A Case of You written by Joni Mitchell, (one of the finest love songs ever written in my humble opinion) contains the line “I drew a map of Canada, oh Canada”. It tugs at my heart every time I hear that line. That song has been a close companion for over forty years and once again it’s running through my mind as we sit here at Heathrow waiting for our flight to Vancouver.
Kip has been to Canada in a former life whereas I (Dave) never have. I thought Joni’s beautiful song would be as close as I’d get. Once again I’m counting my blessings.
The seed for this trip was sown in February 2017 when we were playing some gigs in Palmerston North, New Zealand. At the end of the gig a guy called Dan Tonner came up and bought a CD (nice man). He said, “You guys should come to Canada; they’d love you there”. Dan explained that he and his wife were in New Zealand house sitting for three months. He gave us his email and invited us to stay at his place in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
As many people have found out to their cost, casually dropping an invite into the conversation very often leads to us turning up on their doorstep and asking for directions to the shower (we spend a lot of time in our van). To be fair to Dan his invite was most definitely genuine and when we returned to the UK I started plotting a trip to Canada. Initially I contacted a load of folk clubs and festivals for the summer of 2018. I got bugger all back from the festivals but quite a bit of interest from the clubs. But they all pointed out that they don’t run in the summer as they all go to the festivals.
A plan B was needed. Unlike our government, we gave it some thought and came up with a plan B.
We decided to try again for September this year just when the festivals finish and the clubs/house concert season kicks off. There’s a strong house concert scene in Canada, which is the back bone of many a tour schedule such as ours.
I took the same scattergun approach that I’d taken when putting together our first tour of Australia. I emailed every folk club, Arts centre, house concert, theatre, busking opportunity that I found on Google and sat back waiting for the gigs to flood/trickle in. It’s a bit like fishing, you try all over until you get a bite and then concentrate on that area. As it is we got a lot of interest out west but hardly a nibble on the east side. As much as we’d have liked to have checked out Dan Tonner’s shower it isn’t going to happen this time.
Foot note. I delivered a songwriting forum at a festival recently and a lady said that men write the best love songs. I urged her to listen to A Case of You – I could never get close.