Watch above: April Wine guitarist Brian Greenway, who is in Saskatoon as the band gets set to Rock the River, is taking part in a special jam Thursday evening to make a dream come true for former Saskatchewan musician Brian Doucette, who was diagnosed with incurable cancer.
SASKATOON – A former Saskatchewan musician, diagnosed with an incurable cancer, is getting the wish of a lifetime. Brian Doucette, originally from Prince Albert and who now lives in British Columbia, will jam with April Wine guitarist Brian Greenway.
His lifelong dream is coming true thanks to the Do it for the Love Foundation and the Delta Bessborough in Saskatoon.
For Doucette, it has been his lifelong dream to jam with Greenway and he is overwhelmed with the chance to meet and play with him.
“Three weeks ago I had no idea any of this was going to happen,” said Doucette.
“I am very pumped and this has provided me with an energy that I haven’t had for some time.”
Doucette also wants to help others in similar circumstances.
“My circumstance is pretty much written in stone, there is only one way out for me, and if there is anything I can do in the process to help anybody else … I’d be more than willing to talk to anybody, and help anybody because I’ve had so many people help me.”
“I just want to give back.”
Greenway didn’t think twice about jamming with Doucette.
“My whole ambition to do this was for Brian,” said Greenway, who said he got involved through a personal connection.
“Stef Deprez is organizing this … and last week he said ‘would you be interested in doing this?’ and I said absolutely, so we put the wheels in motion.”
The Delta Bessborough is helping make the dream come true for Doucette.
“We were able to make a personal connection with Brian Greenway of April Wine who graciously accepted our invitation to be part of this special weekend,” said Stefan Deprez, the director of sales and marketing for the Bess.
The Do it for the Love Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by musician and Jazz Festival favourite Michael Franti and nurse Sara Agah. It brings people living with life-threatening illnesses, children with severe challenges, and wounded veterans to concerts to inspire hope, joy and memories in the face of severe illness or trauma.
An anonymous donor has contributed the funds to cover the cost of Doucette’s airfare for the incredible experience.
The jam, featuring Greenway, Apollo Cruz, Brian McAreavey, and other artists, along with Doucette, takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Capital Music Club. Admission is by donation with the proceeds going back to the Do it for the Love Foundation as a means of paying it forward.
Greenway joined April Wine in 1977 and said his favourite recorded guitar solo he has played is on Sign of the Gypsy Queen from The Nature of the Beast.
“I was in the key of E minor, and to me E minor is a very nice, open key, you can go from one end of the guitar to the other with open strings and it was that feeling, and a little voice in my head said ‘that’s your solo’.”
He embarked on a solo career when April Wine broke up in 1988 but rejoined the group when the band got back together in 1992.
Greenway had some advice for those looking to get in the business.
“Try it, it’s a dream and if you have a dream, try and follow it.”
As to what fans can expect when the group plays Friday at the Rock the River concert festival taking place at the Bess?
“We’re doing a lot of stuff from the late 70s, 80s era, Harder…Faster, First Glance, some of the obvious ones from the beginning like You Could Have Been a Lady and Fast Train.”
April Wine is playing in Saskatoon on Friday Aug. 21 as part of the sold-out Rock the River concert festival taking place from Aug 21-23.