Singer-songwriter David Leask Releases New Music Video for “When You Think No One Loves You”

Canadian Singer-songwriter David Leask Releases New Music Video for
“When You Think No One Loves You”

David Leask When You Think No One Loves You

“Six of the best from the award-winning wordsmith…All the songs are superbly crafted and David Leask possesses fine vocal talents.” ~ Maverick Magazine

As someone who often struggles with loneliness, when I first watched the new music video for “When You Think No One Loves You” by David Leask from his album Six in 6/8, I was moved to tears. I can’t imagine how this video could NOT touch people emotionally if they take the time to watch it. David Leask and Daryl Burgess have written a really beautiful song and the music video conveys scenarios that most of us are all too familiar with. It shares a very important message that loneliness IS an epidemic and we need to be mindful of that and treat people with kindness and compassion. Please watch and share if the spirit moves you.

David Leask: There’s an epidemic of loneliness out there and a large number of people on this planet who at some point in their lives feel unloved. This song and video is for them. I hope it moves you in a way to share it widely and spread some hope around the world.

Big thanks to my co-writer Daryl Burgess, producer Justin Abedin, Jonathan Goldsmith on piano & B3 Organ, Quisha Wint on BG vocals, engineer Jeremy Darby for capturing the tracks live off the floor, Chad Carlson for mixing, Peter Moore for mastering, Lee De Lang & the video production folks Big Red Oak for doing such a great job telling the story including, Producer: Will Murphy; Director: Alistair Simpson; Production Manager: Tejasvi Bhalla; DoP: Tyson Burger; Gaffer: Nikita Brusnitsyn; Production Designer: Eunice Hung; Art Director: Alexandra Hutton; Production Assistant: Ernesto Travieso and the actors, Teenager: Janet Tung; Elderly man: Daniel Coo; Single mother: Marta Pozniakowski: Child: August Pozniakowski

Finally, special thanks to FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters for their generous support to help make this video possible.  

“the 6/8 time signature..underpins six beautifully mature songs, naturally & ingeniously”
Rock n’ Reel Magazine – 4 STARS for “Six in 6/8”

“Indescribable is top down, hot day on the highway Nashville Music, with Leask’s vocal a masterclass in emotional major league Rock.  Caught In The Tide and When You Think No One Loves You feature that voice, in Prog mode against squalling guitars or gutsy soulful like a Mark Cohen or Liam O Maonlai from The Hothouse Flowers, but always interesting.”
Northern Sky Magazine – 4 STARS for “Six in 6/8”

Connect with David Leask at www.davidleask.com or on:

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Ilona Pal’s Americana Single “A Farm In Indiana” Pays Tribute to James Dean’s Hometown

Ilona Pal cd single cover artwork

What you have written, and written well, obviously came from the heart and, for me,“A Farm in Indiana” has that same haunting quality as Willie Nelson’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”. And it’s not because it’s about James Dean, it’s just a great song.  I have now listened to it repeatedly and I don’t tire of hearing it.” — Jim Hayes

Ilona Pal has travelled the rails between Montreal and Ottawa many times over, but in November of 2017, that train ride, and a movie about friendship, love and loss inspired a song that gave her wings to fly.

The movie was the 2015 feature film “Life”: the story of photographer Dennis Stock’s historic 1955 photo shoot of iconic actor James Dean in Fairmount, Indiana, for that still famous spread in Life Magazine.

“The song was a gift,” says Ilona. “I wasn’t looking to write a song about James Dean that day, the song was looking for me.” But when the last frame of the film faded to black and the words ‘James Dean died 6 months later’ appeared on the screen, she felt a wave of emotion well up in her chest. That wave soon reached her creative spirit, and all at once, most of the lyrics and melody that would become A Farm In Indiana were born.

Pal, an insightful singer-songwriter from Montreal, first emerged as an independent Canadian New Country artist with her debut single, Hold On Heart, and self-titled album. She landed a spot on the roster at Peter Asher Management in LA, alongside such notable artists as Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. French recordings of her songs have ranked #1 in Quebec and received ADISQ award nominations. Film credits include the closing theme song for Time At The Top (Showtime, HBO).

Produced by Les Cooper (The Good Lovelies, Jill Barber, Andy Stochansky, Craig Cardiff, Meaghan Smith, Madison Violet and David Myles, among others.), a Juno award-winning producer, Les is a songwriter, arranger and multi-instrumentalist, whose arrangements have frequently been compared to those of past greats such as Nelson Riddle and Duke Ellington, earning him a reputation as a composer with a classic and timeless sound.

A Farm in Indiana is their first collaborative writing effort.

