ANDY MAIZE AND MICHAEL TIMMINS RELEASE TOWNIES (AN AUDIOPLAY)
CHILDHOOD, MEMORY, PANDEMICS, GUILT, RESPONSIBILITY
Toronto, ON – December 4, 2020 – Today, Andy Maize (Skydiggers) and Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) release their new project, Townies (an audioplay) – an audioplay about childhood, and memory, and pandemics, and guilt, and responsibility; born out of bad hockey, COVID, Black Lives Matter and age.
“Back in the before-times, around February 2020, Andy and I were having a beer, watching The Leafs give another underwhelming performance in a losing cause, when Andy turned to me and said that he had this idea or desire to record a series of songs that are short and to the point, maybe contain just one musical or lyrical idea and then move on to the next song,” Timmins reflects. “I mentioned that I was in the process of demoing some film cues which were basically a series of short one theme musical ideas. So, I sent him a bunch of them.”
“Initially my idea was to try and capture the essence and spirit of childhood and this place called ‘The Town’,” adds Maize. “Mike and I both spent our childhood in The Town of Mount Royal (TMR) a suburb of Montreal. We didn't know each other but we shared a lot of the same friends and experiences and we often talk about what a magical place it was to spend a childhood, especially for a kid between the ages of 6 and 14. It was more Norman Rockwell than most of middle-America, a place where you spent your days freely roaming through neighborhoods on your bike, playing shinny on the endless supply of public outdoor rinks, and generally getting in to whatever kid-trouble you could find as long as you were home by dinner.”
The pair recorded a handful of pieces during one session, both loving the energy and spontaneity that this approach was capturing. Then COVID descended, and everyone retreated back into their own worlds. Timmins continued working on his own, experimenting with short musical audio clips; every now and then sending a bunch to Maize. After a couple of months, when restrictions were starting to be lifted, the pair got back together to continue the project.
“I noticed that some of the lyrics that I had been writing over the past several weeks had begun to mutate from being inspired by these childhood memories to being these more existential reflections on memory and expectation,” says Maize. “The pandemic had obliterated the horizon and had crept into our project. I wasn't always sure about what I was writing about, but the situation that we all found ourselves in seemed to be infusing the songs with a gravity and a significance greater than just reflections about growing up in TMR.”
“And then George Floyd was murdered and the lyrics that Andy started bringing in morphed again and took on a tone of doubt and frustration,” Timmins continues. “The initial idea behind this project was to not necessarily create a project at all. We were just recording because we were enjoying what we were creating and it gave us an opportunity to do what we do and to catch up on each other’s lives. But as the songs began to pile up we began to notice this subconscious string that was running through and connecting all the songs and how some of them that were initially about one thing, had now taken on a new meaning. The outside world was seeping in.”
Maize and Timmins began to talk about how to properly present the songs and how to give them context. They had always felt that many of the songs had a theatrical feel, and the more they talked about how to properly represent the songs, the more they came back to the idea of a play. However, with no desire or the necessary talent to create an actual stage play, they landed on the idea of an audioplay.
As the events in the world began to force everyone to reconsider their place in the world, the emotions and themes being expressed by these songs began to swirl and became – all at once – clearer and greyer, more concrete and more ephemeral. Eventually, Maize and Timmins stumbled on the idea of presenting the songs as a journey, but a non-linear journey – like life – and not necessarily a physical journey, but a metaphorical journey of transformation from innocence to vulnerability. They had set off on a journey without knowing where they were going, while using signposts along the way to guide them, and ended up with a document chronicling an important point in their lives. This, is Townies (an audioplay).
About Michael Timmins
Michael Timmins is the guitarist, songwriter and producer for the band Cowboy Junkies. He has also recorded and produced dozens of other artists from Canada, the USA, Australia and the UK. His productions have sold over 2,000,000 copies world-wide. His songs and productions have appeared in dozens of films and television shows over the past 30 years including; Natural Born Killers, Girl On A Train, Flight, A Single Man, American Horror Story, Law and Order, ER, Homicide, Homeland, True Blood, Big Love, CSI, Cold Case, Mary Kills People, HBO's Big Little Lies....and many more.
He has also composed and produced seven film scores, including; Daniel MacIvor's House and Wilby Wonderful; Niagara, Niagara (starring Robin Tunney and Henry Thomas); The Boys Club (directed by John Fawcett and starring Chris Penn); the award winning documentary, My Father and The Man In Black; and most recently, Maudie, starring Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins, which has won several awards including Best Film at both the Canadian Screen Awards and at The Irish Film and Television Awards. His score for Maudie won the SOCAN Award for Most Performed Film Score of 2018.
About Andy Maize
Andy Maize (Edward Andrew) was born in 1959 on a lovely May morning in Toronto to Barbara Jane (ne Richardson) & William Phillimore Maize. Known briefly as "Teddy" until a phone call by his mother to her mother...in which Grandma expressed the opinion that Ted was an awful name... and so it was never mentioned again. Formative years were spent in the Town of Mount Royal, a suburb of Montreal and one of the first planned community's in Canada... where time not in school was spent falling off his modified green CCM bike (monkey handlebars and a red banana seat with gold sparkles) and playing whatever sport was in season with his brothers at Mohawk Park. A founding member and lead vocalist of folkrock group Skydiggers, Andy proudly follows in the footsteps of other musical "Townies"... Frank Marino and Paul Harwood from Mahogany Rush, Greg Keelor from Blue Rodeo and the Timmins family and Alan Anton from Cowboy Junkies...
Andy's favourite candy bars growing up were Crispy Crunch, Crunchie and Caramilk... favourite bottles of pop were Orange Crush, Hires Root Beer and Cream Soda... the two cent bottle return from Deguire's got you a couple of Kraft Caramels, Bazooka Joe or Strawberry Twizzlers... always a tough decision...