All Good Things….

….Must come to an end.

Well folks we made it home from a ten week tour alive. We had good times, some great shows (like our tour finale in Quebec City with two standing O’s) and of course had the flip side to all that as well. Before I get to the meat of this post I want to thank everyone who gave us food and shelter along the way and of course all the clubs who gave us shows and peeps who came to said shows!

However….

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the parting of Shawn Bastard from our current line up. Shawn and I have played together for 13 years so believe me when I say that this is not an easy time in my life right now. I’m sure it won’t be but a blink of an eye before you see him rawking a stage somewhere with someone and considering he is one of Canada’s best on the low end, I’m sure he’s already in demand. Karl Gans and myself will continue to make music in some fashion or another over the coming months. Spring tour and band shows are still scheduled as planned for 2012. You can check Karl and I out in Duo form this weekend in St Andrews NB. Of course, since it won’t be the same without Shawn I’ll be dropping the moniker “& The Sufferin’ Bastards”. You’ll be able to find all things related to me musically under my very own name. Not too clever i realize but it works. Website will remain the same but eventually the band Facebook page will go away and I will have a new Ross Neilsen Music related FB page.

Currently I’m booking my solo tour for the first quarter of 2012 and there are a few shows listed in the tour dates section of this site now. Stay tuned for more shows in Ontario in March. I’m also going to be woodshedding hard to get ready to head to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge where I’ll represent Harvest Jazz and Blues Fest in the solo/Duo category. I’m very excited to head back to the land of Blues and BBQ! There will be a fundraiser event at Dolan’s Pub on January 18th at 7.30pm. I hope y’all can come and help a fellow out so I can afford to head south with out too much overhead. It’ll be two sets of solo material spanning the past 6 years and who knows, maybe a guest or two?

Before I go get into “the medicine” I’d just like to say what a pleasure and honour it’s been to have such a great band and even more so, such a loyal base of friends, family and fans. I really do believe we wouldn’t be anywhere without the support we receive from y’all and while we weather this shit storm I just want everyone to know that we’ve appreciated every single time you’ve been there for us. While right now I am struggling to control my emotions, know that I will turn this into an opportunity to re-collect myself and continue to put out new and exciting music with the same high quality shows/music you’ve been used to in the past.

Your’s in music,

Ross

I’m a Weiner!

Hey y’all, this is a re-blog. I tried to post this last week and for some reason it didn’t go. So, here’s the updated version.

Well Harvest Fest has come and gone. Man! What a kick ass festival this year. It was too good! So many great acts! I saw a lot of tunes and met a few idols of mine so needless to say I had a truly epic weekend. Add to that, I won the contest so many of you were voting as well! Yup! I’ll be heading back to Beale St in Memphis Tennessee in February to compete in the solo/duo category for the International Blues Challenge. There’s gonna be some good times there! BBQ!!!! MUSIC!!!! oh yeah!

I want to sincerely thank everyone who helped wave my flag. I won the online portion, voting on site portion and the judges portion! I’m very happy and proud that I could do my part as well as y’all did yours. Thanks so much for the support.

I had a great weekend. I did a couple shows in PEI with my pal Mike Dixon of the Saddle River String Band fame. We played the Lefurgy House on Thursday night and then the Trailside Cafe on Friday night. These were a hoot. Mike and I haven’t really hung out since we were in Vancouver at the Olympics. What a time that was! Saturday night I performed solo at The Parkindale Hall in NB. Very cool little venue. Great vibes, fun to sing in. It was real a nice listening crowd.

