On The Road

On The Road

Wooing festival organizers and finding new venues … it’s like herding cats strung out on catnip

It’s a beautiful Fall morning in Lanark County and as I sit here preparing for some very important performances I wonder where the summer went.  My plan was to blog regularly about where we were and what we were doing …. share a bit of the ‘life in a big white RV experience’ but I have been so busy just keeping up with myself that I haven’t had the time.

In a nutshell (and probably not exactly in chronological order) we …

  • went to World Pride in Toronto, met Denis, who invited us (at this point still strangers) to park the big white RV in his driveway – See my post on this awesome weekend here: Two whippets, an Italian greyhound and Denis
  • played the Wilno blues jam for my first time ever – it is everything they say it is … go there … no, really, go there, the music is spectacular and the food is to die for … I had a perogie that was the size of my head – The Wilno Tavern
  • started playing regularly in Pembroke at 25 West Taps & Tapas – these guys hosted Pembroke’s first ever Pride after-party … I hope that’s all I need to say to get you out there, they are terrific, the food is awesome and the service is beyond reproach
  • sat in with Matt LeMay at Santa Fe in Pembroke – Santa Fe is talking about getting our Janis Joplin show out there this winter, will tell more as we know – if you are ever in Pembroke on a Thursday night go to Santa Fe for Matt’s jam, the entertainment is always awesome and the staff will make you feel at home
  • took Yo Mama and Fluffy Little Cowboys on tour to PEI (awesome!) – we played everything from community jamborees to downtown Charlottetown hot spots … I love this island!
  • got accepted into Folk Music Canada’s Export Development Program (part of the Folk Music Ontario conference in a couple weeks)
  • added two more Fluffies to the Cowboys for an all-chick quartet – Barb is an old music friend from Pembroke and her wife, Hellen, is a killer singer from Toronto … I am loving our quartet sound and our collective energy
  • set up a private showcase room for the Folk Music Ontario conference Oct 16-19 in Toronto – see: Chicks Rock Showcase for details
  • recorded EP’s for both Yo Mama and Fluffy Little Cowboys
  • went to Toronto to see a friend’s play during Gay Play Day – were invited to park on the water at Ashbridges Bay … (got kicked out of the Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club, found Megan’s boat further down the shore at a less prestigious, more welcoming club … parked there) … met Megan’s friend Pentti who used to play drums with Alice Cooper
  • got asked to audition for Westfest in Ottawa – keep your fingers crossed for us 🙂
  • set up an impromptu matinee gig at Patty’s Pub in Ottawa re: audition – Event details here
  • decided to stay in Canada for the winter so we can be present to promote the bands and work on getting the festival gigs we want for next summer
  • moving all our stuff into Maureen’s PEI cottage and my Mother’s Pembroke basement (my old room) … yep, I’m going home to Mother, or as I like to call her, My Mama

This summer has been all about seeing and being seen … getting all the ducks (or as I like to think of it, cats … one-minded, ADHD, creative cats … myself included) in order, to really push forward into next summer’s festival season with at least a fighting chance, and more importantly giving my bands’ music an opportunity to evolve and to breathe.

We have two new EP’s, a chance to converse with music buyers, and have a big white RV to get to the gigs in … I’m ready to roll!

Ok, now that we are caught up let’s see if I can stay on top of this whole ‘blogging’ thing!

Peace

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Two whippets, an Italian greyhound and Denis … beautiful Denis

This weekend we decided to take the big, white RV along with a bunch of our friends to Toronto to join in the celebrations for World Pride.  With one Million visitors projected in attendance you can be certain that there would not have been a room to be found in most of the downtown core and those that might be availble would cost a pretty penny.  Thank goodness for the big, white RV (and for friends with an inside track on the best back street parking in one ot he busiest and most interesting cities I know)!

Thanks to those friends we found ourselves a lovely parking spot on a secluded street by a park AND it was within walking distance to the festival – really, who could ask for more?!  So, we didn’t ask but it was offered to us anyway in the form of a lovely man by the name of Denis.  Maureen was busy feeding the meter when he poked his head around the RV saying

‘Hi there … is that your RV?!  Well I was wondering if you would like to park in my driveway .. I am guessing that you are here for Pride and parking on the street is just so expensive…You can plug into my power and I have a hose hookup you could use as well …. how about under that big, leafy tree?’.

And so began our new friendship with a wonderfully lovely man.  He invited us for drinks in his beautifully decorated home saying

The Lion of Persia cover‘Don’t mind the decor, if it looks like an old drag queen blew up in here, an old drag queen did blow up in here’

Denis is a wonderful storyteller … we spent quite a bit of time just chatting about the park and the cardinals and the hawks, and his old life as the travelling hair dresser supervisor for big fashion magazines, about his dogs and about his beautiful art …. oh, and his new book!  The Lion of Persia – we were given a signed copy which I am very eager to read …. copies can be purchased on Amazon at: The Lion of Persia.

Oh yes, Pride was fun too.

 

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The band was Smoking last night at La Carreta

I have been chomping at the bit since we got to San Juan del Sur to get out and play some music. Mo’s old friend James is back in town and he has rejuvenated the music scene around here to the point that he is gigging at least three nights a week and has had the good fortune to already be playing with three other sax players! (Ok, I didn’t say it was my good fortune:)) – one Nica man (Douglas) who likes to play high and fast, a lovely fellow from Cape Cod (Steve) who has great stage presence and who owns more horns than I would know what to do with and a soprano sax player whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.

James has a real nice thing going at La Carreta – the ex-pats and Nicas both are loving the jazz-swing vibe, Carlos, his lead guitar player is stupendous and Douglas is way better than most players I know who only have nine years experience – he killed Misty last night! It’s a little jazz haven in an otherwise marengue-laden airwave.

I was so happy when James asked me to join them in the second and third sets … but what was even more unbelievable was when I looked over at Douglas and saw smoke wafting up from the neck of his sax (he was playing fast but not that fast) … turns out he had a cigarette clenched in his left hand WHILE he was playing! Not to be outdone, I grabbed one of his cigarettes, which he promptly lit for me and I got back to playing … ‘smoking style’ … hey, when in Rome 🙂

Thank you so much James and the boys for a terrific night, maybe we can smoke together again some time … just don’t tell my mother 😉
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Little rant for the person who broke into our van and stole my guitar …

This may be a blog that is largely about me wandering around playing my sax but I also play a bunch of other instruments including guitar and two nights ago somebody broke into Mo’s van (for the second time in two months), ransacked it and took a bunch of stuff … including my new Godin A6 Ultra with hard shell case and a Wii that I modded over Christmas to play backups of my own games – a gift for my nephew who is fighting brain cancer and can only really use one of his hands.

Now, I understand that some people feel helpless and without options and, as such, often turn to stealing as a means to an end but really, does our van look like one that is owned by a wealthy person?  Somebody whose financial standing can tolerate this kind of blow?  And even if it did, would that make it right?

I am disappointed in our culture that we have espoused a sector of people who believe that this behavior is somehow justified … I forgive the act but ‘pray’ for some kind of ensuing divine awareness.  And I hope the thief at least will play the guitar and provide some joy to others with their music.

For the thief … please stay out of our van, you have taken your fair share of our belongings … it is time to use what you have to give something back.  I also would not complain if you either returned the Wii or gave to another sick person needing some kind of enjoyable distraction … you seem to know how to get into the van, just leave it on the floor.

Please let me know when and where you are playing your next gig.

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It’s going to be a year of adventure!

I realize that I have been unusually quiet through this holiday season … well online anyway 😉  Many of my friends will already know that I have big plans for this year … Maureen and I have consolidated our living accommodations (no u-hauls were either used or harmed in this all-too-common lesbian ritual) and we went out and bought a super kick-ass RV which we plan to live and travel in for three quarters of the year when it is not so freaking cold and snowy out.  For the rest of this winter we are heading to Nicaragua where we will be working both on websites (me) and playing music (us).

I write this post as we complete our frosty 15-hour journey from Darnley, PEI to Ottawa, ON …

I am so enamored with the idea of living more simply so that I can do more of what I love (music) and less of what I really, really like (web dev) and I have been wanting to be able to do something like this for so long that I can’t believe I finally am!

Everywhere we go we tell people about our plans and without fail every single person wishes that they could do it too.  That plus the fact that I manage and play in three bands have led me to the realization that what I needed to do was to put together a spot where all of my goings on could be consolidated.  People seem to really like reading/hearing about our adventures and I never really know where to send people online when they just want general information about me as an artist (as opposed to info about one specific band or project).

