Saturday, August 2, 2014

Blainletter #70 Holiday Edition

Blainletter #70 July-Aug 2014

Greetings Blainreaders – it looks like another month has slipped me by so this will be another bi-monthly Blainletter. We'll call this this July-August Vacation Issue.  I don't think anybody's going to complain about one less email.  And I did heed the complaints that my letters were getting too long, so I'll try to keep this one short, even though there's lots to tell.

First things first, I have a gig tomorrow…ooops make that TODAY.  Actually the gig is probably over by the time you read this. Oh dear.

Saturday, August 2 - 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. (I'll be going on about 3:30)
Portobello Restaurant & Bar  995 Bay St., Toronto ON  M5S 3C4  416 926-1800

The Words and Music Salon is a long running series that mixes music with poetry and other readings.  There will be 3 other musicians playing (and 3 poets reading).  No cover.

Anyway, I've got to send this out - better late than never.  It's long overdue and I always get someone coming up to me saying how much they enjoyed it.  A special welcome to my newest Blainreader, Vid.  Vid and I met at the Toronto Blues Society booth at the Waterfront Blues Festival and were chatting about music and tai chi and when we got around to exchanging names, he exclaimed “I know you – Overqualified for the Blues!“  Isn't that heartwarming. And I got a nice compliment from my old friend Michal Hasek who played my song about Lenny Breau on his radio show and said it brought a tear to his eye.  These are the moments we musicians cherish.

And, if I might continue blowing my horn,  I have been advised this week that my Klout score has gone up and I'm number six on Reverbnation Blues chart (whatever all that means). And this is the topper:  I'm featured on the current episode of STOP-TV, a program in the Eastern Townships.  It's a half-hour of “moi“ singing and talking.  It's worth checking out if only to see the fancy editing that my old bandmate Maurice Singfield did.  I was singing in front of a green screen and he has me transported into an old barn (or the seashore for my tune about Cape Cod – complete with seals and dive-bombing seagulls)

Just got the authorization code to take ownership of  Considering I was an “early adopter“ of the internet (like back when there was only one browser, Lynx, and it was just text-no graphics), you would think I would already own the dot-com for my name but I am so cheap and for the longest time I dragged my heels and then when I finally went to get it, it was gone. The other Brian Blain is a pecan farmer/vintage race car driver in California who bought it but wasn't using it.  As the years went by, I noticed a lot of folks were going to brianblain (dot)com so I'll never know how many messages (or gigs) I missed over the years. I asked him if I could take it over and he most generously agreed. Anyway, it'll be a slow transition but by next year I'll be

As I was putting together the newsletter for my housing co-op (yes, another newsletter!) I included a story by a local part-time historian about my street and was surprised to see that my house on Woodfield Road was kind of infamous.

Carrie Davies, a maid who shot one of the wealthy Massey family after he tried to rape her, stayed with her sister Maud at my little “shotgun“ during the trial.   That was 1915. The trial was quite sensational and the Toronto Star acting as the apparent mouthpiece of Massey’s powerful relatives, sought to discredit Davies but the jury found her not-guilty. It was a turning point in Canadian justice because up until then, male members of a household would take sexual liberties with their live-in domestic servants with impunity. Carrie's lawyer, Hartley Dewart became leader of the Ontario Liberal Party not long afterward but due in part to his role in Davies’ trial, the Star‘s management actively worked to prevent him from becoming premier in the 1919 election. After losing in that race, Dewart retired from politics. (As my ex-mother-in-law used to say, “no good deed goes unpunished“)

Out and About:
It seems like I've been spending every week-end at the foot of my street at Woodbine Park – a 28-acre park that they built quite recently. It looked a bit naked and gawky for the first couple of years but it is now home to Afrofest and (for the first time) the mainstage of the Beaches Jazz.  Afrofest, previously at Queen's Park, were moved there kicking and screaming and now Beaches Jazz has been evicted from Kew Gardens and moved there as well.  A lot of people will miss the cozy setting but they'll learn to love Woodbine Park (I think Afrofest has).  At the press conference for Beaches I came face to face with Mary Margaret, the new city councilor for the Beaches and asked her straight out, “What happened to Kew Gardens?"  And she looked me straight in the eye and said, “I have no idea."  I think she's got what it takes for a long political career.

The Waterfront Blues and the Beaches Jazz festivals are so close I was able to take in a lot of music this month. The outstanding highlight for me was Sugar Ray and the Bluetones.  Every time I see them I say to myself “it doesn't get any better than that.“ I missed the big night on Saturday because I was enjoying a lovely poolside jam session in Port Credit with Allan Fraser & Marianne Girard along with Lynette and David Hines and Allan McKinlay.  I raced back to catch the last set of some guys I had heard playing on the street on Thursday night - I was wishing I had bought their CD on Thursday and was intent on finding out who they were.  No, it was not blues, nor was it even traditional instruments.  They were playing electronica but it had a groove and I wanted to hear more.  And I'm happy to say we've connected and are planning a session together.  Many of you will know that I have another musical persona besides the gentle folky bluesman – I have a Stratocaster equipped with a MIDI controller and I get some pretty crazy sounds.  I started this project so that I would have a band to take to the gigs where people aren't interested in listening to my “story songs“.  I've done it a few times with my son the DJ under the banner BlainBlain and it gave me the bug.  You'll like it, really!

I walked the entire length of the Queen Streetfest and took numerous little video clips on the iPhone.  I started to assemble it but it's not done yet.  I'll put it up on the as soon as it's done. 

Thanks for reading this far.  Remember you can unsubscribe at any time by replying to this address.  See you out there,

BrianB (aka Colorblind Brian, The Stringbuster)

Link of the Day: "4 Reasons Why Music Careers Are Getting Trounced By Tech":