Colin James @ Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

Colin James
w/ Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Calgary, AB
March 27, 2019

Photos courtesy of

There really isn’t any way to say this without sounding like some stalker fan girl, but I’ve seen Colin James perform upwards of 20 times (I’ve actually lost count) over his 30-year career. So, it’s safe to say I know how remarkable his live shows are.

My big surprise for the night was the opening act; Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra. Hailing from Santa Cruz, California, they are travelling as Colin’s support throughout the current “Miles To Go Tour”.

Marty is a large man, with a resonator guitar slung on his shoulder and a voice to match his stature. Making up the “Orchestra” last night were Ben Berry on upright bass, and Chris Lynch, the most animated and entertaining violin player I think I’ve ever seen, and his barefooted stage attire added to the trio’s charm.

Their 30-minute set consisted of wonderfully stripped-down American roots music. The songs were unique and interesting, consisting of sweeping instrumental sections, showcasing their musical talent. I was completely entranced during their set. All I can say is, check them out HERE. Buy their CD. You won’t be disappointed!

Now, onto Mr. James.

With his band in place on stage, Colin entered from the back of the house, delighting fans as he made his way down the center-right isle, playing “The Boogie Twist, Part II” from his 1993 Little Big Band  release.

The 90-minute show consisted of several tracks from his 2019 Blues Album of the Year Juno Award winning release, Miles To Go; a list of blues covers from greats like Howlin’ Wolf, James Cotton and Robert Johnson, just to name a few. He even played my favorite from the new album; Muddy Water’s “Still A Fool”. Needless to say, I was going crazy trying not to sing at the top of my lungs, saving my seating neighbors the agony of my voice.

He dug some old favorites out from the vault too, much to the delight of the crowd, who had a difficult time containing themselves as he broke into such hits as “Five Long Years”, “Why’d You Lie?” and “Just Came Back”.

True to form, Colin gave his all, strutting back and forth, across the large Jubilee stage. He even jumped back down into the crowd during “Keep On Lovin’ Me Baby”.

This is the part that never surprises me about Colin’s live shows. Aside from being one of the country’s best guitar players, he truly is an entertainer. It always looks like Colin, and every band member on that stage is having a blast. It’s just a big ole party, and we’re in on it.

And that, my friends, is fan girl speak.

The Boogie Twist Part II
Still a Fool
Dig Myself a Hole
I Will Remain
Man’s Gotta be a Stone
40 Light Years Away
It Takes Time
One More Mile
One Kind Favour
Riding in the Moonlight
Five Long Years
Why’d You Lie?
Stones in My Passway
Just Came Back
Soul of a Man
Keep On Loving Me Baby

Into the Mystic
Breakin’ Up the House

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