James is an insomniac. When YOU are sleeping, he’s getting a lot done. He’s also got a short attention span, so he tends to have a lot of projects on the go at once. Here are some of them:
Pipe Street Studio
James has converted the coach house behind his palatial Guelph mansion into a cozy barn-board-clad state-of-the art recording studio. Often with his son Evan as engineer, he’s produced dozens of albums there.
He specializes, as you might guess, in acoustic music…and he’s got an inviting atmosphere, some great microphones, every musical instrument you can imagine, including bagpipes, a sousaphone and a hammered dulcimer. He can put together a great pool of the best local musicians and produce a master recording in no time flat at a budget anyone can afford. With a basic rate of 40 dollars an hour, he can take a song from its conception through arranging, recording and mixing.
He’s produced albums recently for Ian Bell, Ian Reid, Margaret Christl, Juanita Wilkins, JJ. Lafferty and many more. He’d be happy to send you some examples. Contact the studio for more information.
Photo: A snowy day outside the Pipe Street Studio. INSIDE…warm music is being made…you can see it coming out of the chimney!
When he’s not on the road, James has become involved in a number of social justice, environmental, arts, and other community-based grassroots organizations. In October 2014 he was elected as a Guelph City Councillor, so he’s been advocating for these issues from the “inside” too, and dividing his time between City Hall and touring. Here are a few of them, in case you’d like to get involved:
James was the first president of the Guelph Civic League, a collaborative network of neighbourhood groups and citizen-led organizations. The Guelph Civic League is committed to keeping citizens informed and working towards a local democracy that is participatory, transparent accountable.
James was also the co-founder of the Wellington Water Watchers, a group dedicated to the protection, restoration and conservation of drinking water in Guelph and Wellington County. Projects have included promoting tap water and opposing Nestle Canada’s water taking permit in nearby Aberfoyle, ON, and their MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE campaign, which aims to put a stainless steel refillable bottle in the hands of every public school student in Wellington County.
James was the first artistic director of Guelph’s now-legendary Hillside Festival. It’s the best way to experience what Guelph is all about!
The Eramosa Belle
James Gordon’s first love is really is riverboat The Eramosa Belle. Here she is tied up at a secret hiding spot along the Severn River near Georgian Bay in Ontario. James built her with his family and she’s an eco-friendly songwriting houseboat. Solar Power, made mostly with scrounged material including pontoons made from soy sauce barrels, the Eramosa Belle appeared last summer at the Mariposa Festival in Orillia as a floating stage. See that little stage on top?
In the summer of 2010, James released ‘This Canoe Runs On Water” an album of songs he’s written ON the boat about the beautiful and historic Trent Severn Waterway. He now tours up and down the system on the boat giving concerts at the dockside.
Tryst & Snout
James Gordon’s hillbilly musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Commissioned for “Shakespeare: Made In Canada” Festival, Tryst & Snout is a two-act romp with thirty-one old-time country and bluegrass songs and lots of comic hillbilly dialogue. In this lively and fun-filled musical, a country dance band, “The Hempen Homespun Boys,” (Shakespeare’s “Rude Mechanicals,” Bottom, Quince, Snout, Flute, Starveling, Snug and their new cousin Ellie May), decide to put on their own musical version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” playing all the parts themselves. They get hired to perform their work at Theseus Duke and Hippolyta’s wedding reception. The audience gets to watch the hapless rubes put on the entire play in their own backwoods style, including hilarious scenes at Oberon and Titania’s swampy Honky-Tonk and brothel, where Bottom gets transformed into an Elvis Impersonator! Reminiscent of the style made famous by the film “O Brother Where Art Thou,” the broad comedy of the play is tempered by poignant duets featuring Shakespeare’s four star-crossed lovers, Hermia, Demetrius, Helena and Lysander.
The premiere production at Guelph’s River Run Centre featured James along with Ashley Condon, Geordie Gordon, Marion Linton, Jesse Turton, Sam Turton and Jude Vadala. Presented by Gordon’s “Pauper’s Opera Company,” Tryst & Snout is scheduled to be restaged in 2010.
For more information, including commentary, photos, and a downloadable copy of the script, visit www.canadianshakespeares.ca
James Gordon’s hillbilly musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a two-act romp full of old-time country and bluegrass songs and comic hillbilly dialogue.
This ground-breaking musical theatre production, technically an ‘opera’ since the play is entirely sung, uses sharp political satire and serious dramatic commentary to tell the tale of a group of homeless people in an inner Canadian city.
Breaking the Mask
Exploring Mental Illness Through The Arts. This video production is designed to raise awareness about mental illness in young people. Ten young artists with personal mental health experience shared their stories through music, drama, art, poetry, photography. Though none had previous video experience, as a team they were responsible for every aspect of the production, and the result is a very moving, honest, and innovative program.