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Monday, October 22, 2012

If I die in my sleep tonight. I can say I saw Buddy Guy

A very long and strange chain of events over many years led me to see Buddy Guy last month.

Back when I was growing up in the 1970's and 1980s, I was all about pop music. I listened to radio, mostly Top 40 and rock radio, and I can't recall hearing or knowing many blues songs, at all.
For the most part, that carried on until the early 90s,  when I began to branch out. One night at home I was flipping channels and came across a local Cable show called Stormy Monday. It was a half hour show that was taped at a local blues bar, a legendary bar called Alberts Hall. I had never been there before although I had passed it a few times on the street.
At that point in my life, my job sucked, I had little extra money and watching TV was what I did for entertainment.
I suppose I knew about blues music and had some vague idea what it sounded like. I had never seen it performed live nor had I ever watched it on TV before that night. At the end of the show, the host, Danny Marks, said that they had a jam every Monday night that the show was based on. If you wanted to come down, that there was always room for more.
I played hockey on Monday nights, but I decided when I got the chance I would go down and check it out. When I got there the first time, it was packed. Barely standing room, but it was mind blowing and the atmosphere was something I had never experienced before. In many ways, it changed my life. I watched as many episodes of the TV show as I could, went to the jam almost every week, and when I could, went to see some of the performers in that jam at some of their other gigs.
I had always loved writing but did very little of it. Going to these jams inspired me to start writing again. I virtually wrote whenever and wherever I could, and have not stopped since. I hated my job, so I saved up some money and quit my job and began writing full time, with the idea that I might make some money from it. That never happened, as I wasn't very good at first nor did I have the experience or the guidance at that point to make it happen.
I got a newer, better job and things started to go my way. I also started attending the Saturday afternoon Country/Blues jam at Albert's Hall, hosted by Mary De Keyzer. I didn't know of her and had never heard her name before. I loved the Jam, but not as much as the other jam, so I only went infrequently. Some of the people I had met at the the blues jam told me about Mary. The country jam was called Melody Ranch, and the reason I never saw her at the Monday Jam was that she had dated Danny Marks a while back and it didn't end well. One of the names I came across in that time was Jack De Keyzer, a local blues legend. I made a point to see him once or twice around 1993, but had not seen him perform until early 2012. I believe that Jack and Mary were married at one point, but I am not certain about that.

I always followed Danny Marks and looked him up on You Tube. Two years ago he was playing with a new talent, Layla Zoe, who I had never seen before. I had to see her. My first chance was at a bar called The Blue Goose. After that, the next chance I had was at a new Blues Jam hosted at the Monarch Pub, which is on the ground floor of the Delta Chelsea Hotel downtown. I noticed that they had the Blues Jam there every Thursday, and one of the acts who frequently hosted was Jack De Keyzer. I decided I would go see him.

On the night that I saw Jack, he had a guy get up who I had never seen before in Toronto. He was scary good, and I took note of him. When I figured out who he was, a guy named Brant Parker who was from Florida but now resided only two hours from where I live, I decided to friend him on facebook and go see him play live when I could.
Because of all that, I get his status updates on my facebook newsfeed. As I was sitting at home writing, I noticed he posted that he was going to see Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter at a casino two hours away from me that night. I knew Johnny Winter was likely not playing,  so I looked it up and it was actually Buddy Guy and Johnny Lang. In addition to Buddy Guy, I love Johnny Lang. I learned of him on facebook as well. I decided that if I could, I had to see this concert.
Normally, I would just change my mind and go another time, when I could plan it. This time however,  I did not. I made it happen. I seized the moment. Buddy Guy is 76,  and what if he dies before I get another chance to see him? So, I made it happen,  spur of the moment.

I'm a planner. I admit that. I rarely do things on the spur of the moment. For better or worse, that is how I am. I need to change that, to some extent. This was one of those times where I seized the moment.
Now, I can say, that if I die in my sleep tonight I have seen Buddy Guy perform live. And all of this happened because I was watching a Cable TV show one night twenty years ago.

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Daily profile about a specific artist,their life, their work and their impact