Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Here's the page 3 story in this month's MapleBlues:
Thanks to writer Gary Tate for all the kind words.

A month from the CD launch and things are starting to happen around here.
Confirmation on some Ontario dates and now a Quebec tour is taking shape.
Still would love to get to the New England Regional Folk Alliance in mid
Nov but it's too late to line up gigs in the states then wait 90 days for a
visa. They say the situtation is improving...I hope so, because I intend to
be playing a lot down there. I've made a determination to play every day
between now and the launch - no more leaving the guitar in the case for
weeks at a time. It's show time.

Last week I had a last minute request to fill in a couple of slots at the
Songwriterfest and I jumped at the chance, even if I thought it would
probably be sparsley attended. I checked in for my first set and I was
sharing the bill with a gal who was also parachuted in at the last minute.
She asked me to start it up because she was waiting for some family members
to show up - so I was ready to play, but then the family shows up and she
asked if she could go on first. No problem. She got 3 or 4 songs into her
set then the "family" all get up to leave...She says "stay for this last
song - it's my best song" Well they stand at the doorway and listen to a
few bars and then they're gone... I suppose it's about 50/50 whether you're
lucky enough to have family that support your music.

This has to be the first time that my big "découverte" (discovery) at a
festival is the festival director herself. I got to play with Mary Anne Epp
and heard her do some of her material and it was sweet - very sweet.

Still calling in favours and rounding up friends to help me get the word
out on the CD launch...and get some gigs. Solo, band gigs, big revues or
house concerts. If you're reading this, I guess you're a believer and if
you think you can help me line up a gig in your town drop me a line:

There were a couple of media functions this week that would have been fun
but I missed them both - The Southside Shuffle was on Tuesday and my car
wouldn't start (anyway, I'm not playing whatever...). Then Thursday
was a big bash to launch the Buskers' Festival. Except, Thursday morning I
get an email saying the launch is cancelled. I never bothered to RSVP and I
guess nobody else did either so they said "forget it". Reminder to self:
Have the courtesy to RSVP

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Transit Blues

I think I witnessed a revealing episode that would certainly convince me to never depend on public transit in Toronto. Here I was waiting at a streetcar stop in the east end, right by the big yard where they park and repair the streetcars. From 6:30 to 7:00 pm I waited at the stop while one streetcar after another arrived at our stop but then turned into the yard. I guess the rush hour was winding down and they were finished their last run but can you imagine waiting through *eight* drive-bys before we actually got a car that was going west. There was a bit of grumbling as the level of frustration grew but the most visibly upset was a guy wearing a TTC uniform. It turns out that he was on his way to start his shift but he had to take a this streetcar to the rendezvous point and now he realized he was going to be late. After about twenty minutes he just started walking, but before he left he told one person that now he was going to be late to start his shift and you could see the exasparation on his face that the TTC was responsible for him being late...even though he's on his way to work for the TTC. Despite the gas increases, I'm still glad I've got my car and I won't be taking a streetcar until the next time it breaks.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Launch Party

I started my last post saying what an "auspicious day", but last night I
felt I had a pretty "inauspicious" debut on one of the local
community/campus stations. They were to play two tracks from the upcoming
cd - the first one cut out after the first verse (which gave me a gasp
thinking maybe there was a problem with the pressings. The second track
just kept cutting in an out - it was painful. Ooooo welllll, here we go.

Now I'm trying to set up a CD launch tour for October. We will kick off
with a big show at the Silver Dollar - big band, extra musicians and
special guests. And I've got the city's most enthusiastic blues promoter in
my corner...Mory the Sockman presents...

Brian Blain's Hi-Tech Blues Revue
with Rod Phillips, Pat Carey, Michelle Josef and Victor Bateman
and Special Guest, John Dickie

Silver Dollar Room - Friday, Sept 30, 2005

now we have to find a few more gigs for this formidable band.

Last night I had an impromptu jam with some old friends from Lennoxville.
Chris Griffith and Des McKeowen played in High Street and when
guitarist/luthier Brian Monty came visiting they decided to have a musical
"soiree" and I was glad to be invited. I got the old Strat set up - had to
change one of the saddles that was stripped - and it was great to play that
old axe again. That's what I'll be using for the band gigs, I guess. There
were other musician friends sitting in - Larry, who played an acoustic
guitar set up much like mine and could get some really electric sounds out
of it and a young fellow called Adam who is studying guitar at Berkley.
Also Cliff Simon played - and he was really getting some great sounds out
ofhis SG with a single P90 pickup. We rocked the house in Georgetown (or
whatever that place was). A good warm-up for the band gigs I want to line

Friday, August 5, 2005

We have product

An auspicious day! Just got the call from the record company - the CD's are
in from the manufacturer. The end of a long journey that began the week
before Xmas 2002. Or maybe this is just the beginning of the journey...
Anyway I've been working on my long-distance driving skills and have
discovered something called "Red Bull" which seems to help. All I need is
the gigs. Oh yes, I better get some promo together...and the website.
Still no confirmation on the European tour for September. Maybe I should
just start lining up some gigs closer to home.

Discovery of the week: Tony Furtado at the Dollar last Fri. I'm not one to
listen to slide all night (unless it's Harry Manx or Sonny Landreth) but
this guy blew my mind. Not a big crowd at the Dollar but I stayed till the
end and I'm glad I did. His slide on 5-string banjo was something to behold
- this was bluegrass on steroids if such a thing is possible - cranked up
by a phenomenal young drummer called Darien Gray (straight from the North
Mississippi thrash & crash school of drumming).

Off to pick up some CD's now.