Toronto Blues Society | » 33rd Women’s Blues Revue

33rd Women’s Blues Revue


Women’s Blues Revue returns with its 33rd edition, featuring some of Canada’s finest musicians backed by the all-star Women’s Blues Revue BandRebecca Hennessy (Bandleader/Trumpet), Colleen Allen (Sax), Elena Kapeleris (Sax), Emily Burgess (Guitar), Carrie Chesnutt (Sax), Morgan Doctor (Drums), Carlie Howell (Bass), Lily Sazz (Keys). Toronto Blues Society will celebrate its annual show this year at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, as Massey Hall red doors are now closed for another year.

Women’s Blues Revue will take place on Friday, November 29 at 8pmTaborah JohnsonEllen McIlwaine, and Miss Emily are the first three names to be included on our yet-to-come line-up. Stay tuned for full lineup and host announcements and hurry up to catch the best available seats! Tickets are on sale now at Roy Thomson Hall’s website for public and TBS Charter members in good standing.

Public Tickets Are on Sale for the 33rd Women’s Blues Revue

Roy Thomson Hall: 60 Simcoe St, Toronto, ON M5J 2H5
Box Office: 416-872-4255

TBS Charter Members are eligible to benefit from 20% discounted tickets! Contact TBS Office to retrieve your code.

Click here to get your tickets now!

Looking Back at the 32nd Women’s Blues Revue

32nd Women’s Blues Revue has been co-presented by The Toronto Blues Society & Roy Thomson Hall on Friday, November 16, 2018 at 8:00pm.

Celebrating thirty-two years, the Women’s Blues Revue once again featured the finest musicians in the business, backed by the all-star Women’s Blues Revue BandRebecca Hennessy (Bandleader/Trumpet), Elena Kapeleris (Sax), Emily Burgess (Guitar), Carrie Chesnutt (Sax), Morgan Doctor (Drums), Lily Sazz (Keys), Anna Ruddick (Bass).

Roy Thomson Hall and the Toronto Blues Society joined forces to showcase a star-studded cast of featured artists including Alana BridgewaterDione TaylorSuzie VinnickSamantha Martin, Nicky Lawrence, and Chloe Watkinson. The night washosted by Shakura S’Aida.

Thank you to all our lovely followers who made it to the show! See you next year on our 33rd edition!

Check out the Women’s Blues Revue Archive for a list of past featured artists.

Click here to browse the photo gallery of this year’s magical event!

32nd Women’s Blues Revue at Roy Thomson Hall | Nov 16, 2018 – Photo by James Dean



Shakura S’Aida (Host)

“I am truly blessed by all the incredible opportunities I have had,” says Canadian vocal powerhouse Shakura S’Aida. “My life has been filled with amazing adventures and I can’t wait to see what happens next!” Such is the story of this free spirited, multi-award winning entertainer’s ascension into one of this country’s most beloved and in demand vocal performers.

Shakura’s long-simmering career first moved into high gear in 2008, after a triumphant trip to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Competing against more than 100 other artists from around the world, she earned the runner-up title and put the world on notice, that there was a new voice in town. Ever since, she has been moving from strength to strength, releasing three critically acclaimed albums, and racking up a wide array of awards and accolades.

Wherever she performs, Shakura truly owns the stage. Her warm and welcoming personality, dazzling visual style, and truly remarkable voice, take audiences on a sublime and soulful journey that lingers on, long after the lights have dimmed. Having toured extensively throughout North America and across Europe, she’s an artist who never stops exploring her muse. Ever searching for the next great song, and the next audience to sing it to.



Samantha Martin

2018 has all the signs of being the break out year for Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar. The group’s latest recording, entitled Run to Me, was released April 27, 2018. Produced by Darcy Yates, the album is a massive step forward for both Martin and Delta Sugar. Over the course of the project’s ten tracks, every song written by Martin solo or in tandem with Curtis Chaffey or Suzie Vinnick, the album explores the full range of the vicissitudes of love: desire, betrayal and, at times, emotional and sexual satisfaction. As a collective, the songs reflect remarkable growth on Martin’s part as a songwriter. The lyrics are incisive, the melodies are constantly arresting and the harmonies and arrangements call up the best of the soul sounds of Stax Records and such contemporary artists as Leon Bridges, Sharon Jones, and Lee Fields.


Dione Taylor

Music has always been an integral part of Dione Taylor’s life. A pastor’s daughter from Saskatchewan, she was born and raised in a family she describes as “really connected to the gift of song.” She began playing the organ at age four and by age ten, she was the music director and organist at The Shiloh Assembly Apostolic Church in Regina.

