Hello to all
I hope your summer has gone well, and where did that summer actually go !
For me this year there has been so many highlights at venues, festivals and some amazing interviews that I have managed to cover, I really am a blessed man to be in a position to meet and chat with many great artists, radio hosts and people that make the cogs turn like festival directors, publicists, media teams and the list goes on, we are a small but important cog in that wheel in the ever changing landscape that is radio land.
My role has changed a lot since the inception of Blues and Roots Radio and what really got me thinking about the content for this weeks blog was the conversations I had with Ken Wallis last weekend at the Southside Shuffle Blues & BBQ Festival in my hometown of Port Credit, Ontario, Ken hosts the popular show ' Blues Blast ' on BRR and the Hawk FM ( Mohawk College Radio in Hamilton, ON ), he is the former Dean of the media department at Mohawk College and previously he spent many years in TV production and writing. The college has a fantastic reputation for nurturing young artists and students who want to pursue careers in the media.
Ken heaped praise on our achievements and that meant a lot coming from someone of his standing,.
When explaining what we do now at the station it really drove home to me what a monster we have created that seems to snowball from one thing to the next, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, the core team we have are extremely good at changing direction very quickly and communicating to each other regularly, we have complete trust in each others abilities and decision making that it sometimes seems that the train drives itself.
When analyzing that statement I realize that the trust has been earned over four years of working together, riding the storms through the ups and downs of what we were trying to achieve. We have met some very good people along the way, we have also met some not so nice people who at certain points have tried to derail the train, but that made the team we have now more determined and stronger winging us way above what we even thought could be achieved. Have you ever been in a situation when someone says when you offer them help ' That will never happen ', that is where our journey began.
Blues and Roots Radio was sitting with 4 radio shows when we started with nobody listening,, we quickly increased shows within the first two months to about 20 with a lot of hard work and persuading people to come on board., We leased the station back then and were extremely green and gullible .We hired a studio and producer because we all had day jobs, but were never allowed to schedule shows ourselves on the system, red flags straight away. Commercials would appear on the station without our knowledge and a whole bunch of other situations, we even had radio hosts refusing to say ' you are listening to Blues and Roots Radio ' on a platform we paid for and provided free of charge to the hosts, they made it seem that it was our privilege to have them. When one day I was in the studio and saw the producer saying that he had too many shows to schedule and it would cost more money I offered to help and was told ' That will never happen '
When I thought about it on the way home I came to the conclusion that I just might be in the process of being taken for a mug, and decided from that point forward that we would be in control of the destiny of what I saw as potentially the worlds best online radio station. We decided to offer to buy the station, the offer was accepted and we have never looked back.
My late Father always told me that it was important to be in control of your own destiny, a valuable lesson, and completely true in my experience, there is no one that can carry forward your vision for the future except yourself, if you involve too many people they all have their own ideas and will try and change your course, that might be good for some ideas but in the long run in takes away the focus of the final destination.
This is true in all walks of life, from music to business to sport, just look at the top athletes and the amount of training they put in and their complete dedication and focus on the end result, if you want to succeed at anything, focus is the key.
Having a great team and trusting that team is also a major factor, I have been very lucky that my wife has been a rock throughout and contributes amazingly to the content we have and also to our business partner Neil in Australia who can finish my sentences before I can, and likewise me his, we have complete trust in each others judgement and core values and we know that whatever happens we will all muck in and make it happen. Our history in business has helped a great deal coming from corporate backgrounds but also being musicians and knowing the needs of independent artists makes a huge difference.
Too many times I have seen radio hosts acting as though the show they have and they themselves are the most important thing in the universe instead of the station and shows being the deliverer of the message that is the music and the artists that create it. We don't have radio hosts like that on the station anymore, everyone that is part of the BRR team we can honestly say are genuinely nice people with the same passion for the music and artists that create it and that is why I think we have become so successful across the world, we have gained the trust of the artists to deliver their message and the trust of the listeners that we will consistently give them great, honest content.
We receive many testimonials for the work we do on behalf of artists and I have included one here as an example of the way our vision for the station matches that of the perception by one of the most respected artists in Toronto and beyond, who has become a dear friend over the course of this journey.
" Blues & Roots Radio's tag line is " The Voice of the Artist, " and the station is true to its promise. In a world where the medium has more often than not sought to eclipse the message, the team make it their business to ensure that both the message of music and its messengers arrive safe and sound in homes around the world. This is a radio station run by folks with enthusiasm, generosity, determination, good humour, and - above all - integrity. In short, they're in it for the long haul, and for the right reasons " - Andrea England
More testimonials can be found here
In thinking back on all of the above and having gone through changes since the inception of the station it has been a proving ground for us, a very valuable one, maintaining the core values and mission statement is paramount to our success, along with the organizations we partner with who share our values, Fatea Magazine, Music Wold Media, 67 Music, The Acosutic Yard Festival, Randy MacNeil Photography and Four Chords and The Truth, all of these organizations are run by passionate and genuine people.
Stepping outside the fish bowl and being able to look in is a much greater place to be than inside the fish bowl looking out. You quickly discover there is a whole new world out there to explore and you will not be swimming around in circles looking at the same ornamental castles you have been building
I have gone from keeping down a day job, hosting a show and scheduling a handful of radio shows for one Blues & Roots Radio station, to now spending all day working on the service platform, website content, scheduling over 60 shows on two stations, liaising with a whole team of writers, bloggers, radio hosts, artists, publicists, festivals, venues and the energy it gives to work with like minded passionate people is completely fantastic and a drive in itself. We offer reviews, photography, blogs and radio shows from around the world but we never forget it's about the artists and their music wherever that may be in the world.
All of this because someone once said ' That will never happen '
what would the outcome have been if they had said thank you and accepted the offer, we will never know the answer to that.
I'll share with you next week what happens when you do accept genuine peoples help when they offer it, something that completely revolutionized Blues & Roots Radio just when we thought we were at the final destination and should pull over for a rest.
Have a safe week ahead, and if someone say's it can't be done, it's only their opinion, where there is a will there is a way. If you are prepared to put in the grunt work, keep focused and determined, anything is possible, trust me !
Hey Music Lovers !
I missed a week due to the craziness of launching our new station channel, I can report it all went well and I am now in need of a break, but this is Blues & Roots Radio and we keep rolling right along on the high speed music train !
Lloyd Spiegel Canadian Tour
No rest for the wicked as the saying goes, last Monday ( I can't believe it has been a week already ) I went to see Lloyd Spiegel play in Toronto on the invitation of his agent Sarah Porter and am I ever glad we did, for those not familiar with him he is an Australian Blues & Roots living legend, I got the chance to have a chat with him for the station and he indicated he has made a commitment to come here every year for approximately four or five weeks to play, if you get the chance to go and see him he is heading East from Toronto and will be in Canada until September 19th. I was stunned when I heard him live, Since age 13, he has toured the globe with frequent visits to Europe, New Zealand and the United States where he has performed at major festivals and iconic Juke Joints as well as supporting the likes of Ray Charles, Bob Dylan and Etta James on tour. He has sat with the founding fathers of modern blues from Brownie McGhee to Luther Allison and more recently, found great success in Japan, performing sold out concerts at Tokyo Disneyland.
The venue was the very intimate and friendly Sellers & Newel a great bookstore in the Little Portugal area and the owner Peter, was very gracious in allowing us to chat with Lloyd before the show. Check out their line up for some great evenings of music ahead.
Look out for The Young Novelists and The Beck Sisters coming soon.
Lloyd has a brand new album out, his ninth to date. I highly recommend the album and seeing him perform live.
TOUR DATES IN CANADA >>>>
The Southside Shuffle Port Credit
Port Credit is the home of Blues & Roots Radio and I have been at every Shuffle since moving to Canada, heavily weighted on the Blues side as you would expect from a Blues & Jazz festival it brings in the cream of artists from Canada and beyond, this year there is no beyond as they have a full on Canadian line up to celebrate Canada 150.
I am particularly excited and looking forward to seeing my friend Stephen Fearing perform along with Tom Wilson and Colin Linden as the amazing ' Blackie and The Rodeo Kings ' one of my favourite Canadian bands, not a Blues act but certainly will pull in the crowd as they headline Saturday night, they can pack in anything from Roots, Americana, Folk and blues and will blow the crowd away I am sure, great live performers.
