Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ottawa Valley Hospitality— Long & McQuade and O'Reilly's

Runner’s log: a run around suburban Belleville in the rain! Michael and I head downtown for espresso before getting on the Highway and pointing the truck toward Ottawa. This is what downtown Belleville looks like on Saturday morning. And here's Michael in front of the friendly espresso joint called Organic Underground- they know how to do it! I took advantage of their free wifi hotspot to try and update the Blog and to check the tour email.

We’re going to do a masterclass at Long & McQuade this afternoon, and we’re calling ahead to find out what time they’d actually like to do it. Google is pissing Michael off— the stuff that I ran off line for directions is painful to read… But we get there, just the same. Maybe not by the smartest route, but by a route. We talk about this as we drive. Our Tourbook is thick like an old telephone directory, and there are dozens of maps like this in it. I sense we're going to have this conversation a few more times until one of us gets a GPS device... Meanwhile we'll keep getting there, not necessarily by the smartest route.

Long and McQuade is Canada’s biggest music store, and they have something like 30 stores coast to coast. We’re very pleased to be associated with them for this tour. Inside the Ottawa store a small PA is waiting for us and we are up and running in just a few minutes time. They’ve only got three resophonic guitars in the store, not much for us to demo on. But we do have our vintage Nationals- what the people have come to see anyway. I notice that they’ve got a great drum department, and a big selection of audio gear in Ottawa. Each store is a little different, but all seem to be very friendly and helpful. This one is no exception, and Manager Denis Chatterton and his staff did their best to make us welcome. It turned out to be a nice little workshop: we played a few songs, talked about the history of the resophonic guitar, alternate tunings, different sorts of slides, how to mike these… Sold a couple of cds and were on our way to Perth, ON, where we were told dinner was waiting!

It's a darkening sky, and a little bit of rain. This is never a good sign when entering a new town.

The gig at O’Reilly’s is a pub show, but a local couple, Sue and Steve, of McLean Ave. House Concerts, have kindly offered to put us up for the night. We are treated to warm hospitality— we feel like we’ve known these folks for years, whereas we’ve only just met! The town is not so dark after all! Their son, Adam, is to be our sound tech for the night, so after dinner we all head down to get set up and ready to go. This is one of those magic road moments where one can take real delight and pleasure in having made new friends. Adam and Michael troubleshoot the PA while I set up the merch and do inventory. We’re to have a 9:00 start. Here we are after dinner.

A pretty interesting night from my chair. Michael and I can hear each other pretty well, which certainly makes the night more enjoyable and creative for us. Some of the songs are way over the top. I’m very happy with how these songs are turning out! Neat. I also notice that our 10 song sets are running to about an hour and forty minutes. We did two shows, raffled off a tour jacket, met a pile of new friends. It’s a friendly pub, maybe not a destination event for a touring show, but a very pleasant night on the way. We’ll be back to visit Perth again the future. Did anybody from the local Stewart Park or Blue Skies festival come out to see us?

See ya next time.


Jipes said...

Do you have the chance to record some of your live shows on the road ? That would make surely a great CD as I read that you have magic moments on stage :o)

Doc MacLean said...

Usually on a tour like this we get a few fans and sound guys presenting us with "board" recordings or videos of shows. These are not always of the kind of quality you'd want to release, but some do end up on YouTube and places like that. I think we'll go into a studio in December sometime after the Tour and record some material in a controlled environment. Radio is sometimes pretty good, too. In Canada, CBC Radio comes out to record quite a few shows. No date for this Tour yet, but you can hear some of last year's music by visiting and going to (I think) Radio 2, "Concert on Demand." My show with Big Dave McLean is in there for your downloading pleasure. I'm hoping to get a good live recording of Michael and I before this is over. Doc