My Pet Dumbo Rat Rowan’s Very Special Easter Gift!

Two week old rats, photo by Maria Offin PhotographyI don’t usually blog about things going on in my personal life or even the fact that I’m a big animal lover, but to be honest, this is just too special to not share with you!

For those of you who don’t know, I have a six-year-old, female Goldendoodle named Scully (after Dana Scully on The X-Files, on which I was an extra way back in 1994, Season 2, Red Museum episode) and two rats.  I’ve had pet rats since May 2009 when my then six-year-old niece and nephew, who are twins, Erika & Ethan, convinced me that I should get some so that they could play with them when they came to visit me. As a child, my father let my sisters and I have all kinds of pets, and my sister Karen has quite a few for Erika & Ethan.  I love mammals so I went for it.

On January 23, 2013, I bought my 5th pet rat (they only live for

Dumbo rat Rowan

Rowan the day before she delivered.

about 2-3 years +/-), a beautiful white & black hooded Dumbo and called “him” Rowan. I thought Rowan was a male as that’s what I asked the staff for at The Pet Store in Kingston where I bought “him”.  The Pet Store in the Cataraqui Town Centre does not separate its baby male and female rats, which is very irresponsible, and apparently not all of its staff know how to tell the sex of a rat either.

Two weeks later I decided that Rowan needed a friend and on February 7, 2013, I bought a male Fancy rat and called him Lestat (both names are from Anne Rice novels).  Rowan and Lestat lived contentedly together for a while until one evening I noticed Lestat mounting Rowan.  UH OH!!!  I had my suspicions that Rowan wasn’t a boy and sure enough, she’s not!

On Easter Sunday, Rowan delivered 11 baby rats, which are called “kittens” or “pinkies” (that a Facebook friend commented looked a lot “like marzipan” and I have been keeping a photo diary of their


11 pinkies born on March 31st.

development ever since.  I’ve learned all kinds of things about baby rats that I didn’t know before.  For example, those tiny white bands across the pinkies’ abdomens indicate that they were nursing and had received their mother’s colostrum, which is very important.

Rowan has been a superb mother and has nursed all 11 in her litter to good health.  There are six blonde & white hooded ones that look like their dad, four black & white hooded ones that look like their mom, and one mostly white female with black specks on her head that’s unusual and the runt (I’m keeping this one and call her Claudia.).  They are now two weeks old and have just opened their eyes. They’ve grown so fast and are super cute!

Yesterday, Maria Offin of Maria Offin Photography came over with her three children to decide which babies they would like to adopt into their home as their new pets.  They picked two beautiful male youngsters, one blonde hooded and one black hooded and they’ll be able to take them home in a little over two weeks time, once they’ve been weaned and can eat solid food.  My nephew Ethan’s friend Jason and his mother Holly and his sisters came over to pick out two wee male ratties to be their new pets too.  There are seven males and four females in the litter.

Maria is an excellent photographer and she took these wonderful photos of Rowan, Lestat and their family that I just had to share with you.  Please take a look at her Facebook page and LIKE it if the spirit moves you.

The good news is that I’ve found loving homes for all of them but one, so far! I’m going to keep at least one of each sex so that they can be companions for their parents who can no longer live together in the same cage.

This has been an unexpected but absolutely wonderful experience and I highly recommend rats as pets, especially to people who live in apartments and don’t have enough room or time for a dog or cat. Rats are very smart, sociable and sweet and make for excellent companions!

You can learn more about rats and other interesting rodents in The Rodent Reader Quarterly magazine, published by my friend Mil Scott, who has been a superb source of inspiration, encouragement and support to me and thousands of other rat lovers.

Rowan rat




Lestat and one of his progeny

Lestat and one of his progeny

The Offin Family’s Choice

Claudia, the unusual runt that I will keep!

Scully says hello to baby “Elvis”

Philip with a handful of rattie love!

Philip with a handful of rattie love!

A bundle of Easter love

A bundle of Easter goodness

Rowan's Rogues

Rowan’s Rogues

Paying Artists Who Walk

I’ve worked with the dynamic, talented and spirit-filled Sue Kenney and whole-heartedly believe in compensation for artists so I want to pass along this information from her to you.