If you want to find out more on the Shuffle check out Ken Wallis' blog Blues Source here on the blog pages, he covered it pretty well last week.
Along with Blackie and The Rodeo Kings another firm favourite of mine is Hamilton, ON based JUNO winner Steve Strongman, he'll be there on Friday, look out for him.
An amazing live performer is headed back to Ontario from his home province of New Brunswick playing shows all along the way, I find his music infectious and uplifting, his latest album has it all, it is one of my contenders for best release of 2017. ' Go All In ' packs a punch and has some amazing co writers, it should be in your collection, here is what I had to say about it.
View Here >>>> Mike Biggar Review
I will be interviewing Mike to finish up his video blog tour he has been doing for the station, and will be in attendance at The Moonshine Cafe for his debut there on Wednesday September 13th. I hope you can make it, his guest for that night will be Toronto guitar maestro Chris Bennet, that's a winning combination right there.
TOUR DATES IN ONTARIO >>>>
Mike has been doing an awesome blog for Blues & Roots Radio, we look forward to catching up with him soon, we hope to see you out at one of his shows.
Four Chords and The Truth
The amazing show of talent that graces the Dakota Tavern stage every quarter for Andrea England's show Four Chords and The Truth continues with another stellar line up.
The Show has been a sell out since 2015 so my advice is to get your tickets early and take a friend along, they will thank you and buy you lots of drinks ... and that reminds me..... Jack Daniels is the presenting sponsor, they always have a stand inside the Dakota and offer samples of their products and have a T-Shirt and baseball cap or two to give away and the music is top drawer with special guests appearing on the night that no one knows about.... sounds cool right ? .. It is ... and here is who we know will be there so far
Sarah Jane Scouten is going to bring some old school modern country with her
Find out the State of Sate who will be gracing the stage too.
Photo by Lisa MacIntosh
Ian Janes will be there with somgs from his brand new album we hope ...
Andrea England is the founder / host and she always performs a song or two on the evening often giving her seat up to secret guests along the way ....
we will see you at the Dakota September 14th
TICKETS ON SALE HERE >>>>
Blues and Roots Radio Behind the scenes
As always I will be doing a behind the scenes show where I have a chat with the performers on the night, we have interviewed 39 artists in the three years for this series, an amazing cast of Canada's finest singer / songwriters, and I really look forward to meeting the artists on the 14th.
I hope you can listen in to my show on Sunday where I will be re airing the last Four Chords show I did, just to give you a teaser of what's to come, Sunday at 9am EST, 2pm GMT, 11pm AET on www.BluesandRootsRadio.com on the BRR Essential channel
Now who said it was going to slow down any time soon, what a week of stellar music ahead !!
Hello all !
Thanks for visiting my blog again and supporting independent artists.
It's been a crazy old week as I head into the launch proper of our brand new channels BRR Essential and BRR Discover, I thought this week I'd give you an insight into what it's all about, and how it's going to work ... Hopefully :)) ...
NEW CHANNELS .... NEW SCHEDULE LAUNCH SEPTEMBER 1st
TWO CHANNELS ON BLUES & ROOTS RADIO
The back story to it all is that we have too many listeners at times ... not a bad fault at all I hear you say ... well, we are all about quality and with too many listeners logging in at the same time or during any particular hour we can have buffering issues, which is annoying if you are trying to listen to your favourite show and it keeps cutting out, it's to do with our bandwidth daily usage. Our maximum capacity before we have this problem is 10 000 listeners every hour, yes you did hear me right, 10K listeners an hour is a lot... and yes we are maxing out at times.
To alleviate this we put our heads together, when I say we... there are three of us who go over things like this, Anne Connor in Canada, Neil Mitchell in Australia and I pour the drinks, I have long arms that can reach Melbourne from Toronto.
