Friday, December 30, 2016

Time for Version 2.349

Lost and Lazy by 54-40


It's been on my mind a lot of late. Stands to reason, with one year winding down and new fresh start about to break free. Many of us begin to contemplate resolutions, things we want to change or improve with ourselves and our lives over the coming year. But I prefer to think in terms of dreams and hopes. Like, I hope I see the end of 2017 :)

There seems to be more than the usual amount of people anxious to see the back end of 2016. Can't say that I blame them in some respect but I cringe at the thought of wishing away time!

2016 did not offer enough time for way too many celebrities and musicians that us baby boomers felt a little too acutely. Musicians included David Bowie, George Michael, Prince, Glenn Frey, Merle Haggard (who died on his birthday), Leonard Cohen, George Martin, Greg Lake, Keith Emmerson, Paul Katner and Maurice White. And that's just scratching the surface. The thing is, many of these artists died of age related complications and they are my age! 

I don't have hard facts to back it up, but I wouldn't argue with the suggestion that 2016 was the year the music died. Of course, the day that the music died is considered to be February 3, 1959 when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson along with their pilot died in a single plane crash. 

Time stopped for many celebrities that also fell into the category of boomer age or those we grew up watching. Our Brady mom, Florence Henderson, Abe Vigoda, Alan Rickman, Pat Harrington, Doris Roberts, Garry Marshall, Gene Wilder, Gordie Howe, Alan Thicke and of course Carrie Fisher followed one day later by her mom Debbie Reynolds.

It seemed all a little overwhelming. Every other day another idol - gone. Heart attacks, Alzheimers, cancer. Diseases and ailments we can all contract. It's quite different from the drug or booze filled tragedies that took our celebrities too young. The 27 club. Or accidents like the above mentioned plane crash.

So, what do we do with our time. We all know that nothing is guaranteed. How do we want to spend the moments we have?

It's a subject that seems to have come up very often this year in particular. We all have time to take care of necessary business (work, chores, sleep, etc) and a varying amount of free time. Leisure. I wouldn't judge how anyone chooses to spend their time, but I would remind them that the decision is not set in stone. 

In my last few years, I have become more spontaneous for this very reason. I don't want life to pass me by while I am watching TV or checking out Facebook. Although I must say that those activities can sure be easier on the pocket book than the concert tickets or meals out. Fact is, every time you walk out the door it is likely gonna cost you money. A little or a lot...although sometimes none. 

But while I am out gallivanting about town, my dishes are not getting done, Twitter is chirping merrily along, another episode has aired, and facebook has no idea what has become of me. But I have met some awesome people and musicians, I have volunteered to make my community a better place, I have been there for my friends, and they have been there for me. 

My personal relationships have never been so strong. Because I started (still a work in progress) to pick up the phone to call a friend instead of messaging. I gotta say, it feels good. But it takes time. I can't multi-task as well, I certainly can't talk to 2, 3 or more people at one time - unless a group convo. I want to do my part to ensure that the art of conversation does not go down the same dead end road that cursive writing seems to be heading for.  

I don't want to find myself in hell! As I am older, I am wiser. I will continually strive to be a better version of myself. If technology has taught us nothing else, it has shown us that there are always tweaks that can be made to improve the core project. 

But I must act quickly before I run out of time! The most precious of commodities that can be neither bought nor sold. Just borrowed. 

Please, when we get the chance to be with each other, take the time to see me and be with me. There will be plenty of time for selfies, texts, and games when I'm gone. I'm gonna try and I hope you will too! 

If you need me, have patience I can't hear the phone ring over the sound of the music or laughter!

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Village Mourns

Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes - George Jones

Is it just me or does it seem that 2016 has been catastrophic in the music community. Especially in those first few months of the new year it seemed that our musical icons were dropping like the persistent snow. And it was rocking us to our core and chilling our bones.

David Bowie. Died at the age of 69, one week after the release of yet another album. His 27th studio album in a career that spanned 52 years. His first release was in 1964 under his real name of Davey Jones. 

Therein followed (in no particular order) Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire at the age of 74.

