Tom Regan Memorial Concert tonight!

There’s going to be lots of classical guitar offerings at the TR concert tonight including:

  • The Acadia Guitar Quartet (Me, Alec Leard, Matthew Martin & Jeff Torbert) will play the entire 3rd String Quartet by Philip Glass
  • The Cormier/Martin Guitar Duo will play Jongo by Paulo Bellinati
  • And Alec Leard, winner of this year’s Tom Regan auditions will be performing Tango en Skai by Roland Dyens
  • Should be a great night, everything gets started at 7:30.

    ORO! Orkestra – Turko-Balkan Dance Musik

    I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve been invited to join ORO!, a Turkish/Balkan Dance band. We’ve had a few rehearsals and it’s very fun music to play. We also have a number of performances coming up starting with this coming weekend and the Deep Roots Music Festival. Keep an eye on upcoming performances below, and be sure to check out ORO’s website and some of their videos.


    So I’ve just gotten home from a few weeks on the road. Edmonton and Montreal were great. I got to hear many good players while I was out, but I’m very happy to be home again. The next thing that I’m getting ready for is another concert playing the great Steve Reich piece 2×5….time to dust off the strat again 🙂

    Upcoming Concerts/Masterclasses etc..

    Well it’s official, I’ll be judging the 2012 Montreal Guitar Competition this year again! you can read more about that here. I’ll be playing a concert as well as a masterclass that weekend which is right after I return from adjudicating the Edmonton Kiwanis (busy April this year). Also I’ve added some non-classical-guitar gigs to my upcoming events as well including: 2×5 Steve Reich (an amazing piece for 2 rock bands….I had to dust off the ol’ strat 🙂 and I’ll be playing in the Thomas Regan concert this coming weekend (Friday) with Matt Martin and playing Banjo in Kurt Weill’s Three Penny Opera on Sunday.

    Using ART Tubefire 8 with Linux

    About a month ago I decided that it was time for me to pick up some decent recording gear and get moving on a recording. Going to a studio was out of the question for me because 1) I love computers and recording and I want to be involved in every part of the creation and 2) due to my job (I’ve taught some recording courses) I have a substantial working knowledge of recording techniques. I went to my local music shop and after a few days of reading and browsing and going home and researching on the net I decided to grab a nice mic (AKG C-214, this is for classical guitar) and a tube mic preamp (ART Tubefire 8).

    I was really impressed with the versatility of the Tubefire. You can read more about it here, but to sum up it’s points: it is an eight channel, tube preamp which has been getting very good reviews for it’s price point…..and the real kicker, it has a built in ADC/DAC which runs into the computer via firewire. Even without the computer sound input though I was really interested in this unit because it has: eight channels – eight ins, eight outs (great for a live setting with a band), real tubes (push the input gain on the unit and you can really get some nice tube warmth), and phantom power.

    So I had made up my mind on this product….it really was everything I could possibly hope for…one last step (as a Linux guy)…..check for Linux support…I mean I’m pretty good with Linux these days, so even if I have to compile and hack a little….no problem (and before you start saying….oh why doesn’t he just reinstall windows/macosx and stop complaining….here’s the thing…’s not about using the other operating system…’s about not wanting to have to always keep the other operating system + recording software around so that I can get back to my original takes…..I use Ardour these days and it is definitely everything I will ever need in a recording program and I don’t feel like moving from a pro-tools powerhouse sort of program into say cubase or garageband)
    Anyways, I hit the net with my fingers crossed and learned that the project/program for firewire audio in Linux is ffado. After hitting their website and looking up Tubefire in the device support list (yes it was there at least) it was listed as “unknown”…..Damn….it was so close….it was everything I needed but no Linux support. So I thought about it and I came to the conclusion I could still use it as a preamp and run it into my computer via my Edirol UA-25 USB soundcard….which gives me all the nice tube warmth for recording, but I lose the ability to record 8 tracks at once (into individual tracks in Ardour) and play back eight tracks at once (again individually)….of course Ardour can record/playback as many tracks as your hard drive can keep up with….but it would be really nice to be able to mic a drum kit with eight mics, all running through a tube preamp into individual tracks on the computer for mixing a tweaking later….but oh well….now ….on to the fun and exciting bit

    Last night after owning the unit for a month….I decided to screw around with the computer side of things a bit and see what I could learn (I have been using it successfully as a stand alone preamp)… I plugged it in to my computer via the firewire and sure enough, the kernel detected the firewire interface and setup a file (/dev/raw1394) to handle input/output from the device….good start 🙂
    I’m using the now current Ubuntu (ver.9.04 Jaunty) so I installed the following packages: linux-image-rt, linux-restricted-modules-rt, jackd, qjackctl, ardour, ffado-dbus-server, ffado-mixer-qt4, ffado-tools and libffado0
    Next I ran the command (in a terminal): sudo chown myusername /dev/raw1394
    to give myself permission to access the firewire device and I fired up the ffado mixer. it discovered the Tubefire, there were some settings (which seemed to do nothing) and there was nothing in the mixer….ok what’s next….let’s try jack
    So I started up Jack control, went into settings and changed: driver = firewire, interface = hw:0
    hit the start button and voila….Jack was talking to something….I take a look at the input/output channels….OMG!!!! Jack is showing 8 inputs and 8 outputs… I’m starting to get really excited.
    Last thing to check…..I started up Ardour and again everything works….It looks like multiple inputs should work no problem (I only recorded one channel at a time, but I can’t see there being any problem) and I tested multiple playback channels at the same time…ran them into my Mackie and everything was fine….so I’m assuming (I’ll test more in the coming weeks) that recording 8 channels at once should work and playing back 8 separate channels should work too

    In the Jack setup if you select the sample rate to be any of the device’s supported rates and then start Jack, the unit correctly displays the correct rate by lighting the proper led light

    wow….I should have done this long ago….lets put this in the “I can’t believe it just worked out of the box category!!!!!”

    Desert Island Discs

    While I was in school studying music, on more than one occasion I would hear my profs speak about “Desert Island Discs” ….. music they simply couldn’t live without. Well you may find this funny coming from a professional musician but I have finally come to the realization today that there is music I truly couldn’t live without …. so I’m going to start my own desert island disc collection 🙂

    Holst – The Planets – Montreal Symphony Orchestra w/ Charles Dutoit
    (label – London/Polygram)

    This is what started this whole post, and a no brainer for me. This work is so epic I can’t even begin to describe the depth of it. It’s truly a study in instrumentation and form. Holst does so much with so little material …. endless repetitions of a smattering of melodic motives. But in doing this the music still has a feeling of musical schizophrenia, contrasting sections of music make major tonal shifts and night and day differences in overall feel. And through all of this, every once in a while, he throws in the obligatory “sing along” melodies that just bring a smile to your face.

    This is absolutely in every respect a piece of music I could not live without!