BLOG

Featured

LIVE Blues at HERMANN’S

We’re back! And this time we are the opening act for Angel Forrest. This is going to be amazing AND I get to play on one of their gorgeous grand pianos.

We’re back! And this time we are the opening act for Angel Forrest. This is going to be amazing AND I get to play on one of their gorgeous grand pianos.

Featured

BLUES PARTY THIS WEEK AT HERMANN’S

Back again by popular demand! Join these multi-blues award winners deemed “Masters of Old School Blues” by Blues Revue Magazine for a fun filled Thursday night of blues! With an all star band: Jan Randall on Piano, Jack Lavin on bass, and Ross Hall on Drums, this show will feature more songs from their exciting collection of classic and original blues favourites. Highlighted by Diana’s authentic blues vocal sound and legendary multi-instrumentalist Chris Whiteley on slide guitar, harmonica and trumpet, this promises to be a memorable night of great music. Don’t miss this dynamic “real deal” duo before they head back east.

Our band, Rhythm Train will be backing up Canadian blues treasures Diana Braithwaite & Chris Whiteley with special guest Eugene Smith at Victoria’s legendary Hermann’s Jazz Club this coming Thursday May 5th. Details at. this link https://hermannsjazz.com//show/556857/view

Back again by popular demand! Join these multi-blues award winners deemed “Masters of Old School Blues” by Blues Revue Magazine for a fun filled Thursday night of blues! With an all star band: Jan Randall on Piano, Jack Lavin on bass, and Ross Hall on Drums, this show will feature more songs from their exciting collection of classic and original blues favourites. Highlighted by Diana’s authentic blues vocal sound and legendary multi-instrumentalist Chris Whiteley on slide guitar, harmonica and trumpet, this promises to be a memorable night of great music. Don’t miss this dynamic “real deal” duo before they head back east.
Special guest – the legendary vocalist Eugene Smith! A rare Victoria performance by this unique entertaining singer who has shared the stage with BB King, Gordon Lightfoot, Bo Diddley and K.D. Lang to name just a few! Throughout his lengthy career, Eugene toured with ‘Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins to Memphis, Alabama and many southern states and also led his own successful band for many years. 

Three fantastic performers – Thursday May 5th, 7pm – Good entertainment to the max!

Here’s what Mike Devlin from the Times Colonist said about Diana Braithwaite & Chris Whiteley’s previous show March 11th 2022:

Critic’s Pick List! “The duo of singer Diana Braithwaite and multi-instrumentalist Chris Whiteley is a two-pronged threat, with both veterans bringing something special to the table. With multiple Juno Award nominations and Maple Blues Award wins as a unit, they are an extremely esteemed duo in the blues genre…band that includes Jack Lavin on bass, Ross Hall on drums, and Jan Randall on piano, expect great things to happen. This will be a party with a capital P.” 

Band: Jack Lavin, Ross Hall, Jan Randall

Featured

B3’s, Zorbas, and Bob

1967 and I’m a busboy at Zorba’s standing behind a keyboard player, entranced. Various bands would haul Hammond B3’s and Leslies down 2 flights of stairs for a gig that likely paid them about the same as what I was making- and why?

1967 and I’m a busboy at Zorba’s standing behind a keyboard player, entranced. Various bands would haul Hammond B3’s and Leslies down 2 flights of stairs for a gig that likely paid them about the same as what I was making- and why? Because it was magic. I had a $50 organ then, and a band too- so it was a big deal to me. Not long after that I was at a street dance in Garneau standing behind a musician I had not met yet, also playing a big Hammond with Hot Cottage. Bob Derkach and I have been brothers for over 50 years now. It was my fault that he left his gig as composer for the planetarium in Edmonton(which eventually led to his CD actually flying to Mars) and left for Toronto to have a career with Second City. He was my understudy, and when I quit- he made history by staying with it for longer than anyone, truly defining the art of improvising live music for theatre, and influencing MANY who came after. We are still connected at the hip, brothers forever. This is a recent photo from his current tour. Pure genius and a truly enlightened soul.

