Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pump Jack's, Weyburn, SK

Glad to be back on the road again. The brief stop in Winnipeg seemed long, despite the company of so many friends. I guess it just felt strange not to be travelling all day. It felt like perhaps we were missing something. But I do think our day off recharged our batteries somewhat. We're excited about playing this last leg, and glad to be back at it. We'll be backtracking through some familiar territory, but this is good— we've planned a couple of stops.

The first stop is Redvers, SK. When we played the amazing hall here (perhaps the best acoustics of the tour in this old wooden theatre) we discovered a little leather shop on the edge of town. Christmas is coming, so we stop back to buy more mitts and moccasins. All hand made on the premises. Great stuff. I think they may have a website— I know they ship all over the world now.

Our next stop is Forget, SK. Yes, we're back to visit with Ken Hamm at his cool little guitar store. Ken is a Juno winning roots and blues artist who has recently moved to this little community and opened a music shop. Big Dave is, of course, primed for this stop. He's brought gear to wheel and deal, and it's not long before he and Ken have decided on some trades.

We don't leave with this one, but we do leave with a cool, short scale, early 1960s (I think), National electric guitar. It's gonna be a monster to play slide guitar on. I've heard a few guys— I'm thinking of David Wilcox— really make these sing. Sure wish a lefty would show up out there. They just don't balance properly upside down. The other guitar Dave came away with was a baritone DanElectro. Nice looking guitar. Big and small. That should keep Dave busy over the winter months!

It's getting late in the day now, and the days have become shorter as winter approaches. It will dark by the time we arrive at Pump Jack's in Weyburn, SK.

It's oil country, for sure. These rigs stand in the fields like strange birds, dipping and bobbing their heads for food. Saskatchewan is doing pretty well these days, and it's an interesting place. It's got plenty of oil dollars— and the tough, conservative culture that come with oil development— but it's also got deep rooted social welfare traditions, close knit agricultural communities, great educational facilities, a rapidly growing technical sector, a great football team, and a passion for the arts. There's big, flat distances out here, but I think "isolated" and "rural" are concepts of the past.

Pump Jack's is brightly lit as we pull in, and owner-promoter Troy meets us in the parking lot to help us load in. Western hospitality! We are soon set up and ready to play. The club is noisy, for sure. It's a pub of the loud, talky kind, in a town where I suspect straight country is very popular. Nonetheless, Troy is working hard to bring a variety of music to his club, and is slowly developing a healthy audience for roots and blues. We've had folks drive for over an hour and a half to be here tonight. That's always a little humbling, a great compliment, and makes us want to give our best.

Before you know it showtime has arrived! We've got a pretty good crowd here. Let's do it!

Between shows some bright young ladies explain to me the best ways to build houses "off the grid." Lots of progressive thinking going on in Saskatchewan.

Back at it, and we finish the night hanging around talking with this very social and friendly crowd. Thanks, Troy, for having us. We hope to stop back on the next tour!

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