Monday, February 8, 1999

The Second Annual Maple Blues Awards

Last year I wrangled myself into the all star jam but it was mostly because they needed my amp. This time I wasn't asked to bring my amp, but I brought along the Strat and left it in the car. As it turned out, it was nothing but all-stars on that (supposed-to-be-a) stage, but Colin James playing a tune on a Tele that may have belonged to Steve Hill - who may have had to remind Lily that he came all the way from Montreal with that guitar. Steve is doing a CD release soon at the Silver Dollar - Those Montreal stalwarts, the Stephen Barry Band could probably seriously discourage him from trying to break into the Toronto blues market. They must have played to bleak houses the first three or four trips. And now the band has some major personnel changes, Michael Brown and John McColgan are leaving. Michael has already made a great solo album (very acoustic) and is planning to tour solo. The moment that sticks in my memory is seeing Maureen Brown at the neighbouring table getting up to receive her second MBA and her husband, drum hero Rick Gratton practically collapsing in tears of joy. The usually quite stoic drum god is nothing but a big pussy cat! I said to Maureen at the end of the evening that I looked forward to an opportunity to do a gig together. We played many times together with Blue Willow and she's always encouraged me to get out and do my own thing. Had a few words with Colin James, too.