Now that the event has been officially announced, Wide Mouth Mason is excited to visit Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley Exhibition this August 17!
Source: 24 Hours Vancouver
By Joe Leary, 24 Hours Vancouver
Posted:Wednesday, April 12, 2017 11:33:45 PDT AM
Shaun Verreault has fronted the Canadian blues-based rock band Wide Mouth Mason since the mid-’90s. A veritable guitar master, Verreault will be performing Saturday, April 22 at Steel Toad Brewing Company in Vancouver. He spent 24 Minutes with Joe Leary.
Going way back, what was the moment that you recall that music resonated with you? Was it a particular song or artist that made you want to make music?
Prince. When I heard the beginning of “When Doves Cry” and the end of “Let’s Go Crazy”; I knew I was gonna have to learn how to play guitar.
What kind of musical training did you undergo?
I took guitar lessons in Saskatoon at a school run by a classical guitarist who employed a wide variety of gigging musicians. Though I had a couple of year-long periods of the same teacher consistently – one fusion shredder guy and then a hardcore jazzer – depending on who was around each week, I might walk in to spend an hour with a country chicken-picker or a metal tactician or classical player. Between that and playing trumpet in the school band, which exposed me to orchestral music and the likes of Miles Davis and the book of standards, I got a crash course in diversity that made a huge impression on me.
It’s hard to believe that Wide Mouth Mason has been around for over two decades. How did you form the band and did you ever imagine that it would have this durability?
A couple weeks ago marked the 20th anniversary of the release of our first record. I’d played throughout elementary and high school with Safwan, Wide Mouth’s drummer. From me on my first acoustic and he on pots and pans, to last weekend at a festival with the current day Masons, he’s been my constant musical and comedic companion. I knew early on that I’d be a lifer. Music’s been my gateway to seeing the world and finding my way around in it. I figure, when you learn how to do a thing, it teaches you not only that thing, but a process to learn how to do everything. I’ve projected those musically-learned patterns over every endeavor undertaken since, and it’s been like a skeleton key.
Is there a key to longevity in the music business?
Stubbornness and resourcefulness! I don’t even mean on the business side. I mean as a creative person. I’ve set myself challenges every couple years: you don’t get a pick anymore; you don’t get any effects pedals for a year; you have to play everything with a slide until you actually kind of can… Don’t get complacent. Push yourself, and in this current climate, finding other ways to make a living that facilitate and support music-making.
What advice do you offer to aspiring guitarists that see you shred on stage and want to follow in your footsteps?
Even if you’re not a singer, sing along with what you’re playing when you practice. Let your voice lead you around, not the patterns your fingers have memorized. Play melodies on just one string for an hour. After an hour, allow yourself the next string too. See how you can translate physical shapes of things in the world onto the guitar neck. Listen to styles of music you don’t usually. Learn how to play Cannonball Adderley’s solo in the Miles Davis song “Milestones.” If you always play sitting down, practice standing up. If you don’t play with a drummer, find one to play with. Jam along with records. Before you think you’re ready, figure out songs you like using your ears, not tab. If you usually use distortion, play clean for awhile. If you’re an acoustic player, try an electric with lots of gain. “Diversifind” your way to your own voice; and keep looking in different places. I feel like it took me about 30 years of playing to find a corner of the room that was more my own than someone else’s.
Finally, how has fatherhood changed you?
I’m more musical than ever at home. My daughter and I continuously sing and improvise on guitar or trumpet or percussion instruments and Lego and Play-Doh. Maybe that’s the best advice for up and coming musicians: Be as fearless as a four-year-old.
Wide Mouth Mason will be performing at the Tail Creek Mud and Music Festival on Canada Day! Tickets for the festival are available on the Mudfest website. The all-ages show sees Wide Mouth Mason take the stage at 7:00 pm.
Now officially confirmed, Wide Mouth Mason is joining an eclectic music lineup that follows the 150th Birthday Celebrations in our Nation’s Capital. Tickets for the 2017 RBC Ottawa Bluesfest are available in a pre-sale that begins Thursday, February 23rd at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Wide Mouth Mason takes the stage at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa on July 15, 2017!
Confirmed so far are Wide Mouth Mason gigs on the following dates. Gig information will be posted as known and confirmed.
- 2017.02.17: Shell Theatre’s Performance Series (Fort Saskatchewan, AB)
- 2017.02.18: Festival du Voyageur (Winnipeg, MB)
- 2017.04.15: Fernival (Fernie, BC)
- 2017.07.09: Thunder Bay Blues Festival (Thunder Bay, ON)
Line up revealed for Shell Theatre’s Performance Series
By Lema Safi, FortSaskOnline.com
Posted: Tuesday, 14 June 2016 12:43
– Jesse Cook on November 19
– Brent Butt on January 18
– Wide Mouth Mason on February 17
Just announced and confirmed is Wide Mouth Mason’s upcoming participation in the Performance Series at Fort Saskatchewan’s Shell Theatre. Watch for more information about Wide Mouth Masons February 17, 2017 gig to be posted on the Wide Mouth Mason site!
