Southern Souls - Blue Above The Green

'Just like the old days... I'll boost you up and then I'll pass stuff to you.'

I met my friend Jordan Clarke the first day I moved to Victoria about 6 years ago. He was wearing tight pants and liked to talk about videos, so we became friends. We shot the 'Turn The Lights on Bright' video together, 'The Country Where I Came From' video together, and also this box animation video that Ashton Kutcher tweeted about when twitter was still an infant.


I set out to shoot a video with Southern Souls and Jordo told me that the rooftop above his apartment was the best place with the best view... BUT... his neighbours made it very clear they didn't want anyone up there. A video or a project is always best when your heart races a little, when the cops come or you think you are going to die. So we did a little covert operation and handed some of our gear atop this Queen St. roof and shot this video overlooking Toronto. Jordan has since begun to wear baggier pants and now only tells people how to make videos.

I love the first 10 seconds of this video the most, and I hope you enjoy this version of Blue Above The Green.

Tour Blog 3 - My favourite thing about tour

I was asked what my favourite thing about tour is.

It came to me quick and it felt pretty easy to answer that question.  I love music and I love writing and I love performing and both these things are an ongoing art.  I love traveling and seeing Saskatchewan for the 8th time from the highway, arriving in Montreal and feeling like I’m in Europe and I driving underneath the CN Tower one day, and then arriving in Calgary only a few days later. But I also love people.

mike edel van

I’ve found more than ever I am on my telephone texting my friends in a certain city or my girlfriend, or posting on my instagram or organizing the next show or a load in time.  This grieves me.  And I am typing these words into a computer even.  There is a beautiful song by The Lonley Forest that says ‘turn off, turn off this song, and find someone to love and turn off this song, you can listen to it later… go outside.’ I think these things are isolating, and I feel it.  They take me away from people.

But my answer to ‘what my favourite thing about tour is’ is something that has been very evident in the past few weeks.  It’s something that makes me love the road, it’s something that makes me love people and something that I want to lean into and be more of, something that makes me feel like a human being who has all my senses aware and able to listen, see, taste touch and smell.

My favourite thing is experiencing hospitality.  It’s an amazing thing, one that goes beyond money, or time, or what’s mine and what’s yours, beyond mooching (my mother warns me of this often).  It’s about relationship, about kindness and about rest.  There have been many amazing people on this trip and I am thankful to them.

Connor made me breakfast. 

We sat on the hardwood floor, it was sunny outside but I was sick inside so I slept in Connors bed.  His apartment had no furniture yet.

Stephen Cheng is happy at 1am and is happy at 6am. 

He makes food for us at both of those hours.  He’s Chinese and he is my family.

James Kingsley lives in London with his wife Hillary. 

2014 was a rough year, we all agreed.  He is a busy guy because he is talented and brings people together.  We knew that but didn’t feel like it.  He was our landing pad in London, he was the stage to a great show.

Nate Larsen’s Barn

We drove to a farm and then a front-end loader immediately loaded a gear into a barn loft.  It felt like spring and the people were cool rural and our ages.  They drank pilsner and just wanted to have a good time.  It was easy and I’d do this every weekend of my life if I could

The Exchange in Regina was relieving.  Ali and Jeff’s parents have comfortable beds and really great breakfast foods.

Darren Hempel lives in Ottawa. 

He was a guy I went to highschool with.  We have the same hometown.  Now we are friends and I am friends with his friends (Jay, Shelly and Katie.) It feels exponential.  We tell jokes. I tried to get people to eat a wool cupcake and we were all a little drunk.  He’s a spy for the governement.

Jordan Clarke and I had an angry text conversation last time we talked.  But we’ve been friends for 6 years.  So everything was instantly ok.  We are sort of brothers.  He let me stay at his house for 6 nights. I should have payed him rent. Amy, Mateen, Theresa are his roommates and were mine too. Toronto is young and fun.  Joyce Cheng, Alison Murray, Justin Wotherspoon and Kaitlyn Wolf are all beautiful people and made my show a highlight in Toronto, because they are real people and enjoy music.

