Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Filed Under (music, My CDs) by Sean on October-27-2015

I had a very fruitful FAWM 2015 with 21 new songs brought into the world. When summer rolled around, I was not considering doing The 50-90 Challenge, because our family was planning a cross country trip to Alberta to see my extended family. As July 4 neared, I found I was ready to open the creative floodgates once again and I started in earnest. I wrote 18 songs from July 4 to August 1, many of them on the road in response to our family Trans Canada Highway tour. I was also having a quite an inward journey, revisiting the people and the prairies of my childhood. Partway through our holiday, I got a wicked summer cold, and I was finding that the songwriting was incringing on the vacation, so I pressed pause. Returning home mid-August I wrote two more songs, but my cough was still with me and my heart wasn’t in it. Fast forward to the end of October, I still have the cough, and 20 new songs. Not a bad crop this year. FAWM: 21 + 5090:20. I have my own top 40 of songs for 2015 and still a couple months if I want to write a couple more.
I’m entitling this collection, TransCanada Troubadour, because the songs were directly influenced by my cross country journey.

The demos here were very lofi, and often very rough sketches of the melodies and performances. If my voice ever returns to strength after my summer cold, I may give a go at polishing up some of these demos.
Sean McGaughey, October 26, 2015

Here is a handy jukebox of my 50/90 songs.


dayofpodcastingIt’s Canadian National Day of Podcasting so I did a bit of a ramblecast/rant about my current thoughts on podcasting and on my creative life in general.  I also plug my new podcast audiobook, Time for the Fair.  Please check it out.  I close out with a recording of This Ain’t My Hat, a song I wrote inspired by a children’s book This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen


Happy CNDOP.  Maybe next year it will be a statutory holiday.













Time for the Fair- an original audiobook by Sean McGaughey

Filed Under (blog, music) by Sean on June-28-2014

me-rubbersoulThis afternoon we went to Promenade Days in Barrie. One of the vendors on Dunlop was none other than Big John of the decades closed Big Johns Records. When I moved to Barrie in the late 80s, my sisters introduced me to Big John and his record store. His store was around the corner from Sam the Record Man at the 5 points. His tastes were eclectic in the extreme and he had only one rule– “Is it Good?” If you could find the kind of top 40 pablum they sold at Sam’s around the corner, it was likely kept inside a (thankfully dry) toilet at the back of the store with a hand lettered sign reading “Pop Shit” or in a basket on the counter under a flystrip with a sign that said “Top 40 tapes– Free if you take a fly.”

Big John introduced my sisters to Sonic Youth, Henry Rollins and Sioxie and the Banshees before they broke into the mainstream. He turned me on to Little Feat, Dave Brubek and the Greatful Dead.

Today he sold us 3 CDs. My daughter got a Johnny Cash compilation that got the Big John seal of approval. She also a Miley Cyrus CD which I remarked should have been free with a dead fly . Mine was a special Big John Recommendation.

There are more than a few musicians and bands that have profoundly influenced my musical tastes and my songwriting BUT I have never actually owned one of their albums. I have become intimately familiar with their music through the covers of my friends, on the radio and TV, or just through pop culture overexposure.

Today I bought one such album from Big John. It is from a long disbanded group who produced about a dozen albums in the sixties. Their music has shaped my consciousness for my whole life, but I have never owned one of their albums till today. I had considered getting a greatest hits compilation, but I think as a musician I really needed to hear these songs afresh in the original order as an album. I narrowed it down to two CDs. The one I chose was a recording entitled: “Rubber Soul”.

We listened to it in the car on the way home. My mind has been melted.
As I said, I am intimately familiar almost all of the 14 songs on the album but to hear it as a whole. So many impressions– Wow That Bass Player is astounding… And that drummer. Some of those rhythm guitar parts are stripped down in the extreme– just a downstroke on 2 and 4– jangly and slightly out of tune. The mix is wonderfully organic and inconsistent. Sometimes the guitars are a little too loud, sometimes drowned out by the drums and bass. The harmonies are sublime and not one of them autotuned. The songs demonstrate a hodgepodge of influences from rockabilly, to Rand B, to bluegrass, to British dance hall, to Indian Ragas. The style, mood and lead singer changes with almost every song. There is a moment in Girl during a 2 beat pause in the music where John takes a noisy audible breath. For all of the above reasons, this album shouldn’t work– but it is a masterpiece. It is perfect even in its imperfections.

Yesterday I got an itunes gift card as a gift. I believe I will use it to buy another record from this band called Revolver. Has anyone else heard of it? Is there anything else by these guys that I should have?


Filed Under (for the sake of the song, music) by Sean on April-22-2014

As a lifelong science fiction fan and a folk musician, I have been aware of the existence of Filk music for decades but I had never really investigated it.  I was quite comfortable in my place as a slightly geeky singing schoolteacher and songwriter who told stories about family, faith, childhood, duct tape, and some geeky stuff.


