Friday, August 30, 2013

Packing and Detailing

We're getting close now. A busy couple of days! Genuine white stripe tour jackets are here. Hwy 61 t-shirts, Libby Rae's new cd... I've got four new Michelin tires on the Lincoln, new ball joints, and a rock steady alignment. This Town Car, and this Tour are ready to eat up the road! On Sunday, I'll fire it up and point it east. I'm going to roll out of Toronto, and set the cruise control for Halifax International Airport. I'll pick up Libby Rae on Tuesday night. We're all papered up and legal, too. My pal Dale Schimpf, of the East Coast Blues Society, is going to meet us and see that we are well looked after.

There are a whole lot of great blues players on Canada's east coast. It's a mature blues scene, probably dating back 50 or 60 years. Halifax was, and is, a port town, well connected to route shows from New York and Boston. Africville, from which some families trace their roots into the early 1700's, was certainly well established by the mid-1800's. It's destruction by the City of Halifax is another story, but suffice to say there have been plenty of blues- and plenty of blues players- here for a long time. The other side of the coin is the Acadian connection. Many of the older families here are still in touch with descendants of their relatives who were deported to Louisiana. It's a good mix of older, veteran musicians, and the younger players they mentor. Libby Rae and I are looking forward to hanging out with Joe Murphy! The accents are different, but the Maritimes have much in common with the coastal southern states.

Posters have been mailed to everybody up the line into late October- as far as Regina, Saskatchewan. Points west will ship in a couple more weeks time. Media releases have had their first and second rounds. I went down to visit my pals at Long & McQuade Music in Toronto this morning and picked out a nice little Yorkville PA. I'll be doing masterclasses at Long & McQuade locations across Canada again this year. I don't often get the PA out of the car– but when I do, it works– and sometimes covers my you know what. Out of 100 shows there will always be a couple where the contracted, in house sound will not do what it needs to do. And I can run the whole thing on a DC/AC converter if I have to. Just run outside and pull the car battery. I'm pretty loud anyway, but I do have back-up!

But for a house concert that just cancelled on zip notice, the first leg of the Tour is looking great! I love Maritime Canada, and it's been very good to me over the past few years. It will be a real treat to have Libby Rae along for the first three weeks of shows. I've got her watching Canadian cultural programs like Trailer Park Boys, so she'll have an idea of what to expect when she gets here...

In the morning I'll print the Tour Book, clean up the car, and get packed. So many guitars, so little time.  Still, three and a half months of shows and open road is a pretty good life. They always bomb the middle east on my fall/winter tours. I'm going to spend what- $5000, $6000 on gasoline? Damn, need to put bums in seats!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Press Release Day!

For Immediate Release

Storied Mississippi Blueswoman to visit Maritimes

Libby Rae Watson featured on National Steel "Got Lucky" Tour

Libby Rae Watson and Doc MacLean  have each had their own shares of good luck and bad. Katrina destroyed much of Libby Rae's home, while Doc's world was shaken by a spectacular car crash on last year's Tour. But both of these delta songsters celebrate more good luck than bad. True to the music and culture which have shaped their lives, they each picked themselves up, stomped down those troubles, and moved forward down the Blues Highway. This fall that highway leads to Maritime Canada.

MacLean and Watson, who met at the funeral of the great, delta bluesman Sam Chatmon in 1982, often refer to themselves as "Sam's Kids."  Both artists spent their formative years exploring the rural south– learning their craft at kitchen tables, on front porches, and in little juke joints. MacLean played and recorded in Chatmon's last band, the BBQ Boys, while Libby Rae Watson was Chatmon's close friend–  and perhaps his best guitar student. While MacLean built a career on hard travel and performance, Watson stayed closer to home– rarely venturing beyond Mississippi. "I'm really pleased that Libby Rae has agreed to be on the National Steel Tour this year," said MacLean. "She's a pioneer–  one of the only women to cross what were difficult racial and cultural boundaries–  exploring, documenting, and learning from what's now a lost generation. She's a songster-storyteller in the delta tradition– part of an unbroken chain."  The tour will celebrate the restoration and release of Watson's latest cd, "Sweet 'N' Salty," long thought to have been destroyed by Katrina.

The 8th annual, National Steel Blues Tour includes more than 80 shows across nine provinces. Watson will join the Tour for three weeks in the Maritimes. Canada's "biggest little blues tour," an all acoustic, songs and stories in the round adventure, is known for it's "no place too large, too small, too grand or too humble" approach to performance. The Maritimes will be no exception with a wide variety of venues from festivals, to theatres, to pubs and house concerts on the schedule. Doc MacLean and Libby Rae Watson are glad to be together for this adventure and look forward to bringing their blues and stories to Maritime Canada.

