Spending It, Honey!

Well, friends, it’s been a while.

A lot’s happened since I paid The Rogue Music Lab that $7,333.75 last year. One thing is, people never stopped giving me Tire money. After going right down to zero, I’m back up nearly $1,300.00. Or rather, I was before I gave $442 of it away last Friday, May 23rd:


That’s me holding $332 in Canadian Tire money and holding Max Métrault to boot. Max is the man who wrote “Anastasia,” and to whom I’m forever grateful for that song. The money I’m hoisting pays Max in full for the use of his song on Paper Nickels. I think he said one of the things he was gonna get was a Coleman stove… Max took his money away in a little cooler bag. Which is what you do when its cold hard cash.


Some champagne was opened. Heck, not just some champagne, but the very bottle that my publicist and good friend Johan Hultqvist presented me with at The Cameron House when it was announced that we’d hit our goal amount. This bottle has waited a year and two months for the right occasion to come along, and here it definitely was.


I’m glad I waited a year to open this bottle from Johan. Because I never had any idea, even when we managed to make the studio bill fourteen months ago, that it would ever go this far. That the day would come when I’d be paying out royalties in Canadian Tire money. Which, as far as I know, is another historical first.

RV was next.

photo 2-3

It pleases my soul deeply to pay RV (Rob Vaarmeyer), because his songs have meant more to this project than anyone else’s. How could they not? It was RV who brought the idea which became the song that caused the Caper in the first place. RV wrote “Ol’ Fort Mac” and “A Big Truck Brought It,” what more do I need to say? That trucking song has been a hit for me and Jonathan Byrd both, and “Ol’ Fort Mac” has sold more copies of Paper Nickels than any other track on the record. If this wasn’t folk music, RV would have a gold record on his wall. A plaque, a big fat cheque, and something sleek and slender to put on his mantel. As it is he’ll have to be happy with a cheque for $400, the $100 in Canadian Tire money you see pictured above, and the Pro Junior amp which I gave him to fulfill the rest of my debt. See, we barter in folk music.

Scott Cook, you’re next comrade. (For “The Lord Giveth and the Landlord Taketh Away.”) Raghu Lokanathan, I’m comin’ to you with my saddlebags full of Sandy McTires. (For “Sugar Candy Mountain.”) Shawn Jonasson, you too brother. (For “100 Candles.”) If anyone reading this has some loose Tire change you’d like to turn into music, send it to

Corin Raymond
39 Oxford St.
Toronto, ON
M5T 1N8

and it shall be so. I’ll be paying everyone I can with Tire money and hopefully, even the ones I pay with the real stuff will get a wee bundle so that they too can feel some of the love. Which is what it is. I’ll be posting again soon as it gets closer to me debuting my new one-man show, The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper – which is my follow up to Bookworm. This blog site is alive again and the Caper will not die. It’s like the perfect plant for a bachelor: it just keeps on thriving no matter what you do to it. Long live this new economy, friends. I’ll leave you with RV, spitting five cent bills from his fingertips:

photo 5ps. RV bought a food processor, an immersion blender, and a bike lock!

(First three photos taken by Dawa Fruitman, last two by Emma Jane Julien. Thanks to you both!)

“Truly, Ali Baba’s Cave!”

12 days ago we released Paper Nickels over two nights at The Tranzac…


Those nights were so joyous. I’m proud of my band for pulling off two absolutely different shows. The only song we repeated was (but of course) “Don’t Spend It Honey,” and yes, each night it rained money. Which, you gotta admit, never gets old. If there’s one thing I learned this year, it’s that nobody (me most of all) gets tired of money fluttering from on high.


And when the shows were done, as a facebook friend put it,


“Truly, Ali Baba’s cave!”

I had a lot of amazing help throughout the year and no single person was more involved than my assistant, Emma Julien, who probably never imagined, when I first hired her, that part of her job would be sweeping up drifts of cash.


The new total, by the way, is $6,518.30.  We have cracked sixty-five hundred dollars.

$355.90 has flooded in over the past 12 days. Folks brought it to The Tranzac, The E-Bar, The Pearl Company, The Moonshine Cafe, and to the Reference Library, where I was the guest last night on a live taping of the CBC radio program Here and Now — not to mention the 45 packages that arrived by mail these past two weeks. Here I am opening one from Scott Cook, who we cover on Paper Nickels, on the second night.

