Friday, August 28, 2009

Me & the Devil Blues

Just picked up this giant manga 500 page graphic novel called Me & the Devil Blues. Now, since I wrote a novella with the same title, I was immediately drawn to the 1 1/4" brick on a high shelf in the back room of a local bookstore. I haven't read it yet, but it looks beautifully done. All black and white illustrations, plenty of representations of Robert Johnson and the denizens of 1920s Mississippi. Have a look for it. Only problem is reading from back to front, but for a southpaw it shouldn't be too big an issue!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Apparently Blues Hamilton has posted a video of my tune from the Festival. Here it is. Go figure!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Festival of Friends

Well, I did it! I sang at the Festival of Friends. I've attended many, many Festivals down in Gage Park, I even used to bring my guitar to play the open stage, or sit under a tree with some friends to sing "Mr. Tambourine Man" or "Catch the Wind." But this time I was actually part of the programme! Under the direction of Margaret Stowe, I took part in the Memories of Jackie Washington tribute.
I wasn't sure I wanted to do it. It was a bit stressful, imagining myself up on stage flanked by professional musicians who do this for a living, but I did it. Accompanied by my good friend Sylvia we arrived at the stage a few minutes early. There was some confusion about which stage we would be at, but when Marg Stowe arrived, and then Cathy Powell, we knew we had founf the right one. Marg set up guitars and mics, and the other performers started arriving. Hamilton poet James Strecker, who read from his biography of Jackie; local bluesman Alfie Smith; Toronto bluesman Brian Blain; songster Paul Langille and more all came to pay tribute to Jackie.
I brought along some lyrics of songs that Jack had recorded over the years, for volunteers to read. I set the bar by doing Bert Williams "Nobody". A couple of others took up the challenge. Some folk from the audience told stories of their experiences with Dr. Washington. The 'band' played on!
Cathy Powell told her story of the man who had been her friend for almost a lifetime. Then I was called back to sing Colin Linden's tune "Jackie Washington". After that it was a reading of "We'll Meet Again" and the tribute came to an end.
The day was humid, with only a slight breeze to cool us off. But the feeling was warm and mellow, and so filled with love that nobody cared about the weather.
A splendid time was had by all.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rufus, Nathan, and Jackie

I discovered that the date for Rufus Wainwright was the same as the date for Nathan's wedding. As Nathan's family has been good friends for many years I had to decline the Rufus show. Jeff was going to go with someone else. They were both looking forward to it, and I was curious to hear how it went. Nathan's wedding (okay, sure, it's Katelyn's wedding too...but she got all the attention at the event) ummm...Nate & Kate's wedding was a lovely occasion. I am pretty much "weddinged out" but this was a good one.
Came in Monday to ask Jeff how Rufus was, and he said, "We didn't of the dogs got sick!" So, anyone who attended Rufus at the Winery, let us know.
This weekend is the annual Festival of Friends down at Gage Park. It's the biggest free festival in the known universe I think. I like to call it Festival of Frenzy just because it is a frenzy trying to find a place to park, or a seat for the mainstage acts. Last year it was Steve Earle and Alison Moorer...Canned Heat and John Sebastian played on the Sunday during heavy rain. We've had enough heavy rain in the past week or two so we should be clear...but HOT! I'm playing a tune at the Tribute to Jackie Washington session. Organized by Margaret Stowe, it promises to be an interesting 2 hours. I haven't played in a setting like this for...a LOOONNNGGG time.
I'm getting a bit nervous.
Wish me luck...or tell me to break a leg...or something!