Got my gris gris on..

last night at Stubbs... Galactic! Stanton Moore is such a @#$*ing good drummer!! I neeeed his signature series Bosphorus Trash Crash cymbal. Every time I hear it, I just fall deeper in love. "my preciousssss..."
Galactic Stubbs

Ron Sexsmith and his new Rega rig!

So, here I am at the Toronto airport delayed.. shocking! I may be pining away in a airport bar in Chicago for the night. I'm sure I'll be the "Ugly American" before it's all said and done. Besides the usual airport shenanigans, I had a great time in the Great White North! This tale has a interesting start and a happy ending.

Ron & Rega

I started listening to Ron Sexsmith back in 1995. He is a true master of melody. His songs are earwigs, leaving you humming them for the rest of the day. Ya' know.. good music! I have all of his CD's and always look forward to the next. Ron is actually heading to "Hell-A" next month to work on his newest record with Mitchell Froom. In the past, he's worked with such heavyweights as Steve Earle and Bob Rock. I regularly play his music at the shop. 1., because they always sound good and 2., to turn more people on to his music.

This past SXSW I lucked out and was given a pass to see his documentary, Love Shines and have a few drinks with him afterwards. Here I am face to face with one of my favorite musicians. What do you say? I asked him about his songwriting process (songs just flow into him) and his favorite artists (he's a big fan of 50's Doo Wop!) In the documentary it shows Mr. Sexsmith working with Bob Rock (also a Canadian) and a band of handpicked studio musicians.

Unfortunately, the film depicts Ron in the role of a "starving musician", which is not at all accurate. No, he's not as well known or rich as his contemporaries like Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello or Paul McCartney, but he is very well respected as a songwriter's songwriter.

I'll take the high road & you take the low road..

I'll take the high road & you take the low road..

The next day I'm at The Dog & Duck pub watching a set by The Meat Puppets when someone taps my shoulder. "Are you Brian from Whetstone?" asks a nice British fellow. "I am". "Hey, I'm Paul Darwin from Rega." "Cool, let's get a beer!" After a few pints I tell Paul of my meeting with Ron and his eyes light up. "I love that guy!" he says. "Y'know... it would be so cool if Rega hooked him up with a rig." It took Paul a millisecond to say "Done! But you have to go install it."

jim cuddy

Eight months later I'm on a plane to visit Ron and his lovely wife, Colleen Hixenbaugh. They are both scheduled to perform at Foodstock, a foodie fest doubling as a demonstration for a proposed Mega Quarry. Seems that Canada has a greedy 1% too! They want to dig up limestone and destroy lots of farmland. Ron and Colleen pick me up and we're off to the countryside! We finally get to the fest after getting lost along with Barenaked Lady, Jim Creeggan. Backstage, I got to meet Hayden, Jim Cuddy (from Blue Rodeo), The Barenaked Ladies, Cuff the Duke and Sarah Harmer. The Rock / Folk elite of Canada! It was a great day in between torrential downpours and mud. 28,000 people showed up to eat, hear music and demonstrate the quarry! The only downside was the complete lack of beer. I thought Canadians loved beer! Take off, eh!


The next morning I met Ron and Colleen for breakfast and then headed over to the Sexsmith digs to set up the Rega system. Ron got a RP1 turntable with upgrade package, Apollo CD player, Rega Couple interconnect, Brio-R integrated and RS-1 speakers with some Chord Silverscreen cables. After I set it up we put on Ron's newest, "Long Player, Late Bloomer". Ron breaks into a grin and says, "wow, that sounds really great!" Colleen hooks me up with some T-shirts, LP's and CD's I didn't have and we say our goodbyes. They had a big theater gig the next night to get ready for!


I spent the next couple days wandering around Toronto. Queens St. West (cool shops), Kensington Market (weed and spice shops), a few record stores and a Hi-Fi shop called Planet of Sound. I caught the opening day of a Marc Chagall exhibit and ate some tasty Italian food at Terroni's. I even saw some music at the legendary Horseshoe Lounge. All in all, a great experience!


Rock Band 101

IMG_0029Last night I got a text that The Pierced Arrows were playing a surprise free show at my favorite bar, Lovejoys! Hailing from Portland, Toody and her husband Fred Cole IMG_0024have been touring the World for nearly 40 years. They had a band called Dead Moon that were possibly the best rock band of the 90's. Who was running the board? Spot was! Spot recorded much of the 80's punk catalog for SST records and beyond.

NEW Rega Fono Mini A2D Phono Stage


The Fono mini A2D is designed to amplify the signal from a moving magnet cartridge to a suitable level for all line level inputs of an audio amplifier. The USB interface also offers the ability to simply transfer vinyl to PC .

The Fono mini A2D amplifier offers exceptional performance and convenience and will be a valuable addition to any Hi-Fi set up.

The new Fono mini A2D benefits from an extruded aluminium case and very user friendly front and back panels that make this phono pre amplifier a very easy product to use.

To transfer vinyl to your PC You will need to install a digital audio editor. Such software is widely available as a free download (such as Audacity) from the internet. This is a simple interface which allows monitoring of volume and balance whilst transferring your audio to your PC hard drive.

Audio editing software includes a level meter which indicates the output level achieved when playing a piece of vinyl. You should adjust the output as necessary via the ‘Level’ control located on the front panel. Always take special note of record levels to ensure optimum recording quality.

This is a cost affective version of the MM Fono and based on the phono amplifier as used in the Mira amplifier.

Simply switch on, sit back and enjoy! Now in stock!! $175

Updated Stereo Console by Mark Macek & Whetstone Audio!


No more whining from interior "designers" or your significant other about "ugly" stereos. Built in just 9 days by Mark Macek, this is the most modern stereo console anywhere! We decided the classic needed an update! Rega RP3 turntable, Rega RS-1 speakers, Rega Fono and Naim UnitiQute are on board. The UnitiQute streams your iTunes wirelessly, has a DAC, FM tuner, internet radio, iPod / USB dock, 4 digital inputs and integrated amp. Control is available from it's remote or from Naim's N-Stream app... yes you can control it from your iPhone or iPad. The grill cloth is genuine Marshall Amp stock. The turntable is isolated from vibration. There's even a couple secret compartments. Yes! These are available! They are custom made and we can retro fit a few different equipment options into it. I'd like to outfit one using a Leben integrated and DeVore 3XL loudspeakers. The reactions we were getting at it's debut last night were great! People were freaking out on it's cool factor. It will be on display at the shop in the near future.

Bye Steve

The most innovative mind of our time has gone to rest. Imagine a World without your iThing. Thanks for the gizmos Mr. Jobs!

Mariachi El Bronx

I just picked up their new record. Three color wax depicting the Mexican Flag! CD copy inside. Nice! I think one of the guys from Los Lobos produced this record. It's the freshest thing I've heard in a long time.