George Martin, 90 was often referred to as the fifth Beatle due to his behind the scenes influence on the iconic pop quartet.

Bad-boy outlaw turned musician, Merle Haggard died on his 79th birthday.

Frank Sinatra Jr kept his namesake and fathers musical legacy alive with his tour "Sinatra sings Sinatra" until he also died at the age of 72.

Conductor, arranger, producer and composer - the iconic Howard Cable passed at the age of 95 while preparing for his upcoming tour. 

Glen Frey passed on from complications of several health issues when he was just 67 years old, leaving an impressive catalogue of songs he co-wrote with the members of the Eagles. His voice resonates on some of their biggest hits as well. 

When a musician dies it always seems to hit us particularly hard. In part, many of these talented people were like our families, because we grew up with them. Many of them had significant impacts on our lives. Helping us get over hard times, celebrating happy times and remembering significant events in our lives. Like our first kiss ;)

For my generation, David Bowie allowed us to experience a different musical style with each passing decade and getting to love him all over again. Extraordinarily talented, from playing, composing, writing, singing, acting - he did it all with ease (it seemed). In his actions and characters he opened our eyes to the concept of androgyny that we came to accept, because it was okay for Ziggy Stardust. Dialogue commenced. 

But there was only one musician that I knew personally and that was Howard Cable. He wasn't a part of my life for many years - that I knew of! I first saw him in action with the Nova Scotia Symphony in 2014 and there were several shows after the first. I was mesmerized. His companion was one of my best friends in high school and I was thrilled to know that Howard actually knew who I was. "Gigi from Thunder Bay". 

With the enormous collection of musical works that Howard Cable composed and arranged, he was an influential music man in my life without my knowing it. The theme for Hockey Night in Canada that we considered our second National anthem was composed and arranged by Howard. The 10 Provinces March that is heard at the changing of the guard in our nations capital of Ottawa. All Howard. And I wonder how many pieces I learned to play on the piano that he had a hand in. 

Showdown at Big Sky - Robbie Robertson

Just as the death of a musician or other prominent member of society has us mourning as one, it is sometimes easy to forget that even when someone without national or local recognition passes it is often much more than just the immediate family that mourns. It is the village that mourns.

I have begun to understand this more and more as time passes and I have had the courage to speak publicly and openly about my own families tragic deaths. 

I can't say that I knew Howard Cable all that well really, but I knew his companion. And when she shared that he had passed I felt the loss myself. The world was a little more empty. And I tried to imagine how it was for her. In a home that was once full of laughter, music, intelligent banter, a frenzy in preparing for another tour...suddenly silent. 

In an adult body with a maturity that comes with age, normal grieving is quite foreign to me. I was so young when I suffered my losses that I wasn't much more than a child myself. It is near impossible to mourn my father who died when I was 2. I can only mourn the man I think he was. At 12, I stepped on my feelings and got angry. I was blessed that some people took the time to see the scared girl beneath the rebellion. At 22, I put on a brave face and fooled everyone but myself. I can't do that now and I'm allowing myself to feel hurt in real time. It sucks!

I am just now in the last few years learning how much on an impact that the losses that I suffered affected my community/village. No one asked my 10 and 13 years old sisters best friends how they were coping with the loss they felt. I am hearing about it now. And I am overwhelmed at how deeply affected some young people were and that they some how had to find their own way to cope. 

It wasn't easy to go to school one day making plans with your best friend and then overnight learning that it wasn't going to happen. Grade 5. It couldn't have been easy. How many of us still are in touch with our friends from grade 5? I know I am. The loss they suffered is not a memory that is likely to be lost. The last memory we have will be with us until there is a new memory of that person to take it's place. Even if we are 4 years old. Especially if they were an influential part of our life - or we perceived it that way.

What I am hearing about my own experiences is that in some cases, people felt like they lost more than one dear friend because more than half the family was decimated and they were familiar and friendly with either my siblings or the entire family. In one instant, the school communities lost 2 students, the church community lost 3 people. The neighbourhood, the community groups and organizations, extended family and of course family friends felt the loss. Many mourned in silence after the funerals. Now they sometimes share their feelings with me. I love hearing stories of remembrance about my Mom, Dad, sisters and brother. I absorb them as memories to cherish myself.

