September 2015 Newsletter

September 16th 2015

There is nothing so stable as change.

Bob Dylan

Boxes and boxes… I’ve been living out of them most of my life, the colored kind with zippers and handles, “fragile” stickers and scuff marks; the kind that keeps your guitar safe (even when the airlines “misplace” it) and the ones your drive around in. Lately it’s just been the good old cardboard kind, in which my wife, daughter and I have carefully and lovingly wrapped, stuffed and moved everything we own. Moving  house is vexing to be sure, but moving across a continent the size of Canada is simply epic. We left Halifax (our home for 8 years) in July and now we reside in Victoria BC where, for the past three weeks, our life has been consumed with unpacking and figuring out where to put everything… oh and scraping, painting, mudding the cracks and filling the holes (there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.



Certainly people have asked me
“why the big move?
Was it the weather?”

Let’s just say it was a factor…



When The dust settles – tourdates


And so to the future… this kind of odyssey is costly and so Yours Truly is hitting the road hard in the next few months. Happily, I make my living doing what I love, and I’m really happy to announce that along with a full dance card of upcoming shows in Canada, I will once again be returning  to the UK and (drum roll) for the first time, I’ll be performing solo shows in The Netherlands and Germany as part of a new partnership with Lucky Dice Music. It’s been a long time coming, but I have finally connected with a reputable agency in Europe and over the next few years, I look forward to building a touring base in Europe to add to my growing UK circuit.
The Fall Tour which starts and finishes in Holland will run from Oct. 2nd to 25th as follows: Dates are on my website under TOUR



New Recordings

As 2016 rolls around, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings will be unveiling a new album  – proposed release date is sometime in April/May. I can’t tell you much about it because I’ve signed a confidentiality clause… however I can tell you it will be called Kings and Kings – that should give you something to think about.

As for my solo self, I plan to spend 2016 writing and recording a new batch of material which will likely see the light of day in UK, NL and Canada in 2016/2017… we’ll see how those plans unfold, but that’s the general idea. 2016 = new recordings and music from B&RK and myself , plus a lot of touring and festival work on both sides of the pond. Stay tuned for further details.


And Finally….

Those of you who enjoy geeking out on guitar stuff may wish to check out my new Guitar Database which I have updated substantially as it was woefully out of date. Check it out hereAmp case

As ever, thanks – for lending me your eyeballs and your ears, for clicking, listening, and coming to the shows.
See you on the flipside.


Junos 2015: Back in Hamilton under a stormy Sky

March 14th 2015

Is there any other city in Canada like Hamilton? Answer – NO.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 1.33.26 PMHamilton is unique for it’s past and present. A steel town standing on the outskirts of the big TO and just above the border with The US, this is the city of oursiders, blue collar emigrants, rounders and artists… Hamilton is becoming a town of artists more and more. Last night Blackie and The Rodeo Kings celebrated Hamilton’s musical past with a concert called Blame It On Hamilton and what a night we had; guests that included Hawksley Workman, Divine Brown, Jeremy Fisher, John Harvey, Sarah Harmer, Terra Thorne… playing the music of Hamilton…. songs written here in the Hammer – Oh What a Feeling! Under The Stormy Skies, It’s Only Make Believe, When You and I Were Young Maggie, Shine… quite the night, amazing guests and a great crowd. We had a ball.

And so onto the next course of the Junos – tonight is the gala dinner and awards (not the Televised awards, that’s Sunday, but tonight is more of an insider, industry kind of event, a little less glitz and a lot less smoke and mirrors. B&RK are up for the Roots and Traditional Band Award for SOUTH. I’m just happy to be here with my bandmates.


I have a tour starting soon, here are the dates. Please check out the video link as well as I’m actively soliciting song requests from you guys for this tour. If you wish to request a song, please visit me on FB and leave a message stating what show you will be attending, that way I can keep it all straight in my small overtaxed brain.

All the tourdates  and details are on my tourpage but here is a brief list as well.

