Barney's Wagon Wheel. 23/08/2015
If if you ever saw the movie Roadhouse with Patrick Swayze. Come on ladies, we all know you have the VHS cassette tucked away somewhere, let's be honest. Well, then you can picture Barney's Wagon Wheel minus the cage and on a smaller scale. Yes, I admit I saw Roadhouse too but only because Jeff Healey appeared in it, not because Swayze ran around shirtless kicking butt with his awesome karate moves.
Where does Kevin get these gigs. An ex roadie to Willie Nelson and a wonderful lady (whose name escapes me at the moment, sorry) offered the gig to Kevin. The sheer number of shows, contacts, leads, acquaintances, promoters and musicians that Kevin attains or already has is mind blowing. He's the ultimate booker of gigs and a relentless pursuer of connections that he feels could produce something down the road. He's the best gosh darn it!
So anyway, we opened for Trip Toe. The guys couldn't stop going on about how good the band was. Donnie Brisebois, a formidable guitarist and long time friend of Kevin's came along with us and he just loved the whole Trip Toe trip as well. We finished our set with Sugar Sweet by Muddy Waters with Donnie on lead. So all in all we had a blast and who gets to drink a Genesse Light now a days? I thought the beer was defunct, but not at Barneys Wagon Wheel.
Irene's, Dorval, Stanstead. 9/08/2015
Tail of the pup. 29/07/2015
We jammed we, we covered, we ran through our repertoire, we did it all and we had good eats and lots of fun. Tail of the pup is a 13 and unders paradise, it's like a fair with all kinds of booths, an arcade, cabins for overnight stay, a playground, lots of red picnic tables, live entertainment and great food. I wish I had gone there as a kid. The rest of the band felt the same way as we gawked at the sheer awesomeness that is the Pup. The volume of people that passed through, the amount of food and drink that was doled out, the efficiency of the staff was mind boggling to say the least. So, as I like to say. Hats off to the Pup!
The birth of a festival. 20/07/2015
A house concert in Morrisburg, Ontario. 12/07/2015
Now I must be honest, I was reluctant to do this gig. Although house concerts are all the rave right now in this ever changing realm of the music business, I had a hard time imagining us fitting anywhere even remotely comfortable. And sound. Well, it was a concern as it really is everything at the end of the day. Needless to say, my fears were abated as we pulled up into the driveway of this regal home in Morrisburg, Ontario. A gorgeous house built in the 1870's that looks like it belongs in a Hollywood movie. As we hauled our equipment in I was greeted by the hosts who were very kind and made us feel right at home. We had ample room to set up and the high ceilings coupled with the hard wood floors made for a great room sound. Truthfully, I was elated.
I can't imagine how much work goes into putting this all together. Aside from booking the right act, you have to contend with an audience, setting up the house in an orderly fashion, refreshments and the monetary. Just making people feel relaxed is a task in and of itself that this couple have down in spades.
So, hats off to Isabelle and Leo. You made for a very wonderful evening of music and entertainment. For all you musicians out there looking to play in a unique location, you'd do well to attempt a gig here. Cheers to the house concert, well at least the one we played last night.
Lake Brome. 5/07/2015
Well, we ended up over in the quaint village of Knowlton which is part of Brome Lake. Having been booked for an outdoor gig as part of their annual Arts Alive Festival, we found ourselves on the green space of the local library. A precarious stage was set up on a somewhat questionable decline in the lawn and on this we piled on, sound checked and performed an hour or so straight of our tunes peppered with a few Blues standards. In short, it was a blast. I hope we can get back there sometime. I'm no duck but I too love lake Brome.
A big thanks to our sound man Scott from Scotland, he did a great job.
We and Bobby McGee. 1/07/2015
1) It's an awesome State.
2) The people there seem so laid back and easy going.
3) A happening night life. ( at least where we were)
4) Our first official State side gig.
Okay, there are probably a number of more reasons why Vermont deserves an exclamation point, but for this purpose let's focus on number 4 on the list.
When you start out as a band you play for yourselves until you think you sound decent. Then you play local at a cafe or something like that for pass the hat and to make a few cents. Then, you play a bigger local gig for a few dollars. Then, you move to a city gig. Then, a larger venue that's publicized in the city paper or radio for your city gig. Then a festival or two. Then, outside the province but still within Canada for what feels like an achievement to be in a venue that requires an hour plus of travelling to get to. THEN...the elusive State side gig. Admittedly, not every band or artist gets to the State side gig. Why, you may ask? Well, here's another list for you.
1) You need a P2 permit in order to play.
2) All your instruments have to be registered.
3) It costs more to play from your pocket than you'll probably make.
4) Travelling time usually totals at least 2 hours or more for there and back.
So there it is, more could be added but I think those are the main ones. In short, the logistics required to put everything in place just to be able to cross the border with instruments in tow is a massive undertaking. Not just in paper work, but in money. For us, the P2 permit cost roughly $1500 for the band, plus a nominal fee to process the paperwork and okay the permit at your first crossing. Don't forget the money put out to register your instruments, then the gas and your food. Oh, and the union dues because you need to be in the Local 1000 to be legit. Finally, instrument insurance for the wise. Wow, in all honesty, for a 5 piece band like ours your looking at 2000$ in American cash, give or take in investment just to play your first gig. That's daunting for sure.
Nevertheless, playing your first paid Stateside gig for the Canadian artist is a coming of age, a right of passage, a milestone achievement. True, as in our case you may only make 30 or 40$ in tips. Let's not forget that for the most part no one knows who the heck you are so its like starting the process all over again. One thing that being a working band does for you though is it changes your perspective. The glass isn't half empty anymore, it's half full. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have to invest money in order to make money. And so, we march on.
Thankyou to all the wonderful folks that came to the Radio Bean last night and happened to hear us perform. A tip of the hat to you young college people. You danced, you had a good time and you made the gig that much more entertaining. Thanks to the Radio Bean for great food, service and for supporting the live music scene. And last but not least, a great big thanks to a wonderful State. VERMONT!!!
The Fringe Fest. 16/06/2015
Case in point was the Fringe Fest in downtown Montreal. Would it rain? That was a concern of mine as the artist on stage before us suggested it was about to. That would have sucked rocks no doubt. Parking in the insanity of Montreal and getting gear out of vehicles and near the stage frays the nerves. Hoping that the guy who drank way too much, who's sitting centre stage, doesn't start acting crazy loud in the midst of a tune. If you're a control freak, by all means opt out of the festival gig. If, on the other hand
you can just take in the moment, go with the flow, ride the wave etc. you'll find the festival gig a lot of fun. Get in with the people, relax and play like the dickens.
All that having been said. Cheers to Matt large for all the work he does for promoting folk music in Montreal. Cheers to the sound guys who work with all the different artists throughout the entire festival. And cheers to the people that invest their time and money to come and support the beauty of the live music festival. They are lots of fun to play.
Rain, rain, go away. 31/05/2015
We managed to out play the rain in Dunham. The Dunham brewery put on a Hops and Rock festival that brought out all kinds of folk intent on taking in the festivities. We had a small stage to play on but a great sound over all. It sure does pay to have a good soundman, or in this case a sound woman. As Carl would say 'that was the best sound check ever'.
We started at 3pm and when the last chord was strummed around 4pm, the rain just started pouring down. Which cleared the audience so fast and left the street a muddy mess in no time. Regardless, we had some good eats and then headed home. A big thanks to Dunham and all the wonderful people that came out to see the show.