December 8, 2023

Somebody Wise (with the right set of eyes)

…They told me: “take your time & feed your mind with light”

I’m trying, ma.  Sometimes little victories show themselves in the form of gigs in front of hundreds with one of your heroes OR in the form of a house concert / kitchen party in front of 40 humans strong.

Matt Tinney photo

Last month, as I’ve done more times than I can count, I set out on a string of dates warming up crowds for a legend.  This time, it was Tom Cochrane, whose ‘Mad Mad World’ cassette nearly got itself shredded to smithereens from constant play when I was growing up.

This was a stripped-down tour for Tom & his guitarist Bill Bell, & I was tabbed for all the BC dates.  Opening financials being what they are, I always like to take these opportunities & add some smaller shows on the side as well, which led to me playing 11 shows in 11 days.  It was a tightly packed schedule with little to no downtime, but I’ve done it before & I knew I could do it again.

Matt Tinney photo

I was struck by the gracious warm welcome I got from both Tom & Bill, each & every afternoon we showed up to the venue.  After a couple of gigs Bill asked me to sit in on “Feed Your Mind” & Tom invited me up to do one of my favourite TC tunes, “No Regrets.”  These made for great moments of inclusivity & interplay with the support act that you don’t always see between headliner & opener.  It was a damn good time up there.

By about the 9th show in, I ended up getting a fairly gnarly head & chest cold, which made the last 3 solo shows quite challenging.  There was one moment during my final date out in Lions Bay where I literally started coughing during ‘Driveway,’ & had to stop mid-song.  This great audience of about 85 started clapping their support as I guzzled some Buckley’s (it tastes bad & it works) off the mic.  They lifted me up, I re-started the song and together we made the rest of the set go off without a hitch.  Once again proving that the artist/audience connection is a real living & breathing thing that can move mountains when necessary.  I loved that show.

Home now & charging my batteries, I’m looking forward to some more touring in 2024.  The album is out, and seems to be my best-received work to date.  I’m beyond grateful for Canadian & International radio that’s shining a light on the songs, and to the team around me that helps keep me motivated & organized on the business side of things.  This industry has changed exponentially since I started 25 years ago.  With the streaming genie seemingly let out of the bottle, I know that folks don’t have to buy records these days.  Yet, at every show I play, I see either a few  vinyl LPs or even CDs leave the concert in the hands of a new fan or an old friend that’s been supporting me for years.  My music is still being consumed, one way or another.

Sometimes it’s 85 strong in a tiny community, helping a sick version of me get through another song.  Sometimes you look to your immediate left and you’re singing about having No Regrets in front of a thousand people with a fella you’ve been listening to since you were 11.  Either way, a show’s a show & they’re all gold to me.

Thanks for listening for another year.  See you in 2024, gang.