Great day not too early in the morning. I'm not going to run today. We've got to be up and out of here as our hosts are selling their home and need to show it this morning. We're off to have coffee in town. Here's a cool guitar from the music store across the street. Too bad the rest of their stock is all new stuff.
We decide to take in an art exhibit in a rural gallery. We'll follow Randy and his daughter in her cool, Smart Car. Here's what it looks like in these parts—
The gallery is an old ranch house, and the inside is all wood and antiques. There were some stuffed things in here that got my attention.
Time to get back to our digs and get ready for tonight's show. We drive back to Cochrane under a big sky.
The Ironwood Grill is a very cool, SE Calgary venue. I couldn’t play here last year because of a prior commitment Big Dave had to the Red Onion. I’m like that, too. I’m very loyal to my venues. After the Calgary International Blues Festival, the Ironwood was the first venue to host me in Calgary. It was new, but looked like it was going to develop nicely. It has. And I’m very pleased to be back. This is clearly a destination now. I’m glad to have Michael with me. He’s gonna knock ‘em down!
On this night house soundman J.T. is on hand to meet us at load in. Absolutely one of the best sound techs I have ever worked with. He’s got some cool mikes up and ready for us to try, he does a great monitor mix, front house mix, back of house mix, fixes the lights, tells stories, and is an all around professional all evening. He makes it happen effortlessly, calmly. This is the best sound we’ve had all Tour. (Although, I gotta say the Slice in Lethbridge was really, really good, too.) I bet the Ironwood has the best sound in Calgary for live music. My pals Little Miss Higgens and Foy were here last night, and I’m sorry to have missed them. I guess I’ll try to catch them on the flip through Saskatchewan in November. It’s nice to have friends all up and down the line.
It’s still early when we finish sound check, so Michael and I order dinner. Nicely presented fare here. The soup is great!! And the staff seem to enjoy their work, and being here. We’ve set up an extra chair and a couple of extra mics tonight as we’re expecting company. Johnny V had come to see us a couple of nights ago, and had said he would like to play with us— if invited. We invited him! He’ll be here tonight, so the chair is ready. Also, I’m half wondering if Tim Williams will come down tonight. I’m not sure if he’s in town, but he sure is a fine acoustic blues player. He’d be very welcome to have a turn in that extra chair, too.
Club owner Patrick MacIntyre arrives, and we share a few jokes, catch up on family, and have a wee dram of single malt to warm up the evening. Rick from the Red Onion comes by to catch the show and I introduce him to Patrick. These guys ought to know one and other. I tell Rick he should open his new place across the street from the Ironwood! That way there would be an entertainment district.
Showtime. We kick off with an old Sonny and Brownie number. I get to play harmonica on this one, and it’s fun to be doing that a little bit again. I chase it with an old Son House number, and then we move the night into our own material. It’s a fun first set that seems to end all too soon. Johnny V has arrived and we’ll set him up on the break. I wander the crowd, meeting everybody and selling raffle tickets on the Tour Jacket. I should probably be selling CDs instead, but the raffle is popular tonight, so I bring a pile of tickets back to the stage. I have a moment of panic. I think the Tour Camera has been lost or stolen at the gig. I look in the truck. No sign of it. So no pics tonight. Damn!
Second set is way more fun than I thought it would be. I open with an old Charlie Patton inspired It Won’t Be Long/Rollin’ and Tumblin’ in B-flat— and Johnny is right there with us. He’s a great guitar player, and he’s doing our thing. Not as easy as it looks, folks. Michael and I play lots of stuff with variable meter and time, not cookie cutter music. We trade songs back and forth, including Johnny in the rotation. Johnny has brought his National Trojan tonight, and it’s a wonderful guitar. I like these wood-bodied Nationals. I’d love to get one. We raffle the jacket, sign CDs... The night seems to end all too soon.
Patrick is on hand to pay us, and even gives us a bonus on the evening. This is a class act, this club. I feel like family here. After we say our good-byes at the club Michael and I follow Johnny over to the Blackfoot Diner, and old truck stop on that edge of town. This diner has what are perhaps the biggest slices of pie I have ever seen. No kidding. I didn’t have one, but thought about it. I wish I had the Tour Camera to record this place properly! We have breakfast and head back to Cochrane at about 3:30 AM. The tour camera is sitting on my bed, where I had left it! Snap! That’s the day, folks.