Thursday, May 28, 2009

League of Rock comes to Vancouver.

Yes indeed, Erica Ehm is very inspiring (see post below for context), and so it was no surprise for me to learn that she is married to a man who also spends time inspiring people, and even cooler still, he does it for musicians.

Erica is married to rocker Terry Moshenberg who founded the hugely successful League of Rock. When I saw Erica in Vancouver last month, she told me the League of Rock was coming to Vancouver soon, and I made her promise to give me the scoop on when, because I told her I would love to talk about it on my blog.

So here it is, I have just received word, the Vancouver Launch of LOR is July 22, and will be taking place at the famed Vancouver Rockspace.

If you are a musician who has a busy family life and a day job that prevents you from hitting the road or finding people to jam with, if you put aside those old dreams just because they just were not practical...... I understand, I've been there. I put down my guitar too, when I was building my family, I did so for nearly 10 years.

I am proof you can pick it up again. And if you are not crazy and motivated like myself to make music your living, but would still love to be in a band, you are very much in luck, because here is a great reason to dust off your chops and get rocking again.

The League of Rock, is the musicians version of an adult Hockey Club, or Softball League, only you join a band, and work together to perform live and record a CD.

Take a moment to check out the videos and website.

This is what I know so far, the Toronto branch of the League is consistently sold out session after session, and there are surprisingly not a huge amount of spots available for the Vancouver sessions, so I predict it will sell out fast.

In fact Rock 101 is going to be adverstising the LOR next month on their radio station, so before the rest of the city hears about it, I suggest you go check it out and get your name down on the list!

You can thank me later. :)

Special note:

In looking for videos for my blog I discovered that the League of Rock also does amazing team-building events for large corporations. If you work for, or have a large company, please take the time to view this video, it speaks for itself.

Rock on rockers!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

from Yummy Mummy to the League of Rock

In the fall of 2007 I was a part of a baby store in Vancouver and a large portion of my duties were to get the name of my store known and out there in the public.

Poking around online, I had come across Erica Ehm's Yummy Mummy Club which was putting on a nationwide video contest. Two things immediately went through my head, first I thought, Erica Ehm?, how cool! Next, I saw the possibilities. A video contest which would be broadcasting to Mother's all across Canada? So I bought a camera and made my submission, and after it was all said and done, I wrote and told Erica why I had joined, and I thanked her for letting me share the name and news about my store.

Erica wrote back to me personally and told me I should keep making videos.

Just a handful of sentences but that is all it took to leave an impression on me. It was the moment that she took to see me, that meant the world to me. So of course, I was inspired to make more videos.

This all happened by the way, in the weeks following my father's death. It was a timely time to receive a lifeline. I had really fallen into a rut of sadness. Losing my Dad was my first deeply meaningful loss, and it ran nearly parallel to the ending of my marriage and the rebounding of personal relationships. I was suddenly very numb, and felt like I had lost all of my guideposts.
With that one simple email however, I was set on a new course. And the writing of the songs that were required to make more videos, helped me to find and guide myself. It is where I was forced to stop fearing Independence, its where I got brave, it's where I continue to find my voice, and it is where I am finding my strength.

It's just a form of expression yes, but I am an expressive being, so its a good outlet. For that I will always be grateful to Erica, and I am only one of the hundreds upon thousands of women who have been inspired by her to do something for themselves.

This story detours at this point, but it also comes full circle because it goes right back to the basics for me, music................

See next post for more details!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rick Tippe and Don Adams behind the scenes All Access Pass.

The latest videos from Kelly & Rach's All Access Pass are up on You Tube and I thought I'd post them here because they are such a big part of the *fabric of my life that they should be included in my personal blog!

I blogged about Rick Tippe earlier this year, and even back then I had the feeling that this day would come. You see when he told me he was looking to start helping out other artists and songwriters by sharing his own 'on the road' and 'writing/recording' experiences, I knew I wanted to make a video about it and that there would come a day where I would be posting a video of us writing a song, and talking about his new website, I just saw it. I saw it because I know he is such an inspiring person, and that he will help a lot of people. I know there will be a grateful audience who will relate to how authentic and real he is.

