January 28th, 2005
It’s bloggie update time again. I’ve had a busy week so there hasn’t been a lot of time for anything except getting year end GST returns completed and filed. Next up, T4’s!
Last night was the best night of live music I have experienced in a very long time!! It’s always great when you go to a show expecting to see someone you absolutely love and then end up falling in love with the other artist playing (see Lindy/Serena Ryder circa November 19), but how about SIX?? And I didn’t even have to pay $50 or more to attend the folk festival or something like that, either!
Bluebird North hit Calgary last night. And with it they brought the usual hosts… my friend Blair Packham and his co-producer Shari Ulrich… as well as our one and only Billy Klippert , Andy Stochansky, Emm Gryner, and Andy Kim.
All of six of them stood or sat on the stage, and took turns singing their songs and telling stories. It was all acoustic, which I love, and often one performer would join in on another with guitar or harmonies. The banter between them all was hilarious and the audience was SO incredibly receptive! There were a lot of die-hard Billy fans in the audience, and we made ourselves known! For those that were there mainly for Billy or one artist in particular and had no idea what else to expect (like… who is this Andy Kim, really? Heh! Surprise!!) I can guarantee NO ONE was disappointed! Every songwriter received their fair share of loud cheers, applause and adoration from us. Andy Kim wins for getting the most audience participation… between “Rock Me Gently” and “Sugar, Sugar” he had us all singing along.
Besides Billy, I was really excited to see Blair. The last time I saw him was in 1997! I’ve known him since I was 18 (that’s half my life now… sigh) and we have kept in touch via email/Christmas cards and stuff, but I missed him when he was here for the Folk Festival in the summer, and I never found out about previous Bluebird North tours until they had come and gone (Blair admits he’s not too good at remembering to call people when he’s hitting their town unless it’s his own show, and I admit I have never kept my eyes peeled to the SAC website to see when they were coming in the past). Billy being a part of it this year changed all that, there was no way NOT to know he was coming if you’re a Billy fan! So it was really great to see Blair and catch up a bit and talk about the battle of our respective bulges I also gave him a Polyjesters CD, because I know he’ll love it and everyone needs one! Blair sang a hit from his days with the 80’s band The Jitters (”Last of the Red Hot Fools”, complete with audience participation for the oh-so-complicated and intricate dance moves) which I think brought back a lot of memories for some people! He has two solo CDs out too which are terrific, and he played a couple from “Could’ve Been King”.
One of the greatest musical highlights of the night for me was Andy Stochansky. And I can now spell that without double checking by looking at his CD! I am head over heels for this guy, I tell ya, he was amazing!!! I gushed all over him (that’s not as messy as it sounds) and bought both his CDs (that he was selling there; more are available). He has a new one coming out in March, too. I was simply blown away by him, and I sure hopes he tours out this way with his new album.
I am going to buy Emm Gryner’s CDs too one of these days (although, looking at her website, I will be in even greater debt if I want to buy them ALL!)… it was one of those nights that you wish you had an extra $100 cash on you to buy everyone’s CDs (I was ahead of the game already owning Billy’s and both of Blair’s, but you know, there was a huge table there and I wanted to shop!!!) She was brilliant. What a voice! And she played the piano, which made for an interesting change between everyone else playing guitars while they sang. Shari Ulrich’s daughter played the fiddle during her songs, and at one point Shari pulled out a mandolin too. Shari has a beautiful voice and I’d venture to say Carole King and Joni Mitchell are definite favourites of hers.
So what else can I say about last night besides IT WAS AWESOME… I sat with a few of the BillyNotes folk, a couple who even came in from out of town! We had great food and I was wishing I had just ordered that damn burger instead of being “good” and getting the spinach salad. Ahhhh whatever, one day I will be rewarded! Billy wore an “I Rock” BillyNotes Tshirt during the show and kept showing it off. It was so cute! He’s freakin’ adorable, that guy. BillyNotes also got a lot of mentions as “that’ll end up on BillyNotes in the morning” comments seemed to be a running theme! Ha ha I was so happy to see Billy on this tour… it will really help shed the Idol image and get him the respect of his peers and a whole new audience. Plus, Billy acoustic is awesome, his voice is so powerful!! I saw my friend Jay there, he of impeccable taste in music (I first met him at Jim Bryson, then saw him at Lindy/Serena, then invited him out to Sillan & Young which he loved!) and he was chatting with Billy, telling him how much he enjoyed it… a new fan is born! I hope Billy experiences a lot of that on this tour.
Oh yes, and of course I got my “usual” Billy hugs n’ kisses which I love and appreciate, he is such a sweetie. I took a few pictures (mostly of them on stage, but I got a few with people off stage too) that I hope work out and I’ll post them in a couple weeks (I’ll be using the rest of the film at Lindy’s show on the 7th)… special thanks to Stan Meissner, the President of SAC and award winning songwriter in his own right, for being my extra special photographer for every picture I’m in!
If you are reading this from any part of the country that Bluebird North has yet to hit, do yourself a favour and GO!! And bring lots of CD buying cash with you!!
This post wins in the “could you possibly have more links in an entry??” category.