Above the Roar of the Crowd

Eliot and Tess Roby We make so many trips to Ottawa and yet so few to Montreal - in spite of the fact that it's so close to Ottawa and there are so many resonances in Voyageur from Montreal and we just love the city so much. So after our successful trip to Ottawa we thought maybe we'd extend the trip by a couple of days and make it a bit of a getaway with our friends Richard and Kate. I found a great deal on AirBnB for a condo for a couple of nights on the 31st floor above the Bell Centre downtown. Of course, the Bell Centre is the new(ish) home of the Montreal Canadiens and with gold from Rocket Richard's 1956 Stanley Cup ring on the 9th fret of the guitar, it just felt right to stay there. There was a game downstairs on Saturday night and who do you think the Habs were playing? None other than the Detroit Red Wings - the team to whom they lost the Cup in 1955, the season of the famed Richard suspension and ensuing riots and the team from whom they reclaimed the Cup the following year on a deciding goal from the Rocket himself, the very win that prompted the creation of the ring that now adorns Voyageur.

A couple of months earlier, I'd received a lovely email from my young friend Eliot Roby. Eliot is the son of my late and much-missed friend Charlie Roby - a wonderful musician and a lovely guy with a lovely family. I've known his kids since they were born and it's been so wonderful to see Charlie's gift for music blossom in his children. Eliot wrote quite out of the blue to tell me how much he admired the Six String Nation project and to let me know that he'd sure love to play that guitar one day. Eliot had followed his older sister, Tess, out to Montreal about a year ago. Tess has been building her music career there in Montreal for a few years now after finishing her studies and weaving herself into the creative life of the city as a DJ and an excellent photographic artist. They play regularly together as a duet with Tess on keys and vocals and Eliot on guitar - including a breakout performance at last year's Pop Montreal. I let Eliot know we were headed his way and we arranged to get together.

One of our favourite places to go in Montreal is the fabulous Jean Talon Market and we were provisioning ourselves for a night in with some wine and cheese and charcuterie etc. and since Tess and Eliot live not too far from the Market we arranged to meet them there and bring them back to our dee-lux apartment in the sky. I remember so many nights at the Roby household over the years with wine and cheese and music and conversation so it felt extra special to be recreating that feeling with those kids now as adults with their own careers beginning to take flight. Eliot played a couple of songs on Voyageur, we ate some more spectacular Strolghino from Les Cochons Tout Ronds, had one more glass of wine then delivered them back to their busy social lives back in their neighbourhood. Tess and Eliot's album for the Italians Do It Better label (home of the wonderful Chromatics!) comes out in April but you can listen to a preview here.

Thanks Tess, Eliot, Sarah, Richard, Kate and Gord for a great night far above the roar of the crowd.
BTW, final score: Montreal Canadiens 10 -Detroit Red Wings 1 - a total rout!

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