Listening to Adele – Again

Cruising YouTube and up popped “Someone Like You” and, even though everyone already know who Adele is AND how phenomenal she sings (only 22 million views), I had to post it.  This song showcases her outstanding vocal ability.  Wow!!

It is even more important now to support her in her time of need as she faces throat surgery, awash in strong rumours that she may have throat cancer.  Very scary time.

She has cancelled her entire tour as she prepares to face this surgery.  I, and her millions and millions of fans, wish her the best and a speedy recovery and full recovery.

Listening to Classics – Rory Gallagher

Gallagher on acoustic guitar, March, 1976, Bre...
Rory Gallagher

Reporter:- “Well Jimi, what’s it like to be the worlds best guitarist?”

Jimi Hendrix:- ” I dunno. Go ask Rory Gallagher

A very telling quote from one of the greats on, well, one of the greats.  The late Rory Gallagher (he passed away in 1995) was an Irish blues/rock guitarist, famous for making his stratocaster purr.  His first major band was “Taste”.  The band toured and opened for acts like Cream and Blind Faith, always adding to his personal reputation.  Once Taste broke up, he began a successful solo career.  He was most well known for his sizzling live performances.  He once said of his playing that it was “in me all the time, and not just something I turn on”.  He died of complications from a liver transplant.  His legacy is one that has been the bane of many, an unrecognized major talent that never received the recognition he so trylu deserved.  The track added here is a scintillating live version of “Bullfrog Blues”, one of his trademark songs.

Ottawa, The Capital Region of Canada, October 2011 – Day 1

We arrived at Ottawa’s airport from Winnipeg in the early afternoon and grabbed a cab to our hotel in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. We stayed at a Day’s Inn on Rideau St. We were not impressed as it is need of a renovation. Once getting settled, we headed out for an abbreviated day in Ottawa and find food, drink and most importantly, our bearings. On the food side, we found that we were very close to the Bywater District, a wonderful people area of shops and restaurants in the downtown core. This is a shot off of Rideau St at the beginning of the area. It encompasses a large area and appears to be the go to area for nightlife and dining.

Bywater in Ottawa, Ontario

We settled on a pub that looked like it would have a nice lunch and sat in. The place was called “Aulde Dubliner” and it served excellent pub food. In my worldwide quest for the perfect beer, I ordered a local brew called “Hogsback Vintage Lager“. It was definitely vintage. I would rate it about 80 on my 100 scale. I liked it so much, I had 2, or maybe it was 3. Who knows, it was good and they tasted like another one every time I finished one.

Hogsback Vintage Lager

After lunch, we headed off towards the Parliament Buildings. I had seen them twice before, but for some reason they seemed much more impressive this time around. The place was crowded with people even though it was not the greatest of days. I was impressed by both the amount of security coupled with one’s ability to still get up close to all the important pieces of the complex. One pretty much had complete freedom in all areas of the grounds, yet you were completely aware that you were being watched. A nice balance. As it was getting late, we snapped a few pictures and took off.

I own this place

The obligatory picture.

The Library of Parliament

The Library is a beautiful piece of architecture. The building was started in 1859 and completed in 1876. In its history it has caught fire twice, once in 1916 and again in 1952. It’s original roof was ripped off by a tornado in 1888. The library contents were saved in each event.

The Other Side of the Canal

There are spectacular views in most parts of the Parliament grounds. this picture of Lori was taken from above the Rideau Canal on the opposite side from the grounds.

Ottawa River

This is a shot from behind Parliament looking upstream on the Ottawa River. Gatineau, Quebec is on the right.

We ended our sightseeing, now secure in knowing our way around and with a plan for a busy day tomorrow. We made our way down a very busy Rideau St and turned in for the night.

Listening to Canadians – The Deep Dark Woods

Cover of "Winter Hours"
Cover of Winter Hours

The Deep Dark Woods are from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and could be considered as an alt-country band.  Regardless, they have been carving out a fan base with their smooth sound and strong song writing.  To date, they have released four albums and have contributed a song to CBC Radio 2‘s Great Canadian Song Quest.  When we lived in Saskatoon we had occasion to see them a couple of times and enjoyed their music.  Their most recent release “The Place I Left Behind” has just been released worldwide, a big step for the band.  The video attached is from their previous album “Winter Hours” and is titled “All The Money I Had Is Gone”.


Canada Sports Update

Don’t touch on sports to much anymore, but it has been an interesting few weeks.  First off, the Rugby World Cup 2011was completed last week,

All Blacks v England
All Blacks

and I can’t believe this but I am now hooked on rugby.  Great game and nothing beats the challenge (Haka) by the All Blacks of New Zealand at the beginning of each game.  The All Blacks won it all, beating France in the final.  On the way they schooled a game Canadian team by a score of 79-15.

Second up is the CFL.  My beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders have crapped out.  I

Photo of the field of Mosaic Stadium at Taylor...
Taylor Field, Regina

cannot wholeheartedly cheer for any other team so I will make an objective prediction.  Prior to last week I would have said the BC Lions in a cakewalk, then in true CFL fashion, they had their butts handed to them by the Hamilton Tiger Cats.  Having said that, I will still go with BC, likely meeting up with Winnipeg in the Grey Cup.

Third up is the Vancouver Canucks.  As I expected, they are playing as well as a non-playoff team and are already in panic mode.  Roberto Luongo

Roberto Luongo, goaltender for the Vancouver C...
Roberto Luongo

is a spent force in Vancouver and I am sure that the Canucks will make an effort to ditch him.  He can’t stop anything right now.  In addition they traded Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm to the Florida Panthers for David Booth and Steve Reinprecht.  Reinprecht heads straight for the AHL, so essentially they dumped 2 for 1.  Booth, although having potential, is just another fast skater with no toughness and questionable defensive skills.  He was a minus 31 in Florida last year, with 23 goals, 17 assists and 26 penalty minutes.  Not the player they were needing.  Even Samuelsson had more points and penalty minutes than that.  All the Canucks gain is youth.

The Winnipeg Jets are rocking, doing as expected and giving the fans some hope for the future.  Last night’s 9-8 victory in Philadelphia against the Flyers was both ugly and beautiful all at the same time.  The Jets have an excuse to be on the bubble for the season, maybe the Canucks can learn something  from the Jets.

Fourth, the World Series.  Baseball is a wonderful game to watch when everything is on the line.  In no other sport do you have such drama, literally hanging on every pitch.  Last night was no exception.  David Freese is now a legend, whose heroics will be remembered for eternity in baseball lore as will the St Louis Cardinals comeback.  The Texas Rangers will have to shake this one-off if they want to win.  Regardless the Series has been a true Fall Classic, and Game 7 could be one for the ages.

Remembering – Bob Brunning

Little known fact time.  Who was the original bass player in Fleetwood Mac.  Bob Brunning of course, the guy I am writing about.   Unfortunately, he passed away on October 18.  Peter Green started up Fleetwood Mac and wanted Mick Fleetwood and John McVie for the rhythm section.  Mick was the Fleetwood and John was the Mac for the band name.  John McVie was with a band and earning a steady income so was not keen on joining up.  Peter then hired Bob Brunning to be the bass player on a temporary (maybe permanent)basis while he waited and hoped McVie would change his mind, which he did a few weeks later.  Bob’s career lasted a few weeks but he did contribute the bass on one song on the band’s debut album (Fleetwood Mac), “Long Grey Mare”.

After leaving Fleetwood Mac, he went on to play with Savoy Brownthen ended up with the blues group “The Lonesome Whistle Blues Band”. which morphed into the “De-luxe Blues Band”.  He was a mainstay of the British blues scene for over 30 years.  The track included here is Bob’s first gig with The Lonesome Whistle Blues Band and is live.  Enjoy the video.  RIP Bob Brunning.

Going To Winnipeg – October 2011

Lori  and I are born and raised Winnipeggers.  We left in 1989, and look forward to our visits as most of our families still reside there.  Lori had actually spent the whole month of September there as she had family matters to take care of.  I joined her at the end of the month for a few days prior to embarking on our adventure to Ontario and Quebec.  We had a great visit with our families which involved very little touring around.  We did manage to squeeze in a few family dinners, both at home and in restaurants.  Of course we managed to sneak in a few drinks as well.  Thanks to all for providing us with some relaxing days and nights.  Contrary to the proverb, of course you can go home again.

Some highlights:

Human Rights Museum

This is the Human Rights Museum being built at The Forks in downtown Winnipeg.  A noble endeavour and some interesting architecture.

Penis on the Prairies

I have always wondered about this.  The city built a pedestrian bridge across the Red River, using what appears to be a phallic symbol to hold it up.  An interesting choice for a centrepiece structure.  The other thing I found strange was placing a restaurant in the middle of said bridge.  I’m not sure what they were thinking, but why would they place this in the middle of a foot bridge in a city that sees 30 below on a regular basis.  I can see people lining up to get in on an especially cold evening after walking a mile or so from where they parked their vehicle.

Now for the food and drink.

Hungs Restaurant - Deep Fried Bananas

We had a great meal at Hungs Restaurant (excellent name that goes with the phallic theme) which we followed up with a dessert of deep fried bananas, with ice cream.  The entire meal was washed down with a few bottles of Tsingtao, a Chinese beer.

A great way to complement a meal. Tsingtao

The local beer that I imbibed was Fort Garry Dark Ale.  A great tasting beer, very smooth and rich.  One of those beers that can only be savoured and not chugged.  One, or maybe two should be enough for most before moving on to less rich varieties.

Fort Garry Ale

As a final note, thanks to John  and Cec for putting us up for the time we were there, and thanks to Gord and Cheryl for the large dinner party.  It was great to see all again, hope to see you at Christmas.

New Canadian Releases – October 2011

I missed a few weeks due to vacation.  This will be a lengthy, yet abbreviated edition of new Canadian music, encompassing October 2011.

First we will see and hear Rich Aucoin and his new release “We are all Dying to Live”.  Out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Rich has a unique alternative sound.  The featured track is “Push” and features Rich handling all the roles in the band.  Good video, interesting tune.

Next up is Current Swell and their album “Long Time Ago”.   The band is out of Victoria, BC and can be labelled as new roots style.  The attached video is a track called “Young and Able”.  An excellent tune, and added to my iPod s I type this.  I predict that we will hear more from this band.

My third entry is from Hamilton, Ontario based rock outfit, Arkells and their new disc “Michigan Left”.  Another highly regarded and talented Canadian group, this band will be around for a while.  The attached track is called “Whistleblower”.

My 4th and biggest release for the month is Calgary’s Feist.  Her new album is titled “Metals”.  the first single released is “How Come You Never Go There”.  The attached is Feist live, performing the single on David Letterman.

We next visit with the son of Canada’s legendary Leonard Cohen, Adam Cohen.  Adam released his album “Like a Man” and I have to say he has some of his father in his music, yet it is definitely his own.  The attached video is a live version of “What Other Guy”, played at CBC3’s Studio 211 sessions.  A great song by any measure, worth the listen.  The potential is here to be a major talent.

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