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Home in the Foothills

Hello family, friends, colleagues and folk I haven’t met yet,

I hope this note finds you well. I’m writing to update you all about what I’m up to. Of course, I would prefer a hangout with all of you in order to have a mutual catch up, but there is certain expediency about posting a blog update. Until I see you in person, here is how I’ve been occupying my time. I’ll use headings incase you wish to skip over a section.

If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Home base

Three years ago my life partner was involved in a bad accident. She’d rather I didn’t share too much info. She did make an 80 % recovery and went back to work although hidden injuries lingered. Because of this we’ve made the move to Bragg Creek, Alberta, to live with her mother in the family home, tucked away in the woods, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a 45-minute drive to downtown Calgary. It’s quiet and peaceful here. The medical help is excellent; we expect a full recovery.

And it’s a hell of a lot closer to Vancouver than Ottawa. Over the summer months I got to head to home base between festivals near 100 Mile House and Prince George BC. My intention is to work as a musician from here to the Pacific Coast.


Spring of 2015, I was accepted into a “music entrepreneur boot camp”, put on by Coalition music out of Toronto. The biggest, of many great takeaways, was to make connections with the people who are where you want to be. This changed my approach and my focus went from being split between Ottawa and BC, to mostly BC. Last summer I did a volunteer tour (and got hired to play with Black Spruce Bog). This year I was booked at two small festivals. Now I’m in talks with a more established musician to perform at 10 plus festivals around the province. This is a dream coming true, slowly and surely, due to persistence and focus.

An element of this western living means staying connected with BC music people all year round. I’m thrilled to announce I’ll perfor at the Woodstove Festival in Cumberland BC, on Vancouver Island, November 4th weekend. I’ll be in Vancouver the weekend after, details to come.

Making a living as musician in Calgary gradually comes into fruition. I’ve been busking long hours at Farmers Markets, connecting with Christmas arts markets. This weekend I had the opportunity to perform a few songs with the house band at a Calgary institution, Mikey’s Juke Joint, during the open jam. The performance went well and turned into a gig. I’ll be performing at Mikey’s Juke Joint this Friday, 4-7pm for happy hour, no cover.

As more gigs get confirmed, I shall share. Practicing and videos to come.


Although spirituality can be a touchy matter, it’s the most important thing for me; I’ll mention where I’m at but keep it brief. For a year and a half I’ve been practicing the Buddha Dharma aka Buddhism. It’s been working. More of a practical guide to mental health than a religion, the premise is simple. If you work at it, specifically at mediation, you will purify your mind and your life will improve. Occasionally there are moments when you move a great deal forward all at once.

Once such moment happened in May. Lama Leena was in town, and she gave the “pointing out instructions”. These instructions point out the true, pure nature of one’s mind. The quality of my thoughts and mental wellbeing improved dramatically since that day. Pointing out is a documented phenomenon

The other event was a ten-day Vipassana silent mediation retreat in Youngstown Alberta. The premise in this case maintains physical sensations precede emotional response. You feel something physical before feeling an emotion. We habitually respond to these physical sensations with emotional responses. At the reatreat much time is spent scanning the body, searching for physical sensations. Memories and conversation come up. One observes the physical sensations and chooses to react with equanimity, rather than craving or aversion. It’s a tremendous relief to no longer react to certain memories or topics with tensions and anger.

A great line from the course: “Dharma is Law”. If you work hard, and purify yourself, you’ll know true happiness.


I miss teaching music and will commence again, largely through Skype, some in person, with folks in the area.


I’m practicing T’ai Chi and enjoying it.

I still think about skateboarding every day.

The better way to split wood is, after lodging the axe in the log, turn it upsidedown and pound the but end of the axe onto the stump or chopping base; driving it up through the log as gravity pulls the log down.

I did my first oil change and replaced the oil filter.

Playing an excellent guitar makes noticeably positive changes in my playing. It was a Martin 000.

I intend on getting a "split board" for back country snowboarding in the rockies.

Love you all,

Max “Banjoman”

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