Including me, and for those of you who have followed me since my lazy, painful, awkward beginnings on this blog, you will recall my promise to myself that I wanted to do some songwriting with someone who would pose no confusion for me on a personal level. So with that in mind its how I have set myself up. This is exactly how I have been making my music, its carefully crafted with people I trust, and whom are very much 'attached' to someone! I have no idea if I am a little smarter, or just less dumb, but either way its been a very peaceful and easy process so far!

I actually met Rick's wife, before I met Rick, and I love Bonnie like I love cherries (which are the best fruit in the world). In fact I sold her a couple of my hotwheels T-shirts which I designed a few years ago, they feature my drawings of vintage toy cars on them. (They were very limited in numbers, less than 30, and I am proud to say that Dave Schools from Widespread Panic also has two of my shirts!!).

So anyhow, I won't digress any further, fast rewind back to the workshop, my idea, and then to a meeting with Kelly who loved the idea, and well, we made it happen. So without further adieu....we give you..... Rick Tippe......

Watch for the part where Rick calls me a 'brat' right near the end of the clip, hehe, its a bit of a blooper roll actually, that was not intended for airplay, but Rick gave me the OK to add it. For me, it really sets the tone of how fun and easy he is to work with.

So the final news, is that Rick and I wrote a song, and I love it! He took an old song idea I had and helped me develop it, he matured it. And I am recording it to include it on the CD I am making which are of songs I am getting ready to play live at the Merrit Mountain Music Festival.

This will be my fourth trip to Merrit, but it will be my first time as Rachael, playing my original music. It's the first time I've really had original music. Last year I was on the mainstage singing background vocals for Kelly, and that was SUPER thrilling. This year I am in a tent singing alone with my guitar, in a songwriter circle, with three other songwriters, and in some ways I am even more excited.

I was given a spot on the bill through Don Adams, its quite incredible what happens sometimes when you just ask. Long time friend and sometimes hero, Don Adams, is THE go-to guy at the Merrit Mountain Music festival, as well as at the BCCMA, and he is likely to have been the man in charge at many of the large concerts you (the reader) may yourself have been to.

Kelly and I both have known Don Adams for years, and both of us simply adore him (much like most of the female population in the country music industry), and we thought he would be a wonderful subject to cover behind the scenes for our video channel because Don really is the heartbeat behind a lot of what you and I see in country music.

Yes, I know you all come to see the performers, I realize they are very compelling, and I promise I am with you on that. But the other side of it, the behind the scenes that WE get to see, are filled with amazing people like Don (and the people he works with to put it all together). They do it so that artists at all levels of the game have a platform to present their music, and we are very grateful to them all.

So if you have ever wondered who puts it all together and how? Let me tell you, it is one hell of a job, and anyone who can pull it off and still look so damn cool, is something pretty awesome in my book!

So folks, please meet Don Adams, an unsung hero in country music!

(Special note for all of you industry folks who know and respect Don Adams already, I am confident you will recognize and appreciate the little 'roast' we prepared for him, hehehehe)

*btw; The reference to "fabric of my life" it must be credited, is something I picked up from Mike Reno. While I was talking to Mike for the Loverboy All Access videos, I noticed he had described their music as being a part of the 'fabric of our lives', and I loved that, because it is so very, very true.

All the very best to you! Rach

Monday, May 18, 2009

CD cover pictures, what look should I go for?

I am making a CD to sell at my gigs! (Yay, it's about time, slacker. )

So I've been playing around with my camera, taking self portraits to get an idea of the sort of shot or look I might want to achieve for the picture that will go onto my CD artwork.
I am not sure which direction to go.
( Warning, if you are tired of looking at my image at this point, I suggest you click the back button right now before scrolling down the page any further! If you keep going, there is a silly amount of ME on this post,.........................consider yourself warned.)

So, do I go with this thoughtful and deep sort of vibe?

Perhaps a little smile, I know a secret........

Clearly I can't pull off the sexy siren just out of bed look without looking goofy and riduculous,
so lets scrap this idea right out of the gate.

