Rick Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Rick Blue
is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Rick Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

He is also a columnist for Montreal's outstanding West Island Gazette..

His LCC columns are archived here

Posted 09.21.14


From Newfoundland -- Greetings from George Street

MONTREAL | It's Saturday night on George Street, in St. John's, Newfoundland. It's 11 o'clock and the small street, only a few blocks long, is beginning to cook. There are twenty-five pubs and they all seem to have live music.

And most of it is in a tradition that is unique to Atlantic Canada. It's a mix of Celtic and folk. Let's call it "pub music." Songs with melodies that sound like they come from the mists of time, like they have always been there, about adventure, tragedy, patriotism, sailing, leaving and returning, timeless themes usually sung with rousing male voices.

Locals and tourists flock to this street as they do to Bourbon Street in New Orleans and Beale Street in Memphis. And as with those two musical destinations they come to hear a style of music that is rarely ever played on the radio. In New Orleans, it is Dixieland. In Memphis, it is the Blues. Here in Newfoundland it is "Pub."

As with all three of these forms, the crowd is mixed, a cross section of ages and socio-economic status. Greying baby boomers mix with kids from Memorial University. And nerds mix with jocks.

There is no concept of "cool" here. It is a scene that is all about "fun." It is loud and boisterous. People talk, laugh and dance. Character is celebrated. And, of course, beer.

As to truly understand much of pop music, drugs are necessary, but beer is the intoxicant that will put you in synch with pub music. It is more of an innocent buzz. A social buzz. You'll end up telling your life story to complete strangers who will never see again.

They are justly proud of this tradition here in Newfoundland. They know that they are geographically closer to Ireland than they are to Toronto. And much of the time they feel culturally closer to it as well.

As with Blues and Jazz, you won't hear this music played on the radio. Music directors will explain by saying: "It doesn't fit our format." That's why fans of it have to seek it out live, where it lives in their hearts and the hearts of the musicians who play it every night knowing that they have no chance in hell of ever making it big.

But as St. John's grows, and adapts from a cod economy to an oil economy, Newfoundlanders know that their heart and soul will always be heard on George Street. To read Rick Blue's complete column on the West Island Gazette, click here Rick Blue blog on West Island Gazette
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