Folk Soul musician Keith Mullins has released two records in the past year and has moved over 6000 records. Recently he recieved national news attention from CBC, CTV, and Global TV networks for one of his songs. A lifetime of gigging and songwriting, a degree in classical music with studies in Africa and Cuba, and growing up in a Cape Breton musical family has made Keith into a one of a kind musician. His versatility has put him on stage with the east coast's finest. He has played drums for Lennie Gallant, Bruce Guthro, Matt Andersen, Gordie Sampson, Jimmy Rankin to name a few, along with acts like Melissa McLelland and Sara Slean. He has created the "Youth Song Project" which breaks down the mysterious walls of songwriting for students and Keith records the whole project to allow for fundraising opportunities for schools. His debut record "Localmotive Farm" shares the name with his CSA farm in Nova Scotia, which has fed 50 families on 1 acre of vegetables.
Keith creates music from the soul; the instruments he uses to express it - drums, vocal, guitar - are all secondary. Andrew Fedora, Board of Directors, ECMA
Released- November 2010
Keith Mullins/Thom Swift Youth Song Project
Released- June 2011
Music And Food Are Inseparable at Localmotive Farm
[+ Show ]
Musician Keith Mullins and Plant Scientist Jody Nelson claim that Localmotive Farm is "is not just a...Musician Keith Mullins and Plant Scientist Jody Nelson claim that Localmotive Farm is "is not just a place, it is a concept." We believe in directing our energy toward endeavours that enrich our lives and the lives of those around us: our family, our friends, and our community. Our farm aspires to reconnect our customers to their local food supply, and seasonal produce availability. In contrast to "locomotive" transport, our vegetables do not travel far. Localmotive Farm supplies local families with fresh, seasonal, environmentally sustainable produce through Farmer's Markets and Community Shared Agriculture (CSA).
They also give a very good explanation of the benefits of CSAs for both the farmer and the community, worth repeating here:
Here in Nova Scotia, all vegetable varieties are not available all of the time. Past members have found that learning about the seasonal food cycle and learning to cook within the offerings of the season are part of the pleasure of participating in a CSA. A fridge that is perpetually full of vegetables also encourages healthy eating. In order to assist you in this endeavour, Localmotive Farm shares recipes and preparation ideas throughout the season.
As a CSA member, you are contributing to the support and protection of a local food supply and the local economy. CSA's benefit farmers by eliminating middlemen, and by offering them a reliable, predictable market for their produce. The payment schedule provides an injection of funds in spring, when there are a lot of expenses, like seed, compost, equipment upgrades or maintenance, and miscellaneous supplies.
[+ Show ]
FOR THE PAST SEVERAL years drummer Keith Mullins has been a go-to guy for Nova Scotia musicians...
FOR THE PAST SEVERAL years drummer Keith Mullins has been a go-to guy for Nova Scotia musicians looking for the perfect rhythm, but finally the time has come for him to get out from behind the kit to showcase his own songs.
On his debut solo CD, Localmotive Farm, Cape Breton-born Mullins comes across as a adept and versatile songwriter, with a comforting voice and broad musical palette that includes the bright pop of Somewhere to Be and Soul Searcher’s philosophical reggae vibe.
Through it all are themes of finding your purpose in life and getting back to basics, which prove to be the driving forces behind both the making of the record and Mullins’ other life as co-owner of a family organic farm with his wife Jody.
"(The record) is just something that I had to do," says Mullins, who launches it tonight at Halifax’s Company House, with guest Steven Bowers. "It’s gone too long, where I’ve been writing my whole life, always creating music, but I’ve always just been comfortable playing with other people and making a living supporting other people."
