Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Blaincast #25 (Final Episode)

Backyard Blaincast # 25 - Final Edition. Here I include a little PSA for the TBS (Toronto Blues Society) who will be promoting the release with a "premiere" on Wednesday. 


Then check out the new video of the title track, "I'm not Fifty Anymore" recorded with Steve Marriner a couple of weeks ago. We end with a "Campfire Cameo" from May 13, 2017 at the Old Mill. It was celebrating Mother's Day and I had had a "Ladies Night" with Roberta Hunt, Carrie Chesnutt and Alison Young. Hope you enjoyed the Blaincasts while they lasted. All the Blaincasts and Campfire Cameos are archived on my blog ( and my YouTube Channel. Please subscribe and if you'd like to receive my (mostly) monthly Blainletter please go to and subscribe to that. That's a lot of subscriptions! And, of course, the album will be available at starting Friday

Blainletter #128

September 2020
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Listen/Buy "I'm Not Fifty Anymore" at

Well tomorrow's the big day (or is it today?) Drop in to my Facebook at 8pm for a little celebration. This CD is a bit of a birthday present to myself. Actually, this CD encompasses many gifts, from the folks who contributed to the GoFund Me Campaign to get it off the ground, then the labours of love from the many musicians who participated and to the friends who've been helping make it as good as it can be.  And everybody agrees it's pretty good.
Friday Night at 8pm we'll have a bit of a "CD Launch" on Facebook Live.  If you're not on Facebook you can watch it on my musician page,  And after that it will be posted on my YouTube channel and my blog, You will see the new video w/Steve Marriner
But, like most of my (artistic) career, every time I think "we've got it made!", "…easy Sailing from here on…" I am brought back to earth with a harsh reality check.  I was thrilled to be invited to play Kitchener's downsized festival last week-end - it was my first gig since March 14 and I even prepared well, I thought.  I was told it was a small restaurant so I thought it would be great to play for some blues lovers who have been "jonesing" for live music for the last six months but as it turned out I was playing for restaurant patrons who were probably having their first big night out with friends and they had a lot of catching up to do.  So the front table was two young couples who couldn't care less about music and chattered continuously. I guess I could have tried to blast them and be louder but that's not my style and like I said, this was probably a big night for them, getting together with friends they hadn't seen in a while.  And it was an upscale joint so not a cheap night out for these folks (Joel the roadie had a charcuterie selection that came to $68).  So just when you think things are going great….boom!  And I believe everybody's had their boom moment lately.
…Reminds me of when I was just starting out as a solo artist in the early seventies. Signed to a label, big budget recording, opening concerts for Seals & Crofts and Lou Reed, riding high (in a big Mercedes with a driver/road manager) then… going on tour supporting the hottest band out of Montreal, April Wine.  The first theatre was Belleville or Brockville and when I got up to do my folky thing the rowdys started shouting "A-PRIL-WINE, A-PRIL-WINE"  Argh… Then the next stop it was a similar reception.  By the third gig, I had dumped all my originals and just got up and did Chuck Berry songs but I was not having fun.  I called the office and told them I was leaving the tour effective immediately.  Well, nobody does that to Donald K. Donald and as the saying goes, "you'll never work in this town again".  And I never did.
That's when I became "the itinerant bass player" criss-crossing the country for 5 years playing bass for one band after another, one day with western attire in a country rock band, next week in a tux doing a tour of CP Hotels with a Romanian Streisand clone.  When I left that gig, I remember the last words from her impresario, "You musicians! You get two-hundred dollars in your pocket and you think you're rich!"
Anyway, I've always considered the events that prevented me from making it to the "big time" were a protection of sort, even when they were self-inflicted.  Somehow I knew that I would not do well in the rarified atmosphere at the top of the mountain.
I've said before how I thought this would be my last album but nobody likes to hear me say that.  Well, I'm still writing songs even though my left hand is having trouble with barre chords, my ears are missing high frequencies, my eyes can't make out the lyrics and can't tell when the lights on my pedals turn from red to green (well, that was always a problem) and… I don't travel well.

The Big Release

Anyway, back to the CD…The time has come. The Day is here. It has been years in the making and has been a bit of a roller coaster ride.  I have to admit, I don't really like the recording process.  I like writing songs, I like playing them for people, but when it comes to laying them down on tape (or whatever) it can be a painful process for me. First of all, I don't do "flawless."  Recordings are supposed to be flawless.  They even have to pass muster under a microscope. And meanwhile, you're trying to capture the spontaneity of the moment…the magic.  Putting "lightning in the bottle." Well we captured a few bolts of lightning on this one despite my control-freak behavior.  I feel like I should have sent letters of apology/appreciation to all the people who worked on all my recordings because I know I've given them all a lot of grief.  And it's not about being a perfectionist. Like I said, I don't do "flawless."  So here in this public forum I prostrate myself before all the folks who helped me make this record as good as it is, many without adequate (if any) compensation. Thank You. You know who you are.
You can now stream the album from your favourite service and if you care to buy a track (it's pay what you can) go to We don't have the printed CDs yet but if you're a Blainbacker, you'll be hearing from me as soon as we get them.  You can pre-order physical copies at Bandcamp as well.  And please drop in to my Facebook on Friday at 8pm ET for the launch party (oh yeah , it's also my birthday)

