Seasons Change and So do I

Hello there everyone!

Well as one of my favourite teenage-years- bands, CINDERELLA, would say, It’s been a long cold winter!!! Seriously. Every year winter sucks but this year, on my solo tour, I noticed people have actually been beat down by winter in a way that is right in their psyche! Lot’s of people ready for Spring. Myself included. Well, let me tell ya…SPRING IS COMING!!! How do I know? Well there are a few things that happen each year that signal it for me. one of which is the end of my solo tour and the gear shift into Band mode. As soon as I start thinking about Ross Neilsen Band’s spring tour i KNOW it’s right around the corner.

This past Saturday I finished a 15 000km solo tour of Canada. I played ALL DAY on PEI. I had a matinee in the afternoon with Got Blues? at The Factory in Charlottetown. A really good afternoon crowd and I had a ball playing with a band. Only got me fired up to Rock it with my own rhythm section. Saturday evening a performed at a house concert out in York. Again, killer crowd and SO. Much. Fun! Alas, that was the last show on my annual winter solo tour. I want to say a huge thanks to all the folks who came out to shows, who let me crash at their place, who booked me into their bar or home, who fed me and showed me kindness. A couple weeks ago I celebrate seven years as a full time musician. How could I ever do that without all the help I get every day?! So many special peeps out there that make my life so much easier/possible. Love to all y’all!

The solo tour was filled with nothing but good times (and nice weather believe it or not!) all over. As per usual. It’s hard to pick one thing that tops it all as there are so many fun nights…like hanging with Sean Burns in Winnipeg…

or reuniting with Shawn Worden in Lethbridge after two years…

Having a night off in Edmonton to see Paul Reddick, Greg Cockerill and our pals MonkeyJunk

….seeing old friends, making new ones. it’s ALL a highlight…There was one show, that stood out though, which would have to be opening for one of my favourite bands ever in a wicked rocknroll room in Toronto. I did a quick opener for North Mississippi Allstars earlier this month at Lee’s Palace. What. A. Time. I had a blast and was received warmly. The band called me up to jam later in their set. Blew my mind to be on a stage performing with a band I’ve listened to so much over the years. I can’t even describe how that feels. Meant so much to me.

Did someone say BAND??!?!?!?!? I love playing solo but I also REALLY love to RAWK OUT. Tomorrow I officially switch gears into “band mode”. I’m so stoked to fire up the band and get wood shedding. We’ll be rehearsing hard over the next couple weeks so we can sound good for our spring tour. The Spring band dates are posted right HERE if you want to see what’s going on. There are lots more shows coming down the pipes so stay tuned to the tour date page to know when we’ll be around you’re neck of the woods. We’re really stoked to get back out across the nation and rawking your town! There will be a couple new tunes in the sets this tour. Both originals and covers. First gigs are THIS WEEKEND at the Red Herring in St Andrews. Our home in the east. Looking forward to getting back down there to rock some tunes by the bay of Fundy!

In other news I’ll be playing the game a little bit, very briefly, on PEI April 3rd, the day before RNB tour starts. My album, The Shack Up Sessions, has been nominated for best blues recording at the ECMA’s (East Coast Music Association/awards) and I got a showcase to support the nomination with as well. Of course I’m conflicted about this, as always, but I’m going over to swing away for 8 or 12 hours and see where the chips fall. Wish me luck. I play Gahan house Thursday April 3rd at 7pm and then at the Globe for the Blues showcase at 10.20pm. Hope to see you there supporting!

Stay in touch this summer. We’ve got a couple of exciting irons in the fire and, as always, are looking forward to the future. More importantly, we’re looking forward to seeing YOU again at a show in your town!

Stay tuned. Big Love.

Ross

PS….Just before I go I want to mention it was almost a year ago that we lost, east coast rocker, Jay Smith, to mental illness. Jay was a powerful figure on the east coast rock scene and if there was any doubt of that, the fundraiser for his family only weeks after his death proved it. What a turnout of support. One thing I would personally like to see come of this, though, is more people talking about it. I think even MORE good could possibly come from this if we all tried to raise a bit of awareness.  Jay’s death was a tragedy, as suicide always is. Perhaps being a little more open about things like this behind or in front of closed doors, with your friends, strangers or family, whatever…just keep talking about it. We can find strength in the most seemingly hopeless places and light in the darkest of rooms.  We gotta help one another survive.

