How fast did Spring happen this year, you ask? Well, I didn’t even get to take my new deluxe ice-scraper out of its wrapping. CD and cassette cases were what I used for the first part of winter and now that I’ve got a proper scraper, it’s over. Well, you won’t get any complaints from me.
This is Blainletter # 50 and it falls just about at the 50th anniversary of my starting to play guitar. I was one of those guys that joined the band before I could play. So I hard to learn fast and it's been that way ever since. If I don't figure it out right away, I never will
I'm playing a show with Zoe Chilco on April 14, 7-11pm at Kelly's Korner at McCowan and Kingston Road. Maybe she'll let mne sing a couple of tunes. This night is also the CD launch for Chris Rawlings at Lazy Daisy Cafe (Gerrard & Coxwell). Wish I could be at both
Friday, April 20 Alton Mill, Alton I'll be playing with Larry Kurtz, Douglas Watson and Dave Menard (we will rock the house…er, mill)
Saturday, April 21, 5pm – Gate 403, 403 Roncesvales – I'm guesting with Robert Davis and Malcolm Gould PWYC
Saturday May 5, 11AM-2PM Woodbine Racetrack, 555 Rexdale Boulevard (416) 675-7223
Brian and the Bluesgrass Boys celebrating the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby. Always a big day at he track. Funny how I've been playing at the track once or twice every year and I've never met a soul I know (except for musicians in one of the other bands).
Wednesday, May 9, 9-11pm Thymeless, 355 College St W The ambient-electro-dub sounds of BLAINblain (me on the MIDI-guitar and Bass plugged into a laptop and my son the DJ making beats and loops on the fly)
Click below to hear the 1973 recording of my cult classic "Don't Forget Your Mother" You'll find stories about the recording if you search the blog.
Sunday, May 13 1-4pm Reba’s Café, 3289 Dundas Street West, 1-4pm Brian’s Motherless Day Blues Concert PWYC
Thursday, May 31, 9pm Fionn McCool’s, Orangeville – Brian Blain opening night of the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival
Shows I played last month:
The Winterfolk Festival was a real pleasure. They moved it all under one roof (the largest roof in town – ie, the largest hotel in town) and lots of great music was played. I did a Blues Campfire and then I was seconded to play bass with Jack de Keyzer and that was, dare I say, an honour…Jack is blues royalty in this town and I guess I was a little hesitant about covering it because I’m not much of a “jobber” who knows every song in the book, and when you’re playing bass, you can’t fake it like you can on guitar. I guess I expressed my lack of confidence one time too many because at the beginning of the show Jack was starting to wonder about me but all’s well that ends well and I think everybody had a good time.
Last month I found myself on stage (twice) at the Trane, a predominantly jazz venue that has launched a blues series every second Monday with the Son Roberts Band. Son is one very organized bluesman – I had the most elegant set list I’ve ever seen. I had a great time playing with the boys – I thought we raised the roof over there…and what a great meal I had. A couple of days later I came back and sat in at Noah Zacharin’s new LibertyWednesday Open Stage thang and he had a great lineup of talent.
Shows I saw and liked:
The Louisiana Snowblowers have re-appeared on the scene and I caught a set at a pub on the Danforth and I sure like what they’re putting down. The TBS Guitar Workshop was at Dominion on Queen this year – a great venue in a historic building (even though they have a rather under-powered and overworked PA). Danny Marks hosted and did a bang-up job as he always does. I was called upon to do a presentation to our long-standing office volunteer, Rick Battiston, and I guess maybe I did ramble on a bit but when it looked like I was starting to launch into an intro for guitarist Kevin Breit I got a bit of a look from Danny – I guess I was stepping on his job. Kevin was amazing to watch close up and he answered questions about his unique style and his legendary Fender amp which looks like it’s been through a couple of world wars. He related how he tried to modify a more current amp to the exact specs of his “baby” but no matter what he did, he couldn’t get it to sound the same. When asked if he had perfect pitch, Kevin said he had “relative pitch” – that is, he had “a brother with perfect pitch.”
Adventures in Streaming:
I felt bad about not getting to the Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis this year but I was (virtually) there because each day I tuned in to one of the live streaming channels and heard some great music. Saw my old pal Ray Bonneville playing and being interviewed on a streaming channel called ditty.tv. I guess they broadcast year-round from Memphis but during the Folk Alliance they featured a lot of the showcasing artists. Saw a great set by a stripped-down Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and watched a couple of rough-and-ready streaming sessions from some of the private showcase rooms. One featured a group called The Sweetness which I streamed last year when they played before me at a private showcase in the Memphis Marriott. At Music Week I ran into Chloe Charles who was a member of that group and tells me that they had just formed that week-end in Memphis. The Sweetness has a big tour itinerary and Chloe is also launching a solo career. Also playing that guerilla showcase in Memphis last year was a singer songwriter called Melanie Brule who showed up at a CMW party on Richard Flohil’s arm. (Update-Melanie's working for Flo!) If I recall correctly, the streaming was screwing up a bit for her set, but the technology has come a long way in a year and by next year’s Folk Alliance (in Toronto, btw) I bet everybody will be streaming from their hotel rooms.
I also did a couple of streaming sessions from the Toronto Jazz Festival office. If you’re an artist looking for information on touring in the US or grant-getting, this is pretty current information. Go to http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-from-toronto-jazz. The Toronto Blues Society also sponsored some info sessions at Lula Lounge – lots on social media, etc. They’re at http://www.livestream.com/torontobluessociety.
Weather, Politics, Movie watching
Incredible to see folks walking around in shorts and t-shirts at the beginning of March. Nobody’s saying much about global warming, it seems, just digging the short winter and resigned to more. Maybe we won’t last long enough for the global warming effect. I’ve been on a movie-watching marathon now that I’m (semi)retired and I’ve hot this new HDTV. Lots of spy flics and doomsday movies and the last couple were set in 2012. I think it’s the Mayans that set the expiry date for our planet.
Meanwhile, my neighbourhood was ground zero for the big by-election and the NDP was not taking any chances. The phone was ringing off the hook and I even had our NDP candidate at my door, sans handlers, nothing but his backpack. We talked a bit about co-op housing. The phone was also ringing non-stop with robot pollsters. I must have done a dozen, and there were more that called at the wrong time. Now that it’s all automated, anyone can run a poll and tabulate the results…and probably make an accurate prediction.
Steve Jobs gets his final wish
Google and Motorola Mobility have been ordered by a Chicago judge to hand over Android development data to Apple as part of a patent lawsuit, reports Bloomberg.
This would be a banner day for Steve Jobs, who maintained that Android was "grand theft" of iOS and said, "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong."
Lots more to talk about but I’ve got to send this out now because the next gig is less than 24 hours away (ooops…again!). I’ve got some great tips from Canadian Music Week sessions on using social media but I’ll have to post that later on my blog. Oh yeah, visit my newly revamped blog at www.brianblain.ca . I’m still populating it with more photos & music but it’s come a long way thanks to some help from Margaret Stowe who can make blogs jump through hoops. She has several informative blogs out there but you can start at http://www.margaretstowe.com/
Thanks for reading and for your ongoing support,
BrianB, aka Colorblind Blain, the Stringbuster
PS: If you're on Facebook and “like” what I’m doing, go to www.facebook.com/brianblain.musician and make it official.
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