Les brought in the magnificent Drew Jurecka to play violin. His soaring emotional solo was a first take, and captured the essence of the song beautifully. His passionate playing conjures up images of love and loss, as well as the sweetness of home and longing to be there. Stylistically, the down-home feel evokes genuine feelings of comfort. The solo is the heart of the arrangement, which features Cooper on guitar, lap steel and banjo, rounding out the ‘Americana’ folk tune.

“The train had a huge influence on this song. It was born on a train, inspired by a train ride when at the age of nine, James Dean brought his mother’s remains back to Fairmount, Indiana from LA, and it was the train that took me to Les in Toronto to produce the song,” mused Pal. “One thing I knew for sure was that the train had to be represented in the rhythm of the song.”

Pal then contacted the Main Street Fairmount organization in Indiana to propose a partnership. She would attach their fundraising initiative to her music video to aid the town of Fairmount in its ongoing effort towards the restoration and preservation of James Dean’s hometown. This was a complete leap of faith on their behalf, but the proposal was met with incredible enthusiasm and excitement, and soon, plans for a performance at the annual James Dean Festival in September were also underway.

“The highlight of making this connection for me was the day I called Marcus Winslow,” says Pal. Winslow, James Dean’s cousin, was like a little brother to him. To this day, he lives on the farm that both inspired the song and figures prominently in the photos of Dean from 1955. So, on a lovely summer afternoon, she called Marcus and told him all about the song. “He’s a gracious man of few words. He listened intently as I explained what I was trying to do,” Ilona recalls. It all seemed to come full circle as she recited the lyrics to him. The song had ultimately ‘come home’, to the place of its inspiration—the dream of every songwriter. 

In September 2018, Ilona performed A Farm in Indiana at the James Dean Festival in Fairmount, Indiana. Appearing on the Main Street stage and at the James Dean memorial service at the Back Creek Friends Church, a huge privilege and honour!

According to Ilona, “this song has legs and it’s moving on a mission unto itself.” She’s just very grateful to be along for the journey and happy the song chose her.

Today would have been James Dean’s 88th birthday.

www.ilonapal.com

“Stay In The Boat”: Troubadour Wyatt Easterling’s Poignant Ode to the Depressed

Wyatt EasterlingI’m just getting to know Country, Americana & Folk troubadour and producer Wyatt Easterling through Music Business Mentoring, a platform he launched earlier this year with singer-songwriters Marlene D’Aoust and Jen Smith that features an incredible resource of leading music industry professionals who are acting as mentors to those who are trying to find their way in a very challenging business.

When life feels like it’s too much to handle we may think about stepping out, but that’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Things are seldom as bad as they seem so I say: “Stay In The Boat.” ~ Wyatt Easterling

Wyatt doesn’t know that I struggle with depression and may not know that I’ve been grieving the death of my sister and best friend, Karen, who passed away 14 months ago from ovarian cancer leaving her husband and twelve-year-old twins behind. To say it’s been a challenging couple of years for me and my family has been an understatement. I have often not wanted to “stay in the boat” myself but I’m fortunate to have enough support in my life to keep me from jumping over board. However, not everyone does.

As synchronicity would have it, Wyatt reached out to me and shared his song “Stay In The Boat” because he noticed a post I made on behalf of my client, ArtsCan Circle, about the rising aboriginal suicide rate in Ontario and he thought I might like to share it with ArtsCan Circle colleagues and supporters. ArtsCan Circle is a not-for-profit organization that sends teams of musicians and artists to remote Indigenous communities engaging groups of children and youth in workshops to facilitate creative expression and teach skills in playing musical instruments, songwriting, visual arts and performance arts. ArtsCan Circle gives those at-risk youth a reason to “stay in the boat.” So, not only would I like to share this thoughtful, poignant song with them, but I’d like to share it with you too and with anyone who suffers from depression.

Former head of A&R for Atlantic Records Nashville, songwriter, producer,  executive and session player, Wyatt Easterling describes the inspiration behind his song:

Stay In The Boat

“A life long friend of mine called me back in the summer as I sat on a plane waiting to pull away Stay In The Boatfrom the gate, and as we talked, he began to reveal to me that he was suffering through a growing discontentment with the world around him. As the conversation progressed I began to realize that he was slipping into a serious depression and I became uneasy with some of his dark humor.  When he pointed out that I would know what happened if his sailboat came ashore one day without him, I could only say “hang in there,” things will be brighter tomorrow.

About this time the flight attendant said I’d have to turn off my phone to prepare for takeoff, but before I did I fired off a text to my pal: “We don’t know what tomorrow will bring so just stay in the boat.” Isn’t it funny how we always make a stab at humor when we don’t know what to say?

I spent the next three weeks touring from Michigan out to Alberta, Canada checking in with my friend, as frequently as guys will do, which is to say about once a week. My way of broaching the subject was to simply ask: “How ya doing,” his response: “I’m still in the boat.” “Just stay in the boat” became our motto as we hung up with each other.

