I went to see a solo musician by the name of Jay Bowcott, a Calgarian who relocated to Medicine Hat about ten years ago with his family. The show was at Mikey’s Juke Joint here in the Beltline in Calgary. Mikey’s is a small place that is modeled after a 1930s era barrelhouse complete with rough wood floors, distressed copper tabletops and a matching copper bar. The concert wasn’t officially titled “Constant Rain” even though it was part of a small tour to promote Jay’s recently released album. The show was scheduled to begin at 9:00 pm on November 22nd, at 8:30 there was a brief sound check. At 8:55 the first five chords of Tom Petty’s unmistakable hit Free Fallin’ rang out, only this version had a folk feel.
Jay was to open with a set of his renditions of some major hits from the past fifty years, which had me thinking it was going to be a long night. I am very seldom a fan of covers, let alone covers of originals I have listened to hundreds of times. I began frantically searching for my server because I intended to make a preemptive strike on the pain I was about to endure.
“You say that you're leaving
Well that comes as no surprise
Still I kinda like this feeling
Of being left behind” -
Hasn’t Hit Me Yet by Blue Rodeo
Hasn’t Hit Me Yet by Blue Rodeo was the next song and I began to notice Jay wasn’t just doing a mediocre job of copying songs like most covers. He really transformed this song in to a folky bluesy type song that respected the original but definitely made a statement about Jay’s talent as a musician. The statement was clear and undisputable “I am confident in my talent and abilities in this genre, let me show you.” The set continued on for about ninety minutes and songs from a huge variety of genres from the last five decades. Jay would talk to the audience between songs and one thing really stood out, he was incredibly polite and respectful.
After the first set was over he did not retreat backstage, (not that there is a backstage at Mikey’s) instead he...