What a rush this Spring has been, with the crazy wintery weather and warm muggy days, pressing for a summer appearance sooner than expected. I love it when I meet people that refuse to allow the weather to dictate their sunny disposition. What’s the line… oh yeah, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.’ Personally I get a buzz from being cold and wet, I find it exhilarating! Anyway, I hope you enjoy it any way you can.

Allow me to catch you up on what’s been going on with me musically.

I spent 2 weeks in Nashville, Tennessee, taking it all in. As my home base I used the SOCAN House operated by Daryl and Lee Ann Burgess – great Canadians with a soft spot for fellow Canadian songwriters. I got to see Daryl perform a couple of times including tunes he’d written for my favourite Canadian guitarist Colin James. He’s got his gold records hanging on the walls of the SOCAN House assuredly as inspiration for myself and the other songwriters that pass through while visiting Nashville. The Nashville Songwriter’s Association International (NSAI) held Spring Training for Songwriters while I was there – great information and motivation to write hits songs. Tin Pan South a songwriter’s festival was on as well and I got to see so many hit writers performing the songs that lots of famous artists have turned into smash hits on the radio. What a jaw-dropping experience that was listening to these writers perform these songs. The level of quality writing and craftsmanship was numbing and left me feeling simultaneously inspired and scared shitless! I found some co-writers that I was able to work with to expand my writing approach and look forward to continuing writing with them remotely now that I’m back home. Whenever I had the opportunity to play in clubs in Nashville I took it and got some terrific feedback and encouragement. I even got to see a couple of NHL games in Nashville while I was there, including my favourite team The Red Wings. The trip was a great learning experience and I look forward to raising my game and going back. As I was making my way home in my “tour bus” (1995 Buick LeSabre) I heard the NSAI mentioned me as a “writer to watch” in their newsletter publication.

Upon my return, I threw myself headlong into the theatrical production of Lord of the Flies adapted and directed by Ida Brown and set to the music of Pink Floyd. In three short weeks, under the leadership of Ida’s 19-year-old daughter Bethany Brown, myself, Bethany, Bob Flewelling and Siyobin Blanco pulled all the music together and created a Pink Floyd cover band of sorts for the play. I dusted off my 1963 Gibson Les Paul for the solos and rocked out like I used to in my youthful high school days. We started with a dinner theatre show which was mostly music with a few snippets of scenes and props from the play. The meal was catered by Nathalie McNeill of The Fountainhead Health Store & Cafe and consisted of a 7 course meal with each course being in-theme with the Floyd songs we played. Talk about sensory overload! The two performances of the full production at the Fergus Grand Theatre were smashing successes. The countless hours of rehearsing by the children in the play, the efforts of all the parent volunteers and the music came together into a dramatic and moving theatrical production beyond everyone but Ida’s wildest imagination. There are negotiations taking place now to have the play licensed and toured in area theatres as well as a selling the performance to high schools in the region. I couldn’t be any prouder of all the people that contributed to this life changing experience that I was so lucky to be a part of. All three of my boys came out to see one show or another and were very impressed – now that’s hard to do!

So now the focus switches to writing, recording and performing. Gone are the days of just playing other peoples’ music. It’s time to write and play my own music. Last night I got the opportunity to be interviewed by Nick Gush from local radio station FM 92.9 The Grand which will air tomorrow evening Thursday May 30 at 7 p.m. I played some new music I’ve been writing and recording and we talked about various songwriting topics, him being a songwriter himself. You can hear the interview on the radio or listen anywhere on the net at http://www.thegrand929.com/index.cfm?page=listen. I’ve got a number of open mics I’ll be hosting coming up in Guelph and Elora and some charity events and other gigs happening. Check below to find out where and when.

I also want to unveil my website that Andrea Deering helped set up with photos from Laurie Goodman Photography. I’m hoping to keep this site up to date with all my shows and let people access my music there too. I’m planning to move this email update into blog format on the site in the coming months. I hope you’ll check it out at www.donsawchuk.com.

Have a great start to Summer and keep music in your life.

Cheers, Don.

Don Sawchuk
Building community one song at a time.