Today we started mixing - I shouldn't say "we", I wasn't even there - There was a lot of housekeeping to be done first so I didn't expect to get into the actual mixing so soon, alas, I am surrounded by people who crave completion - something I've never been acused of. Anyway, today was the last day of production for MapleBlues, so the only song I could mix would be "I Ain't Goin' Nowhere". But we got it together by eight at which time I got a call from Fred, boss man of Northern Blues, and I said I would meet him at the Silver Dollar to hear a bit of label-mate J-W Jones backing up the amazing Kim Wilson. Well, that was not a set you could walk out of. The band played like they've been backing him for years and JW must have been in "Blues Heaven" playing with blues royalty (and rising to the occasion). As I was watching the show, I realized I was surrounded by harp players, so on the break I got a photographer to shoot Kim posing with most of the great Toronto harp players who were in attendance: David Rotundo, Dr Nick, Lil Bobby Chorney, Mark "Bird Stafford" and Bob Adams. Carlos del Junco was the first player I approached about it but he said "can we talk on the break" and I got a little deflated about the idea but we rounded up them all up (except Carlos who slipped out for a slice of pizza). I don't think he wanted to be in that picture - maybe he was having a bad hair day...
On the break we slip out to Fred's car to hear the final (Sterling) mastered Johnny Cash tribute album with amazing renditions by Mavis Staples, Gatemouth Brown, my buddy Paul Reddick and some great playing from Colin Linden on several of the tracks. He sure puts the pedal to the metal. Fred is going to come by tomorrow to hear how we're coming along and this will be the first he's heard of the Brian Blain album. I hope it's up to his rigorous standards.
This album came together the week before Christmas when I realized I had to finally deliver an album before year end (or at least have one started). Michelle Josef (drums) and Victor Bateman (bass) are two musician friends I played with quite a bit, though not recently, so I called in some favours. Paul Reddick joined us for part of the first day and Richard Bell sat in for most of the second day. The running gag at the studio was that I took two days to record the album and spent the next three months trying to wreck it by adding more stuff, but the sweetening we did adds a lot. Harry Manx plays on a track and 19 year-old Mark Roy added some mandolin. After that we had some fun adding back-up vocals from Garth Logan, Sue Lothrop, Lily Sazz and Rebecca Campbell.