Tag Archives: Geoff Berner

Ep. #237: Geoff Berner

Geoff Berner is a tremendously gifted songwriter and musician known for his outspoken work and 100% belief in the klezmer tradition. Based in Vancouver, he received a scholarship for being the top student in the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing program and has gone on to pen scripts for Sesame Street, make several acclaimed recordings, write a book about How to Be an Accordion Player, as well as the acclaimed novel, Festival Man. His latest album is called We Are Going to Bremen to Be Musicians, it’s out now via Oriente Musik and Coax Records, and so Geoff is touring the world. We recently caught up with each other in Guelph at CFRU’s studios where he performed three songs live and discussed things like his performance of the song “We Are On Our Way to Bremen,” finding hope in darkness, the Brothers Grimm, don’t be a chicken turn musician, making a living as a musician and whether or not that’s possible, motherhood and sexism in the cultural industry, taking some joy in the deaths of people like Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and other demented old people who seemed to relish destroying poor and disadvantaged people, recalling his politically charged song, “Probably NDP,” which sort of encouraged people to vote for the NDP in the last federal election, Tom Lehrer and Jon Stewart, when satirists burn out, affecting change and laughing ideas out of the room, Joey Shithead and the origin of the Vancouver-inspired song “Condos,” which he performs live on the show, the real estate fiasco and housing crisis in Vancouver, how displaced people are ending up in Surrey, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games and their impact on the city, the cycle of nonsense that is the housing market, the media collapse and how songs are the new newspapers, the rise of fascism, his Vancouver background and its impact on his artistic perspectives, getting into punk, Billy Bragg, acoustic D.O.A., the Vancouver Folk Festival and its leftist leanings, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Justin Trudeau smokescreen, his romantic side, a live performance of “I Don’t Feel So Mad At God When I See You in Your Summer Dress,” mixed messages, his novel Festival Man and his next novel, which is a continuation of the aforementioned story of sorts, upcoming shows, the time Geoff and I ran into each other in Oslo, the long talk, Coax and not Kochs, Socalled is a genius, a Yiddish rendition of David Bowie’s “Always Crashing in the Same Car,” the song “Ich Krakh Tomid Arayn In Der Zelber Mashin,” and then it was thank you, no thank you.

Related links: geoffberner.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #205: Nick Ferrio

Nick Ferrio is a heartfelt singer and songwriter based in Peterborough, Ontario. A member of the humourous and wise folk-rock band the Burning Hell, Ferrio has emerged as an artistic force in his own right, releasing two seven-inch singles and now two full-length albums that have each been acclaimed by critics, as vibrant contributions to folk and country music in Canada. His latest album is entitled Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs, it’s out now via Headless Owl and Shuffling Feet Records, and has prompted Ferrio to play select tour dates, including one at the Hillside Festival in Guelph on the weekend of July 24. Here, Nick and I chat about sweating in Peterborough, touring with the Burning Hell, European trains versus Canadian trains, Mike O’Neill and Go Trains, the ferociousness of love, relationships, what’s going on on Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs, Steven Lambke’s songwriting, Mathias Kom and the Silver Hearts and the Burning Hell, country music as a fashionable state of mind, Geoff Berner’s song “Phony Drawl,” growing up in Sutton, Ontario, Nevermind and The Lion King, seeing Dinosaur Jr. opening up for Alanis Morrissette, Wayne Regretzky, the Great One’s cottage, why he’s no longer the Artistic Director of the Peterborough Folk Festival, The Burning Hell getting snubbed in Peterborough, playing the Hillside Festival, the new Burning Hell record, the song “At My Window,” and then Nick stopped loving Vish today.

Related links: nickferrio.com hillsidefestival.ca vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #50: Edward Keenan + Karen Houle + Geoff Berner

Edward Keenan is a senior editor at the Grid, a columnist at Spacing, and a lifelong resident of Toronto, Ontario. He has been writing about the city’s political and cultural landscape for over 10 years and has been nominated for prestigious writing awards. His new book is called Some Great Idea – Good Neighbourhoods, Crazy Politics and the Invention of Toronto, which was published by Coach House Books and prompted a lecture series tour of Toronto Libraries between Nov. 6 and Nov. 13, including stops in Etobicoke, Scarborough, downtown, and North York. Keenan is also appearing as a guest on my Long Night with Vish Khanna talk show for the Long Winter arts series on Friday Nov. 8 at the Great Hall. Here, we spend our time breaking down Mayor Rob Ford’s admission that he did in fact use crack cocaine and how his behaviour impacts the city of Toronto.

Karen Houle is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Guelph and an acclaimed poet, whose 2001 volume Ballast was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award. Her latest volume of poetry is 2008’s During, which its publisher Gaspreau Press describes as a study in continuity and a depiction of friendships, siblings, marriage, parenting, breakups, work and loss through the oblique angles of biology, geology, forestry and philosophy. Houle appears at the River Run Centre on Friday Nov. 8 as part of the Guelph Lecture on Being Canadian. Here Karen and I discuss the Rob Ford controversy and the connection between poetry and philosophy.

Geoff Berner is a tremendously gifted songwriter and musician known for his outspoken work and 100% belief in the klezmer tradition. Based in Vancouver, he received a scholarship for being the top student in the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing program and has gone on to write scripts for Sesame Street, make several acclaimed recordings, write a book about How to Be an Accordion Player, and he has toured across 18 countries. Dundurn Press has just published Berner’s hilarious new novel called Festival Man, a faux memoir about an unhinged music impresario named Campbell Ouiniette. It’s prompted Berner to go on an extensive book reading and music playing tour across Canada, which includes a 5 PM reading at the Bookshelf and an evening performance at the Ebar in Guelph on Sunday Nov. 11. It should also be noted that Berner just became a dad again within the last week. We discuss his surprising take on Mayor Rob Ford, the Canadian music biz, as it pertains to his new book, Festival Man‘s accompanying soundtrack, and more.

Related links: chbooks.com torontolongwinter.com eramosa.org geoffberner.com vishkhanna.com

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