The Blues Can – e57s1

episode 57 season 1

…a trip inside a bluesy bar
The Blues Can
Gritty graffiti from this local blues bar

Today I’m sharing my ReView of a night out at a gritty grounded bar called the Blues Can, located at Inglewood 1429 9th Avenue SE, Calgary, Alberta. Boats some great bluesy acts from across the globe. Think dark suits, 40’s polished shoes, harmonica and good vocals that sooth you. Feeling music in your bones…taking your mind somewhere else. This place is great.

Welcome back to Valerie’s Variety Podcast with your host me, Valerie Moss this show is about ReViews, InterViews and my Daily Views. It’s a story podcast about my life in Calgary, WhatEVER | WhenEVER. The show drops every Tuesday.

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When you walk into this place it looks like out of a movie, like picture the bar out of the Patrick Swayzee movie Rhoadhouse, Double Deuce. But the biggest different is it’s not the meanest bar – altho I’m sure it has some stories. Step foot into this bar, you need to pay a cover…$15 this doesn’t buy you a seat just a spot to stand. Back in the day it would have been filled with smoke, it’s gritty inside but casual. The line of site to the bar from anywhere is perfect.

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Smells like a bar, like food and booze and people. Like stories are told and the bartenders have seen it all and heard music that they will never forget, it’s changed them. You smell and feel history in this place. You know there’s a culture here that makes it what it is.

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The feeling is everything, it was just me and my girlfriend for a night out celebrating both our birthdays. Changing our corporate attire for casual jeans and boots. Walking into this place with a mixed demographic from here and the Deep South. You kind of feel like you may not belong, two women in a gritty bar. We were there to dance and enjoy the good music.

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No Original 16 at this bar…so we settled for their usual. The bar stools were full all the way around. There’s tables here and there, higher booth style along the wall to the right of the room, these were full, the place was full. The bar is situated off to the left as you walk in, the stage is centered at the back of the room, directly across from the entrance. the stage is lit up well, perfectly actually highlighting all the right parts of the band, the instruments and solidifying the mood in the room. It’s exactly where I wanted to be. Listening to live southern blues, gravely voices, steel guitars. Their plastic tip jar on the floor beside the mic stand…was filling up with purple bills, these guys were good.

The dance floor is small, people are laughing and having a good time around us and with us. Guys and Gals strutting and shaking their bodies, releasing their stresses, enjoying and absorbing the music. This wooden floor has supported many pairs of feet enjoying a night out at this great place. Grinning people all around young and old, great dancers prancer their swagger criss-crossing the dance floor. It was awesome.

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This place isn’t to sit and drink high priced whiskey or the finest of wines, you drink what you can see on the shelf or in the bar well. It’s the ‘usual’ and that’s what you order. We did a couple shots of Jack – seems like the right thing to do in this place but – we were ultimately there for the music.

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The finest polished shoes.

At one point in the night this man, finely dressed with his red shirt, white suspenders, top hat with the crispest ribbon detail, came up on stage with a walking stick in hand and the darkest of sun glasses He, this man of poise proceeded to tear the harmonica apart. The place went crazy. And ad such, I was in awe of the excellence and talent before me. We set our purses on the stage just on the smallest corner as we couldn’t leave the at the table plus we were taxi-ing it all over this night.

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As most of you know I do these background recordings from my phone. its discreet and just to give you a sense of feeling from this part of my life. In no way am I’m steeling or portraying their work as my own, just to provide a context for my night out. Furthermore, I had never been to the Blues Can before, have you? There’s almost 600 reviews on google for this place. The list of Performers on their site is endless…check it out there’s link on my site

They have names like:

  • Silvertone Devils
  • Smoking 45s
  • Peter Fischer and the Hurricanes
  • our very own cousin in our Family Miss Ange and Company has also played there
  • Oscar Lopez Calgary owns
  • Rusty Reed

Don’t these names solidify the mood and the personality of these bands. These are old souls in these bands they have stories to tall and magic to perform. talking and engaging the crowds looking for the song and word that connects us all. These people perform and love to influence the souls before them. We all have a story and hearing a song a cord that strikes you is what we are after. Me and my brown haired friend had a great time. My first time here and definitely not my last.

Have you been here, do you love the music, the instruments, the gravelly voices, dark top hats, the deepest of bass and jazz notes? Can you sit in a bar, where you can barely see it’s so dim and feel at ease, your with like-minded patrons who are there for the same thing. Bathrooms don’t have doors on the stalls…the tables and chairs don’t match…it’s old and gots a story to tell? Can you?

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Take your bestie on a night out, in your jeans, order a drink from the bartender, like a Budweiser or a rum and coke, spend your time on the dance floor or in a table and just enjoy the music, let it penetrate your skin, your body, so your ears buzz with enjoyment. You won’t be disappointed and maybe you’ll be inspired by a good harmonica, tapping a symbol, polishing up a great pair of shoes, appreciating a ‘usual’ drink from the guy behind the bar. Bluesy Jazzy music to get your feet back on the ground as the song Mustang Sally would say.

Isn’t it funny how life is, I’m writing this last Saturday morning, getting all my thoughts down on paper. I’m satisfied. We had a heavy weekend inclusive of a funeral. I’m settling in for the night it’s about 9pm, Im stitching with embroidery and needle. My friend sends me a text…’wanna meet me at the Blues Can’ – so serendipitous – I say yes. 10:30pm, pull on some jeans, runners – yes it’s this casual and head down…

Don’t take my word for it check out these great ReViews:

  • If you are a music lover this is a MUST SEE. Small venue for up close and personal Blues shows. Come early as seating gets filled up very quickly. Staff are quick and efficient as it is a fast past environment for them.
    Please note there is usually cover here avg $20 /head depending on artist performing.
    So much talent comes through this place.
  • CASH ONLY. Excellent tequila. Reasonable prices. Fun at the Saturday afternoon jam from 3-6PM. Go early to get a seat. Dancing floor.
  • Calgary’s premier blues bar… live music nightly… superb staff, well situated along the Music Mile in Inglewood, good food and decent beer selection. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys authentic music.

Thank you for listening today…check out The Blues Can and it’s owner Greg Smith here’s a write up I found in the YYC Scene giving some background on this great place and the vision behind it.

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