The Journey

Entry 15 - CBC Searchlight 

Hi Everyone,  

I hope you and your families are well. It's been a long time coming, but I think we can see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. So, I'm finally going to get things rolling this year. I'm planning some exciting things this year, so stay tuned.  

First on the list, I've entered The Puppy Sale track Black Mark in the CBC Searchlight contest. Voting begins Tuesday May 11th, at 3pm until Thursday May 20th. So I'm going to need your support.  

Here's how:  

1) Anytime after 3pm on May 11th, go to: CBC Searchlight 

2) Each video will have a button to vote, along with options to share the page on social media #Searchlight2021. You can also tag @cbcmusic to let them know who you’re voting for.  

3) If you're so inclined, please put a reminder in your calendar to vote up to once per day until May 20th.  

4) Forward this email to 2 friends, and if they like the tune, they can complete these steps too.  

That's it!  :).  

As a thank you, I've made Black Mark a free download for everyone on the mailing list.  

In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying the music on my site.  

Thank you for supporting independent music.  

Stay safe,  


Entry 14 - It's about time. 

Alright, alright, alright... The long awaited EP release, admittedly mostly by me, is finally here! It's called A Long Road. It's 7 songs of pop/indie rock, with a dash of country, and groove. It's been an emotional roller coaster for me. So I would like to thank all of the people who supported me, and held me up.

First, my dear friend Stephen Rapos, and his beautiful family, Kathy, Olivia and Charlie. They believed in me, opened their hearts and home, and treated me like family. I'm sure you didn't know what you were getting into when this all began. Thank you isn't big enough. Without you, I would never have started.

A MASSIVE thank you to Mitch 'King Kong' Girio who did most of the production work, as well as all of the mixing and mastering. He has the patience of a saint, and he needed all of it to get through the needy, indecisive, picky, and neurotic artist that is me. His skill and guidance have been invaluable. 

My dear and steadfast friend Gloria gave me her talent, her musical acumen, and unwavering support, including allowing me to turn her sister's bathroom into a recording studio to track some vocals. It is affectionately known as Flush Studios.

Last but certainly not least, my love Michele, who had to listen to my struggles and put up with my mood swings but never complained.

And now on to the next step, marketing. (ugh!) I have published it to Bandcamp It's also available on my website. Nigel Barnes Music Have a listen. If you like what you hear, please share it with your friends and help a brother out. You can even purchase it!! Anyway, the journey continues.

Entry 13 - #BLM 

For those of you that may have been wondering why the posts suddenly stopped, I can only apologize for the radio silence. I thought it best to wait until  a) I had a better handle on the timeline of things, b) I had something worthwhile to say (I know that's always been dubious) and c) had things in a lesser state of undress. 

Before I talk about my current status, I would feel remiss if I didn't add my voice to the discussion about social injustice. There have been some horrific events in the last few months, starting with the murder of George Floyd. As a human being, not just as a black man, I was shaken to my core when I saw that chilling video. Let's not allow these deaths to be in vain. It's not going to happen overnight, but we have an opportunity to make significant progress in the fight for equality.

In my opinion, while the issue of racism seems less overt here in Canada than it is in the United States, it still exists. From my experience, I have always had great support from people of all races growing up, and continue to receive that support. However, these events and the current health crisis have given me time to reflect on my life in this regard. I did noticed some incongruencies, and an underlying dis-ease that I couldn't quite put my finger on. There's no way to know if these were real, or just the projection of my feelings onto a given situation. One that thing is clear to me is that there are people here in Canada with more concrete examples of these injustices. And while the focus has been on black lives, I think the movement could and should represent all people of colour, religion or sexual orientation if we are to achieve the goal of true equality.

For me, the challenge is to be more of an anti-racist. Which means examining my own behaviour and identifying any time that I may have said or done anything that may have offended people, as well as speaking out when I witness or experience racist behavior, not in a confrontational way, but with the intention to educate or inform someone that their behaviour or comments may be offensive,  At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I submit that it is a challenge for all of us, with the goal of uniting us.

