Posts tagged “Via Rail

Re-united with an old friend on the train

IMG_2346What a fantastic start to the tour.  The woman in the above photo with me is Elizabeth Taylor.  The first time I ever took the train was in the summer of 2013 with Nova Scotia’s Jen Miller when we were the duo – When Coasts Collide.  During one of our on board performances, this woman came into the room with a violin, sat down, and ROCKED those strings like crazy with us!  We had such a great jam…

We hadn’t seen or heard from each other since…until Friday night when I got on the train headed east.  I was tuning my guitar, looked around, and saw Elizabeth with violin in hand!  She opened up her case, and we played together for the passengers awaiting their journey.  So awesome!!

Then….on the train, I bumped into a few other people I had met in previous years!  Super cool!!  It’s really neat to re-connect with people this way.

Just made it into Toronto, and am heading out to New Brunswick tomorrow!  East Coast….I be coming for ya, and then the legendary Festival of Small Halls in PEI!!!



Heading out on the train tonight!

SmallHalls - Artist-2I’m very excited to be heading out on my Canadian Summer Tour this evening.  Absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Festival of Small Halls in PEI on the 19th, 20th, and 21st.

Here’s where I’ll be over the next 6 weeks:

June 10-16th – Via Rail Train between Vancouver, BC and Moncton, NB

June 18th – Private House Concert, outside Moncton, NB

June 19th, 20th, 21st – Festival of Small Halls, PEI

June 24th-29th – Marine Atlantic Ferry between North Sydney, NS, and Argentia, NFLD

July 2nd – Private House Concert, Nova Scotia

July 4th – Music Mondays, Alma, NS

July 6th-13th – Marine Atlantic Ferry between North Sydney, NS, and Argentia, NFLD

July 16th-17th – Montreal, QB

July 18th-20th – Ottawa, Oakville, Toronto

July 21st – 25th – Via Rail Train between Toronto-Vancouver

Looking forward to catching up with old friends, and making new ones!!


Italian Opera and shows on the West Coast


Well…I have arrived back home in Vancouver after an action packed, experience rich adventure through central Canada and the Eastern Coast.  Huge thanks to Via Rail, Marine Atlantic, and all those who hosted shows, hosted me, and shared your wonderful stories.  It’s always great to meet so many new people from all over the world, and extra special to bump into familiar faces on the other side of this massive country.

I’m kicking off performing back west playing at one of my old faves on Aug. 11th – The Vancouver Art Gallery Cafe!  I’ve been away the last few summers, and really missed playing at this beautiful spot.   I’m also back playing with my trio mates, Darren Beattie and Matt Langill at Luke’s Corner Bar on Aug. 14th, and with touring Toronto Singer/Songwriter, Shawna Caspi at Skinny Fat Jack’s on Saturday eve.

More upcoming shows for August and September can be found here.

Lastly, while I was coming back home, I had a day stop over in Toronto.  I love going down to the beach off of Queen Street East, and sitting by Lake Ontario.  Out of no where, a gentleman named Salvatore emerged, and began serenading me… never know who you’ll meet on the road :).

Deep Thoughts from the Rail

IMG_1843This was the view leaving Vancouver on Friday July 3rd.  Was a beautiful night to set rail sail eastbound with VIA Rail.  I spent a delightful 4 days playing music and sharing stories with so many lovely travellers from all over the world (Mexico, US, UK, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada), and have come away with the following………

1. An increased knowledge of Backgammon (thanks to Raouel and Carol..MOOSE!!)…2. That Clint Eastwood was in a musical called “Paint your Wagon.”….3. Techniques on how best to stay poisonous snake-safe in Australia and Simatra……..4. That no matter how crazy young children may be behaving…they love music they can growl to…….. 5. That playing next to someone who is sleeping can actually alter their perception of the reality they are in….hahaha…..6. That Seattle has a very cool music venue called Triple Door, and a Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival in November………7. That drumming in First Nations music symbolizes the pump of the heart…….8. There is a massive Maritime Museum in Halifax that I need to check out……..9. That apparently all country singers in the world are from Oklahoma, and that Blake Shelton rescues people…….10. That pyrite rock is symbolic with always having enough, and that sweetgrass is never to be burned without previously burning sage.

I love the train!  So many opportunities to meet new friends and learn new stories

After a marvellous stop over and House Concert in Oakville last night, I am (at this very moment) on the train heading to Ottawa to play at a wicked little place called A Thing For Chocolate with the team of Red Leaf Music.  Looking forward to being back, and to spending time with my newly acquired family :).

The adventures continue…………….



