The sweet lowdown on Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie
We at the Sooke Folk Music Society are especially proud and excited to be bringing internationally acclaimed dobro and slide guitarist, Doug Cox and equally well travelled blues aficionado, Sam Hurrie to Sooke for our next concert series performance this Saturday, May 31 at Holy Trinity Anglican Church.
With nearly a century of music making between them, Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie are avatars of pretty well every style of blues/roots/acoustic music that ever made you want to tap your toes . . . or clap your hands and shout for joy. Currently at the height of their powers, these musical “old souls” came by their expertise the old-fashioned way: endlessly honing their skills during a lifetime of playing and performing. And as is often the case, their musical pilgrimage began while they were just in their teens.
Toronto-born Sam Hurrie was initially obsessed with the pre-WW II blues of Robert Johnson and Son House, and already had his own R&B band in the mid-‘60s. On forays to New York to play and record, Sam, a gifted and intuitive electric guitarist, regularly jammed with Jimi Hendrix and also did a few dates at the Electric Circus where he opened for Muddy Waters and Blood Sweat and Tears.
For his part, Alberta native Doug Cox was also initially drawn to the blues, particularly bottleneck slide guitar. Cox soon discovered the dobro, and before long earned a national and international reputation as he skillfully fused a wide range of acoustic roots and Americana musical styles. Cox’s surpassing dexterity with so many idioms has seen him play and record with such diverse superstars as Indian slide guitarist Salil Bhatt, Hawaii’s Anela Kahiamoe, The dearly departed Long John Baldry, Austin’s sweetheart BettySoo and expat Rwandan The Mighty Popo (to name but a few).
The two musicians first met at a gig on the West Coast’s Powell River in the 1990s and felt an instant connection.
“The music we instinctively wanted to play was blues oriented, but came from the perspective of guys who grew up in the world of rock ‘n’ roll,” says Cox.
For many years they toured all over Canada and even hopped the pond to tour in Europe. They also had a weekly gig in Comox for seven years, playing at the Edge Pub (which has since burned down). During this time they also recorded a few stellar CDs, leaving behind a rich musical legacy and many memories for those lucky enough to have seen them light up pubs, clubs, and coffee houses with their inspired live shows.
Things have come full circle, and Cox and Hurrie have just released a CD compilation named Revisited as they once more hit the touring circuit with renewed energy and an ever-deeper feeling for the music they both love.
There is a real chemistry between the two men, a flowing spirit of collaboration as these virtuosos perform a mix of originals and classic blues invigorated with fresh ideas and superlative technique. Hurrie still favours electric slide guitar, with Cox doing most of the acoustic chores – on guitar, mandolin, and dobro. With rich tone, disciplined passion, and encyclopedic knowledge, Hurrie and Cox are musical magicians. Magicians who can pull an impressive range of tunes out of the hat, whether it’s a tenderly mournful reading of the Jagger/Richards song No Expectations, Lowell Fulson’s Reconsider Baby done as a mandolin-driven country blues, or even a rollicking version of Birdland where Joe Zawinul’s hipster jazz standard is reimagined as a barrelhouse party tune. This is timeless music presented in a way that will dazzle and delight.
This is one musical evening that you are not going to want to miss. It is sure to be chock full of lively and intricate musical delights and engaging stories from the road.
So please join us this Saturday evening at Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Murray Road. The doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the concert commencing at 8. Ticket are available at the door, or in advance at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Contributed by Dave Gallant