PPS….i took a lot of pics on my trip as per usual. head on over to my instagram and check em out. here are two of my favs.

Food, the vote, last minute shows.

What a weekend. So much driving. Lots of play too though. Got to do some fun sows with Chris Colepaugh and his Crew on Friday and Saturday. Loved it! so nice to play with this guy. He really is the best kept secret around here. He has been rocking it for well over ten years and it shows. He is a total pro with one helluva live show. If you haven’t seen it you just HAVE too. Plain and simple. I also did a few solo sets in Halifax at Saltscapes Expo. There were fun too. I love promoting NB and had a ball playing for the folks there. thanks to Harvest and the province for including me. I got some crazy good hot sauce from Amiel’s Island Fire, caught up with the Hot Lollies and reconnected with old friends form Treat shoppe by the Sea. Oh, and drank some Propeller Pilsner (YUM) and tried Bacon Jam for the first (not last) time. Life Changing!!!!

Man, what a weird day today. Vote day in Canada. I’ve been enjoying talking with friends who share different views on the election today. Hard to argue with a few of ’em who don’t want to cast a ballot. I personally think everyone should. Even if you spoil it. Thing is though, I find most people cast a ballot and then think their duty is done. Then the politician goes on the screw up and peeps bitch about it around the kitchen table. You know what folks, here is what I think….The actual casting of the ballot is an integral but TINY part of the process. The real important part is the follow up. Hold those people you vote for accountable. In our complacent society people seem fine to just be disappointed. Those folks you vote for are working FOR you though. Which means YOU can hold them accountable. Instead of crying around the campfire about johnny politic screwing up “the system” why not call his office and ask to have a chit chat. Email him, write a letter. Friggin’ harass that guy. Cause that is well within your rights. Call him out on his short comings. That’s OUR job. We need to do this. Death to complacency and re-birth to accountability. I refuse to lie down and say “well that’s just how it is” or “some new asshole is gonna do that same thing”. Let’s all try and start holding these jokers responsible for a change? Wouldn’t that be a switch? Fingers crossed it’s not Harper we’ll have to hold responsible.

Osama. Wow. I woke up to that news. Weird. I don’t get it. Overboard with the body? hmmmm. The dog seems to be getting wagged a touch here. I saw a pic of a bunch of fire fighters watching a news ticker saying Osama was dead. Fist pumps in the air etc. The caption said “closure”. Really? just like that? I’m not from NYC and certainly not a fire fighter but is this news really all it took for closure? i don’t want to sem disrespectful to those folks who were there and worked the scene cause i have nothing but respect for them but is anyone doubting the validity of it all? It’s all very odd. Celebration of the death of a death dealer. It’s strange to me. Just out of the blue like that too.

On a lighter note I want to mention that in my ECMA post I forgot about the very best thing that whole week. The Bastards and I went to Claddagh Oyster House to eat. You see my old pal Paul is the chef there. Let me tell you this, BEST DINNER EVER! I didn’t get a pic of the first course but it was pork belly braised in a guinness sauce. Yeah. I know. That was the first course. of SEVEN!! Pics don’t do it justice but check it….

Lobster Gnocchi!!!


Oysters. Raw, Rockefeller and Bruscetta (i think)


Fancy Mussels!


Beef Tenderloin and fancy mashed!!!


Southern Fried Chicken. This may have been my fav. INCREDIBLE


Pork Tenderloin

It was just ridiculous. the whole thing. The service was great and the food knocked us out! thanks so much to Paul and his team. Way beyond top shelf guys!

Ok, so last but not least I just added to short notice gigs. This THURSDAY may 5th I’m performing solo at The Shiretown Pub in Hampton NB. This is a nice, brand new pub and I’m looking forward to playing there. I booked the same room for Saturday May 21st only with The Bastards. $5 for Thursday and $10 for Saturday. Please help spread the word! Hope to see you there!

Ross

PS…it’s fiddlehead season. Yes!!!