Black Keys, Blues, Canada, Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer, Live Music, Lyric Theatre, Maple Blues Awards, Saskatchewan, Shakura S'Ania, Stir Crazy Blues Festival, Swift Current, The Steve Strongman Band, travel, White Stripes, Winter
I hate winter. There I said it. I’ve tried to like it, and each fall as crisp cool air starts to replace the hot summer days I vow that this will be the year that I ski more, that I learn to snowmobile, that I will “hurry hard” with the best of them, that I will fly down a hill on a toboggan giggling like a child, that I will head out onto a frozen lake and try a little ice fishing. This will be the year that I will learn to embrace the frozen surfaces that cover my beloved southwest Saskatchewan for at least a third or more of the year… instead of despise them.
Then comes February.
Even if I have made a concerted effort to get out and about and frolic in frigid temperatures, this is the month where I feel the pull of summer. This is the month where I long for my trailer and lakes warmed by the sun. The month where I can’t wait to walk the dogs without stumbling on icy patches of snow, and where I think of all the things I could be doing instead of all the things I should be doing. This is the month where I usually, officially, snap. This is the month where despair that spring will ever come usually sets in.
Thank goodness there’s someone out there that understands these feelings that I can’t tamp down any longer. Someone that knows I’m literally going stir crazy waiting for spring/summer to appear. Someone that’s willing to sing the blues right alongside me. Well actually a chorus of someones. The fabulous acts and blues artists brought in for the annual Stir Crazy Blues Festival.
Get out of your house! Make the winter blues go away! StirCrazy Blues Festival concerts are at the Lyric Theatre.
Held this year from February 28th to March 2nd, not only does it give me an opportunity to get out of the house, (which for a work-from-home writer is huge), but it also allows me to reconnect with music that speaks to my soul. A fact I discovered when I attended my first Stir Crazy Blues Festival in 2011 and heard Brother Yusef for the first time. One of the best musicians I’ve heard yet (next to Great Big Sea), for lifting my spirits and raising me from feeling frustrated and just generally fed up that winter is still here.
Lucky for me, I was able to purchase one of his CD’s to keep that feeling alive until spring finally did arrive. Lesson learned, now each year, I head to the Stir Crazy Blues Festivals as a way of shedding my own stir craziness, and frustration with winter. This year I’m excited to hear the “raw passionate sounds” that The Steve Strongman Band, The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer (???), and Shakura S’Aida will be bringing to the stage.
For those not in the know who might think that “Blues” the music, is representative of “Blues” the emotion, and will send you down a depressive path, I’m hear to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not all: “ba..da..da..da..dum,, my dog died, ba..da..da..da…dum my wife left me…” In fact it’s quite the opposite. What makes the Blues, according to Ed Kopp in his piece “A Brief History of Blues” is that “while blues lyrics often deal with personal adversity, the music itself goes far beyond self-pity.”
“It’s about overcoming hard luck,” says Kopp, “saying what you feel, ridding yourself of frustration, letting your hair down, and simply having fun.” (Sounds good to me!) For me, it’s also about not letting the winter and the cold that has descended upon us since early November, beat my spirit up or lessen my hope that spring is just around the corner.
The best blues is visceral, cathartic, and starkly emotional. From unbridled joy to deep sadness, no form of music communicates more genuine emotion. – Ed Kopp
So, if you’re like me and feeling a little “stir crazy” with winter’s presence and you’re ready to shake it off, head down to the Stir Crazy Blues Festival and feel some “unbridled joy!” Ding dong, the Winter Witch will soon be dead!
Listen to one of the songs performed by Brother Yusef at the 2011 Stir Crazy Blues Festival and you’ll see what I mean about the music NOT being depressing!:
How to GoHere: Located at the Lyric Theatre, in downtown Swift Current, at 227 Central Ave N., you can “Go” to the Stir Crazy Blues Festival by either purchasing a Festival Pass for all three shows for $60, or purchasing individual tickets for shows at $25 each. Visit them online at: http://www.blendersmusic.ca/stir-crazy-blues-festival/ for more information.
Good to Know:
- Thursday February 28th, The Steve Strongman Band: This bands was the 2011 Maple Blues Award winner for Guitar Player of the Year and nominated for six 2012 Maple Blues Awards.
- Friday March 1st, The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer: You might want to go just to see who would have such a strange name. A mix of The Black Keys and The White Stripes in a bluesy sorta way.
- Saturday March 2nd, Shakura S’Aida: Nominated for five 2012 Maple Blues Awards, she possesses a soulful voice, enthusiastic personality and commitment to her deep soul music.
- As of today it’s only 100 days till the official start of summer in Canada – the May Long Weekend and camping season!