was always going to be a novelist. But at a car show in
Mill Bay, British Columbia in 1994, my best friend stuck a branch in
the spokes of that bicycle. He suggested we start a grunge band - Ira
could play the bass; I could play the guitar. For six months, we
wrote pages and pages of lyrics. Then we got our instruments and
learned how to play them. Threw those lyrics away and started writing
songs. Songs became a far more comfortable medium for my
expression - it was like sticking a novel in a pan and simmering it
until only the best elements of the story were left, then singing it to
other people and watching them respond right away.
Since then, I've put the grunge... not exactly behind me, but
shares space with folk, roots, country and whatever else comes to mind.
I left the West Coast for Ottawa, Ontario, where I found a new
musical community and new stages to play on. Finished a degree in
journalism and English literature, married a lovely girl, worked for
CBC Radio, and started a family. Trying my hand at the
Irish bouzouki, I managed to fill a
conveniently emptied hole in Celt-punk sextet Siobhan.
For my troubles, I've played shows, drunk local beer and driven and
crashed vans (not in that order) in Finland,
Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. And through it all, I've kept
writing and performing my own material.
spent a notorious summer on a picket line a few years back, which made
me reconsider how seriously I was taking that material. I cobbled a few
of these songs together and asked some friends to play on it. The
result was the 2006 EP Long
Shadows in the Afternoon.
Six songs is just the tip of the shoelace, though, when it comes to the
songs I've written. So three years later, I recorded a full album, I
Am with the Hunters.
My music centres on my cheap acoustic guitar - the same
one I used to patch through a distortion pedal and play drop-d punk
tunes on all those years ago in Nanaimo. The songs
inspiration from the places I've walked and lived - the coast
of British Columbia, an ancient pilgrim trail in Spain, or a
second-floor apartment looking onto rainy Bronson Avenue. I've added a custom
to the arsenal, as well as my latest love, the ukulele. From fall of
2010, home became London, England, and a year later, I decamped to
Edinburgh, Scotland. Continuing the UK capital tour, I moved to Cardiff,
Wales in the summer of 2015, where I teach at the university and rock
out when I can.