January 25, 2011

Whoa, Alberta! White Lightning Strikes In Wild Rose Country

"Smart Water"? More like PEI Fire Water!

I just returned home from presenting Adventures in Solitude to an Alberta audience for the first time; what a weekend! Thanks to Pages Books in Calgary for hosting the event on Friday night, and to everyone who came out to a make it one of the most crowded readings I’ve done yet! To those who had to remain standing, I hope it wasn’t too painful…

It was a thrill and an honour to have my old pal KJ Jansen, lead singer of Chixdiggit, perform three songs acoustically in between my readings and ramblings. Also in attendance were lots of members from the Barber side of the family, many musicians the Smugglers used to play with, and Calgary’s CBC Radio 3 faithful out in force, for which I am forever grateful.

Thanks very much to Doctor Bryce “Sunshine” Adamson who organized an after-reading drink at Molly Malone’s Pub next door… where a friendly fellow named James (pictured above), who was at the reading, presented me with a very special gift. Now, at many of these book events across the country I have been delighted to accept various gifts of BEER. I love beer! James decided to raise the booze bar several notches, and alcohol percentage points, when he presented me with a plastic bottle of bootlegged MOONSHINE from his hometown on Prince Edward Island! There are plenty of tales of moonshine in my book, and unbeknownst to me, PEI still rocks the moonshine stills in this century! I promised James I would bring this Atlantic Canadian moonshine to Desolation Sound on the Pacific coast, to complete its contraband cross-country journey.

On Saturday morning I conducted my Making Friends with the Media seminar for Alberta Music at the Cantos Music Foundation for a great group of musicians of various ages and stages, and afterwards, thanks to Cantos teacher Chris Maric, had a tour of the OUTSTANDING, mind-blowing, world-class piano and keyboard collection upstairs. A really spectacular array of instruments. Michael Bernard Fitzgerald then took me out to a great lunch joint, UNA, for pizza and beer.

On Sunday I made the trek to Canmore for the first time, a little village tucked just inside the glorious and ragged peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The approach from Calgary’s rolling foothills to the sudden astounding mountain range is one of my favourite drives in the country.

I arrived to a jam-packed Communitea Cafe, filled with Canmore’s sporty, youthful, healthy, spritely population and immediately wondered if they would pipe down for a book reading. Not to worry… owner Marnie Dansereau has incredible energy and had everything under control. Not only was she cooking for everybody in the restaurant, but she was also looking after me, setting up the stage for the book reading, and taking care of Craig Cardiff, for his sold-out show that evening. The book reading was a lot of fun, it was great to meet some of the Rocky Mountain faithful, thanks to Craig Cardiff for performing and Cafe Books for selling Adventures in Solitude. One more thing: Communitea Cafe has totally delicious food! And I got to check out the legendary Canmore Hotel! And see a crazy old German guy wipe out in his jeep on the snowy median! (not Bernard the German, different crazy old German guy).

Up next: New Brunswick this weekend! Fredericton and the Shivering Songs Festival on Saturday, Moncton on Sunday, both with David Myles.

(1) Comment

  1. pat mcphillips says:

    Oh, those Germans, “Don’t mention the war”.

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