Evan Costas owns a nice restaurant near Chicago.

The Laube’s are the best family in Wisconsin, and Jenna Laube and I are officially real friends forever.

My girlfriend Alissa sent me these 3 paragraphs from a book she was reading. ‘Art is part of a deep, preverbal communication that binds people together.  It is literally a communion.’


The same could be said for what draws anyone to painting, athletics, poetic rhyming, punning, being a mimic, organizing the furniture, loving paper airplanes, and so forth.  Each of these play-based potentially aesthetic outflows arise from preverbal, emotionally inspired variety offered to an open heart ready to play.

            Another line of thought is that art promotes community integration and interaction.  Music, dance and painting, so often part of harvest festivals and religious observances, brings people together to ‘sing with one voice,’ Art is part of a deep, preverbal communication that binds people together.  It is literally a communion. 

            This ‘belonging’ is an outgrowth of early social play among kids.  Getting in sync with locl groups of kids, and breing able to follow that lead into more complex communal groups is a necessary ingredient for cohesive community life when conflicts and differences of style have been hammered out…

Thank you whether I mentioned you or not.

Blue Above The Green (Video Blog 1)

The Peeps

Robin Levielle

I met Robin Levielle (pronounce it with a French accent) through my friend Jorge who did India, Seattle’s album art and also directed the video for the Closer.  Robin is ‘the shit’ as I like to say.  But he really made this video awesome in everyway and it’s so nice to do small shoots, and turn a project around pretty quick.  Robin was so agreeable but has a defined aesthetic that I really like Check out Robin’s Stuff here.

robin levielle


Devin Landis

Devin is one of my best friends and I didn’t think of him at first for this video, but when he crossed my mind I thought he would be perfect.  He is totally the character that fits this video and he looks good. More than looking good though, Devin is the nicest flirt you’ll ever meet and he thinks falling love is fun.

devin landis


Alycia Chan

A mailbuddy of mine.  Alycia Chan is a friend of mine through Malibu a Younglife Club and also I would say is a good flirt also.  I thought Alycia has a great smile and I think she has fun easily and I really thought her personality fits this character.  Although her and Devin had never met, I thought they would be a good fit together.

alycia chan


Alissa Swank

Probably my favourite person on the shoot.  She’s all about the feathers and probably inspired that, and some of the 80’s aesthetic and is an all around super help, from spotting to stylist to someone who kisses me.

alissa swank



Larry drove his boat and told me I didn’t have to fill his mustang up with gas afterward


Justin Wotherspoon

Justin is a really good friend of Robins and he has been editing and he is going to do the post-production on the video.  He is probably going to be the saviour of this video in reality.  He seems like a great dude and I really would like to meet him out in Toronto.

mike edel

!earshot college radio

 #8 on the National Canadian College radio folk charts. It's like I finished the race at the elementary school track meet and got a ribbon. And I have a smile on my face.

The business of music often seems so fragmented, sometimes I get 10 emails a day from some new company offering cheap vinyl printing, the next big streaming service signup, or the big break showcase (if I submit a $40 festival application).  There are awards, some which are legit, some which are half legit and some which are good for one tweet that 'I am a winner at art' just disappears into the Internet.  I told some of my new friends that are working on my new album that I love music because ultimately the art and the business are about people. And I believe this to be true.  But in the same breath, it feels important to me to be validated as an artist, and though I believe I have a healthy outlook, some nods, awards, reviews and charts do honestly make me feel validated. And I don't think it is entirely about me.  It is about the hope that someone is listening, and not listening to commerce or profile or coolness, but to art, truth and expression. Ultimately I believe this is the heart of it.


"Mike Edel is the kind of guy you pray to be seated next to on a long-haul flight.'

Yesterday I played a few songs at the HMV headquarters in Toronto and sat down for an old-fashioned interview (THE BEST KIND!) and here is a beautifully written article. Check it out on

mike edel oak tree
“This record is like something you love, don’t see for a while, then love it again...” 

