It’s Been A Thousand Dollars Since We Last Talked

Last time I posted something here was July 7th, 2012 (I’m bad, and not like Michael Jackson). The total that day was $4,356.15. Just over three months later the newest tally is $5,311.20!  I would’ve written sooner but I’ve been all over the place. There’s a song at the end of this to explain my absence.

If you’d like to hear where all this Canadian Tire Money’s going, there are three unmastered mixes you can hear online. ‘Unmastered mixes’ means they’re not ready to vacuum-seal in cellophane, or hand over to the deejays. Not quite yet. They’re just ready for you to enjoy ’em:

But back to the Caper. This photo was sent to me last week:

That’s twenty-five dollars in Canadian Tire silver– 25 1$ coins wrapped in a company-issue roll, and they’re on their way right now to 39 Oxford, care of Amy Quarry, who only last month sent me this:

You got it, friends: that’s a sho’nuff Pilsner wallet, and that’s the $31.45 that’d been living inside it, which Amy’s husband had been adding to for eight years. He loved the Caper and told Amy to send me the wallet too. Amy told her friend Darcy (who happens to own a Canadian Tire) what I was doing, and he pitched in $25 in CT coinage. Look at that stuff. Pieces of eight!!

Okay, this photo of me feeling giddy was taken by Kelly White at the Trout Forest Music Festival (one of the best festivals ever, up in Ear Falls, Ont.) minutes after breaking five grand. Word of the Caper spread through the grounds (largely thanks to Ross, our awesome cook in hospitality) and by the end of the weekend, I’d collected $132.40, putting the total, when the weekend ended, at $5,052.30. That was August 11th.

We crossed the fifty-three hundred dollar line today, with $15.90 from Lauren Graham, which her grandfather in New Brunswick, Grant Watson, had put aside for years. Lauren told me he would’ve been thrilled to know that it became part of this project.

Back in January, when the Caper went super nova, Andrew Neville, of Winnipeg, MB (one of the songwriters being covered on the album) sent me $52.10, along with a beautiful and hilarious letter which I posted (you’ll find it back in the misty annals of this site). What I didn’t know at the time was that that particular stash had been collected by his father and left to to Andrew when his dad passed away. Andrew sent me his Canadian Tire inheritance!! When I was in Winnipeg this summer, I stayed at Andrew’s mother’s place, and the more I heard from her and Andrew about his father, the clearer it became how much he would have loved the Caper. Andrew wasn’t ever gonna spend those bills in any store, but when he heard what I was doing, the money found its home.

That’s the kind of energy that’s swirling around this beautiful feat of community, and which will live through this album every time someone puts it on. Speaking of which, here are the Toronto release dates:

We’ll be playing the first side of the double album the first night, and the second side the second. We’ve got inspiring guests, surprises, and all of the money collected throughout the entire caper will be there on display. Advance tickets went on sale yesterday at Paradise Bound (270 Augusta Ave. in the Kensington Market), and they’ll be at The Cameron House starting tomorrow.

And hey, if you’ve been meaning to send me your Tyre Money, do it! When 2012 ends, so does the Caper, and I guarantee that everyone who contributes a thin paper dime is gonna experience a sweet and unique species of happiness whenever you put that record on.

To finish.

I had a crazy summer. I performed my one-man show Bookworm at 5 Fringe Festivals, I played two music fests, and music gigs in every town I hit. I spent two days on trains, twenty hours on buses, flew six times, took five ferries, saw a lot of road. I slept on air mattresses, living-room foamies, fold-outs, and in guest beds. The four-month tour ended in Vancouver, where I received Pick Of The Fringe and was held over for an extra show. Just before that, I participated in the Vancouver Fringe Cabaret, which was a beautiful thing. An evening of performers doing stuff that wasn’t in their shows, and the only illumination in the sold-out room was from the flashlights in the hands of the audience, who swung those beams around the room to spotlight the next act, wherever they might pop up out of the darkness. It was an amazing night. I kicked the proceedings off with a song called ‘Trains and Boats and Buses’.

And a week later, just before doing my last performance of Bookworm, I sang it again, outside this very theatre (Performance Works in Granville Island) leaning against a vintage tour bus that was parked there:

This was shot by Rod Matheson, who– check this out– is shooting, and posting 1000 music videos in 1000 days.  If you’re a music fan, you’ll love what Rod’s doing. Find out about his joyful mission:

Alright. I won’t let another thousand dollars go by before I say hello again. Until then: this past weekend I attended OCFF (stands for the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals), which is a annual music conference which sees hundreds of musicians and folk-industry type folks getting together, getting business done, and doing stuff like this:

That’s Adam Iredale-Gray (of Fish & Bird), me, Emma Jane, and Gaby Harvey poking our heads into Jadea Kelly’s genius addition to the conference. I thought you should see it.

