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

Monday, February 28, 2005

Day Two at the Folk Alliance was gangbusters. Of course I slept in past any of the panels and workshops - I was up till 4:30 am jamming with David Jacobs-Strain, Guy Davis, Syd Cassone and Linda Tillery and most of her Cultural Heritage Choir. Some beautiful harmonies were wafting through that hotel room. I was so glad I had brought my bass and amp. I played it real quiet - maybe too quiet because I realized at one point that I was guessing the ket because I couldn't quite see where Guy Davis had his guitar capoed. I realized after a chorus and a bit that I was playing in the wrong key (half a tone flat, actually). I stopped for a bit then slipped back in but I was mortified that someone with more sensitive ears than me would have had to endure that. Nobody said anything, or looked over so maybe it was so low that they couldn't tell either.

I guess I should say the best part of the day was my own showcase. There was a small group in the room and some lurkers in the hall. I think everybody had a pretty good time including Fred, the owner of my record label. I had a few friends in the front who sang along on Saab Story and that was cool. Fred told me that the NorthernBlues Sampler (which includes Saab Story) is currently in listening posts in Borders stores all across the US.

I was not very encouraged by the American agents I spoke to. They do not relish working with Canadian artists (unless they have dual citizenship like my pals Michael Jerome Browne and Alan Gerber) because getting them into the States is such a hassle. You have to request the visa way in advance or pay the extortionary $1000 fee for "expediting" the process. If I want to break into New England, I think I'll have to organize it for myself the first couple of times.

On Saturday there was a special presentation to Kate & Anna McGarrigle with special guest Emmylou Harris. Michael Jerome Browne was showcasing in the Borealis suite so I spoke to him for a few moments before he went on and gave him an advance copy of my CD (he plays on four tracks). He was heading off directly to Australia. The couple who were backing him up in the "Twin Rivers String Band" were great. They perform as a duo as well - I think they're called "Ball and Chain".

Got to see "The Bills" for the first time and they are "as advertised" - high-energy good time music. They came right out into the audience...that's what I like to see - that's what I like to do.

Mort Goss, who manages the Duhks, told me they had recorded one of my friend Allan Fraser's tunes on their new album. I brought Allan and his wife Donna over to the hotel the next day and the whole band got to meet Allan and they gave him a copy of the CD. They were thrilled to meet the composer of "Dance Hall Girls" and he got a real ego boost. Other people came up to him as well and you can bet half of the people at that gathering had a Fraser & DeBolt album in their collection.