The Six Nations Sensation is good for the soul, and the Juno-winning artist was in Kahnawake Tuesday on his tour of the area. (J. David Bush, The Eastern Door)
Mohawk piano man Murray Porter is billed as “the Six Nations sensation.” At the start of his show on Tuesday night at the Kahnawake Brewing Company, he joked that at his age he’s losing sensations.
That certainly does not apply to the sensations generated by the music he plays and that music is the blues.
His song “Colours” (which he did not play, unfortunately) has the lyrics “I’m a red man, living in a white man’s world, singing the black man’s blues.” With that and his “Rez Blues” (which he did play), where he sings about his woman leaving him, and taking the dog and his guitar with her, one could come to the conclusion that there are probably more similarities than there are differences between racial groups.
“Some Day, I’ll Never Learn”: It’s my opinion that there has never been any human being who could honestly say that he or she has never felt that way at some time in their life.
The two sets followed the same format: Murray starting it off solo (five songs for the first set, two for the second) before bringing on the band.
The first half of the first set was his songs, old and new, including a couple from his upcoming album “Stand Up” (download version to be released next week, the CD will be available sometime soon after that).
Before playing it he mentioned that “Crying in My Sleep” is one of the first songs he wrote. It’s another example of how his songs, old and new, lyrically and musically, fit in seamlessly with blues classics such as “Built For Comfort,” “Key To The Highway,” “Everyday I Have The Blues” and “The Thrill Is Gone.”
The second set started with John Hiatt’s “Feels Like Rain” and Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make it Through the Night.”
Both of those have been recorded by many others and neither is a “real” blues song but in the right hands, like Murray’s, a genre limitation like that is obliterated.
His performances in Quebec are few and far between and this benefit for the Kanien’kéha Ratiwennahní:rats Language Program was his first time playing in Kahnawake. It wasn’t a full house but it was a pretty good turn out for a Tuesday night.
After doing a workshop/performance at McGill University in Montreal on Monday, there was an open slot in his schedule. The fates smiled upon us and the powers that be managed to book this show on short notice. There has already been some excited speculation about his next performance here. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.
The other Mohawks (of the local variety) were Don Brisebois on guitar, Barry Diabo on bass and Lance Delisle on drums. Along with their new vocalist, John Edward Clarke, they can be seen and heard locally as the band Souled.
I had my first chance to see them with “the new kid on the block” last week. Only time will tell for certain but John seems to fit like the proverbial glove. The repertoire is a good mix of blues and rock. All that they’re missing is one or two original songs.