Writing to you from The Rogue Studios, where I’m listening to the final edit of Paper Nickels, which comes out January, 2013. The Rogue is without a doubt The Millennium Falcon of music studios. It’s all coming together. May the Folk Be With You. Talk soon, CR.

In the end, I wore it. Like a stripper. Like a scarecrow.

I don’t know where the week went.  Or the month, for that matter.  The days are falling off the calendar and rustling round my boots like leaves, or more aptly, like Canadian Tire cash.  I played a week of shows with these two fellas- my brothers in alms, Raghu Lokanathan and Jonathan Byrd…

   … and the floors of the places we played looked like this:


or like this: Continue reading

Thank You For Being So Canadian With Me

The new total, as of opening the mail today, is $1,579.95.  Two weeks ago I had $100.75.  The support has been joyous, ludicrous, and almost dream-like.  Don’t anyone wake me up just yet…

The photo above was taken by NOW photographer Graeme Phillips after the second night of live recording at The Tranzac club here in Toronto… and THIS picture was taken after the cast of This Hour Has 22 Minutes finished their live studio taping on Monday:

That 22 Minutes plugged me and my crazy caper at the end of the show (which aired Tuesday night) is pinch-myself news enough… if you wanna pinch yourself too, find the whole episode here

… but to wake up today to this picture of Mark Critch stuffing the envelope for me with the Tire Money gathered by cast and crew– as well as the thirty-five cents from props that appeared in the episode itself– well, forgive me if I’m not convinced I’m actually awake:

And no one’s been contributing to this delicious sense of January delirium more than Andrew Shay Hahn

… but I’d like to thank the friends and fans who sold out The Tranzac on Tuesday and Wednesday, and who brought all your love (and Tire Money) to those events…

 Both nights were beautiful, and I think we got most of the album on Wednesday night.  Here’s a video NOW posted of the show’s finale….

Thanks for being so Canadian with me everybody… more on all this zaniness soon.  Right now Jonathan Byrd and Raghu Lokanathan and I are off to play at The Pearl Company in Hamilton tonight, at The Magnolia Cafe in Guelph on Saturday, and at a Kitchener house concert on Sunday afternoon… find details for any of these shows here.


This Hour Has 22 Dollars and Sixty-Five Cents

The mojo people are bringing to this madcap enterprise gets more inspiring every day… local efforts have been busting out across the country (Canadian Tire Tuesdays at Erwin’s Bakery in Kamloops BC, the Music In The Alcove pool up in Cochenour ON– not to mention folks who’ve been collecting the Sandy McTyres from at their workplaces).  A few days ago The Stratford Festival posted about this project to their 30,000 FB fans, and now, check THIS out:

 That’s right.  The wonderful cast and crew of This Hour Has 22 Minutes has started a collection!!!  Not only that, they’re also donating the 35 cents from props which appear in the episode ‘Double Double 7, James Bland’, which will air tomorrow night (Tuesday, January 24th) at 8:30 pm on CBC TV.  There is mojo in this money, friends, and it’s all going into an album of songs from across this country. Continue reading

I woke up this morning to THIS…

This campaign is an engine of beauty, love, mad fun, and unadulterated joy, and if I needed proof, well… I woke up this morning to this:

How frickin’ cool is THAT!!??  You can’t even say how cool it is, can you?  Because they don’t measure cool that far!  This is some next-dimension shit!  If Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali had been Canadians, and played together when they were kids, this might have happened before now… I was awake when I saw it for the first time, but I wondered for a moment if I was still dreaming…  This is a diorama by Andrew Shay Hahn, which he made yesterday. Continue reading

The Canadian Tire Question


It amazes me how many people have been telling me I need to get with Canadian Tire.  Last night I was broadcast nationally on CTV News (I haven’t seen it because I don’t have a television), and host Marcia MacMillan, when we were talking before the taping, asked me the question I’ve been getting a lot:  ‘Have you talked to Canadian Tire??  You’re giving them all kinds of free publicity here…’.  I told her that they’ve tried to contact me but that I haven’t spoken to them yet, adding, when she looked so shocked, ‘but I’m gonna call them soon and say hello!!  But that’s not really what this campaign is about’, I told her, and she asked ‘well what’s it about then?’, just before the cameras rolled.  I’m not sure I really got to answer that question in the brief spot, in which, apparently, I was flanked by a story about an elephant’s birthday and played my song behind ticker tape announcing Avril Lavigne’s breakup.  I’d like to address that question here (briefly, because I’ve got a show to prepare for):

It’s pretty simple, really.  What makes this campaign so fun is that it belongs to US. Continue reading

This Is What I’m Talkin’ About…

This one’s from Marcel Levesque, who put up a sign at work and has been gathering a Canadian Tire sheaf…

… this one is from Darren and Cathy Hutchings in Mississauga…

… and this is Claudia and Ola up in Haines Junction, The Yukon (it doesn’t get much more Canadian than Canadian Tire money coming all the way from The Yukon)… Continue reading