Music has been a part of Mullins’ life for as long as he can remember; he laughs when he recalls how it all began, forming his first band Absolute with Slowcoaster’s Steven MacDougall at the age of 12 in Howie Centre, and playing that first gig at the Donkin Legion.Years later Mullins would be playing with fellow islanders like Bruce Guthro and Jennifer Roland, as well as acts like Bowers, Garrett Mason, Caledonia and Lennie Gallant. He’s also picked up a 2010 Nova Scotia Music Award nomination for educator of the year for his efforts teaching workshops in drumming, Salsa and songwriting in schools and at special events.
He was keeping busy, but as his own catalogue of songs was growing, he was faced with the double whammy of needing to take the sideman gigs that came his way and then having people only seeing him in that role.
Finally it was a suggestion from his cousin Gordie Sampson — no slouch in the songwriting department — that prompted him to take the next step.
"I had applied for some emerging artist grants that had been denied," recalls Mullins, "So I was playing Gordie some of my tunes, and he said, ‘Keith man, why don’t you come down to Nashville and record them with me?
"In the end, the whole record was very low-budget, it didn’t cost me very much money because a lot of it was done through barter. For example, I played on some tracks for Dutch Robinson, and I knew he was perfect for some of my songs."
Besides Gordie Sampson’s guitar and his sister Amy Sampson’s voice, Mullins called on many of his friends to lend a hand on Localmotive Farm, including members of Caledonia on the haunting folk ballad Trouble and Cuban musicians Jorge Chicoy, Avi Garcia and Silvio Pupo for the swaying pulse of Si Es Loco.
After sessions with Sampson in Nashville in April, he finished up the tracks at his home studio at Localmotive Farm outside of Stewiacke.
Mullins sees the music as a product of the farm, just like the organic squash or tomatoes that come as the result of hard work and developing skills, driven by the desire to do what’s best for himself and his family.
"You can’t kill yourself doing something that makes you absolutely miserable," says Mullins emphatically. "And I’ve never felt saner before in my life, living on the farm, I’m totally inspired and writing all the time while also running equipment and digging in the dirt."
Fridays with.......Keith Mullins
[+ Show ]
Cape Breton’s Keith Mullins has been touring the world for years as a percussionist with everyone fr...Cape Breton’s Keith Mullins has been touring the world for years as a percussionist with everyone from Lennie Gallant to Sarah Slean to Paula Cole to Dave Carroll.
At the end of last month, Mullins released his debut solo effort, Localmotive Farm. A mix of folk and rock that touches on sounds from Cuba and Africa, the seven-song effort shows the musical chameleon that Mullins is.
His roots are in Cape Breton Island, and at the age of 14, he started entertaining bar crowds with bandmate, Steven MacDougall (Slowcoaster). After completing a music degree and studies in Cuba and Africa, Mullins turned his passion into his profession.
In addition to touring, Mullins developed and facilitated some drumming workshops, a salsa workshop (with an eight-piece Latin band partly from Cuba) and a songwriting workshop with good friend Steven Bowers. He has delivered these workshops to groups of all ages; in schools, at special events, and at festivals across the country. He was recently nominated in Music Nova Scotia’s 2010 Educator of the Year category.
In April of this year, while performing at Dollywood in Tennessee with a Peruvian Cajon troupe and a Trinidad Steel Drum group, Mullins made a trip to Nashville to record Localmotive Farm with the assistance of long-time friend, cousin and acclaimed songwriter Gordie Sampson.
Mullins sings and plays drums, bass, guitar, congas, bongos, maracas, clave, chimes, wood blocks, tambourine and jingle bells on Localmotive Farm. Special guests include beat-boxer Jay Andrews, Anna Ludlow (fiddler), Tim Isaac (cello), Gordie Sampson (guitar, bass) and many, many more.
A finalist in the 2010 David Suzuki song competition and 2010 Music Nova Scotia nominee for Musician of the Year, Mullins is touring the Maritimes over the next few months.
All that said, Mullins took time out of his schedule as he prepares to hit the road to chat with us this week:
1. Your music resume is lengthy and impressive to say the least. How did your musical journey begin and what do you consider your first “break”?