“As you know, I’m passionate about walking and I’m writing today because I believe you will be interested in supporting artists in a creative way. Artistic creativity has played a significant role in culture across the centuries, yet today we are asking artists to create without compensation as their work is downloaded or viewed on-line for free. We need to be more creative about the way artists are compensated.

A story published in Ripley’s Believe It or Not explains how Beethoven was once commissioned to write music by three Austrian noblemen. Rather than pay him for the composition they paid him to walk every day from sunrise until noon, because they believed if he walked he would create a masterpiece and as we all know, he did. Casual research indicates that most artists walk to be more creative and this story solidified the idea of a correlation between walking and creativity. Vision One was born. One step, one idea, one artist can change the world.

Vision One Walk is an awareness and crowd funding campaign to raise money to create this foundation. To show our commitment and raise awareness, a group of 3 artists including myself will walk from Tobermory to Collingwood, Ontario over 20 days, covering 425 kilometers along the Bruce Trail from September 9-29, 2012. We will arrive in Collingwood in time to be part of a Culture Days event. Using the Indiegogo fundraising platform, we are excited to be launching a campaign on September 1st, that runs for 45 days. Each donor will receive a “gift” of gratitude and be a part of the creation of something very special.

So, what can you do?

1. Like.        See Facebook… 

2. Share.     Follow and Retweet on Twitter…

3. Donate.   As little as $10. Every penny counts. – Note: Campaign starts September 1, 2012.

We still need some volunteers to work on media and publicity, Social Media, administration and we welcome people who like talking to potential sponsors. Feel free to give me a call or drop me a message if you can offer something.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to learn about Vision One Walk and for all your support along the way. We’ll be sure to keep you updated too!

Love and light,

Susan Regan Kenney
Inspirational Speaker. Coach. Pilgrim.
Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino
twitter caminoperegrina
705 8264641

Barefoot Healing: A Workshop with Sue Kenney

Would you like to discover the healing powers of going BAREFOOT? Not only will you improve your balance and flexibility, there’s a possibility you can help your body to heal itself.  In the book EARTHING, Clinton Ober talks about how grounding can contribute to a natural healing process. Our bodies are electrically conductive and the influx of negatively charged electrons received through direct contact with the earth neutralizes positive free radicals and the result is that it reduces inflammation in the body.

Wearing shoes has cut us off from this incredible gift the earth has to offer. Learn how you can integrate this forgotten component of a holistic approach to everyday life. It’s organic and it’s right under our feet!


Date: Sunday, July 8, 2012
Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Place: The Waterview Space, 125 Dunlop St. E., Barrie, ON
Cost: $95.00 plus hst in advance ($105.00 plus hst at the door) or by donation.

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE – book now to avoid disappointment as there are only 15 spaces available!

For more info call 705-826-4641 or email

Sue’s Bio

Sue Kenney is a storyteller and the author of the best selling book, My Camino. As a pilgrim, she has walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain 9 times covering over 4000 kilometers. Sue began her barefoot journey in July 2011, wearing minimalist footwear. One month later she kicked off her shoes and she’s been researching and studying the physical, spiritual and healing effects of being barefoot ever since. Today Sue can be seen walking/running barefoot, even in the snow. Sue led a group in May 2012 on the Camino and walked all 225 kms barefoot.

21st Century Troubadour by Andy White Is An ‘On The Road’ For Musicians

Book Review
Title: 21st Century Troubadour
Author: Andy White
Publisher: Lagan Press
Released: 2009
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 1904652727
ISBN-13: 978-1904652724
Stars: 5.0

Freewheeling, mordant, rumbustious, 21st Century Troubadour is a travelogue into the imaginative heartlands of rock and roll.  It’s the journal of a slightly twisted love affair with life, art, music, the musical life and all the combinations thereof.