Finally – this website is undergoing some renovations as I migrate it to a new host, so some of the functions are… well… not functioning. Please be patient, things like the transcriptions purchase page etc. will return soon.

Thursday, March 19, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ The Moonshine Café
137 Kerr St., Oakville, ON L6K 3A6 (Canada) – Map
Friday, March 20, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Mocha Shriners Centre
468 Colborne Street, London, ON N6B 2T3 (Canada) – Map
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Hugh’s Room
2261 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON M6R 1X6 (Canada) – Map
(416) 531-6604
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Music Up Close – Innisfil
2226 Richard St., Innisfil, ON L9S 2C5 (Canada) – Map
Monday, March 23, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Bruce St. Social Club
121 Blue Mtn Dr., Collingwood, ON L9Y0K9 (Canada) – Map
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Full Circle Theatre
26 Craig St., Perth, ON K7H 1Y1 (Canada) – Map
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Jackson Falls Inn
1768 County Rd. #17 R.R.#2 , Milford, ON K0K 2P0 (Canada) – Map
(613) 476-8576
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Friesen House
41 Victoria Crescent, Grimsby, ON L3M 2E7 (Canada) – Map
905 945 7724
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Freewheelin’ Concerts
10 King St West, Dundas, ON L9H 1T7 (Canada) – Map
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Private House Concert – Sarnia
Sarnia, ON (Canada) – Map
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Currie Brothers Church Shows @ St. James Anglican Church
191 Hotckiss St., Gravenhurst, ON (Canada) – Map
705 644 2192
Friday, April 3, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ The Market Centre Theatre
22 Reeve St, Woodstock, ON (Canada) – Map
(519) 537-2582
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Eden Mills Community Hall
104 York St., Eden Mills, ON N0B 1P0 (Canada) – Map
519 605 0107
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ To be Announced Calgary
Calgary, AB (Canada) – Map
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Room Full of Sound Concert Series
3 Elma St East, Okotoks, AB T1S 1J7 (Canada) – Map
403 938 3204
Also Playing: Braden Gates

January 2015 E-Newsletter

January 19th 2015

Heading West, Back to where it all began.Cloud B&W

In 1994 I left the West Coast for good…
(I thought).

What do I know? As I write this, my house is in various stages of packed, painted and ready to sell… yes I’m moving back west to the Pacific Ocean, back to the coast where I started my career, recorded my first cassette and began this love affair with writing, performing and troubadour-ing.
As many of you know, I’ve been living in Halifax since 2008 and though I’ve loved this period of Atlantic life, it’s time for us to be closer to my family and my wife’s family and we both want our daughter to spend more time with her grandparents in BC. So here, we go. We’re packing it up and hitting the road sometime this summer when school’s done. I can’t believe that it’s been seven years since I moved here (and yes I am packing some boxes that were barely opened from the last move – no hoarder comments please)… who knows where the time goes?
One thing’s for sure, I’ve made some great friends and contacts out here and (as Arnie Schwarzenegger said) I’ll be back. Meanwhile I’m trying to juggle the very real chaos of packing it ALL up to split town and keeping some stuff ready to pack for touring because there is a lot of that on the horizon… I tour therefore I am. Read on.

Fearing & White Tour:

Alberta and Ontario
After a series of successful trio shows last summer (with drummer Kent Macrae in Alberta/BC and Gary Craig in Ontario), we’ve decided to revisit some of our favourite venues and some we’ve never played before. We’re both really looking forward to working in the trio format again… I’ve got new guitar pedals, Andy’s been working his bass pedal footwork routine + we’ve decided to add some of the older material from our first record and a few extra tunes that we’ve always wanted to include in the set. I hope you will be able to attend some of these shows. Details and tourdates are (as always) here at


Blackie & The Rodeo Kings:South
Summer shows.
new recording plans !