Sorry to start with such a heavy tone, but I think it's important to have these discussions.

Entry 12 - They're not done yet?! 

I know, I know. Remember when I said recording is like moving? I forgot to add it's like moving from a house you've lived in your whole life and you've kept all of the momentos and gadgets you've acquired over the years! Geeze Louise!!! While we're making progress, it's like pouring molasses in the winter. However, including Time For Letting Go, I'll have 4 tunes done within a week or two, with 3 more coming along. So a 7-song EP just in time for Christmas is within reach.

In the meantime, I'm working on writing cues for TV and commercials. In case you're wondering what a 'cue' is, one application is that little piece of music that you would here between scenes of your favorite reality show. My guilty pleasure is the home reno shows. I don't own a home. I'm absolutely, hopeless with power tools, measuring, visual design blah de blah de blah. So I'm always impressed when they transform some of these time capsule homes into modern/showroom homes. Alas, I digress. The music that you hear on those types of shows are called cues. You may not notice them, but they play an important role in setting the mood, and helping to transition from one segment to the next. It's a lot like playing the lottery. You write something, produce it, send it in and cross your fingers.It's very much about servicing the needs of a show, and being in the right place at the right time.  At least that's the impression I get from what I've read and seen from people talking about the process. I'm learning to produce these cues on my own, so I doubt the first ones that I do won't be very good. But it's another skill, and like everything else, it will take practice. Wish me luck.

P.S. I'm also playing the lottery, which would render this all moot, but we all know what the odds of that happening are.


Entry 11 - New bandmates for The Puppy Sale? 

Hi everyone,

As completed music draws ever closer, (more on that later) I am concurrently assembling musicians to play the stuff, but I also think I will play some solo shows. I'd like to kick it off with a band... or a bang. I haven't booked a venue, since we haven't even had our first rehearsal yet. I didn't want to jump the gun. So far, in addition to the stalwart Gloria Hall - vocals, drummer Ambrose Pottie, bassist Nate Ploasis, and keyboardist Rob Murphy. They have all been very positive about my tunes, so I"m really looking forward to see how they approach them. I hope we can put something together for the first week of November. Fingers crossed. Here's a picture of my friends old cover band Karneval left to right: Jamie Habkirk - drums, Kevin Treffinger - lead guitar, Gloria Hall - vocals, Shawn Sage - Bass/vocals, moi - rhythm guitar/vocals, Stephen Douglas - keyboards/vocals. Good times!!

Entry 9 - The tedious stuff 

Ok, recording is coming along. I'm writing a few new tunes. In the picture; Gord from Oak Recording Studio, and my dear friend Gloria Hall, who added her dulcet tones to the track. I'll have some product soon. Now I just have to find an audience. Where could they be? Who could they be? Well, there's my family and friends.. That's a tidy 20 or 30 people! Yes, this is where the real work is. Welcome to the glamour of the present day rock'n'roll life. I've been compiling a list of university campus radio stations/shows that might be interested in playing my stuff. Granted, it's not may favorite thing to do, so I haven't been very disciplined about doing it. That has to change. Also, I have continue to invite people to visit the website and join the mailing list through Facebook and LinkedIn. More discipline. Then I have to write this blog, and publish it to Twitter and Facebook. I don't have many followers on Twitter, so this has dubious benefits at this stage, but it doesn't take much effort, so why not. If you're reading this, please follow me on Twitter, if for no other reason than to boost my self-esteem. I'll try not to fall into the trap of measuring my self-worth by the number of followers I have, but it does provide some level of validation. Anyhoo, back to work. :)