Its author Andy White, is a complex, Belfast-born, Cambridge educated man who travels the globe as a 21st century troubadour.  Hauling an acoustic guitar, a laptop and a 70lb. Bag – there are Rules of the Bag – with his life in it; this brilliant poet/musician spends half of each year away from his beloveds and their house on the hill in Melbourne.  He has worked with such music legends as Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Sinead O’Connor and Tim Finn (though he doesn’t talk much about this in the book) and was once the director of the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) festival in the UK.  White earns a living playing his exquisite, intelligent and heartfelt songs mostly in Europe, America and Australia but has given up trying to answer the question, “where’s my home?”  Andy’s a citizen of the world, comfortable in his skin, confident of his gift, and has seen and done more in his 49 years than most of us could ever imagine.  I confess that I fell a wee bit in love with him after reading this book.

His publisher at Lagan Press wanted a journal, an On The Road, and White delivered in spades.  21st Century Troubadour is most certainly On The Road for musicians and music fans, and even more accessible to this generation than Kerouac’s masterpiece.  It’s a collection of thoughtfully written snapshots of Andy’s life as a touring musician between the years 2000 and 2008; an engaging, funny and poignant chronicle that cries out for a sequel.  In the meantime, fans like me can stay in the loop by following his blog.

As a life long music fanatic who has read countless volumes of music biographies and autobiographies, I can honestly say that no book with a musician as its central character has ever moved me more than this.  It probably helps that I’m close in age to White, have met him, and can totally identify with all of his pop and cultural references, but regardless, I had so much fun reading the prose of 21st Century Troubadour that I re-read it and savored every moment of his myriad of adventures.

Andy has an earnest, spirited, yet realistic view of the world and the people he meets in it and seems to take something meaningful away from every encounter.  21st Century Troubadour began as a tour/diary blog through which he shared his concert experiences and it evolved into a descriptive account of the places he’s been to and the assortment of remarkable characters he’s met along the way.  As he affirms at the very beginning of the book, “there is no narrative on a 21st Century Troubadour’s tour.  There is no plot, and only a few recurring characters.  Nothing is certain except that nothing is certain.”

Reading this journal, you’ll discover just how unglamorous most of a touring musician’s life is as he chocks up millions of air miles, waits in airport departure lounges, maintains a steady diet of sandwiches and KitKat bars, sleeps in hotel rooms – if he’s lucky, as he’s slept in some pretty strange places – and prays that the gigs he’s booked via email haven’t been cancelled before he gets to his destination (places like Soweto, Berlin, Glasgow, Alaska & Tokyo to name just a few) and that they’ll be financially lucrative once he’s there.  “There are lists, poems, and advice on such topics as how to check in large amounts of bags on budget airlines without paying excess baggage fees, and what to do when you’re mistaken as one of U2.”  I understand he’s also been taken for a member of Sting’s band as well.  All is he wants to know is which member of the band is he supposed to be?  His list called ‘56 Reasons Why The German Concert Will Be Empty Tonight’ and section on ‘The Hugh Grant Pack’ are particularly funny!  At the back of the book there are also two interviews with Andy that offer even more insight into this fascinating character.

It can be a rough road sometimes but Andy wouldn’t have it any other way. His hilarious tales of a troubadour’s Hell and Nirvana will make you smile, laugh, and nod your head in acknowledgement of his pleasure and pain.  21st Century Troubadour is a must read for anyone who dreams of being a touring musician, is one, knows one, or simply loves music.

Bookworm Literary Productions Releases an Adventurous Work of Fiction by Brian Howald

For Immediate Release

Kingston, ON
November 1, 2011

Contact: Bookworm Literary Productions

Phone: (613) 544-6946



Bookworm Literary Productions Releases an Adventurous Work of Fiction by Brian Howald

In World War II three British inmates at a German P.O.W. camp seek their freedom with a clever bit of trickery that leads to a subversive but hair-raising escape.

Bookworm Literary Productions cordially invites you to attend the book launch of its newest title – Inside Looking Out by Brian Howald – which will be held at:

156 Princess Street, Kingston, ON
Friday, November 11, 2011
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Author Brian Howald’s suspense story, based on original World War II papers, stays focused on three British inmates at a German prison camp.

Authentic characters, location, reality and good narrative values give Inside Looking Out an edge.

