I have had a passion for singing and performing since I was very young. I learned how to sing with my grandmother Doris (Dodie) – my dad’s mom, when I was 3 years old. I vividly remember her inviting me to sit beside her on the piano stool and listening/responding so I could learn traditional Irish tunes on the fly.
That inspiration and passion for music has fueled me for my whole life.
In 2006, I was missing music desperately and was curious about songwriting. I was connected with a brilliant songwriter, Scotty Dibble, who helped me co-write, produce and (finally) launch my first original album, Zig Zag Bridge in 2010. In 2013 after 3 years of songwriting and soul-searching, Danny Greenspoon helped me produce album #2 – Endless Sky. And in 2017, I co-wrote and co-producer original album #3 with David Martin – a constant music companion, mentor since 2006. Music and songwriting have taught me a tonne on collaboration, creativity and the human spirit.
After all, the best songs we don’t write, they are written through us.
Here is a sampling of some videos, pics and perspectives on music & songwriting. I continue to dabble in writing and hope to launch a few more original tunes in 2020.
Scorpio Soul EP: April 2017
Scorpio Soul has been a labour of love over the past few years. My main collaborator on this EP project has been the amazing David Martin. David is incredibly patient musician, songwriter and producer.. He has written hundreds, probably thousands of songs, so he is has been a terrific mentor & sounding board for Scorpio Soul. This album was written at a time when my wife Nancy and I have been digging into our souls and asking some of the big questions. A beautiful piece of art that came directly from Nancy’s soul is the cover art for Scorpio soul – thank you for your love and inspiration Nance!
Here are some note that shares the inspiration and perspectives on the songs of Scorpio Soul:
The first song on Scorpio Soul, Metamora, we started writing back in 2011. David plucked out a really hooky guitar riff that really caught my ear. For some reason, the riff reminded me of the classic Lightfoot song, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. After hearing the riff, my idea was to write our own shipwreck song. My mind quickly moved to a shipwreck I knew about up near our family cottage in in Pte au Baril, Georgian Bay, Ontario. At the time, I didn’t know the name of the ship, but knew about a book called Into the Blue, written about the shipwreck, by my friend, Andrea Curtis. Andrea and her family also cottaged up at the Pte. So, I called Andrea and suggested the 3 of us write a song about the 1907 Pte Au Baril shipwreck off Turning Island in Pte au Baril, Georgian Bay. Metamora was her name. The first line sets the scene and the beautiful, yet dangerous waters of Pte au baril – “Up in Pte au Baril, on rocky Georgian Bay, racing ‘gainst the freeze up, on that cold November day….
To the sea
In June 2014, I went to the beautiful area of southern France to lead a global leadership conference for a client Neopost. It was a first class event, and a first class organization. I have had the priviedge of working on many projects with Neopost over the past 3 years. The first night I was at this spectacular hotel, about 5 miles from the Mediterranean, I had a challenging night of sleep. One of the joys of travel! I woke up at about 3am, pulled back the blinds and there was an incredible early morning light cast by the moon. A little melody popped into my head and the beginnings of some lyrics – “Woke up, pulled back the blinds, looked at the early dawn, jet lagged, 3,000 miles away, from home….”
This is the title track of the EP and has a special place in my heart. Songs are like kids, so I try to not play favourites, but this is one of my favourites! The inspiration of this song is my wife Nancy. She is a Scorpio and I have tried to capture the beautiful essence of her soul – curious, steadfast and beautiful. The song takes place in the Fall – the birth time of Scorpio’s, my favourite time of the year, and about my favourite girl, Nancy Leishman.
Just look it in the eye
I have gone through lots of change since turning 40 in particular. They call it a mid-life crisis for a reason! I sold, exited the business, Fusion Learning that I founded in 2000. I had a major health scare in 2011 when I developed achalasia (look it up if you are curious – very rare auto-immune disorder). So this song comes from a place of looking at challenges in the eye. The focus of moving meaningfully through change is also at the heart of our new business, 1-degree (www.1-degree.ca). So this is a song about change, growth, facing barriers with courage and trying to face it all with some grace…
3 miles below (aka – Copper & gold)
This song came about in a similar way as Metamora did. David was playing a cool guitar riff when we were “fishing for ideas” in his basement studio, in November 2015. It has a bluesy, gritty and miner type sound. When I heard it, I thought, “man, that sounds like a miners song.” Then, just after I expressed that, I remembered seeing an ad somewhere for this movie, “33 men,” basedon a true story of a 2010 a Chilean mining disaster where ALL 33 men survived. So David’s guitar riff was quickly married with a song concept. We drafted up the first verse of the song and the chorus in our first session together. Its called 3 miles below, because that’s where the Chilean mine in San Jose was – “69 days, 3 miles below…33 men, 33 lost souls. Down there digging for copper and gold…”
I was having a conversation with one of my 1-degree partners, Lorella DePieri in early 2016. She was asking me if I could write a birthday song for her new boyfriend, Gus – a fire chief. I said to her that I could help her write it, but she needed to contribute! She was a little timid about her songwriting prowess, and said she didn’t know how. So, I suggested that she write down some ideas, some feelings about her new love interest. She was a little nervious about sharing with me some of the ideas, but when she came up with some ideas like, “humble hero” and “it’s nearly sun down, it won’t be long now…“ and just dying to see you” – Lorella, the songwriter was in flight! David and I recorded an early acoustic demo for Gus for his birthday and later decided we loved the song and would record a rockier version for the EP.