Grace Notes – All Postings


In spite of the full plane I was even more delighted to see that the seat beside me was empty.  It stayed empty until the very last minute when a little old lady (that is to say someone of my age) shuffles in beside me. I realize that I am looking into the eyes of Joni Mitchell.  This is the person who will be my seat mate for the next four hours unless I do something to piss her off and get thrown into the back of the plane for the rest of the trip.  This is going to be epic or tragic, I feel, depending on my next move. 


Most of these stories have been a product of serendipitous encounters with various musicians or a bit of a by product of some freelancing, but since moving to Calgary I have also had the opportunity to actually buy an encounter with some fantastic musicians. Sounds sleazy, but relax; the money part was just basically a tuition fee for some amazing workshop experiences.

The ‘Shoe

So far, this little series of stories has focused on my brief, but for me, memorable encounters with musicians. This piece is about my encounters with the grand “old lady” of Canadian music…

Colin …

I remember my first glimpse of a kid that set us back on our heels as he lit up small town community halls across the fine province of Saskatchewan. It was time when we still had leaders who loved the culture in agriculture, notes and oats if you will …

Freed at Last …

Have you ever, by mistake, tuned into an AM commercial radio station and in doing so, set off a toxic flare in your brain upon hearing a Justin Bieber song? You then go tell a grandkid that you knew Canadian musicians who were ten times better, but they never, ever made it to radio. In fact, you recall, you have ridden in cars with them.


I first heard Billy Cowsill, like many of my generation, in the late sixties, on the push button radio of my 1953 Plymouth Cranbrook. The music was not coming through with the clarity of todays Bose car speakers, but it was still able to get through to our little rock...


Twenty five years ago, I had my own little blues metaphor going on with a wild Saturday night on the south side of Chicago where the devil shook my hand and my world. This was immediately followed by redemption, as the Lord’s own gospel singer shook that same hand Sunday morning.


It is the Juno weekend of 2018 as I write this little story. Twenty-seven years ago, I went to my first and I suppose only Juno Awards show. am not sure how I might have scammed one more blessed press pass but it may have come from Sask. Report magazine looking for another story on our beloved Saskatchewan roots musician, Colin James. Colin did end up with Best Male Vocalist later that evening.

Moments with Musicians ~ Oscar

It was early in the eighties … and we needed a break We were still a very young couple married at least a decade and a half with three kids and very little cash, We had never travelled out of the country or really had a big time vacation together. Serendipitously, Air...

Moments with Musicians

My first encounter with live music and musicians was in our living room.  It came from the soundboard of the old Heinzman piano that my grandfather brought home home from town in the Dirty Thirties…teetering in the back of the farm truck.  The first musician I ever met was my mother, Betty Philips, who with only one piano lesson in her life, played that old upright like the lovechild of Jimmy Swaggert and the Church lady from Saturday Night Live.