Toronto Blues Society | » Blues Summit 9: Showcases

Blues Summit 9: Showcases

Blues Summit provides artists an opportunity to perform in front of industry professionals.

Blues Summit Eight will feature a wide range of showcasers from across Canada. Showcasing artists at Blues Summit Eight will include…

Angel Forrest | Montreal, QC

angel_forrest_dsc792428x10300dpi-primaryWith a career spanning 29 years, nine albums and winner of the Maple Blues Award for Female Vocalist of the Year in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Quebec blues belter Angel Forrest released her new album, Angel’s 11 on March 11th. Well known in the Canadian blues scene, Angel performed at major festivals in Canada and Europe, she also had the chance to share the stage with many artists including Jarvis Church Burton Cummings, Shawn Phillips, Thornetta Davis, Eric Burdon and more.There is no question that Angel Forrest is one of the most powerful singers in the contemporary blues scene today. The strength of her performances, her distinctive voice and fiery personality has allowed her to conquer the hearts of thousands of fans around the world.

Bill Johnson | Victoria, BC

Blackburn | Toronto, ON

Carson Downey Band | Halifax, NS

Cecile Doo-Kingue | Montreal, QC

Cecile Doo-KingueAn exceptional stage presence, award-winning guitarist-singer-songwriter Cécile Doo-Kingué blends blues, afro-roots and soul to create a unique sound. Considered one of Canada’s finest guitarists, the native New Yorker come Montrealer has shared a stage or recorded with Montreal Jubilation Choir, Eric Andersen, Blind Boys of Alabama, Bernard Purdie, Tricia Foster amongst many, and has released four albums to critical acclaim. Three 2015 Maple Blues Awards nominations and 150 Canadian tour dates set the backdrop for the 2016 release of Anybody Listening Pt.2: Dialogues, the second chapter of her Anybody Listening trilogy launched February 2015.
Cécile Doo-Kingué is quickly earning a stellar reputation and place alongside Canada’s current roster of great guitarists.

Powerful and raw, Cécile Doo-Kingué’s lyrics and sound make for enthralling and intimate communion.

Diana Braithwaite & Chris Whiteley | Toronto, ON

Digging Roots | Barrie, ON

Dione Taylor & The Backsliderz | Toronto, ON

Dione TaylorDione Taylor is a Juno-nominated, soulful, powerful Canadian female singer/songwriter who released her new album, “Born Free” to rave reviews in late November 2015.

This Saskatchewan-born, Toronto-based artist has been promoting her recording, which she calls ‘The Prairie Blues’, with amazing live performances in clubs & at festivals as well as Live-to-Air TV and radio broadcasts.

Dione Taylor has made a praiseworthy name for herself as one of this country’s most talented artists, performing for audiences that have included the President of the United States and Queen Elizabeth II. She was nominated for a Gemini Award for her rendition of Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom,” which she performed alongside Oliver Jones at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala.

Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie | Cumberland, BC

To quote author Spider Robinson; Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie are “two veteran bluesmen who’ve been friends so long, telepathy is effortless by now, playing in a spot so beautiful and acoustically rich it reinspires them with what Buddhists call Beginner’s Mind.” Currently at the height of their powers, these musical “old souls” came by their expertise the old-fashioned way, endlessly honing their skills during a lifetime of performing. They met on the West Coast in the early 90s and have since toured throughout North America and Europe. Things have come full circle, and Doug and Sam are set to release a new CD as they once more hit the touring circuit with renewed energy and an ever-deeper feeling for the music they love.

Harpdog Brown & The Travelin’ Blues Show | Vancouver, BC


He’s been called a Blues Evangelist. “I speak the blues like it’s the truth and it is! I do feel like I’m a servant of the people. And I do heal people-if they listen to the good messages in the songs I choose.”

He is a two-time Maple Blues Award recipient, West Coast Music Award nominee and recent Fraser Valley Music Award recipient. His latest album, Travelin’ With The Blues, features a guest list of some of the best on the blues scene today, including his dear friend Charlie Musselwhite.

Harpdog Brown & The Travelin’ Blues Show is a three piece band that presents original, and some cover, songs in the authentic sound of early electric blues. Audiences love hearing that old vinyl sound live!

Jesse Roper | Victoria, BC

Victoria BC’s Jesse Roper is magnetic. With an explosive live show, the genuine quality and charisma of his versatile blues rooted soul, rock and country funk is as approachable as his charm. Since the release of his sophomore album ‘Red Bird’ in 2015, Jesse Roper has been riding a surge of momentum and has becomes a major festival draw, securing direct support to artists including Keith Urban and Colin James. Besides his success with touring, Jesse Roper was chosen to compete at the 2016 International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN. The nostalgic may appreciate his throw-back vibe akin to Stevie Ray Vaughan and vintage Texas blues, however, Roper’s music remains current, his fiery energy captivating audiences while his knock out live performance blows them away.


John Campbelljohn | Dartmouth, NS

Justin Saladino Band | Montreal, QC

Guitarist / singer-songwriter Justin Saladino was born and raised in Montréal. By the age of 16, he had already collected many accolades. Performing on C.H.O.M. FM in 2006, receiving the 2008 Lys Blues Award for “Upcoming Band of the Year,” and opening for Frank Marino are a few to note. In 2012, the Justin Saladino Band was formed with their debut EP “Sometimes Called the Blues.” In 2016, the Justin Saladino Band launched an all-original EP “No Worries.” With members A.J. Aboud (Drums), Gabriel Forget (Bass), and Felix Blackburn (Guitar), the band brought their widely influenced funk/blues sound around Québec and Ontario, performing at: the Montréal International Jazz Festival, Tremblant International Blues Festival, Rogers Cup, Trois-Rivière en Blues, and Limestone Blues Festival in 2016.

Ken Whiteley & Freedom Blues | Toronto, ON

Khari Wendell McClelland | Vancouver, BC

img_6387Khari Wendell McClelland is bending the edges of folk, blues, and soul to create a sound all his own. Reared on gospel, hip hop, folk and soul in Hitsville, USA, the home of Motown Records, Khari began his musical education early. Every Sunday provided lessons in the roots of African American music and cultural expression, through the wafting sounds of Gospel, every other day, the sounds of hip hop and contemporary R&B blared from car speakers and boom boxes. When hearing his sound one is reminded of Bill Withers and contemporary artists such a Tobias Jesso Jr. and Leon Bridges – the richness of traditional forms interwoven with elements of contemporary urban grit and whispers of melancholy.


Michael Schatte | Toronto, ON

Michael Schatte

Michael Schatte (pronounced SHAW-tee) probably wouldn’t call himself a Bluesman.  And yet since January, the Canadian guitarist, vocalist and songwriter has found himself a top-eight finalist at the 2015 Memphis International Blues Challenge, the winner of the 2015 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search, and by year’s end he’ll have hit the main stage on several major stops of the Canadian blues and jazz festival circuit.

Though he loves the blues (and evidently does it well), it’s just one ingredient in the eclectic brew of originalrock, blues, rockabilly, bluegrass, and celtic he’s been writing, recording, and performing throughout his career. This blend of genres, often described as contemporary roots, is delivered with stunning impact on his new album, Turn Back the Vikings. Vikings confirms what fans of Michael’s recorded catalogue and high-energy live shows have long known: this is a musician headed for widespread recognition. Recorded in Toronto and mixed in Austin, Texas by Simon Tassano (the live and studio engineer of choice for folk-rock legend Richard Thompson, whose Sam Jones is the sole cover song on Turn Back the Vikings), the new album is Michael’s finest work to date.


