A native of the island of Newfoundland, Duane grew up exposed to the island’s mélange of English, French, Irish, Spanish and Portuguese influences. Duane's music does the impossible: it fuses traditional Newfoundland music with the gypsy jazz of the legendary Django Reinhardt. His music dips and soars, bends and blurs.
Soon after I moved from the US to Canada in 2005, at a tiny show in a hotel room in Montreal, I heard Duane trading solos with trumpet player Patrick Boyle of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. What a sound! A swirl of rhythmic flayed guitar, fast picking, and muted trumpet musings. Eureka! I had a handful of new songs and THAT was the sound I had been looking for! Humbled, I approached Duane after the show and asked for his card. He obliged and (later confessed) that he thought nothing of would come of our exchange. Lo and behold, a few months later, he and Patrick were sitting with me in a studio in Guelph recording two or three tunes. Ha! That'll learn ya, Mr. Duane! He and I still marvel at our meeting! We've made a lot of music together since then and I look forward to making so much more.
I asked Duane two simple questions:
1. What made a difference for you along the way?
2. Is there any person to whom you would like to ask this same question?
"Sounds obvious but I would simply say practice. I find there can be a bit of a mind game when I'm trying to learn something as I'm always looking for a faster way to get to where I want to go.
Feelings of doubt or frustration can seep in but when I finally get the joyous feeling of getting there I realize that basically it was just a lot of hard work, a lot of practice that was the key.
Though I have -- of late -- tuned in to the idea of 'deliberate practice' which you can check out here.
There's much written about Django's life but his brother Joseph was also an amazing player. Though he only played rhythm guitar on the recordings with Django there exists a clip of Joseph taking a solo during a tribute concert after Django's death which blew my mind when I first heard it. You can check that out here."
>> Tenacity: The quality or fact of being very determined; determination
Tenacity is also a series of short blog posts about my favorite players, musicians, athletes, artists, songwriters, entrepreneurs, writers, excellent people, etc. The (short, sweet and practical) posts will explore how they got to be so damn good at what they do and what made a difference for them along the way.
Duane & I at Fred's Records // photo: koko bonaparte