David ‘Boxcar’ Gates recently took top spot in a competition that will send the blues musician to Memphis

Blues artist heading south

Peninsula's David ‘Boxcar’ Gates to play Memphis festival

A Semiahmoo Peninsula musician will represent the White Rock Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis this coming January.

David “Boxcar” Gates, 30, was one of four musicians who performed Sunday night at the West Beach Bar and Grill in White Rock for a panel of judges comprising blues historian Glen Page, retired professional guitarist Robbie Keene and Glen Pearson, a local blues musician.

Gates’ vintage sound – described by WRBS president Rod Dranfield as a trip back to the 1920s and ’30s in Memphis or Mississippi – helped him stand out just enough to win the judges’ favour over Wes Mackey, the Blue Voodoo and the duo, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer.

“The panel of judges had their work cut out for them,” Dranfield told Peace Arch News this week. “All four blues acts were worthy of the honour.”

Even Gates, who has been working on his music since he was a teenager, is reluctant to call himself the winner.

“No, no, it was not a contest. I can’t stand it being called a contest. Give me a break. There was so much talent in the room,” Gates said. “All of us were hugging, we’re all really happy.”

While in Tennessee, Gates will perform in front of blues lovers and people in the music industry, making contacts and getting exposure – both of which are crucial to a lesser-known artist.

“All the acts get a good bit of opportunity to be seen and to make connections that help in developing their career,” said Dranfield. “Each year they pick the top three bands or artists, but from what I’ve learned, it’s not about winning, or getting the cherry on top of the cake, it’s about the cake.”

Receiving this opportunity is just the most recent layer on Gates’ cake. The last two months have been a whirlwind experience for the musician, who was also featured in a video series created by Jonathan Fluevog – son of the acclaimed shoe designer.

As for the cherry on top, right before being chosen to go to the IBC, Gates’ 59-year-old father, Ed, who was diagnosed with cancer, was given the OK to be released from the hospital.

“He’s my landmark, he’s always supported me and he always said, ‘David, I knew you would do something,’” Gates said. “The last few weeks have been like a dream. I can’t believe it.”

Gates – who grew up in Whalley and got his nickname from his teenage hobby of hopping onto freight trains – said that if anything comes from the festival and he has the funds to do so, he plans to build a homeless shelter in his old neighbourhood.

“If I ever make any money, that’s what I will do. Getting into this band stuff helped me out. I was growing up in a rough neighbourhood, and I was able to break the mold and get to do this,” he said.

For more on the WRBS, go to www.whiterockblues.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cloverdale man turns old bed racer into chicken coop

Clayton Heights’ Aaron Grim says repurposed racer ‘easy to clean and easy to collect the eggs’

U-Haul truck hits hydro pole, causes power outage in Surrey

Vehicle driving westbound on Fraser Highway

Two-vehicle crash leads to argument in South Surrey

Police investigating after one driver left the scene

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99 in South Surrey

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Truck fire in Surrey destroys generator bound for Uganda missions trip, GoFundMe started

Glen Alexander says his ‘Jesus is Lord’ vehicle has been target of vandalism before

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

VIDEO: Highway 1 left looking like winter war zone with dozens of stranded vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Most Read

l -->