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Posts Tagged with “Nils Mikkelsen”

Welcome to the West | Steve Young Montgomery in the Rain

Outlaw Country music pioneer, Steve Young wrote and first recorded Montgomery in the Rain in 1971. The song is the final track off his second solo album, Seven Bridges Road. In 1977, Hank Williams Jr. recorded a version of Montgomery in the Rain on his album, The New South.

Welcome to the West filmed this Montgomery in the Rain session in Montana on the Gallatin River, a tributary of the Missouri River which flows through high alpine meadows, dropping into the rocky Gallatin Canyon, and flowing out into the Gallatin Valley.

“Montgomery in the Rain is a very unusual song. Sometimes I wonder how I wrote this. While I was in Montgomery, I was having all these problems with some of the junior clansman. Then, I started writing this song and it evolved into Montgomery in the Rain. There’s a slight reference, kind of toned down to the hostility that sometimes I would encounter in that city. Because it was a very redneck city. Not so long before that, I realized there had been a mob that was trying to get at Martin Luther King in downtown Montgomery at a church and President Kennedy called in the National Guard. So here I come, and I’m southerner. I’m supposed to be one of them and I’m saying ‘No this isn’t right’. So that’s why they disliked me so much. It was really explosive.”

– Steve Young

Welcome to the West | Rachel Fannan

Sosneado Gentle
Words by Rachel Fannan:
In the winter of 2012 I was graciously flown into the snowy city of Calgary, Alberta for what would turn out to be a significantly life changing month-long residency of music, wine, baking and collaboration. My host, the magnetic Irish-Canadian captain of Welcome to the West, Brendan Kane. His inquisitive nature and gift of gab captured my attentions for most of the trip. The crew, a handful of elite local gentlemen all working to ensure my stay there would be cozy, inspiring and worth the journey. It was soon after settling in that we got to work. Kane had arranged a series of meet n’ play dates for myself and a hand selected number of musicians from the community, which included the likes of Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra frontman, Kurt Loewen and the Calgary Classical Revolution.

During my first week there, I met the enchanting Vi An Diep. Kane had shared a bit of Vi’s music with me before hand, but I really couldn’t have anticipated how spellbinding she and more over her music, would be in person. We would be performing Sosneado, a song of mine written for the lost lives of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 which crashed in a very isolated and hostile section of the Andes in 1972.

Vi arrived at our session fully present, eyes sparkling, laughter bubbling and we quickly felt a magical chemistry brewing between us. As the cameras and microphones took their place, and Vi An and I played through the song together, the air seemed to grow thick like a cosmic steam. We would come to the end and look at each other like… “ok lets do that again, right?” Eventually I had Vi playing a long intro and even longer outro, just so I could experience the pleasure of hearing her improvise. Incredible.
Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 11.55.07 PM
Words by Vi An Diep

“Indescribable pleasure and honour to work with such an impossibly beautiful artist as Fannan. She is my idol! So inspiring and generous throughout the entire co-creative process. Majestic sights and sounds, so thankful to Welcome to the West for this fine opportunity of a life time really. I’m a truly better artist because of this tremendous learning, loving and nourishing experience together! The world is a happier place for me now truly.”

Week 2. I’d spent my free time learning about the ebb and flow of Calgary living, perfecting my chocolate chip cookie recipe and traveling the outskirts of town. My second meet n play would take place at the home of Nathaniel Schmidt, rehearsing with the prestigious Classical Revolution players. There was Nathan on piano, Matt Heller on bass, and Laura Reid on violin. I knew very little about the organization itself before we all met but I was game. While I had grown up with piano teachers for parents, admittedly I felt like I had no business wrangling their talents into my world, but as we got to talking and then to playing, the snow melted and we found that golden eerie sweet spot. Laura’s technique, combined with Matt’s emotion and Nathan’s ear for arrangement Uneasy gradually came to life. That’s an understatement, they transformed a simple demo of mine into a confession. I mean they were damn good. Their focus and patience made a huge impact on me at the time and while the footage from our live session later that week was claimed by the ether, the audio is thankfully available. So without further ado, I humbly submit a few pages torn from the diary of my heart, made possible by yours truly, Welcome to the West.

