Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Going Postal

Yesterday was one of those days that straight up kicked my ass. Not much went right until after supper. The day time was filled with frustration after frustration. Now that I'm into a new day I thought y'all might enjoy a story from yesterday.

Earlier this month I mailed out a cheque to CMRRA. These folks are the organization you pay when you record someone else's material on your record. We re-cut Commit a Crime for the new album REDEMPTION so I had to pay a small fee. While in Toronto I mailed the cheque thinking it would go right through as the CMRRA office is in Toronto as well. No brainer right? stamp...in the mail away it goes. Well I have been watching my bank account to make sure I know when the cheque goes through. It hadn't. I thought that was weird.

Yerterday wen I checked my mail I noticed a familiar looking envelope in my PO Box. It was the check I mailed IN Toronto TO a Toronto business. It had a rubber stamp on it that let me know I had places insufficient postage on my letter. I owed them another .65 cents!!!! WTF?????

ARE YOU KIDDING ME CANADA POST?

They mailed the letter all the way back to NB from Toronto for another 65 cents? WOW. HELLOOOOO - this is the department of redundancy Department calling Canada Post. You guys are ridiculous.

This little event blows my mind. I don't understand how a company can be so adamant about 65 cents to the point where they spend the $$$ on sending it 1400kms!!! Way to go Canada Post. You guys Suck.

Love
MB

Sunday, March 28, 2010

1095 Days Ago.........

.........I was just finishing my fist solo tour of Ontario. I played a some of the same venues this past tour. Over the past three years I've been very fortunate to become real good friends with a lot of the people who run the joints I work at. This makes my life so much easier. Folks like Steve in Picton, Jay in Toronto, Ian, Andrew and Mike, also Torontonians, Geoff in Tofino....But it doesn't stop there....I have also met people at shows or in my travels who have become amazing friends. These people also make life easier. Folks like Allison in Collingwood, Uncle Pat and Aunt Denise in Trenton, Jo and family in PEI. Again there is more....folks who run their own dreams in whatever business they provide the public have aided me time and time again. Folks like Jamie and Randall at 6Colour Copy, Randy at Trius, Gary from the Mountain Chicken, Kevy from the Herring, Carter from TradRoots, and many many many more awesome folks like them.

Being able to travel and play music is a real dream come true for me and if it weren't for a cast of aids a mile long I would never be able to pull it off. Friends, bar owners, fellow musicianeers all over the country make it possible by giving me gigs, food, shelter and all kinds of other unmentionable things.

I have seen the Country coast to coast (many times). I have journeyed to mystical places of legendary proportions that I once only read about and thought, "Man that would be a cool place to hang". I have pulled myself up out of chaos time and time again to stand on the wood, grass, dirt, cement, flatbed truck - behind my microphone to sing/hide/entertain/lie/tell truths I would never tell anywhere else - and it is all because of the amazing support I have from the most incredible team of people, all laying it on the line to help in some way.

I like to remind myself this time every year to say thanks to you all. I get real nostalgic when I tour Ontario this time of year all by my lonesome cause that's sort of where it all began. I had just quit my last 'real job' three years ago when I did my first trek up there. So it's easy to remember who makes it all happen for me when I travel through those parts and catch up with all the great peeps.

This past year has been the best yet, but also the most challenging, in many ways. I have been presented (and created) many great opportunities/difficulties and have done my best to capitalize/overcome on them. I had to be creative financially and have learned many hard, valuable, lessons along the way. I keep these experiences with me always so that I may have insight into my next challenges/opportunities when they appear.

2010 has already been incredible between the Mississippi trip, Olympics and another successful solo trek. If 2010 is going to top itself over these first three months then I await with great anticipation. Really, I feel like a kid peeking around the corner on xmas morning to see what could be there for me. Whatever it is, no matter how difficult to assemble, I know that I will rock the shit out of it. Why? Because I have YOU to help me. Thanks for being there.

Ross

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Holiday!

Do you have a holiday named after you?

March 26 is Ross Neilsen day in donaldston pei.

Just saying.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Well the Ontario portion of my solo trek has come and gone. I had a great last week. On Tuesday night I got to go out and se my old pal Jordan John. Jordans trio is smoking. Prakash John on Bass and Al Cross on Drums. Legendary. Jordan is one of those guys who is great at everything and somehow manages to be a real decent human being at the same time. I met these cats on my first trip into Ontario and it was a pleasure to catch up.

