Friday, January 23, 2009

Maple Blues Awards

Well, I spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday hanging out at The Blues Summit IV, here in Toronto, Canada. This is the big (well as big as it gets for the blues) industry function for Canada. Held every two years, and organized by the Toronto Blues Society, the event features showcasing, seminars, and networking opportunities spread over three days. Following the Summit are the Maple Blues Awards— Canada's down home version of the Handy's (now BMA's). I had a great time, heard a lotta cool music, got to catch up with many of my musical friends from across the land, and did a pile of business to boot.

At the conference hotel I met Dalannah Gail Bowen, a tremendous singer who works out of Vancouver. Her Saturday night show was well attended, and her band was very good. Whenever you think you know everybody, you get surprises! I also heard my pals Fathead, Raoul and the Big Time, Ross Neilsen, Mike "Shrimp Daddy" Reid" and the Anderson/Sloski duo. At the reception I met musicians and promoters from all over North America. I spent a few minutes hanging with Chip Eagle, of Blues Revue Magazine. Chip has always taken good care of me in Memphis, and I've been talking up the Maples to him for several years now. He was having fun, and promised not to miss this event again! Chatted for a while with Jamie Steele, out of New Brunswick, Bruce Morel, out of Nova Scotia, Jeff Davis, from Omaha, Earl and Nancy Krushelnicki from Prince George, BC, Gord MacAulay from Saskatoon... Ran into Shakura, Mark Stafford, Brian Slack, John Valenteyn and David Barnard, Sarah French... Talked with David Gogo for a while about next year's (yes, thats 2010) blues tour... Well, you get the picture. A busy time!

Next day I went to hear Monkey Junk, a very cool trio out of Ottawa, Ontario. Individually, I've been running into Steve Marriner and Tony D all over Canada for several years now— but together it's a fresh and winning combination. They bring out the best in each other's playing. Kieth Hallett, a nineteen year old player out of Fredericton, NB, made the night for me with his great, electric take on Son House. We'd met a few times before, but I'd never had a chance to hear him play. Now I'm a fan! Go get 'em, Kieth! Also heard Amos Garrett (kills me every time), and Ray Bonneville. Heard Rob Bowman interviewed by Richard Flohil, and got to chat with him briefly after the event. I've enjoyed his writing so much over the years, especially Soulsville USA, but also all the liner notes...

Hung out at the Maples this year with Michael Jerome Brown, Paul Reddick, Brian Mortimer... A great night. The noms were pretty solid this year in every category. All in all, a productive and pleasurable weekend. Not performing gave me time to book up well over a dozen shows for the Century Blues Tour, so the whole thing is moving forward quite quickly. There's a little buzz out there.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Housekeeping the Tour

Well, I did get the first big batch of Tour announcements out yesterday, but in the scramble to try and make the HTML look half decent some of the releases went out without photo credit. Bother! The cool pic of Big Dave and I was taken backstage at The Exchange, in Regina, Saskatchewan, at a show presented by the Regina Delta Blues Association. The photographer is my good pal Dale Williams, also of Regina.

Dale Williams is a well known commercial and artistic photographer in Regina. He's also a great supporter of the blues. I really, really appreciate his efforts to document these shows, and his generosity in making the images available to me. Thanks, Dale! I'm really sorry some of these got out without the proper credit!

On the good news side, I filled twelve dates today, or 12% of the Century Tour. British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario weighed in, and I expect to have most of the other provinces on the map by next week. The really prime dates are actually going to go pretty fast, I think. I'm going to be at the Blues Summit and the Maple Blues Awards, in Toronto, over the next three days, and I expect to nail down at least the same number of shows again before I get home...

The Maple Blues Awards are the Canadian version of the Blues Music Awards. They cover a whole lot of territory, an incredible blues scene, and a real cast of characters. Some of you may know already that Big Dave McLean has been nominated as Entertainer of the Year, and as Acoustic Act of the Year. So I'll be cheering for him, or for whoever wins the trophies. Congrats to all the nominees. Monday night, we'll see what happens!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Century Blues Tour Announced

January 7, 2009

For Immediate Release:

Return of Big Dave McLean and Doc MacLean

Acoustic Blues Tour Back by Popular Demand— Century Tour Announced

Doc MacLean and Big Dave McLean are pleased to announce that they will tour together again in 2009. Based on the overwhelming success of their 2007 Big Road Blues Tour, this year’s concert adventure will be the most ambitious Canadian blues romp ever. A cool, One Hundred dates are proposed. Back to Back. Coast to Coast. Yes, the Blues will be coming to Your Town! Mid-August through November 2009. A National Steel Century Tour. A Cool One Hundred.

Big Dave McLean and Doc MacLean thrilled sold out halls on their last tour. Back by popular demand, don’t miss this opportunity to hear them interact again, up close and personal in this all acoustic songs and stories presentation.


Now booking and accepting expressions of interest from all parts of Canada. Bring the Blues to Your Town…

Contact and Info: Doc MacLean

Visit the 2007 Tour at
Hear what it sounded like: visit and play "Jimmie Lee Jackson's Blues."

The Century Blues Tour. A Cool One Hundred. The lines of the horizon and the smell of barbeque. Broken strings, broken hearts, broken glass. Laughter and tears. Late nights and Cadillacs. Two of Canada’s best loved bluesmen and storytellers playing vintage National Steel guitars from Coast to Coast, sharing the Blues Highway with you.

Big Dave McLean is a Stony Plain recording artist.