Loose Blues News

Blues at the Trane: This mostly-jazz venue (one of the few still standing) is launching a bi-weekly residency featuring the blues infused grooves of the Son Roberts Band with special guests. NuBlue Mondays will take place every second Monday and the inaugural event, February 13th (8pm), will feature Jake Chisholm, sideman for Paul Reddick, Julian Fauth, Jerome Godboo and other Canadian blues luminaries

The Trane Studio is also the new home of Noah Zacharin’s “Liberty Wednesdays.”After several years hosting a blues-friendly open-mic at the now defunct Liberty Bistro, Noah is taking it to the Trane.They will continue to call it “Liberty Wednesdays” in honour of their former locale. Every Wednesday starting February 1, 8 pm, no cover! The Trane is located at 964 Bathurst St., 1 1/2 blocks north of Bloor St. on the west side. www.tranestudio.com

WinterBlues: Winterfolk comes to the Delta –  the Delta Chelsea, that is.  From February 17 to 19, Winterfolk takes over Toronto’s biggest (and best) hotel with 4 performance areas and some great blues artists like David Essig, Jack de Keyzer, Rick Taylor, Al Lerman, Richard Henderson, Mr. Rick and more. The fest will feature the all-new Winterfolk All Star Blues Band w/ band leader Jack De Keyzer, Al Lerman of the award-winning blues outfit FATHEAD, Gary Kendall and Mike Fitzpatrick of the legendary Downchild, plus special guests who will be dropping by for some spontaneous blues jammin’.

Several workshops will also be taking place throughout the weekend including a highlighted event in the “Listening Room” called “An Intimate Evening Of Acoustic Blues.” This event will showcase a “Blues Guitar Workshop” hosted by John Jackson, w/ David Essig and Mr. Rick of Mr. Rick and the Biscuits. Artists will perform in a song circle, share their tunes, talk about their influences and demonstrate six-string techniques such as slide, fingerstyle and unique tunings. The second showcase will be a “Blues Songwriting Workshop” hosted by Gary Kendall w/ the award-winning and outstanding blues entertainer Danny Marks, and colourful campfire host “Colorblind” Brian Blain playing tunes and assembling a blues song on the spot. This is a ticketed event – $8 adv./ $10 door – and there are only 50 tickets available by visiting www.winterfolk.com.

Beyond Toronto, there are two more February blues festivals – in Aurora, and Barrie. The inaugural Aurora Winter Blues Festival takes place at Theatre Aurora on Feb 25, and features Shawn Kellerman, Michael Pickett, and 2012 Maple Blues Award winner MonkeyJunk (www.aurorawinterbluesfestival.ca). The Barrie February Blues Festival takes place at various venues in Barrie Feb 2-5, featuring Michael Pickett, Steve Strongman, Carlos del Junco, Carey Worrod, The Jack de Keyzer Band, The Paul James Band and more www.barriejazzbluesfest.com.

Acoustic Blues Guitar Masterclass: Multi-award winner and 2x JUNO nominee Michael Pickett will be offering a Masterclass in Ragtime, Delta Blues, Texas Blues and Piedmont style guitar playing on Sunday, March 11 in Crystal Beach. He has studied and performed (electric and acoustic) blues for decades and loves to teach. His organic teaching method takes his students on a musical journey that reveals the very heart and soul of this beloved musical art form.. For more info call 289-876-9202 or email mem@michaelpickett.com

East Coast Blues Society News: Dale Schimpf of Halifax is the new Chair of the East Coast Blues Society. Mr. Schimpf replaces Kim O’Brian who was thanked for his contributions to the Society which has operated now for about ten years. Mr. Schimpf confirmed the new make-up of the board in a statement last week. “Gordie Thomas is Vice Chair now, Pam Patterson is Recording Secretary, Ruth Hanson is Treasurer. Other existing members include Chris Steeves and Tony Baak. New members include Tiffany Spencer, Darla Preeper who has rejoined, and Joe Murphy.” He extended thanks to “Fran Cumming and Ron Coolen and all outgoing board members for their hard work over the years.” The East Coast Blues Society is a not-for-profit organization, which was created in November of 2002. The mandate of the Society is to nurture and promote Blues Music throughout Atlantic Canada.

JUNO Awards: The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced today that tickets for CTV’s broadcast of The 2012 Juno Awards go on sale Friday, February 10 at 10:00am (EST). Returning to Ottawa for the first time since 2003, The 2012 Juno Awards, airing live on CTV the evening of Sunday, April 1 from Scotiabank Place, will feature a spectacular lineup of Canadian artists including 2012 Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees Blue Rodeo and JUNO Award–winning artists City and Colour, deadmau5 and Feist. More acts to be revealed soon!  www.junoawards.ca

Folk Alliance in Memphis: The 24th annual International Folk Alliance Conference takes place February 22-26, 2012 in Memphis. This year’s conference will have a large Canadian contingent once again and will have some special events in anticipation of the 2013 conference which will take place in Toronto, February 20-24 at the Delta Chelsea Hotel. Many Canadian  blues artists have been selected for official showcases including Charlie A’Court (Dartmouth, NS), C.R. Avery (Bastard Township, ON), Ridley Bent (Winnipeg, MB), BettySoo and Doug Cox (Austin, TX), Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (Hamilton, ON), Jim Byrnes (Vancouver, BC), Kat Danser (Edmonton, AB), Steve Dawson (Vancouver, BC) and The Sojourners (Vancouver, BC) .

This year’s Folk Alliance Awards program will honour the 2012 recipients of the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards:  Harry Belafonte, Robert Johnson, and the Highlander Center.

Other events of interest to blues fans: a special tribute to the late Memphis area producer Jim Dickinson will feature appearances by Jim’s sons Luther and Cody (North Mississippi All-Stars) and some very special guests. The keynote speaker will be legendary music industry icon Bob Lefsetz and the FA will celebrate the centennials for folk music legends Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and Bill Monroe as well as many special concerts, panels, presentations, and workshops.

They will be broadcasting 24/7 live on the internet on www.dittytv.com with official and unofficial showcase artists, special music clinics, executive roundtables, films, videos, classic concerts, and much more.  Keep an eye on dittytv.com and folk.org for updates and more information.

Cab Calloway on PBS: Cab Calloway: Sketches premieres nationally Monday, February 27 on PBS. “Hi de hi de hi de ho!” Charismatic music and dance pioneer Cab Calloway (12-25-1907 – 11-18-94) is an exceptional figure in the history of jazz and blues. As a singer, dancer and bandleader, he charmed audiences around the world with his boundless energy, bravado and elegant showmanship. Calloway was also an ambassador for his race, leading one of the most popular African American big bands during the Harlem Renaissance and jazz and swing eras of the 1930s-40s. American Masters celebrates “The Hi De Ho Man’s” career and legacy during Black History Month with the new documentary Cab Calloway:

Emmy-winning filmmaker Gail Levin explores Cab Calloway’s musical beginnings and milestones in the context of the Harlem Renaissance and segregationist America using archival footage, animation based on caricatures by famed illustrator Steve Brodner and French cartoonist Cabu, and interviews. The animated Cab dances alongside Matthew Rushing, choreographer/principal dancer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Uptown), who explains how modern Calloway’s movements were and his impact on hip-hop. Additional interviewees includegrandson and Cab Calloway Orchestra bandleader Chris “Calloway” Brooks; horn player Gerald Wilson; and The Blues Brothers (1980) director John Landis and band members Steve Cropper, Lou Marini and Donald “Duck” Dunn. The film introduced Cab and his music to a new generation, when he acted and performed as The Blues Brothers’s mentor, Curtis.

“I am especially delighted to bring Cab Calloway to younger audiences — and he does become quite alive through the inventive animation in this film,” says Susan Lacy, American Masters series creator and executive producer. The film will stream after the PBS premiere on the American Masters website: http://www.pbs.org/americanmasters

Correction: Apologies to Paul Corby for reporting the demise of his radio show, Corby’s Orbit.  The show, formerly on CKLN,  is alive and well and heard over the internet every Friday from 5-7 at www.radioregent.com