Poppa Dawg always knew he wanted to play blues. “I never ever felt more comfortable in my skin than when I’m playing the blues,” he said. When he and Sherman (Tank) Doucette cut loose at Kelowna’s Bohemian Café on November 8, 2012, they sent their music beyond my skin and into every cell of my body.
The magical event was thanks to Robert MacDonald’s Okanagan Institute and the Express series he launched in 2007. A little over five years later, “Feel the Vibe: The Roots and Branches of Okanagan Blues” was the series’ 201st event in Kelowna.
The two musicians filled the space with sound and stories and sent us all off with hearts a lot lighter than when we walked in the door. Poppa Dawg and Sherman (Tank) Doucette performed both together and separately. Their stories took us into a blues world that harks back to the Mississippi Delta in the 1890s. Their songs brought us into the Kelowna blues scene that is enriching the city’s musical culture today.
Poppa Dawg reminded us the blues are not always about sadness, but they are always about life, in all its crazy complexity. His Oreo cookie blues song was a hilarious tribute to a sweet treat so seductive, “They get me higher than a can of booze.”
What Poppa Dawg did with the guitar and Doucette with the harmonica carved grooves in the part of my brain that gets high on music. They tickled many happy memories, taking me back to Vancouver Island and the Cariboo, where my ex and I were integral to the folk scene and regularly hosted house concerts with talented musicians like these two.
I walked out with my own version of the blues, not the sad kind but the kind that, as Papa Dawg said, always tell a story. These two enormously talented musicians gave me ninety minutes of sheer joy.
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