Victoria, British Columbia, and rarely straying from the West Coast of
Canada ("The sole pinprick of temperate weather in all of Canada"), Wyckham
Porteous realized very early in life that his path would be that of a
writer and in particular a singer/songwriter.
I had to be a songwriter. I knew I wanted to sing. But, where I was living,
there was no Nashville, no Tin Pan Alley, no L. A., there was really no
place to put your focus."
played a lot of festivals. He did his songs in the clubs. He logged a
lot of miles. He did everything he was supposed to do. And finally, his
break came when he wrote and starred in the hit play Joe's Cafe which
enjoyed an extended run at Vancouver's prestigious Arts Club Theatre.
Soon afterward, more out of romance than design, he and his long-time
partner Patty Fraser, well known for her work in live theatre, wrote and
performed a very cool radio play brimming with songs about these journeys
for the nationwide Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC). Well, the CBC
loved it... and everyone that mattered seemed to have tuned right in.
Soon, an angel financed an '89 album that was picked up by Bryan Adams'
management firm, and charted Top 20 on Canadian radio. Leading to a 17-song
CD, independently distributed in Canada, and a slot on Rod Kennedy's Kerrville
Festival, down Texas way......
a songwriting school at Kerrville with Austin's country diva, Christine
Albert, Wyckham managed to make a lasting impression. Not only on his
students and on the ever-discriminating promoter (Rod immediately booked
him for the main stage), but, as fate would have it, on his co-instructor,
who snuck his demo into the baggage of her friend, Jimmy LaFave. She knew
LaFave was on his way to visit Bohemia Beat chief Mark Shumate in Denver.
When Jimmy got to Denver they listened to a few demos, got to the one
labeled "Porteous" and pretty soon were both grinning like little kids.
It was then that the hard-to-please Shumate whispered, "Maybe this one
should have a credit like 'Produced By Jimmy LaFave'...." The voice from
the rain had found a place in the sun.
album Looking for Ground, was a milestone in his career. Recorded in Austin,
Texas, and released in September 1995, it was greeted with rave reviews
in Canada, the United States and a number of European countries, and was
hailed as "a roots rock masterpiece" by the Associated Press. The album
reached the Top Ten on the Gavin Report`s "Americana" chart, and was named
Best Roots Traditional Album at the 1997 Pacific Music Industry Association`s
annual West Coast Music Awards show.
followed by In This World, his first album for Ragged Pup Records. Porteous
decided to move away from the roots-oriented folk/rock of his first three
albums, and explore new musical ground. Morris Tepper the Los Angeles-based
guitarist and producer best known for his work with Captain Beefheart,
Tom Waits, Frank Black and P.J Harvey, was Wyckham's producer and guide
to new directions.
the project was to be a collection of previously recorded but never released
material, augmented by new spoken word and instrumental parts, but when
Morris and Wyckham went to the rustic Nomad Studio on Saltspring Island
and started rehearsals with drummer Pat Steward
(Odds) and bassist Rob Becker (Patricia Conroy),
the original idea was scrapped. In five days, they had finished the basic
tracks for ten new songs.
progressed in Vancouver, Victoria and on Saltspring, both producer and
artist realized they needed a third party involved - a mixing engineer
that could handle a "big" sounding album and give the music the sheen
it deserved. Joe Chiccarelli, a friend of Tepper's
and a veteran of sessions with Beck, Frank Zappa and U2 offered to mix
first CD release of the new millennium is in some ways a major step forward
for him, but done by way of a step back. While his previous recordings
were about searching, sexanddrinking, recorded for Cordova Bay Records
- reflecting a rockier sound, is about what he found. A travelogue, the
album reflects what he has discovered during the journey, including what
is good, what is bad and what is indifferent. Almost a throwback to the
60s, sexanddrinking is a concept album with threads that crisscross and
intertwine creating storylines with complex texture and vivid imagery.
up where he started with Looking for Ground Wyckham has introduced new
sounds that are augmented with the spoken word and various singing styles
and voices. The album sounds warm, rich and smooth. While recording in
several locations including a garage, the bulk of the project took shape
in Vancouver's Magic Lab Studios with co-producer John Ellis.
Once again, with the rock solid backing of Pat Steward
(Odds) and Rob Becker (Patricia Conroy), this
record takes chances. It is an artistic album. The tracks are held together
not by tempo, or sonic similarly but by story, emotion and feel. It is
hard to explain having piano lounge tracks mixed with folk rap, rock,
jazz, country and blues on the same album unless something stronger is
holding the pieces together - and this is the case with this work.
was nominated for Best Indie Release and Best
Folk Release at the 2002 West Coast Music Awards. Wyckham
was additionally honoured by being nominated for Musician
of the Year.
to back Jessie nominations in 2000 and 2001
for Outstanding Sound Design and Original
Composition confirms again that Wyckham continues to work
in all creative fields with success and recognition.
the fifth annual Leo Awards a celebration of
excellence in British Columbia Film and Television nominated sexanddrinking
for Best Program. The video's director, Jason
Bourque, was nominated for Best Director for
his oustanding work -- transforming Vancouver's Wise Hall into a British