May 2022
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Happy Mother's Day!
Hello to my faithful Blainreaders (and anyone else that's come upon this).  It's been a while since I've had any real interaction with friends and fans and it's been especially difficult not playing music with others.  On Sunday, I will have the pleasure of playing live (over the internet) with a couple of world-class musicians, Mark Ferguson in Ottawa and Drew Jurecka on the other side of town. Mark has played with jazz stars like Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin as well as the Funk Brothers and Drew, who just won a Grammy,  I first heard when he was some kind of wunderkind in Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards. 

Playing live over the internet has been heretofore impossible because of something called latency. has created a new platform where we can do it - with high quality audio and video - and what's more, it allows the listener to enter this virtual environment and sit at a (virtual) table with friends and watch the show together then meet up with the artists and audience after the show in a zoom-like setting, but way more fun.  I especially look forward to a little facetime with some old friends (and new ones) where we can swap stories about our mothers (I had two). If you can't make it live, you can watch later on YouTube.
During the pandemic, I was recording a new CD when I discovered my birth mother through Ancestry DNA. I delayed the release to accommodate a new song I wrote after hearing these wonderful stories from members of my new family. "The Mother I Never Knew" is included on the new CD, "I'm Not Fifty Anymore" available at  I'll be performing that song as well as "Don't Forget Your Mother," my "cult classic" from 1973, one of the first songs I ever wrote and one that launched my solo career and provided my proverbial "Fifteen Minutes."
That recording had an all-star cast including members of Frank Zappa's Mothers with drummer Jim Gordon (Derek and the Dominoes), Tom "Bones" Malone (Blues Brothers), the boys choir from a private school, a string section from the Montreal Symphony and arrangements by John Lissauer (Leonard Cohen).
Ever since I arrived in Toronto in 1990 I have tried to do a special show for Mother's Day.  Mother's Day has a special significance for me, because I felt "chosen" even though some would say I have always had a bit of an "orphan complex." The Mother's Day shows (sometimes called "Motherless Day" shows) featured guests such as Harrison Kennedy, Clayton Doley, Allison Young, Roberta Hunt, Carrie Chesnutt and others. It was about the only time you would hear me perform "Don't Forget Your Mother,"  
You'll hear those original Mother tunes as well as a few old standards that my mothers would have loved. Please join me for this interactive experience, or if you're shy you can just view it on the YouTube channel.

Can we get Political...

As I watch the news, all we hear is how divided the American population has become. There's two sides and never the twain shall meet.  If we didn't have the upcoming, and inevitable, apocalypse to worry about, we could worry about what might happen when our neighbour to the south sheds any pretense of being a beacon of freedom shouting "America First".  The Republicans in Ohio just gave their support to a come-out-of-nowhere candidate whose America First philosophy was encapsulated when he said  "I really don't care what happens in Ukraine." (I got a feeling he would feel the same about Canada) And the only reason he was selected in the Republican primary is because Donald Trump said he was the man (even though he said a lot of nasty things about Trump in the past). Does that endorsement suggests that Trump is able to forgive and forget?  I guess so, when it benefits his agenda.
Maybe it's only 30% of Americans who agree with this guy, but they are so loud and aggressive – and way more motivated than the rest of the citizenry…they will probably take the day and take over America, build a big wall all around it to keep out the hoards of immigrants who will be displaced by drought and famine and desperate to find food and shelter.  What will this world look like in 40 or 50 years when there's twice the population and only half as much food. I'm surprised that as abortion has become the main topic on the news these days that no one has made the link between unsustainable overpopulation and abortion.
If you had to make one "line in the sand" between the liberals and the conservatives it would be abortion.  Even though there are many liberals who would never get an abortion, they are not about to prevent their neighbour from getting one, let alone turn them in to the "vigilante police" (for a reward, no less). Somewhere along the line, "liberal", "progressive" and "choice" became dirty words.
There I go again, being Mr Doom & Gloom. If my best ex was still in town, she'd be telling me to keep my ideas to myself, especially when I try to be a "devil's advocate."  I even gave Doug Ford a little credit for managing the crisis, especially since most of my crowd thought he would be a complete disaster.
But I do try to use my musical gifts to uplift folks and put a smile on their face, even when things are not looking that good for the human race.