There is no question that "Life does go on". But these life events do have an impact on our views of the world. Of course very personally dependent as no one experiences the same event in the same way. 

Age, relationship, personality, and even our gender can influence our retention and reaction. It's when we get a little older that we consider the fragility of the human race and take on some of the burden of mourning ourselves. Mourning for virtual strangers. Able to put a face to the loss with the help of technology. Which brings us to the crisis in our First Nations Communities.

It occurs to me that far beyond the community mourning of a friend or even neighbour there is emotional pain associated with news stories. If I thought I could help, I would be on my way to Attawapiskat right now! Living on a isolated First Nations reservation on the western edge of James Bay has led a disturbing amount of residents attempting to take their own lives. In this month alone, more than 11 people attempted suicide prompting the Chief and his council to declare a state of emergency. 

Mental Health Crisis teams and social workers descended upon the area in short order but not all suicide attempts are the result of a mental illness. The lack of hope for the future and the mourning of friends and families that have been left behind are certainly issues that the teams could address. The pain that the community is feeling at the loss of so many young and old people by their own hand cannot be ignored.

We need to mourn with our village while we must, but at the same time try to stem the flow of human tears. 

But this isn't just an Attawapiskat problem it is a First Nations problem. So it should be my problem, your problem and our governments problem. 

Yes, Attawapiskat like many First Nations communities is isolated. The only road into the community is the ice road which is constructed seasonally. The cost of living is high and there is very little in the way of recreation for young people to do. In fact many teens are forced to leave home to attend High School in Timmins, Ontario - a 1 1/2 hour plane ride south. But living conditions could be improved without a doubt. 

Current PM Justin Trudeau turfs
former PM Steven Harper
The number of communities without potable or running water is deplorable. There is one community in the prosperous province on Ontario that has been under a boil water advisory for the past 20 years. Think on that for a moment.

And while this nations leaders looked at the high cost of providing the most standard of living for the indigenous community, they didn't consider the high social, mental and health costs of their inaction. In fact, according to a report I heard on the radio, no less than 1500 projects designed to improve the living conditions on First Nations land with money that came from a Residential School lawsuit settlement was cut by the former government in power in 2014. 

The very least we can do is restore that funding. 

Not too long ago I was soundly thrashed by the online community on Facebook because I suggested that while it was admirable for a corporation like David's Tea to raise money and awareness about the lack of potable drinking water in Africa, some of that money would be well spent in our own country. "There is no need in such a wealthy nation as our own" was a mildly stated sentiment. But I alone couldn't stem the flow of ignorance. Some people don't want to hear or see beyond their personal bubble of opulence.

We need to help those in need in our own backyards before it reaches crisis proportions and not just when the alarm bells are sounded. 

On a positive note, after a 17 year battle the Federal government of Canada has ruled that non-status Natives and Metis peoples will be considered "Indians" under the under the 1867 Constitutional Act. Affording them access to federal funding, services and other programs and benefits that can enhance their quality of life while validating their rights and history.

Native Land by Jen Adomeit

Attawapiskat: 4 things to help understand the suicide crisis
Bad Water: Third World Conditions
Jen Adomeit artist
Aboriginal Indigenous people Supreme Court ruling

Monday, March 21, 2016

Jumping Over Potholes

Quel Mazzolin di fiori - traditional Alpini song

Most of you will not understand the words or the meaning behind this song. Hint: it's in Italian. :)

But even those who do understand the lyrics and be able to sing along as well may not get why I chose to use this song for this particular post. 

Stella Alpina - photograph of real thing
Folklore states that this flower is a gift to a
loved one as a promise of dedication.
Well, the Italian heritage is a good part of it but more importantly for me it is the symbol of a happy and simple time in my life where there was beauty and laughter. This is one of the songs that sparked my life long love affair with traditional Italian folk songs.

Not all rainbows and sunshine. For the one thing that was missing, was Dad (Dante). The wearer of the traditional Alpini hat and singer in the drunken choir at family gatherings. 