Scott Cook pack by Kevin

Scott taped a Corin Raymond buck (which has my address on it) to the envelope with the instruction, “please deliver to this guy.” His return address? “A blue van on the prairies.” That doesn’t mean that Scott’s on tour… listen to his song “This One’s On The House” and you’ll understand.

Scott’s envelope is one of 578 packages that have come through the mail slot over the course of the Caper, and thankfully, they’re still arriving every day. Keep ’em comin’, friends, because we’re a mere $815.45 from the highest peak of Mt. McTire!

We’re a paltry $815.45 away from turning this caper into a coup.

Fact: $197.50 arrived by mail over the past 12 days alone. The CBC ran an Arts and Entertainment article that quoted me as saying, “The whole year has just been kind of this slow avalanche of love.” At The Tranzac I wanted to give some physical sense of this mail box magic, so we covered an entire wall with a selection of letters, cards, and artwork that’d been delivered throughout the caper.

photo 2

The mail and the money haven’t been the only flurry. There’s been some press, and I’ll say this: all of us out here committed to this Crazy Life hope that, at least once, the press will be our partner in something we do, that the media might offer us its fingers-laced-together and give us a boost. But no matter what kind of help you might wish for, there are headlines you just don’t expect to see.


“Corin Raymond strikes it rich” being one. Those are not words I ever thought would be splashed across the cover of The Star’s Entertainment section. Then there was a nice piece on the George Stroumboloupolous Tonight page, which especially tickled me because I was in such a frantic rush on the day of the first CD Release night that I left the producer a voice message while I was having a shower. And he ran with it beautifully, writing a great little article which quoted me from directly under the nozzle. But here’s something I’ve learned over the past year: every time someone writes about you, there’s at least one bit in there that you’ll never know the origin of. In this case it said, “Raymond started using the money on the road whenever it was accepted — at motels, at bars. But when he discovered that the recording studio in Toronto — where his band, The Sundowners, recorded their latest album — took Canadian Tire money at par, his plan was hatched.” Isn’t that genius? It makes me sound like the Littlest Hobo of Canadian Tire Money!! Drifting from town to town, taking refuge from the rain wherever the inn keeper would take it… as Dennis Frey would’ve said, “Amazing.”


That’s me on CBC’s The National, and I’m especially chuffed to be sharing the screen in this picture with Morgan Jones Phillips (if you look at the top right corner of the screen you can see Morgan playing with toy ambulances on the poster for his hilarious one-man show The Emergency Monologues, which, for Toronto folks, returns to The Cameron House for two shows on March 8th). This is the third time I’ve been featured on The National but I particularly like this one because it gives a sense of what the album Paper Nickels is all about. There’s snippets of songs from the album, like “One Hundred Candles,” by The Swiftys, and “Ol’ Fort Mac,” by Rob Vaarmeyer. I’ll take it. It’s my hope that any continued exposure will only give me more chances to talk about the Canadian songwriters that the album celebrates.

There was a thoughtful piece in The Guelph Mercury, David Farrell included a gutsy report on the New Canadian Music site, and As It Happens included me in their year-end music roundup. I’m at 28:40, back to back with Levon Helm. I’ll take it.  I was even on Humble and Fred! How crazy is that? If you want to hear it, they bring me on at the one hour point. Humble and Fred thought that There Will Always Be A Small Time was Paper Nickels, but that’s alright. I’ll take it.

The immediately useful news is that I’m bringing Paper Nickels to Alberta and BC. I fly tomorrow and I’ve got ten shows over the next two weeks and here they are at a glance:

Wed. Feb. 6th at Benoit’s Wine Bar, Revelstoke, BC
Thurs. Feb. 7th at The Ironwood Stage & Grill, Calgary, AB
Fri. Feb. 8th at Ye Olde Jar Bar, Medicine Hat, AB
Sat. Feb. 9th at Scalliwag’s, Camrose, AB
Sun. Feb. 10th at The Artery, Edmonton, AB
Wed. Feb. 13th, House Concert in Kamloops, BC
Thurs. Feb. 14th, House Concert in Sunnybrae, BC
Fri. Feb. 15th, Bookworm/Music at Celtic Traditions, Vancouver, BC — SOLD OUT
Sat. Feb. 16th, Bookworm/Music at Quest University Library, Squamish, BC
Sun. Feb. 17th, Bookworm/Music at Celtic Traditions, Vancouver, BC — 2nd SHOW ADDED


That’s the news, friends. Paper Nickels is out, and it’s coming west. I’ll be playing the first half of the tour with Ben Sures on electric guitar and Moses Gregg on bass, and I’ll be smuggling my Toronto band in on the album itself, so you can take them home too. Corin Raymond and The Sundowners are:

beautiful Treas by Kevin

Treasa Levasseur on accordion and piano, and singing like a bird.

