Steve's Blog
Friday September 17, 2010

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1. A Touch of Elvis does it - How Reid Jamieson wowed 'em on Vinyl Cafe

By John P. McLaughlin, Special To The Province September 15, 2010

At the end of August, when Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio was still on summer-rerun mode, they ran a year-old episode featuring Reid Jamieson singing three fairly obscure Elvis tunes, one right after the other. They never do that on Vinyl Cafe. Then again, they've never had anyone on quite like Reid Jamieson, either.

He stole the show, he blew me away, McLean said after Jamieson's first appearance. Since then he's become something of a regular -- and with good reason. He has just the right touch on guitar or uke and a killer voice with amazing range, whether he's doing his own stuff or covers.

You know Roy Orbison's "In Dreams?" He does it in the original key and hits all those impossibly high notes at the end, effortlessly. That's range. And one reason why he's on the show so often. And he sees a big spike on his website every time.

Absolutely, says Jamieson. It's immediate and it's Canada-wide and it even reaches into the States now. There are people that email and say nice things, download records. They buy stuff. It's fantastic.

He got the Vinyl Cafe gig when he subbed in for Great Lakes Swimmers' Tony Decker at a Toronto club one night when Decker had the chance to open for Ron Sexsmith at Massey Hall.

A few months later I got a call: 'Why don't you come do a show?' So it really is where you're at, who you meet.

Jamieson is a former Torontonian who moved out our way three years ago. Instead of beating his brains out on the road, he has opted for a day job, working as a server at the Hyatt Regency downtown. It's flexible work that lets him book off for any tours that come up.

Still, it's going to be a challenge balancing the job with efforts to promote his excellent new album, his fourth, titled Staring Contest. There's a tour down the American West Coast in the planning stages and he's big on house concerts. He's building up his profile here and Staring Contest will go a long way to help.

One of the best stories attached to Jamieson is the one that occasioned his singing those three Elvis songs on Vinyl Cafe. Three year ago, his girlfriend Carolyn went off one lovely March day for a lunch date with a friend to celebrate her birthday. Figuring he had a few hours to himself, he decided to sit down at his home studio and record a bunch of Elvis tunes. Carolyn was and remains a major fan.

He cut eight songs, keeping the first guitar/vocal take on each. Then he multi-tracked harmonies, percussion and whatever else was needed and got it all done before she came home.

That's love, says Jamieson. We went out for dinner that night and I brought it with me, I was going to play it at the restaurant but I thought we wouldn't hear it properly so I waited until we got home, with a glass of wine. She was going, hmm, we should release this. And I said no, it was one take, it was just meant for fun.

With an additional four songs, the project is available as the Presley Sessions. Reid and Carolyn will be married in early October in Stanley Park before they fly off to Hawaii for their honeymoon.

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In concert: Reid Jamieson, Where: St. James Hall, 3214 W. 10th Ave., When: Saturday night at 8pm, Tickets: $18 ($15 members) at 604-736-3022

2. Gospel Cruise with The Sojourners - Sunday September 19th 11am prompt

This is going to be amazing! The Sojourners will be joined by an array of guest singers, including Jim Byrnes, Candus Churchill, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, and a lot more that we aren't supposed to mention - but they are all incredible singers and some of them are international legends. There will be two backing bands, one on each of two covered decks aboard The Queen Of Diamonds. The stage times will be staggered to allow singers to move from one to the other at will, and the same goes for the audience. There will be BBQ chicken and Burgers (Veggie Burgers or Hamburgers) and trimmings. The boat will set sail from The Plaza Of Nations / Edgewater Casino on the north shore of False Creek at 11am PROMPT, so be there between 10am and 10:30am please. The cruise will last for over 3 hours, sailing around English Bay with some fabulous music. You can still buy tickets online and at our outlets, Highlife Records, Rufus' Guitar Shop, and Zulu Records. We'll have a few left for sale at the Reid Jamieson show as well.

3. The Edge On Folk, Saturday 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 and

New releases this week include the great new CDs by Robert Plant's Band Of Joy, The SteelDrivers, Cheikh Lo (Senegal), Luisa Maita (Brazil), Ken Whiteley, Salsa Celtica, and the Rounder Records 40th Anniversary concert, plus a preview of the forthcoming Afrocubism CD on World Circuit (with Eliades Ochoa, Djelimady Tounkara, Toumani Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate etc.) More from the new De Temps Antan, Lunasa, Caleb Klauder, Trisha Gagnon, Richard Thompson, and Pacifika CDs, plus some classic recordings you won't have heard for ages, and previews of all our shows and more.

4. SFU World Music Course

Sorry this is a bit late, but we think it looks really interesting, and it might still be possible to register. It is open to all, not just SFU students.

World Music - 13 Tuesday evenings, September 7