Miss Rae sings in her beloved town of Winnipeg for one night only on Thursday, September 4th. For six years Miss Rae lived in ‘Peg City, moving to Manitoba independently when she was 16 years old, the city raised her by immersing a curious mind into the music capital of Canada. Winnipeg will always hold a fond place in Miss Rae’s heart, as the cultural hub where she was first able to tap into her musical and film abilities. Winnipeg proudly supports local talent, encouraging the city’s artists so that they strive to reach their highest potential. As a thank you, Miss Rae performs a FREE Reunion Show as a trio, featuring co-songwriter of Big Boned Woman, Vince Andrushko on guitar and Tom “Twisty” Fodey on bass. An evening of Delta Blues at MAW’S in the Exchange District. Music begins at 9:30p.m. No Minors
Sponsored by CKUA Radio Network, you are invited to:
Bon Voyage! Miss Rae’s Edmonton Farewell Show. Saturday, August 30th, is your last chance to catch us performing 3 full sets of Soulful Delta Blues in Edmonton as Miss Rae relocates to Paris, France this fall.
Featuring Clayton Sample (The Rockin’ Highliners) on guitar, Johnny Richards (Sam Spades Band) on upright bass, and Dan Levasseur on the skins. With very special guests later on in the evening.
$10 cover | No Minors
Doors at 8:00pm | Music at 9:00pm
Newcastle Pub | 8170-50st
On a muggy Thursday night at 2am in April, I found myself stranded and wandering around a deserted downtown Memphis. Without enough cab fare on hand to return to the hostel, thus far I had only hitchhiked twice during my two month venture, and that night I felt an intense uneasy warning in my gut about taking such a risk. Fortunately, a sweet friend let me crash in her Motel room, but I’ll always remember those lost hours in between where I really had to re-evaluate my street smarts.
This frequently populated touristy area had now transformed into a ghost town, illuminated by hazy neon signs. At 3am, I found myself sitting on a iron bench in Beale street, puffing on a child-sized cuban cigar that leaves a smoky honey aftertaste on your tongue (for those of you who know me, I only smoke once in a blue moon, so this was a rare act to pass the time). I briefly close my eyes, only to open them and notice a man scuffling about in the shadows. He slowly creeps over to sit down on the opposite end of the bench. With grey frayed hair, his glassy eyes stare wildly in my direction.
Remaining calm, I reject this strange man’s lewd proposal as he glances at the bushes, recognizing that his ‘offer’ is masking as a cry from a desperately lonely person. He accepts a cigar, then we sit in silence for a few moments before he shifts tones and begins opening up about his recent heartbreak, while telling tales of life on the streets in Memphis. About half an hour passes and it is time for me to move along, so he requests a song. I ask him to close his eyes as I start to sing Son House’s “Grinnin’ In Your Face”. At the end of the tune, his smile reveals a few missing teeth. When we part ways, I am reminded to be thankful that our meeting had turned out so neutral. Strangers may only be two people who cross paths for a single moment, sharing a hushed understanding of a life that was, and the contrast of what lays ahead on our separate journeys.
Memphis Music (on Beale street) was one of my favorite record stores in the States, as my inner sassy mama jumped with glee upon purchasing a Big Mama Thornton album on Record Store Day. Memphis Music also sells nifty bottle neck guitar slides.
Enjoyed visiting the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum:
“For the earliest days of radio, women have been active in broadcasting as announcers, writers, advertisers, engineers, and executives. In 1955 Memphis’ WHER, owned by Sam Phillips, became the first station in America to feature only women on the air.”
Portable Recording Studio circa 1950
“This reel-to-reel recorder and mixing board were used by Sam Phillips to record undiscovered blues musicians in rural area — sharecropper’s house, country stores and small juke joints.”
April 22nd, 2014:
Visited the Lorraine Motel this afternoon, the site where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a sniper on April 4th, 1968 at 6:01p.m. He was pronounced dead at 7:05p.m. Upon hearing the story for the umpteenth time and viewing video clips, something inside me shifted as I stood in the vacant parking lot, and tears began slipping down my cheeks.
I cried for those visionaries who were taken from this world too soon.
I cried for the homeless woman I had hugged earlier,
whose voice shook as she asked for help and the people around us scolded her.
I cried for those who believe that change lingers just out of reach.
I cried for 14-year-old Emmett Till who was beaten to death in 1941
by two white men who considered themselves heroes for killing a black boy.
I cried for those who feel stuck and trapped by their social standing.
I cried for those who still experience racism and oppression on a daily basis.
I cried for those who feel unloved and unworthy.
Thankful for the silence, the wind gently whistled on past to clang with a nearby chain.
I took a few deep breaths and relaxed. I have no shame in crying,
it’s a natural human release from built up empathy.
Visited the STAX Museum afterwards
and that sweet soul music lifted up my spirits once again.
“On this site stood STAX Records, Inc. which boasted such stars as Otis Redding, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Albert King, the Bar-Kays, and many others. It relied upon its deep soul roots to carry it through struggling from a back-street garage in 1957 to becoming a multi-million-dollar organization.”
My stay at the Pilgrim House Hostel (Cooper-Young district) was a lovely area, and I met a number of ladies & gents who had travelled from around North America to either move to or visit Memphis. On my last evening there I was grateful to be given a midnight tour of the iconic Ardent Studios. Among many greats in the sixties, like Sam & Dave, current artists who have recorded there include the impressionable Cat Power, and an emerging duo hailing from Austin, Texas known as Greyhounds – their debut album, Accumulator has been predominantly spinning on Miss Rae’s August playlist.
Miss Rae had a swell time jamming on stage at the Rum Boogie Cafe, the place is covered with signed guitars from a variety of musicians. Earlier that same night while walking down Beale street, a woman named Minnie actually recognized Miss Rae from when she was singing in Mississippi that previous weekend; jamming at the Juke Joint Festival where she sold out of all her CDs.
The best soul food I indulged in while experiencing Tennessee was at Imagine Vegan Cafe
I’ll always recall when I first rode the Memphis city bus to the hostel, and as a blind black man disembarks from our bus, he turns to the driver and pleasantly says,
“May you have a blessed day Sir.” (turns to us passengers)
“May you All have a blessed day.”
Humanity is beautiful.
If Nashville is the heart of Tennessee,
then Memphis are its lungs.
(Stay tuned for a chapter on Miss Rae’s adventures in New Orleans)
Have a listen to this stunning songstress based out of Memphis, Miss Valerie June.
*All Photos © Cheyenne Rae Photography
“Revolver Man” is the second tune off our debut album, Big Boned Woman to enter into the National Aboriginal Music Countdown! The song takes the 34th spot on its 3rd week in the charts, thank you for your requests and votes dear listeners.
There is magic in the Mississippi River. Its water has blessed the earth, producing some of the most fertile soil in the South, and home to various Blues Greats who were born in the Delta: Charlie Patton, Howlin’ Wolf, Son House, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Skip James, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Mississippi John Hurt, R.L. Burnside, Willie Dixon, B.B. King and the list continues growing to this day.
An older man in a Nashville bar whispered a warning to me before I left, “The further down you go in the States, the blacker it gets, watch yourself now.” I laughed and said with a smile, “Oh I can’t wait to get in touch with my black roots!” Mississippi is home to some of the friendliest folks, while the entire state feels like a small town, because people always smile and say hello when you walk on by.
Clarksdale, MS stands out as one of my favorite southern spots on the map. After getting through on a payphone, I was fortunate enough to book a last minute bed during the week of the bustling Juke Joint Blues Festival. I spent 6 nights at the Riverside Hotel in room #6, the very same room where John Lee Hooker had slept in when he’d pass on through to perform, and Sam Cooke used to sleep a few doors down.
Across the hall, an open door leads to a somber space where sunlight spills onto a bed dedicated to Bessie Smith, she died within those exact walls in 1937 when the Riverside originally operated as a segregated hospital for blacks only.
The current proprietor is Zee Ratliff, a generous, hard-working & kind-hearted woman who looks after the family business that her grandmother had begun in 1944, and who her dedicated father, Frank (better known as Rat), left his mark on. A young fellow by the name of Jesse also tends to the Riverside Hotel. On those warm spring afternoons in April, he’d sit out on the porch, and use a lighter as a slide to bend guitar strings into Delta rhythms. With his sweet Georgia accent, he’d often recount detailed stories of Rat’s sharp wit, sly humor, thoughtfulness, and quirky personality. In the front room, you’ll come across a stunning painting of Rat, and seeing the honest twinkle in his eyes reminds us that his spirit will forever live on at 615 Sunflower Avenue.
I experienced a few peaceful days of country silence in Clarksdale, right before the crowds came in droves for the Blues Festival. What a spectacular music filled weekend. My ears were spoiled by the sounds of Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Rip Lee Pryor, Deak Harp, Cash McCall and Super Chikan. I had the good fortune of singing Big Mama Thornton’s “Hound Dog” onstage with the incredible Stacy Mitchhart Band from Nashville, TN at the Ground Zero Blues Club (owned by Morgan Freeman & the Mayor of Clarksdale).
Then Red’s Lounge feels like you’ve stepped into a hazy orange lit living room, the musicians play on a rug situated in the centre surrounded by eclectic chairs, tables, and ribbons of smoke fill the air as sticky bodies stand side by side. Most people would always end their night at Red’s, it was by far my preferred juke joint in the States – they had a Sunday night jam to wrap up the festivities and the place was packed, I proudly represented Canada and sang my heart out as I was delighted to perform with their house band, The Cornlickers. Then there is Kingfish who definitely deserves a mention, he is one of the best young blues guitarist I have ever seen, and at the ripe age of fifteen years old, people call him a “Young Hendrix”. Most musicians I encountered in/from Mississippi are very humble, talented, and supportive of one another.
