Canal Street Tavern, Dayton USA, friday nov. 29, 1996

5 04 2008

Let’s start first with arriving at the Canal Street Tavern…

Got to the bar and ordered a drink and Greg came up to me and said “are you Angie Hudak?” I said hello, nice to meet you and Scott was right behind him. Scott gave me a hug. Then as I introduced Steve to them Scott said “I have to take Angie somewhere” and I thought “Oh God, he’s taking me to Shawn” and started to cry a little bit.

As he was taking me to Shawn and I pulled myself together and we went to a little room and Scott introduced me to Shawn. Shawn gave me a big hug and I said hi and how are you? Next to giving birth, this was my biggest thrill I’ll tell ya.
 What a sweetheart of a man. He was wearing a uniform type shirt with firefighter patches on it and a silver badge with his name. Very official looking. Over a longjohn shirt, black pants and slip on black shoes, hair in a ponytail. He was in the middle of writing down the words to “Burning Fingers” off of the sleeve notes of the “Another Contribution” CD. Said he couldn’t remember all the words but wanted to play it for us. (I always found “Burning Fingers” to be a little depressing and usually skipped over it but after hearing it Friday night I will never skip over it again!)

So we started to talk and he talked alot about being a fireman and fighting fires and told me a secret to getting a door open with a chain on it because they are not allowed to actually destroy anything when fighting a fire. People really get pissed off he said. We talked about the music business and how A & M are such bastards they won’t give him an advance after he made them $54,000,000.00 in his lifetime. He was talking about wanting to buy an Airstream trailer that he saw for $75,000.00. That was not the actual price but that is what he offered and the guy said he would take it. And that it was diesel powered and not gasoline and Shawn really wants that trailer! If I had the 75 grand I would give it to him myself!  He is driving a blue van with lights on top and it is very hard to sleep in because he is so tall. And he was woken up early Friday morning at a truck stop because the grouch who banged on his window said he was parked in the wrong place and could he move? This was like at 4:45 in the morning and Shawn only got about three hours of sleep. (This was after driving a straight 650 miles). I said what was the guy’s problem? Shawn said he drove out of his way – 50 miles or something to go to another truck stop to take a shower and boy was Truck Stops of America going to hear about this asshole when he got home!

So later on before the second set of the show Greg tells me that Shawn asked earlier, “Who is this Angie Hudak?” And Greg tells him I am a fan who hasn’t seen him for 20 years and Shawn is upset because he only got 3 hours of sleep and is sure he can’t hit the falsetto notes. So I sat with Shawn about 20 or thirty minutes and told him I loved his music and it got me through some very tough times and I showed him I was wearing my Shawn Phillips T-Shirt and he said thanks. Now on with the show…

He came out in a purple shirt with a Southwestern looking tie (the ones that have strings and a decoration at the throat) and a black vest and black boots with the black jeans. And a gold (?) “note” pin on his vest. He looked terriffic. Opened with a boot hopping rendition of “Moonshine”, which is about my favorite tune and sounded pretty good. You could tell he was tired, it showed. The voice was good but it seemed he was afraid to really use it at first and some notes came out a little rough. Later on when he sang “Power of a Woman” he let the voice flow and that particular song sounded the best, I think. The songs I remember are:

  1. Moonshine
  2. For Her
  3. Hey Miss Lonely
  4. L’Ballade
  5. One Way Ticket
  6. Power of a Woman
  7. Lost and Lonely? (don’t know the title to this one)
  8. Burning Fingers
  9. The Woman Inside The Girl
  10. Casey Deiss
  11. “Woman”
  12. Blunt and Frank

and the rest of the songs escape my memory—sorry.

At the end he did a peace song and that was good. He said later that he really messed it up, lost it so to speak, but I thought it was fine.

Only complaint I have is that the lights interfered with the sound sometimes, and on L’Ballade and For Her the buzzing was a bit annoying.

After the show was over, we waited around and then joined Shawn for breakfast at about 3:00 am or so. Went to some place the owner of the bar suggested and followed each other there. Shawn sat next to me at the restaurant. I didn’t say too much – was REALLY tired. Did find out that Shawn has six cats at home and five living outside his house that he feeds. I have three so I know how cats can be! We talked about that for a little bit and mostly I just listened to him talk to the other people that were there, Greg, Scott and Mick (the owner of the bar). Before we left, Steve took a picture of Shawn and I. Took about 13 shots of Shawn during the concert. I wished him a safe trip home and thanked him for letting me spend the evening with him. He is just terriffic and I found myself very comfortable talking with him. Scott and Greg were great and I forgot to mention, they saved me a front row seat to see Shawn. I was right there.

To Scott and Greg, thanks for a terriffic evening. You guys are the best.

I met a few other people from EMH mailing list but at the moment their names escape me. I am so sorry.

Everyone was really great.

Thanks for a wonderful memory. I will treasure it always.

And thank you Shawn.


Hello Everyone,

My name is Nancy. My husband Eric and I have been with EMH mailing list for a couple of months now. We have enjoyed reading everyones views on Shawn, his music etc. I finally have something I want to say.

Friday night Eric, our daughter Amber and I had the great pleasure of attending Shawn’s concert in Dayton. It was quite simply fabulous. This was the first time Amber and I have seen Shawn – Eric had the good fortune of seeing him twentysome years ago. I was delighted to find him to be as warm, funny, and charming as I had hoped he would be.He looks and sounds great. He has a knock your socks off smile, and his hair is again very long and beautiful.

