090712 Lindsay Buckingham, Ottawa, ON

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I ask you, what could be finer than cycling along a UNESCO World Heritage site (the Rideau Canal), through the campus of my old alma mater and along the gurgling Rideau River to Hog’s Back Park on a warm Indian Summer evening to hear the wonderful Lindsay Buckingham play the guitar?

Few things.

Of course such a fine outing would be even finer if I had a wonderful lady that loved me along for the night and a crew of good friends scattered amongst the Folk Festival crowd when I got there and whattya know, on September 7th, 2012 I did and I did.

And of course I did have a great time!

This was maybe the first or second year that the Bluesfest folks had been involved in what had previously been a significantly more grassroots and down-homey festival with less budget and less big names*, and while I really liked the old folkfest it’s proximity (or lack thereof) combined with the lack of heavy hitters (such as Lindsay Buckingham, for instance) kept me away more often than it drew me in, and I think most of my friends could easily say the same.  So it was with extra glee that I ate up the pleasant surroundings, drank down several $6 beers and took in such a fine, respectable musical force as Lindsay Buckingham in great company.

Just in case: Lindsay Buckingham is a boy, and he was the guy who transformed Fleetwood Mac from an esotericly well-known British blues band into bona fide FM radio superstars and future legends.  Along with Stevie Nicks of course, who joined the band at the same time.  Oh, and just in case: Stevie Nicks is a girl.

And I tell you (because you may not know this already), in addition to being one of the great pop-rock songwriters California ever produced Lindsay Buckingham is also one heck of a guitar player.  Not only did he write the bulk of Fleetwood Mac songs that most people can name off the top of their head**, he comes up with wonderfully innate rock solid chops that are so blatantly musical and subtly brilliant that he’s almost Paul Simon-esque.

Take for example Never Going Back Again – which Buckingham wrote for Fleetwood Mac’s unspeakably brilliant Rumours album – specifically the third bar of his four-bar repeated phrase where three of his fingers effortlessly scroll through a 3/8 feel on top of his solid 4/4 thumbed bass line.  Just like the guitar part to Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill it’s one of those curiously simple-sounding yet intricate little off-timed folky guitar riffs that is darn tricky to play once let alone repeating perfectly for the whole damn song.

Anyway, dude’s a really great guitar player whether it sounds like it or not and he put on a heck of a show in the park that night.

And that was it for the Folk Fest for me for 2012.  I had played the sidestage the night before and saw Ben Harper do a great headlining slot but looking at the ticket stub I’m guessing I had been given a free full-festival pass.  I’m not sure why I skipped out on the next two nights…I guess I just wasn’t very interested in the lineup.  I know I was already double-booked for the closing night as I had tickets to see Madonna that evening.  In retrospect I should have gone to Folk Fest after all.

*Don’t get me wrong!!!!!  The old original Ottawa Folk Festival brought in lots and lots of truly great acts and some big names too, but let’s face it, they never could have afforded acts like Robert Plant, David Byrne, or Van Morrison.  Still, please understand that I mean no disrespect to the olde school Folk Festival whatsoever.  So lay off.

**Let me help: Second Hand News, Go Your Own Way, The Chain, and Tusk.

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