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Odds and sods from the Toronto blues community and beyond.


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).

September 2018 Loose Blues News

Holger Petersen received the esteemed Mel Brown Award for his contribution to blues music in Canada and beyond. Here he is with his award and Miss Angel Brown, Mel’s widow at the presentation which took place at the Kitchener Blues Festival. Previous recipients include Buddy Guy, Jimmy Vaughan and Glenn Smith, the owner of Ethel’s Lounge, who hired Mel to lead the house band at Pop the Gator beginning in 1989.

Loose Blues News – August 2018

Dave Barnes & Meghan Parnell of Bywater Blues as they were crowned winners by emcee Brian Blain at the end of the 2018 TBS Talent Search. The competition was held on July 1st, the last day of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival and the hottest day of the year. Other members of Bywater (not pictured because they were already on their way to the next gig) are Alan Zemaitis on keys, Mike Meusel on bass and Bruce McCarthy on drums. Glenn Marais & The Mojo Train were first runner-up, and the Lela Tequila Blues Band were second runner-up. Bywater has just finished the recording of their first album and expect a release this summer. Watch for a profile of the band in an upcoming MapleBlues. Honourable mention goes to the three other finalists, the Gavin McLeod Trio, Gravely James, and 10-year old Azalyne, probably the youngest Talent Search finalist in the history of this competition. Photo by Randall Cook.

Loose Blues News – July 2018

Congratulations to Women’s Blues Revue bandleader Rebecca Hennessy who was presented the 2018 Emerging Jazz Artist Award at the Toronto Jazz Festival. The $10,000 award is intended to support the pre-production, production, and/or recording of original music composed by the recipient. Photo by Randall Cook

Loose Blues News – June 2018

Congratulations to New Brunswick bluesman Mike Biggar who won the East Coast Music Award for Blues Recording of the Year. He’s coming this way with Ontario dates including the Rainbow in Ottawa (June 5) and the Dominion Hotel in Minden (June 9) and mark June 14 for a TO play soon to be announced. www.mikebiggar.com

Loose Blues News – May 2018

Duke Robillard will be sharing his blues licks & tricks at The Toronto Session of Guitar Workshop Plus on July 23 – 28, 2018 at the York University campus. This seminar is designed for players who love the raw energy, feel, and power of Blues music in all of it’s forms from Swing, Delta and Chicago to Texas and electrifying blues/rock sounds. The course will work on improving each participant’s playing and help with soloing from the ground up. Topics include various blues progressions, chord voicings, various rhythm patterns, turnarounds, phrasing, scale and arpeggio usage, double stops, developing solo ideas, and how to achieve a good blues tone and plenty of jamming as well as group development (entire bands will sometimes attend) and the family experience (father and son, mother and daughter, brothers and sisters, etc.) More info at www.guitarworkshopplus.com

Loose Blues News – April 2018

Jason Buie: MapleBlues doesn’t usually run a picture more than once, let alone within a couple of months, but we’re re-printing this “selfie” of an ecstatic Jason Buie after he was presented the Maple Blues Award for Best New Artist in January. We are sorry to report that Jason passed away on March 22 at his home in Esquimalt BC. He died just as he was getting the national recognition he deserved in the Blues Scene. He leaves behind three children who will need a lot of help and support in the coming months. A GoFundMe page has been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/jason-buie-fundraiser

Loose Blues News – March 2018

JUNO Nominees: The JUNO Awards have announced their 2018 nominees. The selections for Blues Album of the Year are: Time to Roll, MonkeyJunk; No Time Like Now, Steve Strongman; Big City, Back Country Blues, Williams, Wayne and Isaak; Better the Devil You Know, Big Dave McLean and Something I’ve Done, Downchild. The winners will be announced on Sunday, March 25 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver and televised on the CBC . For a complete list of nominees and ticket info go to www.junoawards.ca. Good luck to all!

Loose Blues News – February 2018

The Toronto Blues Society is co-presenting an all-star Blues Showcase as part of Winterfolk on Friday, February 16 at the Black Swan (upstairs) with Al Lerman, Kim Doolittle, Julian Fauth and David Essig. The showcase is followed by a performance by Jack de Keyzer and there is a lot more blues throughout the week-end. Winterfolk is an all-ages, mid-winter, weatherproof event, where you’ll find the best of urban, blues, rock, jazz, country, folk and roots music, emulating a multi-stage rural summer festival. TICKETS www.winterfolk.com.

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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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