Monday, November 7, 2011
Down in Hammertown
Down in Hammertown. Just across the river from Fredericton. If we have to suffer downtime, this is a good place to do it. In spite of the apparent love of blues and roots music in this city, we have been unable to secure a gig of any sort here. In over 10 months of pitching the show not one venue would have us. Kind of shocking considering the fanfare around the fabulous Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival each September. Gosh, I've played it, what- five times?- to thousands of people and encores. Now here I am with Big Dave McLean and we can't even GIVE away a show. We'll be back to do a guitar clinic at Long and McQuade in a couple of days, but you've got to wonder. Venues are mostly dark tonight, but over the past few months they've had their pick of nights on our Atlantic schedule. Doesn't matter what day. And most of these folks in the Fredericton venues don't even return phone calls or emails. It's not part of their business vision. They just don't really want a live show. Even at no risk. I'm reminded of the time when Michael Pickett and I sat out a night in Fredericton a few years ago. "A Juno Award and $2 will buy you a coffee anywhere in Canada." I'm not complaining here so much as I am flagging some significant changes to the ways in which we can deliver a live blues show. Change is in the wind. I think I'll be looking at house concerts or theatre shows next time. The middle ground, commercial venues are becoming less and less viable for touring shows. Overhead is up. Beer sales are down. Demographics are shifting, as they always have and will.