Established in 1995, Bookworm Literary Productions is an independent publishing company that issues novels, biographies and general interest non-fiction.  Previous titles: The Chopper of Lucy Electra (1996), Sawdust & Spangles (1998), Moonrider (1999), Blast-Off (2002), Smiling Al (2003), The Blue of Capricorn (2004), and Inside Looking Out (2011).  Future Release: The Spot Marked “X” (2012, projected).

All titles are available through Bookworm Literary Productions by calling 613-544-6946 or by email to For more information visit:

Author: Brian Howald
Retail Price: $22.95 CAN / $16.95 US
ISBN: 978-0-9865722-0-3
Format: Coil Bound Soft Cover, 459 pages
Publisher: Bookworm Literary Productions, P.O. Box 2095, Kingston, ON K7L 5J8


The Legendary Leon Redbone Comes To Kingston on Tues., Nov. 29th!

Another music legend comes to Kingston!  The rumours you may have heard recently are true – Leon Redbone, the reclusive and enigmatic musical icon will be coming to Kingston on Tues., Nov. 29th.  His origins may be a mystery but there is no doubt that his talent and musicianship are of the highest calibre.  This will be an evening not to be missed!

Tuesday, Nov. 29th, 2011 – 8 pm
Chalmers United Church, Barrie St. at Clergy, Kingston
Tickets: $25 + HST, available at Grand Theatre box office (613-530-2050), online at and at Brian’s Record Option.


Over the course of his legendary 35 year – 15 album career, Leon Redbone has continued his love affair with tunes from the turn-of-the-twentieth century.  He is a master guitarist, dry comedian and warm and witty singer whose concerts include forgotten old pop songs, classic ragtime, flapper-era radio ditties, blues from the likes of Lonnie Johnson or Blind Blake, and jazz standards by Fats Waller.

Redbone’s career first gained momentum in the early ’70s when Bob Dylan came to Toronto Island’s Mariposa Folk Festival specifically to see him.  Most folks were introduced to the man during his network debut on Saturday Night Live in 1976, where he showcased his indelible version of Walkin’ Stick.  In a year typified by amplified arena rock, Redbone’s intimate, low-key delivery proved to be a jolting and welcome contrast.  Since then the opportunities for this unlikely figure to impose himself on pop culture have been plentiful.  He appeared as a wise, animated snowman opposite Will Ferrell in the hugely popular family comedy Elf.  His duet with star Zooey Deschanel on the seasonal standard Baby, It’s Cold Outside served as the picture’s theme song.  Over the years, Redbone has also provided TV title tunes to Mr. Belvedere and Harry and the Hendersons, and had a memorable guest role as a quixotic, guitar-wielding guardian to the character Corky on ABC’s critically acclaimed series Life Goes On.  New York choreographer Eliot Feld recently created the ballets Mr. XYZ (featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov) and Paper Tiger, which were woven around Redbone’s signature songs.

If there is one common element to Redbone’s diverse music it’s his mastery of his acoustic guitar.  It is easy to get lost in his stage exploits (which often gravitate between vaudeville and performance art) and overlook what a truly fine player he is – fingerpicking with a ragtime bounce or jumping between chords with the effortless grace of a hurdler.

No description of Redbone omits the fact that he has been a singular force in bringing a style and period of music to many people who may not have heard it otherwise.  While critics may argue about the emphasis placed on his persona, his reverence for the music has never been questioned.  With a desire to remain true to himself – whoever he is – and Blind Blake, Jelly Roll Morton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and the rest of his idols, Redbone is as much an educator as a performer, a professor of one of the richest periods in American music.  And although he told Rolling Stone’s Weitzman, that regarding himself, “I don’t want them to know anything that they don’t know already,” he’d like more people to know about this music.

For information please contact:

Al Rankin

Sultans of String MOVE CD Release!

