Welcome

Dawn Pritchard's second album, "Catch Me If You Can" will be released November 5, 2016 at the Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield, QC.  Still ambient, still quirky, but groovy too with sonic beauty!  Working once again with Dave Draves of Little Bullhorn Prods, it is an album both are proud of.  You'll want a copy for yourself!

Only Assholes Get the Blues  Podcast

Well, the CD release is tomorrow and I wanted to post one final song.  It is called "Only Assholes Get the Blues". I wrote it for Patti Smith. Yes, the Patti Smith.  And, I also wrote it for my niece - I remember her telling me about a book with a similar line in it.  She is the most well read person that I have ever met. Sadly, I remember neither the line, nor the book, but I remember the sentiment.  I do know that we all get the blues, and that we are not all assholes. But, this is a fun song. One of my favourites.  I hope that you enjoy it. And, I hope that you come to the show tomorrow at the Black Sheep Inn.  And, thank-you again, for reading and listening.
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  1. Only Assholes Get the Blues

Lament of the Caribou  Podcast

Only two more sleeps until the big show!  Rehearsal last night sounded good and we are ready to play.  Now, just some last minute items, including getting people to come out to the show.  On that note, Mary Fahey of the LowDown newspaper wrote a great article about me and the new album and the show. I was absolutely thrilled to read it. This would be my first real bit of press.  Thank-you Mary!  And, tomorrow Anne-Marie of the the program Hop the Fence on CHUO radio plans to spin one of my tunes and remind people about the show at the Black Sheep Saturday.  Thank-you Anne-Marie!

The next song for you to listen to is called "Lament of the Caribou".  Like at least 4 other songs from this album, it came from one of Ian Tamblyn's songwriting classes.  Thank-you, Ian!  Ian's instructions were to write a song from a perspective outside of ourselves.  I wrote my song from the perspective of a caribou.  It is sad but beautiful.

I do hope that you consider coming to the show this Saturday (November 5) evening at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, QC. It would mean a lot to me. 

Finally, I would like to thank-you for reading this note and thank-you for listening for these past few weeks.
 
 
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  1. Lament of the Caribou

Living Room  Podcast

Countdown until the show - only 5 more days!  We are squeezing in a few more rehearsals, that last of which happened in my living room. But, that's not what this song is about. In fact, this song isn't really about anything. I wrote it on Ian Tamblyn's instructions which were to write a song based on a 3 x 1 rhyme scheme and this is what came out.  It is one of my favourites.  Let me know what you think! And, thank-you very much for listening.
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  1. Living Room

Chandail  Podcast

I live in the "Outaouais" in the province of Quebec.  The official language of Quebec is French.  But in Wakefield many people speak English.  They can switch back and forth between French and English with ease - sometimes in the middle of a sentence. Coming from Saskatchewan, I knew a few words of French that I had learned in elementary school.  "Bonjour.  Je m'appele Dawn.  Je suis une etudiante.  Il fait froid."  My Granny Pritchard spoke some Michif, a language which is a combination of French, Cree and English.  We ate things like "boulettes" and "bangs" (fried bannock, which likely comes from les beines - deep fried donuts).  So, there was always a bit of the French language inside me even though I didn't always know it. I have been a Quebecer now for over 8 years and have worked hard to learn to communicate in French.  Part of this process was writing a bilingual song.  Cette chanson s'appelle "Chandail". Bonne ecoute!
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  1. Chandail

"Astrid"  Podcast

When I was a kid I rode my bike all over Saskatoon. Riding my bike made me feel alive and free. It was a time of innocence with no curfew.  I could pretty much ride the whole day, wherever I wanted to without questions from my parents so long as I returned home by supper time.  I'd ride across town to visit my Granny Pritchard and we'd sit outside near her sweat peas.  Once she recollected buying a can of stolen coffee and confessing it to the priest. We had a good chuckle over that one.  I'd continue on to visit my cousin Shirley who lived a few blocks away.  On special occasions I'd ride over to visit Randy and Lorne and we would explore the banks of the Saskatchewan River finding cougar tracks and haunted houses.  Most of the time though, I would ride to Donald and Laurie's house because they lived closest to me.  Come dark, I'd make my way home riding under the streetlights singing "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac out loud.

The song "Astrid" is about my childhood.  I never knew anyone named Astrid as I was growing up, but about a year ago I had a dream about a celeste green bike with the name Astrid written on the top-tube.  I dreamed I would write a song about this bike and that Astrid would be on the cover of this album. And I did, and it is, thanks to the artwork of David Irvine.  Here is the song, "Astrid".  I hope that you enjoy it.
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  1. Astrid

Shell Shocked  Podcast

I wrote "Shell Shocked" a few years back while I was at the Folk Music Ontario Conference in Toronto.  I was in my hotel room getting ready to do my homework which Ian Tamblyn had assigned - he handed out picture books and we were to write a song based on a picture in the book.  I had missed the last class and so the book I received contained pictures depicting war.  Not my first choice for sure.  One picture caught my eye, however - it was of a man sitting at his desk at home who could not erase the images of the war that remained in his mind.  I found out later that one of my high school classmates who I knew since grade 2 had suffered from PTSD. He took his own life about two years ago, leaving his family behind.  I had played "Shell Shocked" live several times and prepared to recorded it at Little Bullhorn.  When it came time to record the final vocal I couldn't stop thinking of this classmate and what he must have gone through, along with his wife and children.  I felt these super strong emotions right at the microphone. The song was so hard to sing that day, but I did it and I sang it for my classmate.   You served our country my friend.  Thank-you.  May you rest in peace.