Hittin’ the Rail Out East!

Tonight, I begin my summer tour festivities at the Big Rock Urban Eatery in Vancouver, BC, and tomorrow…….I’m hopping on and playing on an east bound train!  Really looking forward to coming out to Ontario and the Maritimes again :).  Check below for the where’s and when’s:


New Artistic Friend on the Road

People often ask me if I like being on the road, and usually imply that it is a very tough go.  I admit that there are times when I feel the pull of home and miss my loved ones and friends, but getting out and seeing new places brings something very special to me.

I actually love being out on the road, on the water, in the air, underground..haha…where ever you can go, I am a big fan.  However, it is not for the feeling of “getting away,” or escaping as it is often referred to, that I enjoy so much.  Having a career as a touring musician demands frequent travel, but beyond that, I am ultra fascinated with how things work in different places around the world.  That, and meeting the people that live in all these wonderful areas that make them great.

Just wanted to take a moment to share with you something that came my way recently.  During the summer, while I was performing on VIA Rail coming back from Toronto, I met a whole cast of outstanding individuals.  I want to introduce you to one of them – Prashant Miranda!  (Click on the photo to see his work and blog).


Prashant is an incredible water colour painter, also the fastest one I have ever encountered, a vibrant personality, and a wicked singer.  One of the last performances I had on the train, he belted out a few beauties on the guitar in a group jam, and it was awesome.

Earlier in the trip, I initiated the writing of a song with the passengers that essentially took 2 days to complete. Prashant lent massive insight and inspiration into the tune, and perhaps I will post it when I make a recording of it.  However, in the span of a few minutes in the first session, Prashant whipped this up – look below. Recognize that crazy character?  haha.  Prashant journals this way, and the whole train trip, among other adventures, is on his blog.  Take a moment to check out his site and work.  You may find some familiar places in his paintings :).  Honour to meet you and spend time Prashant!


Summer 2014 Tour Heading Back West And New Bard Blog Up

IMG_7850I am delighted to say my tour to Newfoundland and back as been a major success, and as last year, an absolute pleasure.  I am so grateful for all the new friends and music family I have acquired on this trip.  Thank you all for a wonderful summer.

Tonight, I leave Toronto heading west on the Iron Via Horse.  Next shows are on Vancouver Island first week of September, and then into the STUDIO FOR THE NEXT ALBUM!!!!  AHHHHHH!!!!!  Can’t wait.

If you’re in the Ucluelet/Tofino area, stop in on these dates and places:

Sept. 4th – Black Rock Resort, Ucluelet, BC

Sept. 5th and 6th, Jack’s Waterfront Pub, Tofino, BC

Also, I just put up a new Bard’s Blog, and it’s a hilarious tale from my performance time on the Marine Atlantic Ferry.  Click on the whale below for a few laughs….


See you soon Western Canada!


31 Shows in 41 Days



As of Friday July 18th, I’m packing my trusty guitar on Via Rail, and headed east for a full on summer tour.  I’ll be sharpening all my new songs before recording my new upcoming album in September, and I’d love your feedback!  If you happen to be in any of the above locations at the assigned times, drop me a line –, as I’d love to see ya.  I’m going as far as St. John’s NFLD, and back to Tofino, BC, so it’s literally a coast to coast tour.  Can’t wait to see some familiar eastern faces :).


An East Coast Summer Recap

6 days on a train, and I arrive at a different ocean….drenched to the bone as if I had jumped in the ocean….I know I am in Vancouver….haha.

What a summer it was, and thanks to all those who followed the journey and offered their support and kind words of encouragement along the way.  There was a great deal that happened, and I have done my best to represent it on the webpage and through facebook, but there are so many fun details, so I thought I would post a very quick summary of as much as I could remember.  If you would like to hear more about any specific point(s), send me a note, and I’ll take you out for tea :).

Here we go!  Highlights of Summer in the east coast 2013, in no particular order:

