a (rare) interview is now posted at Austin, Texas-based tunebabe.com.  i decided to give another a try after all this time, and thankfully, emily was a lovely and thoughtful interviewer, and made things very easy (perhaps too easy, as i ended up rambling a bit – my responses are edited as a result).

most gratifyingly, i’m very proud to be featured as her ‘artist of the month’ for July.

the link to the article is here.

the one interview answer i would like to clarify is that i do not think that streaming music is the same as stealing it – the transition i made was a bit abrupt and unintentional. i do, however, think that streaming services ultimately demean and grossly undervalue both music and its creators. not that most people are even aware of how they work, sadly.

i talked a bit about all of you, too.



a flooded forest/a Japanese Telecaster/you/Bamberg:

1. this evening i took my guitar to a wild, wooded area about an hour’s drive north from where i live. it’s a small place, surrounded by meadows and farmers’ fields, but so packed and tangled with life that you don’t even need to breathe while you’re there. the river that usually winds its way through the trees had flooded its banks due to a recent rainstorm, and the entire forest floor was awash and rippling like a magic carpet longing to take flight and carry the whole area, dripping and filled with singing birds (and one singing man), up into the sky.

i worked on a new song with my bare feet in the current, sitting on a stone. listened to the frogs drone and beep. dropped my guitar on the rocks as i hiked out, adding three or four fresh scars. at one point, a massive cloud of crows landed in the trees above me, cawing so loudly that i swore they were angry with me. or maybe they were cheering. it’s hard to tell with crows.

i’ve mentioned this before, but i’ve always had to sing very softly in my apartment, because the walls and floors are made of tissue paper that my landlords have cunningly disguised as wood. and i don’t have a rehearsal space anymore. so lately, when i have to prepare for a show, or work on vocal parts for new songs, i’ve been borrowing cars from generous friends whenever i’m able and driving to this place, where i dreamed up a lot of the final lyrics and parts for the songs of ’Öxnadalur’. i can sing there without anyone hearing me. it’s not the most convenient arrangement, and i probably lose about a pint of blood to mosquitoes every time i visit in the warmer months. but it’s terribly beautiful there. a pint of blood seems a reasonable price to pay.

2. i’ve written every one of the guitar parts for my songs over the years on the same scratched, dented, rock-scarred, taped-up Japanese Telecaster that i took with me tonight. from ‘violet light’ to ‘hail of arrows’ to ‘diving bird /portal’. and everything in between. every note and chord from all 41 songs that i’ve released so far over 10 years. i’ve only ever owned this one electric guitar, and tonight this is hitting me really hard for some reason. how much gratitude i have towards this miraculous, ruined thing. you can practically see my fingerprints embedded in the neck. or at least i can.

3. you need to know that i carry you all around with me now. you’ve shared so many brave and sad and intimate stories and messages of love and support with me, and i carefully read every one of them, sometimes multiple times, and keep them all in a special place. if you only knew how honoured i am to have been a part of your lives through my music. what it means to me. you will never know. i know i try to say this often, and maybe one day i’ll say it the way i wish i could. sometimes i can only cry when i read the things you share with me. the people you’ve lost. the people you’ve found. the memories that you wish would disappear. the memories that you try to keep alive.

i have to stop writing about this now. but we are connected, and i can feel you, all around the world. and i need you to know how much it means to me, to know you are there. as much as you say my music is a part of you, you are all in turn a part of me. and i am a better person for it. thank you.

5. i have some new details about the solo show with Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir at Villa Concordia in Bamberg, Germany, on Tuesday, November 10th.

first of all, is it possible for a venue to be more beautiful? please look at the attached picture and try not to fall in love. i can’t believe i’ve been invited to such a place.

because Sigurbjörg is a former artist in residence at Villa Concordia, the show will be free to attend. there are no advance tickets. however, to ensure that anyone travelling to see it gets in (several of you have written to ask about this), the organizer of the show has kindly offered to set up a guest list. please take advantage of this if you are planning on attending. he is also able to make hotel recommendations to anyone who will be staying in Bamberg overnight.

his name is Martin, and his email address is martin.beyer@bamberg-liest.de. you can also find his contact information on my website, under ‘tour’. he is a wonderful and helpful man.

this show is inexpressibly dear to me. there will be a new song or two. and Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir! and Villa Concordia has a piano.

love always,


Villa Concordia

tiny tour: over.

venues ranged from microscopic and camel’s-stomach hot to large and pleasantly muffin-scented. one room was very, very loud. the rest were very quiet.

my hands and voice didn’t always cooperate. but sometimes they did.

most importantly, whenever i opened my eyes, i saw you. thank you for being there.

and thank you to the spectacular musicians/gentlemen who backed me up – in this case, Andy Magoffin and Bryan Wright. this was our first time together as a three-piece, staying in hotels and crammed into a vehicle for hours at a time. and it was a joy. minus the hangovers, and the fact that it all had to come to a sudden end.

five of many things i learned/was reminded of:

1. even when it seems like the room is trying to shout itself into little pieces while you’re playing, someone is listening.

