In Plain Sight
‘In Plain Sight’
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In Plain Sight

THE SONGS

I made “In Plain Sight” in Ottawa using all Ottawa musicians, to whom I will be forever grateful – Dave Draves, Keith Snider, Jerusha Lewis, Christine Mathenge, and Olivier Fairfield. Plus thanks to Meredith Luce, Harris Newman, and Ben Wellend.

Hit The Road
Some songs take a while to write. This one came relatively quickly as I thought about what to do with my life and my desire to make music as I grow older. Sometimes I think everyone should hit the road at various points in their lives.

It Must Be Love
I can’t help but write about love often and from both sides – good and bad. This is a love song.

My Name Is John
Alcoholism is a major destructive force in society and badly affects everyone in and around it for their lifetime. I used the AA meeting approach in this story to bring the perspective of how the disease spreads through families. While not auto-biographical, there are enough aspects of my life that have been touched by this “drug” to have the strong feelings that I do.

We’re Falling
This song came out very fast and with little editing. I have never written a political song before this but the current scary state of Canadian political leadership demands a public response from those who are concerned, which may help lead to change.

That’s Just Who We Are
This one is about the human struggle between being good/bad, caring/not caring, and love/hate. I tend to be an optimist and believe that most people in the world, given the choice, want to care about each other – regardless of what newspapers and media tell you.

No Looking Back
This is the literal story of how I met my partner Bea in Halifax. I had seen her once before in a crowd and thought she was beautiful. She knew who I was but we hadn’t really met until meeting on the corner following an arts event. The rest is in the song.

Think Before You Jump
This song is about adult bulling in the workplace. This came from a very unpleasant experience that someone close to me had. Adult bullying in the workplace is much more common than people realize and has the same detrimental affect on adults as it does on children. It really needs to be talked about and addressed.

Memory (The Caregivers Song)
My mother had Alzheimer’s and I was her primary caregiver, eventually with the help of my partner who I met during my mom’s decline. This song is not about the disease or my mother, it is about the experience of caring for a parent as she deteriorates to a childlike state. This highly emotional journey is not often spoken about and it needs to be since many more of us will be faced with this challenge as the baby boomer generation ages.

Whiskey Stone Blues
This is an older song of mine. I rediscovered this song about four years ago (after more than thirty years) and have been performing it to great reception. I’m happy to have finally recorded it.

I Keep Talking
This song is about the difficult end of a long relationship – looking back with sadness and love.

 

Crazy Shades of Blue

Crazy Shades of Blue album cover

THE SONGS

This collection of ten songs would not sound or feel the way it does without the wonderful contribution of the ten incredible musicians and the fine production people who accompanied me on the journey.  I will forever be grateful to them for working so hard to make the songs come alive.  I must also thank my beautiful partner, Bea.  Her loving support has remained constant throughout the challenging process of writing and recording this cd.

Sometimes its So Simple
If there is a theme to this collection of songs, it’s that long-term love relationships are always very hard work to keep together but much harder on you if they fall apart.  I wrote this song a long time ago but it fits very well with the theme.

Crazy Shades of Blue
When I finished writing this song, I immediately imagined the incredible Jane Bunnett playing sax on it.  Jane has made a truly significant mark on Canadian jazz (and jazz in general) including with her work with young Cuban musicians.  That Jane agreed to add her stunning talent to this song is one of the things that made the process of putting this CD together a truly magical experience for me.

Somewhere Later Down the Road
As I was preparing for the recording session, I began writing this song.  I knew very quickly that I wanted it on the cd.  I ended up finishing it just before we recorded it in the beautiful cottage on Lake Winnipeg with the waves breaking on the shore.  Talk about inspiration.

In the Middle of the Day
This is the first time that I have created a work directly from the work of another artist.  I came home from seeing one of the first concert films by the amazing comedian, Margaret Cho.  Through her comedy, she had drawn a picture of this particular woman.  I was inspired to try to draw this same woman in song.

