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...Doc MacLean does another cool 100 across western Canada and Southern Africa...

Photo Credit: Robin Auld

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Small Shows for Safety: but Quality is High


Well, the Tour is out and active. Covid cancels started after I'd already driven the first 1000km across the Great Lakes, past the rocks and trees and rocks and trees and water and rocks and trees: the Northern Shield, up over Superior until it's too late to turn around, too late to give it up. It was too late a lifetime ago, when I started this journey. Now it's big spaces between small places, and there is plenty of time to revisit memories.

About a quarter of the western Canadian shows have been Covid cancelled. Each province and territory is a bit different: some have done really well moving ahead– others not. Rules change frequently as to gatherings, shows, proof of vaccination. Some venues have not felt able to move forward with even restricted shows. While I understand and respect their decisions, Covid has left the Canadian tour in a money losing position from the time it reached the middle of Canada. Go home and lose a lot of money, or continue and possibly only lose a little. That said, the played shows have been really great. Every show is capacity! Crowds have been supportive, and the Music is coming back strong. Venues have all paid me above what I expected, a fact for which I am very thankful, and will not forget. Presenters are the unsung heroes out here on the Blues Highway.

The Big Lincoln fell sick in Kamloops, British Columbia, requiring me to continue to the Pacific coast in a rental. A ten hour return to pick it up is on deck! Repairs to the car, plus the rentals underline the voodoo economics of some music tours: all the money that is made is returned to the local economy– one way or another! The shows are going well, and I'm trying to look at this western Canadian tour as an investment in myself. Like so many other musicians, I was locked down for many months. These front end gigs have helped me back on to the stages I love so much, and have provided the confidence one can only gain by performing. So all is good. And I'm looking forward to some shows in eastern Ontario before I arrive in South Africa in January. Am I ready? Oh, yeah!!

Blogspot, which hosts this website has changed its editing and formatting software. As a result, after a decade of setting up tour blogs on this platform, this may be the last one. Too late for me to change it up now– but it is very difficult to edit and update my Tour schedule here. They've taken away plain language editing. I can do enough HTML to get by in a pinch, but there are no line numbers, and I simply can't take the huge whacks of time needed to make simple updates. I could previously do these update in seconds. I'm unhappy! But I will try my best to keep that part of the page as up to date as possible. If you are a promoter/venue you can email or social message me should you require clarifications on the date side of things. The rest is good. Changes to the Africa schedule are coming: the Tour will just be South Africa and Botswana. Covid regulations and multiple border crossings are providing a planning nightmare that can't be sorted from the virtual office as the Tour rolls out playing shows. More SA dates to be added in place of the missing border states. Fingers crossed!!

Vancouver dates were fabulous. The Tour now moves to Vancouver Island for a string of shows.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

The Vortex: Getting Ready to Leap

 


My Streamline tour rolls out in a few days: old school: pushing the Big Lincoln over the hump of the Great Lakes, and onward, onward to the Pacific Coast. Tours like this used to be a rite of passage for Canadian musicians. Where are they now- the ones I used to meet in truckstops up and down the line? There's a whole lot of blues DNA spread alongside these roads. A whole lot of stories. Mill towns with boarded up windows. Ghosts and dust. More than a few dark secrets.

Now it's big spaces between small places across this map. But I'm not done yet: I know where the neon still spins its cool magic. Three chords and the Truth. My name on the battered marquee outside: the Blues is back in town. It's about letting go entirely, and being sucked down the strange vortex of this highway. You: you have no idea what joys I have lost to the storm. I'll tell you a story sometime, sometime.



Sisters, not twins. Working girls. Rough and tough and ready. In Covid times, we're riding a greatly diminished tour across Canada. Venues have restricted numbers. Politics are playing a role province to province. I was hoping that restrictions would be lifting by now, but it seems that the front end will be tight. Who knows what the numbers are going to do? I'm fully vaccinated, and I'll do everything I can to cooperate with each venue in every region to see that my shows are as safe as possible for all of us. Distancing. Restricted numbers. Masking where appropriate. Let's take care of each other.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

The Hustle is On: Booking into Five Countries

 



Yeah, baby. The Hustle is on as I settle in to book about a hundred shows across five countries. Some are in Covid crisis, and others are on fire. On fire. This Great Burning is not about purification: it's about an environment in crisis: it's about greed finally bursting into open flames, sucking up hopes and dreams in a horrid roar. It's about having and not having, the bitter fruits of retribution, and the wings of change.

But the Tour. The Tour. Looking ahead: song lines and dream lines. I'm looking at the horizon and planning for a better future. The shows are trickling in now now, and it's all about hope. Let's make a plan, let's book a date.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Streamline Blues Tour Announced



Taking back the Blues Highway, one show at a time. Making a plan. Covid could sneak in to kick us again, but that's a gamble. If we don't plan we'll definitely have nothing! It's been a strange time for me, caught in a world between dreamlines and songlines. Streamline, streamline. The witches chant beside the waters. Candles float away into the night, and a new story begins. There's a time to hold on, and a time to let go.

My National Steel "Streamline" Blues Tour will roll out in September 2021 for 35- 50 shows across western Canada. By early January I'll land up in Cape Town, South Africa. The 2022 portion of the Tour will see stops across most of South Africa, with a leg up into Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Real deal, blues tour by land. Follow it here.
 

Small Shows for Safety: but Quality is High

Well, the Tour is out and active. Covid cancels started after I'd already driven the first 1000km across the Great Lakes, past the rocks...