Next week I’ll be polishing up Ruby, trying to get my HST filing done and packing up to hit the road across the Nation for our Pure Rawk Fury tour. I hope to see y’all out and about at a show and feel free to share this page with your friends who like to RAWK. We’ll have our new live CD “What You Need Vol 2” with us as well. We recorded it on our spring/summer tour during Canada day weekend at Blues on Whyte in Edmonton. We hope you dig it! Here’s the tour dates…Come get some….
Sept 30, 2011 10.00 PM The Rainbow, Ottawa, ON
Oct 1, 2011 9.30 PM Lavigne Tavern, Lavigne, ON
Oct 3, 2011 7.30 PM Voyaguer Cookhouse/Lodge, Batchawanna Bay, ON
Oct 5, 2011 10.00 PM The Apollo, Thunder Bay, ON
Oct 6, 2011 7.30 PM Pappy’s Cafe, Waibagoon, ON
Oct 7, 2011 10.00 PM Shooter’s, Kenora, ON
Oct 8, 2011 10.00 PM The Gaslight Saloon, Regina, SK
Oct 11, 2011 10.00 PM Bud’s on Broadway, Saskatoon, SK
Oct 12, 2011 10.00 PM Bud’s on Broadway, Saskatoon, SK
Oct 13, 2011 7.30 PM House Concert, Saskatoon, SK (email info@rossneilsen.com for details)
Oct 14, 2011 10.00 PM The Mainliner, Medicine Hat, AB
Oct 15, 2011 10.00 PM The Mainliner, Medicine Hat, AB
Oct 19, 2011 10.00 PM The Slice, Lethbridge, AB
Oct 20, 2011 11.00 PM Canmore Hotel, Canmore, AB
Oct 21, 2011 10.00 PM The Hideout, Red Deer, AB
Oct 22, 2011 9.00 PM Mikey’s Juke Joint, Calgary, AB
Oct 24, 2011 10.00 PM The Local, Red Deer, AB
Oct 26, 2011 8.00 PM TBA Kelowna, BC
Oct 27, 2011 7.30 PM Bozinni’s, Chiliwack, BC
Oct 28, 2011 9.00 PM The Yale, Vancouver, BC
Oct 29, 2011 9.00 PM Weigh West Marina Halloween Dance, Tofino, BC
Oct 30, 2011 9.00 PM The Rod and Gun, Parksville, BC
Nov 3, 2011 10.00 PM The Quinnie, Campbell River, BC
Nov 4, 2011 7.30 PM House Concert, Courtenay, BC (email info@rossneilsen.com for details)
Nov 5, 2011 9.30 PM Falconetties, Vancouver, BC
Nov 10, 2011 10.00 PM The Inlander, Kamloops, BC
Nov 11, 2011 9.00 PM Westsyde Pump, Kamloops, BC
Nov 12, 2011 10.00 PM Rockwater Grill, Golden, BC
Nov 15, 2011 10.00 PM Rose n Crown, Banff, AB
Nov 16, 2011 10.00 PM Rose n Crown, Banff, AB
Nov 17, 2011 9.30 PM Downstream Bar, Jasper, AB
Nov 21, 2011 9.00 PM Blues on Whyte, Edmonton, AB
Nov 22, 2011 9.00 PM Blues on Whyte, Edmonton, AB
Nov 23, 2011 9.00 PM Blues on Whyte, Edmonton, AB
Nov 24, 2011 10.00 PM Blues on Whyte, Edmonton, AB
Nov 25, 2011 10.00 PM Blues on Whyte, Edmonton, AB
Nov 26, 2011 3.00 PM MATINEE Blues on Whyte, Edmonton, AB
Nov 27, 2011 10.00 PM Blues on Whyte, Edmonton, AB

There will be a handful of dates added over the coming days as well so stay tuned!
Yours in Rawk,

Ross

BACK TO BEALE!

Hey folks!

wel if you’ve been online past day or two and are a friend of mine on FB or a follower on twitter (@rossneilsen) you know I’m smack dab in the middle of an online voting thingymabobbler. It’s true. Here’s the deets:

Harvest Jazz & Blues is having a contest (ick) to pick an artist to represent them at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, this January. 50% of the voting is done online right HERE and the other 50% will be old school….real live judges at the actual performance. The Live portion of the contest is held this Saturday at the Barracks Tent in downtown Fredericton from 2-4pm. There are three other acts on the bill.

Everyone knows music contests suck BUT….the fact of the matter is, that it’s a great opportunity. The worlds leading Blues-ies will be in Memphis for this and I’d like to go back and hob nob with some buyers, agents etc. What’s that? Back you say? Yes, that’s correct. You may recall a young whippersnapper by the name of Matt Andersen who won the 2010 solo/duo category. At that time, the Bastards and I were in Memphis competing in the band category. We got to watch Matty destroy Memphis with his skills! It was a blast. Then we ate ribs! Mmmmm ribs!

Anyhow, I was honoured Harvest asked me to throw my skills in their contest and I’m not going to lie, I want this one folks. I have some pals in Memphis and Mizzip that I’d like to see and I wouldn’t mind playing some blues on Beale St again thats for sure!

So if you dig what I do, head on over to http://www.cbc.ca/nb/features/blueschallenge/ and give ole needy Rossco a vote would ya?? If you DON’T dig what I do, I’m not sure why yer reading this but it’s your chance to foil me….head on over to the link and vote, just be careful you don’t accidentally vote for moi!!!!

Thanks a lot for the support folks. I know y’all don’t mind supporting but it is hard to constantly ask and it sure does warm that big empty hole in my chest where my heart might live.

