Harpdog Brown and Papa King excited to play together again


Local bluesman Papa King is excited to share the Owl Acoustic Lounge stage with Harpdog Brown, this Saturday, July 24.

“Harpdog is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. He’s a road musician and he’s done very well.


He’s very inspiring and very funny. He has a lot of stories,” King enthused, getting ready to rehearse for the show on his own. He noted the last time he played live was with Harpdog Brown last September at the Badlands Boogies Festival in East Coulee, 18 km Southeast of Drumheller.


Papa King will be playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge, July 24. Photo by Richard Amery

Papa King will be  singing, playing guitar and adding percussion with a foot drum and a snare. Harpdog Brown will add vocals, and harp, of course. They will joined by Bruce MacKay on piano and keyboards.


“Bruce is a professor at the University of Lethbridge. He has the best Hammond B3 sound I’ve ever heard,” he continued.


“I think this show will be the first time Bruce and Harpdog have met,” he said, adding  they will also be playing the Owl  Acoustic Lounge , Sept. 17 with bassist Doug Freeman, who is in Las Vegas now, and East Coast bluesman Morgan Davis.


“So this show is really a rehearsal for that show,” he continued.

 Papa King has spent the pandemic writing songs and working in his studios and collaborating with other musicians online.


“ I’ve been hunkering down,” he said, adding he is excited to play again.

“Steve Foord will be opening. He’ll play four songs and then we’ll play two 45 minutes set. We’ll play some Muddy Waters and some Little Milton, but two thirds of the set will be original,” King continued.


 Harpdog Brown is just excited to play with King again.

“I’ve known King since 2018, definitely 2019,” said Harpdog Brown, who was just about to embark on a big  tour in support of his most recent CD “For Love and Money” when Covid hit.

“ I was in Montreal, I’d flown in my horn section and started rehearsing with my drummer when the first wave  of Covid restrictions hit.”

“So I called  the venue in Toronto where we were supposed to open the tour and they said, yup, the show’s cancelled, so I had to come home,” he said adding that was difficult.


“I usually play 250 gigs a year. In 2019 I drove 65,000 km, I think I slept in my own bed 27 nights,” he said, noting he relocated to Lacombe during the pandemic.

“I closed my business in Vancouver,” he said, adding he was glad to get the call from King for the gig.

“I’m his side monkey. Which is great. I never actually wanted to front my own band when I started in the ’70s. I never wanted to b

Harpdog Brown returns to Lethbridge to play The Owl, July 24. Photo by Richard Amery

uild my own band and be responsible for booking gigs,” he said.


He noted he started out as a guitar player but decided to focus on singing and harp.

“ There are a lot of guitar players. I respect guitar players but I  decided to work on my singing and harp playing. I write on guitar, but I”m a singer and harp player first,” he said.


“I’ll play with anyone. I’ve done a lot of sessions, some way outside of my box like hip hop. But King’s music is right inside my box. We both like the same music,” he said, adding he enjoyed playing with King at the last Badlands Boogie Festival.


“It was a lot of fun. I got to be his sideman for the first set and he  and Doug Freeman were my rhythm section for the second set.  I met a lot of people,” he said adding he provides himself on being approachable.


“I’m happiest when I’m meeting people,” he said.


“This is King’s show, so we’ll be playing whatever he wants to play,” he said.

 He has been writing music, but he is most important about recording  his show “Make Mine a Double” for BigERadio.com every Sunday at 6 p.m.

“I’ll play the same song twice, the original followed by a cover of it,” he said.


“But it has to be quality music, I don’t just  play any music. I was always the guy who looked at the liner notes of Rolliing Stones records and looked at who wrote the songs then looked them,” he said.

 It also has an interactive  playlist so you can look up the originals yourselves.

 Steve Foord opens the show at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 24. Admission is by donation.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 July 2021 13:23 )