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band plays for a full house at The New ROXY Theatre
The salesman in town who sold me a Son House record at CatHead had moved from Nashville, drawn by the music. He gave us an honest opinion about the towns history, development, and current portrayal of Clarksdale. During the 1950s, each factory in town began closing its doors which led to a flurry of citizens moving to Memphis for employment.
To this day, areas exists with particular living conditions which would not pass code in Canada. Passenger trains are no longer running, but the old train station has been renovated into a prime Delta Blues Museum that houses an array of beautiful old guitars, accompanied by musing stories of the blues men and women who made Mississippi a music staple.
Miss Rae is on the lookout for a similar Resonator Guitar like this one at the Delta Blues Museum
I will always fondly remember Clarksdale, Mississippi, it feels like a lifelong friend who you may not see all time, but with each visit, (and sip o’ pineapple moonshine) their warmth embraces your soul. Talk about small town charm, this one is a hidden gem folks!
An hour from Clarksdale is Greenwood, Mississippi, where you can experience a Blues Tour from the very knowledgeable Sylvester Hoover. The photo above was taken in the downtown area on a warm afternoon.
From the depths of the Mississippi, Tennessee & Louisiana – Miss Rae returns to Canada to perform with the Midnight Ramblers, featuring Clayton Sample (Rockin’ Highliners) on guitar, Johnny Richards (Sam Spades Band) on upright bass, and Dan Levasseur on the skins.
Each southern state has heavily influenced Miss Rae’s spirit and song. C’mon down to Brittany’s on Friday, May 30th and we’ll take you there. Prepare your ears for a series of tunes from the Delta, soul from Memphis, and we are even unleashing a special Johnny Cash cover.
$10 cover | No Minors
Doors at 8:00pm
Music at 9:00pm
Brittany’s Lounge | 10225-97street
First stop was Nashville, Tennessee for 10 days:
A sparkling Country infused City, filled with all kinds of honky-tonks that waft Hillbilly music onto Broadway’s streets. Nashville seemed awake and jumpin’ at all hours, 7 days a week. With a fondness for The Man In Black, I visited The Johnny Cash Museum. Admired a wall of his hit records on 45rpm, and learnt that he crafted traditional Native inspired jewelry. Although, it was disappointing that the exhibit barely touched upon Johnny & June’s relationship, I always considered her to be an integral part to the growth of his music. On display were multiple couple stage costumes, a photo of the two happily smiling on their wedding day (next to a collage of Cash’s first wife, Vivian), and then a tearful handwritten poem he wrote on the day of June’s funeral. Johnny passed on only 4 months after her. Overall, the exhibit left me with an strange sense of sadness. Johnny wore black for the poor, the sick, the weak, the wrongly accused, in an attempt to shed light on society’s realities.
“I’d love to wear a rainbow every day
And tell the world that everything’s okay
But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
Till things are brighter, I’m the Man In Black.”
- Johnny Cash
The Famous Hatch Show Print Shop in Nashville, TN
Nashville worked its magic by cheering me up at night, the venues seldomly charge cover, so you can sample a few tunes before moving along to another hot spot, and it’s custom to throw a few dollars in the musicians tip buckets. The best venue I frequented was the Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar, tucked away a few blocks from Broadway in Printer’s Alley. Other notable places were Robert’s Western World, where I saw a phenomenal 19-year-old guitarist perform like he lived in the seventies, Daniel Donato is definitely going places with his Fenders. Right next door to Robert’s is Layla’s with the turquoise sign and hundreds of worn license plates hanging from the ceiling, they feature heavier foot-stompin’ hillbilly bands.
Out of the many locals who I met, only one of them was a born ‘n’ raised Nashvillian:
Billy Hazelwood Born in January, 1935
“I’m 79 years old, ‘n only made it up to grade eight before I quit school to help out with the family farm. God has been lookin’ out for this fool. Spent 37 years workin’ in a factory, Ford Motors it was, they treated me well.”
I had the best time staying at a swanky downtown hostel, where I met fellow travellers and music lovers. The rain was kind in Nashville, I was lucky to be jumping puddles while people were shoveling snow back home. The cherry trees even blossomed during my stay, and on the day of my departure their soft petals filled the back streets as I carried my luggage to the Greyhound station, heading to catch a bus to the Delta.
We stumbled upon this fan made live video from our February 21st show at Brittany’s Lounge. Have a looksie and you’ll get to sample the tasty tunes of:
• “Crossroads” (Robert Johnson cover)
• “Spoonful” (Howlin’ Wolf cover)
• “Midnight Oil” by Miss Rae and the Midnight Ramblers w/ special guest Lymon Brown on saxophone
• “New Coat of Paint” (Tom Waits cover)
• “Jiver” by Miss Rae and the Midnight Ramblers
Living in Edmonton? Then be sure to catch our next show at Brittany’s Lounge on Friday, May 30th!
Here’s how to cast your vote:
Simply visit our CBC Music Profile and on the lower right hand corner below the Searchlight Icon click on the Blue Voting Box. No registration required.
Daily Voting is open until April 6th
Your vote makes all the difference.
Thank you for your time, and please pass along the message to your friends.