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.

stevie_ray_vaughan_memorial_helmick_1

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.

deerfooy-kws

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.

 

nsat_joe

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.

img_3768

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.

zz-top1

I sure like ZZ-Top.

nat-and-billy

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

Bryan Adams 1

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

0715-rush-19

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

They are the Masters of Rock.

Billy Gibbons

image

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!

JimiBillyGibbons1Billy_Gibbons_&_SRV_3

image

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

mmbah how how how how. 😉

Slash

 image

2012

image

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.

Slash

I did meet Slash and IT WAS AWESOME!.

I BELIEVE IN SLASH!!! 

Joe Satriani

image image

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.

iVanHalen2004_3 

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. 😉

image

Stationary cycle, binge TV, lunchtime walks and bitch slapping MS

I still have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and it is unlikely that it will disappear anytime soon.

MS is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that is unique in how it manifests itself with those that have it. There are people that have had success battling MS using prescribed diets, exercise programs, surgery (CCVSI) and a variety of other amazing solutions.  I have found that one person’s miraculous cure does not necessarily work for others with MS. The self proclaimed experts preach – change your diet by removing gluten, eat pounds of kale and antioxidants & exercise for 2 hours day and MS will go away.

I have to call BS on these claims 41n0S5fHOLL._SY300_

The doctors that treat my MS are actually knowledgeable and I find them to be quite helpful. The medication I am on is directed at managing the actual biological occurrences of MS. The advice I am given, such as eat well, exercise, sleep and do what you can to remove stress, works rather well.

What I do know is that I have MS. There is currently no cure for it.  My mobility is only slightly impaired but I can move. I limp a bit and at the end of the day I can hardly move. Sleep resets my body every day. MS impacts my life but doesn’t stop it. I may hurt more than the average person, but I am not sure of that – because I have MS my threshold for pain has become rather high.

Here is a summary of things that work for me to manage my MS. I am not dictating that these will work for everyone as MS is very person specific, but they help me. 

A stationary recumbent cycle is good friend of mine. It allows me to exercise with a very low injury rate. Having MS is not a death sentence, however many people with MS die of complications. I get this. My spasticity is significant. I fall down a lot. Running is no longer an option as my left foot is not reliable. The recumbent machine helps me to keep my legs strong and manage my weight.

49239-88811501112_1

Spending time on the cycle can get dull so thankfully there is Netflix :). Binge watching programs gives my mind something to focus on and is entertaining.

Lunchtime walks at work help to break up my workday,refresh my mind and help keep me limber through the afternoon. My office is in NE Calgary and the Bow river and Calgary zoo are only 3-5 km away. There are lovely bike & pedestrian paths – so I don’t fall down much.

imageimage

As I have said many times, we only get the one life, so I am just going to live it.                             Having MS isn’t going to mess up my life, that bitch is going to get slapped.

Now to play Neil Peart’s drums. 🙂

image

Having fun

It is spring again!
IMG_0414

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.
secretYYC-49

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.
IMG_0313

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.
IMG_0351

We also met David Morrissey, who was the Governor in the Walking Dead.
IMG_0352

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;
IMG_5655
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.
IMG_5663
In the evening the petals will close.
IMG_5658
The following day it deteriorates and falls off.
IMG_5661

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.

if not

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.

20140607-091202-33122234.jpg
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

20140607-091905-33545774.jpg

Freedom of Speech and Accountibility

 

Kierkegaard said “People demand freedom of speech as compensation for the freedom of thought, which they seldom use.”

 

Oh brother – that is SO true!

 

Living in a society with the freedom of speech requires a tolerance for this privilege.  Most people develop their own filters to manage the many viewpoints we are subjected to everyday. Most subjects are usually manageable and can be discussed with civility and respect.

 

Viewpoints that are expressed without civility or respectful are easily discounted. For example, a man with a loudspeaker on a street exclaiming his interpretation of what God thinks of a situation can be overlooked as we have developed tools to dismiss people in certain settings.

 

Now image this same man is shaved and wearing a suit while having dinner with friends in a restaurant. He provides his interpretation of what God thinks. This different setting allows the people he is saying this to – a chance to discuss this opinion and provide their viewpoint and rational on this subject.

 

The difference in the two settings is the presence of accountability. When people are accountable to others when expressing their options they tend to remove any offensive and disrespectful aspects.

 

With the popularity of forums and networks like Twitter and Facebook anyone can have input on any subject without any knowledge or education of the subject. This can lead to masses of people being significantly misinformed. Since silence tends to be viewed as acceptance, it is paramount to voice our opinions and endure even if we come under attack for them.

 

 

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.