2. Andrew Sisk’s new album is pretty great. his backing band too.

3. walking the streets of Ottawa late at night can feel like one of the best dreams you’ve had for a long time.

4. waking up from a dream should be optional.

an update very soon about the solo show in Bamberg, Germany in November. and hopefully some other shows as well.

much love,


a very special show tonight (Thursday, May 28th) at the House of Miracles, the magical place where i recorded ‘Öxnadalur’, and where many other wonderful albums have come to life.

address: 116 Lowther Street South, Cambridge, Ontario.

it’s a beautiful old stone carriage house with blue doors and window frames.  the entrance is in the back, at the end of the driveway, past the tumbled-down wall.

doors open at 8:00 pm.  cover charge is $10 or pay what you can.

street parking is available on King Street.

set times:

9:00 pm – raised by swans (three-piece)
10:00 pm – andrew sisk (full band)

if you can’t make it this evening, hope to see you in Montréal, Kingston or Ottawa this weekend (May 29th, 30th, and 31st, respectively) – see previous post for full details.

thank you for last night.

much love,


i’ve only just realized that despite my ‘efforts’ i have almost no useful details posted anywhere about anything.  below are proper event links with details for this week’s miniature tour with Andrew Sisk, prepared by someone who is clearly more skilled at preparing such things than i am.

please note that tomorrow evening’s show in Toronto starts unsettlingly early – doors are at 7:00 pm, show begins at 7:30 pm sharp.  fingers crossed that there are no windows.

see you very soon.



#1 (solo):  Toronto, ON, Wednesday, May 27th (Tranzac, Southern Cross Lounge) – https://www.facebook.com/events/1396751440632426/

#2 (three-piece):  Cambridge, ON, Thursday, May 28th (?) – ?

#3 (three-piece):  Montréal, QC, Friday, May 29th (Le Cagibi) – http://lecagibi.ca/event/andrew-sisk-lancement-de-disque-raised-by-swansbantam-wing/

#4 (three-piece):  Kingston, ON, Saturday, May 30th (Café Musiikki) – https://www.facebook.com/events/739235652841489/

#5 (three-piece):  Ottawa, ON, Sunday, May 31st (Raw Sugar) – https://www.facebook.com/events/1547998278784929/



a few especially intimate shows in Ontario and Québec coming up next week, opening for a musician named Andrew Sisk.

in Toronto (Wednesday, May 27th), i’ll be playing alone at the Southern Cross Lounge (part of the Tranzac Club), in the early evening. show starts at 7:30 pm.

in Montréal (Friday, May 29th, Le Cagibi), Kingston (Saturday, May 30th, Café Musiikki) and Ottawa (Sunday, May 31st, Raw Sugar), it will be a trio. no drums or keyboards. but maybe a loop or two.

details for all shows can be found in the usual place: http://raisedbyswans.com/?page_id=43.

a less sparse update once i’m feeling less sparse. promise.

hope to see you next week.



Öxnadalur- front cover

six (-ish) things:

1.  after struggling for a couple of months to figure out how to move even a small step closer to whatever the “music industry” is, through working alongside Lueda Alia, (and her struggling in turn to figure out how to drag me gently towards it), and then having a coffin-sized section of my apartment ceiling cave in on me as a rather apt metaphor for how the whole process was feeling, i’ve decided to continue on alone once again.  

all the glowing things i wrote a few updates ago still stand.  L is as talented as ever, it’s me who’s a daft old hermit waving a .22 at passing planes from my imagined little island.  there’s too much i just don’t feel comfortable with, too much that i feel i need to protect.   i sound like an absolute ass, i’m sure. that’s fine.  the truth is that i’ve kind of painted myself into a corner after all this time, and for now at least, i suppose i’m better off on my own. even if i’m not.

only letting you know this to explain why nothing will be changing as dramatically as i’d hinted it might.  why the raised by swans twitter account will remain empty.  why the soundcloud account will begin to go stale from disuse only a couple of months past its not-so-grand opening. why i will continue posting online updates in the same slow, sporadic way i always have, in only two places.  and on and on.

