Sunday, October 23, 2011

Times Changed Jam- Winnipeg Sunday Night

It's Big Dave McLean's legendary Sunday night jam at Times Changed High and Lonesome in Winnipeg. Since I don't have to do anything, I arrive later than usual. It's not crowded yet, but there's a little buzz in the room. "Big Dave's back!"

Big Dave has been hosting the Sunday Jam here for over 20 years, and it continues to be a happening event. The sign-ups are walking in with their gear, and Big Dave is writing them down and organizing them into bands. His brother, Grant McLean, who is visiting from England, leads off with an acoustic set. I am pressed into doing sound, and pretty soon we have him sounding pretty good indeed!

Big Dave's Times house band launches the next set. Joanna Miller is on drums. Aside from the social factor and fun of being here, she's the musician I came to see! One of the top drummers in Canada. It's too bad Winnipeg lacks a functional Blues Society which could help put her in the national spotlight. She ought to be nominated for some of those Maple Blues Awards, and playing Massey Hall with the Women's Blues Revue... You can hear her play on Big Dave's latest recording, and with Scott Nolan, and with a variety of other quality roots bands in Western Canada.

After a couple of numbers Big Dave calls up Harpdog Brown to play the rest of the set. He's been playing at the George for the past few nights, and is on his way to do shows in Ontario. A Japanese guy gets up and plays a very strong mini-set. His guitar playing is really good. He sings "Mustang Sally" while Big Dave "translates" all in good fun. A parade of strong, local players follow. Dave gets "Dancin' Lou" up to play a number before taking a half-time break. It's a great local music scene, and a great little community of players. Before you know it the night is through. Classic, Winnipeg Sunday night.

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