Jan 8, 2015
Things are good in the Bay Area. I'm raising money for my next CD and have been playing local gigs on the peninsula. I'm teaching about 20 guitar lessons a week, at a local music studio and at people's homes, in addition to working at Music For Minors, teaching about 150 students a week in local elementary schools.
I did get in the studio and recorded 4 new songs. I've been burning copies of the last album with the new songs added. If you want more info about how to get one, just email me, and I'll make sure
For upcoming performances, check out the SHOWS tab above.
May 23, 2014
Its been a busy few years. Between my solo shows and another acoustic project I’ve been involved with, I did 100 to 150 shows per year from 2010 to 2012, including one 6 week US tour and four trips up into Canada. In August of 2013, I landed here on the California coast near Pacifica, and have been loving being back by the water instead of spending so much time on the highway.
I reconnected with West Coast Songwriters again, and have been attending their competitions around the bay. I won “best song of the night“ at three of their competitions, and “best performer“ at three others. Some of the locations offer studio time as part of the prize, so that has been a nice bonus, in addition to advancing to the yearly finals at each of the locations. With some of the studio time I racked up I was able to get most of the way through “Marijuana Man“ at a studio in Marin. It still needs some tweaks, but its off to a good start, and is in the music player on this site. There are video links on my facebook page, and facebook musician page to that song and other tunes from recent events.
This website was broken for a while, the music player widget was no longer supported, and I couldn’t get logged in to update the shows and news. I was so busy traveling that I just left it, but it has been a thorn in my side for a long time. So it felt especially good today to weed through the files on the server today and poke through all the HTML code with hopes of bringing it back to life. And its back! Could use some more love - but the basics are up and running. Yay.
I’ve recently reunited with my good friend and bass player extraordinaire, Terry Shields for a few events and we have a few more things on the books in the next few months. The West Coast Songwriter event in Palo Alto is filmed at a TV studio - and they do an amazing job. Three camera’s and some fun panning. Terry joined me there last week and we should have some of that video posted by next month.
I'll be playing all over the bay this summer. Come say hi if you make it down to a show the next time I’m in your neighborhood!
Nov 28, 2011
Back in Oakland for a few days… I do live here... well, quite a bit of my stuff is here, but I’m usually somewhere else. I'm leaving again tomorrow, for most of December.
I’ll be playing some music up north – Shankies Pub, Westport Hotel and then the Mac House. Have some other projects in the works for January, and then back to the Bay Area in February.
The show with Kalyani in Grass Valley in October was a recent musical highlight. A great turnout, great venue, and we got a nice write up in the paper.
Washed a lot of dishes this week. I finished my 10 hours of community service and will go before the judge next week for the last time. A friend and I got arrested for hiking out-of-bounds this summer, and it will be nice to put it all behind me - four months and oh-so-many hours of hassle later. They dropped the misdemeanor – which was very sweet. I wish I knew the DA’s name, so I could that him personally. He was a really cool guy.
I was on my best behavior and actually shaved for the first time in about a year. The bailiff asked me if I was an attorney when I showed up in court! Lol - which I thought was pretty hilarous. Yeah.... there was a tie involved also.
Hey! This is cool. I’m a transient – sitting in a coffee shop updating my website, but this is going to the next level. Someone just walked in with a huge Mac (not the laptop … what do you call that… oh yeah – “desktop”) in their arms, and then their friend walks in with the keyboard. They don’t even buy anything, just plug it into the wall and …. do something…. not sure what they are up to, but it seems to be a big project. Life makes me smile.
Got to surf last week for the first time in a long time. When I was young, I lived to surf. I was a bit like a rabid dog…. but not violent or interested in biting people. Just obsessed. A rabid surf human… Anyways, that was many years ago, and many pounds lighter…. Surfing is actually a shocking amount of work, I discovered. About 90% paddling, 8% resting/waiting for waves, and %2 of the time riding on walls of water.
Was great to just be in the water.