2. finally got around to redesigning this website about a week ago. it’s not done, and some things are not quite right, but that’s because i’m stuck on some things that i don’t understand.  slowly working on adding content too.  it was an elevator in a sad hotel before.  i wanted to make it feel more like home.

3.  in spite of being a snail wearing too many shells, i love being connected with all of you, and it means a lot to me to be able to write these little updates and to hear from you in return.  so facebook, as doomed as some say it is in the greater scheme of things, and as much as i dreaded becoming a part of it at the start, has become a much more intimate and vital experience than i ever thought it could be. exclusively because of all of you.

but facebook and this website are more than enough for me.   if i gave into monitoring and maintaining all the other online things one seems to be expected to maintain these days as an artist – twitter, tumblr, soundcloud, instagram, etc., i’d be pulled under in no time. i’ve no clue how everyone does it. for a terribly private man with no cell phone or personal social media sites to his name, who dreams of living in a small cave by the sea, i already feel stretched too thin. it makes sense to me, for everyone’s sake, that i devote my time and energy to writing and sharing my songs, and perhaps the occasional personal update when i’m feeling brave enough to post one.

this is what many have said is exactly what’s hurting my chances at getting the word out about my music.  and subsequently, selling my albums.  and booking shows.  and on and on. which it almost certainly is.

so what am i saying here.  i am saying, “oh well”. i’ve come this far, and i don’t know how to be anything else. i am saying thank you for helping me pick up my own slack, in terms of the sites and accounts some of you have started up yourselves to support my music.  someone told me recently about a twitter account that’s floating about out there, for instance, posting things on raised by swans’ behalf. if only you knew how that warms my heart.  as did your many suggestions for venues to look into, all around the world, that you were so kind to share with me after i posted my last update.

i’m saying that even though i talk about being alone in all of this, i’m really not, because of all of you. and i don’t take that for granted, not for a fucking second.

5. i hope you’re all okay.

6.  if your ceiling starts dripping in multiple places, know that the outdoors wants very badly to come indoors.  and once you’re asleep, it will.

with love,


part of the reason i am awake now is you. i heard your words and felt your hands in mine even as the past couple of months kept me sedated behind their black screens, knowing full well that many of you were reaching out from behind screens of your own. and now i’m out of the garbage and uncrumpled like the impossibly romantic (to me, at least) final moments of a-ha’s ‘take on me’ video. still the same heartbroken dork with scotch tape on my glasses (in two places, no less), but in my mind i’m feeling like Morton Harket, circa 1985. and possibly just as worth smoothing out and saving.

i have to give credit to something else too, something wondrous. a new song. it’s humming dangerously through me as i try to write this, threatening to kick the ceiling out and drag me up into the sky like a reverse shooting star. i wrote most of it in my head on a hike two days ago, practically running on an icy trail that meanders through the remains of an old RCAF base (now a wildlife sanctuary) south of here, its buildings long collapsed and replaced by trees. birds singing where pilots used to practice dropping bombs.

i was almost running because walking wasn’t cutting it. the faster i pushed into the woods the louder the song played in my head, the more the imagined instruments spread out like branches beneath the vocal melody, the more words bloomed suddenly in previously blank spaces. it’s my first one since finishing Öxnadalur, and it’s so beautiful to me that my chest is definitely going to explode at some point. i just can’t see how that won’t happen. i should probably arrange for some sort of protective vest.

i’ve decided that i want to try to make a 7″ vinyl recording of it. the song, not the vest. with ‘sightings’ on the other side, i think. a tiny record. and i want to do it soon. still haven’t even paid off my remaining debt for recording Öxnadalur, though, so maybe i’m being unrealistic. maybe i’ll sell my glasses.

oh wait, they’re broken.

if you haven’t purchased Öxnadalur yet (or any of my other albums/songs, for that matter), and can afford to, perhaps you could consider doing so. it would help, as it always does, more than you could ever know. everything i’ve recorded is available on bandcamp and iTunes. or just write to me if you can’t find what you’re looking for (especially if you can’t find a CD copy; i do still have copies of all the albums in my apartment, though admittedly very few of codes and secret longing at this point). there are many options.

