I've been home for about a month now after the CP tour...trying to find the time to write another blog…as well as figure out how people write blogs everyday...I suppose if you only have a day instead of a month to write about it would be easier...I will continue to try...
I can no longer simply drive by a train without really acknowledging it...taking a moment to think...recollect memories...pay respects to all of those hard working men and women who for generations have worked on the railways. It's almost as though it's a separate part of the world, one that runs with no dependency on the rest of the world we live in...We all depend on the railway for things throughout our life...though it doesn't rely on us...only on itself...and the inner workings depend on each other; quite a respectable thing to me.I sure did learn a lot about trains, well I realize what I learned was only a drop in the bucket, but it was sure more than I ever thought I would know about trains!
The train is truly the one and only way to see the country. The sights you see, you just can't see while using any other form of transportation.
In one of my past blogs about the tour I said "I had seen the mountains in BC before, but the thin train track that we travel on can fit without disruption through the beautiful secrets of land that a road can't"…I still think that's the best way I can describe it, other than, the railway was there first so it got first dibs on all the good scenery, hehe.
It's hard to explain the feeling of just relaxing in the back car being hypnotized by the constant rhythm of the train on the tracks, once in a while being treated by the train horn and bells of the road crossways.
Anyways (snapping back from memory dream land)…before you think I really did just sit on a train for a month and didn't actually play music, I'll tell you about that side of the tour...the music side...it was fantastic. We got to play some great songs in the Spirit Train Band part of the show, Workin' Man Blues, People Get Ready, Orange Blossom Special…you know, all the great songs that have train in them…
The house band that backed me up was a crazy bunch of guys from Vancouver with an equal amount of crazy to them in the talent scale. "Uncle" Tom McKillip on guitar and vocals, Dennis Marcenko on bass, Chris Meister on drums, and Mike Norman on keys, Hammond, sax and vocals, and anything else really you can think of. We all became great friends and I imagine will play a lot more music together for many years to come.
Another extra talented part of the tour was the Brown-Prescott family. Tracey Brown and Randall Prescott who if it wasn't for them, the show would not have gone on! Their daughter Kelly Prescott, my road sister and great new friend, as well as her brother Kaylen Prescott who unfortunately we only got to share a couple shows with but definitely got to see his talent! We also had Marty McTiernan who was our Merle Haggard on the tour, real life music loving 'workin' man' country boy, and one of the biggest hearts I've ever met...second biggest guy on the tour.
Biggest guy on the tour also carried one of the biggest hearts...Scott Nelson, my adopted road dad, and my protective shadow...wherever I was I could look over my shoulder and there was Scott, lovingly watching out for me, his personal mission was to be my body guard...he made my first tour without my mom a lot easier on both me and my mom...as did Marty and the guys in the band...thanks so much all of you.
And of course everyone knows that Colin James was our wondrous headliner. As the tour went on we talked more and all of the great things that I heard about him from friends and fans of his alike before starting the tour were quickly confirmed. His talent is undeniable of course along with his passion for music, and he's also a great hang...thanks for the laughs Colin!
And of course his talent wouldn't be highlighted to its full potential without his band, who I got to spend quite a bit of time with throughout the tour. Terry Townson on trumpet, one of the greatest trumpet players I've ever heard…may have been why I continuously called him 'my modern day Chet Baker.' Steve Hiliam, like death by chocolate in the form of sax playing...Craig Northey, very very cool guy and well, he wrote the 'Corner Gas' theme song! (along with countless other great songs.) Geoff Hicks, originally a Winnipegger so we got a long famously, so much fun and an incredibly sweet guy, not to mention a deadly drummer! Doug Elliot, great to hang out and laugh with at the back of the bus (or train car) and awesome to listen to playing bass in Colin's band!
Finally, Eric Webster, Hammond and Keys…the infamous Eric Webster. I could write pages of stories about this guy. His most famed character, his hair, the hair that anyone would love to have. He was a blast to hang out with, jam with, and get to know; hopefully we'll get to play together again soon Webster! And thank you for the beautiful Eric Webster Photography!
Another person that I could probably dedicate a whole 3-page blog to is Goalie and MVP for our Canadian Paralympic Sledge Hockey team, Paul Rosen. He and I not only formed a lasting friendship on the tour but he inspired me to an unexplainable degree everyday. Hearing him tell his story day after day of struggle and triumph as an athlete and a person really instilled in me his message to use your hardships in life to make you stronger and unique from the rest, and also, that nothing can ever stop you from reaching your goals and dreams if you really stay focused everyday.
All in all I got a lot out of this tour. Inspiration in all aspects of my life, motivation, and a whole lot of musical knowledge that I sponged up from the entire group of musicians I was surrounded by for a month. It was my first tour of any substantial length which made for many challenges and a steep learning curve, but I couldn't have asked to be surrounded by a more loving, supportive, and talented group of people (and now group of very good friends.)
I want to put a huge thank you out to CPR and to the Olympic Planning Committee for asking me to be a part of generation 1 of the Spirit Train. I can't wait to see it grow and become more and more successful with every year leading up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2010!
Also thank you to all of you who showed up for the show! You made the tour what it was for all of us!
Thank you thank you thank you everyone!
P.S. hugs to the following people:
- Jill, our amazing cook and adopted grandmother to all of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart (and I think all of our hearts) for the wonderful home cooking everyday filled with love and care and the hugs you graced me with every single morning.
- Breanne Feigell, you're a saint Brea!
- Mark Seiland, thank you so much for having me on the tour!
- All of the CP Police officers who were on the Spirit Train with us
- Dan Winiski, our conversations, your endless stories, and train history lessons made the 14 hour rides pass by very gracefully! I will also never forget your appreciation of my daily hugs ?
- Doug ("sound-guy-Doug")
- Rob Esch (FOH extraordinaire)
- Nathan Jubb (will never be able to thank you enough!)
- John Dorais, for sharing your wonderful heart with me
- Kevin Hrsak, for being generally awesome
- Kelly Shea, well what can I say about Ms. Kelly Shea.
- All of the "Village People,' for the dancing...the wonderful dancing.