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Coffeehouse Musician Profile. Friday Night Live Music With John Pippus

Trees Organic Friday Night Live Music Vancouver
Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House is committed to supporting the local music scene as much as it is to serving the best fresh roast organic coffee and hand-crafted cheesecake! For over 10+ years, our café on Granville Street has been the only independent coffee shop serving up Friday night live music on a regular, year-round basis in downtown Vancouver. The coffeehouse music event has become a mainstay for people wanting to enjoy live music in an intimate setting and for singers, songwriters or musicians to perform. The host of our successful Friday evenings is blues-folk-rock artist John Pippus. We caught up with John to get an update on the live music nights and his musical career.

Friday Night Live Music at Trees Organic

The live music night was started by Carly Rae Jepsen when she worked at Trees Organic as a barista and baking assistant. In 2006, John took over hosting the event from Jepsen, who later gained international music success. To this day, nine years later, John continues to book the musical talent for the Friday music evenings, as well as perform on occasion. Every Friday, there are three performances on stage between 8-10 pm.

TO. How would you describe the atmosphere of the Friday music nights?
John. It’s a real coffeehouse experience – candles on the tables, dim lighting, and an audience that is there for the music, plus the coffee and cheesecake! Being known as a listening venue keeps performers and the audience coming back for more. Most other venues are noisy, where the musicians have to struggle to be heard, or have to play well known covers. We focus on original, acoustic music and this policy hasn’t changed in the nine years I’ve been doing the booking.

TO. What is the mix of local and out-of-town performers? And, how do performers get booked?
John. About 80% of the performers are local and 20% are from out-of-town, with more touring acts in the summer. Our music nights are well known in the musician circles as a good place to play; therefore, performers mostly approach me for bookings. Anyone interested in performing should send their website link to me first and we’ll go from there.

TO. With so many performances at Trees Organic over the years, are there any that stand out?
John. Recently, Haley Blais brought out an attentive crowd, even a fan who drove up from Bellingham. In the past we’ve had Dan Mangan, Hannah Georgas, Wanting Qu – who have all gone on to major success. They all stood out, but there are so many more that created musical magic throughout the years.

TO. What is your one advice for performers just starting in the business?
John. Play open mics. They’re great for honing your performance skills, networking, and scoring gigs. Open mics give you the feedback you need to tell you how you’re doing. They are welcome to play at the Thursday Open Mic nights at Trees Organic, hosted by Marq DeSouza.

John Pippus – Singer, Songwriter and Musician

John Pippus Trees Organic

Born in Winnipeg, John has lived in Vancouver for most of his life. He got his start in music early when he learnt how to play rock and roll on his guitar during summer camp at the age of 15. After playing off and on for most of his life, he began writing and performing more seriously about 12 years ago. Since then, he has released four albums, toured as a solo artist or with his band in Ontario, Vancouver Island, and in The Netherlands. Plus, he’s had some great collaborations, including Ra McGuire (Trooper’s lead singer and founder), Eric MacFadden (P-Funk and Eric Burden’s guitarist), and acclaimed producers/songwriters such as Winston Hauschild, Jeff Dawson, and Mario Vaira.

TO. Your music spans many genres, from rock, blues, folk, pop to country. What is the predominant style of your music today?
John. I’ve released four full-length albums. The last two were blues-based and I’ve become known as a ‘“bluesman”. But for the past year, I’ve been writing more pop songs, amped-up singer/songwriter tunes. I think it’s because when I write these days, I’m often thinking about my band and what would work in that context. So the quieter, confessional story songs are taking a back seat, while the more upbeat, dance or groove based songs get more of my attention. But every once in a while, I write something, take it to my band , and they say – “no, this is one you should just do solo”.

TO. Your story-telling lyrics have earned high praise. Can you tell us about your song writing process and where do you get your inspiration?
John. Writing a song that not only has a catchy melody, but also original lyrics and a unique viewpoint that resonates time after time, is always the goal. My inspiration generally comes from just living, keeping my eyes and ears open, thinking about things and then when I stumble on a melody, riff, or chord structure that suggests a certain mood (despair, hope, anger, etc.) I start mumbling syllables and sounds that fit that particular musical fragment I’m working on. And depending on what I’ve been thinking about, those primal sounds turn into recognizable words and I go from there to craft what I have into a possible song.