Brian Kobayakaway by Kevin

Brian Kobayakawa on the upright bass.

Baxter by Kevin

And David Baxter on guitar and mandolin, and making it a three-part harmony.

The Caper is $815.45 from being the triumph of a lifetime. Who’s gonna take it across the line? What have you got, Alberta? You’re where it all began. I got the first dollar of the Caper in AB! Maybe that’s where it’ll end. Or will it happen in BC? Or when I get back to whatever mail is waiting for me on my return? I only know one thing, friends: and that’s that it’s gonna happen.

Corin Raymond
39 Oxford St.,
Toronto, ON
M5T 1N8 

Oh and two other things. The photos, from top to bottom, where taken by: Omer Yukseker, Mike Bourgeault, Johan Hultqvist, not sure who took the one of Emma, Kevin Lamb, Emma Julien, Allison Jones, Jess Rae Ayre, and the last three by Kevin Lamb.

The other thing: there was $13.10 in that giant Budweiser bottle from the last post (the one from Cheryl at The Brass Taps). I got it out with a clothes hanger. Just tying up loose ends, folks. I’ll never leave you wonderin’.

Just Another Smile On The Way To The Tranzac

Yep, that’s right. You’re looking at a jumbo Budweiser bottle stuffed with Canadian Tire money.


(Regular bottle beside if for scale.)

Patrick Brealey, a Toronto songwriter whose name comes up more than once in the Paper Nickels book, sent me the picture of the bottle, which he’s bringing tonight to the first of the two-nighter Paper Nickels CD Release at The Tranzac (click for show details).

It was given to him by Cheryl, “the wonderful Grenadan cook who works at The Brass Taps,” who’d been saving it for some time without knowing exactly what for. She heard about the Caper from Patrick and decided it was meant to be.

The Caper makes me giddy. Even after a year. But even giddier is the thought that this very night — Tuesday, January 22nd — Paper Nickels hits a merch table for the first time. The show isn’t sold out. There’s room for you. Even if you all bring a jumbo beer bottle stuffed with Tire money, we’ll get you in. I hope you bring a jumbo beer bottle stuffed with Tire money. That would be the thing to do.

Good night all. Gotta get my Caper sleep.

Just Look At This Beautiful Thing We Did.

Gather in close, friends, and let me tell you ’bout Paper Nickels.

Raymo-reads-2-for-webThat’s it in my hands, weighing in at 0.7 lbs, containing 144 pages, 57 pictures. The words and chords to 20 songs. The stories of where I found those songs and my experience of the artists who wrote them. The tale of the Tire Caper, in all its multi-coloured glory.


This isn’t an album package – it’s the world’s first coffee table CD.

What’s the music like? Oh yeah, the music… well, it’s warm and wooden and alive, full of flesh and heart tones and laughter. It’s soul food. Not just live music, but living music.

I brought everything I had to bring to this beast. Pushed every limit I’ve got. Singer, songwriter, performer, producer, editor, promoter, music journalist, musicologist, memoirist, mapper of the Small Time, impresario, folklorist, and facilitator of the fun percent – all under the same shrink wrap. Never in my sweet short life have I put more time, energy, or money into anything.

It was worth it. This project has been touched by fortune and magic. It’s received so much love during the past year that no shortcuts were possible. I went the full distance, friends, and produced something worthy of all of your love and support. But right now, I need you. I need your help to get this thing all the way into the world.




Corin Raymond
39 Oxford St.,
Toronto, ON
M5T 1N8 

 The bill from The Rogue Music Lab is $7,333.75. The current total of Tire money I’ve collected since the Caper began is $6,162.40. Which means we need $1,171.35 to pull this Caper off completely and forever.

I know we can do it.

TICKETS TO THE TORONTO CD RELEASE NIGHTS CAN BE PURCHASED by clicking the PayPal tab (just below the t-shirts) or by e-transferring the ticket price to corinthatsme@hotmail.com. $15/adv. $25/both nights. All pre-purchased tickets will be waiting for you at the door. Tickets are also available at The Cameron House (408 Queen St. W) and Paradise Bound (270 Augusta Ave. in Toronto’s Kensington Market).

