Monday, May 15, 2017

A Second Candd Conversation: The BRICK Paul Brechbuhler

My next interview is a revisit with a good friend and amateur boxer Paul Brechbuhler. Paul has put a lot of hard work into becoming a boxer, but unlike most boxers he is a bit older and this is what makes him a unique fighter.

Sadly last December his competition days were ended due to a KO in Hamilton Ontario. However that has not caused Paul known as the Brick to walk away from the ring, instead he is taking back his boxing desire and using it in a different way. I am happy to have him share that with us here on Candid Conversations. Paul welcome back and thanks for talking about what must be a tough moment for you.

Paul B.: Thank you for having me as part of Candid Conversations.

Cliff T.: From what I hear you went to do another bout, the Golden Gloves, on arrival you found out that you were not allowed to box and that you would not be allowed to compete at all in future events, devastating, shocking I am sure. That said what made you decide not to walk away from the sport?

Paul B.: As any athlete will tell you, when you love a sport so much, it is hard to leave. Especially when a third party is forcing you to do so.

Cliff T.: You have been boxing for a number of years, how many and how often were you competing?

Paul B.: I boxed when I was younger, but more recently I have been boxing for five years. About twice a year in competitive bouts.

Cliff T.: What was the coach’s reaction when he found out you were no longer allowed to compete?

Paul B.: He actually wanted me to keep training. Which I thought was rather odd.

Cliff T.: To say that it was like being KO’d again would be an understatement. Yet you are back boxing, what is the driving force here, and what do you want to accomplish outside of competition?

Paul B.: It is the warrior spirit. You know, once a fighter, always a fighter. If I can’t compete, I want to help others with the sport. Such as coaching or being an official.

Cliff T.: Do you have any comment or feedback you want to share with officials who were at the Golden Gloves event?

Paul B.: They should have told me that I did not qualify back in December, not on Golden Gloves day. I had put a lot of time and effort into training for that tournament. Not to mention almost $400 in fees and other expenses that I will likely not be able to get back.

Cliff T.: Looking ahead where do you see yourself in the boxing world In the future?

Paul B.: I don’t plan on leaving the sport for a while. I will be going for my referee’s license this summer, and will possibly look at coaching next year. I can also still do some demonstrations and exhibitions in the ring, albeit not full contact. Also, my community TV station. Metropolis TV, will continue to cover local boxing events, and we are also in the process of producing a documentary about the sport. In July 2017, I will be doing the ‘Another Brick In the Sprawl’ tour to promote Over 40 boxing through demonstrations and meet-ups. So far, Ottawa, Montreal, New York (City), and Chicago are on the list of cities I will be visiting. If it goes well, I may do it every year in different cities throughout North America.

Cliff T.: That is interesting. What is the message you want to send to officials and to those who want to be a boxer, especially those who are more mature in age?

Paul B.: I will always keep promoting boxing for older people. It is a great sport to get into as an older person. It was an unfortunate event that happened to me, and there is a long story behind it. This should not discourage anyone from getting into boxing at an older age. Knockouts are rare in amateur boxing, especially in the Over 40 division. I know a boxer who is 62, and can probably kick most of your butts. My being knocked out and subsequently banned from competition was due to an error by the officials who put me in the wrong division back in December. My opponent was too young and in a higher weight class. A rare mistake. The ban was due to the fact that in Ontario, our public healthcare does not cover injuries incurred from boxing, so I became a high-risk and could not be covered by the sanctioning oganization’s private policy. Even though I was cleared by a medical professional to be safe to box again. None of this is likely to happen again, and especially outside the province of Ontario, where boxing is generally covered by provincial heath plans.

Cliff T.: Paul would you say that boxing is more a young persons sport or do you disagree with that and why?

Paul B.: Boxing used to be a young person’s sport, but the number of participants in the Over 40 class has been increasing over the past few years. As I mentioned earlier, boxing is great for anyone. Boxing is a great exercise that works every muscle group and even helps to control high blood pressure, a condition common in older people.

Cliff T.: Paul it’s certainly been an interesting time for you. I have to say I am impressed by how you have handled this situation. We all know that kids are watching what adults do. What is the message you have for the younger boxer today?

Paul B.: Keep at it. Do your best, and give it your all. Listen to your coach, and take your training seriously.

Cliff T.: Paul once again thank you for taking time to chat about what is happening in your world re boxing. Much appreciated.

Paul B.: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to be part of your blog.
Paul Brechbuhler, aka the BRICK a boxer in transition from competition to a new venture in boxing joined me in a Candid Conversation from Toronto Canada.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Candid Conversations Presents Ragan Whiteside

In a world where music seems to sound the same it's nice to see that other genres are still being pursued. More interesting to see is the talent pool that is out there take for example the world of Jazz, it's still evolving and many people are jumping into learn and develop new music in this very diverse universe called Jazz, from the blues to contemporary Jazz artists are moving the music into new directions and creating new sounds for audiences to enjoy.

