A Wayward Word's Worth

November 15, 2010

Finger Dance

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 2:52 am

Silk Street artist pays tribute to his rural roots with stark, black and white finger paintings. By Kyle Mullin for The Beijing Review Online, Nov. 11 2010

At first it looks like he’s painting a Rorschach inkblot – carefully dabbing dark lines and splotches to represent your very psyche. But it doesn’t take long for you to realize he’s not painting your mind’s current state, but something it has yet to ponder – a corner of China with lush leaves, swaying branches and perfectly chiseled rock faces. All of this rendered with just his fingers, a painter dabbing each dark drop with his nails instead of a brush.

“A brush can’t help you paint pictures like this,” said Cheng Geng of the stark black and white finger paintings he creates before the eyes of patrons of the Xiu Shui Art Tea Shop at the top of the stairway that leads to Silk Street’s fourth floor.

As if to prove his point, Cheng dunks his right pinky and ring fingers into a porcelain bowl filled with ink as black as sackcloth.






November 3, 2010

Family Tension Finds Way Into Georgas’ Lyrics

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 12:50 pm

Vancouver songstress says she’s blessed with sibling rivalries. By Kyle Mullin for New Brunswick’s Telegraph Journal, Nov. 3 2010

Hannah Georgas gripped the receiver hoping for something more than a hollow dial tone on the other end.

The first verse from her seminal single The Deep End is like listening to that phone call. She asks “Are you calling from a pay phone this time, the lines aren’t clear, is everything OK on your side?”

The tune will likely be a highlight when the Vancouver singer-songwriter plays Fredericton, Saint John and St. Andrews over the next week. The lyrics reflect a time when Georgas’ sister dialled her number over and over, as both siblings struggled with fading connections – and not just on the phone.

“At the time I was talking to my sister a lot, because we seemed to be going through all the same challenges,” Georgas said. “I never knew where she’d be calling from, so I’d always ask, ‘Are you calling from a pay phone? Do you have a place to stay?’ I was quick to give advice that I wasn’t able to take. The song is like that, an anxious conversation with myself, where I believe I’m trying to ease someone else when I’m really just trying to calm myself down.”


Family Tension Finds Way Into Georgas’ Lyrics



The Devil Kris Kristofferson Knows

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 12:46 pm

The weathered songwriter still strums to keep from succumbing to his demons. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Oct. 28 2010

Long after the song is over, something more can be heard in the fading hum of the strummed guitar strings, felt only by fingertips toughened from years of plucking those lonely notes. It’s a beautiful revelry in what remains, and Kris Kristofferson has spent a lifetime finding that special sort of salvation from the fringe edges he’s forced himself towards — be it the Sunday morning hangovers he’s become so famous for singing about, or a memory dulled by the much more potent brew of old age.

The latter is a prime example of the 74-year-old entertainer’s biggest current struggle — right now he’s sitting, racking his brain to remember the name of the John Steinbeck novel he used as a reference for one of his most renowned songs.

“It was inspired by, whatcha callit,” he says of “ ‘Here Comes That Rainbow’ again — a tune that was based almost verbatim on dialogue between characters that scrape together a few sweet morsels of kindness at a diner during the Great Depression in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and went on to become a favourite anthem of Kristofferson’s friend and mentor, Johnny Cash.

“I think I might’ve changed a word here or there, ya know, just to make it rhyme. The scene always moved me,” says Kristofferson.  “I loved (Steinbeck’s) style, and at the time (that I wrote the song) I wanted to be a novelist myself, so I could identify with what he was doing.  I’d love to think that I could write a book like that someday, but I wonder sometimes if I have the brain just to do my shows.

As long as I keep playing gigs it’d be harder to finish something longer (than my songs), but I would like to write a novel before I totally lose my memory.”




The Devil Kris Kristofferson Knows

Ghost Songs, Ghost Stories

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 12:39 pm

Stars use roses to thank their fans, and desperate, haunting words to relate to them. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s See Magazine, October 28 2010

The rose has long since bloomed — now it’s uprooted, clenched and swung to come crashing down. For indie symphonists Stars those flowers are literally the most delicate  drumsticks, bursting with the beat in a flurry of pedals.

Drummer Pat McGee often uses roses to pelt out his rhythms during concerts, and  keyboardist Chris Seligman will grip the same stems to tap out gentle harmonies, before singers Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell hurl bouquets as gifts from the stage toward the open arms of their audience. In those moments Stars (which also includes bassist  Evan Cranley) aren’t mere indie rockers, but fragrant vagrants embracing their shows’ sweet scents and sounds as if that’s all they have left to lose, with everything else to gain.

“I like roses because they make the stage ours,” says singer Amy Millan. “And they smell pretty, when you’re around a lot of black boxes, like amps that have been in storage, things can smell bad. So a rose’s scent really helps.”

That lingering aroma can cling to their clothes, trail them like a fading memory or even a heavenly haunting spirit. It’s a sentiment that laces every note and even the name of Stars’ latest album, The Five Ghosts.

“I’m very superstitious. I can’t discuss ghosts anymore, I need to talk about life,” Millan says. “But when you’re running through those songs on stage it’s no longer about us, it’s about the audience. (Singing) ‘Dead Heart’ is great because the whole audience is singing it with us. So it’s not about a dead heart but about being alive, and sharing that with our fans and their ghosts — not mine.”




Ghost Songs, Ghost Stories

Fight In Her Heart and Her Lyrics

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 12:36 pm

Sarah Harmer’s environmental battle adds an edge to her latest album. By Kyle Mullin for New Brunswick’s Telegraph Journal, Oct. 26 2010

Tree branches groan in the wind with an aching rhythm befitting one of Sarah Harmer’s ballads, as the songstress gazes at the landscape she loves – and came too close to losing.

“I kind of took it for granted growing up,” she says of the Niagara Escarpment region she’s been trying to save from bulldozers since 2005, a fight that saw her co-found the group Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL). Her frustration is reflected in the tough sound on much of her latest album, Oh Little Fire.

“When I was little I tromped all over these fields, I know them really well so it’s … very important for me to work to make sure we make good decisions and not have the old industrial growth model dictate decision making.”


Fight In Her Heart, and Her Lyrics



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