We’ve just returned home safe and sound from our eight-day tour out to western Canada, and we had a wonderful time. But I don’t ever remember one trip on which we performed in such a wide variety of venues.
We performed at a rodeo in Calgary, a casino in Edmonton, a small community center in Caslan, and a gigantic outdoor country festival in Craven. Talk about a schedule designed to keep a performer on his toes!!
Where are we tonight? Oh, it’s a rodeo so let’s crank it up. Ooops, now it’s a quiet, carpeted casino lounge, so let’s tone it down. Now it’s a town-hall in a place so small the natives tell you it’s not even called a town…”It’s a hamlet,” they say…..so what do we do here? Then before you can say “Saskatchewan,” the sun is out and we’re in front of 25,000 partying young fans on a big outdoor stage where some fans are so far from the stage they can only see us through binoculars or on humongous video screens.
Actually, I love the variety. I think if I had to only play one type of venue that I’d get bored. Trust me, there was nothing boring about this trip
I know I’ve written about this before, but I really like Canada. I’ve enjoyed going there ever since my first tour above the border ‘way back in 1959. I’ve always found the Canadian people to be the exact opposite of the Canadian winters…. warm, friendly, and inviting.
They remember our old songs, and call out requests for “Golden Guitar,” “Po’ Folks,” “Ninety Nine,” and “I Get The Fever,” as if they were right off today’s hit parade. And the words “too country” aren’t in their vocabulary.
And if I may offer a few other north-of-the-border observations:
Ice hockey never goes out of season up there. Open a newspaper in the middle of July and you’ll find a picture of a hockey player, or news about a hockey game, a hockey trade, or something else to do with hockey. We enjoy hockey in the U.S, and I’m thrilled that we have an NHL team in Nashville, but in Canada hockey is not a game. It’s a religion.
Canada has taken the penny out of their currency. It’s strange to have a $9.62 meal charge and see them round it off to the nearest nickel. Pennies can be a nuisance sometimes, but I hope we don’t ever do away with them in our country. Besides, how would we sing “If Teardrops Were Pennies (And Heartaches Were Gold”)?
And is there a restaurant chain anywhere with as many stores as Tim Horton’s has in Canada? There seems to be a Tim Horton’s coffee shop on every street corner. And you know what? The coffee is pretty darned good.
We were supposed to be headed for Texas this coming weekend, but our performance there has been cancelled. We’ll be back in the studio this week continuing to put some finishing touches on our new CD, and on the Opry Friday night July 19th. After that, I’ll be recording a musical track for a very special event that’s not even on our schedule yet. But if you live in or around Cincinnati, Ohio, stay tuned.