The Blooming (Newly Remastered)
I remember the summer of 1987 in St. John’s, Newfoundland well. The government was sponsoring student ‘entrepreneurship’, and were offering loans for good business ideas. I applied for one (I think it was for a thousand dollars)- not sure if it was a good business idea, tho. I filled out the application and prepared for the interview. Fellow singer and best friend, Hugh Maguire, came with me and we were able to convince this woman to loan us the money to record an album of my original songs. My girlfriend at the time was related to the incredibly talented Rick Hollett and he became a pivotal player/mentor in the eventual success of the album. He knew the other guys who agreed to play on it: Bass: Nelson Giles Drums: Howie Southwood Lead Guitar: Sandy Morris Banjo: Delf Maria Hohmann Producer/Sax, etc.: Rick Hollett
This was my first experience in the recording world, and I got hooked. I was so lucky to be able to play with these incredible musicians. At the time, I didn’t completely recognize that, but I do remember how helpful and encouraging all of them were to me. Warts and all are on this album and of course there are obvious places for improvement.
There was a studio down on water street called ‘Echo Music’ and it was run by a fella named Jack. This is where we recorded it. Jack was super friendly and helpful, but we eventually brought in an engineer named Rich Knowles (who drove a very cool grey corvette) and he became somewhat of a saviour.
I sent the master tapes to ‘World Records’ in Toronto and got 500 cassette printed. Hugh had suggested the name ‘The Blooming’. My girlfriend designed the cover, and I remember sitting at my tiny kitchen apartment in St. John’s slaving over the text (I used a stencil) and liner notes, making sure they were accurate, and copying Bruce Cockburn’s style: “The Musicians Are:” I also ordered 45s, with the mistake of choosing the very cheesy and cringy ‘Sing for the Summer’ as the single. Once I received the boxes of cassettes/records I was on cloud nine. Immediately I went to all the malls in St. John’s: the Avalon Mall, The Village Mall, and The Torbay Road Mall to ask to get it in their stores. Most managers were super friendly and accepted. Also to Fred’s records, of course. Lots of other peddling and advertising I could think of. MUN radio (CHMR) had it on heavy rotation, NTV filmed me lip-syncing ’Casualty’ and broadcast it frequently just before the late movie. I contacted Geoff Meeker from The Newfoundland Herald and he was always super supportive and did an article about it. Eventually the album ended up winning the best local pop/rock album of 1987 according to the Newfoundland Herald.