I went to a benefit concert the other night. The special guest was Greg Leskiw, “formerly of the Guess Who.” (Since the Guess Who days were more than three decades ago, does Greg ever feel he’s outgrown that introduction?) He’s been in many other bands over the years, including Mood jga jga and Crowcuss. Currently he’s a fundamental part of SwingSoniq.
Greg drove to Vancouver from Winnipeg in a 1980 Oldsmobile. After the benefit, he drove back. Like the car, he’s got a few miles on him. He’s got that old rocker look: lots of smoky bars, lots of hard drinking and partying. He’s a survivor of the sixties, with the requisite long grey ponytail and weathered face, the eyes that have seen a lot of life, and the laid-back style.
Greg’s musical direction is now partly back to the songs of the 1930s and 40s that he learned from his father and partly in the direction of his own bluesy compositions. He’s a musician ‘s musician: you get the feeling that he’s earned his standing in the community. In between songs, he tells stories. You hear tales of life on the road and episodes from his love life, a mixture of sad and funny: the kind of thing he might tell you over late night drinks in the aforementioned smoky bar.
Watching him perform in a small theatre, you get to see him up close. He scrunches up his face when he sings, emphasizing the lines that life has laid down on his face. He croons intimately to his guitar, hunched over it, loving it.