My mother took on the role of teaching us the language, traditions and songs of Dad's family. For although Mom was also Italian, she was from a different region. She embraced the family heritage and immersed us into it with family, friends and celebrations that made us feel a normal part of our world, despite Dad was not with us.

And that was my life. Two sisters (Sandra and Linda), a brother (Ron), a dog (Scamp) and a Mom (Livia) who was the glue that held us together. But it wasn't meant to stay that way. I wish I had known.

There was a lot I didn't know. 

1) The struggles Mom and Dad endured just to be together - their union was not approved by Mom's mother. They persisted and eloped on January 9th 1960. 

2) I didn't know that Nonna (Italian grandmother, Mom's mom) blamed Dad for killing her son. Dad died on February 17th 1964, in a horrific car/train accident that also claimed the life of his brother-in-law. He left behind a wife with 4 children ranging in age from 3 years to one month old.

3) I didn't know that the lawsuit that ensued lasted for
5 gruelling years and ended in a loss because of an incompetent lawyer. 

4) In 1969 as the last of the trial appeals were being exhausted and Mom tried to return to her profession as a teacher but was denied a position as the rules had changed and she now needed a university degree to go with her Teachers College certification. 

5) We were not well off financially and required assistance at times. I never questioned why sometimes our food came in boxes instead of grocery bags and included toys. 

6) I remember the day after Christmas 1972 when Mom discovered a lump on Ron's neck. Chaos ensued, there were a lot of hospital trips and suddenly Mom wasn't around much anymore. She was with her only son, enduring surgeries, treatments, diagnosis and endless sleepless nights dealing with the new reality in our life. Ron had Hodgkins Disease. Without cancer in the name, it was like the flu that he would get better. We never saw him at his worse. His treatment were in Rochester Minnesota at the Mayo Clinic. We were left behind and in the dark. We wouldn't have understood. We were kids too.

7) When Mom left to go to the Mayo Clinic without Ron we didn't know that it was a nervous breakdown - maybe more?  

But what I did know is that we were loved and we were valued. We could walk out of the house any day with our heads held high. Proud of our family, heritage and the Dad we didn't know. 

If the days weren't sunny, Mom turned on the light with her brightest and biggest smile and we knew it was going to be okay. Her laughter made the worst days seem a little less so. 

Like when I cut my foot and required stitches and she arranged a surprise party for me. Just family singing and laughing. When she got angry and chased us around the house with the wooden spoon until we were in a heap laughing. 

She hit a deer once on her way to Rochester for her own appointment and when she told us about it on the phone, she was laughing. I was so mad at her then but now I remember that laughter as a symbol of her character. She was okay. It could have been worse.

And it got a lot worse. On a day, like today, March 21st, 42 years ago it got a lot worse. She wasn't okay anymore. And my sweet, beautiful sisters wouldn't be either. 

It was March break, there was some snow on the ground. Ron had an appointment in Rochester. Mom turned it into a family trip. We left Thunder Bay late. We stopped for supper at Perkins in Duluth. We called Nonna to tell her where we were. 

An hour later, at 8:55pm, it was the end of life as I knew it. 

In the blink of an eye, the sky darkened like a solar eclipse that wouldn't quit. Mom was 34, Sandra was 13, Linda was 10. They would be no more. 

A truck driver (for unknown - to me - reasons) hit us from behind as we travelled down the interstate. The crash was spectacular and continued as we were pushed down the road for 250 feet before becoming airborne for an additional 80 feet and finally plunging 13 feet, taking a 180 turn to land on the roof of the car. The transport truck finally dislodged when we became airborne and landed on the other side of the divided highway. 

Seconds really. And then, Linda is crying and pleading for help. Mom tries to console and says "Don't breath". Sandra is silent. That is all.

A tugging on the sock of my foot. I crawl in that direction, leaving the inferno that had me mesmerised. My brother. A vision, standing there with one sock in his hand. We climb the embankment and watch the flames, not completely aware of what we are seeing. We speak. Maybe we don't. We rise to go back to get others. We are stopped and made to go into the police car. 

Racing to the hospital, we pray. Our prayers are not fulfilled.