THE PAPER NICKELS ALBUM CAN BE PRE-PURCHASED HERE as well. $30 gets you a signed CD. Include $3.50 for shipping in Canada. If you’re able to pick up your copy at one of the following shows, $30 will do it:

Tues. Jan. 22nd at The Tranzac in Toronto, ON
Wed. Jan. 23rd at The Tranzac, Toronto, ON
Thurs. Jan. 24th at The E-Bar, Guelph, ON
Fri. Jan. 25th at The Pearl Company, Hamilton, ON
Sat. Jan. 26th at The Moonshine Cafe, Oakville, ON
Wed. Feb. 6th at Benoit’s Wine Bar, Revelstoke, BC
Thurs. Feb. 7th at The Ironwood Stage & Grill, Calgary, AB
Fri. Feb. 8th at Ye Olde Jar Bar, Medicine Hat, AB
Sat. Feb. 9th at Scalliwag’s, Camrose, AB
Sun. Feb. 10th at The Artery, Edmonton, AB
Thurs. Feb. 14th, House Concert in Sunnybrae, BC
Fri. Feb. 15th, Bookworm/Music at Celtic Traditions, Vancouver, BC
Sat. Feb. 16th, Bookworm/Music at Quest University Library, Squamish, BC
Wed. Feb. 20th-Sun. Feb. 24th, Folk Alliance International, Toronto, ON

We are making t-shirts in cream and in black, on unisex American Apparel tees. Sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL. T-shirts are $25 if you can pick it up in one of the towns listed above. $8 for shipping in Canada. The cream:
Paper Nickels Tee design-1
And the black:
Paper Nickels Tee design black
And here’s the detonator.

Again, for those of you who don’t use PayPal but wish to help me see this crazy dream to fruition, you can e-transfer money for any purchases to corinthatsme@hotmail.com, or send a cheque to

Corin Raymond
39 Oxford St.
Toronto, ON
M5T 1N8

*NOTE!!!* If you order after 2 PM on Jan 22, we won’t get your order in time to pick up at the TRANZAC shows. After 2 PM, tickets will only be available at the locations listed above (The Cameron and Paradise Bound) or at the door. You can buy Paper Nickels and tshirts at the venue. Thank you!

Toronto friends, we’ll see you next week. I’d like to stress that the two shows, on Tuesday the 22nd and Wednesday the 23rd, are totally different. Aside from the fact that Kim Beggs (Whitehorse, YK) is opening the Tuesday and Wax Mannequin (Hamilton, ON) the Wednesday, me and The Sundowners are doing completely different shows the two nights, and doing songs that even the regulars at The Cameron House aren’t used to hearing. Each night we will perform one of the albums and an assortment of surprises. You’ve been warned.

newest poster-2


The Six Thousand Dollar Man

I’m sittin’ here with $6,137.70 in Canadian Tire money.


It consists of 31,079 bills, and weighs 62 pounds.


That’s not quite enough to pay the $7,333.75 bill from The Rogue Music Lab, but it gets closer every day.


What do you think? Is it possible? Will we hit seven grand? Can we ring that brass bell? Could there be $1,196.05 out there, gathering itself in all its fragments?

Now is the time, friends. The Caper’s nearly over. The fifteen cents that’s been languishing in the back of your glove compartment? The four dollars hiding in your garage? The stash you’ve been tryin’ to convince your stepfather to give up? Listen, and you’ll hear it: the Caper calls to it, softly, at night. Set it free! Those bills just wanna see some of the world and have one crack at show biz before it’s all over.

GetInline-8 Come to Papa.

Corin Raymond
39 Oxford St.
Toronto, ON
M5T 1N8 (My Five Tortillas I Never 8)

Photos by Mark Drolet.

Ms. Yates Gr 4 Class in Fort St. John!

To catch you up on the recent magic: The current total is $5,824.30. It consists of 27,675 bills and weighs over sixty pounds. Scroll down to the previous post to see what that looks like.

To catch up on the recent music: If you’d like to hear where all this Tire money is going, three songs from Paper Nickels are up online. These are mastered recordings from the double album coming out in January and you can hear them at https://soundcloud.com/corinraymond/sets/paper-nickels.