This song came together over the ensuing miles in the car, running along the Bow River in Calgary and hanging out in airports. I finished it during a 4-hour layover in Charlotte waiting for a 25-minute flight to Raleigh.

Two days after I got home from my tour Robin Williams did the unthinkable. A week later I was in Nashville producing a cd for an artist and as fate would have it there was time to record this song. If you think it could help someone please pass it along.”

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

When you don’t quite know what to say to your loved one who is suffering from depression, try sharing this song with them or with anyone whom you believe would gain comfort from it.

“Stay In The Boat” is available through CD Baby and iTunes.

www.wyatteasterling.com

Ann Vriend’s Love & Other Messes Is One of My Top 2 Favourite CDs of 2011

CD Review
Title: Love & Other Messes
Artist:  Ann Vriend
Label: Independent
Released: 2011
Stars:  4.5

I should have written this a LONG time ago but I generally don’t review the work of my clients once they’ve become a client as this could be seen as a conflict of interest and undermine the influence of my opinions, for all they’re worth.  However, I have to make an exception in the case of Ann Vriend’s Love & Other Messes.  Critically acclaimed by numerous major Canadian newspapers & publications, listed on CKUA Radio’s Top 100 of 2011, honoured among The Ottawa Sun’s Top 7 Indie Album Picks for 2011, and following successful Canadian, Australian, Dutch & German tours to showcase it, Love & Other Messes is one of my top two favourite CDs of 2011. I’m declaring this because Ann’s a superb talent and not because she’s my client.  I started out as a fan and I’ll be one of her biggest fans forever!

Love & Other Messes, Vriend’s 6th album since 2003, is a collection of 12 exquisitely crafted songs, punctuated by Ann’s unique and easily recognizable vocals, that can’t be defined by one genre.  It falls somewhere between pop, soul and Americana, and opens with the country ballad “Everybody Sings in Nashville”, a song with backing vocals by Coco Love Alcorn & Chloe Albert that should have been a hit in Nashville and would be if Dolly Parton sang it.  (There’s still hope!)  “Best Thing” is a sophisticated, upbeat pop ditty with echoes of Motown careening through it, also supported by the very gifted Alcorn & Albert, and highlighted by Ann’s keyboards as well as Alcorn’s trumpet and the distinguished organ of David Aide (which is the case for every track).  James Forrest contributes bass, Robin Pelletier and Alan Wall play guitars and Thom Bennett adds drums throughout.

“Don’t Cry” is a revamped, stripped down version of the same pop ballad that was over produced on Vriend’s 2nd album, Modes of Transport.  This is by far the superior version of the song but it’s one of my least favourite tracks on Love & Other Messes.  “The Way You Let Me Down” is bluesy pop with some of the best playing by the musicians on the album not to mention a prime example of Vriend’s spectacular ability to hit some really high notes!  The blues make another appearance on “Possession Blues”, a simply produced song with only piano, guitar & vocals, and its’ recording reminds me immediately of Robert Johnson.

“Excuses No. 1-8” is a stark, plaintive piano ballad depicting various excuses one may give for not wanting to marry that certain someone while “More or Less” reiterates the importance of accentuating the positive while gently letting a lover down by not lying to them about your feelings.  “Tin Man” is a splendid ballad, using a brilliant metaphor from Oz, the likes of which you may have heard from the star that is Jann Arden.  Love is messy after all.

“Graffiti On My Heart (You Must Not Love)” is the only song of its kind on this CD, recorded live with a gang of vocal participants who carry on the bracketed refrain, and with its memorable gypsy/carnival romping sing-a-long gives Ann a reason to play the kazoo when she plays it live.  Sheer fun!

There are so many great tracks to choose from that it’s hard to pick a favourite.  I have three favourites including the sultry & divine duet with Matt Epp, “If You Were Here”, a ballad dedicated to the incomparable Jeff Buckley; “Long Distance Call”, another impressive ballad with background vocals by Epp that reminds me of someone special from my past; and my very favourite, the gospel charged call for divine assistance that should impress even Van Morrison and was my mantra for 2011: “Somebody On The Ground.”

Love & Other Messes’ CD packaging design by Simon Farla is the best of all of Vriend’s collection and offers a 28 page lyric booklet with terrific sepia tone photographs featuring splashes of washed-out vermillion.  Oh, and I was very honoured to be mentioned in her Thank Yous too.

You will honestly be hard-pressed to find many other female, Canadian singer-songwriters who aren’t already a household word who deserve to be more than Ann Vriend.  If she stays true to her own vision and continues to write classy songs of this magnitude, I have no doubt that she will be a Canadian music legend some day.