Back from the epic northern odyssey yesterday. A quick unload of the gear, a spray down of the car to remove the logging road dust, and a vacuum of the car seats to remove loose cedar bark and sawdust and then off to Dofasco Centre for the Hamilton Music Awards. A bit of shell shocking party atmosphere after the solitude of the road but pretty amazing to see a sea of musicians and music lovers come together to celebrate Hamilton's vibrant musical life. Even for a guy writing delicate/contemplative indie folk music, there's a can-do, punk rock resolve embedded in the fabric of this town that fuels my own creating. Congratulations to Katie Bulley for winning the Hamilton Music Award in Roots/solo category. It was an honour to be nominated in her company. A captivating, heartfelt performance from her last night too.
And oh yeah, the last three days of the tour...
I've been out of the touring/gigging loop for a long time but not long enough to forget that every now and then you'll be faced with playing a cavernous room. Such was the scenario at LopLops in The Sault on May 21, although I very much appreciated that Steve took the risk to book me. Nice to chat with Steve about music, architecture and the fickle Canadian music business, try a local pint and dress rehearse on a good PA. But no sugar coating that these things test the sometimes waifer-thin metal.
Then a magical night on May 22 on the shoreline of Lake Superior, just north of Sault Ste. Marie in Goulais River. Thank you Jen and Darren for opening your home and hearts to me and all the house concert guests. A memorable moment...singing "What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?" with my sister Jane who is a dear friend of the hosts. A musical hero she is. As an aside, you can hear her melotron-esque voice on the recorded version of "Mint Leaves." Yep that's a human voice. Late in the show, the hosts' youngest son suggested that I should try the "better guitar" at some point in the set. Just for Seth, I pulled out the jumbo Takamine for "6:04 AM."
Some pleasant diversions on my last day of the tour, including a stop in the Sault where I received some fine pieces of old rough-milled cedar from Dan who was at the concert in Goulais River. Thank you, Dan! Can't wait to begin sculpting. Later that day, I ran into an artist named Sharon Hunter at a great little shop in Bruce Mines. CD/art swap! And finally the last show of the tour at Fromagerie Elgin in Sudbury. A great space for music and some amazing food and beverage. I hope Stack 72 IPA finds it way down to Hamilton. Grateful for some attentive, appreciative listening during the show and some kind thoughts from Fromagerie staff. Closed the night and the tour with "Hobo's Lullaby."
Thank you northern Ontario music lovers, promoters, venue staff, house concert hosts for an amazing nine day journey. An epic piece of Canadiana and soul nourishment.