I thought about buying a web domain for my name but most people can’t remember or pronounce my last name (Montreuil) … totally not helpful for a performer 😉  But everyone seems to resonate around thinking of me as “That girl with the sax” so I did it, I bought the domain thatgirlwiththesax.com and I have set up a portfolio site where all of my band info will live (along with being on their own individual sites) AND where I can document this beautifully awesome journey we are on to travel and play music as much as humanly possible.

Please take a look and let me know what you think, it’s still young.  Sign up for my newsletter if you want blog posts deliverred to your inbox, like my new facebook page if you want to stay in touch there and hook up with me on twitter if you want to get short bursts of what’s happening with Mo and I on our journey – it’s been pretty terrific so far, I am certain that it only gets better from here 🙂

I wish all of my friends and family as much fun and adventure as they can endure through this new and exciting year – please tell me all of your stories!  There’s nothing better than a good story 🙂

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So much fun at the Globe & the Haviland Club!

So we ran into Graeme at the Sportman’s Club on Saturday after leaving the Globe afternoon jam.  The boys at the Globe rocked as per usual – what a great bunch of guys 🙂 – I met a new trumpet player by the name of Neal, super-fun with some nice schmaltz on the horn.  Everyone suggested heading over to the Sportsman for another blues jam so how could we resist?

But first let me tell you about where we ate!  Just underneath Baba’s Lounge is a terrific restaurant (owned by the same people) called Cedars Eatery.  Oh my god the food is good there!  We had an appetizer of tomatoes and halloume cheese that was out of this world and as a nice surprise they included tomatoes with garlic sauce (the kind they put on falafel) … you have to try that!  Thanks so much to Lili for recommending this restaurant

The Sportsmen Club is just next door so that’s where we headed and who was standing at the bar but our buddy Graeme – a guitar player we have hung out with at the Globe a few times – he very generously invited us to sit in on his Sunday show at the Haviland Club the next day.  We figured we would be on the road to Ontario so figured we couldn’t make it but the weather got in our way and Charlottetown is way closer to Darnley than Ottawa is so that’s where we went and I am so glad that we did!

Not only did I get to meet and play with some of the best musicians on PEI (Scott Parsons, Dean Dunsford, Roger Greaves and of course Graeme whose last name, if you haven’t noticed, escapes me :)) but I also got to reconnect with Haviland Club Manager, Jamie Larkin.  We first met at the Orange Lunchbox in August after a long night of music and old guys defending their last beer.

I really hope to play with all these guys again … boy, what a great crew, terrific musicians AND wonderful people.
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Flying toilet paper and unexpected pickup lines

Boxing day on PEI was a real treat – Mo and I grabbed her sister Miriam and headed into Summerside to check out the Southside Blues Band at the Wing.  Steve Guy on tenor and Reggie Ballagh on drums are a joy to listen to and always make me feel at home with them on stage.

The last time we were at The Wing was Halowe’en (coincidentally, that was also the first time we were ever there as well) – the boys invited me up then to play and things got pretty steamy on stage. On this evening it was a lovely and unexpected surprise to walk in and set down my horn only to receive a round of applause from a group of strangers who were sitting at a poorly lit table in a back corner of the room – when I looked over my shoulder to see what the commotion was all about they enthusiastically assured me that it was for me … how fun!

I played a few tunes with the boys and then we took a break …  good thing because the new bra I was wearing was tight and uncomfortable, I needed to fix the straps.  So I went to the washroom and took some time in the stall to make the adjustments.  There I was sitting on the toilet with my shirt half undone when I heard a woman say “I’ll just toss this over and you and install it ok?” and the next thing I knew there was a roll of toilet paper hurtling it’s way over the stall door and straight towards me.

When I finally finished up in there I went back out, played some more tunes with the boys and then we packed up for the night.  I had some lovely conversations with the locals, most notably an older woman with a particularely prominent front tooth.  She told me that in her younger years she would always ‘go for’ the guys playing the sax, they just ‘got her motor running … if you know what I mean’.  So this evening she was surprised to find that her motor still had some va va voom 😉

She assured me that she wasn’t trying to pick me up but it kind of felt like she wanted to … oh well, it’s always a compliment 🙂

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