Friday, May 10, 2024

what a fun thursday night. I just watched some of my hockey buddies play a great show a the Dakota (Max White and Jack White in their band Harmony On Mars) I made it home to watch some more playoff hockey and tell you about my gig tomorrow. I have been playing a monthly gig with Collette Savard and the Savants at the Tranzac for almost ten years now. Tommorrow is no exception. The exception however is that we are debuting four new tunes. This is rare. We squeeze in a new tune every now and then; often unrehearsed. this time we managed to get together a couple times and work on these new songs. I took it upon myself to arrange three of them. It was fun as Collette writes great songs. She is also a great singer. So...I turned one of her creations into a prog rock tune. Another one I turned it into a kind of a Led Zeppelin blues and the third one is Bill Evans Trio meets Joni Mitchell. I am not sure they will all come out great tomorrow but someday soon they will be part of our repertoire and maybe even our new record. We are at the tranzac tomorrow; May 10 from 7-9pm. Hope you can come. tim

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Hockey injuries

My focus and main passion in life remains to be music. The beauty and the challenges alongside the wonderful community I am so fortunate to be a part of continue to inspire me. My hobby is hockey. Both playing and watching. I love this sport. Currently I am injured again from playing. I will spare you the details but I bruised my ribs pretty bad. I feel lucky that there is no break or damage to internal organs that they could find. Having recently endured another serious hockey injury that lasted a few months I am starting to wonder if it is worth it. Of course it is. However, I don't want to have numerous episodes like this every year for the next twenty years. I suppose it is a bad stroke of luck. Maybe the positive take away is the reminder that having one's physical health makes everything else easier and more enjoyable. Another recent topic for me was the 25th birthday this week of my oldest son Dylan. I can't believe he has been in our lives for that long. Time moves so fast. He is an amazing guy and I love spending time with him playing sports, talking about film/art and music etc. It was curious for me to realize that I wasn't exactly sure where I was when I turned 25 but with the help of my oldest pals Steve and Curf I figured out that I had been living in Montreal for a few months in my divey bachelor appartment. This inspired me to ask my Dad about his 25th birthday and we dug up some cool old memories over the phone about that too. It is a bit of a slow time in my music world. I have not been practising or composing as much although there have been some inpsiring projects that are ongoing. (working towawrds a couple new recordings with projects in which I am a sideman) These hockey injuries are not helping. I had to miss my Lipliners gig last night due to the pain. (some will think I stayed home to watch the Leafs playoff game but I can assure you that was not the case) One final note, I am really enjoying reading fiction again these days. Miriam Toews (I think she lives in my neighbourhood) my current fave author although I am currently reading the memoir of American pop singer Liz Phair. She is a good writer and has some good stories to tell. (including one of the most detailed descriptions, written in first person of giving birth I have ever read)

Sunday, February 04, 2024

February newsletter

 Hey, the sun came out! Hope you are enjoying the blue sky.

I have a few shows that I feel really lucky to be part of this month. I have a trio called Banjo: Drum + Bass that I have been performing with that features Aidan McConnell on drums and Brandon Davis on the bass. (I play banjo)  We are back at our favourite venue/bookstore Sellers and Newel (672 College St.) on Tuesday February 20 at 8pm. If you haven't been; this is the coolest place in town to hear music these days. Great sound and intimate vibes. Advance tickets are the way to go. Email:

Another exciting concert is the return of Cluttertones. This is the music of my dear pal Rob Clutton. Cluttertones have been making music together for more than a decade and the group features Rob on Bass and compositions, Ryan Driver on analog synth and Lina Allemano on trumpet. This concert will also feature a couple pieces from Lina's latest critically acclaimed CD Canons that you can purchase here: (I will be playing banjo and guitar) This concert is on February 16 at the Arrayspace 155 Walnut Ave, Toronto. 

February 28 is the day that Ronley Teper and the Lipliners will be collectively freaking out at the Tranzac. We start at 930pm and play two sets. Every show is different with this amazing artist. I look forward to it and hope you can make it. 

The second friday of every month (this month it is the 9th of February) I rock it up on the electric guitar with Collette Savard and the Savants. 100% satisfied customers, great songs, great band, great friends! It is an early show too; 7-9pm. 

Thanks for reading my note. take care. -tim

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Sellers and Newel

 Having lived in the same house for more than 25 years now I have seen a lot of the great stores and restaurants come and go in Toronto's little Italy.  As sad as it is, nothing lasts forever. Twelve years ago I walked into the bookstore almost across the street from me called Sellers and Newel. I had been in before but this time I struck up a conversation with a nice fella name Peter. (Wow...Peter cool!)

Around the same time, Andrew Downing and I had been lamenting that we no longer had a venue to perform our banjo/cello duo in the hood. We both started playing our second instruments (he is actually a bassist and I have always been a guitarist) around the same time. We had a weekly gig on Ossington before it become fancy as it is today, at a little place called Todo. Those were special times and great memories (including the amazing special guests we would have). I thought we would never find another cool place like that to play in our hood. 

Back to my conversation with Peter; I don't remember it clearly but I think I told him about Todo and Andrew and the banjo/cello duo. He seemed inspired and said we should play at his bookstore. I asked Andrew and the rest is history. 

Fast forward twelve years and 200 plus concerts and Peter has one of the coolest and most popular music venues in the city. People contact him from all around the world now to play at his intimate bookstore with the magic live-music vibe. If you haven't been yet it is a thing you must experience. One of those things that makes our neighbourhood and city so special. It is still a little bit of a secret (ie. there is no marketing budget) but you should probably buy your ticket in advance to make sure you get a chair. (what are there...maybe 25 chairs?) 