Entry 7 - Beaches Jazz Fest. Workshop 

I got the opportunity to go to a workshop at the Beaches Jazz Festival featuring the wonderful Laila Bialli this summer. Talk about talent! This woman has an area 51 warehouse full of it. (area 51 is where they keep all the UFOs ... or where they were developing the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft (spy plane) no UFO's) Anyway, she is an outstanding Canadian jazz pianist, vocalist, songwriter, has sung with the likes of Sting, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega and Chris Botti. During here interview with Bill Evans, she said she hasn't spent enough time on her piano playing.  She thinks it has been relegated to support of her wonderful voice, a voice that almost went unheard. People told her she couldn't sing and should stick to piano. Needless to say, no one says that to her now. After her performance, she talked about her career, the ups and downs, and some of the fortunate breaks she's gotten along the way. (e.g. singing for Sting and Paula Cole) It was also interesting to hear about the struggles and bouts of depression. But she keeps going. "It's a labour of love." she said several times. I suppose I could take that one of two ways; persevere and things will work out eventually, or "success" is an illusion, and you only recognize it when looking back on a long career. You just have to celebrate the successes along the way, and pick yourself up from the failures. I'm not sure how it will go for me, but I'll give it my best shot and we'll see how it goes.

Entry 6 - Mitch Magic 

I resisted the urge to entitle the post Magic Mitch, but clearly I don't have enough restraint not to point out that I resisted it. It's kind of like water resistant boots. They'll resist the water, but eventually, they give in. Perhaps some context is in order. I'm working with another brilliant artist/producer named Mitch Girio. Check out his website Mitch and I are working on 3 more tunes that should be out in the fall some time. Mitch is the type of producer that artists like to work with because he does what the music requires. He also understands what artists require and does his best to give that to them. We're a neurotic bunch, so I'm sure that's more difficult with some than with others. (I can speak for myself only of course) I'm sure there a some artists that are completely balanced, well adjusted human beings. Anyway, tracking is going very well, and Mitch is a wizard behind the console. He just knows how to get good sounds. There's a saying... something about a silk purse and a sow's ear, but he actually can... Anyway, you get the point, if not, that's what the Google machine is for. I'll be posting links to the tracks as they become available.

Entry 8b - Supplimentary Post: Should I get a dog? 

My sister Yvette, who has two adorable Yorkshire Terriers named Mama and Jake, sent me a picture of this little guy:

His name: Nigel.

I know it sounds like serendipity. Believe me I WAS tempted. Look at that face, with his one ear up and the other one down! Honestly! How would I ever get anything done? However, this does illustrate the principle of The Puppy Sale. For those of you that may not be familiar with this concept... my friend Ellen suggested that this term may not be as widely known as I thought.:

The puppy close, or puppy sale, is when a sales person offers you a "try and buy". If you don't like it, you can bring it back for a fully refund, no questions asked. Now, imagine that what you're "trying" is this puppy. Add to that, perhaps you have a child that has been begging you for a puppy for some time. I don't, but I think this is a common scenario. What are the chances that this little guy is going back to the store? I'm thinking slim to none, and slim left town.Certain people in my life were advocating for me to adopt Nigel. In addition to the name confusion.. i.e. I would think people were talking to me, when they were actually talking the puppy, and vice versa, he would be a irresistible distraction. Fortunately, the decision was taken out of my hands as Nigel had already been adopted, and was just waiting until he is strong enough to leave his mother. Whew!! Needless to say, I'll stay clear of animal shelters, and pet stores... for now.

Entry 5 - Oak Recording 

Scheduling problems not withstanding, I love working with Gord Richards at Oak Recording Studio. He's a real pro and his energy and enthusiasm keep my spirits up when I tend to get down on myself. I can't wait to release the track we're working on... but as always, terrified too. (insert nervous laughter) We just finished the vocals, then Gord will mix and master it for me. It may even be done at the time of this post. It will be available from my website. I have to look into getting the songs on streaming services too. (e.g. Spotify, Apple Music, etc) So much to do, so little me.