The Legacy of Stevie Ray Vaughan

Listening to the blues can be deeply satisfying. Although I am incredibly keen on heavy metal and hard rock music, the blues are my favorite.  Much of my passion for the blues  developed through hearing the music of the great guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn (SRV).

One day I plan to go to Austin and check out the statue of him while listening to The House is a Rocklin’ on my headphones.

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My introduction to SRV was in the early 1980’s through a music video.  When I saw the video for “Cold Shot” I was hooked. The video cracked me up. I loved his guitar playing, the music and his sense of humour. I developed a crush, which is common for a 13-year-old girl, but this one never went away.

Over time, I’ve become familiar with the artists that influenced SRV and have added the music of Jimi Hendrix, BB King, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins and T-Bone Walker to my collections which further enhanced my passion for the blues. SRV could take a magnificent piece like “Little Wing” and enrich it. He was such an amazing artist. Watching him play is something to see and if you watch this video, you can see how intense and enraptured he was while playing.

Although SRV left this realm in August of 1990, his style and passion for playing the guitar lives on. A young boy named Kenny Wayne Shepherd (KWS) met SRV when he was just 7. KWS stated in a 2011 interview that he began playing guitar in earnest about six months after meeting and being “pretty mesmerized” By SRV.

The impetus to write this occurred when the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band came to Calgary earlier this year. Once we scored tickets for the show, we booked a room at the Deerfoot Casino so we didn’t have to drive and could have a few drinks.

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The concert started at 9:00 and we checked in around 6:00. We brought some beer to drink in the room before the concert. After a couple of beer, we went down to the casino, played slot machines and got our wristbands for the Chrome Showroom. We went back to the room about 8:00, finished off the beer. Doug left to have a cigarette and we would meet up in the lobby.  I fixed my hair, left the room and pressed the button for the elevator.

I got in the elevator went and it went up. The door opened and two gentlemen got in, politely I asked “Are you going to the Kenny Wayne Shepherd show?”. They laughed and replied ” Ya, we are in the show.” I laughed and apologized as the elevator went down.

My mind was racing as I realized that I was in the elevator with rock and roll legends. ACK!! I should say something! My poor drunk little mind couldn’t think of a bloody thing. “Well, I look forward to seeing you at the show.” I said and smiled, they replied  “thanks, enjoy the show” and got off the elevator.

With my heart racing, I ran toward Doug. “I was just on the elevator with two guys from the band!” I squealed. We walked down the long hallway with me babbling about how I was two feet away from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s drummer and I was too daft to comprehend it at the time. D’oh. Another celebrity encounter to add to my re-do wish list along with Slash, Johnny Chan, Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Gibbons, Joe Satriani..and so on.

We took our seats, Doug got us another beer and we laughed because the beer came in stubby bottles and I settled down. The show was terrific.  We loved it all. The vocals, drums, bass and Kenny is a spectacular guitar player.

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band is in my top 5 bands and climbing higher as I enjoy the music. It is wonderful to experience guitar greatness in person, it makes me very happy and I am hopeful  that I will see them again.

 

 

Here I go again…

Here I Go Again…..

Yes I am quoting Whitesnake, well not all of it. – Just that line, but hopefully that awesome ’80.s video with the image of Tawny Kitean doing cartwheels on cars comes to mind.

This blog is about great guitarists. There are too many to ever capture in one blog. This is part II and I will add chapters for years and years.

I had the privilege this year of meeting Joe Satriani. The week prior to the concert, Doug and I were deciding what to have autographed by Joe. The email indicated at the meet and greet each person could have an item signed. I chose his book. Then went online to see what others were getting signed.. Most fans had a guitar signed, so I asked Doug which guitar of ours we should get signed. I offered my nice red fender style axe. Doug laughed and said “You don’t get Joe to sign anything but an Ibanez.”

So-an hour later I am at Guitarworks at Crowfoot. They have a purple Ibanez for $2500. Fuck!!! Doug and I had both just been laid off, so extra spending is not an option. I call Doug and he tells me to forget it & come home. Two hours later we are at the Cross Irons Guitarworks. They had a beautiful maple Ibanez for less than $300.00. SOLD.

 

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Meeting Joe was phenomenal. He was very personable and friendly. He had his own photos there that he signed as well as our backstage tags, the guitar and book, He didn’t limit how many items he signed. His personality is aligned with his music which I find serene and harmonious. Makes sense.

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2016 was a decent year for concerts in Calgary. We had the opportunity to see the reverend Willy G again. ZZ Top was playing at the Grey Eagle Casino this time and I managed to score meet and greets. The group doesn’t sign any items and the meeting is very efficient after the concert. This was fortunate, as a Billy F Gibbons-Les Paul Goldtop goes for about 6,000 American.

The concert was terrific. We were front row centre and Billy was directly in front of me on the stage. My favorite ZZ Top song is La Grange and I have been known to lead groups in bars in signing this great song so this video captures one of the highlights of my life.

The meeting was to occur after the concert, which was different from any other meeting we have been to. this was interesting as we drank a wee bit too much beer during the concert but the meeting was still spectacular.

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I sure like ZZ-Top.

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I am definitely closer to being the crazy old lady with heaps of signed guitars.

 

Encounters with Magnificent Guitarists

We all have heroes.

Since childhood I have been awestruck by guitarists and fortunately I have been able to see some of my idols perform live.

I have seen incredible Canadian guitarists such as:

Bryan Adams

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It was the Waking up the World Tour in 1992. Bryan was super famous and the concert was at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. There were over 35,000 people on the ski hill looking down at the stage. The concert went to the wee hours and was finally concluded by a lightning storm during “Kids wanna rock”. I believe someone was struck by lightning.

Colin James

Colin James 1994

Colin opened for the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge tour in 1994. I drove to Edmonton to see the concert. It was a great concert. Unfortunately I ended up spending time in a local hospital at 2:00 am after my friend Patricia’s boyfriend got hit over the head with a pool cue.

Memories 🙂

And over the years I have continued to see some truly spectacular ones like:

Gus G

Gus G

Gus was mesmerizing to watch. You have to be the best to play Crazy Train with Ozzy Osborne! That was a fantastic concert – both Gus and Ozzy were so much fun. Near the end of the concert, Ozzy blasted the front rows with a foam gun. Everyone including Ozzy was soaked. Of course it was -30 degrees in Calgary that November and we were covered in Ice when we left the Saddledome.

Keith Richards

Richards

Wow, Keith can play and he just keeps going and going. Seeing the Stones was just thrilling and it felt as though they are family. Mick’s voice & Keith’s guitar have been part of my life soundtrack since birth.

Alex Lifeson & Getty Lee

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They were just spectacular. Alex & Geddy made it look effortless.

They are the Masters of Rock.

Billy Gibbons

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It was surreal when Billy did his Jimi Hendrix tribute and performed “Foxy Lady”

Billy is in the guitarist stratosphere category with Jimi & Stevie Ray!

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The dynamic between Dusty & Billy was wondrous. This concert was an MAJOR highlight in my life!

mmbah how how how how. 😉

Slash

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2012

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2015

SLASH. What can you say about Slash. I have been mesmerized by him since Appetite for Destruction came out. One riff and I was hooked.

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I did meet Slash and IT WAS AWESOME!.

I BELIEVE IN SLASH!!! 

Joe Satriani

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I just love Joe Satriani!

He grins the entire time he is playing. There is someone who loves what he does.

It is a pleasure to listen to him, the amount of serenity and joy his music exudes is mystical.

Eddie Van Halen

EDDIE!!! I became enamored by Eddie about age 11.  EVH

2004 and Van Halen with Sammy Hagar came to Calgary.                                             Experiencing the great Eddie Van Halen was a dream come true. His Eruption solo went on for quite while. It was heaven the whole time he played. He pulled his hair in ponytail on his head to play and was utterly amazing.

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After the show, there were critics that were a bit harsh on Eddie.

Those fuckers – they were not worthy.

Eddie was magnificent.

Future Performances?

There is much Magnificent guitar playing to experience.

I only have one signed guitar on my wall.

My goal is to be the old lady with a warehouse of priceless guitars. 😉

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Having fun

It is spring again!
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After a long winter of being inside it is time to enjoy being outside.

A friend at work, Kristen, invited me to participate in a secret evening out where we got on a bus and were taken to a secret party location. Phones and cameras were not allowed and you had to be in 1920’s attire. It was an enchanting evening.
Kristen,her boyfriend Chris,my coworkers Cecilia and Stephanie and myself all enjoyed a rob roy.
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One of my favorite things about spring is the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo.
This year I was in the parade. Which was very fun. Chris went as Ezio and I am Hellequin from Assassin’s Creed.
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Then at the Expo, Claire and I pictures taken with a few celebrities., Which was REALLY fun!
We were thrilled to meet Mark Pellegrino, who played Lucifer in Supernatural.
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We also met David Morrissey, who was the Governor in the Walking Dead.
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Now to enjoy the summer!

