• joenolanmusic

Farewell Tommy

A few words on Tommy Banks,


Tommy Banks wrote a string arrangement for the final song that will be on my upcoming album. The song is called “Ode To Sturgeon County”. It was recorded live off the floor on a cold January morning, just me and piano, the song is a confessional on the past few years of my life, as well as my childhood. We sent it to Tommy and asked if he would be interested in being a part of it and writing a string arrangement for it. He immediately got back to Scott Franchuk and I saying he would love to.


On the Sunday night of North Country Fair I drove back to Edmonton over night, having to pull over after almost hitting a moose on some secondary highway near Barrhead... will save that story for another time. I slept in some field in the back of my van. As the sun came up I got back behind the wheel and drove straight to The Audio Department where we were meeting Tommy to record the strings for this song. It was the final touch that we put on this album. There were 6 violinists, a cello and a french horn player under the microphones. I remember Tommy showing up, he drove himself and his wife Ida to the studio, when he walked into the room everybody kind of just froze, he had such a gentle and magical presence to him. I remember being so nervous and intimidated. I was coming down from a crazy weekend full of many mixed emotions and lack of sleep. I remember it being time to record, and hearing Tommy's arrangement for the first time, through the mixing room speakers.. watching him conduct though the window... I was holding back tears. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. The moment, his spirit, everything was vibrating. Afterwards Tommy came into the room and hung out with all of us for a solid half an hour or more, telling us old stories and answering questions we all had for him. It was a day I will never forget, and I am forever grateful to have worked with him and to have his magical presence grace this album. Thank you Tommy, you are a treasure.

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