Loose Blues News

March 2011 – Vol. 27, No. 3

 

Congratulations to Buddy Guy, Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith on their Grammy awards and also to the winners of this year’s International Blues Challenge: 1st Place: The Lionel Young Band (Colorado Blues Society); 2nd Place: The Mary Bridget Davies Group (Kansas City Blues Society); 3rd Place: Rob Blaine’s Big Otis Blues (Windy City Blues Society). Rob also won the Best Guitarist Award which is a custom Gibson 335 and a Category 5 amp.  Stephane Bertolino won the first ever Best Harmonica Player Award presented by Lee Oskar. Stephane is in the French band AWEK, sponsored by Blues Sur Seine. The Solo/Duo winners were: 1st Place: George Schroeter & Marc Breitfelder, from Germany, sponsored by Baltic Blues. 2nd Place: Harrison Kennedy, representing Canal Bank Shuffle in Ontario, Canada.  Other Canadians who participated were Michael Jerome Browne, Carlos del Junco & The Blues Mongrels, Theresa Malenfant & The Instigators, Rick Taylor and Al Wood & TheWoodsmen.

Canadian Blues meets American Folk in Memphis: Hot on the heels of Harrison Kennedy’s 2nd place in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis (as well as memorable performances by David Rotundo, Al Wood, The Blues Angels, Michael Jerome Browne & Rick Taylor), that great music town was humming with Canadian blues & roots at the annual Folk Alliance conference two weeks later. Treasa Levasseur was showcasing with her full band (and then some) and TBS board member Suzie Vinnick was omnipresent at numerous showcases and jams including a workshop with Toronto ex-pat Colin Linden.  Even our (barely) managing editor enjoyed his “15 minutes of fame” showcasing in a hotel room accompanied by guitarist Mark Goldenberg, long-time accompanist for Jackson Browne.

TV Blues: Veteran Hamilton blues band Trickbag, got a shot in the arm when its song Susanna (off the band’s latest CD Tricknology) was used on One Tree Hill. “The exposure should be good,” says Trickbag guitarist Larry Feudo, who is not a big watcher of TV, “I understand the show is quite popular and has won some awards.” No kidding. The show has been on eight seasons, with three compilation CDs released under its name. Artists include Sheryl Crow, Dashboard Confessional, Band of Horses and Calexico. (From Hamilton Spectator music writer Graham Rockingham).

Blues In The Schools: The Great Lakes Blues Society (GLBS), in cooperation with numerous community supporters, is pleased to present another chapter in our “Blues In The Schools” (BITS) series of learning through the arts programming. Blues is the foundation for all of the popular music styles we listen to today. Each year, the GLBS provides these educational performances for local schools at absolutely no charge. The GLBS will once again present Reverend Robert B. Jones, an accredited blues historian who has been recognized by The Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee for his lifetime of work in music history education.  After one of Rev. Jones’ performances, Terry McManus (Fanshawe College Music Industry Arts Professor) had this to say, “Rev. Robert Jones delivered a spiritual journey through the roots of North American music. His time-lines and the use of period instrumentation brought the story home to my students.”   In addition to his school performances, Rev. Robert Jones will perform at the London Music Hall Lounge on March 8, 2011 at 8pm. The Great Lakes Blues Society is a responsible music preservation group based in London that produces blues events throughout the calendar year. Each event is a fundraiser for BITS and/or a community partner. In their short history, they have raised more than $100,000 for local charities and invested more than $30,000 in their BITS programs.

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame announced their 2011 inductees, among them Robbie Robertson, formerly of The Band, and a couple of Canadian blues classic tunes will be enshrined in the Songwriters Hall of Fame:  “Oh What a Feeling” by Kelly Jay/Roly Greenway and “When I Die” by Willie Smith/Steve Kennedy. The 2011 inductees will be honoured at the CSHF’s 7th annual gala on Saturday, April 2, 2011, at the George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts. For further information, please visit www.cansong.ca.