We decided to launch new channels for many reasons, one of them was because we had so many offers of people wanting to do shows exclusively for the network and we had to tell them that as it stood there was really no room on the schedule, so with a new channel it gives us the opportunity to move some of the shows we have that are syndicated to other stations as well as Blues & Roots Radio over to the new BRR Discover channel creating a schedule for syndicated shows and allowing us to furnish the BRR Essential channel with mostly shows that are produced exclusively for our network. There are a few exceptions to the rule as some shows are produced in other Countries for us to air in Canada exclusively although they may go out on other stations in another country and are part of a long standing agreement, but mostly BRR Essential are all our shows that you will not be able to hear anywhere else.
It's something we have been working on for a couple of years now and finally it's upon us, amazing really, and I thank all the hosts that have helped to make it possible. It almost happened in February this year but for various reasons we put it back a few months which has worked in our favour.
Our philosophy is that if we attract more listeners through exclusive shows then the artists win because their music has a larger audience, and to us that's what matters. We will probably max out again sometime soon as our percentage increase month on month has always gone up and never down, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
My job is to build the audience for each show for the artists to be presented to as wide a listenership as possible, I have done this through determination to have exclusive shows to a single channel, and I have to thank Neil and Anne for working with me on it.
SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR US ? ... MORE CHOICES !
I was a quality supervisor in the automotive industry for a while in a previous life, it's very boring, but, it helped us develop a continuous improvement plan for Blues & Roots Radio ... I told you it was boring.... and what that means is we continue to evolve, implement new projects and develop the station for the good of the artists and listeners to our best ability.
The new BRR Discover channel will be the exciting home to a lot of genre specific show hours that will be full of new music and releases complimented by shows that you will be familiar with.
THE DISCOVER HOUR
Discovering new music is what these two hour show segments are all about, from all genres and from artists from around the world, mainly playing tracks from newly released albums.
ALBUM OF THE WEEK & FEATURED ARTIST SHOWS
Airing on both channels these shows present an opportunity for artists to showcase their existing music or new releases.
THE ROOTS HOUR
For instance The Roots hour will contain music by artists such as The Barrowdowns ( Canada ) ... Oka Vanga ( UK ) .... Ben J. Carter ( Australia ) ... Andy Ferrell ( USA ) and many many more ...
THE BLUES HOUR
Packed full of fantastic new Blues music and artists from around the world like Jimmy Bowskill and Carlos Del Junco ( Canada ) .... Ash Grunwaldl ( Australia ) .... Ruthie Foster ( USA ) ... King King ( UK ) and lots more
THE CELTIC HOUR
Fabulous new music on the hour dedicated to Celtic music from around the world like John McSherry and McPeake from Ireland
THE FOLK HOUR
and lets not forget the Folk music both traditional and contemporary
On top of all that we will be airing some of the best syndicated shows on the planet playing everything from Roots, Blues, Celtic, Folk and everything in between, with some of your favourite shows being complimented by brand new ones joining this schedule.
The home to exclusive shows that you love listening to from around the world with some brand new shows joining the schedule straight off the hop from the USA, Australia and Poland.
We are excited to have all the exclusive shows together on the one channel and are delighted to be welcoming onboard more.
The Folk N Celtic Punk Show with Gareth Olver ( Australia )
Coming to us from Victoria, Australia. The best in Celtic punk, Celtic rock and folk punk from around the world.
Finnegan's Wake with Joe Pszonek. ( USA )
Delaney's Pub in the heart of Nowheresville, USA hosts Finnegan's Wake. The Mayhem is presided over by Joltin Joe, who plays enough Celtic punk and rock to wake the dead! The Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, and so much more with an occasional expletive thrown in for good measure. After all it's Celtic Punk at it's finest !
BLUES & ROOTS
Radio Nowhere with Joe Pszonek. ( USA )
An eclectic mix of new releases from independent artists. New discoveries are a top priority ! Genres range from Singer-Songwriters, Americana, Blues, Folk and whatever else might catch our ears ! Joltin' Joe, the Mad Scientist hosts the show from the dungeon in Nowheresville, USA.
The Radio Pole with Slawomir Stepski. ( Poland )
A show from Poland featuring Polish artists with song lyrics either explained or translated if not sung in English, from genres varying from Blues Rock, Classic Rock to Celtic, Alt Country and Folk featuring bands, singer / songwriters from past and present.