Bob Derkach (center) on tour with some fairly famous comedians
Featured

Blues Blues Blues

Since receiving a facebook message from guitarist Terry Medd last year, my life has taken a dramatic change for the best., I had not connected with Terry for nearly 40 years. Back then we were both part of the Edmonton live music scene and had played in a couple of bands together.

(L toR) Terry Medd, Ross Hall, Jan Randall and Jack Lavin

Since receiving a facebook message from guitarist Terry Medd last year, my life has taken a dramatic change for the best., I had not connected with Terry for nearly 40 years. Back then we were both part of the Edmonton live music scene and had played in a couple of bands together.

(L to R) Ross Hall, LJ Mountenoy, Jack Lavin, Jan Randall

Now Terry was moving to Victoria so he texted “would you like to come check it out my new recording studio?” Well, YES! That visit quickly turned into helping Terry record some of his original blues tracks. The other musicians included blues god Jack Lavin (Powder Blues) and first call drum ace Ross Hall (The Kingpins). After meeting them, I soon found myself on a stage at the Rib Fest with the legendary Big Hank Lionhart and his band The Kingpins that included a hero from my childhood, sax man Wayne Kozak. Then my new brother Jack hired me to appear on an album he was producing for Vancouver blues singer LJ Mountenoy. Ross too! What was happening? I felt like I was strapped onto the front of a train, it was all very exciting. The studio for the album had a vintage Hammond organ with a Leslie. I was in Heaven.

Dallas Harlen killing it with some BB King licks

Since then Jack, Ross and I started a new band Rhythm Train that now plays at The Loft Pub every Thursday night. We had Terry Medd join us as a special guest for the first two weeks, followed by harmonica wizard Powell St. Slim and some true musical magic from guitarist Dallas Harlen. But I know this is just the beginning because we also were recruited to give two concerts with Maple Blues Award winners Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whitely. As if THAT wasn’t enough, we also were treated with a couple of songs from Eugene Smith (Ronnie Hawkins Band).

Here I am with brother Jack. He noticed I needed a cool hat, and generously gifted me this beauty.
This is now my Lucky Hat.

There’s lots more ahead for Rhythm Train. If you read this, come on by and say hello. There’s a lot ahead of this last month is any indication of the future.

Featured

Live COUNTRY Blues

Vancouver music legend Brandon Isaak invited me to sit in with his trio a few nights ago for his show at Hermann’s and magic was made.

This month has kicked off with a blast!

Vancouver music legend Brandon Isaak invited me to sit in with his trio a few nights ago for his show at Hermann’s and magic was made. The killer grooves supplied by Jack Lavin and Ross Hall paved the road to glory with bass and drum gold, and solid local ground as could ever be found made for a joyous night indeed. Brandon has a one man show featuring his dexterity on acoustic guitar and banjo but he also has the super power of being able to lead and trade licks with ease even while he is simultaneously singing or playing the harmonica. This was just one stop in a tour that continues to lead his adventure to audiences around the world, and I feel very blessed to have crossed his path.

You can watch the whole concert here.

Here is Brandon’s website

https://www.brandonisaak.ca

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t met Jack Lavin over the summer and through his support started getting involved in some of his recording and performing project. He is a MONSTER and one of the nicest guys I have ever met.

Here is Jack’s website

https://www.jacklavin.com

Featured

Fall UPDATE

So many new projects on my plate now I barely know where to start. Laying down tracks for what is still a secret recording project that will knock everyone’s socks RIGHT off!

THANKS CKUA!
Now on Spotify
and iTunes

So many new projects on my plate now I barely know where to start. This week I’m very excited to be sending my newly mastered album WAIT IN LINE out to a select list of radio programs. CKUA has been VERY good about playing it, and so far it has climbed up their charts to reach the number 3 position. AMAZING. If you haven’t heard it, check out the music player at the top of this website.

