Like good food paired with fine wine, Rick Fines and Tim Williams offer a hearty meal of roots and blues music.
“Food is more than just food, it is such a part of love and family and pride in your local cuisine. A meal is a very serious thing in some parts of the world and people sit down and engage and it takes as long as it takes,” said Fines. “Music and food. They are events where people are moved and it is like this whole thing that is fostered at the Dream Café. It is a beautiful thing they have got going on there.”
Fines, who is performing at the Dream Café for two nights with Tim Williams this weekend, has toured the world with his guitar in hand learning a few lessons along the way.
“I think the big things we learn in this world are reflected in music and they are about how to treat each other and not to lock themselves away. Love is the big thing of it all. It is the biggest part of our experience,” said Fines, whose acoustic finger style and slide guitar has earned him praise all over the world. “So many of us get caught up in distractions and it is only loss or illness that makes someone realize those are all sidetracks. Just like how ambition and money are a departure from the main goal. The main goal is loving those around you and recognizing it.”
Fines is putting out an album this fall of original songs where this very realization came from. Known as an acoustic player, he took a departure from the first session which was completed on electric guitar to bring a different energy.
“It is a pretty optimistic album. The reason it took so long coming out is I wrote an entire album that was very down because I had gone through so much loss in the last few years. I couldn’t promote it because I would have to go to that negative place to be in the music,” said Fines. “It was difficult, so I have taken a few of those that maybe touch on dark subjects, but still have optimism to them to create this album.”
With Williams, the pair will share songs on the stage and mix their creative juices over the course of the night like a slow cooker.
Williams is a 40-year veteran of the roots music scene in North America that stretches back to the coffee-house scene of his native California in the mid-60s. He settled in Canada in 1970 and has been in constant demand playing folk/blues/jazz festivals, concert halls and clubs from Rabat, Morocco, Melbourne, Australia to Dawson City, Yukon.
Inspired by the hillbilly and western swing music he heard as a child, Williams absorbed a range of music “like a sponge” before discovering a passion for traditional blues styles. It will be the first time Williams and Fines have teamed up for a whole night on the stage at the Dream Café.
“I have admired Tim’s work for a long time. He is truly a master of styles of blues I have been studying for a long time,” said Fines. “I’m really looking forward to our night at the Dream Café. It is a special bonus for me to be playing with a master.”
Williams’ guitar skills are frequently compared to Ry Cooder and David Lindley, and like them he plays a wealth of other string instruments. Williams has Maple Blues Award nominations, three Juno award nominations, five Betty Mitchell Awards and roughly a dozen award from Real Blues magazine. He was also honoured as Guitarist of the Year for 2012 by the Calgary Blues Music Association and recently won the International Blues Challenge in Memphis beating out 102 other solo and duo acts from around the world.
“It is the biggest international blues showcase/competition in the world. It is a nice validation for someone who has been doing this for more decades than I care to think about,” said Williams.
The bluesman said out of all the places he has travelled in the world there is one place that he feels most comfortable: the Dream Café.
“They do just about everything perfect. They bring in incredibly hip music, they are marvellous hosts and they treat musicians with love and respect. I always say the dream gig is the Dream Café,” said Williams. “And they have a killer menu.”
Williams and Fines play May 16 and 17 at the Dream Café. Tickets are $24.