Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 27 (where did the year go ?)

I passed, of all things, what appears to be a Christmas Tree lot setting up for operation four days before Halloween. I appreciate that times are tough (believe me, I get it) but really, don't you think we should wait until the plastic skulls are packed away and the rotting pumpkins are composted (one hopes) ? A busy month. Release gigs for two cds I played on, gigs at Mikey's Juke Joint (solo every Tuesday plus a Saturday night with the 5-piece Electro-Fires), Saturday jams plus a solo gig at the new Blues Can, and one-nighters in High River and the Crowsnest Pass. I just had a re-order yesterday for the "When I Was A Cowboy" cd (from and have begun the annual grind of applying for next year's far I only have the Filberg Festival in Comox (Vancouver Island) for August long week-end. The re-released disc "Evenings Among Friends" is selling well at gigs (boy, do I miss Festival Distribution) and should be up on in the next few days.

If anyone had told me a year ago that Calgary would elect a liberal, Harvard educated, brown-skinned Muslim for mayor, while Toronto elected a boob who looks like Chris Farley and acts like an extreme satire of Ralph Klein on steroids, I would have called for an ambulance with restraints to take you back to the institution you'd so clearly escaped from. I now hope city council can stop their bickering ways and unite behind him, and that the populace doesn't expect a miracle in sixty days like so many former Obama supporters did.

I'm enjoying staying put for awhile, although I'm planning two tours of B.C. and one each of Northern Saskatchewan and Northern Alberta/B.C. in the new year. Still no word on the new blues mandolin dvd from, but how much longer can it be ? Surely by summer. Stay warm as the weather gets colder...many of the places I play get quite warm (they serve beer and cocktails to counterbalance that). Hope to see you at a gig soon !

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Falling Into Autumn

October got off to a crazy start for me with two gigs on the 2nd...the inaugural jam at the Blues Can, Calgary's newest blues venue in the old Ironwood space in Inglewood, where the place looked great and there were a slew of familiar faces, and Mikey's Juke Joint for the release (vinyl !) of Erin Ross's new recording. Tomorrow I drive south to Crowsnest Pass for a gig at the beautiful Blackbird Cafe, a former Catholic church with great acoustics, great food, and a great staff, in the town of Coleman. Early start on that show (7 pm). Tuesday is my usual solo gig at Mikey's, and Wednesday night I'll be putting in an appearance at the Ironwood Stage & Grill open stage.

I'm enjoying playing my newest acquisition, a trade, a lovely little Aria electric mandolin. This one is very nicely built with extremely nice pick-up and hardware, and will save me beating up Old Buckwheat, the all-birch Stella mando from the '20s which is now an acoustic-gig-only instrument (I'll still plug it in, but it won't be lying around on cluttered stages or having the crap beat out of it in loud rooms).

For the immediate future I'm hosting the Saturday afternoon blues jam at The Blues Can, Calgary's newest Blues venue on 9th Avenue in Inglewood. I'll also be doing my usual Tuesday solo gig at Mikey's, along with two private functions, an appearance as sideman with Little Miss Higgins and Foy Taylor at the Bow Valley Music Club on the 16th (a great double-bill with Ray Bonneville...if that one's not sold out don't miss it) and a gig with the five-piece Electro-Fires at Carlson's On Macleod in High River on the 22nd. Coming up in November is a gig at the Nickelodeon Folk Club with the brilliant John Reischman and the Jaybirds, one of the best bluegrass bands out there, led by one of the best mandolinists anywhere. I have a soft spot for the Nick because it was the first of Calgary's several folk clubs to give me a job, and I've played there so many times over the years with so many great acts (shows with Tom Russell and Ian Matthews spring immediately to mind).

I find myself wishing I could vote in Calgary's upcoming mayoral election, because I think if enough people cu through their apathy to check out Naheed Nenshi, they'll see there is (finally) a real alternative to "business as usual" at City Hall, with all of us paying to keep the land developers rich and busy. MacIvor is a back room boy so dishonest he can't even look a camera in the eye, and Barb Higgins reads the news...if you think media celebrities make good politicians (Ralph Klein, Arnold Schwartzenegger, or my favorite, Ronald Reagan) then what are you doing reading this ? Enough...just look at their platforms (or the lack thereof) and do what your brain tells you to.