Here is "Shell Shocked".

 
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  1. Shell Shocked

Toward the Insignificant  Podcast

It seems like it was only a few months ago that we released "All Tied Up" at the Kaffe 1870.  In fact, that was December 2013.  Almost three years has passed and now we are less than two weeks away from releasing "Catch Me if You Can" at the Blacksheep Inn (November 5).  Posters are up, CDs are received, and rehearsals are almost complete (you can never have too many!).

There are so many people that I would like to thank and many of those thank-yous are set out on the CD itself. They include David Irvine for the fantastic artwork; the musicians, John-Marc Desmarais, Alden Roberge, Philippe Charbonneau, Dave Draves who also produced, engineered, mixed and mastered the album, Jamie Ferguson, and Dave's cat, Horton, who meows on Catch Me if You Can.  I also would like to thank Don Warkentin for getting the CDs manufactured quickly and efficiently.

While preparing for the CD release we had the opportunity to play at the Folk Music Ontario Conference Indigenous Artist showcase.  In case you are wondering, I am Metis - born and raised as such.  The "we" includes me, Dave Draves, Rhonda Arsenault, Alden Roberge and Pat Maher.  We had 15 minutes to play and play we did!  We fit 5 songs, albeit shortened versions, into that 15 minutes and we sounded pretty darn good, I must say.

But enough of that. I would like to introduce you to the album called "Catch Me if You Can". To do so, I will be posting one song from the album each day up until the CD release on November 5.  The first song is called "Toward the Insignificant".  I wrote it during one of Ian Tamblyn's songwriting classes at the Wakefield Community Centre. Ian handed each of us students a card with a phrase on it and on mine was written "Toward the Insignificant".  The song is an observation about how the world is so big, and each of us, is so small.  We might feel that the world revolves around us and that our problems are so big they consume us but, there are so many other people in the world with problems much bigger than our own.  Have a listen to this song, and let me know what you think.  Please share it as well, if you see fit. And, come back tomorrow to listen to the next song.

Thank-you and have a great evening.
 
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  1. Toward the Insignificant

Influences and Opportunities  

As musicians, sometimes we are asked, "who are your musical influences?"  When asked this question, I never readily had a response.  Who did influence my music?  

I had often thought about this in the context of songwriting.  I like Regina Spektor's writing - her songs can be quirky, melodic, dramatic, silly, deeply emotional, sometimes troubling, with melodies and flow that are beautiful and unique.  I like Lisa Loeb's writing - again quirky, sometimes fun, sometimes troubling.  These two writers have certainly influenced me.  But then I got to thinking about my guitar playing which is nothing like the musicianship of Regina or Lisa. Who influenced that?

I have been playing music since I was about 8 years old.  I didn't take formal lessons, but goofed around on whatever was around.  I learned this from my dad who in his earlier days would play together with his buddies, dad on the harmonica, Ernie Arneson on the beer box and uncle Johnny on guitar and vocals.  The first instrument that I ever owned was a harmonica that my parents brought for me as a gift from the Army and Navy in Regina, SK that they went to after a Saskatchewan Roughriders game. I also played the organ - the kind with the numbers on the keys and the chords to the side.  My parents liked when I played "On Top of Old Smokey".

I attended St. Michael's elementary school in Saskatoon, SK.  In grade 7 and 8, our teacher Mr. Leonard Wawryk got us playing ukulele.  He also played guitar for us and we sang to the Tommy Soundtrack.  I recall him teaching me to play "Pinball Wizard".  My mom used to recall that when I was in a bad mood I would play that ukulele really hard.  (I still play guitar hard, but even when I am in a good mood - especially then!)

My first guitar was an old acoustic on which the strings were about a foot higher than the neck of the guitar.  It was hard to play, but I played it because it was what I had.

Whenever I went to my grandma Robinson's house, I played there a left handed 12 string that belonged to my uncle Robbie.  He didn't play it much, so my grandma and uncle Robbie let me keep the guitar. I had the strings switched around so that I could play it right handed and I played that for a while.  

