The big news is that Reggie Boivard is back as doorman at the Horseshoe after fourteen years!
I remember one of these music conferences when I went club-crawling for three nights and didn't see any music that I would call memorable. This year, however, I'm off to a good start and even if I don't hear anything else that grabs me, at least I saw Martha Wainright. After her set I dropped in downstairs at the Bar Code and heard Hey Stella for the first time. Michele Josef on drums and Victor Bateman was playing bass. For their encore the whole band did a little "walk-through" the audience getting the whole place to sing along some Bob Dylan song.
At a conference panel of big time managers, agents and promoters who kept talking about long-term career development, I asked if they would ever consider being part of the "talent development" of an artist who was their age - ie: would they reject out of hand an over-fifty "new face". Donald Tarlton (who I always remember as Donald K. Donald, the legendary Montreal promoter) was the moderator and he and a couple of others would not admit it but they examples they used of over-50 talent they were working with were John McDermott (an irish tenor) and the new Journey. They were not very encouraging for this 50-plus blues guy but I am not deterred.
Spoke with Donald afterwards and reminded him that he had once put me out on tour opening for April Wine. He also got me some other choice gigs, opening for Seals & Crofts and then Lou Reed (right at the time of "Walk on the Wild Side") I forgot to mention that I had played bass with one of his favourite home-grown bands, Oliver Klaus.
One club that was perfect for the music industry schmooze-fests is the new Rancho Relaxo. The entrance is next to the stage and it's lit up like a stage, so everyone entering the club has their moment "in the spotlight". Saw Darlin with Lisa LeBotniere (sp?) and Holly Go Lightly, two bands fronted by talented young women with something to say.
Dropped in at the Free Times but all my media accreditation could not get me in to see Joe Hall. He was playing with Tony Quarrington and Daisy DeBolt. Joe reminded me a lot of Allan Fraser (who partnered with Daisy to make Fraser & DeBolt back in the 60's-70's).
Got to the East Coast Showcase (Lobsterpalooza) right at the end and heard a couple of tunes by Johnny Favourite (it's not "swing orchestra" anymore - sounded more like Blood, Sweat & Tears. Michele was playing drums, Marg Stowe was burning on guitar and the horns under the direction of Rich Underhill were fabulous.