In 2013, Chris released his second album, Better For You, inviting some other musicians to help out. This time around they included two-time Grammy award-winner Mike Mattison (The Derek Trucks Band, The Tedeschi-Trucks Band), American Blues Music award-nominee Shakura S’Aida, Juno award-winners Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk) and Julian Fauth, as well as Canadian music luminaries Suzie Vinnick and Richard Underhill.
The album was hailed by critics as “a masterpiece,” “the best Canadian blues-rock album of 2013,” and “the sound of someone taking the blues to a new place.” The album spent three weeks at #1 on DAWG FM, attained significant airplay across Canada, the US and Europe, including on Sirius XM Bluesville, and was nominated for Best Blues Album by the German Record Critics’ Association. Oregon’s Cascade Blues Association called it “one of the finest releases from the Great White North in many a year.”
In October 2014, I was interested in going to an event at Sutton En Blues, as the next target to take of my bucket list.
Randy Renaud played some of Chris’s music on his Black Cat Alley show the Sunday before Chris was going to be performing at Sutton. I was impressed enough to call for reservations right away, to find out we got the last room and last table for the dinner and show the next Saturday.
The room and meal were fantastic. Turns out the table they gave us was directly in front of Guenther Kapelle, Chris’s bass player, who also plays with Wild T and the Spirit. We were so close Guenther, Chris and I were having little conversations about music in between songs. When they took their break, I met “Shakey” Wayne Dagenais , the keyboard player that was with them that night, super guy and great musician.
All in all, with the excellent meal and room, the show itself, and meeting and being able to talk to these guys, this was one of the best musical events of the year for me.
I saw them again, when Chris played with the same band mates at the Canadian Blues Summit in Toronto in 2015. They did one of the showcases, and put on a great show. And they remembered me. :)
Later in 2015, Chris was invited to play the Buddy Guy's Legends Blues Festival, and returned there this year as part of one of many US tours he has done, which also included him playing Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco.