Thank You for Changing the World

Dear friends, We’ve made memories and connections that will last us a lifetime. We’ve witnessed firsthand how alive and well the spirit of community really is. We’ve been through peaks and valleys on a journey that continually brought us to meaningful places full of generous people. After over 3 months and 20,000 KM, the “Vehicle of Change” is officially parked (for now) and I thank YOU for making this life changing experience happen. Someone along the road said to us that it seems the currency of the tour was not “money” but rather “giving”, meaning people offered whatever they could to keep things rolling. Whether it be the folks in Outlook, Saskatchewan who offered us their motel to lay our heads, the church manager in Toronto who postponed his vacation so he could donate his much needed services to the venue, or Stewart and Lily-Jean who got the “pay it forward” spirit started by donating our ride for the tour, everyone’s contributions meant the world to so many people across the continent. Of course there are the 70+ charities themselves who should be recognized for continually providing support for very deserving people. I’m telling you folks, don’t buy into the mindset of thinking that the world is falling apart and we have nothing to strive for. Yes, things are constantly changing. We have fear, obstacles and horrible occurrences. We also live in uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring. We do, however, have tons of good left in us to combat the things that challenge us with the biggest weapon being love. We’ve seen what love can do and seeing how it can breed things like understanding, generosity and ultimately change. This tour wasn’t about us musicians playing shows in random locations. Music was just our way of contributing. In fact, it wasn’t about anybody as individuals. It was a collective attempt to shine a spotlight on a concept that deserves its time to shine, goodness. It’s comforting to know that concept lives in the souls of many. Be well everybody and we’ll see you in the next chapter… Love,...

“Change” – Justin’s Blog Post

Happy love month to all! I trust 2013 is keeping everyone out there well so far. If not, I hope that some peace finds you soon. If you had said to me 8 or so months ago that we would be getting ready to release a new album in the very near future and that we’d be embarking on months of touring, I would’ve highly doubted the possibility. Like I’m sure it was for many, 2012 was pretty eventful for this guy and in ways that came close to changing my life forever. We’ll be sharing stories as we get closer to album release time but I’ll tell you this, without the loving support of everyone around me (including all of you), this year wouldn’t be shaping up as it is right now. A huge heartfelt thank you to…well…everyone. I think ultimately what people love most about music is that it makes them feel something. A listener can essentially dictate the emotions they will experience at any given moment depending on what they choose to listen to on their iPod, record player or CD player. What’s equally as fascinating is that it is almost the complete opposite for the creator(s) of music. Their emotions and feelings will end up dictating the music that they create. Either way, it’s an outlet for the soul. To me, it’s such an incredible relationship that people have with my favourite art form and not a day goes by that I don’t feel grateful to be so intertwined with it. On that note (no pun intended :), I must say that I’m quite anxious to share our new music with you as I can’t ever remember being as emotionally invested in an album this way. Something else that we’re very much looking forward to is the “Vehicle of Change” busking tour which we’re planning for later in the year. Info can be found by clicking the link on our main page but I can tell you now that this will undoubtedly be one of the most meaningful adventures I’ll ever be a part of. We’re going to be visiting communities across North America, playing wherever and whenever we can...

Wrapping up 2012

Hey there everyone! It’s a pleasure to have you here as we enter the final days of 2012. Here we are in December, once again, and I’m sure at some point you’ll hear the Andy Williams classic tune “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” blaring through the speakers of a crowded mall. I can’t help but wonder though how many people must roll their eyes after that first line is sung because they don’t quite share Mr. Williams’ joyful sentiment. You see, most likely, those people are about to make a purchase that will send them further into debt for someone they haven’t seen since the last Christmas’ family get-together. Ok, perhaps not the most uplifting way to start a blog but I’m going somewhere with this. For a lot of us here in the western world, we tend to see the Holiday Season as a giant ball of stress that is bouncing towards us with each passing month. Perhaps though, a little bit of a shift in thinking would help us see this time as a chance to hit the “reset” button on certain areas of our lives rather than only seeing it as an annual setback of both funds and energy. I don’t know too many who don’t get at least one day off at Christmas time so whatever our plans may be, why can’t we all take some time to just breathe and decide we’re going to change our approach to something(s) that we so desperately need some peace with?  I know what you’re thinking though, that’s an idealistic way of thinking. The reality is, this season is going to be different things to different people so how can we all just equally turn everything around when our lives are so obviously contrasting? After all, some of us will be spending Christmas with loved ones. Some will be surrounded by lots of people but far away from anyone they really care to be around. For others, they may find themselves, for whatever reason, simply in the company of themselves. It’s true, we’re not all living in the same set of circumstances but we do share some key things of...

New Chapter

Hey there folks, Thanks so much for stopping by! I trust everyone is having a meaningful October thus far. To our Canadian friends, a belated Happy Thanksgiving. That said, all of us around the globe should all find something to be thankful for each and every day. It’s fascinating to me how we tend to define the timeline of our lives by chapters. When we speak of time periods we often speak of our youth, middle age and finally our golden years. Within those periods are many moments that ultimately tell our story but it seems that when we’ve decided that a chapter is over, it’s over.  I’m sure some of you can relate to the feeling that you are embarking on something new without even fully understanding why you feel that way. I’m currently in that frame of mind as we get closer and closer to completing our latest album. Things somehow feel much different this time around and I can’t help but wonder what the next little while will look like. We’ve had some challenges this time around that have made me question if this is the best time to be recording new songs. Despite the seemingly daunting task however, it occurred to me that music can be the ultimate healer and in times when we are most vulnerable can some of our most heartfelt creations come to life. At the very least, this album will be an emotional one and definitely takes a snapshot of this current chapter. Thanks to everyone out there for being part of the book. There’s some pretty cool things on the horizon, one of which being the launch of our new special exclusively for our friends in the US and Japan on hulu.com. The footage has never been seen before and includes excerpts from some the most memorable moments of our travels as well as live performances. We’re very excited for people to see it, hope you’ll log on! We also have a very exciting show coming up on November 10th in Jacksonville, Florida. We’re doing a special afternoon concert alongside the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus at the Lazzara Performance Hall. The JJC does some amazing work...

A Letter To My Friends….

Hey there friends, Thanks so much as always for stopping by our little home on the big ol’ web. If you were to only read news headlines every day and completely isolate yourself from the world around you, I’d imagine it’d be pretty difficult to maintain faith in humanity. After all, you’re more likely to hear about the challenges our planet is facing over a regular citizen doing random wonderful things in their community. I totally acknowledge that we need to be aware of our struggles and to paint a picture of perfection is simply inaccurate. I’m very happy to report however that after visiting quite a few towns and cities across North America over the last year, I can confidently say there are tons of people having a very positive effect on the folks around them with tasks that are part of a lot of people’s everyday life. Teachers, for instance, have an incredibly important role in our society (which I suppose goes without saying) as they are essentially helping to shape and influence the minds of the future. I’m sure it is the hope of every parent out there that their child is getting an education that is not only informative, but enriching their personal development. This leads me to talk about a wonderful teacher by the name of Mr. Dave Humes and his amazing 4th grade class in Indianapolis who we recently had the chance to spend some time with. A few months prior, the class put together a wonderful video set to “Say What You Will” in which the kids wrote their own messages to loved ones and to the world as a whole. Each student then showed their message to the camera one by one. We were pretty moved by the video as well as all of the amazing letters the kids sent us, that we decided to make a surprise visit one day after a nearby show. It was an amazing experience and I could tell right away that this was a fantastic learning environment to be in, as I noticed words of inspiration and encouragement lining the walls. There are two videos below; one shows footage of...

Ordinary and Extraordinary

Hey there friends! Hope this February day finds you feeling good. It’s incredible that we have so many tools to keep in touch, so it seems like it’s time to do just that through the ol’ blog! Just wanted to start off by sending love to those who were close to one of the most amazing contributors to music the world has ever known, Whitney Houston. Like Michael Jackson, others before and likely many after, so much attention was given to Whitney’s life off stage. I’m sure most of you, however, would agree that she had a voice which could stir all kinds of emotion in her listeners. What a testament to her talent and to the beauty of music as a whole! I often wonder if there will ever come a time where people in the public eye, or perhaps even just everyday people can live out their journeys without judgement. A lofty hope indeed but a guy can dream, can’t he? Whitney, thank you for sharing your gift my friend and here’s to hoping you’ve found peace… Wherever you shine your light is where you see the most. I believe that statement to be proving true with every passing day. The incredible team I’m a part of has decided to make it a mission to seek out ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Since taking on that task, it’s been amazing to see these inspiring people showing up in our lives when we least expect it! I’d like to share two quick stories with you of those who have made an impact on us in our travels over the last few months. While on tour recently, my wife and I were having breakfast at a diner in Alexandria, Virginia. After we had finished and were in the process of paying for our meals, the waiter told us that it had already been taking care of by another customer. I was slightly puzzled and asked who was kind of enough to do this? As it turns out, one of their regular customers takes it upon himself to randomly pay for meals for the elderly, war veterans or people with physical challenges. He does so...

