Sunday, January 9, 2011

Done Like Dinner

Hey, I'm back alive and well! Thanks for following my National Steel "Darker Ways" Tour across Canada. As always it was a real thrill to visit so many parts of the country, to visit so many old friends, and to meet so many new ones.

The Lincoln performed wonderfully in her support role, as did the Long and McQuade, Yorkville Sound, PA system. The 1929 National lead the way again. Not a single broken string across nine provinces and nearly 100 back to back shows. I didn't change 'em either.

The final figures are in. By land I travelled just over 23,000 km, most of it on two lane highways, and at least half of it on snow covered roads. I burnt up 2800 litres of gasoline, 25 litres of oil. How many litres of red wine and scotch? How many quarts of bourbon?

Seven Canadian blues societies presented shows. Numerous local and regional radio and television stations helped to promote or sponsor, as did various Folk Societies, Guilds and Clubs, and Arts Councils. Mitch Podolok's Home Routes organization presented me in 12 house concerts. I played another 18 house concerts on my own. I also played numerous Legion Halls, theatres, cafes, churches, community halls, coffeehouses, bars, saloons... I played a benefit show for Vancouver Native Health on Hastings St. East, and a food-raiser for the Underground Gym in Thunder Bay. Nearly 5000 paid admissions were recorded. This Tour was, as always, organized and conducted by myself without any government funding. No grants. No agents. No record company. I would, by the way, sell my soul for any of these. Meanwhile, I continue as a proud indy blues artist...

CBC Radio recorded me for their Canada Live series, which will also be available on the digital, Concert on Demand. I also made my third appearance on Alberta's flagship radio station, CKUA, to help with their yearly fund raiser.

I did a show with the Chairman of the National Film Board. I hosted a government delegation from the Faroe Islands– including their Minister of Culture and some MPs. I drank all afternoon with a bunch of old Haida guys.

I presented a bunch of masterclasses in Long and McQuade locations from coast to coast. I also gave free guitar lessons to anybody under 16 who brought a guitar to a show. I left a genuine satin, white stripe Tour jacket behind at nearly every show.

This "big tour of small" was everything I had hoped it would be. I enjoyed every show, and these were all successful events. I think I made some strides as an artist, and I'm looking forward to recording the next project. I'm also looking forward to getting back on the road as soon as possible. That's my life. The first real tour of 2011 will take me to the Yukon, NWT, Alaska, with a possible stop in Alberta or British Columbia. That will be March, so still a little frosty! I'll be leaving the Lincoln at home for this one! Meanwhile, I'll be quite busy with performances, writing, recording, and the business end of this whole, crazy adventure.

The 2011 Maple Blues Award nominations and Blues Summit have been announced, and I'll be attending in Toronto next week at my own expense. It's always a treat to come in off Tour and hang out at the Maples. Sometimes a substantial amount of the next National Steel Tour is booked at the Maples. Did I mention that Big Dave McLean will be back for next year's National Steel? The "Bad Boy" Blues Tour is now booking September- November 2011. Don't miss this one!