Toronto Blues Society | » 30th Anniversary Show
Published April 21, 2015 in Past Events

30th Anniversary Show

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Palais Royale, Toronto




Thurs, July 16, Doors 8:30pm
Palais Royale, 1601 Lakeshore Blvd


John Mays


Featuring 2x JUNO Award winning vocalist John Mays (Fathead), Duane and Brooke Blackburn, Quisha Wint, Selena Evangeline, Cheryl Lescom, and musical director Lance Anderson (The Last Waltz tribute) on Hammond B3 organ, this all-star cast of award-winning blues and roots musicians bring music fans a special tribute to the father of soul…Ray Charles.

Patrons will also be treated to the acoustic guitar stylings of legendary blues-man Jack de Keyzer before and after dinner, as well as a great selection of music from DJ Dave “Daddy Cool” Booth. 

In partnership with IGNITE Ontario. 

Since 1985, the Toronto Blues Society has dedicated itself to the promotion and preservation of Canada’s rich and unique blues traditions. In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, the Toronto Blues Society is pleased to present Lance Anderson’s Genius + Soul = The Music of Ray Charles at Toronto’s prestigious Palais Royale this July, 16, 2015.

Music Credit:”You’ve Got No Right” by The Distillery.

Palais Pic

For 92 years the Palais Royale has been home to great musicians such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington. In 2005 Palais Royale underwent a revival and now takes its place as one of Toronto’s premier event venues.

With a first class menu and a luxurious setting overlooking Lake Ontario, this state-of-the-art venue offers an escape within Toronto’s urban oasis. | More Info |

Featuring Juno Award winning vocalist John Mays (Fathead), Selena Evangeline, Quisha Wint, Cheryl Lescom, Duane Blackburn, Brooke Blackburn, Jesse O’Brien, Al Lerman, Michael Sloski and musical director Lance Anderson (The Last Waltz tribute) on Hammond B3 organ, this all-star cast of award-winning blues and roots musicians bring music fans a special tribute to the father of soul…Ray Charles.


John Mays

John Mays | Vocals |

2x Juno Award winning vocalist John Mays has had a storied career that began in the Southern gospel tradition, crossing over into Doo-Wop, R&B and Blues, not to mention a stint with the Godfather Of Soul, James Brown. He has won numerous Maple Blues Awards for “Male Vocalist Of The Year.”

Selena Evangeline

Selena Evangeline | Vocals |

Selena Evangeline is, without question, a world class singer.  The sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Chaka Khan, Prince and Stevie Wonder helped shape the musician she is today.  As a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, her songs are musical snapshots of real life and emotions, from a real woman. Those “snapshots” helped to win her an Ontario Independent Music Award for Best Urban, Barrie New Music Award as well as honourable mention in the John Lennon Song Writing Competition.  Her music has been featured on CTV’s “Da Kink In My Hair” and her single “Lifesong” received heavy rotation over Canadian airwaves on MuchVibe and MTV1.

By way of her travels though various countries she’s shared stages with Sheila E., Patrice Rushen, Jocelyn Brown, The Nylons, Delta Goodrem, Ivete Sangalo, Latin Grammy winner Maia and the list goes on.  Selena has performed with Canadian icon Amanda Marshall and can also be seen backing Canadian country music superstar Johnny Reid.

Quisha Wint

Quisha Wint | Vocals |

Quisha was born to sing and entertain. She grew up in a Jamaican home listening to Reggae, Motown, Gospel, R&B, then expanded to jazz when she entered the well-known jazz program at Humber College in the mid ’90s. From there she embarked upon her dream of performing with well-known Toronto musicians, which took her to exciting overseas hotel engagements. Since then, Quisha has sung in many parts of Asia, Europe, North America, and Caribbean, leaving her audiences applauding and wanting more of this dynamic performer.

As one of Toronto’s sought-after session vocalists, Quisha is a rising star in the tight-knit music industry thanks to her bright personality and strong emotive vocal abilities.

cheryl lescom

Cheryl Lescom | Vocals |

Cheryl Lescom has been part of the Canadian music scene for over 35 years. Starting off in 1975 with several of her own bands before becoming a back up singer for Ronnie Hawkins and touring with Long John Baldry. Cheryl also sang on many national jingles in the 1980’s. She has toured and performed with the likes of Jeff Healey, Matt Minglewood, Dutch Mason, the Downchild Blues Band, Jack DeKeyser, Del Shannon, David Wilcox, Mel Brown, Paul James, Billy Durst and The Detroit Women. Awards she has received include The Advertising Music Producers – Best Female Vocal Performance 1984, The Kitchener Blues Festival – Mel Brown Award 2006, and Kitchener Waterloo Arts Award for Music 2009.

As the late, great Long John Baldry once said, “Cheryl Lescom has one of the best and biggest voices in Canada..I’ve had many great singers with me over the years and Cheryl is by far one of my favourites!”