“A hard core of five is leading this spectacular Canadian band to award after award.”  The Scotsman

“[Sultans of String’s] latest album seems to be hoovering up Canadian awards and nominations like a Dyson on speed — a joyful melting pot of jazz, flamenco, folk and indeed anything else that takes their fancy.. energetic and exciting world music fest from a band with talent to burn.  This is the sort of band and music that would rip up any festival in the country.”  Maverick Magazine, UK

 “Chris McKhool and the boys are fantastic!”
Bob Ezrin (Producer–Pink Floyd. Kiss)

“Virtuoso playing… An exuberant and infectious sound… Powerful and moving… The Sultans are simply an awesome musical group!”  Mariposa Folk Festival

“The affection for this group was palpable as the band alternated between sincere tributes to whales, Sable Island horses and Mayan ruins, meditative rumba flamenco and smokin’ East Coast kitchen parties… fiery solos … precise and melodic phrases.”  WholeNote Magazine


WHO:                   Sultans of String MOVE CD Release!
                        Featuring special guests Ken Whiteley, Ernie Tollar, Jordan
Klapman, Pabloski Rosales, the Cuban Trumpet Ensemble,
and more!
WHEN:                 Saturday, October 29, 8pm (doors: 7pm)
WHERE:               Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St., West, Toronto
TIX/INFO:         Small World Music $15 adv/$20 door / free for high school students w/valid ID –

MEDIA                  Lisa Weitz,  LW Communications
416-624-3466 (office)  416-846-6877 (cell)

Raucous roots super-group, Sultans of String, showcase their spicy new CD, MOVE, at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre on Saturday, October 29th!

Seamlessly traversing diverse themes of heart, place and tradition, fiery violin dances with kinetic guitar while a funk bass lays down unstoppable grooves. Throughout, acoustic strings meet electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound.

Since their formation only 4 years ago, Sultans of String have been riding a wave of success, from their debut CD, “Luna”, and 2nd offering, “Yalla Yalla”, both hitting # 1 on world/international music charts in Canada, to their triple Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, winning Instrumental Group of the Year.

In the past year alone, they’ve acquired a JUNO nomination, representation from acclaimed promoter David Wilkes (Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck, Jesse Cook), and booking representation in the US, UK and Australia.  They also garnered a 2010 CMW Indies nomination, took home 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition (out of 15,000 entries) and placed as finalists for two 2011 International Independent Music Awards. To boot, they just released their new CD, MOVE, which they’ll be showcasing on the tour… exciting times for the band!

“Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity” include 6-string violinist Chris McKhool (Pavlo), guitar czar Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook, guested on tour with The Chieftains), bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk), and the jaw dropping talent of Cuban percussionist Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba, Parachute Club)!

“Canada is a real meeting places of styles and musical influences from around the world” says bandleader/ fiddler McKhool.  “At the same time, as a band we try to tell uniquely Canadian stories, putting forth our vision of the world as one family.”

Thanks to Ontario Arts Council and FACTOR for their support in recording the CD, as well as OAC for composition support.  Also thanks to supporters Long & McQuade, MMS, Imperial Graphics, and Prologue to the Performing Arts


• 2011 International Acoustic Music Awards Finalist – Instrumental
•  2011 Independent Music Award Finalist – Instrumental Album – Yalla Yalla!
•  2011 Independent Music Award Finalist –  World Beat Album – Yalla Yalla!
•  2011 ISC International Songwriting Competition Finalist-  “Auyuittuq Sunrise” (Instrumental)
•  2011 ISC International Songwriting Competition Finalist-  “Gardens Of Lebanon” (World Music)
•  2010 JUNO Nominees – “Instrumental Album of the Year”
• 2010 International Songwriting Contest 1st Place Winners – Instrumental
• 2010 Performer at JUNOFest
•  2010 Indie Awards Nominees – Favorite World Artist/Group
•  2009 Canadian Folk Music Award winner – Instrumental Group of the Year
•  2009 Canadian Folk Music Award nominees – Ensemble of the Year
•  2009 Canadian Folk Music Award nominees – Pushing The Boundaries
•  2009 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Award Winner- Best Toronto World CD
•  2009 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Award Winner- Artist of the Year
•  2009 CTV National Feature – “Canada AM”
•  2008 CBC National Feature – “Canada Live”
•  2008 International Songwriting Competition winner – Instrumental
•  2008 Festivals and Events Ontario- Best Variety Act
•  2008 International Independent Music Awards Finalists – Best World Fusion Song
•  2008 Canadian Independent Music Awards Finalists- Favorite World Music Band
•  2007 Musique du Monde Award
•  2007 Debut CD, “Luna” hit #1 on national radio charts – “International”/”World”
•  2007 Canadian Folk Music Award nominees (Instrumental Group of the Year)
•  2007 Ontario Independent Music Award winner- Best Song
•  2007 Ontario Independent Music Award winner- Best Instrumental
•  2007 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Award Winner- Best Latin Jazz Group
•  2007 Toronto Independent Music Award nominees – World Music Category