In the hospital being treated for the injuries I suffered, I answered the question "Why". Mom died, because Dad wanted her to be with him. They loved each other so much and worked so hard to be together. Sandra died, because - well, you know how parents are with first-borns. Dad knew Sandra best and missed her. Linda died because she was only 1 month old when Dad died and he wanted to get to know her. 

That was my Mom's attitude coming through. Could be worse. I told myself, at least I had my brother. I wasn't alone. 

It took a long time to accept my new life, my fate. A lot of years wasted on anger. A lot of time fighting back against the hurt. Knowing "Why" doesn't mitigate the pain. It just means that the demons you fight are within you, because you have no one to blame. 

I thought I had it together but in reality I was punishing myself, denying myself a life I deserved. 

It wasn't easy, because while I managed to jump over some potholes, I fell into others. 

A little more broken and a lot more stubborn I crawled out again and again until finally an angel came into my life and made me realize that I am okay and I can make a difference. I can be proud of who I am again, I can be loved and I have love to give. And with that I found that my heart had love for another child. My blessings. 

It's been easier since that time to see that the dark cloud above me had some very bright stars in it shining down on me. Including, my brother Ron's - who joined them in 1984. I get now that darkness is okay, because it lets us appreciate the light of day. 

But a balance would be nice. 

The power of positive thinking kicks in and I am reminded that the first day of spring, while a sad day for me, is a day when we will see longer days with more sunshine and less dark. I need to remember that. Still.

Time does not heal. It makes remembering easier...sometimes. On a day like today I let the tears flow. 

Stella alpina

Thursday, February 25, 2016

12 Shades of Blue...Rodeo in 3 Years

Love and Understanding - Blue Rodeo

My picture from the show
I went to a Blue Rodeo concert last night in Halifax. There was a driving rain event that had me drenched within 10 minutes of leaving home for the venue. But I felt like I was walking on the water, I was so excited about the concert. I bought the tickets on a pre-sale last October. I've been hearing about the tour for the past month. Now it was my turn. 

So let it "Rain Down On Me" for soon I may be hearing that very song. Live, instead of just playing in a loop in my head. (And indeed it was on the set list!)

The opening act was The Strumbellas which I have been listening to but never before saw them live. I loved how they engaged the audience by talking about experiencing our official food - the donair and going out for a lobster feast. No scripted banter and what an animated performance! A real joy to experience and music that draws you in and spins you around. You decide for yourself and I'll go listen to my new favourite tune of theirs, The Fire.

Lobster Art at Halifax Airport

Back to the main act. We found our seats and I was immediately drawn to the activity in the row ahead of us. There was something exciting going on and it looked like a set list was the cause of some of the giddiness. Let me in! :) Sure enough, we had ourselves some other mega fans in our midst. Connected fans, they knew the security guard who did pass along the set list. And the girl near me had two copies, one which she generously shared with me. I've collected my share of set lists but never before have I had one before the show! She did a very nice thing and it will be one of those unique moments that I will forever remember from this show. As luck would have it we shared the front of the stage when the time came as well.

It's always nice to hear the band talk about the inspiration for the songs that they have penned. It may be one of the most rewarding aspects of going to a live performance, having that inside scope. Then again, I could be an anomaly in gravitating toward the need to know, but there are websites dedicated to trying to decipher lyrics meanings. It's something quite different hearing the explanation from the artists own mouth. That knowledge adds an additional level of appreciation and admiration for the song for me. I knew I would love the new song 1000 Arms just for the story it told alone. 

In the introduction of the final new song being showcased, Greg apologized for the proliferation of new material and promised it would be the last before declaring it a bit weird. Although there seemed to be a musical disconnect between the soothing vocals and harsher instrumental interludes, I didn't think there was anything weird about The Flame. Greg's vocals were clear, haunting and soulful as per usual. I can only hope that this song will be released in a future full length album. 

Album, I can say that again, without sounding like a dinosaur, since many artists are returning to the vinyl offering of their music. Recently I encountered a musician who was selling cassettes which precipitated a lively conversation on who even has the machinery to play such archaic technology. To be fair, there was a download link included with purchase. And so it continues that everything old is new again.