At the age of about 11 or 12, my friend Kim Fontaine got herself a bass guitar and I wanted an electric guitar.  So, my uncle Johnny brought me around to the pawnshops in Saskatoon to find a guitar. I should note that uncle Johnny was the musician in the Pritchard family. He could play guitar and sing like Elvis.  Heck, he was even as handsome as Elvis.  We found an electric guitar.  My mom and dad bought me an amp from Woolco for Christmas that year.  I was pretty happy - I had a guitar and an amp.  My parents were pretty happy too, since just a few months before I had plugged my electric guitar into the organ and blown it up.    But, I digress...

I played guitar more and more.  My uncle Johnny had spent a period of time at the Prince Albert Penitentiary and we kept in touch with each other while he was there.  We wrote letters back and forth, but one day he phoned me.  I ran and plugged my guitar into the amp and played him some music over the phone.  Uncle Johnny thought that my playing was great and I was pleased.  He may well have been humouring me, but that is what uncles are supposed to do.  

My friends and I jammed in the house. There was much bashing about with drums, loud guitars and terrible singing.  My parents never told me to turn that racket down (well hardly ever).  My mom and auntie Johnnie came to my first gig ever at Albert School.  My dad financed my Fender Stratocaster when I was on the road playing and could not afford the payments.  When I told my dad that I was quitting high school to play music full time, he drove me to the next town for my first gig. This must have killed him, but he did it anyways.  Thankfully that first gig was in Weyburn, SK where my mom lived at the time.  They both came to see me play.  My dad still comes to see me play and he and my brother came all the way to Wakefield, QC from Saskatoon for the release of my first CD.  I was so happy to have them there, and I was so happy that I was still playing music all those years later.  

So, musical influences in the context of guitar playing?  I will write about that another day.  Today, I would like to thank those people in my early years who created opportunities for me to play music. They are my late mom, Pat Pritchard; my dad, Don Pritchard; my late uncle Johnny Ritchards; my late grandma Marie Robinson; my late uncle Robbie Robinson; my friend, Kim Fontaine, 
and my grade 7 and 8 teacher, Mr. Wawryk.  Thank-you very much from the bottom of my heart.

Here is a photo of me playing my first electric guitar at Kim's house.

Jeepers Creepers 

Jeepers creepers, it has been a long time since my last blog post.  During that time I have been busy recording not only my own album, but I have also been recording back up vocals for Jamie Ferguson.  I can now officially say that I am a studio musician!

As for my album, it is sounding great.  The ambient sound will still be present as in the last album, but it will be a bit edgier this go round with drums and bass.  Originally my producer Dave and I thought the album would have more of a band combo sound with guitar, bass, drums and Rhodes.  But, as things progressed, we found that sometimes, things sounded a bit too "Rhodesy", so we hooked up the Prophet 600 adding some synth, then the Nord, running it through a stereo preamp then distorting it. Yesterday we added infinite reverb to "le Chandail".   Yikes!  Typical Dave noted out loud that "there's just one more part I want to add as he says its too much".  This is exactly why I love working with him.  The song, about a sweater, conjures up so much imagery and Dave is able to bring that imagery to life.

I also played piano on two songs, which is a big change for me.  I have been a guitar player forever so playing piano was a bit of a challenge.  I could hear in my head what I wanted, but executing it took practice.  I am pleased with the results and with the songs.

Recording is almost complete.  We are looking at an album release date of early November at the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield.  I will keep you posted.

Here is a shot of me recording back up vocals at James Stephens for Jamie's upcoming album.  


Waking Bowie and Beyond... 

Can you believe that it is already February?  Musically, a lot of fun things have been happening, not the least of which was "Waking Bowie" at the Kaffe 1870. A group of Wakefield musicians got together and honoured David Bowie.  I was so fortunate to be able to participate as it was one of the most amazing gigs I have ever played at - it was electric and we all knew it.  The group of us, Alise Marlane, Pat Maher, Simon Neufeld., Luther Wright, Paul Hampsey, Brant Lucuik, Anna Melita Muhl, Brian Dubbledam, Doug McArthur, Phil Jenkins, Sheena Turcotte, Tom Werbo, Jack Pelletier, Mark Michaud - did I miss anyone? each had "Changes", "Rock n Roll Suicide", "Heroes", "All the Young Dudes", "Suffragette City" , "Rebel Rebel" and more going through our heads for the next week.  I got to bring out the black Stratocaster for the first time in years.  Luther suggested that we take the show on the road - and maybe we will.  

But, for the immediate present, there are other fun things happening. Tomorrow is "Your Broken Valentine" again at the Kaffe 1870. I will be playing a few broken love songs with JF, along with some other great Wakefield musicians.  There is no cover, but it is a fundraiser for the Wakefield Community Emergency Fund.

And, for the first time, next Wednesday night, I am  hosting the open stage at the Kaffe 1870. It is a great open stage and all are welcome.  I remember the first time I ever played there, which was the first time I had played in front of people for years, my knees shaking and likely my voice too.  Louise Rompre who hosted the evening, welcomed me as did the crowd.  And, now I get to host!  (Thanks Luther!) I hope that you can come out and either listen or play.  

See you soon.
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