Monday, September 30, 2013

Homeroutes Tour Diary - Day 10

We’ve been trekking across Manitoba and Saskatchewan and met some great folks and this morning I am thinking about one family in particular.  The Macdonalds, where we played two nights ago in Brandon were most hospitable and generous.  They even insisted on buying a CD even though I was glad to leave a complimentary copy to our hosts. They had a few obstacles to making this show happen, Betty’s mother had just passed away a few days before and they thought of cancelling but in the end the show went on and it turned out to be a great opportunity for friends and neighbours to come by and be with her at this time.  My buddy Russ Kelley had suggested before the tour that my tune “Sailing” would be a good one to include for the Homeroutes audience and on this night I wish I could have pulled it out but it would have needed a little run-through.  At the Macdonalds they say grace before every meal and mean it. They are truly grateful for what they have.  The parents are two dedicated teachers and the kids are both equally dedicated musicians.  I jammed a little with 17-year old Katy after the place had mostly cleared out and she played a couple of originals – she had it all, a confident voice and a solid right hand on the guitar.  I told her she should have at least one blues tune in her repertoire and when she said she never heard of Etta James I suggested she check YouTube and learn “At Last.”  (Every other aspiring female vocalist knows that song so she might as well learn it).  Their son Dylan plays in a band and he had a gig on the night of our show but we had a chance to chat in the morning.  He played a couple of rough mixes of the album they’re making in Winnipeg and they had a sound all their own.  If I’d had a chance to tell him, I would have related the time Terry Wilkins stopped the band as we were rehearsing one of my tunes and said “You, you and you are all playing the same thing – I think one of you has to find something else to play…”

As I type this, it’s the morning after our gig in a 1902 bank building in Holland, Manitoba. It had been converted into a private home and was now the region’s arts centre.  

One of shows was cancelled because the host couple was breaking up.  Hey, you don’t have to cancel the show just because you’re having a few personal problems!  As it turns out, an uber-fan of Fraser & DeBolt came through with an alternate venue so the night is saved, and a whole new crowd will get to see Allan and Brian in full flight. I can’t say an “act” has been forged from these two weeks of continuous playing but I have been singing a lot of harmonies to old Fraser & DeBolt songs and even though singing harmony is not my strong suit, I have been having a great time exploring it and I ain’t no Daisy DeBolt but I certainly feel her channeling through me on occasion.  There will be a celebration of Daisy’s life on October 6 at Free Times CafĂ© in Toronto and on that note I will pack up and hit the road.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Homeroutes Tour Diary - Day 9

"Wide open spaces on #homeroutes tour with Allan Fraser @dancehallgirls"  We drom 30 klics om this dity to get to s small picturesque Saskatchewan town called Montmartre.

They even had a replica to the Eifel Tower on their town square and the Eifel motif was quite prominent in the restaurant where we played.  #0 or so, all totally into it. There's nothing like an attentive audience. If you're ever driving on the Trans-canada Highway between Winnipeg and Regina it woth the detout to discover the Sisters Cafe, Bistro, Boutique

Homeroutes Tour Diary - Day 8

"Bacon-wrapped French Toast. Mmmm start my Day 8 on #homeroutes tour"

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"Bacon-wrapped French Toast. Mmmm start my Day 8 on #homeroutes tour"
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homeroutes Tour Diary - Day 7

Looks like we'll be bunking together tonight.  Till now, it's been separate rooms and 5-star accommodations and meeting lots of wonderful people along the way. Now halfway through the tour, my cold seems to have backed off, easy driving and it's all good

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Homeroutes Tour Diary - Day 6

This house concert in Inglis, Manitoba was in a living room as big as a lot of clubs in Toronto, with a crowd that was probably more than I usually draw in town.  When you play in farm country, you live and die by the rain. If it rains you get a crowd. If it's going to rain the next day, nobody comes because they're working late in the fields.  If it rained the day before, they'll come because the fields are too wet to work.  One of our attendees at the previous show was a bona fide Wika and we should have take her along for the rest of the tour so we could manage the weather a little better.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homeroutes tour diary - Day 5

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Lovin' my new Hagstrom guitar. Four shows later and it was still in tune (bringing truth to the old musician's tuning joke "It was in tune when I bought it").

At the first show of the tour I announced that it was this guitar's inaugural performance and said I would give a free CD to anyone who could come up with a name for her (Mitch Podolak, who organized this tour said I should do this routine at every show!)  I got a few suggestions... Blackie, Black Beauty, but nothing that stuck. However among the numerous comments on my Facebook post was Danny Marks' comment "Happy Hagstrumming" and I believe he has unknowingly christened this axe. 

Henceforth he/she shall be known as The Hagstrummer! (and I guess Danny gets the free CD)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Homeroutes tour diary - Day 4

Allan Fraser playing in a hi-tech log cabin with wise owl looking over his shoulder

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#homeroutes tour day 4

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Homeroutes tour diary - Day 3

Crossing the Narrows at Lake Manitoba. 

Homeroutes tour diary - Day 2

Nice crowd in Eriksdale (33) and beautiful accommodations - I'm waiting for some pictures, but suffice to say we were treated like royalty. Jerry has some beautiful guitars but was a little shy about joining us for a tune or two.  He cooked up the best ribs ever (and enough mashed potatoes to feed a whole band)

Homeroutes tour diary - Day 1

Got to know the Homeroutes crew a little as I camped out in their office working on the October Maple Blues. Their office is in the back of a very classy hair salon.  I was tempted to get a wash and trim from them especially considering the pipes had burst at Mitch & Ava's where I was staying so no showers and very little water consumption otherwise.

Had a nice lunch in a Danish restaurant with the gang and folk songwriter Jay Aymar who was kicking off his Homeroutes tour from Winnipeg. He is a genuine road warrior and he had taken advantage of VIA Rail's programme which swaps a berth for some entertainment in the club car. Not an ideal audience but hell, it's a free ride.

Our first show was not that well attended but Allan brought along a harpist (Dianne?) who sat in on Dance Hall Girls. Real hard-core folkies at this one.  I pulled out a Steve Goodman song, Chicken Cordon Blues, and everyone knew it. Turns out Steve was a favourite at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Mitch talked bout how sometimes an artist becomes part of the "glue" for a festival and Steve was that for the Winnipeg Folk Festival.  Michael Cooney was the glue at early Mariposa and I suppose Dave Brubeck was the glue at Downtown Jazz.

One guy even came up to compliment me about my version of "Chicken Cordon" but added "it's supposed to be a 'regular' fella"  Apparently I was just singing "fella".

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Homeroutes tour diary - Day 0

Allan and I landed safe and sound (though both a little stiff and sore). We got to the car rental place and then to the Homeroutes HQ. Back at Mitch's place, he cooked up a fabulous meal, tho not on his custom modified Weber BBQ

At the Homeroutes HQ in Winnipeg

Many pictures on the walls

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We Have Landed

"Day 0"

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Steve Fruitman @sugarcamp2 on washboard with whiskey jack @baincoop 100th Anniversary party

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@baincoop 100th Anniversary party @jacklayton miniature memorial house

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