Paul's Dream Day or A series of Amazing Events - June 7, 2009:
Got up Sunday expecting the usual day of chores, family visits, etc. One of my daughter's was out of town with her cousin. My wife said "why don't we go to Toronto and check out this Luminato festival." Went on line and this is where my charmed day begins: Amazing event #1 - Free concert - "The World of Slide Guitar." Grab some breakfast, get the kids in the car and on the road we go. Two hours later were in Toronto, traffics held us up and we've missed an act of two. We find the "park" which is a city plaza downtown. Amazing event #2 - There is parking available right under the venue. We emerge just as Jerry Douglas and his band are starting their set. He played a great set on dobro - fantastic band with standout acoustic guitarist and double bass player. They did a great cover of a Weather Report tune "A remark you made." Amazing event #3 Next up: The Sonny Landreth Band. Well i got to tell you, this guy is one of my favourite slide players. He was backed up by his regular band with special guest Cindy Cashdollar on lap steel. Sonny was stupifyingly good, coaxing sounds out of his guitars like no one else can. I love the zydeco influence in his music. I just stood there with a big grin on my face in awe of the music and the mastery of his talent. Cindy C had her work cut out for her but did some solid playing and added some nice textures to the mix. Break for lunch and found a good restuarant close by. After a Dos XX and some pork burrito type thing it was back to the park. Next up were the Campbell Brothers who i had never heard of. I guess they are also known as "Sacred Steel." Well what a great new musical find for me. They were fronted by a lap steel player, a pedal steel player with another brother on guitar who played great but also had some set up where his guitar triggered a b3 organ. Weird initially figuring out where this sound was coming from. They played a great set of gospel blues rave ups. They were joined by Sonny, Cindy and Jerry guesting on a few numbers. They were also fronted by a great female blues singer. The joint was jumping. Dan Lanois took the stage after this initially playing solo. As good as he is, the energy level certainly dropped. He did play some good pedal steel later in his set. Weirdly enough this event was co-sponsored by L'oreal who had a big tent on site. This turned into Amazing Event #4 as they were doing free hair and makeup for the ladies. This kept my wife and girls happy and into the event. Break time and supper at a retro diner accross the street. All involved fed and happy and ready for Amazing Event #5 - the evening concert with the Derek Trucks Band. Alright, I've already mentioned that Sonny Landreth is one of my favourite guitarists, well Derek Trucks is the other and boy did he put on a great show. Susan Tedeschi (his wife) joined him, as did Jerry Douglas (who played a mean lap steel) and a slide player from india whose name i'm not going to attempt and his tabla player. The interplay between Derek and the indian slide player was freaking amazing with both pushing the envelope and each other to greater heights. Anyway, I just can't get enough of Derek's tone, I love the way he makes his guitar sing. We had managed to get pretty close to the front of the stage and had a great show. The crowd was great too, no idiots, just one big happy grooving family. We wrapped it up around 1045pm and headed back to the car park. Amazing event # 6 - parking only cost us $10. Home by 1230pm.
What an amazing, blessed, unexpected day of music. To say my battery was recharged would be an understatement. Anyway it's now Thursday and i'm still full of the positive energy and wanted to share. Some days my life seems pretty repetitious and ho-hum. This was just one of life's stand out days - they just don't get much better.
I've been listening to a lot of Dave Alvin lately; he morphed from a rocker with the Blasters to more of a roots-music sort of guy. King of California is a great album, and has a nifty slide-blues at the end; Mother Earth.
Another great songwriter is James McMurtry. Son of the novelist, he's recorded a lot of great tunes. His new album, The Kids are Allright, has some great stuff on it.
Working midnights, I fire up the squad-car laptop and tune in Pandora, the streaming music service. (Don't tell the boss..) Great site; you can put in any artist or song you like and the search software will tailor you a "radio station" based on that style.
The whole CBG thing has inspired me to dust off some of the instruments I had in the back of the closet. In high school I played banjo in a school dixieland combo but was always self conscious about my finger picking for bluegrass stuff. I've been working on it a bit and simultaneously discovered a radio station that I barely get that's all bluegrass and "obsolete" music all the time. It certainly helps my hour-long commutes. I also recently pulled out my old mandolin that I was disappointed with from the moment I bought it. The electronics are useless because of the hum and the bridge was nowhere close to where it needed to be for intonation. I was planning to scrap it for CBG builds but decided to put a little elbow grease into it. I've got the intonation spot on but still need to do some shielding work on the electronics. I'm not sure if I'll do it or just leave it acoustic. Anyway...I guess what I'm trying to get at is pretty much anything bluegrass (although I'm not digging the new stuff that's borderline sappy country). I did a google video search of "bluegrass" and the first thing that comes up is an allstar line up playing "Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms." It had me grinning like an idiot.