Erik 'Ice Blue' Eriksson

Coffee with … Erik Eriksson

City councillor tickles the ivories

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

If you ask Erik Eriksson, the birthplace of the blues was not the Delta Mississippi but Iceland.

By his account, the crossroads where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson made his pact with the devil was at Portage and Main in Winnipeg.

“A lot of people don’t know this but he was leaving Gimli, Manitoba, and tired of the cold, he ended up in Winnipeg at the crossroads. Nobody knows what happened, but before, he was Icelandic Canadian, and after he left he was African American, and went down to New Orleans and the rest is history.”

The Courtenay councillor — known in some circles as The Big E (which he picked up in Tahsis) or Ice Blue (combination of Iceland and his favourite colour) — was born in Iceland, where his sister is a scientist. His brother is a retired diplomat living in India. At age five, Eriksson’s family left their homeland when his father secured a job as minister of the Icelandic Lutheran Church in Vancouver. While at university, Eriksson got his first taste of Vancouver Island when he landed a summer job in Tahsis on the west coast.

Ice Blue plays keyboards and sings in a band called New Mother Earth, which performed in the summer at the Nanaimo Blues Festival and locally during the Canada Day festivities. The group performs New Year’s Eve at Roy’s Towne Pub in Royston.

During the Christmas season at lunch hour, Eriksson can be heard playing piano outside Searle’s Shoes on Fifth Street.

The retired Eriksson is an electrician by trade who worked at the sawmill in Tahsis — where he also served on council — and later at the Field Sawmill in Courtenay. He eventually became a union rep.

Besides music, Eriksson is also into sports. He used to pitch in the local masters ball league, and continues to umpire baseball games in the B.C. Premier League. He also plays drop-in masters basketball at the base in Comox.

“I’m the second oldest guy on the basketball court,” said Eriksson, a father of three.

He also serves as a director with the Comox Valley Walk of Achievement, which recognizes people who have excelled in their field of endeavour, and who have made significant and lasting contributions in their professional or personal lives.

“We’re kind of proud of that,” Eriksson said. “We’re honouring people who have been recognized with awards outside the community.”

Walk of Achievement inductees include broadcaster Red Robinson, actress Kim Cattrall and numerous Olympic athletes.

 

Just Posted

Dog killed by gunshot north of Courtenay – Crime Stoppers

Police seeking help from public after dog found dead near mouth of Oyster River on Nov. 27

VIDEO: 2018 Everybody Deserves a Smile campaign packaging day

Students from throughout the Comox Valley come to Ecole Puntledge Park to help the less fortunate

Valley student’s passion project helping Cumberland forest

It took a little while for Frederica Blouin-Comeau to find her passion… Continue reading

Emailed bomb threat triggers heavy police presence at Comox Valley RV

Heavy police presence could be seen at Comox Valley RV on Ryan… Continue reading

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

High streamflow advisory in effect across the Island

River Forecast Centre issues advisory as Pacific storms batter the coast

Trapped Vancouver Island crash survivor celebrates second chance at life

“Life is good now. It’s good to be alive.”

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Most Read