“Truly, Ali Baba’s Cave!”

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

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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.

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

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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

FIND ALL SHOW DETAILS HERE.

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’.