Well, it's been an amazing few weeks...beginning with a wonderful audience at the Dancing Bean Cafe in Chemainus March 29. Normally, I shy away from playing dining rooms. Who really wants to compete with the Blue Plate Special, after all? The Dancing Bean crowd is a little different, however, in that they care as much about listening to good music as they do about eating good food (great food, in fact! try it if you're ever out that way). In short, they're warmly receptive, applauding loudly at the end of each song and listening with particular care to the softer ballads like “Patty Jane and Her Merchant Marine” and “Kelly's Boat”. Several come up to us after the gig to thank us and to chat.
That evening was also the first time we had the CD for sale. To my enormous delight 9 discs go out the door at night’s end - fitting tribute to the purchasers’ taste, if I may say so. And as always happens when we have a good night the quartet laughes and kibitzes with the café owner and staff before piling into one lone vehicle and heading back to Victoria with yours truly at the wheel. A rough, rainy night on the Malahat but I manage to get my charges home safely.
My Second Home
A few months ago someone told me the Victoria Folk Club has never had a CD launch - something about not wanting to give up the Open Stage and the desire by some musicians to make a killing in CD sales in one of the trendier bars downtown. Pshaw, says I. It’s my home away from home. And I can’t count the number of times someone at the club has come up and asked if I have a CD available yet. These folks gave me a chance after I came back from an enormous hiatus from the music business. Not to do the launch there would have been, well...downright churlish.
And so we do the launch at the Victoria Folk Club, Open Stage and all. And what a launch. Packed house. Friends, fans and people I’d never seen before seated up front, while people lean in from the shadows at the back. Perched near the front door table - my boy Daniel manning the CD sales counter. A broad warm warble of excitement in the air. Nervously we take the stage and within minutes I can feel the entire house sway to the rhythm of “Papa’s on the Road” and “Footloose Heart”. By evening’s end we have done some of the favourites like “This Picture of You” and “For the Sake of Always of Loving You” and added a couple of fresh tunes, e.g. a beautiful little ballad by Clair Lynch called “Sweet Heart Darlin’ of Mine”.
For the encore we pull out an old Beatles’ number which everyone loves “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, an appropriate number as I cast a quick glance at Gael seated in the middle of the pack to the left. I have studiously avoided looking her way all night to maintain focus. She smiles. I smile. The song ends and the place erupts in applause and cheers, then house lights, scraping of chairs and audience banter. It’s been a great night. Everyone can feel it. People crowd around the musicians, thanking and congratulating them.
Me, I need a glass of water and make my way through the crowd to the back. Daniel leans over and says urgently that the next time we do a CD it should be live: “You’re a great performer, Dad!” This is special. Daniel and his Dad's tastes in music are not always in accord. It’s only at that moment that it hits me that Yes, it really has been a great night after all.
And the CD sales? It seems we’ve tied a record for the most CDs ever sold by a feature. 33. Could I be happier? Don’t think so.