Sept 7, 2011
I’ve got a show coming up on Friday, Sept 9th at the First Street Cafe in Benecia
8:00 PM. No cover. 440 1st St, Benecia, CA, 94510. Acoustic Set 8 to 11pm.
After that, its Jia Tella’s in Scotts Valley on the 15th.
Around the end of October I’ll be heading up into the Sierra’s, with a stop at The Cottonwood on Thursday the 27th. It’s a great restaurant – and a really fun gig. Looking forward to being back there again. Then a concert in Grass Valley with the very talented Kalyani. She will be bringing a few other musicians to perform with her, and I’ll be performing solo. She just released her latest disk and its been getting quite a bit of play on KVMR. The Concert will be a benefit for the good folks at the Universalist Unitarian Community of the Mountains Church.
My last appearance there with Larry Potts and Rob Heath was a wonderful evening – great room, great sound, and most important, a really wonderful audience.
Looking forward to being there again.
So…. It was a busy summer. Had a great time at the Mendocino Music Festival. And have been enjoying shows with Terry Shields in San Jose.
I ended up spending a lot of the summer touring with another music project. Shows in Canada, Washington, and Oregon, and we will also be headed out to Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona at the end of September.
Am down in Ojai now. Got to play a few songs for Byron Katie. What an incredible woman.
May 11th, 2011
Had alot of fun last month. An especially great show in Grass Valley, even tho I was a bit under the weather. It was also great to see Jimmy Humble again at KZYX. Patrick Nagel and I shared a few songs on "Humble Pie" to promote the benefit we played later that night at the Caspar Community Center with Rob Heath. Rob and I did alot of shows together while he was down, and I think we have memorized most of each others tunes at this point. Luckily for me, he's a great songwriter!
Its also been fun getting to know the folks of Niles CA, and hang a bit with Michael McNevin - a gifted songwriter who has helped to create an awesome, down-home music community. The Essanay Cafe and the Muddpuddle Shack are acoustic Oasis' amid the suburban and mall sprawl down that way.
Starting to book for the summer. Looking forward to making a few trips up to Tahoe, and up to the Mendocino Music Festival when I'm not here in the Bay.
April 20th, 2011
Show tonight in Fremont with Michael McNevin and friends at the Essanay Cafe. Its a great room and Adler & Hearn from Austin TX will be sharing some songs as well.
I've been really busy. Loving being in the Bay Area.
Show tomorrow at The Wine Bar in Half Moon Bay, and on Friday the 22nd I'll be back in Sebastopol with Rob Heath, Ken Risling and Larry Potts - some fantastic songwriters.
Benefit for KZYX in Mendo on Sat the 23rd, then Rob and I head down south for some other stops in the Bay Area.
Out to Sacramento with Rob and Larry on Tuesday the 26th, and then up to Nevada City with the two of them on Friday the 29th.
Another "Songwriters in the Round" evening on May 4th back in Fremont with Michael McNevin, Rob Heath, Lila Nelson and myself, at the Michael's "Mudpuddle Shack" - an awesome listening room / house-concert venue.
Time to go load the car!
Feb 21, 2011
Had a great trip to Ojai/LA/San Diego, and getting settled in the East Bay. Next show in La Honda, then heading up to Santa Rosa with Terry Shields for an evening at Aroma Roasters. Still booking dates in late April with my friend Rob Heath who's coming down from Canada.
Also doing a few shows with Patrick Nagel - he'll be joining us for the KZYX Benefit and I'll also be sharing the stage with him and Rose Knight on June 3rd at the Ukiah Playhouse. Patrick is a great songwriter, I'm looking forward to both of those shows.
I collaborated with Rose recently on one of her tunes - "Grace". Its a great song. We didnt have the time to record it before I left town, but its one of those great songs thats been playing in my head long after the last time I heard it.
Dec 20, 2010
I'm relocating to the East Bay. I love the Mendocino Coast, but its been too much driving, going back and forth to the city so often. Had some great collaborative moments recently with other artists on the peninsula and on up into the Sierra Nevada foothills. I'm playing at the Mac House in Mendocino on Saturday, January 1st.