Three songs: Brand New Song, by Andrew Neville, The Lord Giveth (and the Landlord Taketh Away) by Scott Cook, and Ol’ Fort Mac by Rob Vaarmeyer.

To catch up on recent mailbox madness: That beautiful tin trap has been spilling over. The mailman thinks it’s the eighties again! In the past three weeks, I’ve received envelopes and Canadian Tire money from coast to coast, including:

$52.65 from Danny, Kathy, Margaret, Debbie, Noah, & Japhy Dorner Sullivan, $6.25 from Jorja & Genevieve, $1.10 from Laura Bonfigli, $2.75 from Sylvia Pozeg, $1.05 from Shirley Wheatley, .95 from Jess  Rae Ayre, $2.70 from David Schulte, $3.25 from Bobbie Lund (along with some “snowman poop”), $4.60 from Laura Miller, $4.00 from Dean and Sharon Davidson, $5.85 from Sara Tilley, $2.50 from Gilles Boudreau, $2.15 anon, .5 from Norah L’Esperance, .55 from Fumiko Maehara, $1.45 from David Newland, $2.85 from Chris Doda, $3.55 from Craig McCaul, .65 from Kristin McCollum, $36.00 from Gail and Cruz, $7.45 from Wendy Crolla, $4.45 from Peter and Mary Jo, .55 from Lesley Anderson, $6.55 from Liz Zaragoza, $6.60 from Al Green (that’s right), $6.45 from Allison Jones, .65 from Fran Porter, .90 from Suzie Vinnick, .60 from Lynn Ingham, $2.10 anon, $2.70 from Beth and Chuck, $1.50 from Rachel Sawatzky (and a chocolate bar!) .50 from ArtsWells friends in Van, .90 from Eugene Osudar, $6.45 from Anna and Johannes, .80 from friends of Amy Moroni Quarry, $5.60 from Barbara Pedrick, .60 from Eila Power, $2.05 anon. At The Cameron House I was given $2.75 from Sahra Featherstone (passed on by her mother), and $9.10 from Christopher Guest.

But I’m sure no one will feel slighted when I say that the greatest thing to arrive in the mail lately was this drawing, accompanied by $11.90 gathered by Laurie Yates’ Gr. 4 class in Fort St. John, BC. The whole class is on it!!

I love these drawings! I love these kids! My favourite is the one with the money head.

Quick question: how often do people putting out albums (myself, for instance) receive drawings from grade four classes informing the artist that the upcoming album has the class’s support?!? How often do songwriters get cheered on by children in primary schools? Yeah, I’d have to agree with you when you say NEVER. So far I’ve received drawings from three separate classes in three separate provinces (to see those, click here), and if that aint a good sign, I don’t know what is.

A gentle reminder: My total bill from The Rogue Music Lab is $7,333.75. The current total is  $5,824.30. Which means I need only another $1,509.45 by the end of January to pull off one of the most beautiful and most Canadian Capers this country has ever seen. I’ve received encouragement from a Gr 4 Class! (Thank you so much, to all of Ms. Yates’ Grade Fours!) It’s because of you guys that I believe that anything is possible.

To get involved in the Caper, click here!

$5,700.45 and Counting…

Here’s what $5,700.45 in Canadian Tire money looks like, all in one place.

My buddy Ralph from Vancouver, who I met on VIA Rail last year, dropped by with .55 and it put the Caper .45 over the fifty-seven hundred dollar mark.

This was after receiving contributions in the mail that day: $11.70 from Laurie Yates (pooled by Ms. Yates’ Grade 4 Class at Robert Ogilvie Elementary School in Ft. St. John, BC!), $5.85 from Sarah Tilley in St. John’s, NL, and $4.60 from Laura Miller in Owen Sound, ON.

Then my friend Jordanna Rachinsky dropped by and took these photos.

The entire bill from The Rogue Music Lab for the recording, editing, balancing, and the mastering of the double album Paper Nickels — which will be released in Toronto on January 22nd/23rd at The Tranzac — is $7,333.75.

Which means I need to raise only $1,633.30 in Canadian Tire money by January 23rd to pull off one of the greatest Canadian Capers that’s ever happened. Notice I said ‘only’. Anything feels possible now.