Days of Beauty

My daughter was very upset yesterday, she was trembling with fury and close to crying. “Why are so many people in the world so stupid?” she exclaimed  “They complain about their problems and just make them worse by smoking, drinking and doing drugs. What is the point in trying to help people if they are too stupid to help themselves?

Pause…deep breathe. What do I say to this?  I let her vent her feelings and encouraged her to keep talking and get to the specific issue that is really bothering her.  After she got the frustrations of the day out I tried to help her get to a good place.

Eventually I explained “You cannot force people to do what you think they should do honey. you can only control what you do.”

The conversation was interrupted by two cats and a dog wanting some attention. As we played with the pets, we laughed and joked.  She smiled and her sad feelings were dissipating.

Days of beauty may not be 100%, but it is always there. Rain and storm clouds pass through – but just keep going and the beauty shines again.

The bright side

Life. Everyone is living it.

We learn how to live our life by watching.
Our parents or caregivers of our youth form our first impressions.

People learn from those that influence in our lives.
There is a logical rationale that children learn the trade skills of their parents.
Life skills are taught from birth, so tailors beget tailors, farmers pass on their skills and land to kids and so forth.
We teach what we know.
Unfortunately we teach the less desirable skills as well. Manipulation, Alcoholism, Dependency and such.

There is a proverb that nails the teaching message;
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The author of this phrase was not cited; as ownership of this message is credited as a Chinese proverb, Benjamin Franklin and a Native American saying.
It is great advice – perhaps by multiple sources, so I will leave it at that.

I am continuously working on lessons to teach my daughter.
The life of a day lily is one I often use.
This beautiful flower grows and will bloom in a morning.
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In the evening the petals will close.
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The following day it deteriorates and falls off.
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A lesson I feel learned from the day lily is that;
Prime moments in life are brief.
Embrace them, cherish them.
So many wonderful things are over too soon.
Don’t miss them.

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The Thrill of another World Series of Poker (WSOP) chapter

It is a last minute choice.

The 2014 WSOP was kicked off in May. As the first few events got underway and friends and fellow poker players posted updates on social media, I was super anxious. I wanted to be there so much, but having just been laid off I never considered going.

Then a friend, “Mr. Poker” suggested that it is an opportune time to go.
I processed this thought and booked a trip to vegas for event 26. A No Limit Hold ‘Em tourney on June 11th has a $1500.00 buy in.

You cannot win if you do not risk. This is a bit of a risk, but life is short. I will play stronger than ever.

The last WSOP event I played in 2011 was tough. Mistakes were made and although I had some luck, a few poor choices knocked me out on the 1st day.

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Seated in 2011

I will make it through day 1, then day 2 and ultimately play heads up on day 3 if my skill, strength and luck persist.

I CAN DO THIS

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What a wonderful world

‘What a wonderful world” sung by Louis Armstrong wakes me up most mornings.  It is a magnificent song to wake to and have in your head.  I smile when I walk to work and Louis’ gravelly voice sings;

 

I see trees of green…….. red roses too
I see ‘em bloom….. for me and for you
And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world.


I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.
The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky


Are also on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
They’re really sayin……I love you.


I hear babies cry…… I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more…..than I’ll never know
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world”

 

Everything about this song makes my heart sail with happiness.  With this song buzzing in your brain, it is impossible to be in a bad mood.  A song with that power is a truly divine thing.

Mind Melding with Authors

Mind Meld

The souls of my favorite authors have left impressions on mine.  I am so grateful to have gotten to share in the experiences described by the writers whose works that I have read.  The events, emotions and viewpoints they describe are channeled directly into my mind.

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Travelling through Europe as a dancer and singer with the opera Porgy and Bess in the 1950’s is part of my psyche, thanks to Dr. Maya Angelou. http://mayaangelou.com/

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(My apologies for this drawing. It is more grand in the book and my mind.)