After an incredibly busy and fruitful 2014 with SOUTH, including appearances at Shrewsbury Folk Festival in the UK (where we topped sales at the merch tent) and a stellar show as part of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco (alongside a who’s who of the Americana world) B&RK’s three principles are busy with various other projects (Colin Linden is deeply involved in ABC’s award winning show Nashville working on both sides of the camera, as well as producing and playing on numerous recordings… I honestly don’t know how the guy keep it all together, he is without doubt, one of the most industrious people I ever want to meet. Meanwhile, Tom Wilson, having very successfully released a second Lee Harvey Osmond Record (The Folk Sinner) last year, is set to unleash his third LHO album on the Cowboy Junkies’ Latent Records sometime later this year.
So basically, all three of us are up to our eyeballs in alligators, however, we are still very much involved with and committed to Blackie and The Rodeo Kings… it’s been almost twenty years now since “High or Hurtin’ ” and we are just gaining momentum. So look for news of a new recording as 2015 starts to wind down and as ever you can get up to date news of tourdates and recording updates from our website

For now, I can tell you that we are booked to play a new festival in Burnstown Ontario called Neat In The Woods This festival is is just starting and we are really happy to be in on the ground floor.
There are several other festivals in the works, but nothing firm… yet.
Also plans are afoot for a large concert to be held in Hamilton right before the Juno awards in March. for more details go to our website


Solo Mio:

Winter touring, Summer Festivals
& plans for OCt. in the UK

So, as stated at the beginning of this missive, I am as busy as ever. What with the move out west looming and our house here in Halifax in utter packing chaos, F&W dates about to begin and B&RK rumbling ominously on the horizon, it’s no-wonder I’m noticing more grey hair (also I just turned 52 :-). Even so, I started this musical journey as a solo entity and that’s what keeps me ticking along. So yes, there are new solo tour dates to announce and plans to start recording a follow up to 2013’s Between Hurricanes by the end of this year.Image

As soon as I’ve returned from the Feb. F&W tour, kissed my long-suffering missus and done my laundry, I’ll be heading back out to re-connect with B&RK for the Juno Awards (held in Hamilton this year) and a star-studded show (tba. See B&RK section above). After I’ve recovered from what will surely be equal parts exciting and stultifying (award shows… meh) I’ll be starting a series of Ontario shows before heading back to Alberta for gigs in and around Calgary. Details are a little sketchy right now, but some of the dates have been confirmed. Details are or will be at my website

Thursday, March 19, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ The Moonshine Café
137 Kerr St., Oakville, ON L6K 3A6 (Canada) – Map
905-844-2655 Set: 8:00 PM
All Ages Tickets: $20 /$25

Friday, March 20, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ TBC – London ON.

Saturday, March 21, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Hugh’s Room
2261 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON M6R 1X6 (Canada) – Map
(416) 531-6604 Set: 8:00 PM
All Ages Tickets: $25/$27.50

Monday, March 23, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ TBC – Collingwood

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ TBC – Milford, ON

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ TBC- Perth. On.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ TBC – Grimsby, ON

Saturday, March 28, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ Freewheelin’ Concerts
10 King St West, Dundas, ON L9H 1T7 (Canada) – Map
905-627-4265 Set: 8:00 PM
All Ages Tickets: $29 / $30

Sunday, March 29, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ TBC – Sarnia, ON

Friday, April 3, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ TBC – Woodstock ON.

Saturday, April 4, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ TBC – Eden Mills, ON

Thursday, April 9, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ TBC Calgary, AB

Saturday, April 11, 2015
Between Hurricanes – Solo Again. @ A Room Full of Sound Concert Series TBA
43 Riverside Drive, Okotoks, AB (Canada) – Map Set: 8:00 PM
All Ages


Summer festivals are starting to come together, with a lot still to be confirmed, but I can tell you that I will spending the August long weekend in Wells BC at the ArtsWells festival as well as the preceding week teaching a songwriting workshop with my old friend Linda McRae, also in Wells. There is a possibility that I will have the pleasure of playing the mighty Stanfest here in Nova Scotia… and well, there is more to come.