Nov 18, 2010
Busy with alot of music! I have a few different projects in the works and have been spending time in the studio working on some new recordings. Not as many folk shows lately, but will be doing another Nor-Cal tour with Rob Heath and other songwriters in the spring.
Sept 23, 2010
I have disks for sale! Send $15 + $3 shipping to:
PO box 2330, El Granada CA 94018
Include your shipping address, and a phone number or email might be useful.
I met some incredible folks at the yearly West Coast Songwriters convention. Very inspirational.
Next show is this Saturday, Sept 25th at Casparfest. I'll be on at noon for a 40 minute set. Come down for a great weekend of music and connection with friends and neighbors.
I'll be playing some lead guitar for The Human Revolution in Nevada City and Tahoe in early October, and then Terry Shields and I will be back at the Mendocino Hotel on October 23rd.
August 22, 2010
Won "Song of the Year" in the Sebastopol division of West Coast Songwriters. Will advance to the "Grand Finals" at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley next week. Also competed in the Semi-Finals of the Petaluma WCS division at The Mystic Theatre.
May 10, 2010
Had some great shows with Rob Heath, but our show at the Hopmonk was the highlight. We were joined by Ken Risling for this show, and it was great to see old friends and make a few new ones.
April 3, 2010
April is a busy month! I’ll be playing at the San Diego Earth Fair event on Sunday, April 18th at Balboa Park. Earth Fair draws around 70,000 visitors each year and will be many exhibitors, activities, and three stages.
Rob Heath and I will be playing at least five dates in Northern California, and we may still add a few more. At different shows we will be joined by Mick Overman, Morgan Daniel and Ken Risling. It’s a pleasure to hang out with such talented folks. More details on the SHOWS page on this site, or the “Show Schedule” on the home page. Here is the write up from Marlene, Rob's Manager:
Songwriters Making Words & Music Flow in California
Songwriters in the Round creates an intimate moment between performers and their audience. This April, Rob Heath and Mike Ehlers create this moment with the help of a special guest of note at various performances. Each of the performers will do their own material in the manner that it was created – a songwriter and his guitar.
Three singer/songwriters on the stage at once, taking turns to lend voice to their delightfully varied experiences and observations – a fascinating evening where improvisation and spontaneity abound. This fun atmosphere encourages informal interplay and camaraderie among performers and audience alike.
Experience one or all of these special moments in California in April:
APRIL 21st @ 7:00 pm
Songwriters in the Round with Rob Heath & Mike Ehlers
Silo's (530 Main St., Napa, CA)
Tickets: $10 cover
APRIL 24th @ 8:00 pm
KZYX & Z present
Songwriters in the Round with Rob Heath, Morgan Daniel & Mike Ehlers
Caspar Community Center (15051 Caspar Road, Caspar, CA)
Tickets: $5-$15 sliding scale cover charge
APRIL 28th @ 8:00 pm
Songwriters in the Round with Ken Risling, Rob Heath & Mike Ehlers
Hopmonk Tavern (230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol, CA)
APRIL 29TH @ 7:30 pm
Songwriters in the Round with Mike Ehlers & Rob Heath,
Ukiah Brewing Company, 102 So. State St, Ukiah
Rob Heath is first and foremost a storyteller who just happens to be a songwriter. We all have things we wish we could say. Rob articulates them with rich melodies and lyrics delivered in a voice haunting in its simplicity. His fourth CD One More Day Above Ground offers a well-conceived intelligent and lyric-driven blend of folk, country and pop. Rob’s accolades include the Canadian Radio Music Award for songwriting, the New Folk Songwriter Award from the Kerrville Folk Festival, and a recent nomination for the Canadian Folk Music Awards as “English Songwriter of the Year”. He has written for Glen Campbell Music, Criterion/Atlantic Music and Don Goodman Music in the USA. www.robheath.com
Mike Ehlers moves from eco-folk-rap to pop, from alt-country to mellow grooves, from story-folk-with-a-punch to ballads born in the depths of a quieted gratitude - acoustic music that covers a lot of territory, A multiple first-round winner of WCS (West Coast Songwriters) competitions in Northern California, he goes onto the semi-finals in August 2010 at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma. Originally hailing from Northern California, Mike recently returned to the Mendocino Coast after spending the past five years in Edmonton, Alberta. While in Canada he gained a faithful local following and recorded most of his debut CD, set to be released in the late spring of 2010. www.mikeehlers.com
