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Odds and sods from the Toronto blues community and beyond.


Loose Blues News – July 2019

Amy Louie Grossman’s Music Scholarship: Grossman’s Tavern is pleased to announce that the applications are open for the annual Amy Louie Grossman’s Music Scholarship (ALGMS), from June 10, 2019 until September 13, 2019. The winner will be announced at their fundraiser on Tuesday, September 24th, 2019, 7pm at Grossman’s Tavern. Musicians or bands interested in applying for the ALGMS are asked to fill out a proposal, highlighting what they plan to do with the funding. The ALGMS scholarship is valued at $2,000 CAD.

Previous winners of the ALGMS include Jerome Godboo, Chloe Watkinson, Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes, Dan McKinnon and The Swingin’ Blackjacks. Details http://www.grossmanstavern.com/?p=4207

Loose Blues News – June 2019

Veteran music publicist and “eminence grise” at the TBS, Richard Flohil presented Buddy Guy with his Maple Blues Award for International Artist of the Year backstage at Roy Thomson Hall.  Flo played a big part in Buddy’s introduction to Toronto blues fans in the 60s and has lent a helping hand to many emerging and established Canadian blues & roots artists, many of whom will gather at the Horseshoe Tavern on Friday, June 28 to celebrate his 85th birthday. Ariana Gillis and David Gillis, Jay Aymar, Jaymz Bee, Jenie Thai, Kaia Kater, Paul Reddick, Russell deCarle, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar, Scotty Campbell, Shakura S’Aida and more will be performing while friends and fans will enjoy birthday cake and other vegetable-less “Flohil food.” All the performers have donated their time and all proceeds after expenses will go to the Unison Benevolent Fund. Photo by Jag Gundu.

Loose Blues News – May 2019

Milton’s 19 year old blues phenom Gavin McLeod will be doing festival dates at Orangeville (May 31), Downtown Milton Streetfest (June 1), Burlington Sound of Music festival, Ottawa Bluesfest (Jul 11) Tremblant Blues (Jul 12 & 13)

Loose Blues News – April 2019

Congratulations to Colin James who received the JUNO award for 2019 Blues Album of the Year for “Miles To Go.” Colin did not attend in person because he was kicking off a huge cross-Canada tour with the same crack band that played on the album, including some familiar faces on the Toronto blues scene, Jesse O’Brien, Chris Caddell, and MonkeyJunk’s Steve Marriner. Colin beat out a field of top contenders, Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, Jack de Keyzer, Myles Goodwin and Sue Foley. Congrats to all!

Loose Blues News – March 2019

It was a great shock for all of us here at the Toronto Blues Society when we learned about the sudden passing of Vancouver bluesman Wes Mackey. We were privileged to have him on the Blues Summit 9 stage last month in Toronto and pleased to welcome him at the Maple Blues Awards. Raised in South Carolina, Wes learned the art of guitar from seasoned blues players, eventually moving to Georgia when his career took off backing legends such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed. Years later he would settle in Vancouver and begin a career which was active right up until his passing. Performing worldwide and a favourite of European promoters where he toured often representing classic southern blues, he also kept his art fresh, even taking part in an album of a blues and rap mashup. In his mid-70’s he showed no signs of slowing down. TBS sends its condolences to his wife Laura & his entire family. Photo by Axel Coeuret.

February 2019 – Loose Blues News

Chloe Watkinson is part of Winterfolk’s Blues Showcase on Friday, February 22 at the Black Swan. The showcase, supported by TBS will also feature Bywater Blues and Dan McKinnon  

Loose Blues News – January 2019

Rory Block makes a rare Toronto appearance at Hugh’s Room Live on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. Born in Princeton, NJ, Aurora Rory Block grew up in Manhattan in a family with Bohemian leanings. Her father owned a Greenwich Village sandal shop, where musicians like Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur and John Sebastian all made occasional appearances. She learned her first lessons in blues and gospel music from the Reverend Gary Davis. She swapped stories and guitar licks with seminal bluesman Son House, Robert Johnsons mentor (He kept asking, Where did she learn to play like this?). She visited Skip James in the hospital after his cancer surgery. She traveled to Washington, DC, to visit with Mississippi John Hurt and absorb first-hand his technique and his creativity. Heralded as a living landmark (Berkeley Express), a national treasure (Guitar Extra), and one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists (Blues Revue), Rory Block has committed her life and her career to preserving the Delta blues tradition and bringing it to life for 21st century audiences around the world.

Loose Blues News – December 2018

Joe Bonamassa, who has grown from a young blues prodigy to an international blues attraction finally received his Maple Blues Award trophys from our own upcoming blues guitar prodigy, Spencer Mackenzie backstage at Joe’s recent show at the Sony Centre. Spencer writes, “…a HUGE thank you for organizing the opportunity for me to meet Joe Bonamassa and present him with his multiple Maple Blues Awards at his show. I am also very grateful for the tickets to his incredible show! He was very thankful and so kind and as a young blues musician he was inspiring both on and off the stage. Thank you again so very much to everyone who made this possible.”

November 2018 – Loose Blues News

Blues legend Otis Rush died September 29 and the blues world mourns. He made a big impression wherever he played and long-time blues fans in Toronto can remember every time he came to town. Born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, Otis Rush moved to Chicago in the late 1940s and quickly began to make a name for himself playing in South and West side clubs. He helped define a distinctive West Side Chicago sound with his unique left-handed technique which allowed him to bend notes in ways few other bluesmen did.He won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Recording in 1999 for “Any Place I’m Going,” and he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984. Otis Rush continued to play and tour throughout the 1990s and into early 2000. But he suffered a serious stroke in 2003 and never took the stage again.

October 2018 – Loose Blues News

Top Talent coming to The Women’s Blues Revue: Alana Bridgewater is the final featured vocalist to be added to the Women’s Blues Revue lineup at Roy Thomson Hall on November 16. The show will be hosted by Shakura S’Aida and feature Samantha Martin, Dione Taylor, Suzie Vinnick, Nicky Lawrence, and Chloe Watkinson backed by the all-star Women’s Blues Revue Band: Rebecca Hennessy (Bandleader/Trumpet), Elena Kapeleris (Sax), Anna Ruddick (Bass), Emily Burgess (Guitar), Carrie Chesnutt (Sax), Morgan Doctor (Drums), Lily Sazz (Keys).

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TBS logo and WBR artwork by Barbara Klunder


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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