People have been asking me everyday how the Stompin Tom Tribute show at the Treasure Cove Casino went. It’s hard for me to answer that question sometimes, I respond with one word like ‘good’ or ‘fine’. It’s not ever polite or professional to talk too much about it, I’d hate to run the risk of sounding like a braggard at my age.
People who are musicians understand that no words can explain how shows like this make us feel inside. We achieve these tremendous highs in front of willing audiences and then the next day it’s all over and it’s back to being a normal person again. If you have never played a big show or felt this high you can not possibly understand it the way we do. Sometimes in the past I have given big explanations to people about how amazing our weekend was, and I see them look at me blankly because they have personal no experience to reference to. The week of a big show people around me talk about all sorts of stuff that’s going on in their lives and I almost feel like to tell them how stoked I am for the big weekend is unfair. Sometimes the things they are talking about seem pretty small to me, I’d hate to make them feel that way by talking about how awesome being a part of a band is.
With that little bit of humility now put on the table there is one thing I can still brag about, I can praise the efforts of others. I really can’t explain to you how lucky I am to work with the people I do. I gave my musicians a recording I made of the show in order a month before the gig yet we never had time to rehearse until the week of the show. We got two rehearsals in and I have to admit during our soundcheck I was pretty nervous about how tight we were going to play. All my doubts were done one song into the night, damn they played well. I get to live in the north and still have professional calibre musicians. I am more than lucky for this, Joel and Sean have pushed me to ressurect my show and have made playing music fun again for me. In fact they were tighter than Stompin Tom’s own band. I was nervous but as soon as I felt the band come together I was liberated from all concerns and was able to focus on doing my job, I couldn’t have performed so honestly without the quality of their musicianship.
On top of the great execution of our band we had a sound man who knew that room to a T. The stage sound was smooth! And the promotional efforts by Earl were noteworthy. Earl had the vision and it took two months of negotiations before I agreed to be seen impersonating someone other than myself. We managed to draw in a full house despite the fact that Willhorse was being hosted at a popular venue by the Coldsnap Festival organizers. The audience was relatively attentive, and those who were rowdiest were friends of mine who I know were having a great time. On top of all that I managed to win $35 on a spin on the slots with a dozen of those same friends sitting around drinking with me, it was the horseshoe up my arse that night I suppose.
Another thing I really enjoyed about the show was the amount of effort it took, which is surprising because I was once so down on the idea of doing tribute shows. I haven’t had to work on my own show for a very long time, we’re still not playing enough of my new material that I really try all that hard to practice. Learning how to be a mimic of Stompin Tom required me to buy a new cowboy hat, rehearse in the mirror, read his books, practice the songs, change my delivery, change the beat I always stomp on, watch youtube videos and bend my brain to spit out his tongue twisted lyrics. It was an honor to bring those songs to life and remember someone I think is the quintessential Canadian country singer of our time. It was an incredible amount of work which is why I can’t do it too often or for too cheap.
So I want to thank everyone for coming and being a part of the event, and I want to thank everyone whose work it took to make it happen. I like to thank the Casino for the use of the room and for the television ads and I like to thank the many radio shows and newspapers that helped spread the excitement for that evening. It was certainly a night I will always fondly remember. The hardest part is letting go of those moments and returning back to my normal life and accepting that I am just another working Joe. Sometimes it’s just easier to not talk about it at all.