Duane Blackburn

Duane Blackburn | Vocals |

“Duane is a powerful, emotive singer and recording the vocals live adds that extra excitement… his performance of the traditional gospel song, “Hush,” is simply magnificent!” — John Valenteyn, Mapleblues magazine

Brooke Blackburn

Brooke Blackburn | Guitar |

Brooke Blackburn plays guitar with his two brothers in the popular R&B outfit BLACKBURN whose music is rich in the tradition of the blues, while inflected with R&B and soul and is electrified with an urban vibe. BLACKBURN brings it all together with conscious lyrics to create a smooth and soulful groove. The four member group has been writing and performing together since 1995.

Given their lineage – their father, highly regarded keyboard player Bobby Dean, a seminal figure of Toronto’s Blues and R&B scene in the 60s – coupled with their evident talents and vast experience, it’s no wonder that they were the sensation at this year’s Blues Summit. Catching the band live, first time listeners are quickly drawn in by their natural, infectious in-the-pocket groove.



Jesse O’Brien | Piano |

Jesse O’Brien started playing keyboards as a kid and did his first gig at 12 with his dad Michael. At 16 he first performed with Ronnie Hawkins. This lead to an ongoing musical relationship and multiple shows across Canada an the US over the next few years with Hawkins. Since then, Jesse has worked with many artists such as Colin James, Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), Levon Helm (The Band), Tom Wilson (Junkhouse), The Cowboy Junkies, Sue Foley, Downchild Blues Band, Colin Linden, Roxanne Potvin and Lee Harvey Osmond.

Highlights of 2009 include recording keyboards on Ian Gillan’s “One Eye To Morocco” with the world renowned Nick Blagona ( who has worked with the Bee Gees,Police, Chicago). Additional work in 2009 included co-writing 2 songs for Colin James’ latest record “Rooftops and Satellites.” (Source:

al lerman sax

Al Lerman | Sax |

Considered among the top harp players in the country, singer/songwriter Al Lerman is a journeyman musician who plays with sizzle and a whole lot of soul. His harmonica and saxophone playing have garnered him several Maple Blues Award nominations. He is founder and leader of the 2X Juno Award winning blues outfitFATHEAD, touring regularly playing festivals, concert halls and roadhouses all across the country.

Al regularly performs as a solo artist accompanying himself on guitar and rack harmonica. He has also appeared on critically acclaimed recordings by artists such as Morgan Davis, Mel Brown, Rick Fines, Steve Payne, Rita Chiarelli, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Little Mack Simmons and countless others. No matter what, you can always expect some down home blues that shoot straight from the heart.

Michael Sloski

Michael Sloski | Drums |

Michael began his professional career in the Toronto Music Scene in 1971. Through the years he has performed with such legendary artists as Etta James, Martha Reeves, Ben E. King, John Baldry and Dusty Springfield. Michael has recorded and toured extensivley around the world with Bruce Cockburn and Mary Margaret O’Hara.

Michael is an accomplished Jazz drummer and has played with, among others, Holly Cole and Moe Koffman. A favourite of other drummers, Michael is the master of the groove and has performed his unique shuffle on countless pop, rock and blues recording sessions featuring such artists as Alannah Myles, Marc Jordan and Martha and the Muffins.

Lance Andersen high res

Lance Anderson | Musical Director | Hammond B3 Organ

Ottawa-born producer, Lance Anderson is an active composer/arranger in both TV and film. He is a classically trained musician who has also played in the Blues and R&B scene in Toronto for the past twenty years. His recent production credits include the Oscar Peterson Multimedia CD ROM and the multi Juno award winning and Platinum CD Leahy. Lance has played with acts as diverse as Mr. Dress-up, George Oliver, Maureen Brown and Big Hand and new age flute virtuoso Ron Korb. He recently appeared as a piano player and writer on Scott Cusnie’s Two Pianos No Waiting Vol 2. He has just finished a new theme forSesame Park Snippets and wrote the music for The New World Wine Tour and Guess What? CBC TV.


Praise for “Genius + Soul = The Music of Ray Charles”

Lance at Piano“There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe how incredible Genius +Soul = the Music of Ray Charles is!!  The musicianship is incomparable, the audience alive like never before  and you had the place rocking!! The town is reeling after such an amazing performance and can hardly wait for you to come back!!!” – A.R.  Alliston, ON

“One of the highlights, if not, the highlight …..this star studded cast delivered heartfelt renditions of his best known songs with honesty and integrity.There were numerous memorable moments with each member taking turns in the spotlight but the show stopper had to be Shakura’s moving take on “Georgia”. Here she worked the crowd into a frenzy while wringing every note for all it was worth;.. and leaving an appreciative audience emotionally drained.” – R.F. Toronto ON

“Phenomenal!! It is one of the most entertaining shows I have ever seen. You absolutely must bring this show to Ottawa. You all appeared to be having a thoroughly enjoyable time on-stage and the crowd was into every note of it. “ – K.J. Ottawa, ON

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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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