Busked my way to owning a fiddle, had first fiddle session jam with JP Cormier, played my way on Via Rail across the country and back, met Dave Gunning, jammed with Charlie Acort, caught up with awesome east coast musicians Jim Dorie and Kev Corbett, crossed paths with the entire Plaskett family..multiple times, volunteered in 2 festivals, played in one of them on my first open air stage, met Jian Ghomeshi, camped on the north and south shores of PEI under star lit nights, camped on the east shore of newfoundland over looking the ocean from high cliffs, did 6 CBC interviews, had my first TV interview on Corner Brook Cafe with Wendy Woodland, hung out and jammed with Sherman Downey and his wicked band, hiked with the Island Trails Group in PEI, lost 9 pints of blood to mosquitoes on one of those trails, had a few articles written about the adventure, busked on the Halifax and Charlottetown Harbour fronts, walked barefoot in white and red sands, saw a Spirit of Newfoundland Dinner Theater, shared the stage with the Irish Decendents/The Pathological Lovers/The Sadies, walked approximately 500 kilometers, picked wild blueberries in the outback of Newfoundland, stood on the furthest east point of Canada, bought a bat-moose t-shirt, played on the Atlantic Ocean on the Marine Atlantic Ferry..saw whales and porpoises during this time, played at the famous Agricola house Open Mic in Halifax, played The Dunk in PEI twice, kayaked the Charlottetown harbour, swam in a gypsum quarry lake near the bay of fundy at sunset, wrote a ton of new songs, made recordings of 6 of them, wandered around Twillingate Isle and played at the Anchor Inn 2 nights, tried blueberry iceberg wine infused with Screech rum, taught and gave a performance in my first school event, learned a bit about playing the button accordion, met and stayed with a traditional Acadian family, developed a stronger relationship with the elements…particularly the wind, spread some of my dad’s ashes near the sea, connected with people who jammed with my father in the Yukon in the mid 70’s, bumped into people I hadn’t seen from the Okanagan in 16 years, played several open mics/house concerts/random street/coffee shop performances, met Leah Parsons – changed my life and am now motivated to help bring more awareness and education towards bullying and sexual assault, held community group walks, teamed with Hike Nova Scotia for one of them, played a home festival event called Shedfest, frequented many Tim Horton’s for my office spaces, hiked a portion of the east coast trail, moved a heck a lot of festival barriers, saw my first firefly, learned that “lunch,” to the Irish means “late night snack,” slept in a park in the middle of St. John’s, attended a “Flash Park,” attended a Pictou Garden Club event, ate wonderful farm/garden grown food, tried the Haligonian “Donair,” and although it is good, I’m not all that crazy on the “Donair sauce,” everyone raves about..haha, learned what Mummuring means, still don’t understand how you can say “Yes b’y,” to women, learned many awesome Newfoundland phrases, met three conspiracy theorists while busking, nose flute soloed with Amy and Rachel Beck in PEI, made my first fire on my own, slept in my tent on a bouncy bush, skyped a whole lot, met a legion of Volkswagon van die hards, missed every busker festival and Great Big Sea numerous times….celebrated the birth of a new niece from very far away, enhanced my understanding of what I want in life, increased desire to build a house and grow a garden, had some great discussions about important topics, drank ginger beer, discovered the beverage “Dark and Stormy,” shed some tears, had some great laughs, met so many wonderful caring people, and overall……..loved every blinkin minute of it!

Thanks again for all that shared in the beginning of this quest.  Looking forward to catching up with old friends, and seeing new ones in the east in about a year :).

Update from the road, and official walking start in PEI July 1st!

It’s been two weeks on the road/train tracks, and much longer since I have written anything to update, so here is a quick one to lay some ground for what’s to come……

Jen Miller and I had an amazing experience riding the Via Rail train from Vancouver to Toronto.  What a lovely way to see the country’s landscape diversity, and a great opportunity to connect with travelers from all around the world.

To light speed summarize the train….ate incredible food, slept in cool transforming rooms (ie. beds magically fold out of the walls and ceilings of the rooms), jammed with kids, a violinist, shakers, singers, riot controlled an impending Via Rail strike in Winnipeg, and probably walked 10km on the train itself!

Since hitting Toronto, we’ve played 3 venue gigs, and have one more tomorrow night at The Central, then off on the train to Halifax this Friday.  It’s been fantastic to catch up with family and friends not seen for some time, and I thank you all for the amazing experiences.  I even got to ride the Maid of the Mist at Niagra Falls…Got quite the shower!

Lastly, my walking tour starts in less than 1 week!!!  I am beginning on Canada in PEI, and can’t wait to begin this adventure.  Jen and I have a couple shows together as our duo on PEI July 6th/7th, and then I continue walking PEI.  We’ll be touring Nova Scotia/New Brunswick together until end of July, and the 1 whole week performing on the Marine Atlantic Ferry between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia (SEE SHOW LIST HERE).  As of August 7th….I’ll be in Newfoundland solo.  Going to hang around for the Music Festival Aug.9-11th, and then open stroll until end of September.  If you’re around Newfoundland in August, or Nova Scotia in September and feel like a stroll, watch “WALK WITH MICHAEL TAB” on the website, or give me an email.  More to come after the walk begins next week!!