I’ve played with lots of different bands and different styles too. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t play music. I’m from a musical family. Pretty much everyone in my family plays something. They also like to party. As I’m sure you know, music and parties go hand in hand. My grandfather was a fiddler, he was involved with a TV show in Cape Breton called the “Barn Dance”. He also played on the Don Messer show a few times as well. My aunt Flo Sampson played with him from the time she was about 10 and then when I came along, I would always sit to the left of her and just watch her hands all night long. The family would play anything from Ragtime, Blues, Jazz, Latin, Rock n’ Roll, to Cape Breton traditional songs and the fiddle tunes as well.
I don’t think I ever really got any breaks. I’ve just been doing what I do best and that’s playing music. I’ve always played music for a living and that’s what I’ll always be doing. I’ve been supporting so many musicians over the years that when it was my CD all the musicians went out of their way big time to help me. A good portion of this record was made just on bartered services.
2. Performing with such a wide variety of musicians must have been a huge learning experience. What were some of the most important things you learned over the years?
For sure. I love so many different styles of music. It definitely shows on my record. The absolute most important thing is to show up prepared. Know your stuff. Do your homework. It separates the pros from the con-artists. LOL
3. Why a solo record now? And I should ask, what took so long?
I’ve always been writing music. I have maybe 50 or so songs that I’d like to record. I had to pick seven for this record, not an easy task. But I think a lot of songwriters are forced into doing their own thing out of necessity. Music has always paid my bills, so I’ve been comfortable. And I’m good at supporting people. Yet I’ve always felt the need to play my songs for other people, and it’s only been the past two or so years that I feel ready, in myself, to do it. I think it’s obvious that I’m putting myself out there, and it’s kind of like walking around naked. I guess it’s the right time, I finally feel ready to do it.
4. Did you have a vision for this record? Did you know exactly what you wanted it to be?
Yes. I knew that I wanted it to sound “pro” and I picked the musicians based on how their playing would fit into my music. I had a vision for this record for a few years and had been denied a few grants trying to make it happen. Then Gordie offered me his studio in Nashville after playing him a few of my songs one night. I knew I wanted to include so many of the people that I’ve played with for years and I feel I have a deep musical bond with. One thing that worried me was that I could see that my songs were all totally different. At first it worried me that I wouldn’t be able to “brand” myself but came to the conclusion that this is me. This is the way I am and this is the way I write so I’m putting it out there.
I knew I wanted to start with the cohesiveness of a young, indie band. I feel hugely connected musically to the band Caledonia and they were the first piece of the puzzle. Actually, I feel extremely connected to all of the musicians on this record. In my opinion that’s the greatest thing about the record.
5. How did working in Nashville and working with Gordie Sampson affect the project?
Gordie is a long time mentor, friend and cousin of mine. We’ve lived at each other’s houses growing up at different points (he’s six years older than me). His sister Amy, an exceptional musician in her own right, I’ve been singing with her for my whole life and she’s all over the record as well. To me, Gordie is like a sponge. I see all the best musical traits of our other friends in Gordie. He has the ability to take anything and run with it. He’s a brilliant musician, and so supportive. He’s always in the moment, and free from judgment. He has had a remarkable affect on me in my whole life and on this record.
7. Tell us about the Rhythms of the World project. Is that still going on?
Yes. I have done workshops for the past eight years in schools/festivals across Canada and parts of the U.S. Basically I go into a school with a ton of drums, show the 100-1,500 students how they’re made/played and then teach them rhythms that I learned while studying in Ghana and Cuba on the spot. I have a lot of fun with it. Over the years I’ve learned to adapt it to any level, primary to university. I love playing for young people. They get so excited about the show. I’ve done shows from an alternative school where the police had to take a student out for his last strike of misbehaving to 1,000 Asian kids in Edmonton where you could’ve heard a pin drop.