I'm kinda partial to this look myself, but someone would surely say its completely unprofessional.

Not sure why THAT should be a problem however, I mean, isn't this the age
of the all-natural, be yourself Dove girl ?

Ok, then, perhaps in order to 'fit in' I should consider this sort of image?

I just don't know for sure. Its all a puzzle, but it will surely come together over the next few weeks , and if you wish to throw your few cents into the soup, feel free to let me know (here or on my facebook) if you have a favorite shot!

Mucho Grassyass my friends. xox Rach

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fierce Light opens this weekend!

If you are planning on going to the movies this weekend, I hope that you will choose to see this film, Fierce Light. Every person who buys a ticket this opening weekend, helps to keep it in the theatres.
(hence the name of the group who hosts this advanced screening event, the First Weekend Club)

I am putting my movie dollars towards this Canadian film this weekend, because I love the message it sends, and I want to see the film stay in the theatres.

Once again, last Wednesday night, I had the great pleasure of helping the First Weekend Club give Canadian film lovers a movie viewing experience like no other. It was my job to bring the music for the wine reception, which happens in the hour prior to the screening of the film!

I love this picture, with the image of people lined up outside as they wait to enter the sold out venue.

These beautiful pictures are courtesy of Asad Masede from EIS .

Honestly now, does your regular movie house 'refreshment stand' serve you drinks like this,

in an environment that looks like this?

And while I am asking you questions; How often, directly after seeing a movie, do you have the opportunity to SKYPE a live Q & A session with the director of the film?

See the picture directly below the text? That is director Velcrow Ripper up on the screen , in a live Skype session. This was fabulous, the audience had the floor and passed the mic around to talk to him, several people took the opportunity to ask about the film and the making of it.

Some amazing celebs showed up to show their support for this event. It was a treat for me to see Babz Chula again, we had a lovely chat and I received a kiss on either cheek, it was quite a thrill to hear her kind compliments. I am afraid I do not know the other people in this photo at the time of writing this blog post, though I do recognize them, I will find out asap, please do expect a proper edit from me in future regarding the people in the photo below. For the moment, opening weekend is here upon us, and the message must go out, I know they understand.

Next time I'll try and open my eyes for the closing photo. In the meantime, thanks to all who participated in promoting this film, there are SO many people who deserve thanks and recognition, I could never cover it all in one blog. Please see the First Weekend Club website for full credits. MY mission here today, is to encourage you out to see the works of Canadian filmmakers. I'll be out tomorrow night, taking myself on a solo date, to see this film in the theatre, because I want my vote for the Canadian film industry to count.

have a lovely long weekend..........

warmly, Rach

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's and Daughters opens THIS weekend.....

I had planned to sit down and write a nice blog post last night to let you all know that this is the opening weekend for the incredible Canadian feature film, Mother's and Daughters.

However, at around 7:30 last evening, I got called to cover a gig at the local casino for a girlfriend who was very ill (which in itself is worth a post, the whole experience of walking into a room and fronting a band you don't know, with no rehearsal and no set list is energizing, fun stuff, but I digress, we are here for a film today), so I didn't have time to do a nice blog last night, and sadly, I don't have time this morning, because I have to rush off to studio to do some recording.

Busy times indeed, so I am going to make this short and sweet, and I am including lots of pictures.

Below is the video trailer for "Mother's and Daughters", a Canadian feature film which is opening this weekend. I encourage you to watch it....

Last Wednesday night I had the honor of performing for the advanced screening of this excellent movie! This is the review of the night, taken from the First Weekend Club website for Canada Screens.

Canada Screens: Mothers & Daughters (Vancouver)
Post Event
Another great FWC event! And another sold out event. It seems
the city has caught on to the fact that Canada Screens offers an incredible
cinematic experience unlike no other. Director Carl Bessai and lovely cast
of Mothers & Daughters led a exciting talkback with the audience following
the screening. Rachael Chatoor provided a wonderful pre-show environment
with her beautiful voice filling the room. All in all, it was a great
night. If you missed out on the advance screening, you can still catch
Mothers & Daughters at Tinseltown, opening Friday May 8th.