Lyrics for Wide Mouth Mason’s 2011 album, No Bad Days, are now on the website. In the future, we may consider adding a fan component from the Wide Mouth Mason Fan Network that would allow fans to contribute and access guitar tabs for various Wide Mouth Mason songs. If this is something that would be of interest to you, let us know by commenting below! Got guitar tabs to contribute? Send it to our Chef de mission!
Songwriters get pitiful amounts as streaming offers tiny royalties
Writers of today’s hits earn as little as $20 for every million streams by online listeners
By Deana Sumanac-Johnson, CBC News
Posted: May 06, 2016 11:00 AM ET Last Updated: May 06, 2016 11:15 AM ET
They’re the brains that create the songs you love, but don’t expect songwriters to be able to make a living by writing hits that get millions of plays on streaming services.
“I’ll get a cheque in the mail for $20 for a million streams, and that just makes absolutely no sense to me,” says Canadian songwriter Luke McMaster, who’s penned hits for the likes of Rihanna and recently had a song he co-wrote get a million streams on Spotify.
McMaster is not alone. Though copyright laws vary from one country to another, the sentiment among songwriters is uniform: a hit song, when streamed, will buy a pizza, but not support a family.
American songwriter Kevin Kadish, who co-wrote the body-positive anthem All About That Bass with Meghan Trainor, complained to the U.S. Congress that he received $5,679 US for a song that had 178 million streams.
Songwriter Michelle Lewis recently revealed that she received a $17 US cheque for co-writing Wings, a hit for the British girl group Little Mix that had three million streams on Spotify.
Because they’re not celebrities in their own right, the songwriters’ problems have received less publicity than, say, Adele or Taylor Swift’s beefs with the streaming services.
“The songwriters have the least sort of leverage to be able to stand up for their rights,” says Toronto-based entertainment lawyer Safwan Javed, who also sits on the board of the Songwriters’ Association of Canada and behind the drum kit of the band Wide Mouth Mason.
“We’re in the Wild, Wild West situation with respect to how music is distributed these days and the role of various players play within that chain.”
Who gets the money?
The “players” he mentions are the streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, etc.), music labels and music publishers that typically represent songwriters and collect royalties on their behalf.
Historically, songwriters and music publishers made a small portion of profits anytime a song was sold or played on the radio. But copyright laws written decades ago could not have predicted the birth of streaming, where music is neither sold nor broadcast in a traditional sense.
Still, streaming services make money from advertising and paid-tier subscriptions — so why is so little of it ending up in the songwriters’ pockets?
“Spotify does contribute 70 per cent of our revenues to rights holders, so that’s a really big part of how we’re paying back into the industry, and we paid over $3 billion to the rights holders,” says Nathan Wiszniak, label relations specialist for Spotify Canada.
But just who the “rights holders” are is open to interpretation. Record labels have managed to strike deals with streaming services that enable them to take a slice of the profit anytime an artist’s song is played. But songwriters and music publishers — owners of the rights to the song’s music and lyrics — are not part of those deals.
“They have no system actually in place, for dealing with and assessing who are their stakeholders, who are the rights holders, who are the writers and who are the publishers,” says Javed.
“They haven’t done a very good job at proactively going out there and figuring out who they need to license the works from and pay for those uses.”
Fair trade music
Different people propose different solutions to the problem. In Canada, songwriters’ associations have petitioned the Copyright Board to adopt laws that better protect the rights of music creators. South of the border, songwriters have launched a $150 million US class-action lawsuit against Spotify as a reimbursement for lost royalties.
But Javed believes a quicker and more meaningful solution is in the hands of music lovers.
“I’ve really lost a lot of faith in the governmental sector doing something to fix this.”
Instead, he’s a proponent of Fair Trade Music, a campaign that seeks to certify streaming services, record labels, even album releases, that fairly compensate all music creators.
Fair Trade Music has tens of thousands of signatories around the world, and Javed believes ethical-minded consumers will gravitate towards it the way they do to fair trade coffee.
But for Luke McMaster, there’s no time to wait. A singer in his own right, he’s now touring to promote his new album — an option for him, but not for many other songwriters.
“It is a function of who you are, it’s almost like breathing, so I’m not going to stop writing songs,” he says.
“But for myself and a lot of my peers, it’s making it a lot more difficult. I have friends in the industry, some of the most talented people I have known, that have just given up.”
This August 19, 2016, Wide Mouth Mason will be taking part in the Vancouver Island Exhibition. Visit the VIEX website for further details! Tentative show time is 9pm.
This summer, Wide Mouth Mason will be visiting Spanish, Ontario’s COME ROCK N ROAR SPANISH music festival on Saturday, August 13, 2016. Tickets for this event, that also features a number of Canadian rock bands, are available through Ticket Break.