2013 Talent Search

The 2013 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search winner is…

Sugar Brown
Sugar Brown

Sugar Brown, aka Ken Chester Kawashima, is a multi-instrumentalist blues musician and singer in Toronto, Canada. Born and raised in Bowling Green, Ohio, Sugar Brown learned his chops originally as a blues harmonica player in Chicago, where he was a member of The La-Z Boys, the band that backed famed West Side singer, Taildragger. In Chicago, Sugar Brown earned a reputation as a great harmonica player and singer, playing with greats such as Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Dave Myers, Willie Kent, Johnny B. Moore, Little Mack Simmons, and Barrelhouse Chuck. In 1994, after Taildragger was sent to prison for fatally shooting Boston Blackie, another West Side bluesman, Sugar Brown headed to Japan, where he played for several years before delighted audiences in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sendai, and Aomori, and where he also began playing guitar in earnest. In 2002, he moved to Toronto, where he still resides, works and leads his own band. He can be seen playing around town in Toronto, as well as in Montreal, where he plays regularly with Bharath (Rajakumar) and his Rhythm Four. In 2011, he released his first full-length LP, Sugar Brown’s Sad Day (independent), featuring Bharath Rajakumar on harmonica and Ben Caissie on drums.

 

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The six finalists performed over two nights at Dominion on Queen (500 Queen St E) on Friday June 7 and Saturday June 8 at 9pm; $6 public / FREE for TBS members.

In order of appearance:

 FRIDAY JUNE 7

Chris Field

Chris Field

Chris Field is an emerging acoustic blues artist from Cornwall, Prince Edward Island. Equipped with a big rich soulful voice accompanied with a simple acoustic guitar, approaches music from an influence of old Mississippi delta blues paired with a mix of groovy acoustic guitar instrumentals. Releasing his first album in 2003 “Come Out and Play” generated some local and regional interest in what he was doing. The album had earned him a nomination for “Instrumental Recording of the Year” at the Music PEI Awards 2003. Currently Chris is developing a new repertoire of original material which consists of Mississippi Delta influenced acoustic blues and groovy acoustic guitar instrumentals.

Lindsay Barr

Lindsay Barr

Lindsay Barr based in Ontario, Canada unleashed her gritty, raspy, charismatic stage presence and smokin’ vocals on the Canadian Idol stage, as an accredited top 20 finalist. Barr has garnered opening slots at premiere events for Sam Roberts, Colin James and Our Lady Peace, as well as, showcasing at Canadian Music Week, NXNE, Nashville Songwriters Festival and performed at the Smiths Falls Canal Railway Festival. The East Coast Music Awards (ECMA) nominee Barr, was named song writer and vocalist of the year at the “Dobro Awards” and the 2012 Female Vocalist of the Year at the Wire Awards. Lindsay Barr is releasing her upcoming Rock/Blues infused album “Time to Let Go” produced by Adam Newcomb (Gentlemen Husbands, Western Avenue, Sacha, Cheryl Dunn) in the spring of 2013. Her relentless touring schedule has seen her perform 250 shows in the past two years that have taken her band from Ontario to Newfoundland and down to Nashville. Lindsay Barr song releases have received radio air play on multiple college and commercial radio stations in Canada.

Sugar Brown

Sugar Brown

Sugar Brown, aka Ken Chester Kawashima, is a multi-instrumentalist blues musician and singer in Toronto, Canada. Born and raised in Bowling Green, Ohio, Sugar Brown learned his chops originally as a blues harmonica player in Chicago, where he was a member of The La-Z Boys, the band that backed famed West Side singer, Taildragger. In Chicago, Sugar Brown earned a reputation as a great harmonica player and singer, playing with greats such as Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Dave Myers, Willie Kent, Johnny B. Moore, Little Mack Simmons, and Barrelhouse Chuck. In 1994, after Taildragger was sent to prison for fatally shooting Boston Blackie, another West Side bluesman, Sugar Brown headed to Japan, where he played for several years before delighted audiences in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sendai, and Aomori, and where he also began playing guitar in earnest. In 2002, he moved to Toronto, where he still resides, works and leads his own band. He can be seen playing around town in Toronto, as well as in Montreal, where he plays regularly with Bharath (Rajakumar) and his Rhythm Four. In 2011, he released his first full-length LP, Sugar Brown’s Sad Day (independent), featuring Bharath Rajakumar on harmonica and Ben Caissie on drums.

 

SATURDAY JUNE 8

Big Crush

Big Crush

Formed in 2012, in Toronto, ‘BIG CRUSH’ is a female fronted original blues/rock recording act comprised of veteran musicians from the Canadian music scene. With strong & passionate vocals likened to Janis Joplin, Alannah Myles, and Darby Mills topping gritty, exciting & tasteful guitar riffs, with a thick and heavy bottom end, this is a new band not to be missed! BIG CRUSH has burst into the Canadian market with an energetic presence, and the promise of something great!!

The Don River Blues Band

The Don River Blues Band

The Don River Blues Band is the latest incarnation of a group of young and seasoned musicians, who would like to pay tribute to the City by adopting the name of its main river. The band also stand behind the blues revival taking place in Canada and wishes to contribute to expand the appreciation of blues in all its forms. The band, recreates the evolution of the blues sound of the 50´s in Chicago, to modern blues trends and artists worldwide. The band features one of the best harmonica players in Toronto, James “the Doc” Baker, on vintage sound guitar, is Pete Tate. Recently discovered Angie Panozzo, provides a soulful singing delivery, combined with great pipes. Finally, on the rythm section, Tim O´Hara drums and José L. Atristain bass, keep the whole band glued and on time.

Rich and the Poor Boys

Rich and the Poor Boys

Rockin’ Rich is a harmonica player and singer who has performed inNiagara Falls andToronto since the early 1970’s.   Rich has had numerous radio, TV and movie appearances. His performance schedule has taken him from street dances to beer halls to stadiums and even to resorts on the beaches ofJamaica. Rich’s dynamic stage presence and unique vocals make him a highly sought after front man. His harmonica playing is intense and electrifying with ferocious power and wonderful tone. His use of creative phrasings sets him apart from most harp slingers. Rockin’ Rich has put together the top blues musicians in theNiagara area to form Rich and the Poor Boys. This small group of bluesmen is creating the most exciting and vital blues music heard anywhere. Hearing and seeing them perform is a thrilling experience. When you see Rich and the Poor Boys perform you are immediately aware of the raw energy and passion that emanates from the stage. They inject a vibrant new life into classic blues music while still remaining true to the historic tradition of the blues.

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The competition is open to emerging Canadian blues artists who have not appeared in the finals of the talent search in the past and who do not have national distribution. The prize for the winner includes a showcase slot at Blues Summit Seven in 2015, a gig at the Delta Chelsea Hotel Monarchs Pub, a day at Revolution Recording, a performance at the Southside Shuffle, a performance at the Kitchener Blues Festival subject to final approval, and mentoring meetings with industry professionals!