When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

-– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, stated by Sherlock Holmes

“However Improbable” is a confection of ska, border polka, country, dance and brass band. The tune, written by yours madly, is a perfect example of the Mad Maggies “Hard to Describe, Easy to Love” style.

Watch the video However Improbable on our YouTube channel.

The video features fantastic, detailed illustrations by Montreal artist Daniel Fiorito.

For a high quality audio file, go to our BandCamp.

Will Shirley ever notice Sam?

Will they fall in love?

To find out, watch the video now.

The video features whimsical sketches by artist Mason Fernandez.

If you’re like me and have some word nerd in you, you will enjoy the homonyms, internal rhymes and expressions.

And with the handy onscreen lyrics, you can sing along.

For a high quality audio file, listen on the Mad Maggies BandCamp.

Mixed and Mastered by Wally Sound at the Wally Sound, Oakland, California

After so much warm, humid here in Montréal, it is hard to believe that the streets were covered in snow just a few months ago.

Enjoy a very snowy, wintry trip through the streets of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montreal, Quebec while listening to The Mad Maggies’ release Groove d’Hiver* (Winter Groove), a dub-infused instrumental.

Watch and like on YouTube.

Listen to a high quality audio file on our BandCamp

 

The Streets of Montreal. I had big fun filming the hood during snow storms. Each shot had to have snow falling.

The streets I wandered looking for video shots for Groove d’Hiver are specifically the streets of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (Ho-Ma) and Viauville, two neighbourhoods on the eastern side of the island of Montréal which border the St. Lawrence River.

Before the Europeans came, Iroquois inhabited the area. By the early 1800s, it was a rural village, then a working class slum, then a busy manufacturing district. By the 1980s, the manufacturing sector had shrank and the economic decline hit the area hard. There is some rebound now because of the affordability of the real estate.

All this history makes the area’s urban landscape a hodgepodge of blight and gentrification. There’s Beaux Arts architecture from its glory days, remnants of factories, blocks of condos, empty storefronts and plenty of graffiti. Alleyways thread through the backs of most streets, some rough and ignored, some family friendly and “greened”. Copper-clad church steeples are everywhere.

I haven’t been letting a pesky pandemic stop me from writing and producing music. 🙂

We — the Mad Maggies — have been recording tracks remotely and sending them to Wally Sound in Oakland, CA for mixing.

In December ’21, we released “Within the Wyrd“, a cool groove with shades of first wave ska.

Enjoy the danceable, retro feel. Kick off your shoes, turn up the volume and shake what you got.

Mixed and Mastered by Wally Sound at the Wally Sound, Oakland, California
 
Johny Blood: tuba
Ray Fernandez: saxophone
Ian Luke: drums
Maggie “Mags” Martin: accordionist, composer/arranger
Mark Nemoyten: trumpet
Tim Sarter: bass
Ned Stone: trombone
Gary “GDub” Wium: guitar

Why Wyrd?
In Norse mythology, under the huge tree of life, Yggdrasil, there is a well. This well is called the Well of Wyrd (Well of Urðr). Three Norns tend to Yggdrasil every day by bringing water from the well to the tree to keep it green and healthy.

These beings of time, Urðr (what was), Verðandi (what is) and Skuld (what will be) are said to spin our destinies.

I think of the “Wyrd” as the twists and turns of our lives, a weaving of experiences — some ordinary, some extraordinary. We’re all in this tapestry of life together.

Music from everywhere flows around and through us. It flows from the past to the future. In Within the Wyrd, the sounds flow from the Caribbean to the Northern realms to the west coast of California.

🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶

Yesterday, 361 days after we began our Covid-19 pandemic stay@home routine, I received my first vaccine shot. Woo hoo!

All it took was a quick 20 minute walk to the “Big O”, a short wait in line, an evaluation and then the shot and a 15 minute wait afterwards to be sure I had no strong reaction. The injection sight in my arm is a bit sore but that it is. Easy, peasy!

I received a print out of the brand, in my case Pfizer, the batch number, time injected and the name of the nurse who jabbed me.

My second shot is scheduled for June 28,2021 which means 16 weeks later for the beginning of complete immunization.

The delayed second dose approach is somewhat controversial. Several provinces in Canada including Quebec decided to extend the time between shots based on evolving science that indicates good protection from the first dose and extra protection from the delayed second “booster” shot.

Also, by delaying second doses more people can get their first dose faster.

