|All photos by me|
Well, I was SO impressed! Harry Manx is a "slide guitarist" - he plays guitar with it laying flat on his lap - and also plays banjo and harmonica. The person who introduced him referred to his musical style as "Mysti-ssippi", which I think was the perfect description. It was this really cool mix of raw southern-style country-blues-rock and dreamy Indian-Latin-style mystic music. I loved his covers of Crazy Love (one of my favourite songs) and Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix=love). He was also really funny, providing witty banter between songs, including several jibes at JP Cormier (a popular local blues guitarist).
Guest artists included a keyboardist from Australia (to be honest, I forget his name! Ah, terrible. But his sound was SO neat - it was set to sound sort of like a gospel organ; really added to the raw southern sound of the songs), and Mike Cowie, who is a local trumpeter who plays in lots of restaurants/lounges around town regularly. Man, can that guy play! I feel sweaty and out of breath just watching him!
|Mike Cowie - he always wears this hat|
Their sound was a little more "funky" blues than Harry's, and honestly a couple of the songs had so much "noise" going on it was a little overwhelming for my little brain, but I was really impressed with the fun layering of the songs in any case. Harry joined them for a couple of songs at the end, including another Jimi Hendrix tune (Voodoo Child! YES!) because he and the guitar player are good buddies who just released their 3rd disk together.
I had never heard of either of these acts before this show so really didn't know what to expect, but I am so glad I discovered them. To be honest, the homogeneity and unoriginality of most of mainstream music today really gets me down so it is so nice to hear artists that are passionate and real and have amazing talent and are not just a marketing machine. It's just a shame that so many great artists don't get the full recognition they deserve outside of small circles. I just love having my mind expanded and opened by creative people!
Halifax is no Montreal or St. Lucia (two places that both have huge, high profile jazz fests every year) but I think our festivals can certainly rival the ones of bigger cities in terms of organization, fun and variety. This is the 25th anniversary for the Jazz Fest, so they must be doing something right!
And beyond the Jazz Fest, there are TONS of really great festivals in Halifax and Nova Scotia in the summer - the city really does buzz and sing in the summer like no time of year. Just in the past few weeks there has been the Greek Fest, Atlantic Fashion Week, Canada Day festivities, Lebanese Fest, Dragon Boat Fest, and coming up there is Pride Week, Atlantic Film Fest, Natal Day festivities, Beer Fest, Seafood Fest, etc, etc, etc. Summer is short here, but we certainly make the most of it.
On a completely unrelated note, I am discovering that my new kitty is quite the goon and likes to get into things. She also really likes cool things (hence why she often sprawls on the floor or table). I was in the bathroom yesterday getting ready for bed, left for 2 minutes, came back in and found this:
Happy HUMP day!
*If you are curious about the odd blog title, this is the name of one of Harry Manx's CD's - funny, eh?