My last Toronto show was at a joint called Highway 61. Lots of fun on a Wednesday night. Good peeps and AMAZING ribs! On Thursday we made our way up to the beautiful area of Collingwood. It was a great day for driving. This little solo show was thrown together by Frank McNulty and the Collingwood Blues Society. We had lots of bums in chairs at the Art Gallery and I had a real blast recounting stories from the Mississippi trip. What a place to sing in too! Great sound!

After catching up with Allison, our go to gal in Cwood we went back to my friends Romney Getty and Craig Smith's place. These two are immensely talented musicians in their own right and aside from that, just real good people. Like all good rockers they know a thing or two about the rules of RocknRoll......if you need a guide line here is a good book for you to read..

We crashed at their place and in the AM We were treated to some early mixes of Craig's new record. It kicks ass. I can't wait to pick up a copy in the late summer/early fall. Earlier in the week I had heard of Dan Achen's passing. dan was a fixture in Canadian Rock with the band Junkhouse and had gone on to operate a really cool studio in a church in Hamilton. He died form a heart attack while playing hockey. He was only 51. It's a real bummer. I was extra sad to realize that Dan had been producing Craig's latest efforts and the two were very close friends. It reminded me (as my solo tour into Ontario always does) how closely everything is connected. My heart goes out to everyone in the steel town area as I believe the funeral is today.

After some Breakky with Craig and Romney we hit the road for my next house concert in Penetang. Saw this Sign on the way out of town....seems like good advice?
The concert here was another hook up form Frank McNulty. I had connected with Deb to perform at here and her hubby's house warming party. Turned out when I got there that Deb and hubby Paul, run a couple festivals. After chatting I realized I, in fact, new Paul from a conference in Toronto a few years back. Again, how closely it's all connected. The concert was fun and somewhere we got video and audio recorded. My sound guy was a chap named Scott Cooper. It turns out hat Scott works with Rob Szabo lots and is in fact mixing my other pal, Ian Sherwood's, new record. Connected. Closely.

Saturday we had a leisurely drive to Gananoque to play at the Stonewater Pub. A tiny quaint lil place. Another show come and gone. In the morning we enjoyed a killer breakfast at a local spot and then hit the highway for the long trek home. In Quebec there was an amazing sunset. I could barely stay on the road trying to check it out. Here's a couple pics.

Well this week is the last three shows for the solo tour. Wolfville, Thursday, PEI friday and Hampton, NB on Saturday. Really looking forward to all three shows. After that it is time to fire up the rocknroll machine of awesomeness that is the Sufferin' Bastards. The new cd. Redemption is being manufactured and on April 24th we will host a big release party in the governor's Room at the Delta. Stay tuned for more info about that. Also I couldn't wait, I sent "Afflicted" the first tune from the record to the fox today. That means you can request it NOW!
Call 'em - 506.452.2377

See ya soon

Ross

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Easter?!

Hey tim hortons, Donnie Darko called and he wants his bunny back.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

DAMN!


I'll tell ya, sometimes when i come to Toronto I get my musical mind melted on a Monday night. Last time I think it was the Sisters Euclid, who may be the craziest band ever in their genre, whatever it is. This time it was a night of oldy timey, bluegrassjazzcountry sort of thing. We decided we had best go to Oakville to the Moonshine Cafe to see JP Cormier. We should have known by the evening sky that it would be awesome!
Awesome is an understatement. I've seen JP before and he kicks ass, takes names and probably strikes fear in the heart of stringed instruments everywhere. This time was extra awesome as he had Mike and Bill Elliot from Cape Breton with him. Mike and Bill are bad ass mofo's in their own right and the three of them together was simply awesome.

JP easily moves from guitar to mandolin to fiddle and I'm sure whatever else he desires. Bill held it down on guitar and Mike walAlign Centerked the shit outta his bass. I was so stunned it didn't occur to me to get a video till the end.....I got a full verse out of each instrument. Dunno which tune it is and ya can't see shit but the boys can be heard ripping it up!

Here is JP on Mandolin.


video
Bill rips one out *guitar trivia....Bill was playing a Crosby, made in Lockport NS. Tehse guitars weee made famous by recent ECMA winners The Hupman Brothers:

video

And then it's Mike's turn:

video

What incredible talent! Felt very honored to have been there. Big thanks to my good friend John for the ticket and for bringing JP in to perform. AWESOME!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Espanola House Concert

Saturday I was on the road again with a long haul out of Toronto up to Espanola. I'm familiar with the area as it is passed on our Sufferin' Bastard tours of Canada. Once I got out of toronto it was absolutely beautiful driving weather. Sunny, about 17 degrees. Full on window down, trucker tan stuff! Even the Hella Hula Hottie was digging it!