Dr. Angelou is one of my most beloved authors as her works are compassionate and genuine.  Her experiences and perspective are vastly different from my own.  As a Canadian girl who grew up in northern Alberta, it was hard for me to fathom events that occurred to her and the culture she endured in the pre-WWII American South.  Dr. Angelou was not responsible for the situation of when and where she was born, but she developed courage and the tools to persevere against adversity.

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Phill H

(Phil Helmuth at the 2007 WSOP)

Thanks to Phil Helmuth for the abundance of poker advice provided.   Poker has many variables and Phil’s sharing of poker strategy and experience has been extremely valuable.  I no longer smooth call with Aces while trying to entrap other players.  I thought I was very clever limping with aces, and in the poker circles that was getting known as a “Bunny bet” (my poker nickname is Bunny).  Smooth calling aces will get them cracked way too often.

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When choosing a book to read, it is usually an autobiography of someone I already like and admire. I have read autobiographies of people I thought I liked, but while reading their book I leaned more towards not liking them.  In those situations, the mind meld did not occur.  My tastes gravitate to rock star and poker player biographies, but they are not limited to those types.

Many biographies have co-authors.  Ozzy Osbourne collaborated with Chris Ayres on “I am Ozzy” , which is a great book.  I enjoyed having Ozzy explain his viewpoint and the logic regarding his outlandish moments.

Ozzy

(Meeting Ozzy in 2010)

There is definitely an impact on my mind from what the Authors expressed.  As a reader, you have an intimate realtionship with the author.  The author has revealed inner thoughts and feelings.  When you meet a person, you don’t know what is going on in their head.  It is refreshing to have a glimpse of them through reading.

Elusive Poker Trophies

Yes, I am a poker junkie.  That is me holding my winning medallion at Caesar’s.

Ceaser Medal

 

The fix I seek is more than just money; it is the prestige of poker titles.

WHY? The appealing thing about poker, is that it equalizes people.  I have sat at tables with a huge variety of people.  It doesn’t matter what your race, sex, stature or religion is, poker is a table of people playing a game.  The common thread that all players have is that they are there to win.

WHAT? The holy grail of poker titles is to win the World Series of Poker, No Limit Hold ‘Em, Main Event (WSOP,NLHE, ME). That title comes with a gold and diamond bracelet as well as millions of dollars.  There are also WSOP Circuit Events. The prize for those is a ring.

2006_WSOP_Championship_Bracelet 

HOW? My husband Doug and I participated in our first WSOP event in 2006 and have played continually as timing and funds permit.  To make money at a WSOP you usually have to place in the top 100 players.  The number of players in an event varies.  The events Doug & I have played have had anywhere from 1200 players to 3500 players. Here is Doug (Titan) at an event in 2006. Titan_at_the_tables

Part of the excitement of participating in a major event, is being with so many fellow poker enthusiasts.  Additionally, you are amongst poker greats.  I have to admit that I was star struck more than once while walking the hallways at the Rio.  There are plenty of celebrities.  Doug was pleased to meet Jennifer Tilly.

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Poker is about keeping your cool and having a stoic poker face.  When I encountered my favorite poker player, Johnny Chan, in the lobby at  a WSOP event in 2007, I was not calm and cool at all.  Doug saved the day and calmly said “Johnny, hey buddy, would you mind a picture with my wife?”   They had met previously a couple of times and were familiar.  Johnny was quite pleasant he chatted with me & we took a picture.  It was definitely a high point in my life.

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Poker can be exciting and glamorous at times, but playing poker tests your emotions and endurance.  To money at an event you need to play hundreds of hands, build your stack and avoid elimination.  No player is immune from bad luck.  If you persevere for 10-12 hours, you may get to put your chips in baggies and play again the next day.  You leave tired and sore from sitting and focusing for so long.  There are massage therapists available during tournaments, which is a nice temporary diversion, but doesn’t really help your game.

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Winning! The objective, is of course to win.  This turns out to be the most thrilling aspect of poker.  I have won plenty of times, by not a major title as of yet.   As mentioned, Doug has moneyed at the WSOP.  In his 2008 event, it was very late and all the players were tired and waiting for the bubble to break, (the bubble is point when players get the prize money).  This picture was taken when the announcement was made that all players left – are in the money. Doug does look thrilled 😉

Doug & Humberto in the $

The quest will continue. There are times the cards fall in your favor and many times they don’t.  I want to keep playing WSOP events so I will be there when the cards line up to thrill me and I take home that elusive jewellery.