Tour Blog 2 - My wave came in // Alberta

I hit the road with Towers and Trees this spring to support my record.  I’m currently sitting in a van driving from Edmonton to Regina.  We have a day off today on this Monday and it’s quite nice to knock an 8 hr drive out and not play actually.  But we just had an amazing weekend in Alberta.


And I’m not one to exaggerate.


It feels good when there is more energy and in the ebb and flow of the wave, you are going upward or feel the momentum of it.  I actually talked with Joe Nolan at our show in Edmonton at The Buckingham about this.  Probably in any walk of life you could make the analogy that life or business or a project is a wave.  I think for the past 2 years I felt at the bottom of the wave, and now finally it’s kind of picking me up and I’m starting to surf it, and it’s not that I wasn’t doing anything.  I’ve been paddling and prepping and writing and thinking.


It’s just finally my wave came in.


And I think this is the record.  I was ready to put it out, things kind of fell into place and now I am here doing what I’ve been waiting and planning to do and that’s release this album.


I say that this has been an amazing weekend because Alberta treated us really well.  Bo’s in Red Deer, AB was so hospitable and provided us a decent show but treated us amazing.  That actually goes a long way.


Friday we played in Linden, AB – my hometown.  I actually just throw this show in sometimes and I always really enjoy it.  I would love to play a real hum-dinger there sometime soon, but the last 2 shows I have played in Linden, are pretty down home.  I’ve just brought the band and thrown a PA up in the coffee room to Linden Alliance Church and got Larry to throw a few posters up in the town.  It’s enough to get about 75 people out, and I really love these people.  They are my people, and I hope they know this.


We played a boisterous show in Edmonton at The Buckingham with Scenic Route to Alaska.  It was fun. We lost our van keys.  We still don’t have them.  It’s actually all my keys, even the carabineer Thad Cortez gave me years back in San Jose.  I saw some great people there and had a good time for it being a rowdy crew juxtaposed with my quieter songs.


Also on tour when you make a little bit of money and sell some new records and people have listened to it and are excited about it, that makes things really special, and that’s what this has been.


Sunday Night, probably the highlight of this weekend and the start of this tour.  We played in barn in Winfield, AB.  I wrote a post of Facebook 6 weeks back that said ‘Hey friends! If anyone would like us to come play a show in late April or May we’d love to set one up.  Your bathtub, kitchen sink, your barmitzfah, heck your dad’s barn I don’t care. Hit me up!’


Nate messaged me and said he wanted us to play in his barn.  So we did.


From the front end loader loading our gear into the barn loft, to the firepit, pilsners and hot dogs late after the show, it was the real rural prairie experience.  There was a lot of boot stomping and my favourite moment was while we played our song ‘Thought About July’ and everybody just started two-stepping.  I turned to the band with a huge smile on my face and said ‘Alberta!’


It’s been good and thank you all for the support so far, I feel lots of energy and am so excited to share this record with people and I hope it mean something to lots of y’all.



The Making of India Seattle - 3/3 (The Recording Narrative)

There are so many narratives in life. I think there is a narrative to this coffee shop I’m sitting in, Bean Around The World in Victoria.  One exists for the whole schema of caffeine, for the imports of coffee to North America, to our present hipster and western coffee culture,  and to Victoria’s plethora of coffee shops and then to this one in particular.  There is a narrative of how 2 hours ago there was a line of 20 people waiting, and now there is only 11 people in here.  I think it was beautiful

mike edel



Millions of beautiful narrative never get told, but they are still beautiful.

(aka if a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound)


The narrative to actually recording India, Seattle is a little convoluted, it has many twists and turns and it has many different settings and people and emotions and going back and looking forward and all these good things.  I wanted to write this out, possibly for myself in making sense of this narrative, and it may be of interest to you as well.


I had a burrito with Colin Stewart in October of 2013 at Hernandez’ on Yates st. in Victoria.


