Taking Maple Ridge by Storm

As I mentioned in my first blog, I started playing open mics around Maple Ridge. After about a month, I could tell that the audiences were really responding to our songs. Now, when I say “our”, I’m referring to my brother, Rant and I. He’s a songwriter as well. We’ve written a lot of songs, and played in bands together, which is why we complement each other as a duo. Everybody loves it when we sing in harmony. So it was suggested that the two of us enter a local competition called, Ridge Meadows Got Talent.

I entered us into the competition as songwriters and was extremely excited to hear that we were chosen as finalists! The top eight acts were to perform at the Maple Ridge Country Fair. We chose to perform a country song that I had written called, “Don’t Drink”, which always gets a laugh when I introduce the song. If you know anything about country music then you know that “don’t drink” and “country” don’t mix! Nevertheless, the unexpected payoff of the hook makes it a very clever song.

Sly & Rant Performing at RMGT.

Sly & Rant Performing at RMGT.

What I remember most about the performance was the incredible sound system and how great it sounded on stage! Coming from “open mic” situations, it’s sometimes hard to hear yourself clearly. I’m sure that gave our performance an added oomph! To be honest, I don’t think we could have played the song better … or had more fun!

There were a lot of talented acts performing that day, but somehow WE were announced as the winners! I really wasn’t expecting to win, and truthfully, it wasn’t important for me to win. I was already thrilled just having had the opportunity to play one of my songs for an audience of country music fans. Winning was an added blessing, and one that I am very thankful for. I think the picture tells all!

Sly & Rant - Winners of RMGT!

Sly & Rant – Winners of RMGT!

P.S. I later heard from one of the judges that “the harmonies clinched it” for us! 😉

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On My Way

Hi! Welcome to my blog! The calendar has just rolled over into September and it’s starting to get a little chilly here in Maple Ridge, Canada. I already miss the summer weather. A couple of months ago I turned over an old leaf. I started playing live shows again. It had been a while since I had taken the stage with a band. This time, however, I was going to just get out there with a guitar and play some of my original songs at open mics around town to showcase my songwriting.

Sly-Valentyne-at-The-ACT-Open-Mic

My first performance at The ACT

Having traveled to Nashville recently, my approach when I returned home was different. I’d spent a lot of time locked away, polishing my songs. I was sending them out to Nashville, trying to get them recorded by other artists. I thought I could break into Nashville from a distance. This approach wasn’t working. “You have to be in Nashville to be successful in Nashville” was a common phrase I heard repeatedly. So I decided to put that idea into effect right here in Maple Ridge!

While at a Ridley Bent concert at the ACT arts center, I had a chance meeting with Ivan Boudreau, a local songwriter, who told me about an open mic lobby series he presents at the ACT. Wow! As soon as I set the intention, that first contact came fast! I attended the open mic and played two songs. I was a little rusty, but I did pretty good for my first time back out in public. From there, I heard about an open mic at the Kanaka Creek coffee house on Wednesdays.

Kanaka-Creek-Open-Mic

My first performance at Kanaka Creek

My first appearance at Kanaka was interesting! I walked in with my guitar and met Pam Burns, who runs the event. She’s a lovely lady with a great English accent. Just before I was going to play, the power went out! No mics and no sound system for the guitar. She asked me if I wanted to play anyway and I said, “Sure!” I played a couple of original country songs and the applause was terrific! Pam was very impressed and insisted I come back the next week. Since then, I’ve been a regular at the Kanaka open mic.

I was on my way! What happened next was really cool but I’ll save it for my next blog!