More Dearly Departed

The last Blainletter felt like a big obituary with so many musician friends who had passed and this week it's come closer to home with the passing of my cousin Dennis's wife, Joan – a beautiful lady who made him very happy these last years and now she's gone.  I thought I had some pictures from the last time we were together in Montreal but alas the only thing I could find was me and Dennis in our youth. (doesn't look like we were having much fun on that boat but we always got along great). Dennis and Joan were most supportive of my music and always had feedback from my Blainletters and Blaincasts. Godspeed, Joan
Also, a local legend in the music business here in Toronto has posted that he is in a life-threatening condition in hospital and he has been through so much (including the loss of his legs) that we can only hope he will overcome this challenge as well. Hang in there, Michael Wrycraft.

See you out there (eventually)

Thanks for reading this far. I see that the Blainletter gets opened by hundreds of people but not sure how many read through it. But I always seem to hear from someone or other that they enjoyed it and that's what keeps me going. Feel free to forward this to any friend you think might enjoy my occasional ramblings (and maybe my music, too). These bits and more are always available on my blog,

See you out there, eventually...

BrianB, aka Butch, Nappy, Shaker, Two-Lane Blain, Colorblind Brian, Stringbuster, Buddha of the Blues


Mother's Day Matinee - Sunday, May 8, 3pm
streaming at

Brian sings songs he wrote for his mothers and old standards they would have loved. A laid-back session, playing in real-time with Mark Ferguson on keyboards (in Ottawa) and Drew Jurecka on violin (in Rocesvalles Village).  Audience can join in a zoom-like virtual venue and after-show meet & greet (or you can just view on YouTube). Programme bilingue

Tickets $15  at

To get the most out of your Syncspace experience, read this


For this album, I wanted to bring attention to the water crisis that is affecting 3 billion people on the planet. "Water Song" is a pretty dark "ear movie" with a global vibe provided by Sadio Sissokho (kora) and Harry Manx (mohan veena). The haunting vocals are provided by Ruth Mathiang. "I'm Not Fifty Anymore" kicks off the album with a little tongue-in-cheek  humour and some fine harp playing from Steve Marriner.  “The Not Worried Blues (An American Dream)” and “You Are Also His Son” were recorded with Julian Fauth and Gary Kendall, Mike Fitzpatrick and Pat Carey from Downchild.  “Blues Des Cantons (Goodbye Sherbrooke)” is a leaving-home barrelhouse boogie “en francais” with David Vest pounding the 88s. Patrick Merner added some bass & synth, and Clayton Doley overdubbed some organ from his studio in Melbourne, Australia. Ken Whiteley played some lap steel on "You Are Also His Son", Jesse O'Brien added some piano and organ to "The Mother I Never Knew" and drummer Michelle Josef provides a solid backbeat throughout.  Some songs end with extended jams (because I loves to jam) and the last track is a ten-minute acoustic soundscape with Michael Jerome Browne from the last day of recording my “Overqualified For The Blues” album years ago in Montreal. I call it “Tai Chi Ten,” …because it’s just the right pace and length for my Tai Chi set, but it makes for a fine meditation even if you aren’t moving.
Track Listing
1. I’m Not Fifty Anymore  3:07
  feat. Steve Marriner
2. You Are Also His Son  4:52
  feat. Ken Whiteley
3. Blues des Cantons (Goodbye Sherbrooke)  4:22  
feat. David Vest & Clayton Doley
4. The Mother I Never Knew  3:55  
feat. Jesse O’Brien
5. Not Worried Blues (An American Dream)  3:37  
feat. Julian Fauth
& Gary Kendall, Mike Fitzpatrick and Pat Carey from Downchild
6. Water Song  5:26  
feat. Harry Manx & Sadio Sissokho
7. Tai Chi Ten  (A Meditation)  9:54  
feat. Michael Jerome Browne

mixed by Margaret Stowe at Ozworld Toronto
mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering, Montreal
art direction Linda Turu
photography Margaret Mulligan
design Keijo Tapanainen
Copyright © 2022 Brian Blain, All rights reserved.

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