BOOKING:  Lisa Weitz
PUBLICITY:  LW Communications
416-624-3466 (office)
416-846-6877 (cell)

BOOKING  U.K. (2012):  Loudon Temple, Brookfield Knights Agency,

BOOKING U.S.A.:  Brad Simon Agency, New York,

BOOKING AUSTRALIA (2013): Abby Edwards, Onya Soapbox
61-03 9349 5726 (office)
61-0417 808 107 (cell)


10/29/11 Toronto CD Release, Trinity St Paul’s, ON
11/2/11 House of Jazz, Montreal, QC
11/3/11 Scullers Jazz Club, Boston MA
11/4/11 Nelson Odeon, Cazenovia, NY
11/5/11 Oswego Music Hall, NY
11/6/11 Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY
11/7/11 SiruisXM live taping, Washington DC
11/8/11 The Living Room, New York, NYC
11/9/11 Turning Point Cafe, Peirmont, NY,
11/10/11 6-7 PM Birdland Jazz Club, NYC
11/11/11 Tillotson Centre, Colebrook, NH,
11/12/11 Unity Centre, Unity, ME
11/13/11 Skye Theatre, Carthage, ME
11/14/11 Franco-American Centre, Manchester NH
11/19/11 Shaw Festival, Niagara on the Lake, ON
12/17/11 With Scarborough Bluffs Symphony, ON

1/6/12 The Psalm Salon, Philad. PA
1/7/12 APAP Showcase NYC
1/25/12 South Holland Centre, Lincolnshire, UK
1/27/12 Celtic Connections Festival, Scotland, UK
2/4/12 Welland-Port Colborne, ON,
2/5/12 The Cellar, Vancouver, BC
2/6/12 Creekside Theatre, Lake Country, BC
2/7/12 Charles Bailey Theatre, Trail, BC
2/9/12 Ironwood, Calgary, AB
2/10/12 Festival Place, Sherwood Park, AB
2/11/12 LethbridgeFolkClub, AB
2/12/12 Bassment Jazz Society, Saskatoon, SK
2/15/12 EA Rawlinson, Prince Albert SK,
2/16/11 McNally Robinson, Winnipeg, MB
2/17/12 Watson Arts Centre, Dauphin, MB
2/18/12 William Glesby Centre, Portage, MB
2/25/12 Victoria Jubilee Hall, Walkerton, ON
4/25/12 Brantford Jazz Festival, ON
5/3/12 Oakville Centre, ON
5/5-6/12 Performing w Windsor Symphony, ON
5/12/12 Spirit of Rasputin’s, Ottawa, ON

Fearing & White Hold The Acoustic Grill Audience Spellbound!

Artist: Fearing & White
Venue: The Acoustic Grill
Location: Picton, Ontario
Date: October 11, 2011
Review and Photos by Christine Bode

I have deemed 2011 to be the year of Andy White.

Last night I saw the Belfast-born, Melbourne-based singer-songwriter perform with his long-time friend, Dublin-born, Halifax-based, two-time Juno winner Stephen Fearing (Blackie and The Rodeo Kings) at The Acoustic Grill in Picton, Ontario.  The Acoustic Grill has great ambiance, acoustics, food and above all, spectacular music being offered there on a regular basis.  It may well be the best pub between Ottawa and Toronto and Kingston’s own Tom Savage Trio (alt-country/folk/roots rock) recorded an album entitled Live At The Acoustic Grill on Acoustic Jam Records’ label in 2008.