Morgan Daniel, the creative force behind Foxglove, has been a local favorite for many years bringing wonderful music to nearly every venue on the coast - from the Mendocino Music Festival, to The Cotton Auditorium, and all points in between. Morgan grew up on the Mendocino Coast. In the mid-80s he cut his musical teeth in a high-school garage band. Twenty-five years and many adventures later he has an ever-growing library of songs that have drawn on travel, faith, family, politics, and anything else that moves him to write. Over the years Morgan has developed a unique approach to his guitar technique, using a flat-picking-finger-style hybrid and the partial capo. In 2007, on the occasion of his 40th birthday, Morgan's wife gifted him a spot in the Luthiers School International, where he built the guitar that he now uses in performance. www.morgandaniel.com
Mick Overman is a Bay Area Legend and “Iron Man of The Road”. He’s a poet and master musician and "Bluesy Folk & Roll with Jazz Attitude" is the best description of his music and performance. His singing and guitar playing are accurately described as "Berklee College of Caveman". Overman has long been regarded as one of the west coast’s hardest working (as many as 379 performances in one year) and prolific artists. Overman has been honored by the ASCAP (American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers) Special Awards Panel every year since 1994. In addition to being an impactful and dynamic solo performer Overman’s band consistently features some of the west coast’s most gifted and talented musicians.
Ken Risling… With a warm manner and inviting voice, he is perhaps best known for delivering heartfelt tales that reveal both the strength and frailty of the human character. Ken’s songs range in genre from folk, country, 50’s blues, swing to modern rock, with moods that range from biting satire to sweet romance to dark musing. Ken’s songs have won multiple awards including “Song of the Year” through West Coast Songwriters and his music has received nationwide radio play from California to New York. Locally, he is the renowned co-host of Sebastopol’s WCS (West Coast Songwriters) monthly songwriting competition. www.myspace.com/kenrisling
Don’t miss this special Songwriter in the Round moment at a California venue near you.
For further information, contact:
Marlene D’Aoust, Free Expression
Ph: 615-316-9020, ext. 1726 / email email@example.com
I’ll also be playing lead guitar and singing some harmonies for The Human Revolution this month as they make their way from Santa Cruz to LA/San Diego and then back up north for another show in Ashland.
Looking forward to traveling. Its always fun seeing old friends and meeting some new folks. Stop by and say Hi if we are passing through your neighborhood!
March 29, 2010
The House Concert in Mendo was great. Terry Shields wow-ed folks with his prowess on the bass and harmony vocals. We are booked for another "Mendocino Stories" concert forin October, down at the Mendocino Hotel. (www.mendocinostories.com)
I heard back from Napa City Nights, and will be playing there on June 18th. Its a city sponsored event that happens every Friday during the summer. Vetran's Memorial Park is a natural amphitheatre that overlooks the river. They get a really good turnout and it will be a great outdoor/festival-style evening of music.
I'm working on a few new songs in the studio. After the show, several people asked if "California" was on any of the disks for sale. Its not, but it will definitely be on the next record. Its actually a really old song that has been recently resurrected. A fun one to play, especially with a great bass player.
March 7, 2010
Its fun to go to the city, but its great to be home. After spending so much time at the computer or in the car these days, I’m even more appreciative of the fresh air and gorgeous pinks and blues as the sun sets into the water off the Mendo Coast.
The trip to LA / San Diego was great. The world is full of wonderful people and I met a few more of them last weekend. Great to connect with musicians who are tired of the old and who are dreaming new dreams for humanity.
