Toronto Blues Society | » John’s Blues Picks

John’s Blues Picks is the monthly album review column by Toronto-based blues columnist, John Valenteyn. John Valenteyn is co-founder of the Toronto Blues Society, radio host on CIUT.FM and the Toronto Blues Society’s resident album reviewer. John’s Blues Picks (JBP) are collected monthly in the Toronto Blues Society’s monthly print newsletter, Maple Blues.


June 2020 – Linsey Alexander

One of the great pleasures is to spend an evening at a blues club in Chicago. As this is quite impossible and will be for a while yet, we can come very close to enjoying that pastime with this new live album.

June 2020 – Jeff Healey

The Jeff Healey Estate has reissued the albums released four years ago to celebrate what would have been Jeff’s 50th. They were released separately at the time but are now available in a deluxe 2CD package. 

June 2020 – Michael Kaeshammer

This concert recording began life as a TV special for public television in the US, broadcast during a fundraising week last March. The subsequent CD and DVD are all slightly different from that original broadcast but it’s all the same wonderful music.

June 2020 – Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne

Multiple international award-winning pianist singer-songwriter Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne (Spruell) has put together an all-star band with a dream list of guests to highlight his new songs.

May 2020 – Roomful of Blues

Roomful of Blues is celebrating 50 years as a horn band. Tenor ace Rich Lataille and a couple of other horn players were added in 1970 to the smaller band that Duke Robillard founded in 1967.

May 2020 – John Primer & Bob Corritore

John Primer is perhaps the finest bluesman performing today in the classic Chicago Blues sound. He was a member of Muddy Waters’ last band as well as with Junior Wells and for many years with Magic Slim.

May 2020 – Wayne Nicholson & John Campbelljohn

Cape Breton slide guitar master John Campbelljohn has just been signed to a worldwide record deal with the German company ZYX Music Pepper Cake Records and his first album under that deal will be Guitar Lovin’ Man, to be released shortly. Until then we get a most magnificent fill-in: Elmore’s Blues is a loving tribute to Elmore James with veteran Halifax singer Wayne Nicholson.

May 2020 – Dalannah Gail Bowen

Veteran Vancouver singer Dalannah Gail Bowen’s last album featured only virtuoso bassist Owen to stunning effect. This time out she has assembled a full band under the direction of Michael Creber.

May 2020 – Philip Sayce

Electric guitar virtuoso Philip Sayce has come a long way since his apprenticeship with the Jeff Healey Band. Spirit Rising puts his mastery of the guitar and of the recording studio in the service of some very good songs.

April 2020 – Watermelon Slim

Straight, no chaser. That’s what we get from Watermelon Slim here.

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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.

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