OK, hope to see you at a show somewhere down the road, thanks for listening, over and out.


= SF=

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. Albert Camus

October 9th 2014
FlockDesigners want me to dress like Spring, in billowing things. I don’t feel like Spring.
I feel like a warm red Autumn.
Marilyn Monroe


And so the season changes again and with my nose to the grindstone, I look up in surprise at the gold, the red and the brown falling lazily… who knows where the time goes.


I’ve just returned from San Francisco and the amazing Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival where Blackie And The Rodeo kings performed alongside an astounding list of performers, icons and alchemists from the roots-music world. The history of the festival, now in it’s 14th year is one of generosity, vision and a great love for this genre of music. Check out their site for details on how they got started and the gift that Warren Hellman has given to the city of San Francisco and to musicians from far and wide. This video is an interview with Warren Hellman and gives a great sense of the man and the festival.

Prior to HSB, Blackie and The Rodeo kings performed in the UK at The Shrewsbury Festival  where we had a blast and managed to top the sales list at the merch tent. As the summer wound down,  I was out on the road with Fearing & White in Ontario and Alberta, continuing the Tea and Confidences Tour that we started earlier this year, when we released the new album. Adding drums to our show has really upped the ante and I’m thrilled to be a part of this trio, be it with Kent Macrae; our drummer out west, or Gary Craig; (Blackie and The Rodeo Kings) in Ontario.

It’s been a busy summer as I split my time between gigs, festivals, various different bands and my home, which is slowly but surely being packed away into boxes as my family and I prepare ourselves for another BIG move from East to West. Yes I am uprooting myself one more to time to return to The West Coast of Canada, where (in many ways) this adventure started. We are looking to buy a place in Victoria but first we have to sell our house here in Halifax and say “see ya later” to some great friends and colleagues. So I’ll make this newsletter brief as I have to take advantage of the decent weather and get some more painting done before the weather turns and I become a leaf collector… oy!

PS. for those of you who are still asking about my “Twitter War” with Air Canada, scroll down to –

The Inexcusable Case of the Missing Manzer and The Righteous Power of Social Media



SOLO TOURphoto 2

(all tourdates/details are on my tourpage)




Oct. 10th – St. Johns

Oct. 11th – Freshwater Carbonear

Oct. 12th – English Harbour


Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick


Oct. 17th – Mount Stewart PE

Oct. 18th – Sackville NB

Oct. 24th – Mahone Bay NS


Blackie and The Rodeo Kings

(tourdates at


Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia


Nov. 9th – Ajax, On._DSC1034

Nov. 10th – Barrie, On.

Nov. 12th  -Woodstock, On.

Nov. 13th – Midland, On.

Nov. 14th – Hamilton, On.

Nov. 15th – Parry Sound, On.

Nov. 17th – Halifax, NS.

Nov. 18th – Halifax, NS.

Nov. 20th – Lindsay, On.

Nov. 21st – Burnstown, On

Nov. 22nd – Quebec City, QC.

Nov. 23rd – Montreal, QC.



As always, thanks for listening. More touring coming in the new year… of course!






Fearing & White back on tour with Tea and Confidences.

August 31st 2014

F&W - Red Deer -B&W - Rob HamillFriends – Fearing & White are back out on tour in Ontario and Alberta in Sept. I will send out a newsletter when I get a chance, but in the meantime, here are the dates we have planned. We are excited to get back out after a few summer festival shows and especially happy to welcome Gary Craig (Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Tom Cochrane, Anne Murray, Colin Linden Band etc…) to join us on drums for the Ontario dates. Gary was the primary drummer who played on the recording of Tea and Confidences. In Alberta we will once again be joined by Calgary’s own powerhouse Kent Macrae.



