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

RCMP Emergency Response Team called in to arrest man at Black Creek General Store

42-year-old Campbell River man facing numerous charges

Air ambulance called in for single-car MVA on Highway 19A at Union Bay

Two people were in car at the time of the accident

Dog from Comox Valley team finds missing woman in his first SAR mission

CVGSAR sent K9 teams to help with search on Saanich Peninsula on the weekend

Comox Valley teacher’s initiative helps with literacy in Kenya

Carol Walters, a Comox Valley Schools literacy support teacher, is doing some… Continue reading

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: North Island-Powell River candidates address other issues of importance

“Other than the topics already discussed, what is the most important issue in your constituency?”

Air ambulance called in for single-car MVA on Highway 19A at Union Bay

Two people were in car at the time of the accident

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

VIDEO: Bear spies on cyclists riding by on Campbell River street

Riders seem unaware the bruin is mere feet away on the side of the road

Two Cowichan Tribes families devastated by duplex fire

Carla Sylvester sat in her vehicle, on Tuesday morning, with tears in… Continue reading

Most Read