I am happy and relieved to have the first shot in me. And, I’m really looking forward to having full immunity by mid July — there’s a two week ramp up of immunity after receiving each of the vaccine shots.

Thanks to all the amazing scientists who made this possible. Thanks to Prime Minster Trudeau for getting vaccines ordered. Thanks to Quebec for getting those vaccines to the people.

A New Release!

The Mad Maggies’ new song Reva’s Revelation is now available in high quality audio download from our BandCamp: https://musicshop.themadmaggies.com/track/revas-revelation

I named the tune for the main character in the wonderful Swedish movie “Border”. This fantastical tale of self-discovery by director Ali Abbasi is a must-see.

Over the last ten years, my love Gary and I have crossed the North American continent twice by train and over 7 times by car, besides several times by plane.

I especially love the open road and videotaped many stretches along the way.
You can see some of that footage in the video.

Enjoy!

I had been traveling with two friends. The trip was supposed to have been several weeks of hitch hiking around Europe.

We ride-shared from California to New York, took a ship from New York to Southhampton, England. We traveled to Winchester, then to London, to Oxford through Wales to Ireland and back to London. Somewhere along the way I decided I didn’t want to travel any longer with the two friends — one of my first lessons on the importance of choosing good travel partners.

They continued on to Amsterdam. I had a few days in London until I could catch a plane home so I spent the time wandering around the city by myself.

I caught a performance of “Hair” at the Shaftesbury Theatre. As a native San Franciscan coming from living in the Haight-Ashbury, it seemed kind of silly. There was some audience gasping at the nudity. They obviously had never experienced a be-in in Golden Gate Park. I did like some of the tunes.

On July 5, I was doing more wandering when I saw crowds of people streaming into a park. I wanted to see what was going on. Within minutes of my seeing the stage and realising it was a concert, hundreds of white butterflies were released and filled the air.

It was the memorial for Brian Jones in Hyde Park.

This was the clipping from the Sunday Times that I’ve saved all this time. I came across it this morning while straightening out a shelf in my studio.

Of course, now there is a YouTube:

A NEW TUNE & VIDEO

I am pleased to present the Mad Maggies’ latest single: “Un Jaguar en el Agua” –  a dance groove with a good dose of Californiana.
 
I wrote the tune inspired by the strength and beauty of the largest wild cat in the Western Hemisphere.

The imagery is inspired by the joy-filled skeletons of el Dia de Los Muertos. These calacas – a colloquial Mexican word for skeleton – are whimsical celebrations of those on the “other side”.

Listen to it in hi-fi quality at our BandCamp.

Kick off your shoes and get ready to shake your self-isolating booty!

 


 

Watch on YouTube, give it a like, share it far and wide and be sure to click the subscribe button.

Creating this video is what’s been keeping me busy these last few months.

My ability to draw is in strong inverse proportion to my songwriting talent. I can see how I want a story to look but even stick figures are a struggle. Happily illustrator Dale Horstman was up for working with us again. Dale illustrated our albums “Skull & Magpies” and “Shake Those Bones“. The man has got talent galore.

His drawings for “Un Jaguar en el Agua” are perfectly quirky.

To be able to create a good story with the 2D images and have some fun with effects, I had to get up to speed on a non-linear video editor. DaVinci Resolve 16 has a free version that is very powerful. I recommend it if you have an interest in going beyond simple apps like iMovie.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to our YouTube channel so you’ll know what we’re up to, especially now. We plan on bringing you more musical treats … from a safe physical distance.

🍀💚🍀💚🍀💚 Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! 🍀💚🍀💚🍀💚

Stay safe. Stay at home, if you can!

We will all be singing and dancing together again. Just not for the next few pandemic weeks.

Our friend and musical colleague Scott died yesterday, November 26.

He was an exceptionally gifted fiddler, dedicated to the Irish/Celtic traditional music community.
We met him many years ago through our mutual friend Roxanne Oliva, who was his musical partner and, as time passed, his longtime caregiver.

The best way I can think of to honor him is by sharing his playing.

Here is a set of hornpipes and reels from the album ” 水精 Water Spirit ” which he recorded with Junji Sirota (guitar) and Robin Petrie (hammered dulcimer).

Walsh’s – The Knotted Cord – Green Groves Of Erin – The Flowers Of Redhill

 

Go mbeidh neart ceoil ann cibé áit a bhfuil tú anois, ár gcara.
(May there be plenty of music wherever you are now, our friend.)

Scott Renfort

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