Thursday, November 17, 2011

Port Williams, NS- Landing in the Coop: Last Doc and Dave Show

We are most thankful to Dale and Eva for their hospitality! Inviting us to stay at their place was very kind. Now, full of coffee, Dave and I bid Dale good-bye and head north to play the last duo show of the National Steel Bad Boy Blues Tour. From a financial point of view the Maritime leg of the tour has been a disaster. Not just one or two slow shows. Taken as a region, only a single show has approached expectations. The cost of running the Tour here is simply much greater than the revenues generated. Costs are up, revenues are down. Dave didn't want to play the Maritimes, while I gambled that we could make it work better than in the past. Previous Maritime legs have been marginal, but in the black. This time all the bets have gone down. I've never put more time and resources into marketing, packaging, sales and promotion than this time around. Normally we've played the east first, and then made our real money across the rest of the country. This time the tour has gone west to east, and we're bleeding badly as we reach the end.

These km eat up the gas and coffee, but keep us going somehow. Dave and I have been delivering some amazing shows- from our perspective anyway. I think we both agree that we've performed some of the best music and some of the best shows of our lives on this last leg of the Tour. These moments kind of make it worth while although, like everyone else, we've got bills to pay and not enough money. I'm constantly amazed to have a player of Big Dave McLean's ability and stature at my side on these stages. I remember what it was like to sit next to Bukka White, Sam Chatmon, any number of other players. Dave's a mature player in his prime.

We're in to Port William early, so we drive on up the road to the Lookout ridge. Quite a view on this late fall day.

As has become our custom, Dave and I sleep in the Lincoln for a couple of hours. We're dead tired, and it kills some down time quickly.

The Coop is a very interesting, family run building, out on a farm near Port William, NS. Dave and I both like the feel of the place right away. Lots of wood. Big room with great acoustics and a woodstove. This is also pretty close to Wolfville, and some other towns we've played over the years. We're hopeful that we'll actually get a crowd out to hear us tonight! Either way, we're going to have fun on this last show. It'll be an all acoustic event- the sound is so good that we are not going to set up mics.

Our hosts, Angela and Tim, make us welcome and show us to our quarters. Dave will stay in a little guest cabin. I'll stay on in the big room after the show. It doesn't take long for us to settle in. Soon our gear is set up and there's nothing to do but wait for people and showtime!

Before you know it there's a good little crowd coming in. Pretty soon there are people at all of the tables. Some folks have come in from Halifax for the show! Wow. People who like us seem to like us a whole lot! Tonight, for the first time in six years, some people have come out to hear us from the Deep Roots Festival in Wolfville. Maybe we'll get an invite some day? We have a great last night here, out in a warm, wood heated building filled with warm souls who wish us well. Thank you so much. Dave and I really appreciate such an ending to this epic tour! It's been great. We've delivered a classic, duo, acoustic blues show.

Here's the last winner of a genuine satin, white stripe tour jacket!

Dave and I go into town after the show. We get pizza to go, bring it back, eat too much. We're too tired to talk- and we've said it all anyway. Soon Dave is off to his cabin. I put some logs into the woodstove and move a couch closer to it. The fire crackles. Rain pounds on the windows and roof. Tomorrow it's Dave to the airport, and me to continue down this highway alone.


  1. Thus disproving yet again that oft-repeated directive: "Do what you love, and the money will follow."
    Darn it, eh?

    Love the photo of the two hats on the dash. Perfect.

  2. Oh, we love the musical-artistic side of it. The business end, and everything that goes along with delivery can be a bit crazy at times. In doing tours like these I am pretty determined to keep them national in scope. If you are going to play a national tour you need to play the whole nation. I won't actually make money on every individual show (although I'd certainly like to) but taken as a group of shows- a Tour- the concept usually works pretty well. This said- parts of the country are hurting this time out, and I'm not confident that a recovery will be quick in coming. Let's all hope for the best and try to think smart!