My music history courses continue to be offered at the University of Victoria after selling out last spring with online offerings of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Gordon Lightfoot, Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, and a new course on the History of the Blues.

Registration is open til Sept. 17 for three UVIC courses coming up soon-Boogie Woogie Barrelhouse and Honky Tonk , a repeat of Buffy Sainte-Marie and Gordon Lightfoot , and yet another new course Comedy in Song.

Yesterday I agreed to coach the band ensemble classes at the Victoria School of Music on Tuesday afternoons. And I start this week! So exciting to add this to my small roster of private piano students there in conjunction with the Comosun music program. Over the summer, I was part of a new week long workshop on Cabaret style songs that was absolutely incredible and a lot of credit goes to the organizer Nancy Curry, who is herself and amazing pianist with a deep well of knowledge of that style.

I haven’t played in any bands since I moved to Victoria six years ago, partly because I have been busy composing classical piano music (VISIT the VISTA HEIGHTS MUSIC website for new original sheet music releases!) But this is about to change as I have just been invited to join Hank Lionheart and the Kingpins for some local blues gigs. Look out! I will post the dates and info here. This came about because of TWO blues recording projects I have entered into with the legendary bassist and song writer Jack Lavin. And that happened because one of them is with my old friend Terry Medd who just moved here from Alberta and built a music studio!

My summer was also blessed with an invitation to adjudicate the Alberta Piano Teacher’s Assoc. annual young composer competition. And today, I just agreed to adjudicate another young composer’s event for the local chapter of the BCRMTA (BC Registered Music Teacher’s Assoc.) which is taking place this fall.

And that’s it! SO FAR ANYWAY

Be Seein’ You

About 35 yrs ago I was hired to write some music for a television show about a young girl and her horse- it was called Letting Go and it was produced and broadcast as a regional prairie drama back when CBC did such things. A week after the broadcast they passed a letter from a fellow in Montreal who wrote in to say how much he liked this theme. With that as encouragement, I wrote some lyrics for it, and a little while ago performed it for the first time at a concert in Duncan.

Here is the video from that event- I hope you like it. It’s an old fashioned country waltz called Be Seein’ You

Good Fair World

I wrote and recorded the title track of my album Good Fair World in 2008. This was long before covid, proud boys, or the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

I wrote and recorded the title track of my album Good Fair World in 2008. This was long before covid, proud boys, or the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

My thinking was, world problems seem simple enough to solve, so why don’t we? Is that naive? We never seem to have enough facts to be sure of anything. This was true then and now that trust in the news and our leadership seems to be a trending problem all over, I feel like this little song is sadly gaining in relevance. But am I being sarcastic or optimistic? Both, obviously.

Good Fair World

Music and Lyrics- Jan Randall

All we need is a good world
Good world’s all we need
All we need is a good world
Good world’s all we need

Read your book on the beach
Drink not too far outa reach
A good world is really all we need.

All we need is a fair world
A fair world’s all we need
All we need is a fair world
Fair world is really all we need

Where night is night
And day is day
Do your work and Collect your pay
A fair fair world is really all we need

So let an inch be an inch
And a pound be a pound
Let Up be up
And Down be down
When you join the game
And ya pay your dues
Let the winners win
Let the losers lose

All we need is a nice world
Nice world’s all we need
All we need is a nice world
Nice world’s all we need

We’ll keep square as square
And round as round
Keep our heads in the air
And our feet on the ground
We’ll never never let the good guys fail
Make all the bad guys go to jail
We could heal the sick
We could feed the poor
Tie dye our shirts
Make love not war

A fair world is really all we need
A nice world is really all we need
A good good fair fair world is really all we need.

The fine line between naive optimism and an endless eternal cloud of doom

%d bloggers like this: