Monday, March 21, 2011

Down in Mexico

Back from the Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival, I'm looking forward to resuming my usual Tuesday solo gig at Mikey's Juke Joint tomorrow (Mar. 22). The festival was great, a gathering of world-class players from (this year) Canada, the U.S., Mexico and South Africa. Money was raised to pay a music teacher for the local casa de cultura, and Mexico worked the same magic on me it always has. I played the jam at the Blues Can, couldn't sleep, and left for the airport at 4 a.m. on the Sunday morning. -20 and a lot of snow. Everything went suspiciously smooth at the airport, flight on time, guitar and bag checked through to Zihuatanejo even though I changed planes in Phoenix. In Mexico, my guitar and luggage were waiting for me in the baggage area, I hit the lottery button which decides whether you go through one last inspection, got the green light and hit the lobby where I was met by Catherine Krantz (AD for the festival).

The musicians were put up in two guest-house complexes beside one another in Playa la Ropa ("Clothes Beach", named for some shipwreck which deposited fabric on the shore), about 1 1/2 miles from downtown. I was the first one in; I put on shorts and watched the sun set while bands played ranchera and some minor-key local style tune, listening to crocodiles splash in the estuary on the beach.

The week went by in a blur of great music and new friends, a few old friends I'd made when I did the festival before and a handfull of fans from Canada. Flamenco, blues, rock, singer-songwriters and Gypsy jazz mingled with classical and Mexican guitar styles every night with a few good jams thrown in (okay, and a few bottles of local mezcal).

Home again, clear my desk and computer of neglected items which accumulated over the 10 days I was gone, then the Blues Can jam, a western swing rehearsal, and now Mikey's on Tuesday, Rusty Reed's House of Blues (Edmonton) Thurs./Fri., Demmit, Alberta on Saturday, and the Jack Singer concert hall here in Calgary on Sunday with (among others) Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. End-of-the-month brings a 2-nighter at the Blues Can with old pal Big Dave Maclean (Apr. 1-2). Tune in again for itenerary of my West Coast tour April 6-17 !