Monday, August 23, 2010

Still A Month From Autumn

If, like me, you are driven crazy by talking heads who start moaning on June 1st "Where's Summer ?", you probably are smart enough to know that seasons change by the solstices and equinoxes, not by the school calendar and the advertising schedules of shopping malls etc. That being said, with approximately a month until Autumn, man it feels autumnal out there. Here's hoping for a nice September/October !

A big thanks to everyone at Rusty Reed's House of Blues (management, staff, and the kick-ass house band) and everybody who came down to see the show. Saturday night was exceptional fun - the band was on fire, the house was full, and numerous musicians in town for the Labatts Edmonton Blues Festival dropped by. "Hurricane" Dave Hoerl and Brandon Issaks of Hurricane and the Twisters, Steve Kozak and Roger Brandt all sat in and numerous local and traveling musicians sent the good vibes to the stage. The new club is great, with a menu to match. Although next time I either want a higher stage or my own "dancing Drunks" police (I took a microphone to the head both nights).

Got up on 5 hours sleep to make my afternoon gig in Calgary, only to be held up for AN HOUR in downtown Edmonton by runners for a marathon. I reached the booker for the venue (Parkland Community Association) and he decided between the shitty weather and my likely delay we should cancel. However, Parkland is planning some events over the coming Autumn so look for a re-booking there.

This week it's Mikey's Juke Joint solo on Tuesday night, Mount Royal College for a guitar clinic on Wednesday afternoon, the Ironwood Stage & Grill on Friday (wih Suitcase and Kevin on bass & drums and accordionist Howard "Schmengie" Chapman. I'm waiting for one license from CBC to send the re-master of "Evenings Among Friends" (a "live" solo disc) for manufacture, so stay tuned for a "re-release party."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Turning A Page

Last night at Mikey's Juke Joint was a total blast ! Thanks to John and Oli from the land down under for the opening set, and thanks to buddy Bryan Bowers for joining me ( sans autoharp) on a version of "Po' Lazarus"...he hung out at my gig before getting up at 6 a.m. on his birthday to go hiking in the Rockies. Speaking of birthdays, I want to thank all the well-wishers for the outpouring of birthday greetings last week; it was truly great. One of the many non-negotiable percs of being a roots artist is the sense that time doesn't run out on you and you can keep doing what you do. No messy hair-pieces or dye-jobs, and no oldies packages in casinos (thank the stars).

The rest of this week is busy, with a private function on Thursday, two nights at old pal Rusty Reed's House of Blues (Edmonton) and Sunday afternoon for the Parkland Community Association. I'm in the very last stages of re-releasing "Evenings Among Friends" (my live solo disc from 2000) with a couple new tracks and a wonderful re-mastering job by Dave Horrocks of Infinite Wave Mastering. Pending manufacturing delays I might have it in hand by Labour Day. Also on the horizon is the release of my blues mandolin instructional dvd from Learn Roots Music.

I had to go yesterday to Megatunes, Calgary's great indie music store, to sort out our business dealings before they shut their doors. Although there was good news (they were sold out of my stuff and instead of carrying cds home I'm waiting on a check) it was like sitting at the death bed of a dear friend. I keep reading about vinyl and even cassette making a come-back, and yet distributors and retailers of independent music keep dropping like flies...will it ever end ? Keep on supporting the music you love by attending shows, purchasing worthwhile recordings, and in general keeping the faith.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sweet Home Alberta

After a crazy five weeks, I'm home for most of the Autumn now, and my Tuesday nights at Mikey's Juke Joint resume tonight. It was a great condensed rush of the summer festival season and I want to thank the Pincher Creek Cowboy Poets Gathering, The Solstice Festival in South Calgary, Vancouver Island Music Fest (and Derek Bird at Vancouver CBC who recorded the mainstage for "Canada Live"), The Harrison Festival of the Arts, The Dream Cafe (Penticton, BC), The Island Mountain Arts School and Arts Wells Festival in Wells, BC, The North Country Stomp (Driftpile First Nation, Alberta), The Blue Loon Grill (Clearwater BC) and the Calgary International Blues Festival.

There are upcoming gigs at the Ironwood, Rusty Reed's House of Blues (Edmonton) and others, so please check the calendar from time to time. R.I.P. Megatunes - another of the brilliant independent recorded music stores expires at the end of this month.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer tour, 2nd leg

A week of teaching slide/fingerstyle guitar at Island Mountain Arts School and performances in the Sunset Theatre and St. Gregory's Church (all in Wells, BC) finished out July in high fashion. It was good to see friends Linda McRae (too brief) and Ken Whitely (too much fun). Then it was on to the Driftpile First Nation at Lesser Slave Lake for a set at the First North Country Stomp, followed by a hang with Romi Mayes and Jason Nowicki (Romi's guitar player and a member of the Perpetrators). A long holiday-clogged drive home where I'm doing the rock star stuff : bank, litter bokes, laundry, change strings and re-pack the car for tomorrow's drive to Clearwater (North of Kamloops on the Yellowhead Highwayin BC) for 2 nights at the Blue Loon Grill. Home in time to play with old pal Morgan Davis at the Calgary International Blues Festival (a late show in the ballroom of the Ramada Inn) on Saturday. Tuesdays resume at Mikey's next week, and there's lots more going on, so check the calendar !