Opening Notes

You may be asking yourself, “How does indie music fit into a website about handmade goods?” Well, for some of us it’s obvious; from the songwriting, to the recording of the cd, to the hand-printed posters that are tirelessly placed around town before each and every gig, indie music is all about the DIY. My new column, “Played by Hand”, will be a coast-to-coast look (and listen) at unsigned bands and singer-songwriters who are doing just about everything by hand.

My own interest in indie music came in my late teens, when I became acquainted with several local bands in my hometown of Winnipeg, Canada. (Winnipeg is home, incidentally, to Neil Young, The Guess Who, the Crash Test Dummies and other internationally-known bands. It may be cold up here, but our music scene is anything but.) I wanted to get involved, but completely lacking in musical talent, I had to find other ways. I was surprised to discover that these bands didn’t have “people” do their grunt-work for them; they were the people! Eager to help with anything and everything, I was soon pressed into service as a photographer, poster of posters, courier, gear schlepper, costume sewer, cd sleeve designer, merch girl…the list goes on. It was, for the most part, unpaid work (save for a free copy of the cd and admission to all of the gigs), but the pay-back was priceless. I got to see music go from it’s very conception to becoming a walking, talking marketable entity.

My hopes for this column are to explore all facets of the indie music scene and to give you an inside peek at the talented, creative people who have made music their lives, and spend those lives getting their music heard. Along the way, I will be exposing you to some of the best music that you’ve never heard…yet. Hopefully, your appreciation of indie music will grow a little. And, who knows, you might even get inspired to expand your CD collections, as well!

Watch for the first regular installment of this column in two weeks. I’ll be featuring a hometown boy who has an amazing, fresh sound…and I hear he cooks a mean blackened chicken, too.

Photos of Metric, live in Winnipeg, MB by Rebecca k Hadfield.

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