Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tour Gears Up, Jackets, Logo, CD, Sponsors

Odds and ends are slow this year. With the close to 100 dates on the go I've really got my hands full here in the virtual, National Blues Tour office. Here's what's up—

Tour jackets are being manufactured— artwork finally delivered after some hardware/software issues were resolved. These are the nice, white stripe, east LA street gang style, satin jackets. I love these coats, and they sell out on every tour. Do you like this year's logo?

Licensing is complete for the new CD, and I had a session with Andy Krehm at Silverbirch Productions in Toronto— just reviewing the master and making sure it's good to go to the plant for manufacture. It's a really nice little mastering studio, and there are very few people with as much experience as Andy. I always come away from Silverbirch with a positive spin, and better informed than before my visit. Cover art should be done over the next week, and then it will just be a waiting game. The release will be held at Hugh's Room, Toronto, at the gala kick-off of the Tour. I expect that I will get copies out to all of our radio friends well in advance of this.

Ran into Jimmy Bowskill at Silverbirch where he was finishing up the artwork to his new CD. We compared notes about opening shows for Johnny Winter. Jimmy's not little anymore— and I like him better since he's stopped dressing like me! Seriously, he's working in more of a rock format now, but you can bet that his blues roots will be re-visited time and time again. Always nice to run into him and his Dad.

Posters are all-but ready to go to print. I've been holding out to get location confirmations from our corporate sponsors, but I fear I may need to do a second run of posters in a few weeks time if these don't come in right away. It's a long list of towns and cities this year, still fluid with late adds to Atlantic Canada and Quebec... but this will need to be announced and go to print very soon. I probably shouldn't have waited this long— still hoping to get 100 stops on the poster. I think we're up to about 91 entries at the moment.

For any geeky, arts business types out there— I've been revamping the Excel spreadsheets I've developed to track and project the Tour. Every year this gets a little better. I can't stress enough that independent touring artists need to keep track of all their data for each Tour or project. You gotta know where your money comes from, and where it goes. The spreads travel along on the laptop and are updated continuously to keep track of all aspects of the Tour.

And hey, all you runners who followed last year's blog— I'll be running across Canada again this year. I'm hoping that my favourite shoe company and my favourite sports retailer will get on board as Tour sponsors. I should add that I don't accept sponsorships from companies I don't actually use, respect, support, ordinarily promote and recommend! Mizuno makes the greatest runners I have ever had, so it would be great to see their logo along on the Tour.

I've been running High Park in west Toronto pretty much daily, as well as doing some longish runs up the Humber River. This morning I did 15- 20 km and actually saw a couple of deer down by the Humber. This is in the middle of a big, big, city— so that's why I mention it. I've also seen fox and probably coyote in High Park. Life is good, and these runs give me time to plan my days, and cut down a little stress.

Other news: I was invited to the Riverboat Coffeehouse dedication in Toronto's Yorkville a couple of weeks ago. Met my old partner Mose Scarlett, visited with David Wilcox, Dan Hill, Murray McLaughlan... Finally met Gordon Lightfoot, and had an uneventful chat with him. Mose and I have mostly seen one and other at funerals of late. We attended the memorial service for Tom Evans of the Original Sloth Band perhaps three weeks ago, and tomorrow, sadly, we'll be paying our last respects to our dear friend, Jackie Washington. But on a brighter note, here are some pics my pal David shot at the dedication—

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