And any Tire money that reaches me by the end of this week will be in the total presented in the 144-page book that will accompany the double album. Yeah, you read that right. 144 pages. We’re putting out a coffee table CD, and I’m going to sell it for the standard CD price of $20. Because the whole beautiful project is my thank you to you for giving me THIS:

 If you have anything you’d like to add to this heist, please send it to:
Corin Raymond
39 Oxford St.
Toronto, ON
M5T 1N8
Lastly, this album cannot be produced with Canadian Tire money alone (hard to believe, I know). Pre-purchases help enormously at this point. $30 gets you a signed copy and $50 gets your name in the book (if you get me the $50 by the end of this week).  Pre-purchases are welcome at any time, right up to the release dates in January. You can pre-purchase using PayPal by clicking the DONATE tab on this page: http://www.dontspendithoney.com/?page_id=10.
It’s comin’ folks, and it’s gonna be something else.

$1,790.85 Away From a Coup…

This is a last-ditch, home-stretch, final appeal to anyone out there who has any spare portraits of Sandy McTyre still kicking around!!

I need exactly $7,333.75 in Canadian Tire money to cover the production of the double album Paper Nickels!

As it stands, I have $5,542,90.

Which means I’m $1,790.85 from turning this Caper into a Coup.

I’m sounding the Tire Money Conch!!! We’ve come this far, friends. We’ve already achieved the impossible. We’re heading into the magical now.

Anything that gets to me this week gets included in the album notes, and anything that reaches me by January 22nd can realize this craziest of dreams. Drop it off at The Cameron House, or send it on!!!

Corin Raymond, 39 Oxford St., Toronto ON, M5T 1N8.

Paper Nickels is a double album, accompanied by a 120-page full-colour book, which will include not just a celebration of the Caper itself, but the lyrics to all 20 songs (with the chords), and an additional 300 words about each song/songwriter. The album features songs by Rob Vaarmeyer, Shawn Jonnason, Max Metrault, Bob Hannan, A.G. Olmstead, Jonathan Byrd, Doug Norquay, Scott Nolan, Corin Raymond, Raghu Lokanathan, Taylor Ashton, Andrew Neville, John Borra, Scott Cook, Ridley Bent/Dustin Bentall, David Ross Macdonald, and Evalyn Parry. All performed by Corin Raymond and The Sundowners. And if you haven’t heard of some of those names, that’s the whole point. The scope of this project is beyond anything I’ve ever done, the package is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and The Great Canadian Tire Caper of 2012 will make us smile for the rest of our lives.

Send me yours and I’ll spin it into gold. Corin Raymond. 39 Oxford St., Toronto ON, M5T 1N8. You’ve got the next week to make the total in the package– you’ve got till January 22nd to make this little Canadian miracle real.

Signing off with this photo taken by Julia Kalinina, and with a caption from Chris Dignan (whose Toronto band Dodge Fiasco is a must-see):

“Make a record or buy booze?? Make a record or buy booze? — Keep drivin’, buddy!!”

You know what to do.


That was two days ago: Thursday, October 18th. It began with a package in the mail from Amy Quarry, in Quesnel, BC, which contained this:

That’s the roll of 25 1$ Canadian Tire coins I told you about in the last post. There was also a large stack of CT bills in the packet, some of which you can see here, but I threw ’em all into the air at The Cameron House (I can still hear upright bass-player Brian Kobayakawa behind me saying, ‘Do it… do it…’) and they got all mixed up with everything else that was handed to me over the course of the night, so I don’t know how much it was. But it was a bunch.

Add that to the grimy dimes and dog-cornered nickels handed to me by Emma Jane (with bills from Peter Katz, and eight-year old Montrealer Jayla, who I told you about so many months ago), Ian McKiernon, Ian’s mother, Val Foster, Quinlan Lee Arima-Shaw, Tamara Kater, Bronwen from New Brunswick (second NB contribution in two days– see last post) and Pearl Rachinsky (got at the Canadian Tire in Yellowknife), and it was more than I could put in two pockets. There were other miscellaneous bills throughout the night but in the waltz of pints between The Cameron House and The Dakota Tavern, I can’t remember them all.

What I do know is that after it was all picked up off The Cameron House floor, carried around in my guitar case all night and finally dumped on the kitchen table by the light of day, like ‘the plunder of the world’ in that old A.E. Houseman poem (which ‘the ship pours shining on the quay’), the Caper had jumped $111.60 in a single evening. Which is a record-breaker for a night out in Toronto. Even nine months in, The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper of 2012 is breaking new ground.

And so, a mere forty-eight hours after my last post, the new total is FIVE THOUSAND, FOUR HUNDRED, TWENTY-TWO DOLLARS, AND EIGHTY CENTS.


