Last month on September 24th we launched The Definitive Edition of my 1991 recording The Visit. It turned out to be a fairly agreeable pandemic project while we, like most everyone, adapted our lives to this extraordinary global experience. In fact, the work began almost exactly at the onset of the pandemic.
As you can imagine, it’s always a mixed exercise to look back on one’s life. With both trepidation and humility, I asked myself who was I then, what was I focused on, what concerned or thrilled me and how was that reflected in my work? Did I do it well, and what might I do over again if I could?
I know my love and concern for the natural world was well established by 1991, as reflected in the traditional song “Bonny Portmore” and “Courtyard Lullaby”. My fascination with traditions and rituals is reflected in “The Old Ways” and “All Souls Night”. Then there is the influence of my theatre connections in the setting of Shakespeare’s words to music in the song “Cymbeline”. ‘Eclectic Celtic’ was how one person described my music. I can see that. There was also the long and expansive path of “Tango to Evora,” which we’ll dive into in our next newsletter.
The Visit definitively marked the crossover from my independent phase to a partnership with a major international label, Warner Music Group. It was a life-changing experience, as you’ll hear in the interviews we’ve included in this newsletter. Details from that transformative period are also captured in an essay in The Definitive Edition’s booklet, written by former vice-president of Warner Music Canada Dave Tollington, who has remained a good friend all these years.
The creation of this anniversary package has also enabled me to reflect on all the wonderful people who played such important roles in the original recording back in 1991 – the musicians, engineer, graphic designers and so many others. Creating The Definitive Edition gave me the opportunity to reconnect with some of those people – people like guitarist Brian Hughes who we profile in this newsletter, graphic designer Jeri Heiden, engineer Jeff Wolpert, and of course Dave Tollington. We had great fun discussing the times during a roundtable discussion, which is captured on one of the discs in the anniversary package.
We also took the step of re-mixing my music in such exceptional sonic/audio configurations as surround sound and Dolby Atmos – a first for me as an artist. It was incredibly exciting to hear some of the surround sound in the studio once Jeff Wolpert had mixed it. I couldn’t believe how close the sound was to actually being on stage performing. It’s a sound experience like no other, I promise you.
Now that the work is done and this special anniversary project is launched, we’re keen to hear from you. We’d love to know what the original recording meant to you. Were there special occasions where you played it? If you have a copy of The Definitive Edition, please tell us what you like about it, what you don’t like, and what else you might like to see. Your feedback will also be most helpful as we consider whether to revisit some of my other recordings in a similar way.
While I am not presently recording any new material, I’m happy to report we’re exploring what touring plans might look like as things start to open up again. I so look forward to seeing many of you again in person. It’s safe to say a tour would not be sooner than next summer, but I promise to keep you posted as we move along with our plans.