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The First Waltz...

and the Last Waltz.

My Creative director and I were going to a photoshoot and interview for an 81-year-old musician named Don Steveson. I didn't know much about it at the time, but when you are in my position and someone gives you an opportunity, you take it.

Norman Evans picked me up from my studio at 927 Dupont, Toronto. I felt like shit. I just went through a whole thing and it felt like my world threw me out. Norman almost didn't let me come, but I convinced him. We had just finished a promo shoot for Don a couple of days before for his latest

album, Limited Engagement. We needed some more photos for promo work (sorta like this article) so I was made to film and photograph BTS and meet some people involved in this "Last Waltz" show Don would be performing on November 18th.

Norman's description of the Last Waltz, and I need you to imagine it being said by a 76-year-old man from Glasgow Scotland with a thick accent despite living here for 46 years:

Nicola, have you ever heard of the band? THE BAND, Robbie Robertson met Ronnie Hawkins and formed The Hawks in Toronto in 1960. Robbie Robertson was only 16 when he joined, and not much older when they split, and he joined Bob Dylan on tour.

Bob Dylan in 1965 was known as a folk singer who came out with a couple of acoustic records that were sEnSaTiOnAl. Bob Dylan was a "free-wheeling guitar and harmonica playing, folk singing, self-acclaimed song and dance guy. The purest loved them until he shows up with a full rock and roll band and then they started to play people booed and then continued to boo for a YEAR, WORLDWIDE. Even in Glasgow.

Robbie Robertson who was a guitar player, couldn't understand any of it either, UNTIL he realized, Bob was right this is where music was going; the combination of Bob Dylan's world, lyrics, songs, and band could speak to the baby boomers. "Everyone was 16,17,18,19,20 years old, EVERYONE; it was the 60's," he said.

And with that, the backing band became THE BAND and they went on to be respected by everybody; the best band in the land! They played together for 16 years on and off, they produced a bunch, then Martin

Scorcese produced a movie called THE LAST WALTZ. Performed and filmed on November 25th, 1976, on Thanksgiving, at a Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco (where the monetary pop festival was in 1967). A two-hour movie on The Band performing classics like the Weight and Chest Fever with guests Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Ringo Star, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Neil Young, and other rock legends, and joined by Bob Dylan for an amazing finally! (no spoilers)...

Now I'm a part of it. I'm standing in front of Big Red Oak studio, the filming place of this interview. Other people are also being interviewed for The Last Waltz performance, including Jerry Ledger,

a Canadian singer-songwriter since 2005, and the members of a band called Chest Fever, or Mrs. Henry. Chest Fever, aka Mrs. Henry from San Diego, California has been performing the music of The Band for 10+ years. See the graph the the right.

That night, Mrs. Henry and/or Chest Fever were performing at the Horseshoe Tavern that night. Don was perhaps attending, so I also wanted to go for some more content opportunities. As soon these 6 guys fit on that small ass stage PLUS a drum it, piano, synth, organ, a slew of guitars, banjo, and a saxophone. I knew I was about to watch a great show. I was blown away by the professionalism, energy, passion, chemestry and pure talent this group possessed. About 2/3s into the show I decided I had enough of photos, as i could no longer hold back the tiny dancer inside me.

This was not the music I was expecting, this was a masterful blend of folk, anthem, psychedelic, and pure rock and roll. A 21st century interpretation, reinvention, and celebration of THE BAND.

With a seal of approval from Robbie Robertson himself, Chest Fever is new life Into the legacy of The Band. The International touring group is comprised of members of the San Diego Music Award-winning rock band Mrs. Henry, reviving one of the most recognized Canadian-American catalogs of all time and this year celebrating the 45th Anniversary Release of The Last Waltz live at Massey Hall - Saturday, November 18th.

Combining live performance and film, the group is presenting a truly unique multimedia experience showcasing new guest artists and returning friends including Scarlet Rivera of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue. Don Stevenson of Moby Grape, Marc Ford of The Black Crowes, Tom "Bones" Malone and "Blue" Lou Marini of The Blues Brothers, steel guitar virtuoso Cindy Cashdollar, and legendary guitarist Albert Lee.

Following the recent death of Robbie Robertson, the family of the famed Canadian musician made a heartwarming request. "In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Six Nations of the Grand River to support a new Woodland Cultural Centre," said the statement.

Since his death, the Woodland Cultural Center, in Brantford, ON. which is dedicated to the preservation of Indigenous language and culture) has received an outpouring of donations — more than $50,000 in his name — and gained lots of international attention. 


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