I’m gonna leave y’all with a video that has a nice double connection. The tune is “Back to Memphis”. It’s a Chuck Berry tune. This version is by The Band with Levon Helm on vocals. You may or may not know Levon and his band will be in Fredericton at The Bud light tent on Thursday night. Yours truly will be opening the night with a solo set!

Hope to see y’all Saturday at The Barracks fro 2-4pm for the Blues Showdown of the year!!!!

High five!

Ross

It’s Harvest time. Finally.

Before I get into the meat of this post I want to say quickly that we just returned from what I think was our most successful tour of Ontario. It was short but sweet. Played some new venues, including a LAKE!!!!!

We had to get boated in…you know, cause it’s an island….

We got to hang with some old friends and I got to jam with someone I’ve been waiting to play with for a couple years….Donna Grantis.

If you don’t know of Donna, she is a Toronto based axe slinger and man can she play. She is Shakura S’aida’s main geetar gal and also fronts her own rocking trio which is poised to release a brand new kick axe instrumental record very soon. Keep an ear out for it. It’s all Led Zepp meets Hendrix kinda goodness!

Ok, so….lots of people wait all year for Christmas to come. My Christmas isn’t in December though…Mine is in September. Every year during the third week of September, Fredericton New Brunswick is transformed into a world class meeting grounds for Blues players and Blues Fans alike. I have been coming to Harvest Jazz and Blues for nearly two decades. I remember watching Big Sugar play, when they were still riding on 500 lbs (amazing album), in the parking lot downtown that is now called the tannery. I remember seeing Duke Robillard, Pinetop Perkins, Jon Cleary, Dr. John, Buddy Guy and so many others I’d have to rent more webspace to post them all. I’ve seen it grow from fledgling festival to world class. The past five years alone has seen Harvest jump to a world stage bringing in acts you’d see at any other festival. ANYWHERE. Over the years as a patron I’ve had many memories I’ll cherish forever (many i can’t remember too!) and over the last decade or so I’ve slowly been growing my musical self as well. In 2005 I won The rising star award at Harvest and began my real journey into my true career. Over the past six years Harvest has supported me time and time again, showing me that they believe in what I do by putting me, and me with The Bastards, on bills with Buddy Guy, Joel Plaskett, (almost Gregg Allman), and now Levon Helm and Jonny Lang. This kind of support means a lot to me and to be able to do shows of this level in our hometown means even more. You may recall in 2010, that Harvest sent The Bastards and I, to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Challenge. That was the year our Brother Matt Andersen won the solo/duo category!

It was amazing to watch Matt in the finals in the beautiful Orpheum Theatre and even more amazing to watch the look on peoples faces as he destroyed the room with only three songs.

Well I’m honoured, again, to say that I will be competing with a few other acts on Saturday Sept 17th at The Barracks stage from 2-4pm to try and once again win a trip Back to Beale street to compete in the IBC. This time, though I’ll be going as a solo performer. Although I started my real music career as a solo performer over the years the Bastards have taken my focus as we’ve worked hard to travel the nation doing what we do. I’ve never stopped performing solo though, and I still do a winter solo tour every year. I’m nervous and honoured to be making this attempt to get Back to Beale all by my lonesome. So, here’s the kicker….as with all music contests these days, 50% of the vote is judged at the performance, and 50% is of course…ONLINE VOTING….booo, hissssss, I know, I know. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was pestering you for Taylor guitar contest votes? Well I’m gonna ask once more, friends that you help me Back to Beale and vote as often and with as many email addy’s that you can. This Monday voting begins on the CBC website. Rest assured you can visit this very site and there will be a link to the CBC page. I know it’s a pain in the ass but I’m only asking because I love what I do and I know some of you out there enjoy it too and are willing to help at the drop of a hat. So I encourage you, tell your friends, post on your facebook, tweet, text, talk about it! I’m humbly asking for your help but I’m going to be honest here… I Want To Win. I believe I can with your help. What do you say?

Stay tuned for the link and voting details. I’ll post them as soon as I have them. MUCH thanks in advance. Y’all rawk! Hope to see you at the Barracks this Saturday from 2-4pm, or at any of the Harvest events for that matter! What a week to be alive!!!!

MB

Day 19 (?): Edmonton Compound

Well hello there. I’ve been fairly delinquent in updates. Sorry ’bout that. It’s difficult to stay on top of while traveling. We’re in Edmonton at our Bastard Compound now for a few days of downtime so I’ll try and get caught up. Let’s see, we’ve played a bunch of shows and been through a couple provinces since I last updated…

Winnipeg: Got to hang with our pal Vince and his lovely lady. They were gracious enough to host us for the night. Since it was a lovely day we BBQ’d. Can’t be in Manitoba and not try farmer sausage right? So Vince grabbed some Farmer Sausage (not to be confused with some farmer’s sausage) and chopped her right up for the Q. It was good stuff! I think Vince even had a stop by his fridge in the middle of the night to have a snack…it was THAT good.

