Sunday, September 21, 2008

Atlantic Blues: Part Three

Up early to catch up on email. Then down to the kitchen and in the back door of the café to get a cup of coffee. We’ve got an early afternoon house concert in Fall River, a little community north of Dartmouth. We’ll need to get in, get set up, and get out on schedule to make our concert slot at the Great Atlantic Blues and Beyond Festival in Dartmouth.

On route we stop off in Wolfville and visit with the folks at the Deep Roots Festival there. That festival will be happening next weekend, and it looks like a real good one! Before long we’ve motored down into Fall River, Nova Scotia and got instructions to the house. We’ve had a slow leak in our rear right tire, so we’ve stopped a couple of times for air, but we’re on time.

Here we are at the house concert. These are great social and musical events. We really enjoy playing these, and a good time is had by all. In this instance we are really sorry that we have to rush away. Again, it’s a matter of the changing festival schedule. Originally we weren’t scheduled for a Sunday show. Our thanks to Dale and Eva and Andy for their hospitality. Here's Andy with his new tour jacket.

Here's what the porch looked like.

Other guests give us an escort down to the festival site, so that we will get there as quickly and directly as possible.

Again no pics, but a large crowd is waiting for us today. Joe Murphy walks up to say hello. He looks great! We are so pleased by his recovery from last year’s health crisis. The audio tech remembers us and our set-up from yesterday. We do the world’s quickest sound check. This will be good. It sounds great. Thanks, Gary, for making this happen. The act that was scheduled to appear before us has apparently been cancelled, so we again begin on the early side. Michael kicks off the show this day and asks me to play harmonica. This would be fine if I played anymore, or practised, or wasn’t sitting next to Michael Pickett! No, seriously, great fun to lay in some tonic notes and try to stay out of the way. I secretly hope that there aren’t any harmonica players out there listening. But, what the heck, we have fun and roll into the next song. I think we’re playing really well this day. We both cut in pretty deep. There’s a crowd listening intently to some very, deep, heavy blues that we are laying down. Very inspiring to know that they are with us and don’t need to be converted. Our set is relaxed, like a big living room with a couple hundred people in it. When I see that we are running out of time, I look over to the audio desk and ask Gary, “are we good for a couple more?” I know he’s got to tear down. His real hard work starts after the show. There’s nobody clapping when the bins are being moved and the cables wrapped… Gary waves us on, so we play a few more numbers. After we finish up Samuel James, a young player from Maine, strolls up onto the stage and starts to set up. I’m amazed. He was supposed to be on before us, and had apparently been cancelled. The last I was told WE were the last show on this stage. Another change of plan! I approach Samuel and offer our apologies for eating into his set time. We would not of run over if we had known there was another artist to follow.

We’re quickly broken down, packed, and loaded. I run into the AD in the parking lot, and he pays me cash on the spot. They’ve had big losses this weekend, but I’m not in a position to offer a deal. Michael and I go back to Billy’s Wings and sample the Digby Scallops before taking our gear back to the hotel. Later I return to the festival site to catch Edgar Winter and cash out my merch. Sorry, Edgar’s not my kind of show. In fact, I wonder wht he’s doing at a blues festival. Of course it is blues and Beyond, so I guess it must be OK. Clearly he’s got a lot of fans, but I don’t know if there is much overlap between his and mine. Backstage I eat strawberries with one of the sound guys. “Aren’t you supposed to be doing sound for Edgar?” I ask. “I am.” he replied, “it’s just too loud in there.” I say my good-byes to the festival volunteers, and it’s hotel time at last. Another long day.

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