|During the vocally stunning gospel-blues number Going Back I had one thought if DiggingRoots arent Canadas blues heir apparents, who is? Hearing First Nations artists perform gospel music at that level also reinforced a very powerful spiritual and historical parallel; between todays groundbreaking native blues musicians and the pioneering black artists in the Delta of yesteryear.
Noted actor Gary Farmer then joined the band on harmonica for a turn on So Strong. Perhaps it was simply a function of where I was sitting, but I had never heard blues harp ring out with such gorgeous resonance through the Dollar like that before. Right before the next song Brighter which sounds uncannily like Pink Floyds Breathe if it were re-written as a contemporary blues-rock song a man called out, I have to go but you guys are f------g amazing. It was a strange candidate for spontaneous profundity of the night, but a winner indeed.
One of the signature songs from Seeds, Rebel, came next with a reverb-heavy and dancefloor friendly blues/reggae/rock-steady/Latin beat. Here Kanetakta revealed yet another side of his musical personality, the hip hop MC, with Kish providing a sublime harmonizing balance. The song came to a close with shredding rock guitar breaking down into a slinky reggae-dub bass line. If Brad Nowell from Sublime had been alive and in the house to hear this one, he would have been lighting two joints in approval.
Back to the Chicago sort of vibe, Kish then led the audience in an interactive call-and-response version of Mamas a Revolutionary. I found the stops and starts in the song a bit distracting, but once in full swing all was forgiven.
Another new-school reggae-blues joint from the CD, Wake Up and Rise, closed the show. Hearing this tune brought to mind perhaps the most striking contemporary inspirational parallel to DiggingRoots. Just as Ben Harper (to whose voice on this song Kanetatkas sounds uncannily similar) inspired a generation of young black American singer-songwriters starting with his seminal debut Welcome to the Cruel World in 1992; so too, one hopes, will DiggingRoots inspire more First Nations artists to plant more seeds of such natural, vivid, diverse and relevant music.
Towards the end of the last song, my date scrawled something in my well-worn reporters notebook and instructed me not to read it then and there. Here is what she wrote: Thank you for taking me to see and feel such amazing music as DiggingRoots it really has meant a lot to me.
That would make two of us.