Saturday, June 13, 2009

Festivals, festivals

Festival Fever: The photo above was taken at the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival last week-end. That's me on the left and Larry Kurtz ion the middle surrounded by the FATHEAD fellas.

I had a great time kicking off the Acoustic Stage (or should I say, the TD Canada Trust Acoustic Stage) and was followed by some old pals from the Montreal scene. Michael Jerome Browne who figures prominently on my CD and the irrepressible Alan Gerber, who, after all these years, is still a little sheepish about the time he seduced one of my back-up singers...yes, one of the original Blainettes. A YouTube clip of "The Day Coke Saved The Blues" was just uploaded by a fan . You can view it here. I missed the Saturday at Orangeville because I took in the guitar extravaganza at Metro Square with Alvin Youngblood Hart, Taj Mahal, a charming new guitarist/singer/songwriter called Fiona Boyes and a great kora player, Mamadou Diabaté. Harry Manx and Kevin Breit did a fiery duet.

Luminato reminds one of the golden days of cigarette sponsors, at least behind the scenes. After posting my last blog where I was whining that I got media accreditation for the Emmylou Harris show but not for the Neil Young Canadian Songbook extravaganza. Well Blainletter reader Dan Oleksiuk took pity on me and took me along and what a great show it was (not to mention the munchies and open bar before *and* after the show). My fave was The Cowboy Junkies, not one of my favourite groups but they really captured me, especially that mandolin man who was a one-man cinematic orchestra. Honorable mention to Emilie Claire Barlow and friends who nailed their tune... Harry Manx with the Sisters Euclid were a crowd favourite and Harry got his props from Colin Linden himself as he was being interviewed.

The Sisters have ended their 13-year run of Monday nights at the Orbit Room - Kevin felt bad for Orbit Room owner Tim Notter and gave him the band's Juno Award to remember him by. At Yorkville Park, Luminato set up a big stage to present some of the big stars of Brazilian style guitar. My son the DJ says I should learn some Brazilian guitar licks so I checked it out. Had a great chat with a living legend of the Yorkville scene, Chick Roberts. I had met him back in the sixties and he regalled me with stories about the old Riverboat. They're celebrating an anniversary (the 50th?) and apparently a plaque will be laid. I noticed there were some Riverboat related events...I should get on the bandwagon as an artist who did play that illustrious venue. I remember it well, I was opening for Fraser and DeBolt and some CBC types thought I was the next Randy Newman or something and had me come down to their offices for meetings but alas nothing came of it. Also saw the amazing one-man play about the life of Lenny Breau. They didn't miss any aspect of Lenny's life with ups and downs and right up to the tragic end. It's a big leap from the $15 million Luminato festival to the (maybe) $50 thousand Waterfront Blues Fest, mostly local artists but a beautiful setting - One thing about Jack de Keyzer, the bigger the stage, the bigger he gets. How about that organist McMorrow!!!