Friday, October 30, 2009

Kamloops Television, Radio, Lorenzo's Cafe, Enderby, BC

It's going to be a very busy day for us. We've got to get up the valley to Kamloops in time to dress, soundcheck and perform a noon hour show for Midday Television, then we've got an afternoon appearance on "Buffalo Gals," a popular, local radio show. From there we dash back south to Enderby, to Lorenzo's Cafe, unload, soundcheck, dress, and roll into our evening show. Hopefully our little media blitz will help put bums in seats and we'll have a full house. But right now it's still dark, we've had our wake up calls, and we're cruising Kelowna, BC, looking for a Tim's. That's a Canadian coffee joint we can count on finding somewhere on the highway in or out of nearly every town. We find one. We get big, big coffees. I get bagels, plain. "You want them BULK, Sir?" No, I want only TWO, plain bagels. NOT toasted. NOT buttered. Just as they are, in a bag. "That's BULK, Sir." Can you sell me two plain bagels, or need I go elsewhere? Hey, Tim Horton's, don't make your servers follow such a stupid directive. We're good customers, and we're smart enough to know that "bulk" means quantity, perhaps at wholesale prices— not a couple of plain bagels in a bag.

By light we're making our way up the valley. It's quite a retirement destination, and it's one little town after another, vineyards, golf courses, and great lake and mountain scenery in between the sprawl.

You wouldn't know it to see these pics, but these roads are pretty busy at times. It does seem that there is a morning and evening rush hour. I wonder what keeps it all going here in the valley. I guess it must be a diverse economy... Not such a great day. Snow blowing down some of the peaks, clouds hugging some of the valley walls... Still, the sun is trying hard, so perhaps the day will unfold well for us.

Ooops, forgot to check the brakes... No, seriously, we're fine. But those those 18 wheeler truck drivers sure earn their money on these routes. Not something I'd want to try.

Here we are looking out over Kamloops. We're here right on schedule. Time to load in, change, check and do our thing.

The station covers a pretty big swath of the British Columbia interior, and is usually a lot of fun to play. Today we will be sharing the show with some Zombi Girls!

It's a nice little studio. Host Tracy Pellazarri is always fun to hang out with, and brings a trendy, big city feel to the show. The only thing lacking is coffee and cookies in the Green Room. Next time, eh? Or maybe we don't really need 'em. We need to keep trim!

Looking good, boys, if I may say so myself.

I should never travel with a guy as handsome as Big Dave McLean. Nice tie. It must be the tie that does it...

The Zombie Girls moan and crawl around the studio eating into our time. We get to play just a couple of numbers, and quickly plug our regional shows before the credits roll. Thanks, Tracy! Always a blast.

We scurry down the mountain to look for a proper breakfast joint downtown. As luck would have it, we find just such a spot close to a couple of huge thrift stores! Dave ends up with a new pair of winter boots, but I resist the call of the wild and keep my money in my pocket.

"Buffalo Gals" is the eclectic, mostly acoustic radio show hosted by Nancy Lougheed on CFBX-FM. It's in a nice, late afternoon, Friday spot, and so is an excellent opportunity to touch the "drive" crowd in the region. Crowding into the studio, we are first met by station director Brant Zwicker. I've left the tour camera in the truck, so there will be no photos of this gathering. I wish I had some to share. Brant is a great supporter of blues music, blues artists, and the Canadian music scene in general and really helps to keep it happening in central British Columbia. I gotta say that both Dave and I are very grateful indeed for all the airplay his station has given us both over the last few years. Every bit helps, and blues guys like us fill our gigs one seat at a time— regional airplay remains very important to us, even as we see the evolution of international, digital broadcasting. Thanks, Brant, much appreciated.

Brant takes us upstairs and introduces us to Nancy, after which we gab and play for a pleasant couple of hours on air. I get to read "Entertainment Beat" or some such segment about where local shows are playing. Everybody makes fun of the way I say "Kamloops." I guess I'll need to get lessons before I hit these parts again. Bidding good-bye and thank you to Nancy and Brant, we grab our truck, grab some coffee, and ride out!

We are now headed back down the valley to Enderby, and we have just enough time to make the show. Lorne won't be happy, as he likes to have his shows in and soundchecked before the dinner hour. But anyway, we're a fast load in, and a quicker sound check usually. I know Lorne has some good gear, so I'm not too worried. And this time I'm going to take the backroads way that the locals take, and I'm going to save about an hour on the trip! We are fairly hopeful that the show will be a sell out tonight, so we pop on the stereo and relax to Fred McDowell and Johnny Woods as we drive.

But where the hell are we??? It sure is dark out there, and these mountain roads are twisting around and there do not seem to be any signs at all out here. Damn!! I pull over and try out the new GPS unit. It takes a few tries to find a place with a good signal, but it seems we are not actually lost anymore— just a long, long way from where we want to be. Crow!

We roll into Lorenzo's with just minutes to spare. The place is pretty busy, and I think Lorne looks relieved to see us. He doesn't give us a hard time for cutting it tight. We're set up very quickly, and I grab a glass of red wine for the stage! The kitchen will actually save us some food for us to have, post-show. We're on!

The place is loud tonight— some tables are talking loudly, and some are trying to listen to the show. Words are exchanged. Lorne roams the floor trying to smooth ruffled feathers. A bunch of young children are encouraged by their mothers to dance in front of the stage. This is cute for the first song, annoying by the second song, and plain disruptive by the third. They were quite friendly, but we are glad when they leave. I'm also glad when the night is over. This is usually a great listening room for music, and a ball to play— but tonight... was work. I totally forget to take pictures during the show, I only locate the camera at the end of the night. We do have a great time chatting with fans after the show, signing CDs and so on. Dave takes an early leave for a well-earned sleep and a little privacy. I drink red wine and hang out with Lorne and his staff. I always enjoy hanging out here, so I stay up late in spite of being very tired.

Lorne is talking about selling the place and moving on. I hope he takes his time doing this. Lorenzo's Cafe, even on a night like tonight, is an amazing, mysterious, unique bit of Canada. Thanks, Lorne. And best wishes for whatever wild dreams you may follow next. I stumble late to my bed, as often is the case here.

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