Roots master Mike Biggar and bluesman Manitoba Hal join forces on an energized live rendition of All the Same — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
Shot in the intimate confines of the Cellar Bar in North Sydney, N.S., the powerhouse performance comes from the duo’s first joint tour, currently underway with shows across the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario.
Friends for years, Mike and Hal’s first performance together came in February at the international Folk Alliance Conference in Montreal. They appeared again in May at East Coast Music Week in Charlottetown for showcase appearances that garnered praise from audiences and industry delegates. Their first official tour combines Biggar’s soulful melodies and muscular vocals with Hal’s effortless fretwork on resonator, cigar box guitar and ukulele — augmented by abundant fun and humour from each with their onstage banter, complete with plenty of tales from the road.
By any measure, New Brunswick roots artist Biggar is a natural live performer. With a musical history that stretches back to a gospel music childhood, he has a lifetime in performance. Onstage his style is equal parts gutsy and joyful, reflecting the deep stamp left by those early musical days. Rollicking, high-energy vocals steam down the line like a soulful, roots-inspired freight train, perfectly paired with the infectious melodies of his acclaimed songwriting and his warm, disarming banter. In his near ten year career, Biggar has been honoured with numerous East Coast Music Association and Music New Brunswick awards, including most recently the 2018 East Coast Music Award for Blues Recording of the Year.
Manitoba Hal is a guitarist, songwriter and master ukulele player. A consummate bluesman, he has toured Canada extensively. Manitoba Hal developed his brand of blues when he lived in Winnipeg (where he also got his name). “Winnipeg, often referred to as the Chicago of the north, is situated in a delta between the Red and Assiniboine rivers. I was born at the blues and when I found that music inside me, I came alive and my soul started expressing itself in songs that flowed with that music. The blues is where my soul came into this world. Where it will end up I don’t know but I’m ready for the journey.”