Friday, September 5, 2008

The Belleville Club

A great morning waking up in Carrying Place, ON. We’re in a nice house overlooking a reach in from Lake Ontario. The wind is roaring and the waves are pounding and the sun is shining. Swans and Canada Geese are out in the channel. I put on a pot of coffee and went for a 5 mile run while Michael slept. Didn’t see a car the whole time!

After hanging around enjoying the deck for a while, it was time to be back on the Blues Highway. We only had a short run to make today, about forty minutes up to Belleville, ON where the Loyal Blues Society had scheduled a concert for us.

Following a quick stop at our hotel we headed down to the venue. The Belleville Club was a private, men’s club built at the turn of the century for the pleasure of wealthy. It’s not a men’s club anymore, but it is pretty fancy in that old, art deco, come mission kind of style. In a word, it’s a beautiful old place stuffed with wood and fireplaces, great staircases… We were met at the door by Blues Society President Ron Foxall, along with our sound and service techs, Ken and Peggy. Between the three of them we were to be well taken care of all evening! Belleville is a small town about two hours from Toronto, and it’s quite remarkable to me what the local blues society has been able to accomplish. OK, this is a small town, and the scene here will newer be big, but these folks do all the right things to promote and develop the blues on a local, regional, and national-international level. Keep it up folks!

I had insisted on a hot meal being written into our contract— this is pretty standard for us, and usually we are well taken care of. I write this in to be sure that we get at least some chance to eat between load in and load out at the end of the night. You never know exactly how things will go. In this case I was unaware that Loyal Blues Society President Ron Foxall was an actual Chef of Distinction. He made a fabulous meal for us in the kitchen of the Belleville Club. What can I say? Wow!! We presented Ron with a Tour jacket in appreciation of his support.

Showtime began with a set by local one man band Mark Taylor, who was hoping to win a place in the International Blues Challenge next year. Michael and I took the stage in front of a relaxed but enthusiastic crowd and had a very strong evening, making lots of new friends, and meeting quite a few old ones. I was impressed at how far some people had come to see us. As I anticipated, a good many blues fans had heard us both solo and were very curious to hear us together. Encore. I guess that means we did good. Back to the hotel early for an early start on Ottawa.

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