Musician heads home for concert
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 09:23 am
A Juno award-winning jazz and blues musician felt right at home spending his summer in a community he once called home.
Since his High River house flooded in June, Amos Garrett stayed with friends and fellow musicians David Wilkie and Denise Withnell in Turner Valley and it didn’t take long for him to settle into old routines.
“I was going down to the Black Diamond (Hotel) bar for happy hour just about every day and seeing my old friends,” he said. “I’ve only been in High River for six years now. I haven’t forgotten any of my old buddies.”
The American-born musician caught up with those buddies, who he met while living in Turner Valley for 17 years, during happy hour in the Black Diamond Hotel on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“They call themselves the old farts,” he said. “They put about three tables together and meet for happy hour for a couple of drinks — or three or four.”
Garrett said there’s a trophy the bartenders keeps behind the bar titled “Farts” that is placed on a table indicating the space is reserved for this group.
“It was (initially) the old farts but we got a couple of younger members so now it’s just called the farts,” he said. “I’ve become an honourary fart.”
Black Diamond Hotel bartender Elaine Wansleeben enjoyed having Garrett back during the summer.
“It’s been nice to see him,” she said. “He’s got friends here. He just comes in for a couple drinks here or there.”
Music continued to fill Garrett’s schedule as he performed gigs and festivals throughout western Canada despite being displaced by the flood.
“Those were the best days of my whole summer,” he said. “It was a diversion. It took my mind off of all we were going through.”
For weeks Garrett was unable to return to his High River home due to the effects the poor air quality had on his asthma. It wasn’t until September that he was able to move back.
“There is so much to do here at the house,” he said. “We are still cleaning stuff up and repairing stuff.”
Garrett hasn’t forgotten about his old friends in Diamond Valley.
He is returning with a performance at the Black Diamond Hotel on Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. with some members of The Mike Clark Band and The Eh Team.
“We performed together on and off for probably 20 years,” he said. “I don’t think our musical relationship has changed at all.”
Garrett said he expects to see his happy hour buddies and other fans in attendance.
“It’s kind of like a homecoming,” he said. “It’s going to be a hoot. We’ve got lots of fans. We get a lot of the same people coming out to see us.”
Wansleeben said she expects the concert to be a high priority for many.
“He’s played here before,” she said. “Everybody just loves him here.”
The performance won’t require any preparation on the performers’ behalf.
Although they don’t get together often, Garrett said he and his former band mates will start right where they left off.
“We don’t have to (practice),” he said. “We’ve been practicing for 25 years.”
Garrett performed with more than 150 artists including Stevie Wonder and Anne Murray throughout his career and is more recently known for his performances with The Amos Garrett Jazz Trio and The Eh Team.
Tickets to see Amos Garrett perform at the Black Diamond Hotel cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door.