Thanks also to Willow for the reminder:
“Do not attempt to fight evil, lest you become it. Concern yourself rather with goodness.
February 19, 2010
Had a good trip to the city. Played at a WCS event in Berkley at the Freight and Salvage. There were some great players and I met some talented folks. I performed at the WCS event in Petaluma a few days later, and was awarded “best song”. The semi-finals are at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma in August. I’m really looking forward to playing there.
Thanks to Andre Pessis (www.andrepessis.com) who was judging the event. His kind words were very much appreciated! Andre has written songs for Tim McGraw, Bonnie Raitt and many others - 20 million records sold. Its been great to play for such high level judges/industry professionals. The evening was recorded and will be played on the local Petaluma TV station soon.
Headed down to LA next week to play a few shows with The Human Revolution.
Februay 11th, 2010
Had a really fun show last night in Albion. One of the employees told me they were understaffed for the night and didn't expect such a full house. Thanks to everyone who came out. It was great to see so many kind and familiar faces.
The "Mendocino Stories" gig went well and the promoter Pattie DeMatteo booked me a house concert in Mendocino on Friday, March 26th. I'll do two 45 minute sets and will be joined by bass player/harmony vocalist extrordinaire Terry Sheilds. Terry Studied music and has been playing professionally for the last 20 years. Its an honor to play music with him. He will probably bring his upright bass, and we will do two 45 minute sets. There's room for 25 people, tickets are $15. I've got some tickets or you can buy them online through the Mendocino Stories website (www.mendocinostories.com).
The tour at the end of April with Rob Heath is shaping up nicely.
Wed, April 21 Napa: Silo’s. (www.silosjazzclub.com) I've heard great things about this room.
Sat, April 24th, Mendo Coast: Benefit for KZYX (www.kzyx.org). Rob and I will play with Morgan Daniel a great local songwriter and band leader of Foxglove (www.foxgloveonline.com). The show will be at the Caspar Community Center.
Thurs, April 29, Ukiah: Ukiah Brewing Company (www.ukiahbrewingco.com) – Songwriters Showcase, Mike Ehlers - Rob Heath
Santa Rosa: Rob and I will do a songwriters in the Round show with Ken Risling, manager of the WCS, (West Coast Songwriters) in Sebastopol. Location and date TBA.
Still working on gigs inChico, Davis/Sacramento and Arcata and possibly Santa Cruz. If you know of any house concerts or good listening rooms in those areas, let me know!
January 22, 2010
I headed down to Sebastopol last week to a WCS (West Coast Songwriters) competition – and won! So, that was cool. WCS meets around the bay area, and I think their semi-finals are in August. Getting down there was more about booking gigs in the city than competing, but it has already been helpful in opening some new doors and making some new connections.
I’ll be at the Bazaar Café on March 19th in the city (www.bazaarcafe.com) at a songwriters showcase hosted by Drew Pearce (drewpearce.com). More details on that show soon.
January 10, 2010
Thanks to Tom at KOZT. He was playing "Use Less" on local licks, and must have mentioned our show that night on the air. Someone heard the song on the radio on their way home, stopped by ARI, heard the song live - and then bought a disk! The folks at "The Coast" (KOZT) really do alot promote local music. THANKS!!!
Just to recap some of the info that is mentioned further down the page - upcoming shows:
On Jan 24th I’ll be at the Center for Spiritual Awareness 11am - Hill House, Mendocino.
Friday, Jan 29th, I’ll be at the Mendocino Hotel with the “Mendocino Stories Concert Series”, sharing the evening with Jamie Gilliam and the Rose Knight Trio. Tickets $10 - $15
Feb 10th I'll be at the Albion River Inn for the Singer / Songwriter Showcase. Mike Evans, Peter Wells and Co, have created a very intimate venue, perfect for showcasing original material. No cover, no minimum. Come early for dinner or just come for the show.
April 29 at the Ukiah Brewery with Rob Heath. Songwriter showcase. More info on Feb and March shows soon.
