Looking for the light of the world

In this edition: Layne Greene, Popsicle and Gen Hansard

I think something that gives you a big blow in life teaches you a lot of things. It teaches you caution and also what to expect. It can also be an experience that changes you into something else. Everything is Chemistry. We mix, merge and then we break apart leaving a trail of either good or bad results. We human beings don’t ever get to learn after all. But bad experiences can teach us what to expect or avoid. But like I said, we don’t learn from experiences. I think like the hunger for knowledge, stupidity is an itch we need to scratch. I also think that we only end up doing stupid things when either we lost the urge to do them or we just found another thing that will preoccupy us.

I experienced (and still experiencing) that feeling when you end up standing alone in the dark. As if someone pulled the plug of a light bulb from the source and everything is just darkness. In that darkness we become sensitive to small things. Maybe a hum or a source of light no matter how faint. Then we wait for beeps and flashes and we move to them. When you have undergone an experience where you have NOTHING left then you just take whatever you can.

I guess the best songwriters in the world know about this period where someone pulled the plug. Even those who don’t write lyrics seem to understand this. That is why there is more to music than just a sense of escape. A sense of understanding and connection are also what we look for. We can’t find that from everyday people so we look for the comfort of strangers who do great art. They are the only ones who aren’t afraid to bare their souls to the world to reveal the basic human experience that we all have. I think it is brave to be honest and to be vulnerable in the midst of danger.

This is the danger of being either typecast or misjudged. And we all have that. However there are those who go an extra mile to deny who they really are inside for fear of persecution. They deny to the point that they hurt themselves and those around them. And my topic about the big blow in life points to that. No calamities or disasters hurt more than relationships. And this includes betrayal from people whom initially called your friends. But do we ever learn?

Layne Greene. Artwork by Sphere Music

Disappointed (The Frames) covered by Layne Greene. He will be doing this kind of project until Christmas.

Today’s edition focuses more on songs inspired by these things and I think there are rising artists who are able to come up with their own interpretations of life’s disappointment. Ah that word. That is actually the title of a cover done by Nova Scotia folk singer Layne Greene. In this track, he did everything including the tricky guitar part. He has a knack for combining his classical background together with jazz styles.

He also did a bit of vocal experimentation here. Not the kind of thing he did since he focused more on the instruments and arrangement in his previous projects. He recorded this track in a small room and he said he had to step back  or walk to the other side of the room for the parts where he has to raise his voice. This is the start of his many interpretations of the songs of Glen Hansard. This one is taken from the album For the Birds by The Frames.  He credits the artist as one of those who influenced his song writing. I think he made a great choice emulating the right guy since this world is really in need of people who really write songs form the heart and know the human condition. When I listened to the lyrics of Disappointed I swear Glen could have written that song for me. I am sure there are those out there who can relate. We need a message in a bottle. Someone to tell us that we are not alone in this. And whatever sufferings we have, someone is there to share the burden. Sometimes we don’t need ‘help’ to get through this. All we need is understanding.

Learn more about this artist:




Flasback: Popsicle – Histrionics

These guys helped defined the 90s music. Very melodic noise pop.


The Soundtrack of your Life: Glen Hansard – Bird of Sorrow

This is the fifth track off  Rhythm and Repose and I find myself listening to it everyday. His words are comforting and his voice is like a hug in the dark. Life is hard but we just have to get up and get going. There is hope out there. I am sure you believe this. Let this song help you find your way.

Glen Hansard Bird Of Sorrow Lyrics

Songwriters: HANSARD, GLEN
Even if a day feels to long
You feel like you can wait another one
And you’ve slowly given up on everything
Love is gonna find you again
Love is gonna find you, you better be ready then
Well you been kneeling in the dark for far too long
You’ve been waiting for that spark but it hasn’t come
I’m calling to you please get off the floor
A good heart will find you again
A good heart will find you just be ready then
Tethered to a bird of sorrow
A voice that’s buried in the hollow
You’ve given over to self-deceiving
You prostrate bow but not believing
You’ve squandered more than you could borrow
You bet your joy on all tomorrows for the hope of some returning
While everything around you is burning
Come on we gotta get out get out of this mess we’ve made
And still for all our talk we’re both so afraid
But will we leave this up to chance like we do everything
Love is gonna find us again
Love is gonna find us you gotta be ready then
Tethered to a bird of sorrow
A voice that’s buried in the hollow
You’ve given over the self- deceiving
You prostrate bow but not believing
You’ve squandered more than you could borrow
You bet your joy on all tomorrows for the hope of some returning
While everything around you is burning
But I’m not leaving yet
I’m not leaving yet
I’m not leaving yet
I’m not leaving yet
Yeah I’m not leaving
I’m not leaving yet
Yeah I’m hanging on
I’m hanging on
Oh what’s gonna come
Oh I’m hangin on
Hangin on hangin on hangin on hanging on hanging on hanging on
And the fateful with the faithful I’m hanging on
What’s gonna come oh, what’s gonna come
Hanging on hanging on with the faithful the faithful

