Paul Quarrington: The Songs arrived this morning.
I got Paul’s CD this morning. I was kinda busy and it was really hard to not rip it open then and there. I held out for about an hour, then put it into my computer at work and listened to the first couple of songs as I could. I try to hold judgment on whether I like or dislike an album until I’ve heard it a couple times. I loved this one on first listen. Every song is rich, meaningful and significant in some way to me. It’s got that unnervingly familiar and yet entirely foreign feeling that Paul’s work always manages to bring out of me.
I was late to discover Paul. Sort of. A friend of mine told us about a movie playing downtown at one of the artsy theatres that we should go see, so four of us piled into whatever junker I was driving at the time and saw Whale Music together. Just before the movie started, I met one of the other grad students from the university who asked if I liked the Rheostatics too. “The who?” I asked. There are two particular things I remember well about that night: The music was among the finest I’d ever heard and at the very end of the credits, the four of us were sitting in our seats, every one of us both slack jawed and smiling - so much as that is possible.
It took a few more years to understand just how much Paul’s fingerprints have been embedded on my life. Whale Music the movie led to the Whale Music the album, which led to Whale Music the book. Once I discovered the novel, I found King Leary and from there Paul’s other books. The pinnacle for me was when I realized some jerk scribbled in my copy of Civilization before I managed to buy it. I was really mad someone would ruin a book like that before I realized Paul must have signed it while out on tour.
But then I started to understand not only the breadth of his talent but how much I was surrounded and drawn to it as well. It wasn’t enough to know that he put out great work, I realized how much of the stuff I really enjoyed involved Paul in one way or another. If it’s Canadian and it’s good, I just figure there’s a credit somewhere that reads Quarrington.
I remember Arthur Black playing this astounding band called “Continental Drift” that just blew me away and endless years of frustration never finding a copy. Long after Due South finished it’s run, I learned that Paul was involved. I just figure he’s somewhere in the background all the time now.
I saw you this year when Porkbelly Futures played at the Bow Valley Music Club this past year. I loved it, but we all know that’s a given by now. How about something you don’t know? About once a week, when I’m riding my bike to work I’ll get held up by a train at a crossing that’s somewhat hard to avoid until it’s too late. I thought to myself, “I hate waiting for that train.“ As soon as I finished that thought I started singing under my breath, “Mmmm mmm mmm, Mmmm mmm mmm, Gotta love a train.“ I sing it every time I cross those tracks now. Thanks for singing along in my head.
Thanks for getting The Songs out to me. Be sure to pass thanks along to Judith too, just in case my copy passed through her hands. Pass on thanks to all the Porkbelly Futures from me. The best thing of all is that Paul’s introduced me to a bunch more friends with talent to share. And thanks for the updates! I’m @Zarquil on twitter, I’ve been plugging Paul Quarrington: Life in Music and Cigar Box Banjo on there and in person.
Let me end with the highest praise I can offer to Paul and by association to the rest of my friends on that side of the wire:
Thanks, Paul. Thanks to the rest of you. You inspire me to play my guitar until I’m good enough to play the songs I’ve been writing.
On 2010-06-03, at 8:19 AM, Rebecca Campbell wrote:
Greetings Folks —
We’re heading into our first summer without Paul, and posthumous PQ activity is already in full swing: Many of you will have tuned in to Bravo’s weekend broadcasts of Paul Quarrington: Life In Music, Bert Kish’s new film documenting Paul’s musical swan song; Cigar Box Banjo: Notes On Music And Life, is flying off bookstore shelves as we speak; and The Songs is finally ready for your listening pleasure.
Judith Keenan and I spent Tuesday afternoon stuffing and addressing your preorders, and they’re winging their way towards you now. If it’s not too much hassle, please let me know when you receive your copy, so I can keep up with any strays. If it doesn’t show up in the next couple of weeks, I’ll look into tracking it down or replacing it.
Once again, let me thank you on behalf of Paul, David Gray, Martin Worthy, and everyone else who put so much into the production of this amazing recording, for your contribution to the process. Don’t forget that you were part of the making of this record, and that Paul was honoured and humbled by your investment, and your pledge of faith.
I hope and trust that you’ll enjoy it for years to come!
All the best,