BLUES SOURCE # 26
By Ken Wallis, Blues & Roots Radio
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“Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel.”
How Time Flies
I just realized that this is Blues Source’s 26th blog for Blues and Roots Radio. At one per week, that means I’ve done blogs now for half a year. Guess this is something to celebrate!
So What’s Happening for New Year’s and Beyond?
Spend a bluesy New Year’s Eve with Chris Whiteley & Diana Braithwaite. They’ll ring in the new year at Hugh’s Room Live in Toronto. And by the way, Suzie Vinnick performs there on Decemeber 29.
Jack de Keyzer and his band of merry musicians will rock the New Year in at Bay City Music Hall in Hamilton. You can count on an evening of great blues from the 2 time Juno winner and 7-time Maple Blues Winner. His band features Richard Thornton on sax, Al Duffy on bass and Rick Donaldson on drums. Tickets available online at jackdekeyzer.com. Then Jack continues to rock on New Year’s Day at the Polish Hall Brantford.
The Whiterock Blues Society presents their 7th Annual New Years Eve at Pacific Inn Hotel Rhumba Room in South Surrey, B.C. Jason Buie, recently nominated as best new artist for a Maple Blues Award, will rock you into the New Year.
In St. Catharines, the Mighty Duck Blues Band swings into the holiday season with two special shows. On Boxing Day they welcome Jerome Godboo and they present their annual New Year’s Day Afternoon Hangover Party, featuring the blistering guitar of Joel Johnson. For these two special Duck Shows, they’ll perform at B’s Backdoor, 57 Carlisle Street in St. Catharines.
And also on Boxing Day, Joshua Arden and Pappy Johns Band will have a matinee at Brando’s Beach House in Brantford.
And Lots More New Year’s Eve Shows
Playing a Musical Instrument
I’ve read a ton of books about musicians. I’ve interviewed a ton of blues artists as well. They all tell me that learning an instrument takes work and dedication. I’ve heard that some are self taught. They simply picked up an instrument and didn’t put it down for years until they’d learned it inside out. Others had lessons from accomplished musicians and mentors and mastered their instrument. Some wrote their own music; others felt more comfortable collaborating in the writing process. Some had formal education in music; others like Jimi Hendrix couldn’t even read music.
So where is all this leading me? Let me tell you.
A while back I did a radio interview with Manitoba Hal Brolund. He’s an amazing musician with a remarkable cd entitled Live in Ghent. He plays ukulele and I sure don’t mean Hawaiian hulas. After the interview, he asked if I played an instrument. I stated that I had tried guitar but short fingers and arthritis made it difficult. He suggested I try a ukulele. I related the story to my wife, thinking nothing of it. And then on my birthday a Les Paul Ukulele appeared in our house.
I was enthused. Couldn’t wait to master it. And then we started to travel. Golf season started. I dabbled, but not enough. I started to learn tabs and strived to read music. I got frustrated. I procrastinated. I even got encouragement from established musicians like Erin McCallum and her talented guitarist Brian George Harrison. Andre Bisson offered to give me some lessons.
So, what have I learned? Playing an instrument is BLOODY HARD WORK! I was a total failure. But a couple of weeks ago my wife picked up my uke, and played a tune. I was shamed. And so once again, I’ve set out on the road to learn. I can now play Frere Jacques and Mary Had A Little Lamb. That’s it so far. But I’m back on track and I’ll keep trying every day.
So my purpose in writing all this, is to say I now have so much MORE respect for those musicians that make it look easy. Jack de Keyzer, Paul DesLauriers, Steve Strongman and Joel Johnson. I could go on for days mentioning more artists. But what I’ve learned is that it isn’t easy, and these folks deserve a ton of respect and admiration. A tip of my blues fedora to these folks that bring us the music that we love. Thank goodness, they’re around, ‘cause I can’t even get my twinkle twinkle star to twinkle.
Due to travel and holiday commitments, I won’t be posting for a few weeks. So, let me now wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year.
And to the two terrific folks who run Blues and Roots Radio, Anne and Stevie Connor I’ll wish them a special holiday season by posting something they’d surely appreciate.
Upcoming in 2018