Loose Blues News
January 2011 – Vol. 27. No 1
More Blues on the Radio: The HAZE FM (www.thehazefm.ca) will be presenting West Coast Blues show “At The Crossroads” with Brant Zwicker directly after Johnny Max’s Sunday Morning Soul 11AM-1PM. This will make a Sunday morning / afternoon with 3 straight hours of the newest in Blues & Roots music on Mississauga’s only radio station and Canada’s only commercial web radio station. The HAZE FM is also available on iPhones & Blackberrys free of charge. Details at www.thehazefm.ca
Canada’s first commercial All Blues station DAWG-FM is launching a new weekly 2 hour radio show called Inside The Blues on Sunday evening January 9th, 2011 from 6 to 8 pm EST and will be continuing each week in that same time slot. Inside The Blues is produced and hosted by James Doran who has many years experience in the Canadian Blues business including producing the popular Blues On The Rideau Dinner & Show Series at The Cove Inn for the past 5 years. Inside The Blues will feature music and interesting backgrounder information on today’s top Blues artists with a strong focus on Canadian talent mixed in with some great Blues classics. Hour Two will feature an in-depth interview and music from a different artist or blues industry VIP every week – again with a strong Canadian focus. Jack de Keyzer will be the first guest on January 9th. “The goal is to provide a show that Blues fans in the greater Ottawa area will want to listen to regularly because of the combination of interesting information and great music but I am hopeful that Blues aficionados everywhere will tune in since the show is streamed live on www.dawgfm.com as well. DAWG FM General Manager Todd Bernard says: “We are pleased to offer this new programming feature to our Sunday evening lineup. We know it will be highly entertaining as well as informative, and we expect it will be very well received by DAWG FM’s listeners.” Doran adds, “The show will have its own web site, www.insidetheblues.ca, that fans can visit and email messages to and I really want to hear from the listeners.” Blues artists, particularly Canadian ones, who would like their music to be considered for airplay on Inside The Blues should submit their CD’s and bios to James Doran at Choose The Blues Productions, Box 132, Kenmore, Ontario K0A 2G0. For more information on Inside The Blues contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations: Six Nations’ guitarist Joel Johnson captured the blues award for Best Blues Album of the year at the Aboriginal Awards, held Thursday evening at the Hamilton Convention Centre. Johnson, who took the award for his debut solo album, Blues Joose Vol. 1, was also nominated for Best Male Artist and Single of the Year. The awards were presented at Hamilton Place in Hamilton, Ontario.
Doctor of the Blues Honoured: Alberta bluesman Marshall Lawrence has just received the Blues Underground Network Ambassador Of The Blues Award 2010. This is the first time this award has been presented and the citation reads “When it comes to building a solid foundation of Blues Music in Canada, there is a new cornerstone being laid and standing firmly on top of that stone is one of our truest Ambassadors of the Blues, Marshall Lawrence. For those that know Marshall, they know that he eats, breathes, lives, and loves the blues, and now with his newest release, Blues Intervention, everyone else will be well aware of that too.”
With Blues Intervention, Marshall continues to build on his style which, although reminiscent of a fair number of Mississippi Bluesmen, still has that special ingredient that makes it unmistakably his own. It is believed that this special signature comes from Marshall’s expertise not only as a mandolin player, but also his extensive history as a gifted Bluegrass musician.
Marshall Lawrence has the distinction of being a Maple Blues Award Nominee and an Independent Music Award Nominee. As such, a driving force has emerged on the Canadian blues scene. Marshall Lawrence is taking traditional blues styles and infusing them with a raw, fiery energy. Marshall’s adrenaline-driven sound is a fierce combination of funk, rock and soul, a wild ride he calls “acid blues”.
Marshall is a dynamic and unique blues performer who has experienced many phases in his life and music. The Blues has long been recognized for its healing properties, but not a lot of Blues players are actual doctors. He is called ‘The Doctor of the Blues’ for good reason – he’s a bonafide PhD, holding a doctorate in psychology. “Ironically, a fan laid the nickname on me, but he didn’t know that I actually have a doctorate,” says Lawrence.
RIP Robin Rogers: Singer / harmonica player Robin Rogers died on December 17 in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. She had been struggling with terminal liver cancer for a month now. Robin was well loved within the blues community and had some highly successful CDs which frequently ended up with nominations, and she was honored with a Blues Blast Music Award for “Best Female Artist of 2009”.
Her humble and sincere personality, coupled with her unmistakable talent, made us all take her in as an adopted little sister. She had lead a very hard life, complete with homelessness, and substance abuse, but she had turned her life around, and found a positive outlet in blues music. She had been sober for 21 years and happily wed to her husband and musical partner, Tony Rogers who was by her side until the end. Many benefits sprouted around the country and her latest record Back In The Fire, on the Blind Pig label, was met with great success, and has recently been nominated for a Blues Music Award. Please spend a few minutes to hear the NPR interview with Robin, from a few weeks ago. To read more about Robin Rogers, please visit www.robinrogers.com.
