ME: So. How are things?
YOU: Things are good! How are things with you?
And now we’re all caught up.
Seriously though, the last ten days were truly awesome for me. I got to spend time with (in chronological order) my best friend, my partner, and my cousin and her hubby – all in the same week. Not at the same time, mind you, but in the same week! That never happens.
My BFFOTOKHDTOK (best friend forever or ’til our knockers hang down to our knees) – let’s call her Sugar Tits – moved to Thunder Bay (or way the eff up North relative to Southwestern Ontario) in early January 2012. T-Bay is at least a good 1500 km away from where I live (or 932 miles for my American friends, according to the handy-dandy online converter), so hangouts are rare. My last day of exams happened to coincide with her last day of teaching placement, and two days later I picked Sugar Tits up from Pearson airport. The day after she went back to Thunder Bay, my partner (we’ll call him Handsome) happened to be in the area and was able to come home for a few hours. He’s a sailor (a mate on a bulk cargo ship that sails the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Waterway), and he’s been away working since mid-March. Now and then, when the timing works out just right, we can have a precious few hours together when his ship is in the Welland Canal or tied up in Hamilton. Sugar Tits and Handsome have yet to meet, which is crazy because he has been in my life since the summer of 2010. When I told Sugar Tits that she missed him by one day, she said Handsome is like the Polkaroo. (For those of you who didn’t grow up watching TVOntario, the Polkaroo was an elusive character on the children’s show The Polka Dot Door. This link will explain the joke.) Then, two days after Sugar Tits was here and one day after Handsome, my cousin and her hubby came to visit (we’ll call them K and J). They know Handsome, and they also know Sugar Tits. Oddly enough, Sugar Tits and J knew each other in high school, before she and I had met, before K and J had met. How ’bout that! Anyhoo, it was a real treat for me to see them all in the same week. Feeling recharged, I gotta say.
‘That’s nice, but what does any of it have to do with music?‘ you might be wondering. Well, that’s why it’s called A (Mostly) Music Blog folks. Sometimes I give you the goods straight off, and sometimes I make you suffer through irrelevant stories. Lucky for you there is music at the end of this one.
While Sugar Tits was here we watched two fantastic music docs, Searching for Sugar Man and Under African Skies. They tell truly incredible stories, and I could dedicate a post to each but perhaps another time. Besides, they are better left to the watching. Today is about Calgary musician Michael Bernard Fitzgerald (or Bernie Fitz, as Sugar Tits called him). We’ll call him MBF.
I had the pleasure of hearing MBF for the first time when he opened for British artist Bobby Long at Toronto’s Drake Hotel Underground in April. He performed solo, just himself and his acoustic guitar. I love bands and appreciate studio production, but I also love a stripped-down solo performance. (Stripped-down solo performance . . . he he.) It never ceases to amaze me how powerfully one voice and one guitar can communicate.
From the moment he walked on stage, MBF was smiling. He made easy conversation with the audience, telling us that he had eaten at Smoke’s Poutinerie a few hours earlier and saying, “We’ll all go for poutine after the show.” He told us that his tour manager was stuck in Buffalo after being stopped at the Canadian border while the other crew had crossed over into Niagara Falls. He invited us to visit him at the merch table where, along with his CDs, he offered mini hotel shampoos, conditioners, soaps and lotions that he had accumulated throughout the tour. Essentially, he’s the kind of person who gives off a really good vibe. That effortless charisma and sense of humour. That all-around genuine vibe that you can hear in his voice. MBF is someone you immediately want to be friends with and go out for poutine/beer/a hike/whatever-floats-your-boat together.
While Sugar Tits was here, we listened almost exclusively to two albums as we drove back and forth between my place and our mini road trip destinations: one of the three MBF CDs I bought at the show (titled I’m Working On A Studio Release But In The Mean Time I Thought I Would Put Out A Recording Of Us Playing Live In A Big Room With Friends), and Paul Simon’s Graceland (one of Sugar Tits’ faves). MBF has been the soundtrack to my drives around the Niagara region while the landscape blooms into beautiful, vibrant greens and yellows and pinks and whites. I cannot stop listening, nor do I want to. In fact, the more I listen the more I crave it. Thought you might enjoy it too.
Finally, your payoff has arrived! I couldn’t choose just one (or two or three), so here are “Man Overboard”, “Brand New Spaces”, “Love is an Easy Thing to Miss” and a sweet cover of The Boss’s “Dancing in the Dark”.