There will be more shows added in the near future from Canada and the UK as well as all your favourite shows on the existing schedule. Dates and times for the new shows will be announced very soon... and that reminds me ... I better get back to setting up the schedule.
I hope you can join us for some amazing new programmes and support the hosts who all put in so much time to promote independent artists on BRR Essential and BRR Discover.
I will be doing a few workshops in the near future and have prepared some articles on internet radio, topics will include a lot of the things we have learned over the four years we have been doing this, good and bad :))
So look out for them !
Until next week, have a safe one ahead and take an Essential journey to Discover great music on www.BluesandRootsRadio.com
By Stevie Connor
firstname.lastname@example.org | Facebook | Twitter | Website
Hello music lovers !
Last week I got to catch up with the Julian Taylor Band in Toronto and they were terrific, if you get the chance and they are playing near you go and see them, this week I am going to highlight a couple of artists that are going to be in the Toronto area over the next week or two that I think are well worth checking out.
Photographs - Anne Connor
Festival season is firmly upon us and it's not just music, in Toronto there is so much to see and do, last weekend was Taste of the Danforth, which is a yearly festival held in Toronto, in the Greektown area along Danforth Avenue for a period of three days in August, spawned from the Taste of Chicago It is one of Canada's largest street festivals. It started in 1993, and in 2017 completed its 24th year celebrating Greek food and culture. Past attendance numbers have been reported as high as 1.6 million people over the three-day event.
This weekend in Ontario it's one of my favourite music festivals, Summerfolk starts Thursday through to Sunday and takes place in Owen Sound, Georgian Bay on the shores of Lake Huron, a spectacular setting and well worth the visit.
The line up each year is always amazing, this year it's spectacular ... I will name just a few here to give you a taste of what's in store .. Matt Epp ... Shakura S'Aida ... The Jerry Cans ... Serena Ryder .... Kelly Prescott ... Matthew Byrne ... Murder Murder ... Madison Violet ... Delhi 2 Dublin ... Ruthie Foster .. Buffy Sainte-Marie and it goes on ... here is a link to the full list of performers. http://summerfolk.org/performers/
A huge congratulations to artistic director James Keelaghan, the directors, the media team and all involved for putting on one of the best festivals in the world, and I've been to a few.
Ian Foster & Sarah Hiltz @ The Distillery District, Toronto
Back down in Toronto you have Music City Summer Series in the Distillery District this coming weekend. Featuring the best in emerging Canadian talent, the Music City Summer Series features, Folk, Trad, Blues, Bluegrass and more from the best artists on the Canadian scene !
Saturday afternoon sees one of my favourite songwriters all the way from St John's Newfoundland perform, he's just released a brand new album ' Sleeper Years ' and is one of the best storytellers and performers on the folk, roots scene today
Ian Foster http://ianfoster.ca is on at 2pm
Sarah Hiltz http://www.sarahhiltz.com/Sarah_Hiltz.html takes the stage at 4pm
They will both weave together storytelling and beautiful vocals on the Distillery District's Trinity Square stage. If you are downtown I highly recommend it.
This is 'Feels Like It Wants To Rain' - the new single from Ian Foster's brand new album 'Sleeper Years'
And a little taste of what to expect from Sarah with a track called ' How To Pour Whiskey For Strangers '
Multi Award Winning Australian's Canadian Tour 2017
Coming up within the next week or so I am very excited to be attending a performance by multi award winning Australian Blues & Roots artist Lloyd Spiegel in Toronto, he plays two nights at Sellers and Newell downtown on August 28th and 29th just after a night in Bancroft on August 27th, I have been given the chance to interview him before the performance which means he will be one of a handful of artists that we have interviewed on two continents, he was a guest on Blues & Roots Radio with a spot on Baz Maxwell's show out of Melbourne not so long ago.
Lloyd's unique history, command of his instrument and powerful stage persona puts him at the cutting edge of Australian Blues, re-inventing the style for the masses and opening new doors for Australian blues artists while maintaining a close relationship with the foundations and traditions of the blues.
In 2015 He released "Double Live Set" which peaked at #7 on the Australian independent charts, #14 on the ARIA Jazz/Blues chart and debuted at #1 on the Australian Blues/Roots chart. The album won 4 Australian Blues Music Awards.
