Good news, at least for me — things are more or less back to normal at Canada Post. I was able to send out a bunch of CDs today. They should show up right around Christmas. Spending $50 through UPS or Purolator to send an album to a single person in Ontario wasn’t going to cut it. I’ve still got a few more packages to put together, and then I should have everyone who’s on the most recent version of the “mailing list” taken care of.
WHAT WE LOST IN THE FLOOD is at #2 on the CJAM charts this week, sandwiched between Parquet Courts and local band Huttch.
Sometimes I think if I sent CDs to a handful of other campus radio stations in Canada, and I got a decent amount of airplay outside of Windsor, I’d stand a chance at placing pretty high on the national charts. The airplay from CJAM alone has been enough to get a few albums up around the #100 mark over the years, so it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to assume a bit of airplay from other stations would lead to a better showing there. The idea of some hip indie band looking at the charts and seeing they’ve been bested by an obscure artist no one has ever heard of…that’s some funny business.
Then I think about how much work would be involved in scoping out all those other radio stations, getting a feel for their programming, and finding the DJs most likely to be receptive to what I do (because the whole “send an album and a one-sheet to the station manager” approach is too impersonal for my taste, and the concept of a one-sheet has always been depressing to me).
Yeah. I think I’ll leave things the way they are, notwithstanding a package that’s going out to a nice fella in Michigan who requested some music to play on his radio show. It’s time-consuming enough just putting together half a dozen packages to send to friends. At least when I do that I know I’m going to get something back — a message of thanks, or sometimes an actual conversation. Besides, I’ve always kind of liked the idea of CJAM being the only station on the planet that knows I exist.
After debuting at #9 last week, WHAT WE LOST IN THE FLOOD is now sitting at the top of CJAM’s charts. I have no idea how that happened so fast.
Every non-compilation album I’ve made since 2004 has found its way onto the CJAM charts at some point. I thought those days were over when AFTERTHOUGHTS got off to an inauspicious start, but that one ended up charting too. It just took a little longer than usual.
That’s fourteen years of consistent chart appearances. That’s insane. What makes it even crazier is knowing almost no one who was playing my music in the beginning is still at the station. I think Adam Peltier and Dave Konstantino were around back in 2004. That’s about it. Somehow, with all the changes in personnel over the years, there’s never been a drop-off in support for the noises I make.
Many thanks to Dave, Adam, Ron, Carley, Brady, and anyone else who might have given the new album some airplay when I wasn’t looking. Thanks also to Dan MacDonald for playing “Pop Song #82” on The River (93.9) Sunday night. It’s always great fun to hear one of my tunes punching through the airwaves at an unexpected spot on the radio dial.
I’ve been trying to take some of the energy that went into finishing FLOOD and funnel it into this YEAR OF THE SLEEPWALK thing. Keeping the momentum going has been a little hit-and-miss. There has been some progress, though. Close to forty songs exist as either rough or final mixes, and most of them are going on the album. If I can double that number and make them all final mixes, I might be just about home. I’m tempted to post some of the video segments I’ve been editing along the way, but I don’t want to give away too many more surprises before the album is ready, so I might sit on those until the time comes to integrate them into the longest video progress report of all time.
Ricky Jay passed away a week ago. He was seventy-two.
You probably know him as Burt Reynolds’ right hand man in Boogie Nights. He had a number of memorable supporting roles in films like House of Games, The Prestige, and Magnolia. One of my favourite bits of acting he did was as cardsharp Eddie Sawyer, a recurring character through the first season of Deadwood.
Ricky was much more than a character actor. He wrote the wonderful Deadwood episode “Jewel’s Boot Is Made for Walking”. He was an incredible, charismatic sleight of hand artist. He lectured and wrote books about magic, and served as a consultant on a number of Hollywood films.
The above performance is Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants, written by Ricky and filmed by David Mamet in 1996. It’s well worth an hour of your time whether you’re into card tricks or not (I’m not, and I still found it riveting). The man was a born performer — a poet with a deck of cards and a historian in love with his craft. We won’t see his like again.