Four full shows and one smaller impromptu appearance later my performances here in Broadbeach QLD with the wonderful Stevie Paige are done. Now for a few days to recover and spend some time with my mostly delightful children. I always like to answer the question regarding the gender of my kids as; "Yes, I have one of each. One Angel ... one ... " Well, you can guess the rest. Parenting is by far the toughest tour I've ever been on. I am hoping to enjoy this small break before returning to more studio activities later this week.
Off to Broadbeach Blues Festival this week, performing four shows with the wonderful Stevie Paige. We performed there last year with a band that was put together essentially for the festival; this time the band is somewhat more "brewed" and I'm really looking forward to the shows. Stevie and I will do a couple of spots as a duo also, with the band joining us for the Friday and Saturday night shows. Apparently "Sunny One Day ... the next" I've checked the forecast and it looks like rain. Never could trust the tourism catch-cries. Nonetheless I'm intending to bathe my white moon-tan in the sea every day, regardless of the temperature.
It's a long way from Memphis to Melbourne, a damn long way. So after 30 hours of travel, most of it at an altitude of 7,000 metres Stevie Paige, her manager Chris Bailey and I are home. Phew! Exhausted? Yes. Elated? Absolutely. This has been a pivotal experience in my career thus far, from a perspective of music, history and networking. Plans are already afoot to return to Memphis this May for a large festival held on the Mississippi in the City of the Blues & Soul. No doubt I'll inform of any details as they arise. A massive Aussie hug and thanks to our new friends for all the support they offered us during our two week stay. The "Southern Hospitality" is not a faux pas but a reality. We could not have been made more welcome. To any of you Southerners who contemplate the trek to our great southern land rest assured that the hospitality here is similar to your own and you are all most welcome - maybe not all at the same time though as we only have so many beds! Once again thank you all, thank you Memphis. XMemphis, TN USA. Where even the toilets have SOUL!
Awoken this morning to another unusually sunny day for this time of year in Memphis. Looking forward to this evening's set, hoping it goes as well as last night. Took a little snap of this signature tiled into the floor of Silky Sullivan's bar, our venue for the 1st & 2nd gigs here. Reminds me that I am preceded here by many far better artists and that as such the learning never stops. The camaraderie here is quite beautiful, with everyone lifting one another to hopefully new heights - a clear indication of the essence of this festival ... Music! Ok, back to some "domestos" for this traveller; time to wash my socks and undies! (American translation: SOX & JOX)
So this evening, 7:30pm Memphis time, Stevie Paige and I took the stage. You could hear a pin drop - until the end of each tune, when the crowd filled the room with cheers and appreciation. First performance in Memphis for stage one of the Blues challenge, tomorrow sees stage two. All we can do is "do our thing" to the best of our ability, but based on tonight's set we can be happy. Happy that many people in Memphis caught the vibe that two "white cats" from Australia had been responsible for bringing the sunshine to Memphis, then today as the heavens opened was it caused by the "thunder from Down Under?" Either way, we felt good, the audience felt good, and afterwards it was a wonderful feeling to walk down Beale Street in Memphis and hear the album being played across the street from one of the venues. An album mixed and mastered in Melbourne at ToKwerX. Woohoo. I could get used to this. Maybe we can come back next year Stevie? And yes, next time I'll bring my partner Laura, cos whilst I'm here playin' the Blues she's holding down the fort in Melbourne X
Just when you thought your new studio setup was rockin' yet another technical issue arises to test you. In my case I have two studio set-ups and you guessed it, two major issues. ToKwerX is all reset, acoustics of the new room are wonderful; now my Graphics Card decides to die. Don't you hate it when anything Apple turns Pear-shaped? According to many, many forums there is a known issue with the ATI Radeon 9600 series of cards Apple used in their Mac Pro's. After much juggling of clients and some pretty colourful language towards the "black screen" I'm picking up a refurbished card in the US whilst I'm there; a difference of nearly $400 to purchasing a new one here! And then there's my new "girl-friend" NEVE HARRISON. Well, that's not her real name. Neve just won't talk to Protools like she's meant to and I must add that the AMS-Neve User Manual does not do well in covering this aspect of the console setup - Grrrr!
I leave for the US in 3 days with Stevie Paige so I'm spending tomorrow doing all I can ... and then I'm walking away. Actually I'm flying away, far far away, and the Tech' issues can await my return. I intend to enjoy my performances for the next 2 weeks, without any interference - gotta love that about an instrument like the trumpet; open the case, pop in the mouth-piece, warm it up, take a few deep breaths and voila, there's sound!
January 2012 will see me performing in Memphis USA with dear friend Stevie Paige. This is a culmination of several months in rehearsal and numerous performances as a duo. We will be joining Blues artists from around the globe all taking part in the International Blues Performer of the Year festival. Most of the material consists of original compositions by Stevie, many from her award-winning album "Welcome to the Big Time." Will definitely be visiting some iconic studios whilst there, including SUN Records. Stay tuned.
Since having mixed and mastered Stevie's award-winning album "Welcome to the Big Time" I've been doing quite a few shows with her, a few as a band but mostly as a duo. I'm loving it and get to play the beloved horn again - the Olds '76 Recording is such a richly coloured trumpet and as a solo instrument with Stevie's material it's perfect. We recently took part in the national "Performer of the Year" series, making it to the finals. If you'd like to catch one of our shows check Stevie's page via the Artists Links, here at ToKwerX.