Mike Boguski / Blues For The Penitent
Release Date: Jan. 18, 2019
Genre: Solo piano / Avant-garde
Recorded by Michael Timmins in Toronto
& by Will Crann and Duke Foster in Hamilton
Mastered by Peter J. Moore
Improvisations by Mike Boguski (SOCAN)
except track 5 by Townes Van Zandt
& track 9 by Neil Young
Mike Boguski is Blue Rodeo’s keyboardist, a position he’s held since 2008. But like others in the group, his musical ambition extends beyond furthering the legacy of Canada’s roots rock institution.
Boguski’s new solo album Blues for the Penitent is perhaps the purest display of his talent to date, showcasing him alone at the piano on 12 instrumental pieces which, taken as a whole, tell a powerful, emotional story. It is a story that unexpectedly developed over a three-year period through sessions recorded by Cowboy Junkies founder Michael Timmins at his Toronto studio, along with sessions at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton, Ontario.
Boguski originally intended to lay down an album’s worth of material in a quick two-day burst, but that plan ultimately changed as major upheavals in his life began to unfold, and led him to explore improvisation more deeply than he ever had previously. It even prompted him to return to school and study with pioneering improvisational musician Casey Sokol at York University.
While many of the pieces on Blues for the Penitent are indeed constructed on the principles of free improvisation, the album is also built around themes and imagery obviously close to Boguski’s heart, such as “Madawaska Moonlight,” “Eva” and “Memorial,” along with a couple beautiful renditions of Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is to Fly,” and Neil Young’s “On the Beach.”
Boguski is excited to work again with Blue Rodeo in 2019, but he also feels Blues for the Penitent is the beginning of a new direction for his own music that will take both he and listeners to unexpected places.