Ya think you know somebody …
For many of the audience attending Colin James’ show at the Montreal Jazz Festival – the fact that Colin once lived in Montreal for a year and a half, came as a surprise.
James recanted the tales of living in Lachine and Verdun and busking in the Metros. He also told stories of many gigs in this city. Places such as Bourbon Street North and West along with The Club Sodas (among others). If the audience were not already in love with Colin – they were now. In a weird way, the prodigal son returned home at Place des Arts.
James is on tour right now following his recent win for Blues Album of the Year at this year’s Junos. Miles To Go is the name of the disc and if Colin wants to achieve longevity – The Blues may be the road to travel. Sadly – even though James has put out record after record of solid Rock / Pop albums, classic Rock stations (or any radio station for that matter), refuse to play new music by classic Rock / Pop guys. Colin and his mates rolled out all of his genres last night. Take that Classic Rock radio !
Joined by Canada’s best harmonica player Steve Marriner (Monkey Junk, Harry Manx) both on disc and live – Colin and his band parlayed a vast catalog along with some new / old covers into a solid set. A wall of sound engulfed Place des Arts with piercing guitars and piercing horns. The combination of the two; a two punch bordering on a Rock show.
Five Long Years and Why’d You Lie reminded the older folks of a different time in music. A time when Blues joined Pop. Eighties music in all it’s glory. It Takes Time, One More Mile and Soul of a Man reminded folks of what most of them missed before they were born. The set-list was a perfect combination of the blending of different styles of Blues and how essential the sound is to success in any era.
James’ return to the Jazz Festival came full circle as the Jazz Festival was one of Colin’s first gigs thirty years.
James appears to be in transition mode as he decides which route to travel in his career. Colin has always been some sort of a chameleon that way. Stopping at the Rock door, the Blues door and the Big band door. What we witnessed last night was a vagrant James with no welcome mat at any door. The show had all the earmarks of a show yet somehow, there was a feeling that James can do better. Somehow – Colin will reemerge shortly with a new found love of a different sound.
Perhaps a move to Montreal, the most vibrant place for music in Canada would help? Why not? Colin’s twenty one year old son is going to Concordia. A trip by Colin via Metro to visit him (with guitar in hand) may do the trick for Colin.