Who:   Doc MacLean and Libby Rae Watson

What: 8th Annual National Steel "Got Lucky" Blues Tour- Duo Maritime Leg

  Thurs Sept 5,  The Landing, Charlos Cove, NS
Fri Sept 6, The Townhouse Pub, Antigonish, NS
Sat Sept 7, House Concert, Centreville, NS
Sun Sept 8, Freeman's Pizza, Halifax, NS
Wed Sept 11, Octopus' Garden Cafe, Alma, NB
Thurs Sept 12, Picaroon's, Fredericton, NB various during Harvest Blues & Jazz
Fri Sept 13 Long & McQuade, Fredericton, NB (guitar clinic 5:PM)
Fri Sept 13 Picaroon's, Fredericton, NB various during Harvest Blues & Jazz
Sat Sept 14 Wilsner's Room, Fredericton, NB time TBA

Sat Sept 14 Picaroon's, Fredericton, NB various during Harvest Blues & Jazz
Wed Sept 18 House Concert, Fall River, NS
Thurs Sept 19 Bearly's House of Blues, Halifax, NS (w. Morgan Davis)
Fri Sept 20 House Concert, Bedford, NS
Sat Sept 21 Marigold Theatre, Truro, NS
Sun Sept 22 The Trellis, Hubbards, NS

"Like an audio version of the movie, Sin City." - Blues Revue Magazine, USA

Backline equipped and sponsored by Long & McQuade Music.
Frontline and Bottom Line: Picaroon's, Db Custom Cigar Box Guitars.


Libby Rae Watson grew up in Mississippi a few blocks from the Gulf of Mexico. Not exactly the heart of the Delta, but just a couple of hours drive from it. Exploring the the Delta back in the 1970s she documented, became friends with, and learned to play from both the obscure and the famous. Big Joe Williams, Furry Lewis, Johnny Woods, Son Thomas and many more. But it was her friendship with Sam Chatmon that influenced her the most. They became fast friends from day one and remained that way until his death in 1983, where Watson was asked to perform "Sitting On Top Of The World" at his funeral. After many years of performing close to home with her band, The Liberaetors, Libby Rae Watson has come back to the old Blues and the old blues highway. Serious blues and folk fans everywhere are taking note.

Doc MacLean has spent over 40 years travelling America's blue highways, performing and recording with a who's who of the blues. Like Watson, he explored the rural south in the 1970s, playing, recording and touring with many "first generation" artists. From his first duo with Colin Linden he went on to play with Sam Chatmon, Peg Leg Sam, Blind John Davis, and many others. Building his career on hard travel and performance, he has earned an international following. The self proclaimed, "blues vagabond" now plays over 200 shows annually across North America. For the last 8 years his National Steel Blues Tour has touched nearly every part of Canada- every year. Like an audio version of the movie, Sin City." - Blues Revue Magazine, USA

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Get Ready, Canada!

Hey Folks! Fresh back from a Delta road trip to Clarksdale, MS and many points in between!
We had a grand ol' time at the Sunflower Blues and Gospel Festival this year! There was
definitely some 'hot oven' Mississippi summer heat going on too! So, I'm REALLY looking forward to coming to Canada in September for some cool air and fun times! Check the schedule and come on out for a little of this, that, and the other!!! I'd love to meet you!!
More later from Pascagoula, Mississippi...Libby Rae

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Counting Down for Got Lucky

It's a cool wind up for the last days of summer. The lap top and cell phone are busy tools here as I continue to detail the upcoming legs of this year's National Steel "Got Lucky" Blues Tour. It has been a difficult year. The car crash which occurred toward the end of the last Tour had a ripple effect on everything afterwards. I did get very lucky, walking away from the wreck with two guitars- but virtually everything else was badly damaged or destroyed: the car, the PA, my harmonicas, my glasses, my laptop, my cellphone, my road atlas collection, tour receipts... Insurance manages to cover very little, in spite of the best of plans. So, it's been a year of re-building. Still a long way to go- but I've got a new old Lincoln out of Fort Worth, Texas, the office is up and running again, and I'm alive! Can't complain- really! I'm way behind where I usually am on bookings for this Tour. It's a bit strange to be putting the back end on it as I'm getting ready to play the front end shows.

Speaking of front end shows- the front end of this tour kicks off in Maritime Canada in about two weeks. My good pal Libby Rae Watson is coming up from Mississippi to join me for three weeks of shows. It's going to be a lot of fun on the ground- most of the drive distances are pretty short, we get to visit lots of places, some great venues... Can't wait to introduce Libby Rae to the Maritimes- and the Maritimes to her!

Libby Rae will have a brand new CD available. We've got Hwy 61 t-shirts, genuine satin, white stripe tour jackets, songs and stories, glass, wood, steel, a little bit of rust, a few tears and a whole lot of Mississippi mojo. I can't wait to take this show mobile! You can check out our schedule in the sidebar.

Tour posters have long since been mailed to the Maritimes. Digital versions are linked in the sidebar, should anybody want one. Jackets will arrive soon. First media releases set to go... Counting down. Gotta go polish that Lincoln. Before you know it I'll be parked at Halifax International Airport, ready to bring Libby Rae Watson out for a piece of Canada's biggest little blues tour. Hope y'all come along!