Regina: After a fairly nice drive we found our club for the night. The Gas Light is up two flights of stairs (BOO!) but other than that we felt right at home there. They have some sweet dinner deals for you while the Ladies dance the pole …not nekkid though.. : ( Unfortunately we were told by the Bartender right away that due to the Mosaic being that weekend in Regina we shouldn’t expect too much of a crowd. The Mosaic is a food fair featuring pavilions from around the world and it is highly attended. Our Bartender was right. It was a quiet night but we rawked ‘er anyway. Had a nice chat with the owner, Joan and got to re-connect with Dan from the Regina Blues Society. We look forward to coming back in the fall to try our luck again. Did I mention there is a tattoo shop in this bar???? How awesome is that?

After our show we had a few days off and thought it might be nice to do some camping to relax a bit before our next string of shows. We tried a place called Regina Beach but all the campsites were “full”. All that really meant was they didn’t want to rent to us. Seems Regina Beach has a bit of a party reputation and the campground owners assumed we’d get rowdy…..So after a beer and some sunshine we fueled up, got supplies and drove to Dundurn. We found the campground, which is just south of Saskatoon, and set up. Man. What a find. Totally quiet this time of year and RIGHT on the lake. Shawn Bastard tried his luck at some fishing…

and we got a great sunset too!

We had such a great night we decided to stay another day since it was sunny again. The beach was a couple KMs away so we played a “through the woods to the beach and back” game of Bocce. Lots of fun, a little sun burn and loads of little bug fly/thingys that we’re getting it on down by the beach. that part was a little creepy. It was a good bocce match. Shawn Bastard came out on top and now I think that means he is up 2-1 over Karl this tour. I, sadly, have yet to win a game….That night we cooked on the fire and relaxed and enjoyed another epic sunset.

The next day we hit up Saskatoon. We were due to play the following two nights at Bud’s on Broadway. We’ve played at Bud’s a lot over the past six tours and really love the place. Great staff and always a good time. We had some folks from the Saskatoon Blues Society out as well and it was good to see some familiar faces there to rawk! Here’s a pic of one of the full time residents int he Apt. above the bar….

His name? Yup, you guessed it…Bud.

The really great part about Saskatoon is we get to stay at my cousins place and hang out with family. The really, REALLY great thing about staying there is that my cousin’s wife is an incredible cook and she knows we love to eat so it’s a great relationship really! Here’s a pic of one of our great plates of food while there…

After our last show at Bud’s we drove overnight to Edmonton. We had a fresh shipment of T-shirts coming and wanted to make sure we were there to receive ’em. We only just got this re-order and are already finding ourselves ready to do a third order. Needless to say the T’s are selling well!!!! We played Stony Plain on the Friday and had a fun time. Great owners there that go out of their way for you. Always a treat to rawk the Stony Plainers!!!

Saturday we got up and had lunch at our fav little deli in Edmonton. “Care it Urban Deli” is home to some delicious sammies and yummy soup. We eat here a lot as it’s tasty, healthy and cheap. Three rarities in food when on the road. Before we knew it we were back on the road to one of our best gigs in Canada. Mikey’s Juke Joint. What can I say that I haven’t already said here….Mikey’s kicks ass. We always have a great crowd there with lots of old east coast friends and each time we play we make some new Calgary fans. This time was no exception. Here is some video someone took during the concert…

GREAT TIME!!!! Big thanks too, to our pals in Vista Heights for letting us crash. always fun!!! MAJOR THANKS to Justin for giving me a pair of sweet boots too!!! What a guy!

After a nice breakfast with our pals we hit the road to return to Edmonton for a few days off before hitting the mountains. We got to have a quick hang with our compound manager Jim and his son/helper/tough guy extraordinaire, Sean. We had a great time into the wee hours and before we knew it, it was Monday and we were making our patented Bastard Breakkie…..

Gonna get some rehearsing in tomorrow and then Wednesday we drive to beautiful Jasper for a few shows at The Downstream before heading into BC’s interior. Lots of fun coming up so stay tuned. There are always shows being added so keep in touch with out tour dates too. We’ve announced a couple shows that were under wraps including MONTREAL JAZZ FEST!!!!!! and a couple other fun Quebec Festivals! Mais OUI!!!

So i say to everyone, enjoy the long days and get some sun when you can. We’ll chat soon! yours in RAWK,

MB