Saturday, January 23, 2016

Thelonius Hank does Elvis @castroslounge

via Instagram @brianblain

There's going to be a new blues festival in town - it's called the Cold Weather Bluesfest and I had dropped by Castros in the beaches to speak to the owner Anthony because he's organizing the festival. I had seen Thelonius Hank once before but Mike Daley was subbing on guitar. I couldn't resist asking for "Round Midnight" and sure enough he knew it. I've been working on that tune myself.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


via Instagram @brianblain

Everybody who was there will tell you this was one of the best blues shows of the year. Eric Bibb is a bona fide blues star and Michael Jerome Brown is no slouch either. Together it was quite special - and that was the best acoustic guitar sound I've ever heard at Hugh's (thank you, Ann). Had a chance to visit with MJB after the show and reminded him about an impromptu recording we did on the last day of the "Overqualified" sessions in Montreal. I had this chord change and we just jammed on it - he played slide and mandolin. He didn't remember doing it, so I've dug it up here and Michael, if you're reading this, take a listen...

I call it my Tai Chi Timer because it lasts exactly 10 minutes and has the perfect rhythm for my Tai Chi set which, when done at the correct speed, should last about ten minutes. So if I end before the music, I know I was rushing. The images are from a lovely walk with Harry Manx in a park on Saltspring Island.

@Sugarbrownblues @tobluessociety hump day @jazzbistroTO

via Instagram @brianblain

Sugar Brown is an artist I've admired for a while. He was pretty rough around the edges when I first heard him but I always thought he was "official" (as Professor Piano used to say). I was a little shy to come down and see him at the Bistro because I had sat in with him a couple of times recently and the last time I have to say that I was not "in the pocket" like I usually pride myself. In fact I had bugged Michelle Josef, his drummer, to get me a shot playing bass with Sugar and had even said to Sugar himself that not many people would be able to follow him but that I was one who could. Well, WRONG! Maybe I was just having too much fun. Anyway he was a real gentleman about it (I kidded with him that he was a "scholar and a gentleman" because he is actually a college professor with a PhD.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

@24thstreetwail @TObluessociety Hump Day Blues @jazzbistroTO @sugarbrownblues next wed

via Instagram @brianblain

The Jazz Bistro blues series (Hump Day) kicked off its 2016 season with the 24th Street Wailers and that band continues to grow since I heard them when they were just starting out. Their new guitar player, Mark Doucet, has that official Texas sound and fits in very well. I had been quite knocked out by the guitar player that joined after Emily Burgess. He was American – I forget his name (Elliot??) but I remember telling him that he had a really distinctive sound and that nobody around here sounded like that. Mark is more of a "Classic" player, and that works great for the band.