And that was true for most of this winter 2016 Blue Rodeo tour. I really loved hearing some of the older releases live that I never had a chance to before. Songs like Side of the Road, One Light Left in Heaven and Dark Angel and of course Rose-Coloured Glasses (my first loved BR song). I have to say that although I really like the smattering of new material throughout the concert because for me it means a new release and more touring :)

Although my preliminary count suggested that this show was concert #12 for me seeing Blue Rodeo, prior to three years ago, I had never once seen them live. You could say I am making up for lost time since my love affair with the band has been going since their very first release in 1987, Outskirts. And there is something memorable about each one of those dozen shows. 

Whether it is a set list, a guitar pic, a picture or more importantly meeting someone new and forming an ever-lasting connection (Christine and Debra :) there is always something about a Blue Rodeo show. 
My picture from the concert
An added bonus to this Halifax show is that by sheer coincidence I happened to be at the airport and a unique set of circumstances led to me having a brief conversation with Greg Keelor as he made his way to catch a plane. A dream came true for me right then and there. I was so in awe of seeing a person I deeply admire that I was gob-smacked and completely tongue-tied. I usually have a better command of the English language lol! 

The next time the universe puts me in a similar position I hope I will be better prepared and be able to take a photograph to record the moment. 

For the record, Greg is a humble, soft-spoken and utterly charming man and I was lucky to be in his presence. I am and have always been a Keelorite! Team Greg! As if we must make a choice between the talented members of Blue Rodeo. 

From Glenn Milchem to Michael Boguski, Bob Egan, Colin Cripps to the founding members Bazil Donovan, Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy. Each one is talented and an integral part of the team that is Blue Rodeo. All the past members that have helped create the Blue Rodeo sound and John, Lee and the other members of the crew that bring them to us live. 

Going to concerts has become a very important part of my life in these later years, enhancing the love of music that has been as pronounced as every breath I take. I am counting on another dozen sessions with Blue Rodeo in the next few years or so.

I will see you down the road! I already have my tickets for the August show in Toronto. WOO HOO!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blood pumping in 4/4 time at the Carleton in Halifax

Without Those Songs by The Script

I moved to the east coast in September of 2013. I knew nobody in the city and nobody knew me. That first month was tough but that's fodder for another story, by the time October hit I was ready to follow the mantra "Sea Scene and Be Seen". I wandered and explored and while listening to the waves crashing along the shore I read a wee story that changed my life. Halifax Pop Explosion was gonna be hitting the local stages. 

It just so happened that a little piece of what I left behind in Ontario was coming to save my musical soul in the form of the Devin Cuddy Band. I was beside myself with excitement and bought a ticket before I could consider the fear. It was not only going to be my first attendance at a music festival but also the first time I attended a show at the Carleton Music Bar and Grill. Truth be told, I was a novice at the whole going to a bar alone scene. 

That night was magical. PEI balladeer Al Tuck was the opening act. Jane's Party (which included some of the members of the Devin Cuddy Band) followed before the main stage presentation of the headlining band. I sat front and centre-stage, entranced and enthralled. I didn't feel like I was alone, but with friends. It helps that I am friendly with the band members of course :) 

I felt comfortable and welcomed. The atmosphere at the Carleton was typical bar except the people were there for the music and libations and not for the standard pick-ups - although it is certainly okay if that happens ;) During the artist performance a hush comes over the room, it's both requested and courteous, for everyone then gets a chance to hear and enjoy the music. Unless of course the music is of a style that the old windows threaten to rattle right out of their frames. Overall, I think the reverence gives the artist more of the ability to interact with the audience when they know that they have their attention and aren't competing with other conversations. 

That is one of the main reasons that I like the Carleton so much as a musical venue. When I pay to see an artist live, I want to hear them also...and not the drama at the table behind me. Respect the artist. Listen to the music. 