Words by Brendan Kane
The events above transpired in conjunction with the third anniversary of Welcome to the West – a month-long Rocky Mountain recording expedition and week-long concert series based in downtown Calgary. The series featured 26 musicians from throughout western Canada and our resident recording artist, Rachel Fannan of the Los Angeles band, Only You.

Our dedicated technical team of video directors, Chad Tweten and Charles Roberts along with audio director, Nils Mikkelsen braved the cold temperatures and unorthodox personnel concoctions to digitally document a bevy of new works. These sessions were intended to followup Fannan’s ‘Let Me Sing You Love Songs’ which to this date, remains one of the West’s most popular sessions.


AM Static | A Life Well Lived | Album Release

am static

Musical instrument retail and a particularly cold winter trail-blazed the early path taken by Calgary duo, AM Static, who are set to release hard copies of their sophomore record, A Life Well Lived. Original centred around the musical convergence of singer/songwriter, Chris Austman and multi-instrumentalist, Nils Mikkelsen, the duo has added robust audio flavours to their slow-cooked, electronic folk stew. On album standouts, Monolith and Sum you hear string arrangements from classical violinist, Laura Reid and bassist, Matt Heller; while the title track and Sirens serve as the album’s beat back bone with intricate percussion by Matthew Doherty and lawnmower samplings.

You can celebrate A Life Well Lived in concert on Friday, January 23 at the Grand Theatre. Welcome to the West presents a three-tier audio/visual experience with AM Static featuring special guests Fever Feel and DJ sets courtesy Corinthian (one half of Sanctums). Advance tickets go on sale next Friday online through Theatre Junction.

Serious Clouds EP Release


A galactic wilderness on the second floor, perched above the Kensington Village night bustle for a get-together at our creative incubator, Blank Page Studio.

Welcome To The West proudly presents, the world premiere of Serious Clouds ‘Forms’ EP with special guests 36? and DJ Hank Zappa instigates the evening with a selection of vinyl treasure.

Serious Clouds is the creation of a longtime artistic brotherhood between singer/guitarist Joel Michael Learoyd, bass/keys Edward Joseph McCormick, and drummer Mclean Eubank. In their early 20s, the trio made up the bulk of a local dark indie band called the Grim Beat, which romped around some of Calgary’s formative art scene events. Their sound has matured aplenty – and is well worth the wait. The band’s debut EP was produced by Nils Lightning Mikkelsen.

Tofu Stravinsky: Decades and Dépaysement

Hello from Montreal. My name is Tyler and today I’m thirty years old. I have come to realize a lot happens to a person in this amount of time. They can watch their sucky hockey team get good and then suck again. They can work odd jobs; they can move around; and if they’re lucky, they can learn about love, music, art, and what not to say at a Jewish funeral.

The first 14 years of my life are a blur. I mostly experimented with matches, played street hockey, and raced hot wheels cars with my younger brother, Ben. But at the age of 14, I strapped a guitar to my hip, put my head down, and started to play music. 16 years later my telecaster is still with me and it has steered me and my life a lot like a compass would. I’m gonna tell you now the story of all the people I’ve met and floors I’ve slept on in the last decade leading up to the formation of Tofu Stravinsky.

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Who’s Who: Kane’s BreakOut Session Selections

High up there among things providing me the most pleasure in this life (mostly: talking, listening to records, and eating potatoes) is my absolute obsession with live music sessions. When I first asked Chad Tweten and Charles Roberts to form Welcome to the West, we had aspirations of showcasing regional music and natural landscape in North America the way La Blogotheque and Black Cab sessions accomplished in Paris and London, respectively. There was, after all, powerful movement here in young roots, but in majority, the thrill came from seeing our buddies rocking out in HD.

Over the years, our team spent countless hours honing craftsmanship around this seemingly simple idea. We would periodically add to the catalogue, plug away at social media; add new technology and members (Nils Mikkelsen, sound design); work with a myriad of entertainers, creatives, sponsors and supporters, and practiced maintaining the important friendships at the heart of the project. Sessions are living, breathing, time capsules – a frame containing someone doing the thing they love best.

With BreakOut West upon us, hold out your paw for these primetime sessions from 2013’s array of Western Canadian artists.

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