Fearing & White at The Neat, Burnstown ON
Fearing & White at Aeolian Hall, London ON
Fearing & White at Acoustic Grill, Picton ON
Fearing & White at the EBar, Guelph ON
Fearing & White at Moonshine Cafe, Oakville ON
Fearing & White at Hugh’s Room, Toronto ON
Fearing & White at Black Sheep Inn, Wakefield QC
Fearing & White at Pearl Company, Hamilton ON
Fearing & White at Ye Olde Jar Bar, Medicine Hat AB
Fearing & White at Private Event, Lethbridge AB

The Inexcusable Case of the Missing Manzer and The Righteous Power of Social Media

August 29th 2014

Dear Friends ie. people who care enough to rally behind me and make a huge company like Air Canada pay attention. This past 48 hrs has been a wild ride and a very good lesson in communication and not taking “we don’t know” for an answer. Last weekend (Aug 24th- 26th), Blackie and the Rodeo Kings  played a series of three very successful  shows over two days at the wonderful Shrewsbury Festival. It was a very brief trip and we were only there for 48 hours after which we all scattered in various directions.

bh-pkI finally arrived in Halifax after an especially grueling trip (Manchester – Heathrow – Halifax) hauling my guitar, two suitcases and two carry-ons (I brought the remainder of the merch back to Canada and that’s a lot of crap for one sleep-deprived muso to wrestle between terminals at Heathrow ) After clambering off the plane, I waited in line to get through customs before heading to the baggage carousel with my fellow travelers. Cue the usual wait until the light above carousel 2 flashed and we all gathered like vultures to claim our luggage. Both my suitcases arrived quickly and as guitars often come off last (special handling) I wasn’t too worried as I watched the crowd around the carousel dwindle. However, when the same three bags kept re-appearing on the belt until it finally stopped moving, I knew that something had gone wrong and I was in for the long haul. This is NOT the first time an airline has lost my luggage, nor will it be the last. I always make sure that each piece has lots of identifying features, names, telephone number etc. but it’s still a pain in the arse and anxiety creeps up on you. In the past, when Air Canada has lost my stuff, I’ve gone through the usual rigamarole – fill out the missing luggage file, get a card with a 1-800 number and then start waiting. Anybody who has been through this (and I suspect we all have) can skip the next part, but if you haven’t had an airline lose your luggage (or your guitar!!!) give yourself a pat on the back and then get ready, because it’s going to happen. (Btw – so far, my best experience has been with West Jet who do not refer you to an offshore call center, but deal with it locally and when the missing piece arrives, give you the option of coming to the airport and picking it up yourself in exchange for an airline credit – thereby making you feel like you have some control and saving the airline some courier fees – smart!). I’ve often found the people at the ariport who have the thankless job of cleaning up the mess made by the baggage handlers can be surly and non-communicative, though not always… but this time the guy at Air Canada was cheery and though I was frustrated, I did not vent my spleen on him. However, when he let slip that Terminal 2 at Heathrow (the new “Queens Terminal”) was “notorious” for misplacing luggage, I got even more apprehensive. That night I said a prayer to Saint Townshend ( patron saint of lost or broken guitars…) and turned out the light.