MonkeyJunk | Ottawa, ON

In 8 1/2 years, Ottawa, Canada based MonkeyJunk has worked off of a strong foundation of traditional blues and built a fortress of sound incorporating a wide range of influences that includes many styles of blues. R&B, funk, jazz, country and rock ‘n’ roll. Since 2009, MonkeyJunk has released 5 records all on the Stony Plain label, distributed by Warner Music Canada. The latest, Time To Roll is a snapshot of where the band has arrived. Their busy touring schedule has taken them to 13 different countries around the world helping to earn them accolades such as 1 Juno Award (2 nominations), a collective 20 Maple Blues Awards, a 3rd place finish at the International Blues Challenge, a Blues Music Award and many more.


Rooster Davis Group | Edmonton, AB

Sons of Rhythm | Toronto, ON

Sons of RhythmTake an energetic blues sound, mix it with a modern edge, throw in four magnetic personalities, and you’ll have the powerhouse band that is Sons of Rhythm. The group, comprised of bassist and vocalist Mick Maratta, guitarist Federico Luiu, pianist and saxophonist Anthony Brancati, and drummer Mike Carbone, has made a name for itself on the Toronto music scene with their unique sound and lively performances. Sons of Rhythm captivates audiences with their creative arrangements of old standards as well as catchy, energetic originals. In addition to performing across Ontario, Sons of Rhythm is currently working on their debut album release.

Spencer MacKenzie | Ridgeway, ON

Spencer MacKenzie16 year-old guitarist/singer Spencer Mackenzie has been making a name for himself in Southern Ontario by performing with some notable heavyweights on the blues music scene and earning praise everywhere he goes. In 2013 he won the Niagara Music Awards Rising Star award and performed in the 2016 Youth Showcase at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. In May 2016 he released his debut CD Infected With The Blues.

Steve Strongman Band | Hamilton, ON

Sunday Wilde | Atikokan, ON

Sunday wilde, Atikokan On, is known for her distinct vocals reminiscent of the female blues singers of a bygone era combined with her own brand of boogie piano style. She is a songwriter who explores the subjects of grief, addiction, love, MEN and the torment of social dysfunction. With six releases under her belt she has garnered many accolades worldwide most notably; 2x Voters Choice award for the Best Blues song for the Independent Music Awards, 2x Winner of Best International Blues Release on Blues411, Finalist in the International Songwriting Competition and #1 on BB King’s Bluesville.



The Distillery | Toronto, ON


The Distillery is a very charming blues group that can appear to be deceptively mellow at times. Please don’t relax too much, as they bring out the sabre tooth tiger when you least expect it. The Distillery have toured through the US and Canada including the House of Blues in Chicago, multiple packed nights in NYC, and an impromptu performance at US border control. The band has performed at festivals such as Tremblant International Blues Festival, Southside Shuffle, Lighthouse Blues Festival, TD Toronto Jazz Festival, JUNOFest, Barrie Jazz & Blues Festival, and more.

Check out the band’s award-winning debut WHAT YOU TOLD ME (2011), HOW WE CARRY ON (2015), and THE DISTILLERY (2016). The Distillery is also featured on the TBS compilation FRESH BAKED BLUES.

Tim Williams | Calgary, AB

img_3146-primaryTim Williams began his career in the coffee houses of Southern California in the mid-1960s and learned his craft first-hand from the likes of Lightning Hopkins, Pee Wee Crayton and Mississippi Fred McDowell, as well as from the many fine country, Hawaiian and Mexican musicians he was exposed to in his teens. A resident of Canada since 1970, Tim has toured much of the world as a solo acoustic blues act (Canada, U.S.A., Mexico, Cuba, U.K., Morocco, Italy, Slovenia, Australia) performing at clubs, concert halls and festivals. His instrumental skills are frequently compared to Ry Cooder, and in recent years he has won numerous awards including Best Solo/Duo and Best Guitarist Solo/Duo at the 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

Whisky Legs | Quebec City, QC

More showcasing artists to be announced soon!

©2021 Toronto Blues Society. Design by Janine Stoll Media.
TBS logo and WBR artwork by Barbara Klunder

The Toronto Blues Society acknowledges the annual support of the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage, and project support from FACTOR< and the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Broadcasters, The Canada Council for the Arts, the SOCAN Foundation, SOCAN, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.