3 in 3

Just finished 3 shows in 3 days.  Always love the challenge of that but unfortunately sleep always takes a back seat.  Finally getting home means trying to stay awake to give my daughter attention plus not screwing up my night time sleep routine!  Nothing worse than falling asleep on the couch for 4 hours and then staring at the ceiling at 4am!

Flew to Winnipeg, MB early Thursday morning.  A “limo” picked us up.  It was an old worn out passenger van that was crammed full of our gear.  Some creative packing was needed to fit us all in but we made it.  Headed to the hotel and dropped our stuff off.  Our drummer, Jayson Brinkworth, contacted some friends of ours at Farmery Brewery and they came by and picked us up and took us to their new headquarters.  Great hanging with these guys as they are true prairie people and we all share common roots.  Spent a couple hours telling stories and getting caught up on how their business is going.

Headed back to the hotel and got sound check taken care of.  After that it was a meal then some well needed sleep (had to get up at 3am to get to the airport!).  The show (the clubs name was Nashville’s) was great.  Pretty full house and Aaron‘s audiences are always primed for a great time.  Did our usual show but changed the encore a bit.  Aaron always like to add a bunch of cover tunes as a medley before the encore.  This medley was different than normal and it was the first time putting it out there.  It’s always a exercise in fine tuning to find the right songs to include and cull the ones that don’t work.  I think the one that our guitarist  came up with is going to work pretty good.  Hey, the kids dug it so it must be right.  Anyway the night was fun, everyone played well and everyone was happy.  Mission accomplished.

A couple hours sleep that night then off to Calgary the next morning.  Got in around noon and got picked up by a shuttle that was again a bit tight with all the gear and people but we made it.  Off to the hotel for a bite, a short nap then off to the club for sound check.  The venue today is Cowboy’s Calgary and it’s housed in the casino on the exhibition grounds.  Huge cavernous place but set up nicely for live entertainment.  Sound check went great and after that we headed to the hotel.  I threw on my running gear and headed out to see my mom who lives in a seniors centre in downtown Calgary.  Always great to do a “pop in” when I’m in town.  I don’t get to see my mom nearly enough so I always try to get a visit in when I’m in the area.  After I ran back to the hotel (stopped off at MEC and bought an Ultimate Direction running pack!  Awesome!), got a quick shower and off to the club.  Big surprise tonight when I found out my other boss, Natalie MacMaster, along with keyboardist Mac Morin and drummer Brian Talbot were in town on a night off.  They came down to the club and rocked out with us all night.  Nat and the guys had never seen me play with Aaron before so it was a real treat.  My niece Katie also came by so it was a great visit backstage with all of us (didn’t get a picture.  Shame on me!).  We hung out for quite a while so it was a super late night again with little time for sleep.  Well worth it though to catch up and visit with everyone.

Early the next morning we got the shuttle to the airport (cramped again) and rented a couple of vans to drive to Camrose, AB.  Perfect drive to get some sleep but instead I decided to work on a new intro file and try to get it finished for tonights show.  Arrived in Camrose and went straight to the venue.  Big event centre with concrete walls and lots of metal around.  A real special treat for our sound tech Emil Gawaziuk! Ha.  Got our set up done, sound checked, then tried out the new intro.  It worked but needed a lot of EQ tweaking.  Back to the hotel, grabbed a bite with the gang and then got back to work on the intro.  Tweaked it with the help of Emil and then it was time to go.  Full house tonight.  Intro worked great and we were off.  Had a nice surprise as a lady by the name of Lisa Waiting was front row.  Lisa hired me for her band in 1980 when I really wasn’t a very good player.  Anyway we did some shows around her home town in Saskatchewan and every one of those shows helped make me a better player.  We got to catch up on a few things after the show but there is never enough time to actually get a visit in with old friends.  We had to get back and try and get a few hours of sleep before our flights in the morning.

Up way too early again and off to the airport.  I always say I get paid for all the travel I do and I play the shows for free!!  The time on stage is the best ever, airports and vans and lobbies and……, well you get the picture.  It’s long, tedious and really hard on the body but that 90+ minutes on stage still makes it worth while.  Hope that never changes.

Now I’m home and back to being a Dad and looking after things around here.  It’s great when you have balance in your life.  I love both of my jobs and I really hope I can keep some sense of balance going for years to come.  Looking at my calendar I have some great gigs coming up (and lots more airports, vans, hotels, ……..)!

Great weekend of music

Nice to get back out there an play music again.  It’s been a bit of a dry spell so say the least but it was nice to be home with my daughter.

So Friday saw me flying off to Edmonton for a gig in Leduc with Aaron Pritchett.  It was a fundraiser and they are always a bit interesting.  A real mix of people coming for the fundraiser that aren’t fans and then of course the fans of Aaron’s.  Always fun playing with the band and except for me messing up one intro it went off pretty good.  It has been over 4 months since I last played these tunes!

Sunday was the British Columbia Country Music Association’s Hall of Fame awards show (wow that’s a mouthful!).  One band and one person inducted were very close to me.  I was asked to play some songs on the show which was a real honour.  The house band is basically a group of top studio cats who call themselves “The Lyin’ Bastards”.  To be on stage with these guys (and gals) is a real cool thing.  So, the band inducted was Farmer’s Daughter.  I was in this band for quite some time and I was asked to play a medley of their songs.  Its been almost 20 years since I was on stage with the gals and they came on like they’ve been playing non stop since then.  Nailed all the songs and sounded amazing.  Brought the house down.  Next was an induction of my brother-in-law (deceased), Mike Norman.  He was an amazing musician, studio player, songwriter, producer, and the list goes on.  One of the most talented, hard working people I know and we shared a common warped sense of humour that is still unmatched today.  My wife and I made a speech about Mikes life and friends sent videos of congratulations.  It was a great award for someone who contributed so much to the association and the music scene in general.

So my soul has been nourished, bank account a tiny bit fuller and it feels good to be back playing again.  The rest of the year is started to fill up bit by bit but not so full that I can’t still do the Mr. Mom job.  Balance is the key.