Steve's Blog
Wednesday December 8, 2010

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Hi everyone

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Madrid. It's overcast and threatening drizzle. Margaret & I flew in from Barcelona this morning. Another little bit of culture shock at the end of our trip!

We set out less than 3 weeks ago - but it seems like months. Landed in London a day late cos the co-pilot was too sick to fly, so we spent the first night in a Richmond hotel instead of on the plane. Not an auspicious start. London was good. We toured the city by bus and had a Beatles Walking Tour and then went to Covent Garden for dinner and to see Oliver! at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. Great stuff! And what a venue!

Then it was off to Staffordshire - and Derbyshire - for my Mum's 90th birthday parties. It snowed, and then got very cold. Then the New Zealand Edges arrived - much to Mum's surprise! We all managed to get to Parsley Hay on the Tissington Trail for the "official" birthday. The highlight - apart from the food and drink and meeting the long lost rellies, of course - was walking the border collie pups in the snow at sundown. Then we piled into the vehicles again and headed back to Newcastle. The "unofficial" party was the next day. lots of friends and neighbours dropped in. So did the snow. And the cold. For the rest of the week we were pretty much snowed in. Not much fun, but jigsaws and DVDs helped.

All of a sudden, last Sunday, Margaret & I were on our way to Barcelona. We stayed on La Rambla at Hotel Continental and sampled the food and the nightlife. And the crowds!! Two Public Holidays this week. We walked a lot. Saw lots of big buildings and smelt (smelled?) lots of interesting food. Had some excellent Basque tapas and some Catalan tapas and beers - and Sangria! - and heard a very good Latin band on the front in Barceloneta - Made In Barcelona. You can hear them on my show this Saturday.

This morning we were up early for a flight to Madrid. Which is even more crowded. Had a good lunch on the Plaza Mayor and are heading off to the Prado Museum soon. Tomorrow we meet up with Carlos Beceiro of La Musgana. It's our last day in Spain. Friday we fly home via Amsterdam. Which means I'll be on the air again this Saturday on The Edge On Folk on CiTR fm 101.9 and from 8am to noon. I hope you can join me for four hours of very fine music from all over this wonderful planet. Please feel free to call in to keep me from falling asleep with jetlag! 604-822-2487. And HUGE thanks to all of you who donated to CiTR's Fundrive last month! It was a huge success! (Thanks, too, to Andrea & Arthur Berman and Jim Burnett for filling in for me while I was away.)

On Saturday night we have the Rogue's final concert of 2010, with California quartet Blame Sally and special guest Tannis Slimmon from Ontario. It will be a great show and it's at St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue at 8pm. If you like good songs, beautiful harmonies and excellent musicianship check them out. I really like Blame Sally. Their west coast sound is very San Francisco, yet the themes are universal and compelling. And the arrangements are spellbinding. You can hear their music on Radio Rogue on our website and on their site

Tannis Slimmon has a lovely voice and writes very good songs. Elements of Celtic and African music weave in and out of her songs and the lyrics are well written and interesting. Her latest CD, Lucky Blue, is one of the "premiums" available when you subscribe to Penguin Eggs, the very excellent Canadian Roots Music magazine. That's how I first heard her!

We've missed the last three concerts, and they all seem to have been pretty darned wondrous, so we can't wait to be back at The Rogue for some more great sounds. Hope to see you there!