I have had the most remarkable evening tonight and one man’s story has touched me very much. Meaghan and I had a great gig tonight in Pictou and we both concluded a good way to celebrate would be a nice pint somewhere. The town was utterly closed it seemed with no signs of people, lights or openness of pubs but we decided to go for a wander anyway. Amazingly, we came across an open pub. It looked frankly pretty rough, almost to the point of thinking best leave it but we so fancied a little drink we thought we’d go for it.
How glad I am that we did. The barman was a very friendly soul and conversation flowed about each of us and he happened to mention he’d been sober for 21 years after a longer period of alcoholism. I know what you’re thinking – barman spouts a load of exaggerated nonsense about his shady past to impress us. I can assure you such was not the case. This man’s story was so manifestly bullshit-free and more to the point it was obviously so heartfelt. His past would shock anyone – losing an alcoholic father at a very young age, having his first drink aged three and remembering precious little of his twenties and thirties. His story was a real reminder that anyone can overcome anything and his obvious pride and emotion at being able to be a real father to his children as opposed to the experience he had himself would inspire anyone. So what we expected to be a quick drink and a quick getaway turned out to be a genuinely heartwarming (and wrenching as well) experience that I will always remember. So thank you Ian for making such an impression on us and welcoming us so warmly.
That was the main thing I wanted to say and so I swapped the usual order of gig review then story! But anyway, Canada has been utterly wonderful. The three gigs on Prince Edward Island were brilliant beginning at the Mack Theatre to a sell out crowd for the official launch of Meaghan Blanchard’s album. I got a standing ovation for my first Canada performance which made me very happy indeed! Next night we ventured to Alberton to play the Albert and Crown, a cracking pub venue and a great atmosphere. This day also included an experience I will never forget but for very different reasons. We stayed a the family farm of Meaghan’s in-laws and they fed us fresh lobster. When I say fresh, I mean brought into the house having just been fished out the river. It was like no food experience I have ever tasted before. Check out the photos on facebook, Meaghan tagged me in them though you may have to be my friend to see them…I’ll be putting my Canada photos on here when I get back anyway! Finally on PEI we played Harmony House which was again a tremendous gig in a great wee theatre. Tonight at deCoste centre was great again. I could not have hoped for a more enjoyable first set of gigs in a new country. And there’s still four more to go! We’ve also been on the radio out here and we’re on CTV Halifax tomorrow at 10.15 if anyone reading this lives in Canada – UK guys good luck but I don’t think you’ll be able to watch it online. I’ll upload it to youtube when I can.
So I started by talking about an inspiring person and I’ll finish with another. There’s always a degree of trepidation when you’re thrown into a musical ‘blind date’. Had Meaghan and I not go on or not gelled musically this could have been a fairly challenging fortnight. Thankfully, I’ve found a wonderful songwriting partner, a spellbinding performer, a tremendous talent and even at this early stage, a great friend.
Sorry I’ll be back to ranting and being daft next time I’m sure, but I’m feeling quite heartwarmed right now!