Thursday, September 25, 2008

Red Dirt and Mount Stewart, PEI

Michael sleeps late this day. We’ve had fun with the woodstove in our cabin. It was pretty cold last night— down to around 3 degrees somebody said. We were fine by the bonfire, but our cabin needed a little warmth, so Michael stoked up the stove while I carried on with our new friends. By the time I got to the cabin it smelled of sweet woodsmoke and was wonderfully warm. Nothng like the warmth of wood heat! Of course, when I woke up later, the place was like a sauna! I slept on top of my blankets to wake up again, this time freezing cold. Like a real trooper, Michael got up and stoked up the stove again. By morning the place was baking hot and I escaped to the main house to hang with Hal and drink coffee.

After a pleasant half-day hanging out in the “Dunk,” we head off to our next destination. (You thought we’d never leave, right Hal?!). It’s an easy drive cross country, through red-dirt PEI, up and down the rolling hills, finally along the river, and over to Mount Stewart where we are to play the Trailside Café.

This one had been a hard one to book. The owners were pretty much convinced that no one would show up for a blues show. We’re rolling in very early to set up and get moved into our quarters. I’m pleased to learn that there are already 40 reservations for the evening show. This place maybe holds 65 or 70. That's as big as it gets in these parts. It’s gonna be a good night.

The room sounds great. We’ve been pretty lucky with good sounding rooms so far. This one has a small PA, but again, we could play it acousticly if we needed to. I consider this option briefly, but Michael (wisely, as it turns out) wants the PA and I’m happy to roll with this. A brief check and we’re up. The place is still closed and we’ve got a few hours to fill before show time.
I decide to go for a run. I was going to take today as a rest day, but I’m looking at these little, red dirt roads— and I want to put some miles in on them. I don’t normally run in the afternoon, or this close to show time. But, what the heck, I’m going to take it easy… right? Michael holes up in our room with his mandolin and a book. I get my shoes and head out.

It’s a beautiful day out here, and I’m delighted to find the Confederation Trail only a few hundred metres from the Inn. The trail is built, I believe, on the old railway right of way. A red dirt trail stretching away invitingly into the countryside. Off I go, and this is indeed a fine run! The ground is near perfect for running. The sun is out. It’s not too hot and not too cold. It’s not windy. There are no hills in this area! I take it from the sign posts along the trail and the maps in my road atlas, that there must be several hundred km of trail across the Island. Very neat. Run the Island! I end up going maybe 10 or 12 km, reluctantly turning for home as I do have a show to play this evening. There’s red dirt on my shoes. Cool.

Dinner at the Trailside is clearly an art. I have their seafood chowder. I could move in and eat this until bursting. Wow. Some good here! By show time the place is packed. I meet people from Vancouver, Kamloops, Winnipeg, Bahamas, as well as many local born and bred Islanders. People are so polite and friendly. This is great. A bunch of my fans come up from Charlottetown, and Michael has his, too. The CBC show has helped to get the word out, for sure.

Another fine night for Michael and I. We both play really well. We are having fun, and so is our crowd. They are a listening bunch, and even when we dig in very deep, they seem to stay with us for the ride. At half time we raffle a tour jacket. Here are the lucky winners!

Michael plays a great guitar piece, and we end the evening with a gospel number done off-mic in the audience. People are shaking our hands and buying cd’s, and then saying good nights and see you next times. Later we stand outside on the deck and take in the night sky. We like this life, and we’re lucky to be out on this big blues highway. We packed this place tonight, and we'll be back to do it again.

No comments: