NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 151

A lot of people this week told me they appreciated the words I wrote last week. I feel like it’s all I could or at least what I could do for the loss of a friend. I also feel like something so sudden and shocking is actually the single best way for us to realize the weight of our own mortality. It’s just pointless for us all to not learn from this. And I don’t mean the tragedy of it all but the gift we all have to live long, wonderful lives with great purpose. To really and truly not swear the small stuff that gets under our skin. To look people in the eye and tell them you love them. It also makes me think about what it means to live this life. What is it all about when it is all said and done. It matters how much we give to each other and how much we put into caring. Life can get complicated, grinding and mundane. It can also get rewarding with little battles and wins along the way. Silent victories are always great aren’t they. I feel like Manfred was a character with these kind of traits in a lot of people’s lives. Judging by the turnout for his memory on both Wednesday and Saturday, we can only assume many folks loved him for who he was beyond how he was I mean that sincerely. The common thread to so many people’s accounts of him was that he was this and that but he helped me with something or gave me something and told me something that saved my butt or had some advice on how to do something the right way. He took some time and had some street knowledge. I’m proud to be known as his friend and I’ll miss him but I’m going to try to be a better person all the time now. Spend some time on little things. Learn some new old school tricks. Plant some seeds and grow a garden again. And spend lots of time  with my boys.

Music. We heard some music on the weekend. At The Cove, we had a wild week. Wednesday was an outpouring of song for the memory of Manfred. We all sang our hearts out. I’m so glad so many attended.

Friday was Blues on the Rideau with the one and only Boogie Patrol. Fun band! Wow man. I’m talking Joe Cocker’s Canadian brother! “Dirty” Dan Shinnan was blowing his top. His vocal ways are super James Brown/Cocker scat style which lay more like a rhythmic instrument in the mix of the others but his presence is central. The band funks. It’s like a pleasing lost record of band with a mix of sound between The Crusaders, Bob Seeger and a deadly hard swinging blues band with literally Joe Cocker at the helm. It was a joy and fun to step on stage for a quickie on bass. PS, come back soon, Boogie Patrol. Saturday, the celebration life brought out some tributes. Shawn and I played a song that Manfred’s friend Cess wanted to hear called Gulf Road by James McMurtry. The song said it all on his life. I wrote a song for him too. Thanks to Burke Kelly for adding a buoyant version of This Ole House only the way you can!

When I was just getting the news about all of this info almost two weeks ago, I was in Palm Springs, California with my wife Megan’s Family. I have to admit I didn’t think much before I got on that plane. Not great I wasn’t grateful for a late winter escape but life is just so busy with everything, I didn’t have much time to think about it. Until I landed. What a desert oasis! The cooked mountains and Who-ville Palm trees, the Mod city architecture, the 100F temps and of course, vacation town pace of life. It’s a bedroom community to L.A. Literally a morning tour away to the big city, it was an original hideaway for the Hollywood elite. Now, many still come from there but it’s more famously known for golf, shopping and Coachella Festival as its in Coachella Valley. Just 15 minutes away, unfortunately with the fam and because day tickets cost around $500, we opted out. Doesn’t mean we didn’t want to put it all out on the line to see what we heard was a sonic and visual anomaly of a concert with Beyoncé on Saturday. Other attendees, Greta Van Fleet, Fleet Foxes, Post Malone and more. Will plan better next time. L.A. was a trip. Traffic city but all was good to view the sights like Crenshaw Blvd, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Hollywood Blvd and The Sunset Strip. My personal highlights were The Grove, Santa Monica and my return to Venice Beach and the Ferris wheel and especially a tour down Mulholland Drive through Laurel Canyon in Hollywood Hills. We even moved west, down, Ventura Blvd! This is star country where Zappa, Joni, CSN, Neil Young and so many more got their thing together. Thanks to our tour guide, Nick.

Around here, we have music this week at The Cove with Wings ‘n Tunes and the Open Miic every Wednesday. Friday is Spencer Evans Trio playing the gong, the goat and the funky. Buffet and show 7-11pm. Saturday brings the happiest lads in the biz back up to The Cove. Healy and Orr with sponsored vehicles! Dance to their tuneage. Best way to shake these feelings out. 8-11pm

Hey all, did you hear about our own Smitty Kingston! He wrote a song In response to the Humboldt Broncos tragedy a couple of weeks ago. It’s called Stick Outside the Door. “We love you all in different ways”, as he would say.

Take care until next week and don’t forget about literally one of the great Bluegrass band in North America called Lonesome Ace Stringband on Fri.May.4! 7-10pm Featuring the inspired John Showman on Fiddle.

Seamus