Flood cant stop High River musician from playing
Music: Amos Garrett takes the stage despite losses following June 20 flood
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 09:18 am
A High River musician who was hit hard when the flood tore through southern Alberta communities in June knows the show must go on.
Floodwater filled the High River home of two-time Juno Award winner Amos Garrett causing his sewer to back up. Everything in his basement was lost, including two guitars and 400 copies of the Amos Garrett Jazz Trio’s June 2013 release “Jazzblues”.
“We took a lot of damage,” he said. “The basement was completely finished and it’s all gone. It’s just cement and two-by-fours.” The 71-year-old didn’t let the devastating situation stop him from getting up again.
The talented blues and jazz musician is joining Longview singers Jim and Lynda McLennan and Turner Valley musicians Dave Wilkie and Denise Withnell in the Okotoks Arts Council’s Fishin’ Musicians concert at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre on Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. The performance was originally scheduled for June 22, but was postponed while people grappled with the devastating affects of the flood.
The musicians are ready again to share their fishing stories and entertain throughout the evening.
“Expect the unexpected,” said Garrett, who would not reveal further details about the concert except to say, “It’s a secret” and “It’s going to be really good.”
Garrett has been busy throughout the summer with performances in the Calgary Blues Festival, Edmonton Folk Festival and Parkland Summer Festival in Fish Creek Park.
He attempted to move back into his house a week ago to start some semblance of normalcy, but his asthma got the better of him from the air in High River.
“I slept in the house two nights for the first time and really paid the price for it,” he said. “The air quality is horrible with the incredible density of mold spores. It’s the outside air that’s much worse. If you’re asthmatic that’s one of the most dangerous things there is.”
Garrett quickly recovered from the respiratory complications and will only return home for short visits wearing a mask. In the meantime, he’s staying with his friends Wilkie and Withnell.
Other musicians came to Garrett’s aid at a benefit concert in Toronto last week, organized by Garrett’s publicist Richard Flohil. The line-up included talents like Luke Doucet and Russell deCarle of Prairie Oyster and raised more than $2,000.
“None of them charged a penny for this because Amos is a friend to so many musicians,” said Flohil. “It was a hell of an evening.”
Flohil said he’s known Garrett for 40 years and wanted to lend a hand during such a difficult time in his life.
“He’s 71 years old and then this happens,” he said. “There is nothing like the spirit of volunteerism and help and caring that happens in western Canada. You can’t match that.”
A trust account was opened for Garrett at ATB Financial. Donations can also be made by going to http://www.meetyourmusic.ca/Article/Index?ArticleId=11
Other fundraisers have taken place for Garrett this summer including one in Winnipeg featuring such musicians as Canadian folk singer/songwriter Nathan Rogers, the son of the late Canadian folk music icon Stan Rogers, and another in Oshawa, Ontario.
“I’m very grateful for the support, especially the financial support,” said Garrett. “My wife lost her job. That represents 40 per cent of our income. We took a tremendous financial hit.”
Garrett said the money will be used for paying bills and to supplement the cost of putting a metal roof on their home and garage after both were damaged by hail shortly after the flood took place.
As for the Fishin’ Musicians concert in Okotoks, Cultural and Historical Team Leader Allan Boss said postponing it was the right thing to do.
“It was such a horrific event for the foothills region,” he said of the flood. “Amos Garrett lives in High River and he lost his house. It was necessary to postpone the event at the time. We said, ‘Let’s just do it in August. It just makes sense.’ All of the musicians were all really keen to do it again.”
Boss said the concert shouldn’t be missed.
“The Fishin’ Musicians concert is just going to be fantastic,” he said. “(The musicians) may have played together on and off but never together in the same room.”
Boss said Amos’ new release Jazzblues is getting rave reviews and he expects that will draw an even bigger crowd.
Tickets to see The Fishin’ Musicians cost $31.50 and can be purchased by calling 938-3204.