I must admit that once I had left hwy 69 for hwy 17 around Sudbury I was kinda missing the Bastards a lil as it has been almost two months of no band. I love the solo shows cause they are so different from the band, but folks I do love the band shows and I do look forward to firing the RocknRoll machine of Awesomeness up again in April. Fortunately in the mean time I haawesome shows like the one I did on Saturday to tide me over....


It's an old school idea....a bunch of folks hanging at the host house. They bring their own booze. The listen. They are generally really awesome folks who just want to get down like james brown on a seerdee night.....The performer is set up in the corner. In this case sans PA system. We rock, we roll, we tell tales, we laugh, we cry. It is a house concert!!!!

This is by far my favorite way to dole out the goods. It is so intimate and the folks are there to see music not buy beer. Thats not to say some folks don't get their drink on but for hte most part it is a big time "listening" crowd. I'm not saying I don't like to rock a bar but this kind of show is a different animal.

This may not have been my first house concert but it might have been my first show where I didn't have a mic to sing into and at first I was all like...."What am I gonna hide behind?"....well the answer is simply that there was no hiding. It was all there out in the open.

Brian and Kim Hunt hosted a real fun night for performer and listeners alike. I want to thank them and all who came out to the show all the way up there in Espanola. I had an amazing time. The highlight of the whole night for me was the group harmonies on the last tune. "Helpless" by neil young never sounded so sweet if I may say so myself. I look forward to doing it again. A HUGE thanks must go to the one and only Amy Mangan for introducing me to Kim. Thanks Amy. Here is a pic of me and the awesome hosts!

Friday, March 12, 2010

CMdubya week in TRANNA

Hi there. Had a big day yesterday. Got up early (for me) and hit the Royal York in doontoon ToronTOE. I was attending an celebrity interview with Slash. Slash being one of my biggest guitar influences I decided I must go. He would be interviewed by John Roberts and Kyra Phillips, both of CNN. *side note - this was extra fun for me because when I was a kid, John Roberts went as J.D. Roberts and was a VJ on Muchmusic. J.D. hosted the "Power Hour" segment. The Power Hour played heavy rock and metal. I lived for this show. So, as you can imagine it was all sort of like watching an old clip from the past. Of course slash is the only one who looks like he always did as "John Roberts" is as clean cut looking as they come. Anywho....

John gave a pretty good interview although it was based heavily on slashes book but I'm a fan so it was fine by me. I wasn't the only fan, Kyra Phillips, Cnn Anchor was giddy like a school girl. It was super funny. She was obviously star struck by ol Slash. Here is a pic of the Royal York Ballroom....Fancy!
After the interview I hit up a social media workshop. It was really good. It was hosted by Ariel Hyatt a PR guru. Really interesting panel and learned a bunch. Now to start figuring out how to apply it.

After the workshop I went home to grab my gear for my shows that night. First stop: Czehoski on Queen West. This was my CMW showcase or as I have been saying Canadian Music Week Week....CMW week.....Here's the venue.
Sound check was quick and easy with the two tech that were there. This is Angus. He was the head sound man.
In the end it all worked well and I was real happy with it. The folks at the bar seemed to enjoy it. I met a blues dude from Michigan. He said I was the only blues act at the festival. I sold a bunch of discs and met some great peeps. Thanks to Brian Thompson at Thorny Bleeder Records for the hook up!

I had risotto at the Czehoski. It was pretty good. Could have used more Chorizo though. These were the fellas that whipped it up. Funny looking dudes.
After my set at Czehoski I split for The Press Club on Dundas. I love this bar. It's one of the gigs I have where you end up being great friends with everyone who goes there and works there. Much like the Local on Roncesvales, The Press Club is a very chill fun atmosphere. The bartender Ian is a musician as well and has a cool band called Milk Run. They just put out a five song EP. You should buy one. Why look everyone......there's Ian now.....We had an epic night of fun in music. Jammed a little bit with Ian's Drummer Greg and a bass player named Matt? Maybe? Even got ol' Ian Phelps up to rock the axe on Rockin' in The Free World.

I look forward to chilling today as I have to drive to Espanola tomorrow for a house concert. It's a long drive. Should be a nice drive though if the weathers good! Looking forward to the house concert!

