Thursday, July 29, 2021

Blainletter # 138-v2 | July Backyard Blaincast | Jammin with Peter the Puppet | A new Video for an old song

July 2021
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Watch the July Blaincast

I think I've managed to get this out just under the wire - It's still July, isn't it?

Not a lot to talk about this month.  There is some optimism in the air about the return of live music and I don't want to be the throwing a wet blanket on the cheerleaders (you know who you are).

Suffice to say, I (still) don't have any gigs to announce but I can say here that I'm going to have some kind of music event for friends and fans to celebrate my 75th in September.  Watch this space for an update.
For fans and friends who enjoyed my Campfire Jams at the Old Mill I'm sad to say that they don't seem to have any plans for live music anywhere in the near future.

But for you, my beloved Blainreaders, I felt like I need to at least show my face once a month so that you know I haven't drifted off to Rock & Roll Heaven...
Speaking of "drifting off"...I had the strangest omen the other day - though I don't pay much attention to omens, but this was a good one. For some reason I had removed the strap from my Strat and I went looking for something and pulled out the oldest strap I own - the strap that came with my first guitar.  It was quite threadbare but I flipped it on and  as I was playing, It tore apart. It's a good thing I wasn't standing because the guitar would have crashed to the floor.  Anyway I caught her and the show must go on.

Welcome to the Backyard Blaincast

I did a couple of livestreams from the back yard last summer but my neighbour's air conditioner was so loud (and never shut off) that It was disrupting the sound. 

But quess what? They got a new air conditioner and it is nice and quiet back there.  I had a few friends hanging out on the patio so I pulled out the guitar and gave them a little serenade (all requests honoured).

Thanks to Ann, Barbara and Laila for being the first audience I got to play for in a year. And what a supportive audience (and no complaints from the neighbours). Maybe I'll do this again! I hadn't played those songs in quite a while and forgot a few words but I don't care!  And nobody cared because It's just so refreshing to hear some real live music. Click on the link and see if it doesn't put a smile on your face.

Here's the July Blaincast:
Click in for a few acoustic tunes from the backyard, an ambient electronica jam with my son the DJ (aka Peter the Puppet) and some experimentation with the new release version of Ableton Live 11
The night before, I was jamming with my boy Joel and he got into a new character with a little hand-puppet and we had a lot of fun. Check it out!  It was great getting the Ableton software going and jamming with him - I have not been messing around with the electronica lately because my computer just doesn't have the horsepower to do what I want to do.  You can hear the CPU overloading in a few spots as I'm jamming with Joel  I need the proverbial upgrade.  I'm the (intermittent) IT guy who is always telling people that if their computer is more than 5 years old, they need a new one.  Meanwhile, I'm typing this on a 2012 there. 

But my music computer, a souped-up iMac, should have been up to the task but it's crapping out the minute I start doing some interesting things.  So I'm saving up to get an M1 Mac. Soon!

New Songs in the Works

The good news is that the creative juices are still flowing and I've got a whole new batch of songs in the works - one with an open tuning which is something I've never used in my 50+ years of guitar playing.  It's called the Toleration Blues, so you would be right if you guessed it's a little political. And I just came upon a half-written song that I was trying desperately to find last winter. It's called "Surrounded By Snow" and I wanted to work on it while I was (literally) "surrounded by snow".  Oh well, now I'll be trying to write a last verse in the sweltering heat :-)

An old tune gets a new video

A tune I wrote in the 70s just got a new lease on life with a video from Daniel Racine, who wrote the French lyrics.  The song is an ode to the Eastern Townships and wait till you see the beautiful photography.  If we're Facebook friends you can find it on my profile, or on my page, Otherwise, it will be on YouTube in no time.

Quote of the Day

“Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There is not some trick involved with it. It is pure and it is real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things”  -  Tom Petty
That's enough of my musings. Thanks for reading this far. I see that the Blainletter gets opened by hundreds of people but not sure how many read through it. But I always seem to hear from someone or other that they enjoyed it and that's what keeps me going. Feel free to forward this to any friend you think might enjoy my occasional ramblings (and maybe my music, too). These bits 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



For this album, I wanted to bring attention to the water crisis that is affecting 3 billion people on the planet. "Water Song" is a pretty dark "ear movie" with a global vibe provided by Sadio Sissokho (kora) and Harry Manx (mohan veena). The haunting vocals are provided by Ruth Mathiang. "I'm Not Fifty Anymore" kicks off the album with a little tongue-in-cheek  humour and some fine harp playing from Steve Marriner.  “The Not Worried Blues (An American Dream)” and “You Are Also His Son” were recorded with Julian Fauth and Gary Kendall, Mike Fitzpatrick and Pat Carey from Downchild.  “Blues Des Cantons (Goodbye Sherbrooke)” is a leaving-home barrelhouse boogie “en francais” with David Vest pounding the 88s. Patrick Merner added some bass & synth, and Clayton Doley overdubbed some organ from his studio in Melbourne, Australia. Ken Whiteley played some lap steel on "You Are Also His Son", Jesse O'Brien added some piano and organ to "The Mother I Never Knew" and drummer Michelle Josef provides a solid backbeat throughout.  Some songs end with extended jams (because I loves to jam) and the last track is a ten-minute acoustic soundscape with Michael Jerome Browne from the last day of recording my “Overqualified For The Blues” album years ago in Montreal. I call it “Tai Chi Ten,” …because it’s just the right pace and length for my Tai Chi set, but it makes for a fine meditation even if you aren’t moving.
Track Listing
1. I’m Not Fifty Anymore  3:07
  feat. Steve Marriner
2. You Are Also His Son  4:52
  feat. Ken Whiteley
3. Blues des Cantons (Goodbye Sherbrooke)  4:22  
feat. David Vest & Clayton Doley
4. The Mother I Never Knew  3:55  
feat. Jesse O’Brien
5. Not Worried Blues (An American Dream)  3:37  
feat. Julian Fauth
& Gary Kendall, Mike Fitzpatrick and Pat Carey from Downchild
6. Water Song  5:26  
feat. Harry Manx & Sadio Sissokho
7. Tai Chi Ten  (A Meditation)  9:54  
feat. Michael Jerome Browne

mixed by Margaret Stowe at Ozworld Toronto
mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering, Montreal
art direction Linda Turu
photography Margaret Mulligan
design Keijo Tapanainen
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