At McNally Robinson’s Prairie Ink cafe in Saskatoon, SK with local singer/songwriter Ramona Floyd
An exciting, crazy and super fun tour started in Saskatoon, SK in March and ended off this week in Banff, AB. I had considered writing a handwritten blog with every tour stop, as I began doing with my last post (and if I hadn’t run out of notebook space and wasn’t simultaneously working on several music programs while on the road, this may have been possible). But instead, I’ll pick up where we left off… in Regina!
At The Artful Dodger in Regina, SK
The Monday night open mic at the Artful Dodger is a thing of beauty. Yes, there are singer/songwriters who attend, but there are also some truly funny comedians, musicians and music/comedy lovers and supporters. I met some awesome people here and laughed my face off.
The next day, I performed with electric guitar and once again got to use the house baby grand piano… an absolute JOY for a touring piano player. I also recorded some audio for a documentary in my hotel room. (A fun tip if you are ever required to do this: make sure you’re staying as close to a busy highway as possible and that your room is near the ice machine, which should be making loud noises at least every 3-5 minutes. Place your microphone on a cooler and brace it with socks.)
I also took a Tai Chi class in Regina, where I met some of the most wonderful human beings with great energy and who love to laugh. This was well timed as the next day I had to sit on my butt in the car for 8+ hours. The bottom of my car nearly fell off during this trek and I almost ran out of gas, but ultimately landed safely in Spruce View, AB!
Here, I hooked up with my band, my awesome Albertan sisters, their significant others and my amazing nieces. The above pic is from Mitch’s phone and I believe was entitled “tour breakfast mayhem”. We were treated so well here and ate and laughed and enjoyed the amazing support and love of family.
At Mikey’s Juke Joint in Calgary, AB
It was a night to remember in Calgary – packed house at Mikey’s Juke Joint, old friends, new friends and fans, family and a crowd that was literally pleading for “one more song” at the end of the night! Also, at a friend’s suggestion, I ordered the Jambalaya. If you should ever have the opportunity to frequent Mikey’s in Calgary, please do yourself a favour and order the Jambalaya!
The J Bar T in Spruce View, AB
The following eve we had a great time rocking the J Bar T on Highway 54 – a great room filled with bikers, dancers, pool players, more friends and family and we filled it with great rocking music as well. My sisters even came up and joined in with backup vocals for a song or two.
Afterward, there was some brief fun around the bonfire before my eyes didn’t want to stay open anymore and I slept and slept… before it was time to head into Red Deer!
The Hideout is a great venue with excellent sound. They take good care of their musicians and we had an absolute blast making noise there. (Video footage to come soon!) One of my sisters sang with the band again and we created some great memories with the lovely staff and guests.
When we awoke in Red Deer, the plan was to rent a trailer to get all of our gear to Banff. This was before we realized the vehicle we were going to use did not, in fact, have a trailer hitch as we initially thought. After some back and forth communication and a bit of brief panic, it was decided that one of my sisters should come with us to Banff in a second vehicle and this would solve the problem. (She also drove back to Spruce View immediately after the gig, landing her in bed around 3:30am. What a trooper…)
Getting ready to head to Banff, AB for the last show.
At The Elk and Oarsman in Banff, AB
The Elk and Oarsman performance was so fun and I met people from all over Canada. It was a late show, but we played our asses off and I sang my lungs out before we packed up and got to sleep… for about two hours from 1-3am. Then it was up and off to the Calgary airport to say goodbye to my amazing bandmates. (They have so much more touring experience than I do and never complained once about long car travel or short sleep. We did however, get into some wicked pillow fights.) After this, I stayed awake long enough to retreat back to Spruce View for more sleep on Easter Monday morning.
That day, I was treated to a great feast of turkey, gravy, potatoes, carrots, buns, salad etc. etc. lovingly prepared by my fam. No musician gets to eat this well on the road, I’m sure. As I packed and prepared for a 14 hour drive home the following day, my sisters and family worked hard to make our “last meal” together special. It was so awesome.
The drive home was more boring and uneventful, for which I was very grateful and also a bit insane. (Driving through SK from beginning to end will do that to you. Also, I clearly did not fill my phone with enough music and quickly tired of repeated songs. I filled the entertainment void by endeavouring to eat Thai food while driving. It was a sight to behold…)
I left AB at about 6:45am (7:45am Winnipeg time) and arrived in the City somewhere around 9:45pm. Though tired, it felt awesome to empty my car and brain and sleep in my own bed.
I love life on the road, I am built for it and I love meeting so many awesome people in new places while creating new musical and other experiences along the way. But there truly is no place like home.
The next tour involves heading west again in June and I can’t wait to visit some familiar places while making brand new memories! Tell your western Canadian friends – I’m coming back with a new album called “Renegade” and I would love to share it with them.
Thanks for reading – with appreciation,
*All thumbnails are clickable*