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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.

December 2018 – Les Copeland

Vernon BC-based Les Copeland is a veteran country bluesman, tracing his path from Fred McDowell and was a regular playing partner for David Honeyboy Edwards on his trips to the West Coast. Honeyboy guested on Copeland’s earlier discs for Earwig, in person on the first and in spirit on the second.

December 2018 – Jim Dan Dee

This is a new quartet of local players none of whom have been mentioned in this column before. Their name comes from the phrase ‘Everything is just Jim Dandy’ and it is also a stage persona, a character played by Jim Stefanuk, who handles the vocals and lead guitar.

December 2018 – Miss Emily featuring Gord Sinclair & Rob Baker

iss Emily (Fennell) hails from Kingston, the home base of the Tragically Hip and you might recognize Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker as the guitarist and bassist from that famous band. Although she has just celebrated twenty years in the business, it was a chance to open for the Hip that led to her association with Sinclair & Baker.

December 2018 – Deb Rhymer

This is another example of a veteran and very good West Coast band that the rest of us don’t know about; vocalist Deb Rhymer is out to change that with her first album. None other than David Vest calls her the ‘Queen of the Blues in Western Canada’ and she has a hard-working trio behind her plus several guests for the recording.

December 2018 – Angelique Francis

This young Ottawa area singer/songwriter & multi-instrumentalist has performed here several times to great acclaim. So much so that she was invited to perform at the 2015 Women’s Blues Review and she may perhaps still be its youngest alumna. It is something of a major surprise to hear her write and perform such fresh takes on traditional acoustic blues.

December 2018 – Brandon Isaak

The former Twisters front man has sent along his new, third, solo CD with a cover that reflects its ‘themes of life, love, acceptance, spiritualism and the sixth sense’. You might think that these themes would lead Isaak away from the blues but you would be wrong, he has come up with some very fine originals that are firmly in the tradition.

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.”

Top Blues – December 2018

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

November 2018 – Eric Bibb

The title of Eric Bibb’s new disc works on several levels. A longtime resident of Sweden, Bibb was born in the USA, the son of music legend Leon Bibb and has spent a long time soaking up the music of West Africa, revisiting his heritage. After five decades of recording and performing internationally, we can easily call him a ‘global griot’ – a keeper of an oral history and revered storyteller.

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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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