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.


July 2020 – Broke Fuse + Friends

Broke Fuse is the stage name for Jay Moonah, a Scarborough-based guitarist/harmonica player who you may have caught at his gigs at the Stone Cottage Inn among his other gigs. He has released two EPs and now a full album.

July 2020 – Big Pacific

Big Pacific is yet another blues band from that musical hot bed Vancouver Island. In this case four veterans of the Western Canada music scene, Roly Sandoval on guitar and vocals, Nick Dokter, drums & vocals, Wayne Veillet, bass & vocals and John Hannah aka Johnny Blitz, keyboards & vocals.

July 2020 – Smoke Wagon Blues Band

Hamilton’s Smoke Wagon Blues Band gives us the story of the mad trapper of Rat River as this long running band continues its Canadian story telling. They also delve deeply into New Orleans, soul and funk in a wide-ranging program.

July 2020 – Justin Saladino Band

These young blues rockers from Montreal have decided to release an album done live in the studio before a sizeable and appreciative audience. That most of the songs are drawn from their last album, 2018’s A Fool’s Heart, is testimony to their abilities as a live act.

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.

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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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