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

Friday, October 1, 2010

Blainletter #33 – September 28, 2010

In This Issue:

• Blues Campfire moves to Gladstone Hotel, Tues Oct 19

• Tuesday, October 5  7pm  Brian Blain with George Koller, bass (Live Recording) at Rebas Café & Gallery 3289 Dundas St. W.

• December 11 – Oliver Klaus reunion concert, Waterloo, Quebec

• Out and About

• Last Night I had the Strangest Dream


What have we here, two Blainletters in the same month? Well I thought I should get the word out that the Tuesday Campfire at Highway 61 is over in case anyone was planning to head out tonight. It's been a great run, 62 Campfires over the last 15 months…and I only missed one!

Last Tuesday was the "finale" and maybe the timing was right because I don't think I can eat another rib for a long time…no matter how "melt-in-the-mouth they are.  For my "last supper" on Tuesday I had the Macaroni & Cheese…and it was delicious (with crunchy caramelized onions on top).

I want to extend a sincere thank-you to Kerry, Ken and Matt who have a real musician-friendly attitude  and have been a great addition to the live blues scene in Toronto. They're running a business and they were very patient at times when there were more musicians than audience…and towards the end half the restaurant was taken up by our Campfire circle with all these  musicians enjoying their complimentary beers.

I also wanted to thank all my Campfire Buddies, though I can't remember you all. I was collecting names and email addresses at the beginning and had all these notes stashed in an envelope and now damned if I can find it.

Anyway many thanks to the "early adopters" Son Roberts & John, Joanne Crabtree and Jeff, Kevin Kenalty, Casey Van Gorkom, Jay the Mystery Man and Tony Burns. And to the "regulars" Malcolm Gould and Robert Davis, the new guys Bela Ray, Ed Roth, Stan Endersly, Ken Boynham (we were starting to sound like a band!)…and the youngsters Dean Arnold (& Dad Jon Arnold), River and Charlie "Sir Charles" and a few others whose names I forget.

I especially appreciate the folks who came in from out of town, Charlie A'Court from Nova Scotia, Russ Kelley from Ottawa, Douglas Watson and Jazz Williams from Kitchener, Lucia Jenkins from Florida, Rick Taylor from London, Sherman Lee Dillon from Mississippi, Max Cann from the UK, Garry Strand from Tennessee. And to the pros who took some time out to sit in: Gary Kendall, Drew Austin, Big Dave Maclean, Doc McLean, Dan Maclean, Michelle Josef, Mojo Willie, Jake Chisholm, Mark Sepik, Martin Aucoin, Scott Cushnie – The Prof…and all those lovely ladies who provided some much needed female energy in a BBQ joint, Roberta Hunt, Robin Banks, Julie Hill, Rita di Ghent, Ruth Jenkins, Paula Shear, Mary Simpson, Negrezia and Tree  and everybody else who came out to join in our shenanigans Ric Levenston, Garth Dynes, Hurricane Mike Thompson, John Shortill, Johnny White Dog, Max Brand, Norm Robinson, Olav Svela, Steve Raiken, Anthony Martel, Brian Gladstone, Cole Slatt, Ed Pavey, Wyatt, Chris, Phil, Paul, Ken and Alice the banjo gal.

I'm sure I've left out many, but we all have some great memories. The best for me was seeing the face of some of those youngsters jamming with the "big boys". I remember leaning over to River and saying "you realize that bass player plays with Downchild." I should not forget all the wonderful, supportive audience members who came out. Thanks and we'll see you again down the old Blues highway.

I hope we can continue to build up our Campfire Community as we take it "downtown."  The Gladstone is a very different scene and I'm prepared to let things develop and adapt to the new environment but I hope we can hold onto the Blues Campfire principles, where there's no such thing as too many guitar players and where it's fine to indulge in a long solo (as long as it's going somewhere).

Unfortunately, we can't resume a weekly jam so to start it will be the third Tuesday of the month. We'll see what happens in the new year  It starts Tuesday, October 19th so come on down and help us get off to a great start.

 

Live Recording at Reba's Café Tues October 5

The great benefit for me from the regular gig was making sure I got my guitar out of the case at lleast once a week, even in the quiet spells, and more importantly, running over my new tunes with a different group of players every time. I think they've settled quite nicely and it's time to lay them down. After my gig at Reba's Café a couple of weeks ago, I came away thinking that was a great sounding little room – and it is little, maybe room for 25-30 folks in the performance space. But then they have a close circuit TV to the front room so people who want to chat can sit in front. My friend Steve wanted to capture some video and we had a try at Southside Shuffle but that didn't work so I thought this is where we can make a nice video. Then I thought, what the hell, let's try to record some tunes. I've been putting this off long enough. Haven't firmed up all the arrangements but it will be me and bass player George Koller, who I have been trying to corral into my musical universe for many years. After that, we may do some overdubs….or maybe not. Wish me luck, or better yet come to the session and be part of the recording. And if you can't come but would really like to support my recording, I remind you that we have a recording fund and I welcome any contributions (thanks to those who have kicked it off). If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can deposit directly into account 00646842698006400101 at Alterna Savings and Credit Union, Danforth Avenue, Toronto. Gold Sponsors ($250+) are entitled to a free house concert for you and your friends.

 

Out and About:

This year at the Polaris Prize soiree at least I knew a couple of the short-listed bands. Broken Social Scene, Tegan & Sara. And I had educated myself on a couple of artists who were there last year but whom I'd never heard of, Cariboo, Owen Pallett. But once again the winner was right out of left field. Karkwa, from Quebec. You could tell they were totally shocked…they acted like it was their first time out of Quebec…maybe it was their first time in Toronto. Last week. Jim Corcoran dedicated his whole radio show to their album and I could see why the judges went for it. In terms of the performances on stage, for most of those bands, I still don't get it. But it was the albums that were acknowledged by the Polaris jury, not live performances. All ten nominees performed – quite a feat to gather ten very busy bands in one place. I understood better when the fell;ow next to me explained that he was with the "Radio Starmaker" fund and that everybody was being paid very well to be there. In fact, most of the bands had augmented their lineup with extra musicians, a string quartet here, six female horn players there (shades of the Blainettes!).  Anyway, it made a lot more musical sense to me this year than last – when the winner was that crazy Fucked Up group with the fat lead singer who took off most of his clothes . What does he do for an encore?

My favourite show of the month was Terry Gillespie at Hugh's Room. His partner Kathy reminded me that it was one of my campfires that introduced Terry to the local blues scene, where he met many players and ended up collaborating with some of them. His show was riveting and he's got a sound and an approach like no-one you've ever heard. It's unfortunate that some of the music industry honchos left right after the first half of this double bill, a very talented young lady called Lynn Hanson with a crack band, missed out on a truly original artist. I guess a fresh young songstress will always get more buzz than a grizzled old blues guy.

 

Last night I had the strangest dream

Let's see if I can remember. The setting was an outdoor music festival. April Wine had not showed up and one of the organizers was asking me to go onstage and pretend to be April Wine. I was at some concession table saying to someone that I didn't think that was right. Then a group of giant musclemen made their way to the table and two of them were conjoined twins – joined at the neck with some pretzel-like muscles. Then I noticed the woman at the table was Maureen Brown and she was trying to give me some advice suggesting that my performance earlier was not really suited for a young audience. Something like that. Then I woke up. I'm amazed I remember this much, I never remember my dreams. I welcome any dream analysis.

 

 

 

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BrianB, aka Colorblind Brian, the Stringbuster