This was the fourth Andy White show I’ve seen this year.  I met him when he opened for the legendary Judy Collins in Kingston on April 22nd and immediately recognized the truth in the rave review my friend Paige had given me about his music.  I’ve also read Andy’s book, 21st Century Troubadour (5 star review coming – an On The Road for musicians), and his recent edition of poetry, Stolen Moments, and I really want to be asked to roadie for him so I can travel all over the world and listen to him sing every night.  I definitely have a thing for literary musician/poets and confess that I’ve fallen a wee bit in love with him.  The trouble is that troubadours don’t have roadies.  They’re all-in-one travelling music shows.

Although my friend Nicole and I missed the opening of Fearing & White’s show because we drove from Kingston, when we arrived we scored premium seats at the side of the bar and settled in shortly after 8:00 pm to listen to the single most impressive show of acoustic/electric, Beatles influenced, folk rock music I have ever heard (and I’ve seen Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett & Damien Rice to name a few).  The intimate setting was accentuated by some great storytelling from Stephen as he tuned his guitar and witty banter and strange jokes from Andy (What does cheese say when it’s having its photograph taken?) that held the audience spellbound.  Their easy-going good nature and genuine camaraderie made for a delightful stage presence.

Earlier this year, Stephen Fearing and Andy White, who have been writing songs together every summer at Fearing’s Guelph studio for the past eight years, released their eponymous, critically acclaimed, debut album Fearing & White, which I purchased this summer at one of Andy’s shows.  It has become my favourite album of 2011 and is chock full of 13 magnificent songs about love, loss and longing.  I think they played every song on the album: my favourites being ‘Say You Will’, ‘Heaven For A Lonely Man’, ‘If I Catch You Crying’, and ‘Rockwood’ as well as a few of their own songs.

“Fearing & White explores diverse lyrical terrain, though Andy reflects, “the album’s tone I find is one of yearning. It is emotionally bare, and coy and mysterious too. The songs will definitely keep you guessing.” Plus, as Stephen observes, “there is plenty of humour in there too.” For instance, the stream of conscious-psychedelia of the infectious ‘Silver Sky’, the breezy upbeat vibe of opening track ‘Say You Will’, the cod-Irish humour of ‘Heart O’ The Morning’, and the musically quirky yet haunting groove of ‘Mothership’.”

It was a night of music that made you feel as if there was nowhere in the world you’d rather be at that moment.  There was magic in the room and I believe the audience could feel it, or maybe that was me swooning over the sound of two stunning voices that complement each other so perfectly that you’d think they had been singing together forever.  Fearing & White are roots rock angels who should be declared a national treasure even though they belong to the whole world.

At the end of the night they received a thunderous round of applause that carried on long after they’d left the stage.  I helped carry a couple of guitar cases and wrap some cables before I realized that being a roadie isn’t very glamourous after all.  I’ll stick to buying their CDs, attending their shows, and chasing the dragon of music rapture I find myself entranced by while I’m there.

Kingston Duo Kyra and Tully Release A Gorgeous New Single: ‘Love In All These Things’

Kingston, Ontario
October 11, 2011

Acclaimed folk-duo Kyra and Tully are grateful to announce the release of their brand new single ‘Love in All These Things’.  The song, which celebrates family and community, as well as courage and perseverance, was inspired by a child who knows a thing or two about determination — Kyra and Tully’s own son, eight year old Kezyan who suffers from a rare disorder which causes him to have frequent seizures.

Based on a poem by Kingston poet, Matthew Reesor written for Kezyan and his parents, ‘Love in All These Things’ became a larger project as more and more people from Kingston’s vibrant art community got involved.  “Kezyan was struggling with seizures and was having a hard time,” explains Kyra.  “Matthew first wrote the poem as a way of reaching out…because when the seizures first started happening Keyzan was almost four years old, and a lot of our friends and family felt so helpless.”

“In our situation, every day presents its unique challenges. What was so inspirational about the poem is that it’s really about blessings in disguise,” says Kyra.  “There is positive in everything, and beauty, even in difficult times.  It’s true.  And with Kezyan, even when it’s hard and scary, we still see the love and gifts that shine through.”

