Tales from 2007

A year in the life

The year started off with a couple of showcase sets with Shakura S'aida and Treasa Levasseur at the TBS Blues Summit, the bi-annual blues shmooze held in Toronto. Then it was in the studio for a new album with Canada's premier folk poet Bob Snider. Then it was more sessions at Ozworld with Max Woolaver and then off to the Folk Alliance in Memphis. I spent a wonderful afternoon watching Penny Lang record at the legendary SUN Studio soaking up the vibes, checking out the big knob Ampex recorders in the museum upstairs. A visit to the Rendezvous was de rigeur.
My March hilight was performing with international folk icon Bill Bourne at Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto. Bill has got the deepest groove and the biggest voice and the greatest hands that add up to the apt title the Voodoo King.
The summer festival season got off to an early start with the first annual Twisted Pines Music Festival in Midland Ontario on the May 19-20 weekend. I played with three bands there-Brian Blain, Treasa Levasseur and Hey Stella! I hope that this festival finds it's legs and becomes a mainstay on the festival curcuit.
Festival season went into high gear June thru Sept. I performed at more than a dozen Canadian festivals with a diverse line up of artists including Treasa Levasseur, the legendary Mel Brown, Shakura S'aida and Brian Blain.
One of the hi-lite of my professional life was performing at the Montreal Jazz Festival with Shakura S'aida in June. We had a killer set with Shakura totally tearing the house down. (Actually it was an outdoor stage, but you know what I mean). After our performance in the backstage area I noticed a distinguished looking gentleman that I thought I recognized but couldn't quite place. He gave me a warm smile and I went over to meet him. He stuck out his hand and said "Hello, I'm BERNARD PURDIE and you're a really good drummer". I literally felt a buzz go up my arm. Now check this out. I idolized Bernard's drumming. HE's the funk meister on Aretha Franklin's Rock Steady. He's recorded with Steely Dan. He's the creator of the Purdie Shuffle. I almost fell on my knees and did the "I'm not worthy" routine from Wayne's World, but I managed to maintain my dignity and thanked him for his kind words and encouragement. I credited him with being a huge influence on my drumming (along with Al Jackson Jr.) and told him that if he liked my drumming it was because in part, I try to play like him. What a great moment!!!!!
Then it was off to the Rockies for most of July on a western tour with Bill Bourne and his marvelous 5 pc band, culminating in sessions in Edmonton for a new CD.
For the 21st year I was part of the Edmonton Folk Festival Houseband (under the leadership of Amos Garrett). This year we backed up the ecstatic 77 year old Little Willy Littlefield, who more than amply proved that he's still got IT!!! Little Willy is the man who penned "I'm Going To Kansas City. What a gas that was.
September brought more festivals including the Eaglewood Folk Festival where I performed with Treasa Levasseur and the Shelter Valley Folk Festival where I played a mainstage set and several workshops with Bill Bourne. We do this cool duo thing with him on guitar and stomp and I play drums and percussion. It's all groovy and primal and I love it. One of the hi-lites of Shelter Valley was jamming with my old boss Ember Swift. She graciously invited me to join her and Lyndell Montgomery and Cheryl Reid on their mainstage set. Big fun. These small Ontario festivals are really sweet affairs with great music, great vibes, great crafts and great food. They include camping areas with a wonderful communal atmosphere with nightly campfires and jam sessions.
Fall is here, the leaves are turning into a splattered pallet of colors and winter is gathering on the horizon. I'll be back in the studio with Treasa Levasseur at the end of October to record a new CD. She is so fabulous. Totally the real deal. I'll also be backing her up at the annual Women's Blues Revue to be held at Massey Hall (Toronto's most prestigious concert hall) on Dec. 1

Thanks for your interest.