The Beach Boys…

‘Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.’ Or so the saying goes, you reap what you sow. That could not be any truer than that other saying that goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I hope my absence has made your heart grow fond? No?..ok… 😉 Yes! If your heart is fond, please lead it to the JCEX LP launch Saturday May 28th @ Casa Del Popolo (4873 Boul St-Laurent) 8pm doors, 10$ W guests the awesome Po Lazarus & one record I’ve been listening to lots these days by Toddler. Nick Huston’s project. Event info HERE.

JCEX May 28 Poster

I haven’t posted anything for months. It’s been a real roller coaster of a year for me. Lost my dad about 6 months ago, that was really tough. I put everything on hold, UK tour, One Man Band festival 2016, house/travel projects, you name it…life was dark for a while, sad, heavy, so real. I felt like an unmoored boat sailing aimlessly, being carried off by strong winds to and fro. My dad was my rock, my friend, and my guide but most importantly, he was always there for me. He was the quintessential wise man, always had good things to say, taught me how to never waste my energy on grudges and never waste my speech, to love your family, and to always keep a focus on your goals and passions. He is sorely missed. I’m still dealing with his loss and am not out of the woods just yet, but at least I have a good family and Lisa, my  beautiful strong woman/wife/best friend/co-pilot.. by my side to help each other through dark times. And you learn, you keep learning to let go. I’m convinced more than ever now, that we are here to learn to let go…as the original JC once said, “Be IN the world, not OF the world” seeing loved ones pass is a hard lesson and a sort of reminder of why we’re here.

But there’s more…there’s music.

The only thing keeping me grounded amidst the noise, is making music these days. Over the winter, in a state of contemplation, I reopened an old pandora’s box of songs from the past. About 11 songs I had written a while ago that I had no lyrics for. I shelved them thinking I would come eventually add lyrics to them. But lately it hit me that I could just release an album of instrumentals.

Why not right?

IMG_3715And so the new record is born. Have a listen to the first track on the record HERE. The record is a beautiful mixed bag of speechless songs. It was recorded in many basements and small studios around Montreal and area at different times. It was remixed by Dave Draves and mastered using Landr audio (trying it out). It is called “Uniformitarianism” based on the 18th century geological doctrine that current geologic processes, occurring at the same rates observed today, in the same manner, account for all of Earth’s geological features. So basically, our history, growth, evolution is a slow and steady process. That idea really comforts me, as it feels like we are being slowly ushered, guided. I don’t think I could even handle it any other way to be honest. 2016 having been so far a difficult and erratic year (the Chinese year of the monkey after all) feels like there is no foundation and everything is in constant flux like I’m dancing on quicksand, seeing all my heroes die.  

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But music continues to be a beacon, a rock,  a moor on which I can give my creative life some direction. I have strengthened my resolve to keep making music, and as much of it as I can, with no visions of grandeur, no beliefs that this will fulfill my ego, no delusions of riches, just to serve, to make people happy, to make nature happy. I just want to make for the sake of making. Much like the monks of Tibet who slave for months working on gorgeous Mandalas only to destroy these masterpieces once finished, music should be the same way, make it, give it, and forget it. I had this idea of making a record then having it destroyed after one listen. Kind of like the old mission impossible shows “this album will self destruct in 5…4…3…”

Saturday May 28th at Casa Del Popolo, I’m looking forward to this show and I KNOW for a fact if you come, you are going to love it too. Good vibes all around. All the guys from the bands and promoter Josh Carson from (Kickdrum) are super cool friendly people. We’ll be playing songs from Passion Pilgrim (2015) and new material as well. We may even be joined by guest musician Matt Wiviott (Guzheng player).

Big changes with the band as well. Our fantastic drummer Daniel Kiely is packing up and moving to Hamilton (why do the good ones always leave?) He is not only a great drummer but also a great friend. On June 3rd, 4th and 5th, we will be going into Little Bullhorn studios in Ottawa to track our new record. Dave Draves is responsible for gems like Kathleen Edwards (Failer and Back to Me), Wooden Stars, Julie Doiron, Jim Bryson and many other (he told me recently he had Sly and Robbie in his studio!). Finally, in July,  I’ll be tour managing a really great band from the UK called Moulettes, who make beautiful, complex, beguiling music. They are quite big in Europe and have shared the stage with just about everyone from Jean Paul Jones to Gentle Giant to Bonobo. They are going to be touring their latest album “Preternatural”, and playing all the big festivals in Canada including the Montreal Jazz fest July 5th so if you are in town or anywhere in Canada, check out their website for tour dates. I’m pretty excited to be hitting the road with these lovely chaplings.

That’s about all for now. As with any year of obstacles, it only strengthens my resolve to push harder. Watching all these great figures of my life, starting with my dad then my musical heroes, come and go one after another (apparently we lost 23 celebrities in 2016 so far, insane) it just makes it feel so much more like we are just in the matrix, and that in some inexplicable way, we are all being tested, our hearts, minds, thoughts, things we think are “ours” really, we are only relaying the baton. I think part of some great big game that not only humans are playing, but insects, rocks, and trees too, and God Only Knows the rules and point of this game. All we have to do is learn to play together. Life is play, life is joy, death is a reminder of the importance of joy, of life!

Of love…

Speak soon..

Jon Cohen