Over the past year, I have come to know a number of Ontario Filkers  through February Album Writing Month and Nanowrimo.  Our family even went to Toronto to our first House Filk this fall and we were very warmly welcomed.  Through these online communities and our one house filk, I feel that I have come to know several people in the Filk community, and I am excited to get to know them better.

But this weekend will still be Ductape Family’s first encounter with the FilkOntario conference.  My daughter is armed with a couple killer acapella songs from the Doubleclicks and Jane Eggers.  I have been polishing a few of my most geeky– jam friendly, chorus laden songs from 15 years of writing.  My wife is eager to meet new people and listen to some great music.  I have been reading about the event from other attendees, particularly Debs & Errol’s post on What is Filk?


As a virtual introduction to my music, here I am singing my Ballad of Chris Hadfield.


We cannot arrive until Saturday evening, so I’m hoping that someone will email me the topic for the penguin songwriting challenge on Friday or Saturday, because I would love to participate in it. What other advice do you have for relative newbie first- timers to a Filk Conference?

Filed Under (for the sake of the song, general, music, Simcoe County, Songwriting, Tiny, Uncategorized) by Sean on January-22-2014

Each January, about 40 friends rent Wildfire Outdoor Education Centre in Wyevale Ontario for a DIY musicians getaway weekend of great food, music, and workshops presented by the participants.  Here is my DIY workshop on how February Album Writing Month and Nanowrimo changed my creative process.

Outline and links.

How to Lose Your Mind in Thirty Days

Creativity and impossible online challenges.

Sean McGaughey: ,

In 2013, I accidentally fell into a creative whirlwind. From February 1 to December 23, I wrote 49 songs and 1 novel.

Read Forevuary prologue.

February Album Writing Month

  • Http:// (stay very away from .com)
  • Write 14 Songs in 28 days.
  • Online forums, personalized page. Supportive community.
  • Song skirmish– someone suggests a skirmish at a certain time. At the given time, they post a title. Then you have one hour to write, record and post a song
  • Feedback on the site is invaluable. Usually within an hour of posting you will get a couple or more comments from other writers.
  • Collaboration: some writers are pure lyricists and will post –‘ needs music’ to invite people to set their song to music.
  • Strong culture of sharing your music and providing constructive feedback to others.

Fifty-Ninety: 50 songs in 90 days


  • Premise: Write a novel in 30 days from Nov 1 to Nov 30.

  • Supposed to be a new novel project– not one in progress 1667 words a day– 50000 words minimum. You will not write a novel in 30 days, but if you succeed you will have a very good start on a first draft.

  • I finished nanowrimo as did my daughter and niece.

  • Culture of Nanowrimo: Local events and write-ins, online chatrooms and forums,

  • Word wars– timed writing against others.

  • Culture of not sharing writing in progress. Would be too time consuming– interfere with people’s ability to write 1667 words daily.


Midland Penetanguishene Songwriters on Facebook.

  • Saturday Songwriters at the MCC. Third Saturday morning of the month at 11am in the Roxy Cafe at the Midland Cultural Centre. For FAWM we will meet Jan 18 then every Saturday in February 1,8,15,22 and March 1.

Time to Write: Song Skirmish Title: Polar Vortex, Snow Day, Do It Yourself


We had 4 writers in the group and here is our finished song.

Do It Yourself


(DIY 2014  Jan 11, 2014)  (c) Mary  Marcolin, Ed Winacott, Sean McGaughey,  Chris Johnston


Remember the story of the Little Red Hen

She didn’t get help again and again

No one stepped up to hoe, or reap

But they all lined in time to eat.. the bread


Don’t you know you can do it yourself

Best not to count on anyone else

Take a deep breath and give it a shot

All you need, you’ve already got.


The Little Red Hen told her chicks

Together, there’s no problem we can’t fix

By the end of the day we’ll all get fed

When we work together for our daily bread.


Don’t you know we can do it ourselves

Best not to count on anyone else

Take a deep and give it a shot

All we need, we’ve already got.

Sometimes life gets a little perverse

When you least expect, a turn for the worst

For a home cooked meal with all the fixin’s

Free Range, Grain Fed, is Finger lickin’

Filed Under (music) by Sean on July-28-2013

Had way too much fun at the Emlenton Mill in Emlenton PA. 30+ songwriters from all over the world gathered for FAWMSTOCK, an in person gathering of February Album Writing Month participants. I wrote 6 songs with a bunch of nice people. Check out my to hear them.
’nuff words. Here are pictures and music.

Filed Under (music, news) by Sean on July-21-2013

5090_logoDuring February Album Writing Month, I wrote 20 songs, then 5 more in the months since. Last week I signed on for the 50/90 music challenge: write 50 songs in 90 days starting on July 4. I am not intending to write 50. I mostly signed on to keep connected with the writers I met during FAWM. But allasudden I find I have written 5 new songs in 6 days. The jukebox below will play all the songs I have written during 50/90. It magically updates so can always listen to my newest songs.

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