The return of the “single”? Three local blues artists, all of whom are old enough to remember the days of 45-rpm singles have decided to focus their energies on one song at a time. Son Roberts is a Toronto-based blues & roots singer/songwriter and harmonica junkie who’s about to drop his second album, Tell That Story. He has released two new singles, ‘Brakeman’ and ‘Stephen Lea’s Father’ while he’s still putting the finishing touches on the rest of the album. He has collaborated with some close musical friends to turn the iconic stories from his own life — whether he was there first-hand, knew people who were, or the story had an impact on him — into songs. Son is an artist who strives to create original music that does justice to those stories and captures the spirit of “why the Blues just plain grabbed me and never let go — authentic, visceral, relevant and respectful of the folks who rose up to give us this incredible artform despite living through hardships the vast majority of us can’t even imagine.”
Some of the aforementioned close musical friends whose talents grace the album include: John Crosbie (guitar), Ralph Macdonald (guitar), Duncan McBain (drums), Sergio Faluotico (bass), Ed Roth (keys & squeezbox), Gary Kendall (bass), Chloe Watkinson (vocals), and Kate Roberts (vocals).
His first CD, You Don’t Know Yet, was nominated for a 2007 Maple Blues Award for Best New Artist. “People had a lot of nice things to say about it, and it’s my hope that everyone thinks the new music is as much of a leap forward as I do.” You can download ‘Brakeman’ and ‘Stephen Lea’s Father’ at www.sonroberts.com
Songwriter Brian Blain has a new CD, recorded live off the floor with bassist George Koller at Reba’s Café in the west end of Toronto, which features nine tracks, including The Old Whaler’s Confession, inspired by a whale-watching trip Blain took at the tip of Cape Cod. “There’s a huge feeding ground just off of Provincetown. When we went on a whale watching expedition, the boat barely got out of the port and we were surrounded by whales,” he said.
Blain had once heard bassist Koller “making some amazing sound effects with the bow, that sounded like whales,” and Blain originally had him in mind for the whaling song only. Whale cries, as reproduced by Koller, introduce the song, which is about the early days of the whaling industry in New England when “you could walk across their backs right to Boston.”
The idea of offering alternate versions for download came when he could get no agreement on whether or not to make it a ‘live’ album with all the spoken introductions. Now he plans to add overdubs on some of the tracks as well. “What started out as a ‘live’ CD is now a ‘living’ CD that will keep growing over the next few months and beyond.” He doesn’t worry too much about downloading and piracy, “I put most of these songs online when they were just demos and then I put up the rough mixes. Hell, my tune about Lenny Breau was up on YouTube a week after I wrote it. People who want to support me will buy the CD. Others can go ahead and download the single for free at www.reverbnation.com/brianblain”
A single of The Old Whaler’s Confession will be promoted to folk & blues radio and a version with the “extended seascape” will be made available online. Brian and George will be performing that and other selections at the Gladstone Hotel on Tuesday, January 18th at 8pm followed by the usual campfire jam. There will also be a campfire at the Blues Summit on Saturday, January 15 and Blain also plays the Moonshine Café in Oakville on Saturday, January 8, Highway 61 BBQ in Toronto on Saturday, January 22 and at the Black Shire Pub in London on Friday, January 28.
Gary Kendall first tried doing a single release last year with a tune called “This Sacred Ground” which was written and recorded as a tribute to the young men and women of our country`s military. His new track is an instrumental called “Sumlin Around”, which took place when playing with Teddy Leonard. Kendall explains, “Always searching for new ways to start or close a show, I occasionally call out a groove and some changes to the fellas in the band. On one occasion I had this guitar lick in my head that Morgan Davis has used once when I was doing a gig with him in exactly the same situation. I played it as a bass line and instructed the band to jump in and play whatever they felt would work. Down the road a bit on a night when Teddy Leonard was playing guitar with me I threw out the same idea and he played what was to become the guitar head or melody line. He said that the bass part actually came from a thing that Hubert Sumlin use to play to open up years earlier when Morgan Davis was backing him up. Teddy was in Morgan`s band at the time and that explained where Morgan got the lick. I arranged an intro, added the piano, the percussion and the drum fills at the end and we called it Sumlin Around. With all these influences the song just had to be credited to everyone in the creative chain. Morgan, Hubert, Teddy, Shakey Dagenais and myself are all listed as the songwriters.” To receive your free download go to the download page at http://www.garykendall.com/singles.htm and click on the link. It is available in hi res and low res versions. Radio and media who would prefer a disc can send a mailing address to email@example.com
– Brian Blain