Still on the road as I write from my hotel in Edmonton, Alberta Canada, where its been a living ice box since
arriving this past Sunday!
Fortunately the heat is on at Blues on Whyte, where we are in residence for a week’s worth of gigs.
They love their blues here that is for sure!
Let me catch you up since the last newsletter.
Since leaving for this tour right after the first of the year, we have been dodging sketchy, and sometimes dangerous weather the whole time. It seems we were either just ahead or just behind some of the worst winter weather.
This trend continued when we left Sacramento and traveled north to southern Oregon. I knew this was going to be an interesting ride when travel reports stated that chains were required to travel along Interstate 5 north.
Fortunately, this all cleared out before we got to Mt. Shasta and we had a gorgeous ride! But I now own a set of tire chains. We had a great gig at the Axe and Fiddle in Cottage Grove and then made our way to the Puget Sound to take up residency at the Wurlitzer Manor in Gig Harbor WA.
We spent a delightful week there with our hosts Barbara and Amanda Gresham. The Manor was home base from which we scurried off to gigs in Seattle (Funhouse), Tacoma (Jazzbones) and Conway WA (Conway Muse) as well as back down I-5 a bit to Portland.
This week was a highlight of our tour. Our hosts, the Gresham’s are the founders of United By Music North America
This project that serves musicians challenged by circumstance, by orchestrating opportunities to learn and grow as musicians and performers.
It was great to spend time working with folks from this program and perform with them at the Manor and at venues in Portland (Catfish Lou’s) and Tacoma (Jazzbones).
Thank you Barb and Amanda for welcoming me into your home and allowing the band and me the opportunity to perform with the talented UBMNA musicians.
A great photo by fan Debra Penk from the Pac NW...
One last comment about this week. It’s not called the Wurlitzer
Manor for nothing! The concert organ sits at the center of a large room built just for it! I can’t begin to describe how amazing it was to listen and watch as the organ was played – it was like being on the inside the instrument rather than just watching the organ play.
Before leaving the area, we had the great opportunity to play a house concert at the home of Debby & Roger Espinor, members of the band Sister Mercy. A wonderful evening with a great group of folks!
We made the long trek from Puget Sound to Calgary on two consecutive days of bright sunshine and clear, blues skies. The ride through the Cascade Mountains was spectacular and driving over the Canadian Rockies was stunning.
Seeing avalanche zone warning signs was a bit scary, but no avalanches occurred thank goodness! We also saw elk, mountain goats and wild sheep along the way. With all this wildlife it was good we made our way in daylight.
We had a delightful time playing the Calgary Midwinter Blues Fest to an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd. Thank you to Cindy MacLeod for hosting us.
We arrived in Edmonton for our weeklong residency at Blues on Whyte. This is a great club that has hosted touring blues acts for over three decades. So much fun to play for folks, well-versed in their blues knowledge and who are so much in love with this Blues genre.
Wrapping up, as I have to get ready to meet with Canada’s premier keeper of the blues, the legendary Holger Peterson (interview aired on 3/2). I am so looking forward to our conversation and thrilled that Holger values my music so to include me among those he has interviewed.
More Blues on Whyte today and tomorrow then its off to Saskatoon for two days at Bud’s on Broadway, before heading back to the USA.
It’s been a fantastic run. Thanks to everyone who has hosted us and to those who came out to our shows!
A huge thank you to Vinny Marini for always being Johnny-on-the-spot with amazing tour support!
Most of all thanks to the TORTURED SOULS
Sonny Rock, (who takes most of the photos you see of us on the road), Tom Terry and Dick Ericksen for bringing it to the stage night after night and sharing their good humor and kindness mile after mile!