Layne Greene: Live EP Review

Plus: Glen Hansard – The Song of Good Hope and music app Polyrhythm Lite byJork

Layne Greene-Vocals/Guitar
Alexander MacNeil-Guitar

Genre: Folk

Released  August 30, 2012

Layne Greene-Vocals/Guitar
Alex MacNeil-Guitar
Shawn Bisson-Mixing/Engineer
Andy Cunningham- Photography/crew



Recording a crisp clear album impromptu takes a lot of skill to achieve. But singer/songwriter Layne Greene has been mixing and arranging music for years. So the live EP was conceived out of the desire to come up with songs that he recorded and arranged in the past but wanted a different take on them. This  Business Administration major from St. Francis Xavier University(now in his sophomore year) juggles between making music and seeing himself producing them in the future. He even jokes that :” If worse comes to worse, I can work a crappy, well

Blue Mountain Church
This is Knox Presbyterian Church located in Blue Mountain, Nova Scotia, Canada.Photo: H.R. Hatfield

paying, desk job”. Well I am sure it won’t come to that because he makes excellent songs that are well crafted.

One of the songs here called Working Man is dedicated to his grandfather who is a carpenter and builder of musical instruments. There are other songs that are biographical in nature. His lyrics show an introspective and philosophical nature. Although he admits that he isn’t much of a lyrics guy. He is more prone to think of songs like cathedrals with their intricate structures and designs.

Alexander MacNeil is a jazz musician who is also working with Layne on another recording. He adds his distinctive guitar style to this project. He  also did the backing vocals in Iron Town. He has his own jazz Trio and Quartet. You can tell that these two made a great tandem in this EP.

One of the things that I really appreciate about this EP is the atmospheric beauty of all the tracks.  I asked Layne if they used studio reverb and he said no. Everything in this project- especially the acoustic density -is through the interior of the  Knox Presbyterian Church located in Blue Mountain, Nova Scotia, Canada. Engineering/mixing credit goes to  Shawn Bisson who flawlessly captured the soul of the venue with such exquisite attention to detail.


Working Man


They say you’re a working man,

Through sweat and tears, and by your hands.

A man of few words,

Because people listen better when your hardly heard.

And you tear yourself away

What’s past is done and gone.

We live with it every day.

And now it’s time to move along.

An early day, a rough way out.

A turn of phrase, that leads to doubt.

A symbol of faith,

Because all you need is buried  in leaves.

And you tear yourself away,

What’s past is done and gone.

We live with it ever day.

And now it’s time to move along.

And we’re moving on.

Lyrics printed with permission from the composer.


Featured video: Glen Hansard – The Song of Good Hope

All ye young minds and sad hearts, listen to this track by Irish singer/songwriter Glen Hansard. Glen is that voice that pulls you out of the black hole …he knows the human condition..he knows suffering and beauty. But most of all he sings about our life and celebrates our complexities through his music.


Featured Music App: Polyrhythm Lite

Here is a cool toy that also proves to be useful to music makers. Check what it says:

“Polyrhythm is the simultaneous use of two or more conflicting rhythms, that are not readily perceived as deriving from one another, or as simple manifestations of the same meter.” – New Harvard Dictionary of Music.

This application teaches you polyrhythms. You can hear what they sound like and the application provides a score based on how well you perform them.

The polyrhythm is visualised using the beat circle shown at the centre of the screen. This circle contains two types of beats. The beats are represented by coloured shapes placed along the circle’s circumference, and are colour coded green or blue. When the green beat is heard you tap the screen on the word “Green”, and likewise when the blue beat is heard, tap the word “Blue”. When you are happy you understand the polyrhythm you just stop tapping and the application will tell you how well you did.

This application uses Adobe Air. This version is limited to a 4 beat subdivision, so you can do up to 4:4. The full version allows up to 8:8.

Here is the link to the site where you can download the app : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.jorkware.PolyrhythmLite

Glen Hansard debuts a new song called “The Gift”in the upcoming film The Odd Life of Timothy Green

It was my friend Layne who turned me into a Glen Hansard fan. This song sealed everything. This Gift is so beautiful and this is our conversation about it. Here is the link where you can listen to the new song by Glen Hansard:


Me: This song is so beautiful it makes me teary eyed. It is soaring..So epic and poetic. For a guy who can make chord structures like that, and then sing with so much feeling; not to mention create a song that’s haunting, beautiful and uplifting..it’s just wow. He and Merketa are quite a pair..Two talented people.

Layne: I think that all songwriters could learn a lot about simplicity from Glen.

Me: Simplicity is timeless.

Layne: He exemplifies the power of simplicity in every possible way.

Me: Yes he does. He strips the pretensions.

Layne: Anytime I try and start writing songs around complicated chord structures, I go and listen to Glen and go back to more basic stuff. It always frustrates me how much he can get out of 2 or 3 chords. But I guess his music isn’t really about the chords.