Wednesday, February 26, 2003

My Canadian Music Week Diary

Wed Feb 26 Phoenix Concert Hall - The Indie Awards were a pretty freewheelin affair this year. Host(s) Dave Bidini and Radio guy______________ presented all but a few awards and it moved along quite quickly. The musical presentations were fine - slightly underwhelmed by Corb Lund - probably because he's been so built up.

I think I probably said the wrong thing to at least one person in the first ten minutes there, and as I saw one famous publicist leaving before the awards started. I never got into that other room - The invitation was in my coat which I left at the Downtown Jazz office - right across the parking lot.

They opted to start the show with a loud agressive band. Last year The Brothers Cosmoline opened the show.

The first award was Blues and was a tie between Fathead and The Twisters. They first announce Fathead the read on and said "Wait a Minute It's a Tie!" A lot of time went by until Julie Hill climbed up there and accepted on their behalf. Host Dave Bidini asked her "Who are you?" and said something about "Toronto Blues Society" and that seemed good enough for them - then she got her picture taken - holding *both* awards. Then someone who seemed like a very distant relative got up to accept an award - a little later an entire band got up to accept on behalf of another band in Vancouver

A drum/voice aboriginal/world group had trouble carrying to the back of the room. It was much noisier than the Maple Blues Awards in the same venue a couple of monrths ago.

Day Two - Thursday Saw a few panels - how to budget CD production and a panel of publicists with Richard Flohil and Karen Bliss butting heads. She said something like "maybe sometimes an artist doesn't need a publicist"

Evening showcases, no standout. I decide to head to Healey's to hear Morgan Davis - a guitar hero of mine. There were three guitars - Pat Rush, Healey and Morgan. I would have thought that Pat Rush might have been the expendible one except that when I walked in I was imediately capticated by a burning guitar solo and when I got closer, I realized it was Pat. When it was Jeff's turn to solo, it was starting to sound a lot like Morgan. It was the best mucic of the evening!

Day 3: Didn't get to CMW until 4:30 - checked out the songwriters evaluation (used to be "Date with a Tape" Suzie V. was rushing one of her new tunes, but alas it did not win the luck of the draw.

At 6, I skipped out to hear Daniel Lanois "Celebrity Interview" but I needn't have worried because

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Wow, I just blinked and it's 2003! My producer called today to nudge me along - he says we haven't done anything for a month, but we've been trundling along, We did some sax overdubs with Jim Galloway and some fiddle/mandolin with the young Mark Roy. And a first for me - we did some trans-atlantic overdubs with Butch Coulter adding harp tracks from a studio in Hamburg Germany.

Saturday, Feb 1 - Drove out to Thorold, near St. Catharines to be the special guest at Arizona's. What a delight being backed up by Gary Kendall and Jim Casson. Teddy leonard was subbing for the regular guitar player. Teddy was in great form and I threw him a lot of solos. I had this spontaneous idea (watch these!) to play my King Biscuit Boy song. I learned this song in the 60's when I taped it off the radio by holding the mike of my Phillips reel-to-reel recorder in front of the speaker. I missed one of the verses and to this day, do not know it. I remember seeing Biscuit at a small club in Kitchner and came up to him on the break to say how happy I was to meet him and how I've been performing one of his songs for years, and had performed it for years without knowing the artist or songwriter. He asked what the song was amnd I old him "I'm Gone" He snapped, "I didn't write that, Allen ToussainT wrote it" Now that I'vew learned a bit about Biscuit The Archiver, I can see why he was annoyed that someone who is suppose to know about the blues has to do it this way.

Tuesday, Feb 11 - Hamilton, The King Biscuit Memorial Show. Must have been over 700 people crammed into this large club. The downstairs club was used just as a musician hang-out, but I wish I'd spent more time upstairs. My set was pretty early - I was doing it with Lil because she worked hard on this project. Also invited Mark "Bird" Stafford to sit in. Broke a string on the second song - shodda knows. I changed the 1st string but was too lazy to change them all, or at least the most-likely-to-break. I looked around to see if someone was going to hand me a guitar but, alas, this was no folk festival. I pulled out my spare strings and got Lily to go up and read messages from musicians who couldn't make it. Next day I'm copied an email saying there was "Too much Toronto Blues Society and not enough people that actually played with Biscuit" Nasty.

Wednesday, Feb 12 - Just opened a couple of shows for Harry Manx (Startford and Dunville) and had the priviledge of accompanying Harry to the JUNO awards media even announcing the nominees (Harry nominated for Blues Album of the Year). NorthernBlues also scored a nomination for Saved in the Gospel category. That afternoon Harry did some overdubs on my album. Without Paul at the hellm, there were a few technical glitches but we did get something down - an exquisite track.

Thursday, Feb 13 - Could have gone with Harry to Ottawa, but stuck here at a board meeting of my co-op, plus getting Crescendo to printer.

Friday, Feb 14 - Valentine's Day. I let myself get dragged out to a dance where there were supposed to be lots of attractive women but I'm not that motivated because I just fell in love with a bank teller - she's one good reason why people are still preferable to bank machines. Anyway there were no wild women at this event, so we headed off to the Silver Dollar to Dylan Wickens' CD launch. Not a great crowd, but Dylan was on fire. He sure can get the sound happening - using a big Fender Showman head.

Speaking of amp heads, I stopped off at The Montreal Bistro on the way home because Jim Galloway mentioned this afternoon that he had been playing all week with Doug Riley (as well as Lorne Lofsky and Don Vickery). This organ/guitar combo could not get better than this. When I took my seat, I realized the music stand was blocking my view of Lorne's left had (the fretting one) but as quickly as a thought of moving I had to say to myself "Why Bother?" - I could never play that stuff if my life depended on it. They ended the night with a blues and rocked out.

Doug manages so well with his bass pedals that the resident piano tuner, Dale, was shouting "Where's the Bass Player?" When Jim introduced the band, he said "Claude Rains" on bass. I guess he could see me shaking my head at the bar - he said, impatiently" Clause Rains played the "Invisible Man" - Do I have to spell it out for you, Brian?"

Young Sarah French, who want to be an artist manager is now a roving reporter and I had arranged acces for her to the Maple Blues Awards and she tells me the story was already published in T0-Nite, but I haven't seen it yet.