December 15, 2009
Despite my negligence about updating this section, many good things are afoot. I just finished a mini-tour of Nor Cal and Southern Oregon with my friend Human (thehumanrevolution.org). We played in Nevada City, Mt. Shasta, Ashland and Williams. We had a great time, met some wonderful people and got to play on the radio in Ashland.
I got a short run of the Use Less CD back from the duplicators, and have been selling disks online and at shows. Thirteen songs, including two new ones that aren’t online yet; “Judi Bari” and “The Song”.
I recorded both songs at Peter Temple’s studio in Albion (www.petertemplestudio.com). We started recording “The Song” quite a few years back, but it was never finished. I’m stoked to have Julia Westney on another track besides “Stay”. Roger Fritz played some tasty mandolin parts and Peter joined us on bass.
“Judi Bari” is a solo acoustic track. It’s a song I love to play and its great to finally have it recorded. For those of you who don’t know Judi’s story, you can check out the website: (www.judibari.org). Darryl Cherney, who joined with Judi Bari to create the Redwood Summer 1990 campaign, and who was in the car with Judi when she was bombed, is currently working on several movies about her. (www.darrylcherney.com) We got him a disk on our way through the Redwoods and he had some kind words about the song.
I’ll be playing at the Albion River in with Sally Wells on Dec 30, and doing a solo performance there on Feb 10th. On Jan 24th I’ll be at the Center for Spiritual Awareness and on Friday, Jan 29th, I’ll be at the Mendocino Hotel with the “Mendocino Stories Concert Series”, sharing the evening with Jamie Gilliam and the Rose Knight Trio.
My friend Rob Heath, (www.robheath.com), songwriter extraordinaire, is coming down from Canada at the end of April. We have one show scheduled together in Ukiah, and I’m in the process of lining up several other dates.
Will do a large order of CD’s soon, just finishing the final graphics now.
Thanks for checking in!
August 23, 2009
Well, the move back to CA has been more time consuming than I thought. Great to be back and connect with family and old friends. Its also been nice to stay in touch with people in Edmonton and hear about whats going on up north. Hooking up with CD Baby and will likely do all sales through them until the final CD's are pressed. Planning a mini-tour. Will do some local shows soon. Luka from CKUA said that she'd be playing some of my music this Saturday on her show. Luka has excellent taste in music and I was honored to hear from her.
June 22, 2009
I'm in the process of moving back to California after spending nearly 5 years in Edmonton. I have met some great people in Alberta, and many talented musicians and songwriters. While I will miss the people and the city, the immigration/work permit issues have been quite a hassle and it will be great to have those issues behind me. I'm planning on staying connected to Edmonton and hope to return fairly regularly. Its a nice drive back and forth to Northern Cali, especially when there are gigs to play and good folks to visit along the way.
On the other end, Its been great to reconnect with family and friends that I havent seen in years and also to see familiar sights from my youth, particularly the mendo coast. I'm looking forward to playing music in new cities and venues once I get settled.
March 17, 2009 - Recording THANK YOU's:
The bulk of the new recordings were done with Tomas 'Dr. Octavo' Brabec in Edmonton. A tremendous thank-you to him for his arrangement contributions as well as his technical expertise. Tomas also remixed several songs that were started many years earlier, and Hey Ocean, Amen, Stay and Bolo Bolo finally got the attention I had been hoping to give the for several years. Use Less, Home, and Masters and the Mountain were recorded here in Edmonton.
Dr Octavo (www.droctavo.com) lives here in Edmonton and has worked with many well known recording artists, including pop acts like Brittany Spears and Justin Timberlake. I heard about him after hearing some rough mixes of Anna Beaumont’s (www.annabeaumont.com) upcoming CD. The early mixes sounded fantastic and I’m sure the finished product will be absolutely brilliant. I was really excited at the prospect of doing some recording with the Dr. and we are both very happy with the new mixes. We also did an acoustic mix of Use Less. Its available on the site www.just-use-less.com.
