Loose Blues News – October 2017

Published October 1, 2017 in Loose Blues News, News

Western Canadian Music Awards

Congratulations to Winnipeg bluesman Big Dave McLean who picked up the Blues Artist of the Year.award at this year’s Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMA) in Edmonton. Celebrating the accomplishments of some of Western Canada’s best and brightest, the envelopes were opened at a concert on September 14 that kicked off a professional development-focused conference and export development showcase festival and also drew a protest by several established artists who wanted to bring attention to the fact that the only people who weren’t being paid were the musicians.

Call For Volunteers

The pussyhat is a symbol of support and solidarity for women’s rights and political resistance. The Toronto Blues Society is looking for knitting/sewing/ crocheting volunteers to join in solidarity at the Women’s Blues Revue. Make a pussyhat! Give a pussyhat! Wear your pussyhat!

Contact: info@torontobluessociety.com to indicate your interest in participating with the subject line “Pussyhat Project”. Further details at www.pussyhatproject.com/

Danny Brooks Doc

Christopher Darton who produced and directed the recent documentary about the Kendall Wall Blues Band has been working on a new project and is ready to premiere his documentary on the roller-coaster life of Danny Brooks: Hard Working Man: The Music and Miracles of Danny Brooks was written, produced and directed by the Port Colborne filmmaker. The local premiere screening of the documentary film is December 1 at Lakeshore Catholic High School, 150 Janet Street in Port Colborne. Tickets can be purchased at Lakeshore Catholic High School before the date of the screening or on the night of at the door for $10.00.

Hard Working Man is a documentary feature on the life of Danny Brooks as a working musician … writing songs, recording, out on the road, meeting people … as well as the effect on those who touch his life. It will also cover Brooks past … his growing up in Toronto, his musical trajectory, his battle with addiction and his relationship with his wife and musical partner Debi. At its core the film is about survival … determination … faith and the celebration of a creative life in music.

More Blues on Film

The Toronto International Film Festival premiered Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars a few weeks ago but there are two more blues documentaries you should look out for: Horn From The Heart and Sidemen: Long Road To Glory.

Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story is a feature-length documentary about the life and career of legendary blues musician Paul Butterfield. The interracial Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring the twin guitar sound of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, the rhythm section of Sam Lay and Jerome Arnold and the keyboards of Mark Naftalin, added a rock edge to the Chicago blues, bringing an authenticity to its sound that struck a chord with the vast white rock audience and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues. The band’s first LP, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band released on Elektra Records in 1965, was named “#11 Blues Album of All Time” by Downbeat.

Through his music and words, along with first-hand accounts of his family, his bandmates and those closest to him, Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story tells the complex story of a man many call the greatest harmonica player of all time. The trailer is at www.hornfromtheheart.com.

Sidemen-Long Road To Glory: In the summer of 2008, a group of legendary bluesmen, some of the last surviving members of the Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters bands, were brought together by director Scott Rosenbaum for a cameo appearance in his feature film, The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Hubert Sumlin were cast for their authenticity and ability to underscore the film’s critical subplot, the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll through the blues.

When Pinetop, Hubert and Willie “Big Eyes,” along with Sugar Blue, Robert Stroger and Bob Margolin hit the road as The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues Band, Rosenbaum, along with producers Jasin Cadic, Tony Grazia, Joe White and Emmett James were determined to capture this important moment and fleeting history.

Over the next three years they shot live performances, an historic Grammy win, dozens of intimate interviews, countless behind-thescenes moments, and documenting their lives on the road. Sadly, the 2011 deaths of Willie, Pine and Hubert altered the film’s initial Last Waltz style vision; to capture these legends performing live versions of classic blues songs with the musicians they had so heavily influenced. Luckily, several of these performance pairings were filmed before their deaths. Those treasured moments are complimented by over two dozen subsequent interviews with some of blues and rock’s biggest names, demonstrating the true impact and tremendous respect that these men engendered over the course of their long careers. The trailer is at www.sidemenfilm.com.

Adventures of a Legless Lad

For bluesfolks who do not do the Facebook thang, you are missing out on the real-life drama that has befallen a great friend of Canadian Blues and Roots artists, CD designer Michael “A Man Called” Wrycraft. Following a lengthy hospitalization and the amputation of both his legs, Michael has been continuing his indispensable role as go-to CD designer in our community and even chronicling his “adventures” with a stream of Facebook posts that are both inspiring and hilarious. It would be worth joining Facebook just to partake, but for our readers not on FB, we’ll share Michael’s most recent post from a few days ago: “To all who are following my leg-free exploits I apologize for the radio silence these last few days. Early Tuesday morning I was whisked away from my month-long home and chopatorium, Mt. Sinai, to my new home at Providence Health Care, my rehab hospital for the next leg of my journey. “Next leg”… ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ho ho ho hee hee hee hee hee… I slay me!

