Great Dark Wonder Turns Two! Our Year in Review

Anniversary Collage

As we celebrate our second anniversary here at Great Dark Wonder of spreading the love that is Canadian music , here are some interesting statistics from these last twelve months (2016-17 comparisons in parentheses).

  • Amassing an unknown quantity of miles driven, we made the trek from our home in south-central PA to Canada on 19 (22) occasions.
  • During those 19 excursions, we attended 36 (36) live music events.
  • We saw concerts in the Niagara peninsula, Toronto, London, Stratford, Gravenhurst, Creemore, Tweed, and as far as Forest (Lake Huron).
  • We supported Canadian artists who ventured into our neck of the woods, and caught 14 (11) shows here too, catching them in PA, NY, MD and VA.
  • And here is the big number, of which we are proud: we saw a total of 96 (104) different artists live in concert.

M’s Perspective

I cannot believe that Great Dark Wonder is celebrating a second birthday already.  The “little blog that could” has not only reached this milestone, but continues to flourish; far from those original “online scrapbook” roots, and into a dedicated and devoted voice within the ‘music blogosphere.’  We pride ourselves on our love of the Canadian music scene; a passion that we hope is ever-present in our musings about artists and their musical creativity.  And our mission statement is pretty bold: to spread the word and share such great music to new audiences (which itself is both challenging and rewarding).

After an amazing first twelve months, we entered our sophomore season with a little experience under our belts, and a better idea of where we wanted to stake our identity within the music-blog community.  Having laid some solid foundations, our second year allowed us to not only build further upon this established structure, but to also expand beyond the early boundaries.  With a newly acquired SOCAN performing license, our “Gossip Talkin’ Blues” podcast was born (thanks again to Ron Hawkins for his permission in using the title); and with it, the ability to create musically themed podcasts, conduct artist interviews and other music related discussions.  With 31 podcasts available for streaming 24/7 (to date), be sure to enjoy some of our conversations with several of your favorite artists.

One goal for this past year was to be much more inclusive of other musical genres (beyond folk-roots), and hopefully lovers of jazz, country, blues, indigenous and classical music found plenty of available content dedicated to their tastes over the last twelve months.  Who knows what else may be incorporated as we enter this, our third year, of Great Dark Wonder.  Rest assured, though, that we shall continue to provide our honest and often subjective (music fans, first and foremost) reviews of live shows, new album releases, singles, upcoming events, and topics that go beyond the music.

With plenty of ground to cover, our second season saw us welcome musician and author Steve Murphy to the team as a regular featured contributor.  Steve brings his unique voice to the blog and shares some wonderful new music reviews that we encourage you to look out for too.  Do you love Canadian music and wish to write a few articles for the blog too?  We have room for another guest contributor to join the team – volunteers are welcome to message or email us for details.

Of course, as much as we enjoy sharing this love of great music, it would not be as much fun if it were not for you, our readers, listeners, and friends that we continue to encounter on this wonderful journey.  Your support, feedback and encouragement is always very much appreciated.  If you happened to buy tickets to go see a band perform live after seeing a feature about them here on our blog, we are grateful to you.  If you went out and purchased or streamed an album based on our recommendation from one of our reviews, we are grateful to you.  If you bought tickets, saw the band perform live, bought their merchandise, and became crazily addicted fans for life – our mission is complete.  Yes, we have a long way to go here in our third year – but come join us for the ride and see where this journey takes us over the next twelve music packed months.

L’s Perspective

Someone asked me not long ago whether I ever imagined writing a music blog, occasionally appearing on the radio to talk about Canadian music (thanks to CKCU, who have generously hosted us several times now), and having the opportunity to hear so much terrific music.  The answer was, “absolutely not.”  As M said, this was the “little blog that could,” a place where we could document the tremendous experiences we were having.  That so many of you have read articles, commented on Facebook, and responded on Twitter remains a source of amazement to us.  We are so grateful for everyone who continues to make this music-blogging life a continual surprise and delight, and who have made what we do here possible – the publicists, the readers, and especially the musicians.

As a technology professional, I was well aware that websites need to be revamped periodically so they don’t become stale, and so I started thinking several months ago about what our next ‘look’ should be.  With our updated look and feel, we hope not only to make more of our content visible to users, but also to emphasize our focus on the many facets of the awesome Canadian music scene.  Our new ‘paint job’ gives us room to grow and expand.

We’re continually asked, “Why Canadian music?”  This site is our ongoing answer to that question.  Thank you for continuing to be a part of it.

Martin Noakes

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

Lesley Carter

Exposed to the wonders of CBC and Montréal Canadiens hockey as a teenager thanks to a satellite dish in rural Kansas, I have been an unabashed lover of all things Canadian ever since. I am a lifelong collector of esoteric and varied music, a teacher of piano, and an aspiring multi-instrumentalist (guitar, mandolin, mandola, ukulele). In real life, I work in the field of technology.