Article by Laurie Bowen
Rick opened his set, at the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, with Laundry on the Line, a brand new song from his Covid 19 album, he entitled, Solar Powered Too. He shared that, when he drives into Ottawa, (he hails from Peterborough where Neil Young has a house), he gets the feeling, like he is arriving home. I know what he means. When you see those hills over in Quebec, well, there is no city quite like it. Two years off of work has reminded him of the blessings he has.
“Well she left the laundry out on the line, when she left that house for the very last time. She only stayed so long because she thought she should. Live the life everybody always thought she would. Well she felt vindicated, she felt clear. She felt any old resentments disappear. And the weight on her heart began to fade. She closed her eyes, the train pulled away. So much of life is all uphill. You keep on moving, cause you can’t sit still until, you just sit still. She left the laundry out on the line.”
I absolutely love this song. I can relate to these lyrics as I am sure, many of us, can. The tune is sweet and clear and Rick’s voice adds the texture and soul. His smokey, whispering voice, is reminiscent of a delta southern blues shuffle like, Mississippi John Hurt, from the 1930’s. Think Shortnin Bread, and you’ve got Mississippi John Hurt. I wonder if musicians mind being compared to a legend? Rick Fines is one, even if he disagrees.
He is a married man, who turned 60 in Feb. 2022, with a quiet presence and a humble spirit. He was nominated for three awards at the Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Juno last year for best blues album for Solar Powered Too. That is huge! Then there were the numerous Maple Blues Awards he has won. This man doesn’t care about the awards, just being nominated is an award in itself. Solar Powered Too was recorded during the pandemic at Rick’s Cottage using solar power. His lyrics draw you in, while his unique picking style is like a ray of sunshine that lifts you up, when you are feeling down.
You can find Rick Fines, travelling across this great country of ours, playing in various festivals along the way. He is presently on Hornby Island for their annual Blues Workshop that lasts until May 7, then he plays a few gigs out west, before coming back to Ontario to the Orangeville Opera House for the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival, Sat. June 4, 2022. Rick is back to work with lots of shows booked. You can find them on his website www.rickfines.ca.
Laurie Bowen is a freelance Music Journalist, Scriptwriter and Author