What are we doing here? Canadablog #6

I’ve said it scores of times, but I really do believe I’m a lucky so and so.

I was sat on stage at The Roundhouse Arts in Vancouver with Kip on my right and Ben Mink on my left. “Ben who?” you may say. Read on my friends, read on.

Ben was a long time collaborator/producer and band member of KD Lang. And he was talking to the audience about playing live at the Grammy awards with KD. They were playing her big hit Constant Craving, (which they had written together) and Ben was playing guitar in the band. He said, “I was very nervous; we were doing just the one song and the show was going out live on American TV. I noticed someone on the front row tapping their foot in time with the song. I looked up and the foot belonged to Paul McCartney”.

The song won the Grammy that night – just one of many awards he’s received. He has also produced and/or performed on recordings by Roy Orbison, Alison Kraus, Bruce Cockburn, Elton John, Feist, Daniel Lanois and many, many more.

You may be wondering how the hell did we get to be on stage alongside this man. That is exactly what I was thinking. I refer you back the first line – I’m a lucky so and so.

The evening was a part of a concert series called “Songbird North, where writers show and tell,” put together by Shari Ulrich which receives sponsorship from the Songwriters Association of Canada. Shari gets four songwriters together (including herself) and each takes it in turn to chat about a song and then sing it. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I’d emailed Shari by mistake. I thought I was emailing a venue promoter (Shari was performing there) but I’d clicked on the wrong email address. Aside from being one of Canada’s most highly respected singer/songwriters Shari is also a genuinely lovely lady. She emailed back giving me the correct email address and several other recommendations and offered us the Songbird gig. Lucky or what!

The day of the gig we were out walking in downtown Vancouver and came across the British Columbia entertainment walk of fame. A series of plaques set in the pavement honouring those who’ve made waves in the entertainment industry. This was genuinely the first plaque we noticed.

Also on the bill were Warren Murfitt and Kate Main (Murfitt & Main) two Vancouver-based writers/performers who have amassed a fine collection of Country/Western Swing songs. As well as being a smart flat-pick guitarist, Warren builds guitars in his warehouse in Vancouver which also doubles up as a live music venue.

Shari introduced us all and then sang the first song, after which we took it in turns to sing a song and and joined in with harmonies etc on others where it fitted in. Kate played some smokey double bass on a blues that Kip sang and Shari put some fiddle on our song Far Off on the Horizon.

Ben then introduced a friend to the stage, CR Avery. If Tom Waits and Lou Reed had got drunk and produced a love child, it could have been C.R. His performance was stunning.

To quote Frankie Valli “Oh what a night ”

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