Ian Kelly might just well be the most generous person I know. Let me give you an example: when the Key-Lites played at L’Ange Vagabond back in August, there was a power outage. Ian was also the one who introduced us to this fantastic venue in St-Adolphe-d’Howard. We’ve played there a few times now, and it’s always really fun. Anyways, on this particular night, the whole grid was offline, with no signs of it coming back online, and a lot of the people who had come for the show decided to go home. While we were talking with the owners about what to do, Ian showed up to see us play (he lives nearby – FYI, our singer/guitarist, Josh Toal, has been playing in Ian’s band for the past year or so). When he saw what was going on, he called his father, who also lives nearby, and who happened to have a gas-powered generator. When Ian’s father got to the venue. we all set up the generator in the dark, wired all our amps to the generator, as well as some lighting for the stage, and then played the show!! There weren’t that many people who had stuck around this long, and the only lights in the audience were candles on the tables, but this made for a super special, super intimate night of music. It was amazing! And if it wasn’t for Ian, we probably would have ended up just packing up and going home, which would have been super lame.
When it came to my Indiegogo campaign, Ian was very supportive, making this awesome endorsement video, as well as donating copies of both his Diamonds & Plastic and All These Lines albums as perks. Thanks, Ian!!
I met Ian when I was playing with Sarah Slean in 2013. We were doing a cross-Canada tour, and Ian opened for us every night. He would always play a couple tunes with us at the end of the show, which was a delight. I actually met Sarah through Mark Nelson, the drummer in my quartet, who used to play in Ian’s band, and Sarah had opened for Ian’s cross-Canada tour the year previously. The tour was six weeks long, with 11 of us in very close quarters the entire time, so we got to know each other pretty well – it was actually amazing how well we all got along! Anyways – when in groups, people always tend towards certain roles within the group dynamic. Ian was the one who could, with a sentence, lighten the mood, lift everybody’s spirits, and bring everyone closer together – while always being genuine, down-to-earth, and honest. Ian also enjoys good coffee and good food, so we got along really well!
These guys are the best. In addition to being awesome people, the guys in this band are also very accomplished musicians. I’ve basically been waiting my whole life to play in a band like this, so I feel very lucky to be a part of the Key-Lites. If you’re not familiar with the band, we play soul music – a lot of covers from the 60s and early 70s, as well as originals written in the same style. If you are familiar with us, you probably recall we ran a super-successful Indiegogo campaign last year, and we’re still working on finishing the album – everything is being mixed right now, and our album launch is April 11 at Le Ritz PDB!! If you can’t wait until April to check us out, we happen to be playing tomorrow (Saturday, February 14, Valentine’s Day) at Brutopia – and it’s free!!
I met these guys through Simon Nakonechny. I had heard about Simon through the Saskatchewan music grapevine many years before we ever met in person, him being a whiz-kid from Swift Current. He and his wife, Lea, moved to Regina for a couple years immediately after they finished their respective degrees at McGill and Concordia. This happened to be the same time I was back in Regina after living in Toronto for a year, which would have been 2001. I don’t remember how exactly we met, but we started playing together a bit for the year I was home, and kept in touch afterwards. Simon was one of the few people I knew in Montreal when I moved to town in 2008, and through him I met many other Saskatchewan expatriates.
Simon plays keyboards and tenor sax in the Key-Lites, and writes a lot of our material. He is constantly surprising with his well-roundedness – he can carry on an in-depth conversation about pretty much anything – film, music, baseball, construction, house insurance, visual art, fishing…. He occasionally produces shows for CBC, such as as Inhotim and Mur-Écran, both for Ideas. He also has a past in the film industry, as a producer and composer and who knows what else, through the company Arid Sea Films, which consisted also of his wife, writer/director Lea Nakonechny, and another Swift Current-born Quebecer, Adam Budd (who used to date my roommate in Regina – I also wrote the music for his short film, Cat Power). Simon also performs with Katie Moore and Laurence Hélie.
Joshua Toal, our lead singer and guitarist, has toured the world playing music. When I first met him, he was playing with Newworldson, flying to Europe or the US every other weekend to play shows like this one. Currently he plays with Ian Kelly, as well as a ton of great local artists. His super power is the uncanny ability to speak in pretty much any accent – Australian, Dutch, German, Jamaican….
Last but not least, David Payant. Until very recently, Dave was the drummer for the Godspeed offshoot Thee Silver Mount Zion Orchestra. He also was the drummer for Vic Chesnutt until Vic’s untimely death. Currently, Dave performs regularly with various Montreal artists, including Katie Moore, and DJs around town, specializing in soul music, of course. Dave also happens to be a recording engineer – I don’t know all he’s worked on, but I know he recorded the latest album by Montreal improvisation ensemble Ratchet Orchestra. He’s also working on producing his own material, sampling and mixing funk and soul records in the hip-hop tradition.
These guys have been super supportive of my Indiegogo campaign, for which I’m very grateful. Unfortunately, the Key-Lites record won’t be ready in time to be included in my perks, but don’t let that stop you from ordering something else!!