Clarity Rises, Smile in my Heart, Lions Den, This and High Mountain Passes were all recorded with Norm Hennessey at Velvet Digital. Working with Norm has always been a pleasure. He has a love for getting things right, a meticulous attention to detail and most of all, great ears. I would love to do more recording with Norm in the future.
Many musicians were involved in these recordings. Andrew Glover played piano/keys on Stay and Smile in my Heart. Allan Davison played bass on "Stay". Nathan Burns played dobro on Lion's Den and This. Lane Arndt programmed the beats and played bass as well as banjo on Lion's Den. Stay features Julia Westney, maybe my favorite singer ever, on harmony vocals.
Peter Temple played bass on Hey Ocean, Desmond Hatfield played lead guitar on Hey Ocean and also gave us some tasty slide parts for Amen. Richie Rosenbam played drums on Hey Ocean and Amen. Kurt Handley played organ on Hey Ocean. Sally Wells, Benjamin Antrobus, Lily Parsons and Rob Harlan and myself comprised the Bolo Bolo Choir. Sally Wells, Margie Crowningshield, Fiona Tarney, Benjamin Antrobus and I also laid down the backround vocals for Amen. Tomas Brabec played keys on Home and was also responsible for some of the bass tracks on Use Less.
Huge THANK YOU's to everyone who was involved in a small or large way with these recordings!
March 3, 2009 - LION’S DEN
The song ‘Lions Den’ was recently featured on an acoustic compilation album called ‘Chill Out – International Edition, Vol 2’, put out by Quickstar Records. Fifty copies of the disk arrived at my house before the Winterfest show. I was impressed with how much better the song sounded after they mastered it.
Lions Den was actually written by a close friend and soul brother of mine, Benjamin Antrobus (www.myspace.com/pasupati). We played a lot of music together in our youth and I always loved playing this song with him. I had no idea it was going to turn into such a production when I started recording it with Lane Arndt (www.forwardmomentum.ca) in the spring of 2008.
Lane is highly respected in Edmonton for good reason. He threw together a beat for the song in a matter of minutes and we went on to lay down the initial guitar and vocal tracks. Lane played the banjo and bass parts. He is also in the short video clip Lions Den on this website. I was playing a benefit show for World Water Day the same night we were tracking on Lions Den, and with the banjo licks fresh in his mind, Lane came down and sat in with Ken Jans and I for a song or two.
I originally wanted a quick demo of this tune and only planned to spend a few afternoons on it with Lane. Those hours went quickly and the song was sounding pretty good, so I decided to give it some more attention.
I took the project over to Norm Hennessey at Velvet Audio (firstname.lastname@example.org) where I was recording some other songs. I had heard recordings by Alexia Melnychuk (www.myspace.com/alexiamelnychuk ) that were done with Norm, and they sounded great. I found out later that those results are largely due to a combination of Norms skill, tenacity and love of getting things right. This often meant lots of takes, re-takes, and experimentation. Then its the patience to sift through all the material, find the best of it, and put it where it needs to be. The mixing process (eq, compression, effects, ect) is yet another layer of the process. Norm’s got all the bases covered. He goes the extra mile in so many different ways, and is moving so quickly, if you don’t know much about recording, its easy to miss all the extra things he’s doing. But at the end of the day, its something you definitely notice when you head home with your latest mix of the song.
Nathan Burns played several shows with me last year. He came down to Norm’s a few times and gave us the smoking Dobro licks on Lions Den as well as some crucial fills and melodic support on the song ‘This’.
Finally, I redid all the vocals and harmonies and Norm poured over it with a fine-toothed comb. I never planned on giving this song so much attention. Norm and I toyed around with about six other songs, but I never really followed through with the other ones. For some reason everything seemed to come together on this song and it was easy to keep moving forward with it. The mastering from Quickstar was the final surprise. I didn’t expect anything when I sent the song to them, but was pleasantly surprised with the result.
