, but here I added some further vocals and instrumentation.

This Land is Your LandSome of the ideals and questions that really ought to be animating political discussion and debate. Woody Guthrie wrote this song circa 1940 and it’s become his best known song. I remember learning a Canadian version of it when I was in school.









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