If My Dog Don’t Know Me
This song is on the cd because my friends and family really like it.  I thought it was just a ditty but they all think it’s a good song.  Who knew.

I Got the Blues
I grew up with jazz and blues in the house because of my Dad (I still have his great album collection), pop on the radio, and folk /roots rock that I played with my friends.  The influence of the blues and jazz has stayed with me and comes out no matter what I do.

Signs of Love
I learned early on to try to pay attention to the things that were in front of me and not to get lost in hopes and dreams.  This has seemed to work for me as some very extraordinary things have come my way when I did the  basic work.  This holds true for love as well.

Elaine
This is the oldest song in the collection, written when I was quite young.  It was one of a couple of songs that changed the direction of my life.  A version of this song, liberally translated into French as “Partir au Soleil” was a number one hit  in Quebec for then rising star Renee Martel.   Along with earning me a bit of money, this success convinced me to truly pursue music as a career.

I Disappear
A friend confided in me that he had just gone home to his wife of twenty years who, out of the blue, told him that she had met someone else and the marriage was over.  His story allowed me to write a song and tell a story that I had been wanting to write for quite a while.  When someone is in a long-term relationship, over time each person becomes an “us” and stop being just an “I”. When that relationship ends, like my friend’s did, you may no longer know who you are as an individual person having fully invested in being a couple.

Everybody Sees
You can change the world if you stand up for and hold true to what you believe. When you approach your every day with selflessness, others will follow.


CREDITS

CORE MUSICIANS:
Jaxon Haldane  (JH)
Daniel Roy  (DR)
Gilles Fournier  (GF)
Russ Kelley  (RK)

Sometimes It’s So Simple:
RK – Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
JH  – Mandolin

Crazy Shades of Blue:
RK – Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
JH –  Electric Guitar
DR – Drums, Percussion
GF –  Bass
Jane Bunnett – Sax
(Jane was recorded inToronto at Green Door Studios by John Critchley)

Somewhere Later Down the Road:
RK –  Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
JH –   Bowed Saw
DR –  Drums
GF –   Bass
Doug Cox – Slide Guitar
(Doug was recorded on Vancouver Island chez Doug Cox)

In the Middle of the Day:
RK  –  Vocal,  Acoustic Guitar
Chris Carmichael – Acoustic Guitar

If My Dog Don’t Know Me:
RK –  Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
JH –  Electric Guitar
DR –  Drums
GF –   Bass

I’ve Got the Blues:
RK –  Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
DR –  Drums
GF –  Bass
Chris Carmichael –  Electric Guitar
JH –  Feedback Swell

Signs of Love
RK –  Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
JH –  Harmony Vocals
DR –  Drums, Percussion
GF –  Bass
Ron Di Lauro – Trumpet
Mohammed Abdul Al-Khabyyr –  Trombone
Chet Doxas –  Sax & Horn Arrangement
(Horns were recorded in Montreal at Boutique de Son by George Doxas)

Elaine
RK –  Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
JH –  Harmony Vocal, Electric Guitar
DR –  Drums
GF –  Bass
Chris Carmichael –  Electric Guitar

I Disappear
RK –  Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
JH –  Mandolin
DR –  Drums
GF –  Bass

Everybody Sees
RK –  Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
JH –  Vocals, Electric Guitar
DR –  Drums
GF –  Bass

All songs written by Russ Kelley
All songs published by Ark Road Music Publishing  (except Elaine- published by Summerlea Music Ltd),  SOCAN

All songs recorded by Jaxon Haldane, Winnipeg
Recording space on Lake Winnipeg thanks to Judith and James Prise
Mixed by Rob Heaney at Fast Forward Studios, Montreal
Mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering, Montreal
CD artwork and design by A Man Called Wrycraft, Toronto
Photography by Ben Wellend at ben@byfieldpitman.com, Ottawa
Produced by Jaxon Haldane and Russ Kelley
Executive Producer, Russ Kelley for Ark Road Music Productions