If I could make those numbers bigger I would. If I could send them shrieking over our heads like a roman candle, I’d do that too. I’m less than eighty bucks away from Fifty-Five Hundred Dollars in Canadian Tire Money. My madcap goal is still Ten Thousand, which I know is ridiculous. But then, imagining I could put together five hundred was ridiculous. Everything that happens from here on in is impossible, and we’re doing it together. I can feel Don Quixote smiling on us all. This is world-record stuff, and Canadian folklore. I’ll be collecting right up until the CD Release dates in January (tickets available at Paradise Bound and The Cameron House).

Fifteen cents at a time,


ps. It turns out that there was just over a hundred dollars in the package Amy Quarry sent from Quesnel, which she had spent weeks gathering from her friends– amazing. Thank you, Amy!!

pps. It’s Canadian Library Month. I’m performing my one-man show BOOKWORM at the London Public Library in London, Ontario, on Tuesday, October 23rd, and I’ll be following that with a short set of songs (and accompanied by Joe Phillips on upright bass, it doesn’t get better than that). Tickets are on sale now, available at Community Outreach & Program Services, Central Library. 519-661-5122. $5.

I can’t remember the last time I performed a show (in this case, two shows) for $5.

Which is as good a reason as any, Londoners, to bring your Canadian Tire Money to the library on Tuesday night. I was last in London for the Fringe in June, and I broke $4,000 on the final day of the festival. Look at me now, Ma! Fourteen Hundred Dollars in Paper Nickels later. Come catch the Bookworm/music combo at the library and bring any spare portraits of Sandy McTyre, which is allowing me to finish this album:


ppps. The end of that same week, on Friday, October 26th, I’m bringing BOOKWORM to Guelph, to The Magnolia Cafe, and I’ll be followed by a set of music by David Ross Macdonald.

pppps. A warning: if you’re intending to be at the Paper Nickels CD Release nights in Toronto in January, I can tell you right now that they WILL sell out, so get your tickets. We’ll be performing the first album the first night, the second the second, with surprises and treats aplenty. All the money’s gonna be there, for one.

Oh, and see where it says, under the Tuesday date, ‘Special Guest TBA’? Well, it’s being announced right now: The special guest is Kim Beggs, who’s not only one of my favourite Canadian artists, she also happens to be who I was touring with when I received the very first dollar of the GCTMC of 2012.

Kim is coming all the way from Whitehorse to open the show. More soon, CR.

$4,356.15 (And Changing By The Hour)!

This picture was posted on facebook by Madison Lewis, in Lacombe, AB, on June 17th. She said, ‘Can we fill this with some paper change? I think so!’  This is the kind of help I’ve been receiving from across the land.  Incidentally, I was $6.45 away from $4,000.00 when Madison posted this picture.

The Tire Money’s been coming in every day, from every direction.  Everywhere I’ve been in the past month- London, ON, Fort St. John and Rolla, BC, The Cameron House here in Toronto, you name it.  I can’t walk down the street without coming home with a paper nickel. There’s been something in the mailbox every day these past few weeks.  Every day!!

It’s exactly six months since this Caper was launched.  At that time I had a total of just over $82.50, which was very, very exciting.  And now I’m  $83.15 away from $4,400.

The stories keep piling up. I’ve had women give me their ex-husband’s forgotten stashes (or pilfer their current husband’s stash).  I’ve had friends hand-deliver Tire Money constituting years of saving (one friend, Tara Hughes, brought hers to The Cameron House wrapped in paper with the words The Dragon’s Hoard on it, which is how she’s had it packaged the seven years she’s been putting it away).  And now it’s come to join all the other bills to make the album Paper Nickels.

Which we start mixing tomorrow. More on the album very soon, I promise.  All I’ll say is that I love it. Like every record I’ve made, it’s something I can listen to for the rest of my life and be proud of it until the end. It’s just about putting some more joy in the collective jukebox. It’s a double album featuring 20 songs (by 17 different writers, including myself) and I cannot, cannot, cannot wait for you to hear it. I’ll have something to share soon.

By the way, Madison Lewis posted this photo ten days later, on June 27th.

My goal is to hit $5,000 by the end of July, $7,000 by the time I come home in September, and $10,000 by January 1st, 2013.  And this is how I’m doing it.  One Mason Jar at a time. Thank you, Madison!