Blues musicians and singers Suzie Vinnick and Big Dave Mclean
I love how blues allows you to emote, I can be sassy when I sing the blues and I love making people smile when I sing those sassy songs and moving them when I sing the sadder songs.
—Blues musician Suzie Vinnick
The blues are universal. Everyone around the world experiences them and
there are many different ways of expressing the pain and sorrow.
Here in Canada, when it comes to expressing the blues through music, we're blessed with several great artists. One of them is Winnipeg's Big Dave McLean, one other is Suzie Vinnick.
Suzie is an multi-award winning artist whose latest album Me N' Mabel is nominated for Best Blues album at the upcoming Junos. Big Dave Mclean is also a multi-award winning artist who has worked with blues legend Muddy Waters and John Hammond Jr.
Both are appearing this Sat. Mar. 10 at the West End Cultural Centre in a special show called Flatlander Blues that's being recorded for CBC Radio Two's Canada Live. Special guest Shaun Verreault of Wide Mouth Mason will also be on stage to lend his prodigious talents to the mix.
Here are some questions and answers from Suzie and Big Dave that will introduce you to their love of the blues.
What's your favourite kind of blues?
Any kind of blues that moves me - Suzie.
Mississippi Delta, early Chicago which is Mississippi Delta plugged in. Early Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf or Sonny Boy Williamson - Big Dave.
What's the one thing that made you want to play the blues?
The expressiveness that the blues allows as a vocalist and guitarist - Suzie.
Way back, I went to the Mariposa folk festival in Toronto with my five dollar Kent guitar. I Heard John Hammond Jr. perform the blues and it just knocked me out. It hit me like a sledgehammer and I had shivers up my spine. Music never had that effect on me before. Hammond gave me my first guitar lesson! - Big Dave.
What's the hardest thing about being a blues musician?
I feel pretty blessed getting to do something I love for a living but I guess the business stuff of being a musician is the challenge. Booking shows, long drives/long flights/short, sleepless nights (hey, that sounds like a blues song!) - Suzie.
Trying to make a decent living and support a family on crap money. It can be very challenging and you have to put your time in to get your name out there - Big Dave.
Give three reasons why the blues make you happy.
I never thought I could be a blues singer because it seemed so challenging vocally, but I kinda figured it out. I love how blues allows you to emote, I can be sassy when I sing the blues, and I love making people smile when I sing those sassy songs and moving them when I sing the sadder songs - Suzie.
It's the people's music, the human condition. Everyone can relate to blues. There's a misconception that to have the blues you have to spend time in jail, or that the music has to be sad, but you can draw your blues from anything, for me it's hemorrhoids - Big Dave.
What will be people be surprised about at the Flatlander Blues concert on Saturday?
I think they'll enjoy the camaraderie between Big Dave, Sean and myself, our history goes back over 20 years - Suzie.
I have new songs to play, plus some old favourites that I haven't played in a long time. And, the chemistry with Suzie is special and than you throw Shaun Verreault into the mix, it's going to be incredible. It's going to be insanely fun and bring lots of bail money! - Big Dave.
Click below to hear Big Dave McLean's personal welcome.