They had stopped serving the tacos for some reason and I remember us being angry about that, but we chatted about making records and it reminded me of many of the reasons I love Colin.  We talked about scheduling.  So much of recording and making a record comes down to scheduling and money actually.  Most people don’t know this, but it does.  It’s kind of setting aside time and money to be creative.  I feel like I taught this to Kiana when I produced her record (and we learned this together) and then experienced this again when I produced Tyson’s record last year. 


I ended up scheduling time with Colin, and it was a pitch patchy because he was also recording some guys record who’s name is Dan Mangan, and his record is important to lots of people and it needed to get made in a similar timeframe also.  So I ended up tracking the drums on the record at Joby Baker’s studio before Colin and I really started working on it.  So Lyle Molzan flew in from Toronto to play the drums and Joby played a bunch of the bass, and Shaun Huberts played some as well. 


When Lyle flew in, we had some noodle box and I got food-poisining that night and went into the first day of the 3 day session on about 2 hours of sleep.


Lyle is great.  Joby is amazing also.  He’s an awesome engineer and an awesome guy.  I love when you get to work with great people.  Joby is a great engineer and uses lots of vintage gear and has a bunch of vintage drums and stuff.  But the first session of this record happened at Joby’s studio for 3 days with primarily Joby, Lyle and I at the helm.  I remember getting Lyle to listen to Greogory Alan Isakov and he really did take that kind of approach.  The drums usually set the tone for a record if you track them first, and the drums on India, Seattle are a lot more feely and free, and I think that made some of the record pretty mellow.  I also feel like that was the emotional space I was in at the time.  If you listen to ‘The Closer’ the drums, acoustic guitar and vocals were all tracked in this session, and I thing it captures the vibe of these 3 days; it’s the only song that the vocals were tracked here.  Kathleen Edwards just came on here at Bean Around The World, and Lyle has played lots of drums on with her, and on one of my favorite records in the world ‘Voyageur’ which Bon Iver produced.  After the drums were done, I had to take a few weeks of a break, and then Colin Stewart and I tracked a bunch of acoustic guitars.


There is this little country bakery and café called ‘The Roost’ up in Sidney by Colin’s studio.  They make some mean baked good; some pastry called a ‘Bee Sting’ and I always had the Reuben sandwich.


The acoustic guitars are inspired by Beestings and Reuben sandwiches.


Russell Broom is a guy that I’ve looked up to for years, I met him a couple of times and I always liked him.  He’s from Calgary, he played with Jann Arden for many years and he’s a Juno award winning producer.  I almost got him to produce the whole record, but I settled on him playing guitar.  So he flew in from Calgary and we tracked guitars in 2 days at Infiniti Studio after Russ’ WestJet flight was cancelled twice and we missed a whole day.


I remember after we were done, we sat at Pig in Victoria and ate a pulled pork sandwich (it must have been Tuesday)

mike edel studio


I asked Russ some questions about finishing the record and what I should do with it.  Russ is kind of an artist as a guitar player and producer, but he’s not necessarily a songwriter of his own folk songs.  He has a pure artist vibe about him.  It’s often consoling to talk to these people about a record, or what you should do, they kind of get it and they are supportive, there are either comrades or mentors and I see Russ as this.  Then he left and his WestJet flight got him home.


I had a coffee at Heist in Victoria with my friend David Heidrich


David listened to ‘Sunny Outside This Afternoon’ and I remember him loving the guitar on it, and he’s german and when German’s like something you have to take their word for it, because they will often tell you if they don’t like it also.  I really remember people’s opinions on this record.  I think people’s opinions had a real affect on me, because everyone has one, and it is very difficult to balance like 8 opinions.  Choosing a producer, choosing the way you are going to record, getting someone that’s really pro, or getting your live band to play, getting your friends, asking for favours, paying people, hurting peoples feelings, communicating to them.  I really felt in this recording that there was so much balancing. 


Joby introduced me to the Aeropress and cane sugar in coffee. He also loves expensive local, very goood food.


