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 2019 – Sunday Wilde & the 1 eyed jacks

This is Sunday Wilde’s eighth album and the first one since the passing of her partner Reno Jack. It also continues her practice of re-working some blues standards all featuring her ‘one-of-a kind’ vocals & barrelhouse piano.

June 2019 – Fruteland Jackson

It’s been too long between albums for Chicago-based, Mississippi-born Fruteland Jackson but he has been busy.

June 2019 – Pat Finochio

Out of the Blue is a very apt title for this album. Jack de Keyzer was just starting out in Hamilton and Pat Finochio was a fellow student of the blues. They lost touch and only recently reconnected when Finochio asked if he would produce an album on him.

June 2019 – Paul DesLauriers Band

Paul DesLauriers is one of our most inventive guitarists. Firmly anchored by his rhythm section, DesLauriers’ multi-tracked guitars (often featuring his slide) form the backbone of a stunning new batch of songs for one of the hottest live bands around.

June 2019 – Debra Power

Calgary’s piano ace and powerhouse vocalist Debra Power released Even Redheads Get the Blues in 2016. It was her first album after many years of performing locally. It was intended to bring her wider exposure and it did just that, leading to the semi-finals at the IBCs and to her nomination to the New Artist category at the Maple Blues Awards.

May 2019 – Holly Hyatt

Nelson, BC’s Holly Hyatt has been performing as half of a duo with her husband and guitarist Jon Burden. They released four albums, the last one, Shufflin’ the Blues, charting strongly.

May 2019 – Mike Goudreau

Sherbrooke native Mike Goudreau used his last album to provide us with a selection of the blues songs he wrote for various TV & movie soundtracks.

May 2019 – Lucas Haneman Express

Ottawa’s Lucas Haneman Express took their last album, Tearing Up the Rails, to the final five of the Maple Blues Awards in 2017 as Best New Artist. They also made the semi-finals at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis the previous year. They have not stood still.

May 2019 – Dawn Tyler Watson

Winning the 2017 International Blues Challenge, added to her many other awards, has resulted in a heavy international touring schedule, complicated by what her press release terms as ‘her own personal heartbreak’. The combination has inspired a worthy collection of introspective new songs. She didn’t write them all but she did select some good ones to go with her own.

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.

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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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