Victoria’s famous one-man-band hits Oak Bay in May

Victoria’s famous one-man-band hits Oak Bay in May

Saturday, May 5 at 7 p.m. Dave Harris brings Bluesville, blues heaven, and the street to The Oaks

Joseph Blake

News contributor

Dave Harris has been busking on Victoria streets and Inner Causeway since 1977. A throw-back to historic blues street musicians, Harris has played in bands in many genres and released a trove of great recordings. Crowded at the Bottom, the Bravo-TV bio-pic special, captures some of Dave’s self-effacing, bittersweet blues mastery. The musician’s one-man-band may be the best current embodiment of that rare blues form anywhere in the world.

Drawing inspiration from dusty, 19th century southern street corners to urban, northern outposts and records like Jesse Fuller’s one-man-band classic San Francisco Bay Blues, Harris’ music still lives on the street. The street informs and invigorates his blues. He is a musical magician, a multi-instrumentalist with archaic and invented instruments like his foot-operated string bass. It will be magic to sit back and listen to Dave’s one-man-band blues at The Oaks, maybe after curry dinner or bangers and mash or whatever The Oaks’ kitchen is turning out on a warm and beery Saturday night, (A room buzzing with neighborly, music-loving conviviality if it’s anything like the last Blues for Eric benefit concert April 7 by Bill Johnson and his band.)

The $20 ticket is a ticket to blues heaven and a donation to the Eric LeBlanc Memorial Scholarship at UVic. Eric was a much-loved local blues disc jockey, author, and teacher. The School of Music scholarship will be “awarded to academically outstanding undergraduates…” Eric would love that!

Eric knew the blues in depth, and his huge record collection was wide-reaching too. The collection of thousands of recordings lives at UVic’s CFUV radio station, and the spirit of Eric’s love for the blues lives in Dave Harris’ multi-instrumental, one-man-band dexterity, craft, and soul. For the pure street theatre of Dave joyously singing above his steel-body guitars, racked harmonicas, electric guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, foot-operated box-stringed bass, high hat, and suitcase bass drum…all arms and legs and fingers wailing or sailing seemingly effortlessly all at once, for that experience, you’ve got to catch Dave Harris live. Pure street!

Saturday, May 5 at 7 p.m. Dave Harris brings Bluesville, blues heaven, and the street to The Oaks, 2250 Oak Bay Ave. Tickets are $20. Call 250 590-3155 for more information.

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