Feb 22, 2009 - WINTERFEST
Winterfest was sponsored by the Uptown Folk Club and featured an ambitious line-up of local artists starting Friday afternoon, and finishing late Saturday night. I had a great time and wouldn’t be surprised if this turns into an early anticipated yearly event. Celebrated Nashville songwriter Skip Ewing headlined both evenings. Thanks to the organizers, volunteers, and a special thank you to Jim Baker for the invite. I cant remember the name of the guy who did sound in the small room, but it was stellar. STELLAR!!! If you are doing a show and need a sound guy – find him! I don’t have his name or his number, but if you can find Jim Baker through the Uptown Folk Club, or his wife’s website (www.janbaker.ca), he could probably point you in the right direction.
Feb 10, 2009
Well, I guess I didn't really keep this section updated, but here is the latest:
I played a show last night at the Northern Lights Folk Club here in Edmonton, opening for the exceedingly talented Bob Jahrig. It was a wonderful evening. Thanks especially to hosts Bill and Betty-Jo for such a well organized event and also for their kindness. We shot some video and have posted several songs from the show in the video section on this site.
I've got another show coming up at the Uptown Folk Club on February 21st. The Uptown Winterfest event will be featuring many wonderful local artists and some out of town acts as well.
November 10, 2008 - A note on USE LESS
I’ve always found the endless consumption and waste cycle to be deeply baffling and never resonated with the cultural myths that equate happiness with consumption.
I don’t remember writing “Use Less”. But I do remember that once I started writing, I kept writing for a long time. Originally the song had about 10 verses. I used to say that it was my protest song. And I suppose it is. But lately, it feels more like a song of kindness. Responding kindly to the gifts that we have been given, and acting in kindness toward future generations.
Years ago I read a letter that was attributed to the Native American Leader known as Chief Seattle. Supposedly, before he signed a treaty with the settlers moving into his territory, he wrote a letter to the President of the United States. I have seen different versions of the Chief Seattle letter, and some people claim that the letter is not actually authentic. Nevertheless, this letter touched me deeply because it articulated a profound respect for the earth and all life. It illustrated a life of tremendous respect and reverence. That respect and reverence was absent in my own life and in the material/consumer culture I was raised in, but a life of true reverence and gratitude felt deeply right.
Here are a few especially memorable lines:
"Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the Earth is our mother? Whatbefalls the Earth, befalls the children of the Earth."
"This we know: the Earth does not belong to people, people belong to the Earth. All things are connected, like the blood that unites us all. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do, to ourselves."
"One thing we know, our god is also your god. The Earth is precious, and to harm the Earth is to heap contempt upon its creator."
"We love this Earth as a newborn loves its mothers heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all."
"As we are a part of the land, you too are a part of the land. This Earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you. One thing we know, there is only one God. No one, be they red or white, can be apart. We are family, after all.”
Oct 2, 2008
Its been a busy time, but I'm quite excited about some good things that are unfolding. I've been planning this website for quite a while and I'm glad its finally completed. I'm also continuing to record for an upcoming CD, and have been performing solo and with friends.
I'll be continuing to keep this section of the website updated. Until then, I have some important 'Thank You' s to extend. Even seemingly small connections can set other events in motion. So, thanks to Chris Goerz, the Biofeedback guy, Tracy Reed from "Village Lifestyles", and Vicki from Victoria who has provided tremendous support for this project and made this website a reality. Thanks to Norm Hennessy at Velvet Audio for his skill, attention to detail and superb ears. Thanks Zizi Lievers for the photos on the home page and three others in the PHOTO area. Thanks to Tracy Kolenchuk, live music photographer extraordinaire, he took 12 of the pictures in the PHOTO area (look for the small white signature on the lower right). Thanks also to EditNew for the wonderful job they have done creating this site.
Say hi if ya have the time, and join the mailing list on the home page if you want more info about upcoming shows. I have about 7videos posted on this site and there are more on YouTube, if you do a search for 'Mike Ehlers'. There is also a FACEBOOK link on the home page if that is an easier way to keep in touch.