8. What song, album or artist have you been listening to most lately?
Most records I listen to are of the artists I play with to stay prepared. Lennie Gallant, Caledonia, Havanafax, Salsa Picante, but I’m also loving Thom Swift’s Into the Dirt lately.
Artists that I love are Daniel Lanois, Willie Nelson, Paul McCartney, Tom Waits, Paul Simon. I also have a huge obsession with Cuban music … Isac Delgado is my favourite lately.
9. I understand you operate a farm in Cape Breton? How do you find time to tour the globe and run a farm?
The farm is at the end of a dirt road in Coldstream, N.S. which is close to Stewiacke. My wife Jody Nelson heads the farm side of things and I’m mostly a lackey. hehe I help out when I can. Things for me really pick up on a daily basis in the fall and through the winter with touring shows and workshops. Summers are less busy so I have more time to help with the veggies and animals. It actually works really well. I love the balance that farm life creates for me, it keeps me sane and grounded. I really like the idea of working towards self-sustenance. The product is so much better for you in taste and nutrition as well. We also just had our second child in June, so it’s been a hectic summer. We wouldn’t have it any other way though. hehe.
10. You’re touring the Maritimes into December. What are your plans after that? Long-term plans?
I will always be playing music. I hope that it can evolve into me playing more of my own music as time goes by. I also am working toward it growing into a team of people who can help me in my journey. Music is what I know best and I’m very passionate about it. I don’t really have a choice in the matter, it’s just something that is inside of me. The location and amount of people may get smaller or bigger but I’ll always just be playing.
11. Anything else you’d like to add?
The idea of this record is that anything created on localmotive farm is a product of localmotive farm. Be it children, dreams, veggies, or music. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for the opportunity to let me share what I have to offer.
Check out Keith at the following dates:
Oct. 14 – Halifax, NS – Company House (Full band CD release concert) w/Steven Bowers
Oct. 20 – Rawdon, NS – Rawdon District School
Oct. 21 – Stewiacke, NS – Winding River Consolidated
Nov. 2 – Truro, NS – Marigold Theatre w/Havanafax
Nov. 4 – Annapolis Royal, NS – King’s Theatre w/Havanafax
Nov. 4-7 – Yarmouth, NS – Nova Scotia Music Week
Nov. 10 – Sydney, NS – Harbourside Elementary
Nov. 10 – Howie Centre, NS – House Concert
Nov. 17 – St. Stephen, NB – St. Stephen Middle School
Nov. 18 – St. Andrews, NB – Vincent Massey Elementary
Nov. 19-20 – St. Andrews, NB – Kennedy House
Nov. 27 – Halifax, NS – The Carleton (matinee)
Dec. 1 – Halifax, NS – Company House, opening for Lovestorm
Just another Friday night at ECMA's
[+ Show ]
Then off to the Upstairs for a family treat: Flo Sampson, Amy Sampson, Gordie Sampson, and their cou...Then off to the Upstairs for a family treat: Flo Sampson, Amy Sampson, Gordie Sampson, and their cousin, Keith Mullins. Re-creating a slice of the many family parties held over the years, the talented bloodline let loose with everything from Flo’s “Flip Flop and Fly” to Amy’s rendition of “Oh Suzanna”. Most often seen behind the drums, Keith stepped out from time to time to play guitar and sing his own tunes Friday night. His song “She Would Play” is a tribute to Flo and her endless energy while playing piano and singing during family parties. It was a lovely, lovely moment of songs. Keith and Amy continued on with Caledonia. Amy Sampson’s strong voice and blending harmonies are a treat for the ear, too seldom heard!
The Upstairs offers mix of music during ECMA weekend
[+ Show ]
Keith Mullins is normally found behind the drum kit, as one of the most acclaimed percussionists in ...Keith Mullins is normally found behind the drum kit, as one of the most acclaimed percussionists in Atlantic Canada, but will be singing and playing his original tunes at this show. His voice is incredibly smooth, and it’s a treat to have him perform in this role.
90% original material with a few covers.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.