|Thx to Chris Sleightholm for this snap.|
A dear friend once told me that choosing to be a musician seemed like joining a new family. He was right. And in the few years that have passed since becoming a full time musician I've seen my family grow from local to international. The glue is the sense that we're looking after each other. Whether it's a place to crash in another city, supporting each other at gigs or sharing contacts... there's a lotta love around here.
So if I'm in a family, I figure summer festivals are pretty much a series of reunions.
Last Friday night at the Gateway Festival opened for me by watching the absurdly talented Kacy & Clayton play. Follow that by two stepping with Blake Berglund to The Deep Dark Woods, and then being totally knocked over by Library Voices' new material. My evening was at its height watching The Sadies for probably the eighth time in my life. (Y'know, I'll just never tire of those dudes. My favourite memory of the band is from a show in Banff in 2007. After a killer night, their encore began with one of the brothers dryly announcing "And now The Sadies would like to play nine more songs for you," prior to ripping into a third set.)
Thankfully, Bend Sinister prevented me from falling into a post-Sadies funk. I then enjoyed my sister bands Snake River and The Pile O' Bones Brass Band close up the evening. Day one complete.
Saturday began with the familiar Coffee Stagger as well as a failed attempt at distributing Revello ice cream bars to the festival's first risers around 9:30 am. Eventually I found my feet, and it happened to coincide with hearing Miss Megan Nash's incredible voice. Saturday's schedule was filled by excellent artists, with Ridley Bent, The Bros Landreth, Indigo Joseph, and The Dead South really knocking me over.
More than anything, an unexpected encounter with Tex Emery truly brought home the beauty of the festival. I've heard tales of Moose Jaw harboring one of Nashville's country legends. Rumour has it that Tex was Buck Owens' pedal steel player and it was through him that Tex made appearances on Hee Haw. Tex is now 84, and be damned if he doesn't want a spot in my band after seeing us on Saturday's main stage. And I'm all for it. That bit of news made my weekend, to be quite honest.
So there you have it! A successful family reunion where I got to relax and see the locals, reconnect with long lost buddies and finally met the guy everyone has been talking about all these years.
I'm in your debt, Gateway. Thank you for a wonderful weekend.