I met Rev outside a storefront in the tiny town of Coombs, British Columbia. My girlfriend and I were halfway between Victoria and Tofino, our destination, when we spotted a guitar-playing figure just across the parking lot. He was laughing as two little girls twirled to his rhythms, and was, not surprisingly, happy to talk when I approached him. Our conversation quickly steered toward his travels and how music had gifted him countless memories through the years, including shaking Johnny Cash’s hand, befriending Janis Joplin, and smoking with the Grateful Dead.
His best tale, however, came just after he leaned in close and said: “Let me tell you a story…”
“See that apple tree over there?” he asked me.
I turned and noted it, just a few feet from where we sat. Rev went on to describe how he was busking here one day when some “Italian dude” stopped to listen. The stranger was kind. "You sing very well," the man told him, "but you must sing louder!"
The man demonstrated by walking to the nearby apple tree and gripping a branch to hoist himself up, where he then belted out a single note with haunting vibrato and incredible power.
“You know who it was?” Rev asked me.
“Luciano Pavarotti,” he said.
“Best compliment I’ll ever get.” Rev said.