Dave Borins: affable audacity
I first heard of Dave Borins a while back, when apparently out of nowhere he announced to the world that he was celebrating his 100th gig with a big concert at Toronto’s Hugh’s Room, an acknowledged gem of folk-roots venues in Canada.
Audacious! was my first reaction. First of all, who celebrates a number that many musicians do in a year or less; secondly, who’s celebrating having only done 100 gigs in his late 20s; thirdly, what’s a guy I’ve barely heard of doing at Hugh’s Room?
But I cut Dave Borins some slack because even in press releases, his boyish enthusiasm came through. He seemed like an affable guy – and anyway, what’s wrong with a little audacity? I seem to recall being similarly undaunted at his age. I decided I’d keep my eye on Borins and see how long he managed to stick around.
He’s still around, alright. Borins, who runs with a crowd of promising younger musicians, has managed to parlay 100 gigs and his affable audacity into a solid run of real road engagements and some pretty prestigious gigs.
Case in point: the video above was shot at Mariposa Folk Festival. Borins earned his spot by doggedly attending last-chance auditions for three years running before getting the nod.
When he finally took to the stage for his big show, he was counter-programmed against a 50th anniversary VIP concert on mainstage hosted by Shelagh Rogers that included Ian Tyson, Sylvia Tyson, Murray McLauchlan, Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, and headliner Gordon Lightfoot.
Borins, banished to the beer garden, never blinked, never wavered, and never stopped smiling from the stage for the die-hards and drinkers cheering him on. Kudos to him for pulling off another affable, audacious, ambitious plan.
And now he’s upping the ante on his own ambition, recording two nights of live performances back at Hugh’s Room. The idea is to cram the room with fans and friends, charge a slightly hefty cover charge, and favour everyone with a copy of the CD that will be recorded at the event. It’s like a CD release, fundraiser and recording wrapped into one.
It’s the sort of vision independent performers have been pursuing some time, but Dave Borins’ timing may be just right, as both the tools and the public acceptance necessary for this type of approach have come a long away. Plus, he’s signed up George Massenburg, the Grammy winning producer/engineer who worked with Linda Ronstadt, Little Feat and James Taylor to record the shows and Chris Stringer whose credits include Wooden Sky, Timber Timbre and Obijou, signed on as the producer.
Dave Borins impresses impressive people.
Borins has talent, presence and personality in abundance: winning assets for any performer. But what artists should really be watching is his ability to make stuff happen for himself musically. This is a musician and songwriter who is propelling himself into a credible career on the basis of a formidable attitude.
Affable audacity. It’s a trait worth learning.