BLOGGING AND VLOGGING FROM CANADA'S BEST KNOWN UNDISCOVERED OLD WHITE BLUESMAN

Monday, February 9, 2004

Winterfolk week-end and other stuff

Hello Grandfather. I've been putting off this update because every night more interesting stuff is happening - nothing that speeds along my own recording project. But it's good for me to write up my progress, even when it's slow, to reassure myself that I am moving forward in one general direction. I picked up a carved turtle at the Pow-Wow and I've nbeen wearing it. I actually had a vision of myself as a turtle and you would probably agree that it's a good fit for my personality.



The new album is underway. Now we're making plans for mixing and renowned mixer MH came to the house the other day and listened to some of the tracks on my computer. He showed me how he wants the files exported and we're going to do a dry run. At least that's the plan.



Meanwhile, last night - just when I was about to start exporting a tune, I was checking email and found a message from TQ telling me he was backing up a great singer at the Senator and this would be the last night to check it out. His initials are DK. He sang some pretty bluesy stuff and he really pulled off Etta James' "At Last" with just the piano accompanyment (but why he didn't use the whole band on that one is a mystery to me). He's planning a release in May, the same time as me, so it will be interesting to watch his progress. He's got the big push happening - and some serious $$$ behind him (I only hope I will have some serious $$$ *ahead* of me)



The night before that, my buddy RK was in town and we did a little jammin' and also had a night out at the Lula Lounge - a venue he'd never seen and it was a good night to get a feeling for the place - the big stage was filled to capacity with a Cuban-style "Orchestre" - strings, flute and three male singer/perccussionists out front.



But back to Winterfolk, grandfather. This was the second year for this festival and they did it again without any private or public support. BG risks his fortune every time - but then he gets to play as much as he wants. Not a bad trade off, because lots of other people get to play.



Some joked that this was the folk festival for artists who can't get booked at the major Ontario folk festivals. Well I haven't played too many folk fetivals, and none last season so I guess I qualify. But there was a good mix of talent, forks who've played hundreds of festivals, and others who haven't played a single one - many of them were the winners of the showcase slots and some travelled from quite far (Colorado?).



If the best showcase is a festival apperance, I hope I'll be able to snag one or two this summer. I did not send out a single package this year but I've still got a few days to get through to someone. The shows at Winterfolk went great - good audiences for both.



I didn't have a watch so some people around might have thought I was being a little niggly, always asking the time and fretting. Well, no wonder! The festival turnaround times had been calculated from the time it took to swith from one guitar player to another. Essentially no changeover time. When the changes started taking half-an-hour, things got backed up. But when the stage manager said to me "we're running late" I was a bit shocked. I work for the jazz festival, and you live by the clock. If for some reason your start time is delayed you do not under any circumstance run into the next artists's performnace time.



That's kind of what happened to me. I was hosting a Delta Blues Guitar Workshop and we were to come on at 11pm. Well, at 10:30, the previous band should have been winding down, but they played right up to 11 and beyond. (Mind you MR & TB were great!) Still, I knew I'd try to be off in time for the headliner to start at his appointed time. JdeK arrived at the club just as we were going on. He thought he had timed it so he would walk in at just the right moment to set up but I told one of his guys that we'd be doing two songs each and then they could have the stage. He seemed quite relieved and as it turned out we finished just after midnight. It was probably another half hour before he started...probably closer to one, when I thought it would be closed down. It would not be a good thing to be the artist that went overtime and caused a very short set by the headliner.



On the second night I did a feature set (also at the Dollar) and it went great considering I decided to play without getting smashed. The Friday night I was smashed (well, not smashed but not sharp, either). I forgot the second verse to Girlfriend Blues, one of my oldest and most popular songs. Then to add insult to injury, I came back at the second verse again after the guitar solo thinking I can't possibly blank out again...and I did! So the second night I play it straight and I had as much fun as you can imagine, but wouldn't you know, I still forgot some words. That was my lesson of the day.



What do you think of that radio station that fired their program director because of improprieties only to have him proven innocent by a forensic audit. Then he fires all the staff that "conspired" to remove him. Then...are you following this??? he's proven guilty of something or other and fired and the fired people are brought back. And as far as I know, the station is still rudderless.