Spiritual stuff (skip over if this is not your thing)

I used to joke that I would end my days like a monk in isolation spending my time in meditation and contemplation. Thursday was kinda like that. The isolation part is easy - that's been all laid out for me. And thanks to Michael Herring's regular Qigong class, I've integrated a warm up for my Tai Chi set and a feel-good ending (visualizing a ball of energy slowly flowing down through my body). Then in the evening I was part of a virtual (in the old sense) healing/pipe circle in the native tradition where I created a little altar of sorts and smudged myself with sage & sweetgrass, then sat in a deep silence until I was called upon (?) to reach for my rattle and shake it for a while.  In the course of this I felt another aspect of myself present itself from within my body. As the ball of golden energy had flowed down my body, this bundle of energy flowed up and it had a face a very stern face with chiseled features (native looking, of course) that settled into my body for a few minutes until the spell was broken. I knew I had an "inner child" but I think this was my "inner parent." In that moment I was feeling that strict, dead-serious attitude that is the opposite of my usual easy-going state of mind. I have felt energy manifesting itself in me at other times but it always came from outside.  This time it came from within and I now realize it's part of me, though quite repressed (and I think I'll keep it that way). As I floated back down to earth I picked up the glass of water and was trying to remember the water blessing that I've heard many times. It wasn't coming to me but, dig this, I start hearing droplets of rain striking the skylight. I kid you not. And it stopped as quickly as it came. I never did remember the water blessing but I do remember the affirmation that would always start our gatherings: "to release all conditions, affairs, relationships and beliefs that no longer serve me back to the Earth Mother to be recycled or returned to the Native nothingness from whence they came." Or something like that.

What's Goin' On

After six months of this pandemic, overlapping a smouldering race war, California on fire, floods and famine, all results of climate change that gets me thinking our planet might be deteriorating even faster than we thought.  And even though I've often wondered at how my cohort had escaped any real tragedies like getting drafted into a war or going through a depression, it looks like it might have caught up to me.  Six months locked down and once I do surface there will be a new "blues landscape" -  one where old white men singing the blues might not be feeling a lot of love.  I always thought we oughta let women run things and if the pendulum is taking a big swing and it's time to let black people run things, then we can be reassured that it will be mostly women taking charge - and that's for the better if you ask me.

Quote of the Day

"The real old cause for jumpin. You go to jumpin', that ain't the blues...when you get lonesome and worried - that's the blues"  - SON HOUSE
Here's the video we just shot with Steve Marriner. This opportunity just fell in my lap and as you can see it's a pretty professional presentation.  The Redwood (formerly Circus) Theatre is just down the street from me and has new owners who are investing $$$ to fix it up.  You have to wonder why anyone who owns a big venue would be spending money on renovations, but on the positive side, you are making work for the tradesmen.  (watch through to the end for my little Blues Society PSA...the "Maple Blues" (have you renewed your subscription?) 
Here's the "Campfire Cameo" for this month.  It was Ladies Night on Mother's Day week-end at the Old Mill on May 13, 2017. Roberta Hunt, Alison Young and Carrie Chesnutt all get a tune and I also included me singing an old favourite, "Terrace Inn."  I've got quite a playlist of Campfire Cameo's on my YouTube channel if you want to see some great moments from 4 years of Campfire Jams with some of the top blues players in the country, and "moi" trying to keep up...  
Thanks for reading this far. Feel free to forward this to any friend you think might enjoy my occasional ramblings (and maybe my music, too). These clips and more are always available on my blog,

See you out there, eventually...

BrianB, aka Butch, Nappy, Shaker, Two-Lane Blain, Colorblind Brian, Stringbuster, Buddha of the Blues


The weekly Backyard sometime Basement Blaincast reached episode 25 last Sunday and with all this CD Launch activity, I have decided to forego the regular Sunday thing in favour of spontaneous Facebook Live Pop-ups whenever I feel like it. I'll be putting out a series of "Songs that didn't make it onto the album" as well as my continuing series on "How-to-write-a-blues-song-with-Brian" And I'm sure I'll find other reasons to stream They say you have to be consistent to succeed with streaming. Well, nothing else in my life is consistent...

I call it my "living" album because it started life as a solo "live" recording with bassist George Koller and has now been "sweetened, stacked, mixed and mastered" with new instrumentation on all the songs. It starts with New Orleans marching horns from Alison Young and Colleen Allen on "Forgotten",  “Alice“ gets violin and banjo from Drew Jurecka and Tim Posgate. There's a reggae percussion workout with Trinidadian Wayne Stoute and the wonderful Michelle Josef, some sweet slide from Harry Manx on the French tune, barrelhouse piano from Toronto expat Patrick Godfrey and organ grooves galore from Australian B3 sensation Clayton Doley. "The Ghost of Clinton's Tavern" is a full-tilt electronic ambient remix by my son the DJ. 
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