But there are other reasons I sing the praises of the Carleton. Things like Mike Campbell. Mike is the owner of the Carleton and he has the same taste in music as I have. Bonus! Mike is not a typical bar/restaurant owner, he was a former VJ (like a disc jockey for videos), and became well connected with many musicians. You might say music is in his blood too! I respect the fact that Mike seems to genuinely care not only about promoting the local music scene, and up and coming artists but also Canadian musicians from coast to coast. New artists or artists starting anew.

Finances are the only reason that I don't attend more shows at the Carleton - or anywhere else for that matter. Although to be fair, for an intimate and interactive (sometimes) show, the prices are quite reasonable. If I could, I know there is at least a show a week that I would like to go to. 

This isn't just the Mike Campbell party however. The Carleton has a great team working the front line. Scott, Stephanie and John all help keep the place hopping in their own way. And the artists who play - they keep me coming back time and again. 

from Nova Website. Taken from Citadel Hill looking
down over Brunswick Street and down Prince Street.
The Carleton is the yellow building centre left,
below the construction site.
But there is a crisis underfoot. As you and I struggle with the bottom line, so to does the Carleton. I won't get political and rant about how the current provincial government is driving away some of the desperately needed jobs in sectors like the film industry. I'll let you research that yourself if you are so inclined. The bigger problem for the Carleton is a project that may be a real boost to the bottom line...eventually. 

The construction of the Nova Centre was begun in August 2012. It is a massive project blocking a large section of parking and accessibility to businesses in the immediate area. The Carleton is in that area. Many business are suffering due to the lack of foot and vehicle traffic and potential patrons fume over the lack of parking. Many merchants joined forces as part of the Pylon Club to try and encourage people to jump over the pylons in the construction zone and "Come On In". But the struggle continues for all the area businesses.

from Nova website. Conceptual depiction of completed project

The Nova Centre (a world class convention and event centre) was slated for a completion date of November 2014 and occupancy beginning the following January (this month). But construction delays have pushed the dates forward a full year. Occupancy is now scheduled for January 2017. This translates to a huge financial hardship for the area businesses who may have made provisions for the closure but not the delays now forecast and not promised. 

And that is why, the Carleton has begun a crowd-funding campaign to try and keep the doors open and the amps plugged in. If you know me, you know that I am not a fan of crowd funding as a rule but I found an exception to this one and have pledged my support. Because from the day I first stepped into the Carleton for that magical musical experience I have never looked back and have continuously sung the praises of this most wonderful jewel in the heart of Halifax. I hope that you can and will do the same. 

Some of the performers I have been privileged to see at the Carleton.
The Devin Cuddy Band
Jane's Party
Al Tuck
Melanie Doane
Sean McCann
Joel Plaskett
Adam Baldwin
Ron Hawkins
Matt Mays
Neil Osborne (of 54-40)
Bryan Potvin (of The Northern Pikes)
Kevin Kane (of The Grapes of Wrath)
Great Lakes Swimmers
...and many not listed and many more to come!

If you believe in music...
If you want to support local musicians...
If you value a live entertainment experience...

...Consider supporting on-line to the Carleton campaign but above all do yourself a favour and stop in at the Carleton and say hi to Mike and the staff and show your support by taking in a show and maybe a beverage and/or a bite.

Then stroll around the downtown core. Look up at the majesty of the Nova Centre and it grows and visit some of the other shops in the area. The Biscuit General Store is a unique shopping experience well worth your time. Argyle Street Street in general is a great place for a quick pub crawl, from the Carleton to the Foggy Goggle, to Durty Nelly's, The The Argyle and Grill and The Bitter End. Awesome!

The Carleton
The Devin Cuddy Band
Al Tuck
Janes Party
Mike Campbell
Nova Centre
Nova Centre Delays - Chronicle Herald - November 28, 2014
The Skydiggers
Melanie Doane
Sean McCann
Joel Plaskett
Adam Baldwin
Ron Hawkins
Matt Mays
Neil Osborne of 54-40
Bryan Potvin
The Northern Pikes
Kevin Kane
The Grapes of Wrath
Grey Lands!/artists/Grey-Lands
Elliot Brood
The Great Lakes Swimmers
Biscuit General Store
Argyle Street
The Foggy Goggle
Durty Nelly's
The Argyle Bar and Grill
The Bitter End