Next morning, I began the adventure by calling the 1-800 number and predictably was put on hold for 30 minutes *why, oh why do they have to play the same garbled dreck that passes for music ON REPEAT when they make you wait… interspersed with curt messages telling you that “call volume is heavier than anticipated” and “your patience is appreciated” also garbled and repeated endlessly). I finally got through to a young woman, “Karen”, at the call center in Delhi  who apologised “for the inconvenience” before informing me that they had no status updates and please call back later. I hung up the phone and fired off my first tweet The guitar @aircanada has LOST (“delayed luggage” my arse) is my precious Manzer. If you feel my pain, please RT followed up by a Facebook post. I’m sure you all remember Dave Carroll’s excellent bit of guerrilla theatre when he posted a youtube of the songs “United Breaks Guitars” (14,185,762 hits to date !!!) and after more than a year of fruitless calling and letter-writing, shamed United Airlines into making good on his broken guitar. The power of social media (in this case Youtube) was breathtaking and for the next couple of years, there were a lot of jokes from friends and strangers alike about flying United. I was definitely thinking about that video when I started composing this first tweet and as that first day wore on and still “no status updates” from Air Canada were forthcoming, I realised that I could not sit back and wait for them to do the right thing. I also very quickly realised the following: 1- Karen in Delhi had no more information than me (you can view the status of your lost luggage on Air Canada’s website). 2 – Karen is hired by a third party call center who’s sole job is to field calls from irate customers like myself. She is not an employee of Air Canada and I was just another angry, disembodied voice calling for information that she does not have. What surprised me to learn later (I made several calls to “Karen” and “Michael” and “John” before getting through to a supervisor “Damon”) is that until your lost luggage is scanned on it’s way to it’s next destination, nobody but the ground crew at the airport, knows where it is… it is NOT in the system. So the sad truth is that the only number you can call for information on your lost luggage puts you in touch with somebody who has no more information than you do AND there is nobody else at Air Canada who you can call… they all refer you back to Karen in Delhi = stonewall. Obviously one has to take a different tack and just like Dave Carroll, I realised that the only way to get their attention was if I asked for a little help from my friends. I stepped up the Tweets and started to target specific fans, friends and twitter addresses that would retweet and who also might be interested in the story.

singerBy the way, this is not just any guitar, Built in 1989 by the legendary Canadian Luthier Linda Manzer  this is the guitar that has  appeared on countless national and international festival, club, and concert  stages. This guitar played The Grand Ol’ Opry, Massey Hall, The National Art’s Center, Womad, The Kennedy Center, Royal Festival Hall etc. etc. This is my guitar, a precious thing that I often spend more time with than my family… I knew that I had to get this message out and that the only way I would get Air Canada’s attention was through the fear of bad PR. After 24 hrs of sustained tweeting, the story was alive and people were retweeting, reposting and composing their own messages, all using the @aircanada address so that there was no way they could ignore the issue which was quickly going viral. I knew that I was getting their attention when @aircanada began tweeting directly to me, this told me that somebody in the PR department had picked up on it and that a completely different part of the company was now engaged. More importantly it meant that I had broken past the stonewall of the call center in Delhi and was now dealing locally where the full impact of this kind of bad PR would actually mean anything at all. I’d love to re-print all the tweets that people came up with, it’s astounding how creative a mind can get with only 140 characters… everything from sorrow to outrage to serious finger pointing with a variety of hashtags like #stillmissing #findtheguitar #believe(!) started to circulate and within a very short time I had a Twitterstorm on my hands… or rather @aircanada did. Facebook was also a big part of this as people commented on my posts with words of encouragement, stories of their own lost-luggage nightmares, a song! (by my friend Dan Fewings) and more ideas for ways to rattle Air Canada’s cage, including the suggestion that I start e-mailing Calvin Rovinescu the Chief Executive Officer at AC <> which I did and suggested that others should too (which they did). I’m lucky in that I have “followers” and “Likes” that number in the thousands, so if I want to get the word out, I can (although I wish to God I could drum up that kind of attention for new CD releases or shows… but that’s another story). I KNOW that without that kind of clout, this would not have happened and certainly the next thing that transpired would likely not have happened either.