The poem began to evolve into a song when Kyra and Tully decided to perform it at a musical fundraiser for a friend who was battling cancer.  Backed by a band for the first time, the song came to life.  That’s when composer and media artist Matt Rogalsky (PS I Love You, The Gertrudes) stepped in to record and produce the song.  It was later mastered by Peter J. Moore (Cowboy Junkies, Sloan).

In releasing the song as a single, Kyra and Tully hope to celebrate not only their son, but also the power of music to bring people together and to build community. They hope it will help people to feel that they are not alone in their struggles.

Kingston-based artists Kyra and Tully have been performing together since 2000.  Their self-titled EP garnered acclaim as a Critic’s Pick and one of the top ten albums of 2006 in Toronto’s NOW Magazine and earned praise from Exclaim and on CBC and campus Radio.  Their music has been featured on the popular television show, Degrassi: The Next Generation (2010).  Kyra and Tully have played showcases at Toronto’s North by Northeast and as part of Canadian Music Week.  They have performed with Bruce Cockburn, Jenn Grant, and Stephen Stanley (Lowest of the Low), among others.

‘Love in All These Things’ is available for purchase on Apple iTunes here and you can listen to it on CBC Radio 3.

The Fabulous Royal Wood in Kingston at The Octave Theatre on Friday, Oct. 7th!

The fabulous ROYAL WOOD who is quickly becoming a fan favourite across Canada, is coming to the Octave Theatre (711 Dalton Ave.) in Kingston on Friday, October 7th at 8:00 pm.

Tickets: $20 in advance and $25 at the door (if available) on sale now at Brian’s Record Option (613) 542-2452 and at the Tricolour Outlet Store at Queen’s University (John Deutsch Centre).

Royal’s career trajectory is building one fan at a time through word of mouth, critical acclaim and impressive musical achievements.  He was nominated for Songwriter of the Year at the Junos, named iTunes’ Songwriter of the Year, Best Pop Album and Pop single, supported national tours with David Gray and Serena Ryder and landed song placements in TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice.  With the release of The Waiting, his most inspired record to date, an upcoming national theatre tour and more in the works, now more than ever Royal Wood is an artist on the rise.

Royal Wood’s calling card has always been the connection he’s cultivated with his fans.  With the release of his critically acclaimed Juno Nominated 2010 album, The Waiting, he hit the road, performing concerts in major cities and smaller communities, clocking an incredible amount of time on stage across the country.  In anticipation of his next studio album Royal headed out on his Sneak Peek Tour, starting in Winnipeg on September 18th performing new songs, old favourites and some unique covers in smaller venues across the country.

Royal’s Sneak Peek Tour

Royal says, “The Sneak Peek Tour will be an intimate way to let my listeners in on the secrets that have been brewing.”  Each night on the Sneak Peek Tour Royal will be performing songs that are under consideration for his 2012 new album.  Fans are encouraged to hit the world wide web (Facebook and Twitter) and give their opinion on what songs they think should make the cut. One would say that this is truly interactive!

The concept of the new tour was inspired by his fans’ involvement in choosing songs for the Cover Sessions EP.  While on tour last spring Royal decided to record a version of Foster the People’s Pumped Up Kicks.  After posting it on YouTube it was picked up by blogs and received unanimous praise for his unique recording.  The response was so fantastic that he decided to ask his fans what other songs they would like to hear him cover and after hundreds of suggestions he selected 4 additional songs to record.  The EP, Cover Sessions, was the result and it will only be available to fans that attend the tour this fall.

During the Sneak Peek Tour concert goers will be given the exclusive opportunity to pre-purchase a copy of the yet to be titled 2012 studio album.  The autographed album will be sent a week in advance of the official release.  They’ll also go home with a copy of Cover Sessions, which will only be available to people that pre-purchase the upcoming album at one of the shows.

Joining Royal Wood on tour will be Montreal born intrinsic rocker Danielle Duval who launches OF THE VALLEY this fall.  Produced by Carlin Nicholson and Mike O’Brien of Zeus (Arts & Crafts); delivered by a magnetically gutsy voice, the music is old school, harmony driven pop with an early rock n’ roll sensibility.

Singer-songwriter Royal Wood offers a sneak peak to