Ok....I gotta go get my gear at the Club. Talk to ya soon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Holy Moley

Check this shit out.....it's a pamphlet that was shown to me for a good laugh.....it's crazy....This is real honest to goodness religious paraphernalia!! The date on the back says 1990, as well as how much it costs to order some for yourself....just in case you feel the need to 'educate' our yout's.
The Cover

The inside story about "Samantha" and "Alexandra"
The "message" on back.

After I stopped laughing we thought for a moment.....which little girl on the cover is the disease ridden, pregnant slut? Hard to tell eh?

Then it came to me....I wondered if Mel Digiacomo (the credited photographer) and "The Image Bank, Canada" (where the photo is credited to be found) know that the pic he took of what are probably two normal-ish teen-ish girls is on the front of some hard core religious pamphlet that depicts one of his subjects as a disease ridden, knocked up slut.

Way to go Life Cycle Books,

Box 1008,
Niagara Falls,
NY, 14304-1008
OR
Life Cycle Books,
1149 Bellamy Rd. N.
Unit 20,

Ole hey-sus would be proud.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ontariooooooooooooo

So the first week of solo tour 2010 is done. Good times as per usual. Played the Local on Ronces in Toronto Friday night. I love this joint. It's so laid back and usually full of nice peeps. Got to catchup with some friends and had a fun time performing. I was super stoked to have my friend Ian Sherwood come out and play sax on a couple tunes too! Ian is a killer songwriter and it's always a treat to get a chance to play with him. We haven't crossed paths for some time so it was fortuitous (did I just use that word in a sentence?) that he happened to be up here recording his new record.

Yesterday I shared an afternoon with Aaron Griggs at the Moonshine Cafe. Aaron is a great finger style blues-y guitar guy. Good times all around. A small but appreciative crowd. It's always nice to catch up with my old friend John who owns the joint.

With the evening off I don't think I have to tell you what I would get into.....but i will......
I was lucky enough to have a night off and even more lucky that my old friend Sean Donaldson is house sitting in Oakville. So after my gig I went over and we had steak dinner with proscuitto wrapped asparagus, baked potato and greek salad. Serious dinner! Of course we got into the beer and wine and flammables too. I usually only see Sean at shows so it was great to hav a night to catch up. Sean also has one of the most ridiculous music collections of anyone I know so we spent the night going through the ipod checking out great tunes. Highlights for me were DJ q-bert (just sick) and Donny Hathaway's live album. If you haven't heard Donny you gotta check it out. AMAZING old school soul. He pumped a couple albums out then died sadly. A real talent. I can't believe I've never heard him before. And of course who couldn't count the Reverend Horton Heat as a highlight. Brian Setzer - you wish!

Here is a pic of our party animal, Chico the dog. He's a wee little thing. Acts and looks pretty tough but really he just wants to party too!



We topped our morning off with a nasty Smitty's breakfast to counteract all that good food we ate last night. I also had my first Toronto Star sighting. Ole Pinball Clements, owner of the Toronto Argonauts and former football sensation. He didn't seem to recognize me though.

Well it's chill time now. A beautiful sunny day might get me out for a walk thought. OH! I also want to say good luck to all my friends at the ECMA's tonight. I wish you could ALL win. What a talent pool we have there in the east eh?

Tomorrow I'm gonna go register for Canadian Music Week and try and track down my hero Slash!!! Then I'm gonna spend the night at the Glenn Gould watching my good pal Matt Andersen rip it up. Have a happy monday all.

talk soon

R

Friday, March 5, 2010

Long may you run

I think I was home for 42 hours. Long enough to say hi, do some laundry and repack. I realized that I've been home a total of three weeks-ish this year. That can take its toll. Gotta be careful about keeping your brain plugged in right. Its easy to let work slip. Don't worry though....I'm on the job!

First couple shows on the solo tour were fun. Both towns\gigs have a similar laid back vibe AND good food. Nice to see old friends again too.

The Past few days Neil Young has been on my mind. He sneaks to the surface a few times a year and it seems more prevalent lately. Must be the Olympic fever draining off. Anyhow.
Few things make me happier than watching\listening to Neil Young.

One of those things though, is watching Neil Young with my uncle Pat. We watched the PBS documentary tonight. Of course I can't remember what it's called but I CAN tell you it was awesome. If you like Neil, you should check it out. If you don't like Neil you'll freaking hate it....but...you should watch it anyway 'cause it will give you a whole bunch more reasons to go on about how you can't stand Neil young.

MB


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