The best harmonica player in Canada is coming to the Parksville Qualicum Beach area next month.
Winner of the best harmonica player of the year award at the 2014 annual Maple Blues awards, Harpdog Brown (yes, that is his legal name) will play at both Lazy Mike’s House of Music in Qualicum Beach and Smoke ’N Water restaurant in Nanoose.
“He’s one of those guys that does one (show) and asks when he can do another,” said Mike Mallon, owner of Lazy Mike’s. “He does a great job.”
Brown’s nomination and win was all thanks to his seventh studio album What It Is, which was released in 2014. Comprising mainly original songs and a few classic covers, the record also ranked number 32 in the top 100 blues albums in the world for that year 2014 and influential blues promoter and broadcaster Holger Petersen called the album Brown’s best.
While the acclimation hasn’t changed anything overnight, Vancouver-based Brown said he is still “really honoured” to be recognized in his own country.
“That is a great honour and well-deserved,” said Mallon. “(It’s) quite a feat.”
The album also solidified Brown’s working relationship with Victoria-based guitarist Jordan Edmonds, who he still tours with extensively.
“He’s a rarity,” said Brown of the guitarist, who he describes as having an “understated” sound that’s perfect for blues. “Everyone (else) wants to be a guitar hero.”
Together, the duo has covered more than 30,000 km.
For their local gigs, Brown and Edmonds will first play at Smoke ’N Water restaurant in Nanoose on Thursday, May 14 from 7-11 p.m.
The duo will then hit Lazy Mike’s House of Music in Qualicum Beach on Saturday, May 16 for both a workshop from 1-3 p.m. and a house concert at 8 p.m.
For both shows, Brown said they will play a mix of covers and original Chicago-style blues that lend themselves to the electric duo set-up. The individual set lists, however, will depend on the individual audience’s tastes.
“I’m there to serve them,” said Brown.
Tickets for the Smoke ’N Water show are $20 and can be purchased in advance from the restaurant or online at smokenwater.com/event-tickets.
The harmonica workshop at Lazy Mike’s costs $40, while the house concert costs $20. To reserve a seat for either, contact the venue in advance at 250-594-9951.
Tickets for the Lazy Mike’s concert will also be available at the door.