I tracked some of the remaining bass with joby, and also did some strings with him on the upright bass and this guy Adrian Dolan.  We tracked these at Joby’s studio.  He is so musical and has great harmony ideas and he is a great engineer.


I tracked most all the vocals with Jason Cook. We at wraps at Red Barn Market.

He’s a little more straight forward than these other cats.  He is a very good engineer and he plays live drums with me, and he’s a great producer too.  He will come in again later.


This is a little more where Colin Stewart comes back in. Ultimately I produced this record and Colin helped me and he mixed the record.  I spent about 17 days with Colin finishing guitars, playing piano, putting little synths in songs, doing background vocals, stuff like this.


His wife Kathryn Calder made us buritto’s sometimes when we didn’t go to The Roost. 


The first time I thought the beans were pork, but It turned out they actually were beans! Veggie Buritto’s!

mike edel studio


Kathryn plays in this band called The New Pornographers, sometimes they play for David Letterman and things like that.  In these sessions I had Kathryn play and sing some, Jp Maurice sing, Vince Vaccaro sing, Nigel Barry, Kiana Brasset and a bunch of other people I’m forgetting come and play.  I tinkered lots with little nuances, which I think are a big part of this record.  My favourite thing we did was make the chorus to Julia by tracking like a million acoustic guitar and verbing the shit out of them.  My most unfavourite thing was that I actually was going through a pretty tumultuous and tough time in my personal life.  I was moving through a relationship with someone who I loved very much, a lot of what the record is about actually, so recording this record was almost like therapy with Colin Stewart.  Colin is kind of like a big bear that is really kind and sometimes smokes weed.  He is very safe to hang with, and I think his creativity and skills as an engineer and mixer are important to this record, but I also think that him as a person is important to this record. 


We had one last Bee Sting together and I have only seen Colin twice since.


He’s often busy recording, but I love when I get to run into him and stuff. 


One time I texted him a picture of a Pizza joint in Ellensburg, WA called ‘Colin’s Pizza’


I was dealing a little bit with losing lots of things at this time, and I also was kind of losing my band, things were chaning, people were change.  Kiana, Nigel, Sjoerd, Colin Mctaggart.  Kiana didn’t end of playing too much on the record, and that was kind of sad. Nigel had been playing lots of drums with me but that seemed to be coming to and end also. Sjoerd was having a few kids.  Colin was getting a new job, a new wife (yeah!) and switching up what he was doing.  He was interested to hear what the record sounded like, and his opinion is important to me because he is my dear friend and he works with artists and bands now and helps them out.  These were and are really important people to me, but ultimately I kind of made this record on my own, though I owe so much to these dear friends.


I sat at my house for a few months and drank coffee and ate bagels from Mount Royal bagels and send internet links of my record to like a million people.


Not many people seemed to care about an internet link so I thought I’d start again.  I felt self-conscious about my record.  People and my friends had critiques.  I was depressed because of the subject matter and of my personal life.  Last August was the roughest of the rough honestly.  I felt as though I was fucking my life up and that I had put my all into a record and it wasn’t good.  My mom told me to get a job when I wanted her to tell me that she loved me and things weren’t good.   I messed up on my factor grant, because I was depressed as shit, but they didn’t care afterward and so I lost a bunch of money and went a good bit into debt – my fault I guess. I wrote the song Hell Exists. 


Late one night in Linden at my Larry’s farm, Shaun Huberts was little drunk (as were Jason cook and Kiana but not me! I drove!)  and Shaun made Pizza out of nothing.  A Pizza miracle.  Pizza inception.


I decided that I needed to re-record the songs Blue Above The Green, and East Shore West Shore because they weren’t good.  I was going to add Hell Exists to the mix to, just because I thought it needed to be on the record.


So over the next couple months, I recorded these 3 songs in Vancouver with Jason Cook, Shaun recorded some bass, Kiana played some fiddle, Alex Maillot sang a bit, Elisa who loves cats engineered and we did this at Monarch Studios.  Things were sounding good and things hit a little bit harder. 


Tyson and I also invited Jason Cook to come down to San Diego to eat Pizza with us.


