Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Harvest Jazz & Blues, Fredericton, NB

Up early. It’s a beautiful day in Fredericton. The wind is roaring over the St. John River and there are a number of eagles circling overhead. You can hear them calling to one and other. Kind of neat. I ask Colleen if they share their food as they seem to be out hunting together. She says she doesn’t know. I’m thinking it’s a lot like being out on the road with a show. There’s a huge amount of trust involved— sharing, taking care of the common good, helping one and other along. That’s the intensity of touring with another musician on a show like the National Steel Blues. Here's what it looked like in the backyard.

I take a run down the river and enjoy the soft surface of the trail. I’m hurting a little after Quebec City, so I take it very easy today. I like to run every day, but I also have trouble knowing when to stop sometimes!

After breakfast at Joe’s Diner (my choice of best Maritime Diner) we say our good-byes to Colleen and Bob, and make our way downtown to check in at the Festival offices, get our IDs, place our merch, and generally say “hello” to everybody. Remarkably, we are met at the door by Festival AD Brent Staeben, who on this day is probably one of the busiest guys in New Brunswick. It’s a big festival, and one of my favourites, so it’s very nice to be back here this year. The number of performers is huge (I think about 125), and this festival does a great job of seamlessly bringing local, regional, national and international acts together in a variety of locations around town. There are some major acts here, but the placings are almost casual— you could miss one of these if you got wrapped up in a great concert or workshop in another tent. Michael and I are looking forward to wandering around in our down time and catching up with old friends. I think we’re going to go see Derek Trucks tomorrow night… Buddy Guy is in town,.. I want to see Ana Popovic… Eric Bibb is here, Hot Toddy, Hilario Duran (from Cuba— stunning piano player!), Mat Anderson, Nick Moss… heck, Morgan Davis is here, too… It’s going to be a time, for sure.

Over to the Delta Fredericton, where Michael and I will be playing Wednesday thru Saturday, from 5:PM until 8:PM. We’ll be doing downtown concerts and workshops as well, but this will be our headquarters for the week.

The bad news is that our rooms have been sold off to somebody for some reason. I guess the clause in my contract wasn’t specific enough, so they’ve booked us into another Delta owned hotel in another town, 20 minutes up the highway. So much for hanging out and socializing at the hotel! We’ll make do, what can you do?

Back at the Delta to set up. Sound specs were met for the mics, but there are no boom stands. Michael brings his two in from the truck, and his top notch mics. I’m to play through the straight stands with the lower line gear. I’d be fine with this, if my guitar could be heard, and if I could run a sound check on these myself. The PA ain’t great. But it is what it is, and I’m sure we can make do with it. As we start the night I can’t hear my guitar very well, and I’m not sure anybody else can either. Michael, at least, sounds reasonably good, and we’ve got a listening crowd, which helps tremendously.

Out in the crowd we notice Jackie Richardson (and was that Marcus Harper with her?), Matchstick Mike, and a few other friends. Thanks for coming down! At half time we chat a little, then back to it. In spite of a less than perfect sound set up, we’re OK. I’ve got to boost my guitar before the next show, but aside from that I think we’ll get her done good. We tear off a pretty heavy version of Narow House, Michael does a fun “Long John” harmonica piece, and we wrap the night with his “Blues is a Friend of Mine.” Nice night.

All done by 8:00, now we’re relaxed, fed, and back to our hotel for a quiet evening. I’ve got to get this Blog up to date! And that’s it for today!

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