Yes, you can shop for books at night too before the concert or on the set break. You can hear a pin drop at every concert and it is quite likely you will leave knowing some new people and maybe seeing people there you haven't seen in a long time. 

This coming Tuesday, December 12,  I am performing there with my trio Banjo: Drum + Bass. It features Aidan McConnell on drums and Brandon Davis on the bass. We play a repertoire that included some very old and some very new tunes I wrote. Also, some unusual cover tunes and maybe even a tiny splash of holiday spirit.  

To reserve your tickets please email Peter at:

If you can't make it to the show please check out his list of upcoming shows here and try to make it to the store to buy some books as gifts and maybe a couple for yourself :-)

Thursday, August 03, 2023

TIM (This is Music) Adult Music School!

I have been having some fun of late learning how to run a little business. It is about time since I have have been running many of them for decades. My wife Julie has had great success with her latest business/art venture with is  She has been very helpful with helping me get my latest venture up and running. TIM! 

It is truly amazing what you can do with social media and little businesses now. When I started booking tours for my groups in the 90s there was no world wide web for the common person and email was brand new. I still managed to book gigs all over Canada and we got there somehow too without google maps :-)

TIM (This is Music) is and adult music school where I will be teaching group guitar classes for beginners, Rockband, Intro to theory classes and more. It is best to sign up for the email list on the TIM website as there will be limited spots opening and those on the list will be the first to hear about it. 

I have focused on teaching kids for a long time but I enjoyed teaching the one year at Mohawk College in Hamilton so much I have been trying to continue in that direction. It is hard to find a teaching job these days so I finally decided to start my own school. It will be way more fun here. Trust me! I will still teach kids music as I have a bunch of good students and there is still something very rewarding about teaching someone their first guitar lesson. 

I still have my Guildwood Records website. It's not the prettiest website but it is still probably the best way to keep up with my local shows and touring in the future. (I am not the best at keeping it up to date)

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Thursday, June 15, 2023


 Process is everything. Process is boring. Process is hard work. Process is all you have sometimes. 

Lately, I have been thinking about what I do. I play music. I play banjo. I play guitar. I play music. Sometimes I play fiddle and mandolin. Sometimes I sing. I love to sing. Actually I love all of it. 

I play folk music. I play jazz. I play bluegrass. I play rock music. I play Irish music. I love playing all these types of music. Sometimes I wish I just played music. All kinds of music but mixed together in a big stew. Sometimes I wish I could play more than one instrument at a time. 

I was reading about gratitude earlier today. I am grateful to have friends that I can play music with. I am grateful that people are interested in the music I record and perform live. 

Last month I played a weekly gig (5 shows!) at the Rex with my Jazz Banjo group. It features Aline Homzy, Andrew Downing and Kelsley Grant. These people are fantastic musicians but also really fun to play with. They were so supportive of my ideas, experiments, new tunes, old tunes etc. I was listening back to our fifth show and I think we really found some great moments within the tunes I had chosen. It is challenging to know what our roles are in this group. There are not a lot of banjo, bass, trombone and violin records to study or borrow ideas from. I certainly try to use other groups with different orchestration for direction but it is a challenge. 

Even my approach on the banjo. I don't really know what I am striving for. As a jazz guitarist (my former life?) there is a history and a groundwork; actually many different groundworks or paths you can learn from, emulate and try to master. On the banjo, I don't really have these options. Bela Fleck has recorded some great records and has taken the banjo down many paths. I am grateful to have those records to listen to. 

So Long Seven, the world music group that I have played banjo in for ten years has been a great learning experience. I am grateful for that. (great friends and great musicians!) We all compose in SL7 so I have had to find ways to make the 5-string banjo sound good in our music. Sometimes the guys write things that are really hard to play on the banjo and I love the challenge. 

It is interesting how much easier it can still be for me to play guitar. I guess the challenge is what keeps me coming back to the banjo. 

One in every three people in North America play guitar. I don't blame them. It is fun. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Jazz Banjo

 I have been having so much fun with my friends on monday nights at the Rex this month. These three musicians are so skilled and so open to trying new things it is a real treat. 

Aline Homzy on violin surprises me every week. I have had to stop playing a couple times I was so excited by what she was playing. If you don't know bassist Andrew Downing you may live under a rock. He is a multiple Juno winner, incredible bassist and fantastic composer, arranger, bandleader (and teacher!) Kelsley Grant might be the least obvious person to have in a string-band since he plays trombone however he is so good on that instrument and so fun to play music with he is certainly one of the great things about this group. 

Finding five mondays in a row where we were all available is quite something. I have not taken any of it for granted and I keep bringing new tunes every week and tweaking the arrangements of others. tommmorw, May 22 will be no exception as I am bringing a new chart inspired by Irish traditional music that I have written as well as a re-write of an old tune called Gamesroom and a slight variation on the Zappa riffs we improvised on last week. 

5-string banjo is not the.  banjo that was around when banjo was big at the beginning of jazz with the Louis Armstrong Hot Five, Fletcher Henderson, Jelly Roll Morton etc. but it is basically the same. Interestingly, Johnny St. Cyr played a 6 string banjo with Louis Armstrong. Did you know that he died the same year I was born. (kinda cool right!?)

I am considering naming this group Bonestrung! I think it is a better name than Jazz Banjo. Especially since a lot of what we play might be a stretch to call jazz. Some of it is most certainly jazz. Shout out to Tom Tytel at the Rex for booking us. I am a believer in an eclectic calendar at a jazz club or festival and eclectic we are! Go Jazz! Go Rex! Go Canada!

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