The Delta Blues Campfire on Sunday afternoon was the perfect way to get in a blues mood for tonight's Maple Blues Awards. Pictured above (photo by Stilleto Rose) is the rhythm section, yours truly on bass and Malcolm Gould on drums along with Nanaimo's David Gogo, nominee for Guitar Player of the Year and Electric Act of the Year. Later were joined by Steve Marriner of Monkey Junk (7 nominations) and the larger-than-life Matt Andersen (who has three nominations, I think). Andrew Burton is a local guitarist whom I've never me and he played some sweet sounds even though he had a less-than-deal setup plugged directly into the board.
Speaking of the board, we had the formidable Rob Boyd mixing the sound and keeping everything humming along (OK, maybe that's a bad choice of words). Who knew that Rob was a bass player in a previous incarnation. He sat in for a couple of tunes and he rocked! Ken and Peggy from Belleville Loyalist Blues Brotherhood joined in (blues version of a Crystal Gayle song? Only at the Campfire). Host of Monarch's regular open mic Brian Gladstone was the first player to show up with guitar in hand and he kicked off the session with some fine fingerpicking. And a big thank you to Mojo Willie (aka Bill Rymer) who played a few tunes while I took a bit of a break - there's no breaks at a campfire. I'm thinking I forgot somebody...anyway it was great to have these luminaries joining in at the campfire and a real thrill for the local players, including myself, to play with them. I was thinking I should have got some autographs on my guitar after these great players played it. Jamming around the campfire is not exactly a career development strategy but these guys are all about the music. They just want to play.
I was especially thrilled to meet and play with the legendary Joe Mavety. He is of course mostly remembered for his collaboration with Marianne Faithful but nowadays he's living in Port Credit and playing around the west end. I always had a little bee in my bonnet about this guy because back in the early 90s, the first band I played with in Toronto was Blue Willow and when it was time to make a record Joe Mavety was the "ringer" that they brought in. That always stuck in my craw a little bit. I figured I could play those solos as well as he did :-( Now that I recall those sessions, I remember producer Michael Fonfara bringing in Carlos de Junco and maybe somebody else so he would have two or three solos to choose from and a couple of my solos got bumped. That was brutal. Oh well, "Welcome to Toronto!"