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.


August 2019 – Matchedash Parish

Lance Anderson is a major player on our music scene, he’s the keyboard genius who leads the popular all-star ensembles devoted to the music of The Band, Levon Helm, Joe Cocker, Stax and several more. With fellow keyboard wiz Matt Weidinger, he has now embarked on a most ambitious project: a twelve-strong revue emphasizing original material. 

August 2019 – Whitey Somers

Whitey Somers is also a veteran bluesman and if his last name seems familiar, it might be because he is the nephew of the late classical composer Harry Somers. A 40-year man, he’s been in Nanaimo since 2013, having moved there from Collingwood and Hamilton.

August 2019 – James Anthony

James Anthony (Pecchia) is a veteran Burlington player who is one of the busiest bluesmen around, just check out his web site. He’s played reggae with Jay Douglas, was a member of Edward Bear and of Mondo Combo.

August 2019 – Billy Branch

There have been tributes for several of the great harmonica players of the past recently but not one yet on a major blues label for Little Walter. No doubt his ground-breaking work is still so powerful, no one wanted to risk the comparison such a tribute would inevitably cause. Billy Branch has decided it was time.

July 2019 – Steve Strongman

Steve Strongman’s last three albums were all nominated for the Blues JUNO and A Natural Fact won it. At the International Blues Challenge this past January, Steve placed first in the Solo/Duo category. Tired of Talkin’ will most certainly keep this trend going

July 2019 – Cliff Stevens

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Cliff Stevens hails from Montreal but he’s seldom there, being busy touring Europe, Mexico & Morocco. Nobody But You is his fourth solo album since an apprenticeship as a sideman.

July 2019 – Christone Kingfish Ingram

Alligator Records has a proud history of signing electric blues guitarists. In fact, many would say it’s the label’s main attraction, starting with Son Seals and continuing through Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Roy Buchanan, Michael Hill, Michael Burks, Toronzo Cannon, Selwyn Birchwood and now Christone “Kingfish” Ingram.

July 2019 – Terry Robb

It is not so well known that Terry Robb is one of blues’ top acoustic fingerpicking guitarists. That may be partly because this longtime Portland, Oregon resident rarely travels to the east. It is even less well-known that he was born in Vancouver. Now 62, he has released fourteen albums, both with band & solo, and this latest is a combination of the two and, he says, a culmination of his career.

July 2019 – Jim Zeller

Montreal’s Jim Zeller is a harmonica ace, a forty-year man with eight albums under his belt and a long list of session credits, principally with Nanette Workman, Boule Noire and the rock band Mahogany Rush. Known for his wild stage show, his albums reflect his taste for the unusual and unpredictable.

June 2019 – Kevin Breit

Kevin Breit’s mastery of anything with strings is legendary. A first-call session player when he chooses to be, he also continues to release albums that reflect his eccentric and unclassifiable musical tastes.

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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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