Yesterday was Jimmy D. Lane’s 47th birthday.
At home in White Rock, British Columbia, the blues musician comments that aging is an opportunity to “observe” and “let things soak in”.
“As I get older, you learn to smell the roses, you stop and you take a pause, and you might want to observe a flower,” says Lane.
“My wife has planted flowers in the yard and every day we stop, and you see something a little different about it. [Age] gives you time and it gives you the patience to do that.”
Lane, the son of Jimmy Rogers, is done with chasing time. Born in Chicago, he has worked with Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Jim Keltner, Keith Richards, B.B. King, Van Morrison, Jonny Lang, Gary Moore, his father, of course, and the list goes on.
He’s lived and played “fast and raucous”, toured widely—it’s not the same now. It’s better.
“I am from a generation, you take life as it comes, you slow down. You take time to breathe,” says Lane, his gravelly voice rolling out like a Pacific Ocean wave.
“And I like to translate that into music as well, sometimes. Of course I like to party, you know, you get the music goin’, have the people dancin’, but it is nothing like it used to be. I don’t feel the same way I did 15, 20 years ago.”
Lane does feel the same passion about playing the blues, though. More so, even.
Returning to the Yukon for a second tour this year (he toured in March), he has four dates lined up this month, including two nights at Foxy’s Cabaret in Whitehorse on July 13 and 14, a stop at the St. Elias Convention Centre in Haines Junction on July 19, and concluding with a night at the Westminster Hotel in Dawson City on July 20.
“I like to think I have a better appreciation, a stronger appreciation for the music, you know,” he says.
Lane grew up listening to his “old man”, Rogers, jam with “his buddies”. Among the Chicago bluesmen who popped by were Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Mabon, Little Walter and Albert King.
Although at eight Lane played his dad’s guitar, despite it being off limits, he didn’t get serious about playing until later.
“I was into the baseball with the fellas, G.I. Joe’s, this type of thing,” says Lane with a chuckle.
“I heard the song ‘Hey Joe’. I was laying on my bed trying to figure out what I was going to do when I got home from my military duties, and that song—I had a set of headphones on and I was listening to the radio, they played ‘Hey Joe’.
“I heard that song before that, many times, but for some reason, I heard it that day in a certain way, and I’ve said it before to different people, and the only way I can describe it is sometimes you hear a priest explain how they heard their calling and they knew at that moment they were destined, they wanted to become a priest.
“So when I heard that song that day, it was like me hearing my calling. And I took the last $59 I had in my pocket, and I went out and bought a guitar.”
The guitar he bought, from a pawn shop in Chicago out of the The Blues Brothers, was a Harmony, and the clerk threw in a guitar cable and case to carry it home with.
“I had to learn that song, ‘Hey Joe’. That was it, that was the first song. I spent day and night, night and day, trying to figure that song out, how to play it.”
His only training was listening to his mother’s stereo in the morning, and his father and his buddies. The rest was emulating and learning from fellow musicians, and mixing in his own ideas.
“I really appreciate [my father’s] love of music and the involvement in music, as well as my mother’s,” says Lane.
“They shared that with us as kids and I carry it to this day.”
Lane says he is excited to carry his music back to the Yukon, and to see it in the summer this time.
“There is saying my father used to say when we were playing different places. He said if you can’t dig the blues, you must have a hole in your soul.’
“I think I will leave you with that.”