His new release "This Time Tomorrow" contains 10 new tracks inspired by Spiegel's recent tours through the USA, Europe and Central America.
Check out his website and get along and see him if you can
Thanks to Sarah French Publicity and Sarah Porter for arranging the interview for us.
Mike Biggar @ The Moonshine Cafe, Oakville, Ontario
I will be back next week with a look at what's coming up festival wise in and around Ontario and a wee bit further afield .... but before I go I have to mention that on September 13th Mike Biggar makes his debut at The Moonshine Cafe in Oakville, Ontario
It's going to be a packed out show for this multi award winning artist, get your tickets while you can and I'll see you there... and just in case you need reminded how good he is I've left a clue below.
Have a great and safe week ahead, support live music and the venues that promote it.
By Stevie Connor
email@example.com | Facebook | Twitter | Website
Hey folks !
What a summer for entertainment of the live and independent artist kind !
The Beaches, Toronto - Music In The Park Series
Over the last few weeks I have stayed pretty close to home with some amazing artists performing in Toronto and the GTA ( Greater Toronto Area ) and last week was no exception when we took a drive down to the east end, a place we are very familiar with, my wife was born and raised in the Beaches area, a very vibrant and artsy side of the city, so it was to the Beach village that we went, Kew Gardens to be more specific and the Music In The Park series that is held every Sunday in the summer, this being the inaugural year and it's FREE, sponsored by local businesses ( The Beach Village BIA )
They have a fantastic line up all summer with Ken Whitely and Suzie Vinnick already having performed, this weekend coming is The Julian Taylor Band and in a couple of weeks The Young Novelists are there ... lets talk about Suzie first and we'll get on to the other two I mentioned.
I think Suzie is one of the best Blues and Roots artists that I have come across since I came to Canada, she is an absolutely stellar guitar player, and her timing as a bass player is beyond incredible, she plays as a solo artist, as a duo with Rick Fines and Roly Platt and in other combinations now and in the past including having played in Tony D 's band a few years ago as a bass player, you'll know Tony these days as a member of the brilliant multi award winning band MonkeyJunk based in Ottawa.
Suzie has a brand new album in the works and is running a go fund me campaign, she played a couple of songs from the forthcoming release last weekend and they were fantastic, she is on top form both playing and vocally. This will be her first album release in five years and has been much anticipated, she is a multi award winner in a number of genres including blues music, folk Music, songwriting, has TV credits to her name both for commercials and film and is one of the go to people for songwriting collaborations - she has written with Matt Andersen, David Leask, Samantha Martin and many more.
The new album is a Blues and Roots extravaganza featuring a full band and will focus on her different ‘voices’ - as a singer, songwriter and musician - she will be singing, playing electric & acoustic guitars, lap steel and electric bass.
The album is being recorded at The Old Sumbler House in Fenwick, Ontario, the studio is owned by artist Mark Lalama.
Check out her campaign here www.gofundme.com/suzievinnick and visit her website www.suzievinnick.com/
Julian Taylor Band
This week at Kew Gardens it's The Julian Taylor Band, I have been a huge fan for a couple of years since hearing him, an even bigger fan since meeting and interviewing him just this year and can't wait to get on down and see the full band perform, his latest release' Desert Star ' is amazing and should be in your collection.
These shows start at 2pm in the afternoon and go on until 4pm, still enough time to check out all the great local businesses before stopping at a local cafe / restaurant for dinner in a very cool part of Toronto.
Julian has been described as being the keeper of the ' Toronto Sound ', a sound synonymous with the meeting place where all cultures converge, be it European, Carribean, African or indigenous, he carries the mantle extremely well and with honour.
The Young Novelists
Talent oozes from the pores of Laura and Graydon who are The Young Novelists, they are based in Toronto, winners of the 2015 Canadian folk music award for new / emerging artist of the year, and nominated for vocal group of the year.
Exclaim! dubbed their first EP “ unpretentious brilliance ” and their six-piece folk-roots band has won critical acclaim ever since. Stephen Fearing described them as having “ tight arrangements, great dynamics, and good songs with beautiful three-part harmonies ” that is not a bad recommendation right there and their live shows capture audiences with both barnstorming sing alongs and heartbreaking folk ballads.
