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Odds and sods from the Toronto blues community and beyond.

May 2020 – Loose Blues News

Streaming the Blues:  The premiere event in Bluesworld,  Blues Music Awards will proceed (virtually) on Sunday, May 3 (5pm ET) on Facebook and YouTube. Enjoy special performances, award presentations, and a few surprises as part of a global watch party. Multi-BMA winning and GRAMMY® Award nominated artist Shemekia Copeland (pictured) will host the event from her living room and BMA nominees will contribute exclusive performances recorded in their homes. Like prior BMA ceremonies, this online event will also feature announcements of all nominees and award winners, along with some special guest appearances. This online experience will give Facebook viewers a chance to share their enthusiasm and comments with fellow blues fans watching around the world as they celebrate blues’ biggest night together.

April 2020 – Loose Blues News

Musicians Take Note: The Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council launched their TOArtist Covid-19 Response Fund yesterday which is an emergency support program that will help Toronto artists who have lost income as a result of COVID-19 arts cancellations. Major donors and partners have generously kick-started the campaign with collective contributions to date of over $500,000 – enough to provide grants for more than 500 artists. Every additional dollar will increase the number of artists supported.

Qualifying artists will each receive up to $1,000 and can apply until April 30th through a simplified online application portal. The first grants will go out by mid-April.Applications at

Loose Blues News – March 2019

Congratulations to the HOROJO Trio (pictured), Ottawa’s blues “supergroup” with Jamie Holmes (HO), Jeffrey Rogers (RO) and JW Jones (JO) who were selected as the best blues band at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.  They were representing the Ottawa Blues Society. JW also took home the Gibson Guitar Award for Best Band Guitarist (and yes, he does get to keep that Gibson ES335). Hector Anchondo, from the Blues Society of Omaha, triumphed in the Solo/Duo Division as well as earning the Memphis Cigar Box Guitar Award as the Best Solo/Duo Guitarist. TBS representatives Sandra Bouza and Sean Pinchin showed Memphis (and the world) what Toronto has to offer and both report a great time while making valuable contacts in the U.S. and beyond. This year’s winners also underscore the international aspect of the IBC, with a Canadian band taking the big prize and runners up from Spain (Felix Slim) and Costa Rica (Jose Ramirez Band), both now based in the USA.

Loose Blues – February 2020

Blues at Winterfolk:  The Winterfolk Blues & Roots festival is moving to the Annex but continues with a healthy dose of blues.  Opening night, Friday February 21, presents festival favourite Jack de Keyzer and a “Blues and Bluegrass” showcase with Ken Whiteley, Chris Whiteley and Diana Braithwaite and the Layrite Boys as well as a “Finger Picking the Blues” workshop with Isaak Bonk, Brian Blain and Mr. Rick. Saturday brings sets from Noah Zacharin and Mr. Rick and a “Campfire Jam” hosted by Brian Blain.  On Sunday Brian will have a solo set and Jack de Keyzer will present  Evolution of Blues Guitar (from Robert Johnson to Jimi Hendrix), followed by the Guitar Jam with Mike McKenna, Danny Marks (pictured), Donne Roberts and D’Arcy Wickham. More info at

Jack de Keyzer

Loose Blues – January 2020

Winterfolk & Blues: More than 100 artists will be performing on 5 stages at Winterfolk, now relocated from the Danforth to the Spadina/Bloor area including the Tranzac. It takes place February 21-24. Buy early and the wristband price is a mere $15 for the entire weekend. Blues highlights include: Ken Whiteley, Heather Luckhart, Jack de Keyzer (pictured), Chris Whiteley & Diana Braithwaite, Jerome Tucker, Brian Blain, Donne Roberts, and more. Tickets for the Winterfolk Preview show on January 18th in Scarborough include a wristband for the February event. More info at

Loose Blues – December 2019

“Almost” to be inducted into Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame: The first Canadian blues recording ever to sell gold, “I’ve Got Everything I Need (Almost),” written by The Legendary Downchild Blues Band’s leader and co-founder, Don Walsh, was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Friday, November 29, 2019.  The song skyrocketed to international fame when it was covered by The Blues Brothers’ Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi, who were heavily influenced by the Canadian group founded in 1969. The song induction will take place during the band’s 50th Anniversary Party in Ottawa on Nov. 29, featuring special guests Dan Aykroyd, Tony D (MonkeyJunk), Suzie Vinnick and Andy J Forest.

Loose Blues News – November 2019

Blues for the Red Door is back and some of the finest musicians from across Southern Ontario will again take the stage at Lula Lounge on Sunday, November 3 to give of their time, sing their hearts out and make music for this worthy cause. This year’s amazing lineup includes headliners Tyler Yarema & Janice Hagen, Jerome Godboo, Rick Taylor, Fraser Melvin & Raha Javanfar, Johnny Max, Sugar Brown, Sean Pinchin, as well as special appearance from Bywater Call with the night hosted and presented by Big Rude Jake (pictured), and Pivotal Productions.

Loose Blues News – October 2019

John Valenteyn’s Blues on CIUT-FM has moved to a new time. It’s now broadcast Fridays from 1-2pm.  John showcases concert previews, Blues Society events, new music releases and blues news. The shows are available as podcasts at Photo by Doug MacVicar.

Loose Blues News – September 2019

Revival Club bringing the Blues: Music Express is launching a new initiative at the Revival Club on College St. in which they will bring a series of high profile blues shows to help fill the gap from the departure of the Cadillac Lounge. The first show is Jack DeKeyzer, Paul James and Danny Marks on September 20th and on November 15th they will present Myles Goodwyn Blues Band and MonkeyJunk.

Loose Blues News – August 2019

Congratulations to Suzie Vinnick who was just honoured by the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival with their special recognition award, presented to musicians who have made a significant contribution to Saskatchewan’s music culture. Noting that it’s been rare that a female musician has been recognized Suzie told the CBC, “It’s amazing because it’s 30 years since my first performance that I’m going to be back at the festival… I feel old now.”

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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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