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.


May 2019 – Duke Robillard

Duke Robillard has spent some time recently looking back on the songs he’s loved over the years. For Duke, they were the songs that stayed in his head, ear worms. So, he decided to record them, his way, and he also brought along a cast of fellow travelers as he shares his memories.

April 2019 – FOG Blues & Brass Band

This is a band from Kitchener that I was introduced to at the Blues Summit. They are indeed what they advertise themselves as: a brass band that plays blues.

April 2019 – Murray Porter

Mohawk Turtle Clan, Six Nations born & bred, this Vancouver-based singer/songwriter/pianist has a new album for us to enjoy.

April 2019 – Al Lerman

Even a casual glance at www.allermanmusic.com will tell you he’s performing all over southern Ontario with his guitar and harmonica.

April 2019 – Harpdog Brown

Harpdog Brown’s last album, Travelin’ with the Blues, was a masterpiece of stripped-down traditional blues but he has now completely changed direction, having discovered his New Orleans familial roots.

April 2019 – Manx Marriner Mainline

Sixteen-year-old harp student Steve Marriner asked to sit in with Harry Manx at an Ottawa gig. Manx was so impressed that Marriner would tour with him for five years.

March 2019 – Gaye Adegbalola

It’s been said that no one is singing protest songs these days but whoever said that hasn’t checked out Gaye Adegbalola. This founding member of Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women has never stopped being uppity. Now 74, she sees herself in the role of Griot, the African custodian of oral history and storytelling and her stories are most certainly worth telling. About half the album takes on political and social themes while the other half tackles relationships past & present.

March 2019 – Dashboard Rattle

This new combination of four London area veterans shows great promise. Rick Taylor’s is the name you might most easily recognize and he’s on one guitar; Joe Fournier is on the other guitar; Jay Riehl, drums and Richard J. Miron on bass. They all sing, they all write and they describe their sound as ‘everything roots’ and perhaps more accurately as a ‘kickin’ guitar band’. The opening track, and the first single, is “All Kinds of Good”, an attractive one about the effect a new partner has on our singer.

March 2019 – Miche Love with Louis Janelle Band

Miche Love was but one of the many highlights at the Blues Summit this year. She was proclaimed ‘discovery of the year’ at the Mont Tremblant International Blues Festival in 2013 and this was her first appearance here after several years of touring in Quebec. Her band is now known as The Dynamite while the CD is with the Louis Janelle Band but both bands have Janelle on guitar and Eloi Bertholet on drums.

March 2019 – Sean Pinchin

After a couple of locally available (in Port Credit) albums Sean Pinchin’s talents were recognized by Steve Strongman’s producer Rob Szabo, resulting in 2013’s Rustbucket, 2016’s Monkey Brain, which garnered Pinchin a Blues JUNO nomination and now his new one, Bad Things. What Szabo saw in this by now Toronto resident was a talent for big guitar riffs and memorable songs, both very much on display 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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