Thursday, January 19, 2006

Maple Blues Awards

Well, this is a new experience. I'm in that classic "waiting by the phone" mode that actors experience all the time, I guess. Yesterday I did the first audition of my life. It was for a TV commercial that required an old bluesman sitting on a porch. I had to make up a little blues tune about how happy I was now that I had this delicious...maybe I'm not supposed to say the product (there were lots of notices of confidentiallity on the paperwork). Anyway, I thought I did OK but, as they say, "One never know, do one"

The Maple Blues Awards soiree was a great evening, as always. I was not on a mission to schmooze this year, and I didn't even make it to the afternoon "Meet & Greet," I know, I've got a new CD and all, but fuck it, I just don't have it in me to go harassing people to give me a gig. As it turns out, I did get some encouraging words to "go west, young man" so maybe I will pursue some opportunities in the far west...I've never been west of Medecine Hat, I'm sure there's lots to see.

As usual, there's been lots of post-mortem discussion about what we could do better next time and of course lots of whining about deserving artists who did not receive a nomination (I guess I would count myself in that group with a new release that's getting lots of airplay and sits on at least a couple of "Best of 2005" lists). Since I know most of the people on the nominating committee, I guess this disproves that old saying that it's "who you know". In reality, it's "who likes your music" - as it should be. I've been judge, jury or committee chair enough times to know that!

The day before the Awards, I played a showcase set at Chicago's (haven't played there in years). Rather than bring in a couple of brilliant soloists to play with, I hired a (brilliant) rhythm section (Michelle Josef and Henry Heilig) and played all the (brilliant) solos myself. I don't think there were too many "talent buyers" in the house but we did sell a few CD's and make some new fans, in particular a couple that just moved here from Vancouver and felt like they had landed in "blues heaven" when I told them all the stuff that's going on in TO.

The day after the awards I headed out in nasty weather to Steve Payne's set at Hugh's Room and glad I did. Steve played great with Paul Reddick sitting in and I ran into a few people I needed to talk to - lined up a newsletter story and a gig and actually got the wheels in motion for a UK tour. Memo to self: "Even if the weather's lousy and you don't feel like going anywhere, probably a lot of other people feel the same way - so go anyway and you'll have the field to yourself."