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Top Blues – August 2018

This month’s recommended listening by Brad Wheeler, music writer for the Globe and Mail Twitter: @bwheelerglobe

August 2018 – Denis Parker

Denis Parker was inducted into the Newfoundland Labrador Music Hall of Fame last year to celebrate his 50 years of performing, writing and teaching. It also includes his almost twenty years as Executive Director of its Music Industry Assocation. He is originally from England where he came up with the Panama Limited Jug Band, whose two albums have recently been re-issued on Cherry Red Records.

August 2018 – Tri-Continental

It has been some years since a recording by these three players together. Bill Bourne, Lester Quitzau and Madagascar Slim (Randriamananjara Radofa Besata) each have separate careers loosely characterized as folk, blues and world music respectively, although each would probably be upset at being so labelled. Slim for one spent many years here in blues bands.

August 2018 – Manitoba Hal

Manitoba Hal (Brolund) plays his blues on the ukelele; playing several different models through FX pedals and using ‘looping’, he can easily overcome any limitations that instrument might have. He has some 17 albums in his discography, many of them solo, one-man-band efforts but this time he went to Calgary to work with the legendary Tim Williams as producer and accompanist.

August 2018 – Elliott & The Audio Kings

Mike Elliott hails from Waterloo, where for several years he fronted a band called Daddy Long Legs that won an MBA for New Artist. He has now retired that band and this is the second album for the new one. The Audio Kings are Jonny Sauder on drums and Scott Fitzpatrick on doghouse bass and they describe this album as ’12 tracks of grit, swagger and fun’.

August 2018 – Shemekia Copeland

The birth of her son, Johnny Lee Copeland, led Shemekia Copeland to take a fresh look at the world he would grow up in. Never one to shy away from telling it like it is, she has assembled a hugely talented, genre-crossing guest list led by Americana producer/instrumentalist Will Kimbrough, who plays guitar throughout.

August 2018 – Cliff Stevens

Europe sure loves the blues, many blues artists, especially Canadian ones, have toured there to great success and Cliff Stevens, from Montreal, is no exception. This album, recorded over two nights at Die Halle in Reichenbach an der Fils and the Laboratorium in Stuttgart, Germany, proves that live albums can be much more than just archival documents. He performs as a power trio, with Serge Dionne on bass and Dan Dyson on drums and all the songs are from his two previous studio albums.

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.

July 2018 – Rory Block

After six albums that were tributes to the ‘rediscovered’ bluesmen that she had met personally, Rory Block’s new series is entitled ‘Power Women Of The Blues’. In her perceptive and well-written liner note she points out how difficult it must have been for women to pursue a career in blues along with all the other obstacles they would face in the Jim Crow South.

July 2018 – Dan Dorion

Dan Doiron becomes the third Canadian bluesman to sign with Chicago’s Earwig Music, after BC’s Les Copeland and Hamilton-born, Mississippi residing Guitar Mikey. Doiron calls Halifax home now being originally from Cape Breton and after several years as a sideman releases his fourth solo album.

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