i’m sorry that my last update (if it can even be called that) made some of you feel sad or concerned. that certainly was not my intention when i posted it. but if i can trust you with my songs (which i obviously do), i know i can trust you with pretty much anything. and, well…i was sad. and feeling lost. i guess i needed to share what i shared and knew it would be okay with all of you. we kind of hold each other up like that, in a wonderful way. i know you’re out there, supporting me from afar, and i’m right beside you whenever you press play. and what’s the point of faking anything, ever, anyway? i can only communicate as myself.

thank you to everyone for the recent emails and comments that i can barely get through without breaking down. you are so kind. i am so grateful. i can’t tell you what it means to me to know that Öxnadalur is being cared for and loved by all of you.

thank you to z for writing to tell me about vk.com, a whole online community of people listening to my music that i wasn’t even aware of. for caring enough about me to translate and send a small collection of some of the messages that are posted there. there is so much love and support for my music in corners of the internet i’d never seen. i had no idea.

and thank you to Martin for the ultra-glorious thing that is going to happen in November, and that i deliberately saved for the conclusion of this little update:

it is officially confirmed that i will be playing a show in Bamberg, Germany, on November 10th, in support of Öxnadalur. at Villa Concordia, with Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir, the Icelandic poet. raised by swans, in Germany! Sigurbjörg will be reading her poems, and i will be playing my songs. i’m so thrilled and honoured to have been invited. and of course, amazingly, this will finally get me across the North Atlantic, and suddenly so much closer to so many of you.

so: i am beginning the planning for some European shows later that month. if all goes well, and i can afford it, i will bring some musicians over to accompany me, but no matter what i will be there, and will be playing as often and wherever i can while i am.

over the next few months, there will be shows in Ontario and Québec as well. and maybe even the States, if i can possibly arrange something. i hope. i’m trying.

whether it’s Europe or Ontario or the States, i could really use your help with suggestions as to venues, if you can spare a moment. not just cities, but specific places to play. some of you have offered suggestions already, and thank you for those. everything helps.

it’s good to be awake again.

much love,


thank you for those two beautiful nights in December.

i should probably have posted something about them before this, but i’ve been in a coma in a hospital basement on some other planet.  besides the pride i felt upon its completion, and the burning love i have for its every note and word, finishing Öxnadalur was such an emotionally jarring and lonely experience (even more so than the past two albums) that outside of a gloriously cathartic couple of weeks alone in the wilds of Iceland in mid-November, and the magic of the two December shows, i’ve felt lost and locked away ever since i made it available on November 5th.  i can’t even really bring myself to call letting it go a ‘release’ anymore, except on a very personal level, because i did and have done absolutely nothing to promote it.  which at this point feels like a mistake, as much as i despise self-promotion of any sort.

and now 2015 is here, empty and uncertain and full of vague promise, but also pushing blindly forward towards new things, always new things, like brand new is the only thing that matters anymore.  and i can’t bear to see Öxnadalur disappear in that bored, inexorable current; it’s far too dear to me.  so i am committing the next little while to waking up and focusing.  and to holding on.  most urgently, more shows have to happen.  because as i’ve said countless times over the years, all i’ve ever wanted is to get to all of you, the people who have let my songs into your lives.  and because the nights i spend singing to you are easily among my life’s most precious experiences.  they might even be a large part of what’s keeping me alive in the first place.

December 18th and 19th reminded me of that in the sweetest possible way.  so thank you again for those, to everyone who was able to attend.

to those of you who weren’t, i hope to see you soon, somewhere, somehow.

much love,


less than a week now before two very special live shows. not only the first performances with a full band in over two years, but also the first since i released an album called Öxnadalur in such a ridiculously quiet manner that it’s still pretty much a secret.

the Toronto show is happening at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, on Thursday, December 18th. thrilled to be joined by special guests Language Arts, The Island Years (ex-members of Ohbijou and Wilderness of Manitoba), and Octoberman. come early (Octoberman starts at 9:00 pm) and your ears and heart will thank you for it.

advance tickets are still available here.

more details here.

advance tickets also still available for the London, Ontario show, happening at the beautiful Aeolian Hall, on Friday, December 19th, with special guests The Raspberry Heaven sharing the night.

this one’s an early show – doors are at 7:00 pm and The Raspberry Heaven starts at 8:00 pm.

advance tickets are still available here.

or at Grooves Record Store, at 353 Clarence Street in London. a place that you should be visiting regardless of whether you buy tickets for the show or not.

more details here.

see you soon, i hope.

with love,