Harpdog Brown feels at home in the blues. The musician and singer has performed for more than 30 years and continues to do so with a stop at Diners Rendezvous Sunday (Sept. 4).

Harpdog Brown feels at home in the blues. The musician and singer has performed for more than 30 years and continues to do so with a stop at Diners Rendezvous Sunday (Sept. 4).

Where he belongs

Harpdog Brown found his home in blues music

Harpdog Brown found a place where he belonged and he stayed there for 30 years.

The blues singer and musician can remember as early as age five roaming the neighbourhood and straying from home. School was close by – elementary at one end of the street, high school at the other – yet he craved adventure.

“Some of my friends got to take the bus to school,” he said. “I thought I was missing something.”

He said he thinks it could be a trait of adopted children, which he was.

“We really don’t have a feeling of root,” Brown said. “I kind of live the life of a gypsy.”

At age 16, he saw the blues legend James Cotton wailing on his harmonica. Brown was captivated by the emotion, passion and expression in Cotton’s playing.

“He really ruined me,” Brown said.

After the harmonica – referred to as a ‘harp’ in blues music – came the guitar.

It was the Rolling Stones which expanded Brown’s knowledge of blues as he found names like McKinley Morganfield and Ellas McDaniel in the songwriting credits, who turned out to be Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley, respectively.

In the blues, he found a place he finally felt natural, a place where he belonged.

Soon after school, Brown found himself discussing his future with a buddy and realized that he didn’t want to be a zombie worker who lived for coffee breaks.

“Music is the only way we can stay misfits,” his buddy told him.

“He was wrong when he said the Stones couldn’t go on forever,” Brown added.

Brown sees himself as a vehicle for songwriters, performing their message and reaching audiences with his interpretation, much like a teacher or a preacher, he said.

“My real gift is the bridge between the ears and the creator,” he said.

The message from the blues is one of empowerment, of shared burden of life’s miseries and the knowledge that others understand the struggle, too.

“That’s the power of the blues,” Brown said. “The blues isn’t always sad.”

His roaming continues as he tours across the country. Since mid-July, he racked up more than 12,000 kilometres driving from town to town.

“This is where I belong,” he said.

He is currently touring and performing with Graham Guest, who he describes as one of the best piano players in Canada.

Brown performs with Guest at Diners Rendezvous Sunday (Sept. 4) at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets $22/advance; $25/door. People with a ticket stub from last weekend’s Summertime Blues Festival receive $7 discount.

Please call 250-740-1133 for more information or for ticket reservations.

Just Posted

Woodgrove Centre has a temporary COVID-19 vaccination clinic operated by Island Health. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 vaccine clinic set up at Woodgrove Centre

Anyone 12 and up can receive a first dose of mRNA vaccine seven days a week

Six United Way chapters around the province are merging into United Way B.C. (News Bulletin file photo)
Central Island’s United Way merging with other chapters to create United Way B.C.

Money raised in communities will stay in those communities, agency says

Young people graduating in COVID-19 times have shown resilience. (Stock photo)
Editorial: Class of 2021 has shown smarts and resilience

Congratulations and good luck to Grade 12s who have persevered during the pandemic

The Nanaimo Business Awards are accepting nominations now. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce image)
Nanaimo Business Awards accepting nominations of worthy winners

This year’s awards aren’t until the fall, but the nomination period ends June 28

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

The number of skilled trades workers available is not enough to fill the current construction boom in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Supply of skilled tradespeople can’t keep up to Vancouver Island construction boom

Thousands of positions will be needed by 2030, despite flow of Camosun trades students

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Most Read