After the dust settled from our crazy Canada Day weekend festivities, Jody and I decided to get to the next order of business in our Ottawa summers. The Bluesfest! This event is the second largest Blues festival in North America (after Chicago), and probably one of the largest overall festivals in Canada. Essentially, the party goes on for 10 days, and plays host to over 150 different acts. This year was another stellar year for performances, and we definitely got more than our fill of many different musical stylings, not just Blues. If you’re curious about this years’ performances, you can still check out the listings on the website. Of course, if you’re reading this after 2006, well, you’ll be out luck, but will see who’s supposed to be on in the current year 😉 I’d love to get into full details of all the shows we saw, but there are far, far too many to list. Personally for me, some of the highlights were on the smaller stages, which often have a more intimate setting, and you get to see some great acts. A partial list of my faves would be Chicago Blues Reunion, Detroit Women, Dickey Betts & Great Southern, Elmer Ferrer Band, Eric Lindell, Etta James, Jake Shimabukuro, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Sam Roberts Band, Solomon Burke, Walter Trout & the Radicals, and finally Wilco. Click any of the links to learn more about them, or check out their music.
In the middle of the festival, Jody and I slipped off to go to Napierville (south of Montreal), for a little family gathering. Although I don’t have a whole lot of family living in Canada, my mother’s brother’s family lives in Montreal. This year, my aunt and uncle are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, and my cousins organized a little evening to celebrate the occasion. Nothing too big, just relatives and close friends. I took the opportunity to go because I really hadn’t seen my cousins David, Jean-Christophe, and Catherine in a really long time. I’m talking 10+ years in some cases! Even though I live a mere 2 hours or so from them, we just never seem to make it out that way. My dad also made the trip from Nova Scotia, which was another good reason to go.
The location of the party was at a little restaurant called Chez Emile. This is an organic-only place, which served up some great food in a charming atmosphere. Did I just say ‘charming’? Oh well, I’m allowed to now and again, right? The best part of the trip was the fact that I met a new cousin of mine. Now, I’m not talking about a baby either, I’m talking about a woman, my age essentially, that is my cousin, but I’d never met, or even knew of her! Crazy, eh? As it turns out she is my cousin not by blood but by family. My uncle had an adopted brother, and this was his brood. From that side, I actually have two cousins. Who knew. So not only was it a celebration for the happy couple, but also a family discovery trip! Crazy.