Justin’s Blog: The Unknown Road

Greetings everybody! It’s been quite a newsworthy few weeks for the world out there and it’s been no different for our little journey as well. Two weeks ago, “Days To Recall” was released and I can’t say enough how much of a privilege it is being part of a team who has channeled so much belief and energy into to seeing this little album be successful. I know that whatever the outcome might be, we’ll enjoy the ride but I’m admittedly feeling a little vulnerable these days with everything that’s going on. We’ve all been there and maybe some of you are there right now There are certain moments in our lives when we put a lot of importance on the outcome of something to the point where we’re not sure what we’ll do if it doesn’t pan out how we want. These days, I’m definitely having moments like that as we travel the unknown road. I’ve always believed that as human beings we do our most growing in moments of adversity and I know life always finds a way of making things work but I’m currently waiting for my heart to catch up to my mind. ☺ Speaking of rising above the struggle, does anyone know of someone who is doing or has done amazing work for their community? How about someone who has an inspiring spirit that makes you want to change the world? Are they perhaps a little under the radar and you think their story should be told to the masses? If so, then I’d love for you to check out a contest that is currently running on Sympatico. Check out this link and nominate someone who you think is a light in this world. http://sympaticocontests.ca/contests/justinhines/ We’ve had the chance to make some great memories in places like New York and California recently as we continue to promote the new album and PBS special. We’ve played a few shows, talked to some interesting people in the media and have had a blast asking people to support PBS along the way. I really like doing promo related things. It’s sort of like having a constant conversation although sometimes I wish we...

“The Show Must Go On” Justin’s Blog

Hi again friends! Been meaning to write this blog for a few days now but with a lot on the go and being under the weather, it’s been challenging to find an opportunity. We recently got back from a quick trip to London in the UK after doing a couple shows there and making some great memories. I was REALLY looking forward to this trip for a few reasons but knowing that my wee Granny (who is currently living in Northern Ireland and am lucky to see once a year) was going to be meeting us there certainly put it over the top exciting. I wasn’t sure if whether or not she’d make it out to the first show, which was an intimate performance at a place called the Slaughtered Lamb. I shouldn’t have doubted her though as my Granny is a very determined lady who brought tons of personality with her that eventful night and I was delighted to see her smiling face in the front row. I love that wee lady so dearly… My Mom also joined us for the trip and stayed behind in Belfast to be with my Granny for a few more weeks. I’m a lucky guy with wonderful ladies in my life. Anyway, I digress. I have to tell you all about our journey to actually play this first show. We weren’t actually 100% sure if it was going to happen or not. Let me explain. Due to some misunderstanding, we weren’t actually aware that the venue itself was down a flight of stairs with no elevator access. Unfortunately, we didn’t find this information out until sound check time. This was a dilemma for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s next to impossible to carry my chair down stairs as it weighs close to 400 pounds and there aren’t many places to securely grab it. Basically, it wasn’t going to make the trip down. So then the challenge becomes how to do the show without my electric chair at all. I must admit, I wasn’t too open to the idea of doing the show in an alternative seating arrangement as a) I had never done it before, b)...

Justin’s First Blog Post

Hi Friends, Welcome to the brand new site! It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through the year already. I hope everyone out there has made some great memories so far. It’s been an eventful few months in music and there seems to be a running theme that has followed us on our travels. Whether it be townships in South Africa lending a hand to their local schools, fans of the arts in Italy coming out in droves to support a concert or even just friendly neighbors here at home keeping an eye out for the residences around them, the spirit of community is definitely alive and well in pockets of this big ol’ world of ours and I’ve been pretty inspired by that. It’s wonderful to see people embracing how much we need each other in this life. Well, that’s been my reality anyway. I’m truly living the dreams of my youth and I could spend all day crediting those who have made that possible. Some say that it’s a dog eat dog world…though I always thought dogs traveled in packs… An exciting time lies ahead for us as “Days To Recall” will be the first album we’ve released in the US thanks to our new friends at Decca. We also had a lot of fun taping our PBS special and getting the chance to share the stage with some of Canada’s greatest artists was beyond an honor. Thanks so so much to Sierra Noble, Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy, The Canadian Tenors and one of my musical heroes, Ron Sexsmith for lending their gifts to the stage that night. Look for the show to air on PBS sometime this fall. Speaking of Ron however, I’m on my way to a show at Massey Hall as part of a group of artists who will be paying tribute to his incredible collection of songs…living dreams indeed. Thanks so much everyone for stopping by and as always, much love!...