Monday, September 30, 2013

Homeroutes Tour Diary - Day 10

We’ve been trekking across Manitoba and Saskatchewan and met some great folks and this morning I am thinking about one family in particular.  The Macdonalds, where we played two nights ago in Brandon were most hospitable and generous.  They even insisted on buying a CD even though I was glad to leave a complimentary copy to our hosts. They had a few obstacles to making this show happen, Betty’s mother had just passed away a few days before and they thought of cancelling but in the end the show went on and it turned out to be a great opportunity for friends and neighbours to come by and be with her at this time.  My buddy Russ Kelley had suggested before the tour that my tune “Sailing” would be a good one to include for the Homeroutes audience and on this night I wish I could have pulled it out but it would have needed a little run-through.  At the Macdonalds they say grace before every meal and mean it. They are truly grateful for what they have.  The parents are two dedicated teachers and the kids are both equally dedicated musicians.  I jammed a little with 17-year old Katy after the place had mostly cleared out and she played a couple of originals – she had it all, a confident voice and a solid right hand on the guitar.  I told her she should have at least one blues tune in her repertoire and when she said she never heard of Etta James I suggested she check YouTube and learn “At Last.”  (Every other aspiring female vocalist knows that song so she might as well learn it).  Their son Dylan plays in a band and he had a gig on the night of our show but we had a chance to chat in the morning.  He played a couple of rough mixes of the album they’re making in Winnipeg and they had a sound all their own.  If I’d had a chance to tell him, I would have related the time Terry Wilkins stopped the band as we were rehearsing one of my tunes and said “You, you and you are all playing the same thing – I think one of you has to find something else to play…”

As I type this, it’s the morning after our gig in a 1902 bank building in Holland, Manitoba. It had been converted into a private home and was now the region’s arts centre.  

One of shows was cancelled because the host couple was breaking up.  Hey, you don’t have to cancel the show just because you’re having a few personal problems!  As it turns out, an uber-fan of Fraser & DeBolt came through with an alternate venue so the night is saved, and a whole new crowd will get to see Allan and Brian in full flight. I can’t say an “act” has been forged from these two weeks of continuous playing but I have been singing a lot of harmonies to old Fraser & DeBolt songs and even though singing harmony is not my strong suit, I have been having a great time exploring it and I ain’t no Daisy DeBolt but I certainly feel her channeling through me on occasion.  There will be a celebration of Daisy’s life on October 6 at Free Times Café in Toronto and on that note I will pack up and hit the road.