Aanii! Beauty morning on the open range: nothing but clear skies, bluejays and chickadees, blazing sunshine and she’s a balmy minus 34 winter wonderland. We’ll thank our lucky stars there is no wind out there…

So yesterday I attended the 3rd Annual Anishnabe Artist Gathering and Art Show held at the Nbisiing Secondary School on the Nipissing First Nation over there next to North Bay, Ontario. I walked into the place wondering how big a deal they had going and it was a full house with at least 20 artists on hand with their work displayed. I lucked out as the dude next to me turned out to be none other than the great Leland Bell of Wikwemikong. It was good to see him again and chat it up and of course Leland’s partner was there and she is a grand lady to chat with. The three of us go back to 1995 and the beginning of the rock and roll band: No Reservations.

Leland Bell and yours truly at the 3rd Annual

Leland Bell and yours truly at the 3rd Annual

The organizers had a cacophony of local live music blasting throughout the afternoon making it difficult for artists to chat with potential art buyers. I was worried about my hearing as it was truly painful both in volume and selection. The lighthouse in all of this was Leland’s performance: acoustic guitar and an Anishnabe voice. (If you haven’t heard Leland sing, you should. He’s good.)

Top of the bill in the music department was a gang of boys who, as far as I know, hail from Wiki, and were doing the Johnny Cash tribute gig. Now I’m not a big Johnny Cash fan nor am I fan of that type of music but one thing is for certain: those boys had the gig down rock solid. They were a good outfit. Tight. Clean. And their front man, dressed head to toe in black, had the vocal chops completely at 100%. That vocalist doing the Johnny C. tunes was better than Johnny C. doing the Johnny C. tunes. That’s how great this guy was. Where for most of the afternoon excepting Leland, I had my ears plugged and wanted to run to the washroom and throw up, this Johnny Cash thing owned the place and was actually entertaining. First time for me hearing them, and I will say this much: if those boys can keep it together and keep their noses away from the fuzzy lines, they are going to do alright.

Awesome vocalist doing the Johnny Cash tribute gig.

Awesome vocalist doing the Johnny Cash tribute gig.

That Johnny Cash tribute band was amazing. They are going to have a great time in show business if they keep that up.

So I folded up my rock show around 6 and hit the open road for home, 3 hours behind the wheel. I rolled back onto the range around 11 and found the ladies safely tucked away, fire blazing, and the super pitch black out every window. Not a bad day at the office!

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