When he started off his first set with ” Moonshine “, I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps everywhere else! Eric and I have loved Shawn’s music for over 20 years. It was wonderful to be able to tell him THANK YOU ! in person. Amber ( who at 10 may be Shawn’s youngest fan) was finally able to meet this man she been listening to for as far back as she can remember. Eric just pointed out that it was so far back she was still in the womb. He used to sing to both our 20 year old son and her long before they were born. He says tell all the pregnant ladies to gently place their headphones on their tummies or sing ! Amber and I are both painfully shy – something we are working on together to overcome. She was able to give Shawn a sketch (from the Faces album) that she had drawn for him. They traded, she gave him her sketch, he signed her sketch pad !

After meeting him she felt so comfortable with him that she later said she would love to have coffee (well, milk for her) and just sit and talks for hours and find out what he thinks about all kinds of things. For her to take to anyone so quickly is amazing. To everyone who was there and extended your kindness and helped make this a most memorable night – Thank You !

Angie I’m so glad you made it. Your happiness was so visible you could see the glow. To the young lady who complimented Amber at the end of the evening ( I’m sorry I did’nt get your name ) thank you again. Amber knows mom and dad can’t exactly be objective about her work, and all the encouragement meant a lot to her. I better stop now or I’ll need a theausarus for more supurlatives. I’m sorry this is so long, but more than 24 hours later I’m still so happy I could walk on air !

Peace to you all ,




Medley, Montréal Canada, sat. march 23, 1996

5 04 2008

25th anniversary concert

Here is my “First Impression” about what I experienced this GREAT weekend:

First of all, I was a little bit anxious to meet all of these friends from the mailing list. It’s always a curious feeling when you first see someone you only know by his (or her) letters. In the end, I was VERY happy to find out how lovely they were: Ronnee, Elaine, Arlo and Shawn, naturally. 🙂

Before the show:

We arrived at the Medley at 4PM. Arlo had called me at work on Friday and asked me to come early to meet him. All the doors were locked when we arrived and there was nobody there to ask to let us in… Fortunately, one crew member went out the back door and didn’t close the door well behind him, allowing us to get in back stage. Inside, we finally found Arlo, talked a bit and chose our seats, reserving two more places for Shawn Simser and/or JF. After exchanging albums with Arlo and Shawn Simser, we had a very fine dinner. The show was sponsored by TV TQS, CFGL Radio, TV Hebdo, Bell Telephone, Boreal (fortunately one of my favorite beers). I saw people there of all ages.

After a while, we decided to try to go to see Shawn in his dressing room. Shawn openly accepted us. I found him to be a man of great warmth and simplicity that put me at ease. We (me, my wife Diane, Elaine, Ronnee and Shawn) talked of all kinds of things, from the “Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace” to the weird dreams he had been having due to the nicotine patch he’d been using. (yes, Shawn has stopped after 44 years of smoking). Despite the fact that he seemed tired when we arrived, he was in better shape when we left him to see the first part of the show. Seeing that Shawn Simser prefered to keep his seat, and that we hadn’t seen anyone else from the mailing list, we offered our two free seats to Jean-Phillippe Garriépy (a musician who does a very fine Shawn Phillips tribute) and his sister. Unfortunatly, the Medley was overcrowded (1400 people in a place that normally seates 1200). 

The Opening Act:

..was very good and percussive. I was expecting a quiet woman singing soft blues songs. I found a dynamic Manon Brunet singing a gorgeous blues. Bravo!

Now, the show:

After a short break, the show began. The lights went down, and only an acoustic guitar in a glass cage was lit. After the cage filled with smoke, 2 guys turned the cage and opened it… to the audience’s applause, Shawn stepped out, guitar in hand! Personally, I prefer this kind of entrance instead of the usual way, with the musician walking though the scene. This was a David Copperfield trick Shawn borrowed directly from him. 

Instantly, the feeling was instilled in the audience and the music began with Bright White. Shawn was performing with a pretty good group of local musicians. Despite minor problems with a broken guitar string and the electronic foot pedals, Shawn gave a generous performance. It’s true that his voice is not the same as when he was young and the microphone was too unidirectionnal, but I found all the feeling that Shawn had always put in his music, although the crowd was noisy at certain times. I really dislike the sound of the pool table….Why the hell do they allow people to play pool during a concert?!?!?… I don’t understand how some people come to a show and talk all through the show, paying no attention to the performance at all… Anyway, it was trivial… One of my friends was seeing Shawn for the first time and stood up at the rear of the Medley through the entire show and enjoyed it. He heard the cello very well, but unfortunately I couldn’t from where I was sitting. Except for the cello, the sound was well balanced in the front of the stage. 

In the middle of his performance, Shawn received an award presented by Manon Brunet for his all time best selling album “Second Contribution”. I liked the funky version of Moonshine. The encore, Woman, (though not my favorite) was very impressive and earned a standing ovation for Shawn and the band.

After the concert:

We waited to talk with Shawn and Arlo before leaving The Medley together. We left at about 1:30AM.


True, I would have prefered to see Shawn with Peter Robinson and Paul Buckmaster… True, Shawn’s voice is not what it once was… True, another place, like a true concert hall, would have been better…

But, in spite of everything, I very much enjoyed being there with such lovely ladies as Ronnee and Elaine, talking with Arlo and sharing a moment with Shawn.

My FIRST IMPRESSION of Shawn Phillips was unforgettable…




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