Day two arrived with still no word of even where the guitar was, never mind when I would get it back… I started thinking about my friend Don Ross’s harrowing story of a lost guitar that completely vanished for years(?) I can’t recall all the details but I seem to remember him finally picking though the contents of one of those fabled lost-luggage warehouses where old “delayed baggage” goes to die and finally finding his guitar – moral of the story if you want to get it done, do it yourself. I continued tweeting, re-tweeting and FBing myself silly, letting that addiction that many of us in the arts who use these tools have, run rampant. I had just come home from a short tour and yet I was holed up in my office pecking away at my computer and ignoring my family, but goddamit, it was working. CBC Halifax got in touch to ask if I wanted to talk about the story on-air that afternoon. Of course I did! and I made sure that @aircanada knew I was going on national radio to talk about their fuckup. About two hours before the broadcast, I got a call from “Sandy” at the AC lost luggage counter at Halifax Airport who repeated the by-now-familiar “we have no further update”. We discussed the problems with Terminal 2 at Heathrow and she informed me that Terminal 2 is supposed to be the terminal for all 28 Star Alliance members (Air Canada, Lufthansa, Swiss United!…). She said that when the terminal was built, a new company was hired to deal with the vast (imagine!) logistics of dealing with all that luggage and that they were constantly screwing up. She said if you were transferring through terminal 2,  it was even worse and that she was constantly dealing with “delayed” (I love how they’ve started using that term instead of “lost”) luggage from that glossy new space. When I told her I was going on National Radio shortly there was an audible pause and then she told me she’d be listening and asked me to keep my phone on in case they got word before I went on air. I got the sense that as soon as our call was over, she was going to be burning up the phonelines to London, Montreal and Toronto. There is a saying that goes “there’s no such thing as bad press” but I’m not sure if this is the case. Perhaps the fact that @aircanada  received a blip on twitter over the past few days does them more good than harm, but given the fact that they were now calling and tweeting me directly seems to make the case that they wanted this bad press to stop. Anyway I did the interview with Bill Roach (CBC Mainstreet Halifax) and shortly thereafter the story was posted on CBC’s website under the heading Stephen Fearing Wages Twitter War and then the Toronto Sun website picked up the story as did several other sites and newsfeeds. Within 15 minutes of that interview ending, I got a call from Air Canada saying they had found the guitar and that it would be on the next direct flight from Heathrow to Halifax… coincidence? I think not. I think that because you guys circled the wagons and kicked up a big fuss on my behalf, Air Canada was forced to pay attention and when the national media jumped on board they HAD to make things right. So first and foremost A great big THANKYOU to all of you who joined the fight and gave me some of your precious time.

Air Canada is a bit like the Catholic Church in that not all employees are evil, emotionless psycopaths… and for sure there are a few folks who, over the years, wearing an Air Canada uniform, have helped me out or provided customer service that was beyond exemplary. Sadly it is only a few though. Mostly it has been a neutral or negative experience. So why do I keep going back to them? Sometimes I have no choice is the honest answer. Despite what you may have heard, you can make tens of dollars in this business and I have to spend them where I get the most bang for my buck. I cannot afford to fly with my guitar in the seat beside me and I already have too much carry-on (computers and guitar pre-amps/pedals are very, very fragile) to be able to do the gate-check or carry on routine that many of you have suggested, besides I’m paying them to ship me and my luggage from A to B intact and that is the contract we make when I open my wallet right? Other airlines seem to pull this off with aplomb and a smile (mostly) and when they do fuck up, they resolve it with a sense of professionalism (mostly). Air Canada is going to have to take a long hard look at who they have hired to see to their baggage logistics (I’m not even mentioning their in-flight crews). Terminal 2 has been open for two months and already has a reputation for poor service, yes it is a beautiful space, but who cares about cool lighting and artwork if they lose your precious baby? I guess there is nothing more to say except, no matter if you are lucky enough (as am I) to have access to a lot of Twitter accounts etc or not, if they lose your stuff, do not sit still and wait for them to make it right, they may not. When traveling and the inevitable happens, your only recourse is to start yelling loudly and pointedly at the people who can do something about it and sadly that is not Karen in Delhi, nor the poor stiffs behind the desk at the airport your luggage did not arrive at. You must get active with other ticket buying punters and get the attention of those in a position to do something more than file a report. Here’s my guitar… she made it home one more time

photo 3 with a RUSH tag attached – Hah!


(delivered in a car by an Air Canada employee?). photo 1


Thanks again to all of you who jumped to my aid, I am most grateful!


photo 2

PS – This sad story made the  Six o’clock national news… I don’t know quite what to make of that.


Page 2 of 712345...Last »