A quick recap of a wonderful trip -
Thursday brought a 6 a.m. wake-up call. After a few 'phoners' with local PEI stations, I was up and out on my way to Toronto, and on over to PEI. All in all, a quick trip, and a true testament to the Nashville airport for offering a few direct flights to Toronto each and every day. Ironically enough, I tend to meet more songwriters on this flight than any other. After meeting Mark in baggage claim, I checked in to the historic Rodd Charlottetown. Quite frankly, I had one thing on my mind - PEI mussels . . . and cold beer. I decided to head down to the Gahan House for a few Island Red's (Great Beer!) and a pound of traditional mussels prepared with plenty garlic in a creamy broth - outstanding. Better yet, the company of a few fine gentlemen - George Roberts and the hilarious Liam Maguire. After a great meal, and plenty of NHL trivia, it was time to call it a night . . . sort of. Upon walking out of the Gahan House, I'd remembered a great bar across the street, above Daniel B. Brickhouse, where I'd visited over the summer. To my delight, this time around they carried Kentucky bourbon. Did I say to my delight? Perhaps it was to my downfall. In the midst of great company and outstanding local music, I enjoyed a few too many bourbons than I'd like to admit to - leaving me with quite a hangover the next morning.
Nevertheless, life goes on.
It was a pleasure to do the CBC "Spin Time" show with Karen Mair - the only problem was it was 10:00 a.m. and I was still feeling the pounding of a bourbon headache from the night before. Yet, it turned out to be the perfect concoction to discuss Americana music from Athens, GA (Stewart and Winfield "Festival"), Nashville/Kentucky (Darryl Scott "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive"), and my own tune "Tennessee". Really a pleasure to be on such a great show, and you can catch my audio here.
After that, I was swept up by George for a great tour of the island. I honestly cannot thank him enough for his hospitality. Viewing the potato "production", including the farms, storage facilities, and processing plants (Cavendish Farms) was simply incredible. After that, we passed the day in the company of many great gentleman on the golf course. Yes, I'm terrible at golf, yet I suppose it was Canadian hospitality that allowed me to eek out a game of sorts for the day - or maybe it was just the Moosehead beer and Fireball shots. Nevertheless, I had a great time playing with George, Liam, and Hugh-ey . . . and it was also nice to meet Marcel Dionne.
After golf, it was off to George's farm to check out his new project. I'll say one thing. The beauty of P.E.I is truly within the landscape. Like nowhere else I've ever traveled, P.E.I. has it all. Undulating hills, spotted with historic farmhouses, crops, trees, and incredible landscapes - all with a view of the crystal blue Atlantic in the background. Riding in George's dune buggy on his property was the best way to take it all in - truly incredible - I can see why he has a chair simply perched atop this peak of land to enjoy sunsets and the prophetic landscape that reaches all the way to the horizon on a beautiful fall day.
After that, a great hockey game in Summerside, and finally to bed - Thanks to Bryan for the ride back to Charlottetown.
What better to do when in a foreign country than to break into a a well established restaurant at 9:00 a.m. Yes, that's what I did. Hilarious? Sorta . . . Embarrassing - Absolutely. After getting down to Sim's Corner to meet the great Ross Munro, I found an open door - and an alarm that would make any man check his drawers upon getting out alive. Oh well, an honest mistake I suppose, but nevertheless, a great way to 'wake up' a great day. I was so fortunate to enjoy Ross' hospitality by allowing me to prep and utilize much of the equipment from his restaurant. Seriously - one of the most incredibly generous people I've met in my lifetime. Thankfully - Cory made it back to help out and assist in everything from prep to shopping to demos to tracking down local PEI girls (for him of course). Good luck with her Cory!
The Great Big BBQ block party encountered some cloudy, rainy weather, but the turnout and enthusiasm remained high. Honestly - a special thanks to Mark, Treena, Myrtle, and the many others who spent so many hours putting together such a great event. For those who couldn't be there, I provided my recipe in my last post. Overall, it was a pleasure to showcase local island beef, utilizing a cut (skirt steak) that seemed to be relatively unknown to most festival-goers. My apologies to the butchers on PEI - I'm pretty sure you are gonna get a lot requests for 'skirt steak' from now on!!! The demos turned out fantastic!
A few more beers, dinner, and good conversation at Gahan House was the perfect way to end a fabulous week.
Well, air travel can be amazing, but also frustrating. Unfortunately, I met some resistance from an asshole working the gate for Air Canada at the PEI airport who insisted I had to check my guitar - his sarcasm was embarrassing, but I was ready to get home, so I sucked it up, payed the $35 fee, and sent my Martin Guitar off on a hope and a prayer . . . and sure enough - it was lost in the Toronto airport. Oh well - I finally got her back into my hands (3 hours later), and made it safe back to Nashville. Definitely not the best way to end a great trip, but then again, I think Karma will come back to pay for that gate agent who got his rocks off by asking me to show him how my guitar would fit into the "carry on" space. Get a life dude.
A special thanks to Charles for hanging out - and taking these great pictures!