TO. Congratulations on the recent release of your new EP – The Hindenburg Affair! What is the story behind the making of this EP, particularly the plot for the song Burn?
John. Well, “Burn” sounds pretty raunchy on the first listen. But it’s really about two, shall we say, edgy lovers. It’s not autobiographical! It’s just a song! My co-writer, Aynsley Leonard and I were playing around with the chord structure and I think she came up with the first couple of lines (“You broke a wine glass over my head / I grabbed you pushed you down on the bed”), like out of nowhere, and we just went from there. “Burn” is one of three songs we recorded one day in November at the Hindenburg Nightclub. We were doing three live performance videos with a professional video crew. As it turned out, after the final mixing, I was so pleased with the results and released the songs as an audio-only EP, along with posting the songs on Youtube. You can see and hear all three tracks – Burn, Secret World and Call Me the Breeze – here.

TO. What is your favourite song to perform and the story behind it?
John. I have probably a dozen songs that I would call favorites. A few I like doing solo are “Shopping Cart Joe”, “Half A World Away”, “Blurry Photograph” (from my first EP released in 2006) and “This Is Our Time”.  Songs I like playing with my band include some of the groove-based blues tracks like “Whole Lot Of Your Love”. No, it’s not the Led Zep song, it’s my own track (with the same or similar name). The instrumental version of this song is the closing theme on a weekly national current affairs program on CBC radio called “The 180 Show”. I’ve got a couple of newer ones, not recorded yet, that I do with the band because I like the three-part harmonies.

TO. Who are you musical influences and what are you listening to these days?
John. The usual suspects for someone of my vintage: The British Invasion bands of the 60s, Motown acts like Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. The California bands of the late 60s and early 70s. A huge influence continues to be the folk blues artists like Robert Johnson, Son House, Ledbelly and the Chicago bluesmen like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Paul Butterfield and so on. That said, I’ve been learning more cover songs lately that my band can do to keep the dance floor hopping. The last song I learned was “Lonely Boy” by The Black Keys, before that it was “Valerie” by The Zutons but made famous by Amy Winehouse. My friend in Ohio, Peter Ross, sent me the new Alabama Shakes album the other day and I’ve been working my way through that. Some pretty solid R&B tracks on there. St. Paul and The Broken Bones are another amazing R&B group I would love to see perform live.

We wish John continued success with the Friday night events! Please join us weekly for coffeehouse live music at our cafe on Granville Street, with no cover charge, and be sure to check the schedule for upcoming performers.

Get a Taste of Summer with a Verry Berry Cheesecake

Verry Berry Cheesecake from Trees Organic Vancouver
This May, warm up to summer with Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House’s feature cheesecake – Verry Berry!  It is a refreshing cheesecake full of summertime flavours with a medley of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Harmony of Berry Layers

Made with real berries, the Verry Berry Cheesecake delivers a harmony of berry layers, where each fruit is blended with our signature cheesecake recipe. Atop the graham crumb crust, there’s a layer of strawberry followed by blackberry, raspberry, and crowned by a blueberry layer with a splash of fresh berries.

Verry Berry Cheesecake from Trees Organic Vancouver

Bursting with Breezy, Berryluscious Flavours

The Verry Berry Cheesecake has a breezy light texture that simply melts in your mouth, but bursts with juicy character. Even the shades of summer are captured in its fusion of blushing pink and lavender colours. Plus, the nutrient-rich berries offer a superior source of antioxidants that have potential health benefits. The cheesecake’s fluffy quality and gentle berry sweetness makes the Verry Berry one of the more memorable in our collection of cheesecakes. It is so ‘berryluscious’, and some say it tastes like decadent yoghurt, you may even want it for breakfast!

Made from scratch at our in-house bakery, the Verry Berry Cheesecake is available at our five café locations for May. It can be enjoyed by the slice or as a whole cake in 3 sizes – 6″, 8″ and 10″. The Verry Berry Cheesecake is berry good for all occasions or simply to celebrate the start of summer!

Verry Berry Cheesecake from Trees Organic Vancouver

Mother’s Day Gift Card Special

Trees Organic Gift Card special for Mother's Day

This Mother’s Day, surprise mom with a Trees Organic gift card for any organic coffee, famous cheesecakes and other delicious treats from Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House.  As a special sweet deal for Mother’s Day, we’re offering a FREE slice of cheesecake with the purchase of a $25 gift card, now until May 10th!

A Trees Organic gift card provides you or your mother with lots of choices.  Using the gift card, she can enjoy anything on her wish list – coffees, coffee beans, teas, cookies, scones, muffins, cheesecakes, sandwiches, soups and much more – at any of our five cafe locations.  Or, you can use the gift card to indulge mom with a whole cheesecake or thank her with time together, catching up at one of our cafes.  Mother’s Day is coming up quick so get your $25 gift card and FREE slice of cheesecake soon.

