Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Edmonton, Northern Blues Town

Visits to Edmonton, AB are always centred around Blues on Whyte, and the Commercial Hotel. It's one of the last of it's kind: a big old hotel with music seven nights a week. Blues music, in a big room, with people. Twenty-three sets a week, if you count the Saturday matinee and the jam. Whole lotta playing. Old school. The street outside is wilding for action. The rooms upstairs are, too. I always stay here, even if I'm playing elsewhere. Doors banging. Laughing in the night. Neon. Musicians, oil patch workers on leave. All kinds, all kinds. Too thin blankets. Too hot, too cold. Air hanging heavy with the smells of old beer and pot. A sweet perfume. A thin veneer of fresh paint to hide the old splatters, the old stories spun out at the bar downstairs. Set up over the pool tables, each night washed away by morning traffic on the big street.

I play another venue up in the north end of town. I've got a local band for part of this one. This is my section for the night: Mark and Randy. Great players, and we have a ball.

Of course, I am leaving a trail of genuine satin, white stripe tour jackets behind as I go. The Raffle is always fun! And tonight's big winner is...

It's very rewarding to have as many blues fans come out to shows as I do. Folks who come on purpose, and know something about the music. Nice to hang out and chat...

I'm done early enough to get back downtown for the last set at Blues on Whyte. Maurice John Vaughn and Kenny chill out with me after the show. Nice guys. Great music. Old road warriors swapping travel stories as the bars empty out and the streets fill with good and bad. I'll sit in my room and play guitar over the sirens for a while. There's girls laughing, somebody shouting. Big town, big blues street. Money changing hands. A couple more days here and then I'll be pointing the Lincoln south.

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