I am pleased to have found one such artist, Ragan Whiteside, she is set to release her newest album called Treblemaker. She joins me today for a Candid Conversation about the album and her music.

Cliff T.: Ragan thanks for taking some time out to do a Candid Conversation.

Ragan W.: Thank you so much for having me!

Cliff T.: Treblemaker, interesting name for an album, is there a theme behind this title or is this album featuring music that has a strong emphasis on Treble?

Ragan W.: I wish I could say it’s related to a theme, but really it was just a cool pun. :) Although I am a flautist, I am all about the bass.

Cliff T.: I have to admit I am a drum kind of guy myself but bass does move me too. Is the flute the centerpiece instrument?

Ragan W.: Yes, the flute is definitely the centerpiece, with a few guests joining throughout the album with various instruments: Tom Browne (trumpet), Marion Meadows (sax), Kim Waters (sax), Frank McComb (keys and vocals), The PR Experience (Marvin Pryor – trombone, Nelson Render – trumpet, Travis Kimber – sax), Rich Harrison (drums), Jorel “JFly” Flynn (drums), Derek Scott (guitar), and Phil Casagrande (keys).

Cliff T.: In the press release it is mentioned that your music is intended to shake up perceptions of what a flute and Jazz artist can do, can you give us a sense of what perceptions you see need to be changed?

Ragan W.: There is a general perception that flute is a soft, flowery, background instrument. While it can be that, the flute can also be very percussive and funky. I always set out to show that the flute can be a mainstream instrument, just like sax and guitar.

Cliff T.: Ragan, you’re no stranger to the scene, this is your fourth album, what do you think sets Treblemaker apart from your earlier work?

Ragan W.: When we started working on this album, we set the intention of creating songs that focused on making people feel good. That type of focus really opened us up creatively and allowed us to expand more.

Cliff T.: Is there a favorite track on this album, and if so which one and why?

Ragan W.: That’s a tough one – each one is close to my heart for one reason or another. I guess if I had to choose, I would say “See You at the Get Down” since it fulfills a long-time dream of mine to have a full horn section on a tune. I am a huge fan of bands that feature horns like Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power. I’m a sucker for a good horn line.

Cliff T.: I see that you actually worked with Patrice Rushen, wow that is cool. What was it like to work with her and the likes of Bob Baldwin and did they help out on this album?

Ragan W.: Patrice Rushen is such an inspiration – she is doing all of the things I aspire to do one day. On top of that, she’s a nice person. She wasn’t involved with Treblemaker, but Bob was. I’ve worked with Bob for many years and have learned a lot from him. His ear is absolutely sick, so you can’t get away with anything that even hints at being a wrong note!

Cliff T.: At age 5 you got into music, have learned to play piano, violin drums but in the end choose to play the flute as well as sing. The flute, what drew you to it? And, what about Jazz drew you to this genre.

Ragan W.: Believe it or not, I did not want to play the flute. When it came time to choose an instrument in the 4th grade, I wanted to play the drums but they didn’t let girls play the drums at the time. So I said, “ok, I’ll play the trumpet” but they ran out of trumpets. The only instruments they had left were the flute and the clarinet. The flute was shinier so I went with that. (smile). As for what drew me to Jazz…it’s the freedom of expression that is most appealing to me.

Cliff T.: I know the feeling I wanted to play drums in high school, instead I took up the Euponium, trust me I am a better writer than a musician. Randis Music is your label, since 2007, congratulations on that as well.

Ragan W.: Thanks! Dennis Johnson (producer/songwriter/engineer) and I formed it when it seemed like Smooth Jazz opportunities were drying up. (Randis is a combination of our names). It feels good to know that I have an opportunity to release music on my own. Thank goodness for technology!

Cliff T.: Will you be going on tour to promote this album?

Ragan W.: Yes – we are in the process of lining up dates now.

Cliff T.: Excellent, Ragan thanks again for doing a Candid Conversation. I really appreciate your time, and wish you much success with Treblemaker and Randis Music.

Ragan Whiteside, flutist singer. Her newest work Treblemaker on Randis Music debuts this month. She spoke with us from Atlanta, GA.


Treblemaker (2017) – Hear sound clips at
Quantum Drive (2014)
Evolve (2012)
Class Axe (2007)

Randis Music

Interesting fact, Ragan Whiteside holds a degree from Harid Conservatory, where her sound was honed with the tried-and-true classical training, graduating with a Bachelor of Music Performance degree.