So I ended up recording for two days at Big Fish Studios with Austin Burns, Ethan Hulse, Tyson, Josh Burns and some others and finished up Hell Exists, East Shore West Shore and Blue Above The Green.


I remember being in Alberta for Christmas Dinner at my sister Chantelle’s house. 

I had just gotten back the final master right before the holidays and I decided that the record was finished and that I would put it out with Cordova Bay.   I needed to put it out and finish it mostly for myself, for my life, for my person.  I have trouble calling things finished and maybe ending stories.  This was a hard story to end actually, it ends a chapter in my life, of which the record is about, I didn’t want to feel like it was meaningless and that I was a shitty person. I tried my best and made things and got lots of people involved, and I had no idea what I made.  But it was Christmas and I was finished making things for awhile.

Sometimes you just need to stop making something, call it finished and name it. That’s what I have done.  India, Seattle.  The recording story ended, and now a new one, a spin-off in fact has begun.

The Making of India Seattle - 2/3 (Songs)


I made this record mostly myself.  It’s kind of why I make art or make music.  I love making a song and having so much life and weight and experience, both personal and share in 1 short amount of time and expression.

When thinking creatively about making India, Seattle, I focused a lot on the songs.  In the studio it’s hard to polish a turd.  When people listen to your music, they love cool sounding songs, but also what really matters is the emotional quality of the song.  I think production and style and genre are important, but my focus was more on the songs at first.

It was December 2013.  I remember having my studio time booked, and having a list of about 12 songs that I could record, but I didn’t feel like they were quite good enough.  I wrote for about 2 and a half weeks at the beginning of December, hoping I would come up with a good song or two and get to include it on the record.  I booked a spur of the moment trip to California to go write with Tyson and Ethan and try and get them to help me finish these songs. 

These were the songs:

When The Good Goes Wrong

All The Morning

The Closer

The Challenger

Tacking In The Dark

After finishing a few of these songs, I really felt as though the record as a whole was there.  I think I had a few older songs that didn’t fit the record quite as well and I didn’t feel as strongly about them.

We wrote in Ethan’s garage of his house in Orange County, we wrote on Tysons deck in San Diego, and at a Younglife Camp inland in Ramona.  I had a list of 17 songs and I felt confident and felt as though I had the songs for a the record. 

I think most of these songs have a good poetic aspect to them, or a literary function in them.  They aren’t just lyrical, they are poetic.  I feel as though The Closer is one of the best songs I will ever write.  It has a brilliant story and the poetic nature of the verses really unravel a universal story of lament.  This is the kind of song that years down the road someone will listen to and think it’s brilliant.

It’s kind of like my experience of Ryan Adams’ ‘In My Time Of Need.’ I had listened to Heartbreaker lots of times but it’s the 14th track on this record.  I remember driving through the night past Mount Shasta in northern California once and realizing that this song was so brilliant.  And I bet it was about 6 years old at least at the time. It’s timeless I guess.

My goal for these songs were to be timeless, but since the record is so personal, I think this is an interested juxtaposition.  Experience so entrenched in time, but also experience so timeless.

I think because of the songs that I had, and the type of songs they were, I was leaning toward a record like some of Gregory Alan Isakov’s.  Really song focused, with great playing, but also a sonic landscape.  Instead of big hooks and crazy sounds and weird songs intended to ‘be different.’  I wanted to sonically illuminate the song.  I felt as though the performances had to be good, and not contrived.  It needed to be rootsy and personal, but also sound-scapey.

People make fun of me for caring about minute details, and I think after the songs on this record, there are so many minute details.  I spent hours layering like 12 melodies on top of each other.  I spent tedious moments tweaking ambient sounds in the background, so I ‘felt’ they were right at the time.  I obsessed over the amounts of reverb and really wanted to play with things very dry and very wet.  I think I made a record that is rootsy and Americana, but also that is a bit indie at heart as well.

Even thinking about this just makes me want to make another record, do it all over again. I still think it all starts with songs.