Hello Grandfather. I know I should be spending more time on my music, and I'm glad to report I had the rare treat of playing music with a long-time collaborator on Saturday night. There aren't a lot of people around that I was playing with thirty years ago. Butch Coulter comes from Lennoxville, the next town down from our home town, Sherbrooke. He was passing through Toronto from his home in Hamburg, Germany and we did a little house concert at the Downtown Jazz office.
It was just like the duo gigs we did in Czech Republic and Germany last year (I'm going to try to do that again with Butch in April or May). We had a small but very appreciative audience. I'd rather have a small crowd that was listening than a big crowd that wasn't. These folks came to hear music (and, as Elaine Overholt said, who want to love you). Thank goodness Butch brought a gang.
There were no music industry honchos as we had the last couple of times though somebody said Gord Downie was going to come. He didn't. But we had, I'm sure, a few people who do not necessarily care for blues, walk out of there grinning from ear to ear. Actually there was one guy in the audience I'll never forget. Mory the Sockman. He's promoting a big blues "Superbowl" extravaganza on Jan 31 and he was wanting me to promote his event, which I'm glad to do. It's my mandate, though the only events I have trouble promoting are my own. What a character! He was giving the ladies socks with their astrological sign embroidered. It turns out he's a super blues fan who's been keeping the feet of local bluesguys warm for years - starting with Downchild. And he had a great compliment for me - he said wouldn't normally enjoy just a guitar and harmonica (he like a rockin' blues band) but that he thoroughly enjoyed our show.
On Monday night I hooked up with Butch at the Orbit Room. Kevin Breitt was playing with Sisters Euclid with John Dickie as special guest. A little bird told me that they've recorded an album to be released on NorthernBlues just before mine. That's a good thing, I think, because if any reviewers might have thought that my album isn't mainstream blues enough, I think this work will remind people that there are many kinds of blues. Kevin is playing like he always does - on the edge, and that's what people love about him. John Dickie sang three songs - I guess they're all on the album. Can't wait to hear it. Rod Phillips was there - I only wish he'd been up on stage playing that B3. It's a "house organ," and every organist in town wants to play a club that has a great B3. Rod and I (with Mike Fitzpatrick) have done a lot of gigs together and I always feel bad for Rod moving around that huge Leslie and a not-so-small organ. I'll always remember the summer I played the jazz festival and had two nights in the small tent with organ supplied. Rod looked so smug as the rest of us were loading in and he had nothing but a briefcase. But now that I think of it, the Leslie never worked properly. One night it wouldn't change speeds and the next night it wouldn't spin at all. Rod still sounded great.
I always try to includes some kind of TIP for musicians when I post a blog, and I may have passed this along already but I was told at the OCFF conference that the best time to call a local radio show host before you play in their town is two weeks in advance. That's to set up an in-studio interview or at least to remind them to play a track and promote your show. Speaking of tips for musicians, this is a goldmine.