Musicians Take Note: Dave Cool (yes, that’s his real name) the indie artist’s best friend is kicking off a monthly newsletter and to celebrate he’s giving away free digital copies of his documentary film “What is INDIE?” to all new subscribers. The film features interviews with artists like Ember Swift and Penny Lang, as well as with people like Derek Sivers (CD Baby) and Panos Panay (Sonicbids).  The newsletter will be sent out no more than once a month and will feature resources and valuable information for artists. Dave has a new eBook called “Attending MusicConferences 101″ that covers pre-conference planning, showcasing & networking, to the post-conference follow-up. It offers a step-by-step look at the music conference experience and how to maximize it from a musician’s point of view: http://davecool.ca/2011/02/attending-music-conferences-101/. Included in the book are interviews with Andy Frank & David Newland (Roots Music Canada), Erin Barnhardt (Executive Director, Folk Music Canada), Panos Panay (Founder, Sonicbids), Madalyn Sklar (Founder, GoGirlsMusic.com), Fran Snyder (Founder, ConcertsInYourHome.com & ListeningRoomNetwork.com), as well as artists Jay Aymar and Ember Swift. The eBook also includes a sample music conference budget and a comprehensive conference listing. And it’s free at http://davecool.ca/2011/02/attending-music-conferences-101/

Shakura S’Aida Reporting: Twenty-seven Canadian acts have competed in the International Blues Challenge in the last two years, and Canadian blues artists have been finalists in each of the last four years. Are we experiencing a Canadian Blues Invasion? One of those Canadians was Shakura S’Aida (who took second place in the competition) and in the latest issue of the Blues Revue Ezine she writes about the Canadian blues scene for all the American readers of Blues Revue. Here’s an exerpt: “My blues are not about where I am from, but they are about where I have been – which we’re discovering isn’t so far from where everyone else has been. Yeah, it has been a long time coming, but you know what’s great? Now when I mention I’m from Canada there are no furrowed brows, tilted heads, or head nods. Well, not unless they’re saying “Hey, didn’t y’all just win at the International Blues Challenge again?! …When I came in second, I felt like I had won the gold medal at the 2010 Olympics with the Canadian women’s hockey team, minus the skates, mouthguard and really big under-padding. I knew anything was possible.”   Read the complete article at www.bluesrevue.com Shakura leaves in early March for her first Australian appearances, and then heads off for 13 shows in Europe.

Blues on the Links:  Let’s all go golfing and get some Blues, too!  If you like golf, you will love the Golf & Blues week in Mississippi from May 1-7th, with Chuck Jackson. For more information go to www.travelinggolfer.net  Johnny Max says “Say that you heard about it from me…It’ll be a blast!”

West End Blues: We reported last year that some folks in the Port Credit/Mississauga area were trying to start up a Blues & Roots Association in that hotbed of blues.  The idea is still percolating and Johnny Max is the contact person if you live in the area and would like to hook-up with like-minded blues fans. Johnny can be reached at johnnymaxband@rogers.com

Rest in Peace: The local blues scene lost two folks who figured prominently in building up a healthy blues scene in Toronto.  Amy Louie was a successful realtor but her real passion was managing Grossman’s Tavern where she cherished the time she got to spend with the musicians and clients at that venerable house of blues (yes, that’s where Dan Aykroyd first heard Donnie and Hock Walsh, the original “blues brothers”). She passed away on February 1, after a life-long battle with congenital heart disease. Brian Wickham was remembered at a gathering of friends at his favourite haunt,  The Duke of York.  He was an avid blues fan and a regular contributor in the early days of the TBS newsletter, providing knowledgeable reviews of books that covered blues music. In fact, he would scour all the major bookstores in Toronto every month seeking out good deals to pass along to our readers.  They will both be missed by their friends in the blues community.

The Hornby Isalnd Blues Workshop: Now in it`s 12th year, The Hornby Island Blues Workshop invites some of the finest roots and blues musicians around to share their knowledge and inspiration with approxiamtely 70 students. With small class sizes, participants get hands-on instruction, and one on one support to develop their musical talents. Workshops cover a wide variety of instruments and blues playing styles. Students will appreciate the positive and creative atmosphere that is everywhere during “Blues Week”. This years group of instructors include: Julian Fauth, Rick Fines, David Gogo, Billy Hicks, Little Miss Higgins, Gary Kendall, Gary Preston, Lester Quitzau, Suzie Vinnick and Dave Harris. Registration at http://www.hornby-blues.ca

RIP Marvin Sease: Marvin Sease, a well travelled “Chitlin’ Circuit” performer, died Tuesday February 8th, in Vicksburg, Mississippi while battling pneumonia. He would have celebrated his 65th birthday next Wednesday. Born in Blackville, S.C., Sease began singing gospel music with a local group the Five Gospel Crowns. Marvin moved to New York in 1966 and performed with his brothers in the group Seas, before going solo. He became popular performing regularly at Brooklyn’s Casablanca club in the 1970s. He recorded his first album, self-titled, in 1986 on his own Early Label. The record featured the song “Ghetto Man,” a year later, when he signed with Polygram, it was expanded to include his signature song the racy “Candy Licker.” Marvin Sease cut close to 20 albums for major labels although his songs were often considered too explicit for radio. His last album, “Who’s Got the Power,” was released in 2008.