I have been a fan since seeing performances at showcases at major conferences in Canada and have watched the brilliance of their art as a duo too at a few live gigs.
Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games - Fergus, Ontario
As a Piper the highland games outings are firmly in my blood having attended from a young age marching in front of my Dad;s pipe band holding aloft the trophies he had won, to performing myself all over the world including here in Canada where in 1986 I won the Intercontinental Championships as a member of The Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band at the Antigonish Highland Games in Nova Scotia.
I love the Fergus festival starting Friday 11th August and all weekend long for their spectacle and not only the pipe bands but the many folk bands that play for the crowds on various stages and venues in the town during the day and in the evenings.
Unfortunately the date of the games clashes with the World Pipe Band Championships that are held in Scotland annually along with the week long piping festival on the lead up and many leading Canadian pipers and pipe bands are unable to attend Fergus due to this, it also coincides with the worlds largest Celtic Festival in Lorient, France but the ones that do make the trip to Fergus make it a special occasion every year.
I look forward to catching up with the Rollo's, the famous pipe band family from Toronto along with many other friends who attend every year.
As I said, a major part of the games is the activities that go on day and night that include, highland dancing, heavy events and the musical entertainment.
Highlights this weekend that you should definitely look out for are performances by David Leask, Tony McManus, The Town Pants and The Red Hot Chilli Pipers... I am going to be running from venue to venue trying to catch them all.
Here is the website and maybe I'll see you there on Friday or Saturday, say hello if you do... if I am in the beer tent then mine is a Guinness ! ... Tapadh Leibh ( Thank You ) !!
From Scotland originally now based in Ontario Tony is one of the leading Celtic, Folk guitarists in the world today and always a pleasure to hear him play tunes with triplings , doublings and many other gracenotes just like a piper or fiddler on the guitar which just blows my mind, but he does it with ease ..... virtuoso is the word that comes to mind.
I have known David for a long time and been a fan since first hearing him play at a songwriter event in 2011, now based in Ontario he is originally a Borders lad from Jedburgh, just down the road from where I lived in Peebles before moving to Canada from Scotland, he actually attended the Scouts with my cousin Vincent many moons ago... now there you go ... it is a small world ... David is an amazing performer, multi award winner in many genres and a sought after collaborator for writing new material .... he plays Celtic, Roots and Country tinged music full of soul that defies pigeon holing so I won't ....
The Town Pants
With a decades worth of headlining Roots and Celtic festivals to selling out nights at rock venues Vancouver based The Town Pants own brand of Celtic roots rock rebel spans five albums so far, backed up with a legendary live show that’s garnered them fans internationally from New York to Norway.
The Red Hot Chilli Pipers
Literally the most famous bagpipe band on the planet and a one of a kind ensemble of fabulous musicians.
They are an ensemble consisting of pipers, guitarists, keyboards and drummers formed in Scotland in 2002. They entered and won the BBC talent show When Will I Be Famous? Their name is a play on the American band the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In 2004, the group appeared on the main stage at T in the Park with the headline band, the rock group The Darkness. They appeared on BBC Radio 1 on the Greg James show in July 2013 and The Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw in 2014.
The Chillis have never been more in demand for their infectious style of feel good music which appeals right across the age range to people all over the world. They have a pool of the very best musicians from Scotland and across the globe - many holding World Champion titles and all serious players with impressive credentials and qualifications...
amongst previous members of the band is my great buddy Stevie Lawrence ( Seen in this video far right playing the Bouzouki ) who is an award winning musician, composer and producer and he hosts the fab ' Celtic Tapestry ' Show on Blues and Roots Radio, you should definitely check that out.
So you can guess I will be in my element again all weekend long with a touch of Funk, Soul, Rock N Roll, Roots, Celtic music and more bagpipes than you can shake a Beaver Tail at ( and no it's not an animal for non Canadians reading this ) ......
I hope to see some of you at the events .. and as a reminder mine is a Te bheag .. or did I say Guinness ? ... or both ? !
Until next week