I originally wanted to support this film because Babz Chula is in it, and I am a long time admirer and supporter of Babz and her work. I didn't know much about the film before I got there to perform that night, but let me tell you it grabbed me right away and never let me go. The characters are rich, real and mesmerizing. The stories all resonate on some level, if not personally, at least by association. It's a gritty, emotional exploration of the ups and downs of the Mother Daughter relationship. Some of it will make you laugh, and some of it will make you cry about, think, feel and contemplate your own relationship with your Mother or daughter.

Once again the advanced screening was held at the incredible District 319, simply the nicest private theatre in the city of Vancouver. Just look at the chairs folks........notice the footrests? I'll tell you what you might not see, most of us have a glass of wine in our hands. This is not your local run of the mill movie house.

Of great interest was the Q & A after the film with director Carl Bessai and two of the lead actresses in the film. It was a nice touch to see them in person and hear the stories behind the making of the film.

Gabrielle Rose, and Camille Sullivan were two of the actresses in the film and they were just excellent in their roles. I don't know all the awards they give out in the Canadian film industry, but I think all the actresses in Mother's and Daughters should be in the running for all of them.

I could not have pulled off this blog post without the use of all of these gorgeous photographs, which come courtesy of Dean Buscher. I am sending a special shout out to Dean and his stunning photographic work, and I invite you to visit his website whenever you are in the market for beautiful, tasteful, and inspired photographs.

Of course we must thank the Georgia Straight for sponsoring the event......

And watch out for Director Carl Bessai! Sir, I stand up and applaud your great movie!

So please do yourself and the Canadian film industry a favour this weekend and go see Mothers and Daughters, and make sure to take your Mom!

Till next time.....Rach

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Walk for Kids Help Phone, Team Yummy meets Trevor Linden

Today I participated in the Kids Help Phone walk as part of team Yummy Mummy.

Heading up the walk, was Yummy Mummy Club's official West Coast Blogger Catherine, otherwise known as Earnest girl, whom I met at the Yummy Mummy coffee tweet-up just a short while ago.

I found Catherine at the registration desk, and while we were signing in, we noticed to the left of us a certain local celeb was nearby and available for photo ops. Catherine and I decided we could not let the opportunity to take a picture with Trevor Linden and us wearing our Yummy Mummy Shirts pass us by, so we wandered over there. We had hatched a plan to pose so that the lips on our Yummy Mummy T-shirts were visible, but it wasn't until I got up there that I realized that the lips on my tank top are nearly on the back of the shirt, so in order to make the shot work, I had to really turn myself around, well, pretty much right IN-towards Mr Linden himself,....... hehehe.

When Catherine and I got outside I looked at the picture on my camera and I was just a little worried at how 'snuggled in' to the hockey hero I appeared, so I worriedly expressed my concern. But she just laughed at me and pointed out that such a thing doesn't happen very often, I was instructed to relax and savor the moment.

Sigh, well, OK then, if I must. ;)

It was right around this time we met up with fellow team mate Alexis, and we stopped for another photo op.

After we took the shot , we were headed on down to the presentation stage for the opening ceremonies, and Catherine remembered that she had taken her camera out, but forgotten to take a picture herself....... apparently this is a common error for her so I thought the moment was picture worthy....

In the moments before the walk started, we listened to some speeches.

I went to the ladies room one last time, and when I came back, the crowd was being led in a warm up. I am pretty certain that the white arms up in the air are Catherines arms.

Now they are bringing up a special guest, you can just see him on stage...

Wait, I will zoom in.......

Yep, Trevor was up there doing the warm up too, what a good sport!

So, all warmed up, we headed off on our walk.

There were cheerleaders along the way......

and we just talked and laughed and chatted the whole time, the route could have been twice as long and we still would have found things to talk about.
We kept coming back to the fact that one of the things we like about the Yummy Mummy Club is that it felt like Erica has created the Village for us. There once was a time when girls, sisters, aunts, friends, mothers and grandmothers, all gathered and shared their experiences with each other, about everything. Its how we learned about ourselves.
That no longer really happens today, we are often isolated, especially when we are home with young children. The Yummy Mummy Club makes us feel connected, less isolated, part of the village where we can feel free to ask questions and share our realities.