Already on my second day I can see the pros and cons of my new home:

PRO… The food is MUCH, MUCH better than at Mt. Sinai or St. Joseph’s. So far I am eating every single thing on my meal trays compared to only eating about a third of what was offered up as food at my previous two homes.

CON… NO WIFI in patient’s rooms!!! If I want to be connected to the world, including my clients, and you my dear readers, I must make my way to the selected wifi hotspots in certain public areas of the hospital OR head to the Tim Horton’s on the second floor where many of us who hunger for internet connection gather to communicate and suffer through Timmy’s version of cappuccino! This means that since I am free of lower-limbs, I am completely dependent upon my physiotherapists to get me out of bed and into a wheelchair (which is one of the things I am here to learn to do on my own) to take me to one of the aforementioned wifi areas to do what most civilized humans take for granted in this wonderfully, wireless world. Damn! I love alliteration!

PRO… This hospital is very clean, bright, inviting and modern looking. Contemporary flair at every turn, as well as a bright and chipper staff who maintain a happy, infectious and optimistic outlook, seemingly twenty four hours a day.

CON… NO WIFI in patient’s rooms!!! This bugs me enough to mention it twice! Both Mt. Sinai and St. Joseph’s offered it everywhere in their respective buildings which made working and earning a living while lying on my back, (big ol’ whore that I am) a breeze!

PRO… My physiotherapists are taking things slowly, starting me out with just getting up and sitting on the side of my bed and as of this writing getting me into the wheelchair by means of a Hoyer Lift a magical machine smaller than a breadbox that can lift this beautiful bulk up and move me into the chair. At the moment I consider this cheating as I am here to learn to do this on my own with just my canny abilities and upper body strength. But I am thankful for the cheating because it allows me to wheel myself to Timmy’s to get some time on the internet, which is why you are reading this now.

CON… Just like Mt. Sinai and St. Joseph’s, they wake me up at 6am to give me some meds and then as much as I try to fall back to sleep, various doctors and nurses drop in to ask questions or to check out my leglets or talk about dressings for the same or changes to my meds… and by 9am I just stop trying, surrender and wake up.

PRO… I have a room all to myself with a lovely view of some kind of tree filled park, just outside my 5th floor window which I keep open to feel and smell the lovely breeze that wafts in to cool me down, especially in late afternoon and early evening when the sun starts to set and I feel like a bug being toasted under a magnifying glass.

CON… This hospital is on the edge of Scarborough, Warden and St. Clair to be specific, which guarantees me 90% less visitors than when I was downtown. If for some reason any of you are crazy enough to want to visit me here in the hideous boondocks, please give me some advance warning as my schedule here often finds me out of my room for hours doing various healing and physio type things. Surprise drop-ins are not wise at this location, but visitors of almost any kind are welcome.

Speaking of visitors, yesterday evening I had a wonderful visit from my old friend Jim Nakashima. Jimmy, myself and Don Ross’ late wife Kelly McGowan were a troublemaking trio, 40 odd years ago when we were OCA (now OCAD) students. Back then we skipped off many artsy classes to sit in the stairwell and put on concerts. I was a singer and guitar player, Jimmy was a hot-shit guitar player with no singing voice and Kelly was a wonderful singer, unfortunately, usually relegated to background harmony singer. We played a lot of my original songs, some tasty folky cover tunes of a James Taylor, Carole King flavour, and every once in a while Kelly would pull out her mountain dulcimer and just kill it with near perfect Joni Mitchell covers. We would gather quite the audience numerous times a week which would occasionally be broken up by some teacher wanting to clear the stairwells. More often than not we would have teachers just sit down and enjoy the music. I used to see Jim and his wonderful wife Anne annually as they’ve lived in Owen Sound and for many years I would come up to Summerfolk and if I didn’t stay with them at their house, at least have a wonderful visit. Since being stuck in the wheelchair for the last few years I hadn’t been to Summerfolk so it was really lovely to see Jim. I had to laugh. Jim is a rather diminutive gentleman and when I realized that I didn’t tower over Jim anymore and he was in fact, now taller than myself, we both had a good laugh! I hope to see him and Anne again by next Summerfolk!

This brings me to a touchy and hilarious topic. I am used to being the gentle giant, six foot, two and a half inches tall and very broad chested, shouldered and bellied LOL!!! I was the man who could look down on people’s bald spots and occasionally, discreetly, cleavage!!! As you’ve read and as I have pointed out repeatedly, I am completely okay with this amputation thing but it was only recently that it sunk in that… I am now at least two feet shorter. I guess this means when I hug some of you now I will get a face full of bosom. Okay… so this height thing… it’s not all that bad.
Later…”

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John's Blues Pick October 2017 - Downchild
John's Blues Pick October 2017 - Jimmy Zee
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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.