Monday, June 7, 2004

I missed the first night of the Toronto Blues Society bTalent Search Finals and must apologize to Julian Fauth and Doc Mclean, two musical buddies that I would have been out supporting if I hadn't had a gig myself (see previous post).

I did get to the second night of the finals and was surprised to find an old Montreal bluesman I knew in the winning band, Bharath and the Catfish - guitarist extraordinaire Andrew Cowan of the Stephen Barry Blues Band. I was doubly surprised that he was playing the same model of Harmony archtop guitar that I just received as a gift out of the blue. It's not in very playable shape but you can tell it sounds great - I think I'm now motivated to get it in good working order. Andrew had a great sound - through a small ampeg amp. I think I'm inspired.

Kudos to Julian Fauth for winning the runner-up prize. Julian *is* a prize on the Toronto blues scene.

Also sorry to see Calgary lose that hockey game...

Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival

Hey, Larry, sorry I wasn't able to stick around to to hear more than a
couple of Trouble & Strife tunes at the Winchester - I stopped in on the
way out of town but the place was filled to capacity and they wouldn't let
us in. I did peek around the door long enough to see the lovely and
talented Maureen Brown in full flight with you guys.

We couldn't stick around. My friend Jacquie, who got off work early and
drove me all the way up there, was fading fast. The band sounded great and
it was a treat having you sit on with me at the Coffee House stage. This
was my first outdoor show this year and isn't it great to play under the
wide open sky - even when the sun is coming straight at you.

We had an attentive audience and a happy venue. Here's hoping the
Orangeville Blues & Jazz fest continues to provide a great kick-off of the
Southern Ontario blues festival season.

Thursday, June 3, 2004


If you were planning on dropping in on my gig at Ziggy's on Saturday afternoon, forget it. Ziggy has decided to discontinue live music...effective immediately (and that means me) ...and Butch Coulter (all the way from Germany) was going to sit in...Brian Monty was coming up from Van Kleek Hill. It would have been a rocking good time - an Eastern Townships reunion. Oh well, I guess we'll have to go to the Eastern Townships for an Eastern Townships reunion.

I got a feeling these Saturday afternoons at Ziggy's were not going great. And now with the new smoking bylaw, he claimed business was down. I suppose he lost a few regulars - I seem to recall there were a lot of smokers around the bar. But it's an uphill battle for the club owners that are booking blues. Expect to see more tribute bands and less blues bands in some of our favourite clubs.

Anyway my gig at the Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival is *STILL ON* for Friday (tomorrow) night (I checked). 7PM - 10PM at the Village Coffee House, I guess you know where it is if you live out that way.

Drop in and say hello - I was interested to read Sluggo's comment about how few people from the blues lists came out for his gigs - I think he counted one. I've had a few more than that over the years, but I'm always astounded to see almost no response from a big email blast but then you run into somebody on the day of the gig and you mention it to them and they show up with a bunch of friends - I guess it's that human touch. Anyway, I can't get worked up about this when I see that many established artists go through the same thing. They could be the biggest thing out east or out west and they come here and play for...nobody. Next week it will be NXNE and some bands will drive a thousand miles to play for half an hour to a handful of people. I hope it's worth it for them. Last week I went to a big preview showcase for a hot new artist, Matt Andersen. It was an open invitation posted on this list with free booze and free food...and still they could not pack the joint. That's Toronto for ya.

Even if you don't want to see Ole Colorblind, try to give this new festival some support. They've got a good team behind it, but if people don't come out, they're going to be ziggied.

One more weasel

Look out, I've written another "insider" song about the dark underbelly of the music industry. This one refers to "One of those weasels, talking at the back of the room" and I'll apologize in advance to all my media pals some of whom may raise an eyebrow, but most will realize it's all in good fun and if anybody feels slandered, I will gladly retract any reference to them. I'll post the lyrics later (I wrote it sitting at a table in The Rivoli at the CD launch for John and the Sisters. There was an opening set by a hot young singer-songwriter and there he was playing for a dream audience of music industry honchos and media types...most of whom were at the back of the room chatting. I've always thought these gigs were a thankless job. I hope he got noticed by at least one important music industry honcho. I didn't get his name, myself.

Photo Credits

A big "excuse me" to photographer Eddy B for using one of his pics in MapleBlues without his permission. I have already apologised to Eddy in person but I need to tell the public at large (that huge public that reads my blog religiously!) that I am the only one responsible for putting that picture of Raoul in the ad for the Porquis Blues festival - It's a great pic and I had previously used it in MapleBlues (with permission). But this time, the Porquis folks (one of the few festivals that had the foresight to include Ole' Colorblind in their programming)sent me the ad but asked me to drop in pics of Jack de Keyzer and Raoul Bhaneja. I just did a search on my computer, found the best pics I could and dropped them into the ad. It's a great pic of Raoul by Eddy, who has terrific site himself.

While I'm at it, let me acknowledge that Don Vickery was the photographer who took the pic of the presentation of the Ron Collier Memorial Scholarship that I used in this month's Downtown Jazz newsletter. And there was no computer cop-out excuse for that one! He brought me the print and I scanned it myself. Both Eddy and Don have done photo shoots for me and they're both friends - "You always hurt the one you love" or should I say "You always take for granted the one you love."

Furthermore, I should give myself a kick in the ass because I took the cover pic and, of course, no credit. And let me include a big sorry to photographer Barry Thompson, whom I've done this to more times than I can remember (and when I did put his name, it was often mispelled...) What are we going to do with me?

Eddie Baltimore R.I.P.

Eddie Baltimore R.I.P My sympathies to Eddie's partner Patricia and hundreds of friends - mostly musicians. There have been tributes all over the radio today - what a great impact he had on the Toronto music community. Zoe Chilco has started working on a story for the next MapleBlues. I only met Eddie a few times, and I was looking forward to playing with him at a guitar workshop I was hosting at this year's Winterfolk. Eddie didn't make it to that gig and now I know why... he was deathly ill.

Sorry I didn't make it to his funeral -I'm told there was a couple of hundred players there. I would have been too, even had my suit on, but a computer crisis at the jazz festival office walayed me. I was moved to tears reading the tribute Lance Anderson posted on the Irridescent Music site. Lance said "Even the angels are crying" and Eddie looks positively angelic in that photo with Garth Hudson. Gentle heart, indeed. That's what I'll always remember about Eddie Baltimore.