And the Yummy Mummy Club inspires us to do things for others, such as meet up on a beautiful day and walk for an important cause.

And this is a very important cause.

The Kids Help Phone, please consider looking into it, particularly if you have been looking for an excellent charity to support.

At the end of the day I heard them announce that nationwide the walk for Kids Help Phone raised over $130, 000. I am proud I was a small part of that effort, and I want to thank the people who pledged and gave to the charity in the Yummy Mummy Club's name!

And to Erica Ehm our Yummy Mummy Team leader, I hope you like the pic we got for you of your West Coast 'Team Yummy Mummy' with local hockey hero Trevor Linden. It was a real burden for us to -ahem- struggle through, but we did it for you! ;)


Saturday, May 2, 2009

this is more than I asked for..............

I had to buy a dishwasher the other day and had found a suitable unit in a clearance centre which was half price. I was delighted with my find until I asked about delivery and install and discovered that I would have to call an independent guy and it would cost me $175 dollars.

That sounded pretty steep, but seeing as I didn't have a truck of my own or any idea how to install my own dishwasher, I didn't have a lot of other options, besides asking and obliging friends which is something I try to save for emergencies. So I called one of the numbers on the list provided by the store and managed to talk the fellow down to $150.

The delivery fellow did mention that the price discussed was his 'over the phone quote', and could change if there was any extra plumbing to be done but he wouldn't know about it to quote on it, until he got there and took out the old dishwasher.

Right away the red flags started waving. I have been seriously burned in the past by workers "finding" problems after they have already given me a quote, so I must admit, I was wary. Very wary, and I told the guy that I would be there watching to see for myself if there was any damage that needed repair. He said he was fine with that.

It is safe to say that I was very distrusting of the delivery guy I had hired. Before I even met or talked to him, I thought I had him pegged, thought he must be a no good scammer. I prepared myself to hold onto every dollar that he would surely try to pry from my near barren pocketbook.

When he arrived, he seemed like a nice enough guy, but seeing as he was the enemy, I still watched him like a hawk to make sure he wasn't doing something off colour, like bending a pipe that he would have to 'fix'

As we chatted, I warmed up a little, he seemed like a nice guy, courteous, competent, and respectful. He complimented my kids on how well mannered they are. I started to relax.
I mentioned the loose sink fixture to him when he went to turn on the water, and he offered to have a look at it. Even though I was feeling more comfortable about him, I was worried at how much this would cost, but knowing a plumber would charge me $80 just to walk in my door, I decided to let him look at it, seeing as he was here already. I figured it would bump up my bill a bit, I just hoped it wouldn't be too much.

Fixing the fixture turned out to be a bit of trouble but at least it got fixed, and once the dishwasher was in and running, I asked the fellow how much I should make the check out for (and then I braced myself).

My jaw could have fallen on the floor when he said $150, the original price he had quoted. My mind was buzzing, inside I was thinking, What? you mean you aren't going to charge me for the extra work? This is unheard it possible?..... Can I actually wear my rose colored glasses today and not feel like a total fairy-dust dweeb?

Needless to say, I was impressed that he didn't try to take advantage of me.

So without a word, I wrote the check, but I wrote it for more than $150.

Then I handed it to him,........... he looked at it, clearly confused, and said "This is more than I asked for?"

I looked at him and smiled and said "You did more than you said you would".

We looked at each other in the eyes and the smile that showed up on his face was genuine and priceless, and in one blink of a moment, we saw each other as humans rather than opponents. I was actually hopeful for humanity, and grateful to find that in some ways, in some places, the village still exists.

He took his gear to his truck, and then returned with some items for me to look at, telling me that he and his wife also ran a beauty product company. Then he placed the goodies in my hand and told me, "This is a gift for you".

Clearly he appreciated that I acknowledged his efforts, as much as I appreciated the helping hand without a dollar value attached to it. We were strangers who recognized the humanity in each other, that was the true gift.
Try to see someone today without judging or misunderstanding them. You might be surprised.
warmly, Rach