Trees Organic cards have no expiry dates and can be reloaded and reused. Don’t forget to register the card for balance protection in case of loss or theft and extra perks.

This offer is available from May 4- 10, 2015 at participating Trees Organic locations. Valid on new card activations only. Not valid with any other promotional offers.

Mother's Day

Baking It Right Daily!

In the early morning hours of every Vancouver day, it’s a busy time behind the scenes at the in-house bakeries of Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House. Few patrons realize that a range of our baked goods are made fresh, from scratch, daily in the back of our cafes. We take you backstage for an up-close look at how our dedicated baking team, particularly at the Arbutus Street cafe (Kitsilano), rises to the occasion each morning, baking it right to give you the freshest products for the start of your day!

Fresh Baked Goods at Trees Organic


Single Origin Coffee Profile. Peru

Trees Organic, as a boutique coffeehouse and roaster, champions single origin beans for our collection of coffees because we are passionate about offering distinct flavour experiences.  The appreciation of single origin vs blended beans for coffee, similar to that of single varietal vs blended grapes for wine, come down to personal preference.  However, the buzz around single origin coffees continues to grow, especially among coffee connoisseurs.

Single origin coffee typically refers to coffee from one country, but it can also represent a region or farm.  In our quest to provide the best coffee experience for our clients, we serve 10 single origin, organic, and natural shade grown coffees, under fair trade conditions.  Each country has its own unique coffee story to share and a glimpse of their coffee producing culture can provide a better appreciation for the coffee.  On this occasion, we’re highlighting our coffee from Peru.

Freshly roasted Peruvian Coffee from Trees Organic Vancouver


Coffeehouse Musician Profile. Kristina Lao

Kristina Lao performing at Trees Organic

Friday nights at Trees Organic Coffeehouse (Granville Street) come alive with music to accompany our popular organic coffee and famous cheesecakes!  For years, the weekly lineup of musical entertainment has been carefully curated and hosted by music legend, John Pippus.  The list of upcoming acts in April is sure to impress.  One artist that stands out is Kristina Lao, a Hong-Kong born singer-songwriter-actor that recently relocated to Vancouver from London, UK, where she graduated from the London School of Musical Theatre.  Kristina will perform live on April 17, along with Travis Ree and David Paterson.  We caught up with Kristina to learn more about her and her music. (more…)

Coffeehouse Musician Profile. Jodi Doidge

Jodi Doidge performing at Trees Organic

Where in Vancouver can you experience the best cheesecake, organic coffee, and live music? Only at Trees Organic! There’s an extraordinary lineup, in March, of musical talent for our popular and weekly Friday live music nights at our flagship Granville Street coffeehouse. To kick things off, performances by Jodi Doidge, Haley Blais, and the Familiar Wild band are a must-see.  Haley Blais combines her soft fluttering vocals with her unique ukulele music, while the band Familiar Wild delivers a distinct sound between orchestral folk and melodic pop.  Jodi Doidge, a Vancouver-based ‘vocal songbird and musical maven’, is our highlighted musician this month.   Her heartfelt lyrics and music are a fusion of various styles – alt-pop, country, folk, rock and indie.  To give you a better appreciation of her work and upcoming projects, Trees Organic is happy to share our recent chat with Jodi. (more…)

Go Nuts Over Almond Marzipan Cheesecake in March

Almond Marzipan Cheesecake Trees Organic
Marzipan, in various languages, means the ‘bread of March’. Therefore, it seems only fitting that we pay tribute to this beloved confection as this month’s featured cheesecake – Almond Marzipan.   Imagine a creamy blend of marzipan with hits of almond bits, combined to create one of our more scrumptious cheesecakes. (more…)

Happy Chinese New Year! $25 Gift Card for $20

Chinese New Year at Trees OrganicHere in multicultural BC, Chinese New Year arrives with a traditional combination of family, fun and fireworks. We’re getting into the spirit with a lucky offer for all of our customers!

From February 12 to 19 at participating Trees Organic locations (Granville, Yaletown, Kitsilano and Richmond), get a $25 gift card for just $20!

You can use your gift card to purchase anything in the cafe, such as our line of teas from around the world, cookies or one of our delicious cheesecakes to add a sweet surprise to your traditional family gathering.

Get a gift card for good luck this season. Don’t forget to register it for added security and extra perks. Gung Hay Fat Choi!

Offer valid February 12-19, 2015. Valid on new card activations only. Not valid with any other promotional offers.

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