Tuesday, October 21, 2008

'Toon Town: Capacity Show!

A rainy start from Regina. We stop at Mr. Breakfast on our way out of town for a decent feed. It’s an early start, 8:AM call as we have a radio show to do at noon in Saskatoon, SK, followed by a masterclass at Long & McQuade, and then our concert downtown.

After an uneventful drive to Saskatoon we hole up in a coffee joint to make our phone calls and emails. The radio show has not been organized as planned. So, OK. Relax. We drink coffee and talk to Jeff at the Blues Society. We’ll check into our rooms, and then head over to Long & McQuade to do our masterclass presentation.

Only one room ready. Michael and I take opposite sides of the king bed and catch thirty winks before going to Longs. It’s easier than I thought to navigate the Circle Drive around Saskatoon, and we arrive at Longs without any detours. This is a really nice store with a huge learning and teaching facility. We are greeted by manager Pete Woronowski, who makes us feel right at home and shows us to the room we’ll be presenting in. It’s got a little PA all ready to go, and pretty soon we’re ready to go as well! People are trickling in, a few at a time. We end up with about 15 for the masterclass. It’s a mix of young and old, players and non-players. We try and do something for everybody, and it’s a wide ranging presentation covering everything from slides to strings to fingerpicking. We talk about the history of our instruments, of the blues, how we each came to it. It’s not a real focused workshop, but it feels good, and Pete seems to be very happy with it. These folks at Longs are great supporters. Now straight to the venue for sound check and dinner.

It’s a room called the Vangelis, just a couple of doors down from Bud’s. It’s actually pretty nice— good sight lines, lights, nice stage. The sound tech is waiting for us, and has us up fairly quickly. All good from my chair! We order food and settle in to kill time until the show. The room is actually filling up rather quickly. Clearly this is going to be another sold out show!

I’m really pleased to keep meeting folks from last year and the year before. These are exceptional blues fans in an exceptional Blues Society that is doing great work. I so appreciate the fact that they support acoustic blues, and do so in such numbers!
Here I am with some Blues Society members before the show.

Prior to the show, Michael and I are honored by the Black American Blues Historical Society. This is a total surprise to us. Here Charles Taylor presents us each with the honor and title of "Acoustic Blues Master." This is part of the 6th Annual Black American Music Awards. I'm thrilled as I have never before had an Award or honor of any kind. And this one is particularly moving for me because of where it is coming from. Thank you. I am truly honored.

Showtime! Here's what it looked like from the merch table.

After a warm introduction, we got the show into gear. This is the National Steel Blues Tour, bringing the Blues to Your Town! Hey, great to be in Saskatoon. This is one great blues town!

Tonight I'm drinking red wine and we are playing the blues! This crowd is with us all the way. We dig in deep, and they follow. Here's our jacket winner— (picture here!)

We had so much go on in 'Toon Town, Saskatoon, SK, that this will have to wait another day or so. Too much to write about in a hurry! And my connection is so slow that this is taking forever to get the pics in. Thanks everybody for sending pics. I'll get these up in a day or so, as well as pics for the rest of the week. We had a ball. Thanks to everybody involved in making it all happen. This was a great day, and night. Saskatoon is a great blues town.

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