 Having first burst onto the music scene with her Juno nominated debut album “Open Your Eyes”, Taylor’s career trajectory has been truly remarkable. Dione has had the distinct honour of performing at the White House for the President of the United States and the First Lady for Black Music Month and the Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinbugh for Canada Day in Ottawa and Saskatchewan’s Centennial. With performances at festivals and concert theatres across the United States, Canada and Asia, Taylor has made a worthy name for herself as one of this country’s most talented musicians and songstresses. Taylor was nominated for a Gemini Award for her rendition of Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom,” which she performed alongside Oliver Jones at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala.  Miss Taylor is also the recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award Mentorship Program. Most recently she performed Oscar Peterson’s powerful anthem, “Hymn to Freedom” at the 2017 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards 25th Anniversary Show in Ottawa.

 Dione Taylor is a lyrical singer/songwriter who released Born Free in late 2015. This recording has been described as “a narrative of trial and faith told through a passionate blend of fiery gospel vocals, sounds from the delta blues and with an extra helping of soul.”  Dione calls it “The Prairie Blues.” She is currently working on “SPIRIT”, a follow-up to Born Free to be released in early 2019.

You can follow Dione on: dionetaylor.comdionetaylormusic (Instagram) | dionetaylormusic (Facebook) | thedionetaylor (Twitter)




Suzie Vinnick

Suzie VinnickA Saskatoon native transplanted to the Niagara Region of Ontario, Suzie Vinnick is the proud owner of a gorgeous voice, prodigious guitar and bass chops, and an engagingly candid performance style.


Her career has seen triumph after triumph. Among her most recent successes: being nominated for a 2016 MapleBlues Award for Female Vocalist of the Year; achieving finalist status in the Solo/Duo Category at the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN; the 2012 CBC Saturday Night Blues Great Canadian Blues Award and the 2012 Sirius XM Canada Blues Artist of the Year. Suzie has won 10 Maple Blues Awards, 1 Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Vocalist of the Year and is a 3X Juno Nominee.


Suzie has toured nationally with Stuart McLean’s The Vinyl Café and the John McDermott Band, and performed for Canadian Peacekeepers in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf. She was also the voice of Tim Horton’s for 5 years. How cool is that?


Suzie has just released her latest album, a full band roots and blues extravaganza entitled Shake The Love Around.
Tune your ears to one of Canada’s music greats, with “…a voice of spun gold and honey (Access Magazine)


Chloe Watkinson

Chloe Watkinson has spent her entire life surrounded by the workings of “show biz.” She’s the daughter of Terry Watkinson – keyboard player of legendary Canadian rock band Max Webster, and Carla Jensen, who sang the original theme song to the famous African Lion Safari TV commercial. Despite the challenges this unique position can bring, Watkinson has managed to carve out her own style, voice and fan base.

Her new single “Crystal Pistol” (Aporia Records) is a bluesy, hard-rock anthem with surging electric guitars, tribal drumming, some well-placed group shouts, and a super-powerful vocal, urging the water-protector protesters at Standing Rock to “stand up, push back”. It’ll make you want to jump and shout along.

Chloe has performed, recorded and toured with bands such as Amy Louie Scholarship winners Park Eddy, who held a 10-year residency at Grossman’s Tavern, and Toronto Independent Music Award winners The Distillery – whose music was featured on the Toronto Blues Society’s Fresh Baked Blues compilation. Watkinson’s accomplishments include recording with Jill Barber (2014’s Fool’s Gold, and a performance at Massey Hall) and Terry Watkinson (1995’s Teratology and 2016’s Ask), as well as performing at festivals such as Fireworks Over Central New York, CanAm Festival (NY), the Mont Tremblant International Blues Festival (QC), the TD Toronto Jazz Festival and many more.

In Toronto, Chloe recently headlined shows at The Opera House and Yonge-Dundas Square at Chevrolet’s prestigious Indie Friday series, and is making her New York and Montreal debuts in summer 2018.



Nicky Lawrence

 The blues are a biography themselves. The women who sing these remarkable songs have stories which parallel my own; ups and downs, the long lonely nights and the reminder that their worth may not be equal to that of a man. Gutsy yet tender, independent yet vulnerable, exploited but not resentful, the performances of these songs by the woman who sang them reshaped modern music known today. Within myself each of their voices created my own and they spirits reign supreme. At the pinnacle of their  success lies deeply seeded pain which no one person should have to face alone. Yet as often is in the case of black women, here we are left with a lexicon of choices made and incidents occurred due to the colour of ones skin. Love lost and gained, then lost again, the feelings of inadequacy one has when they think “Will I ever be good enough?”. When asked for a biography I have often said “look to the choices I have made in song.” In each bar you will hear the account of my life and the journey written by someone else. You will find my memoirs in the half and sixteenth notes, swelling next to whole notes that cry out  in vain. You  will find my performing experience in the long riffs that run down your spine and grab your guts with a force only a woman scorned could create. Therein lies an authorized version of events that will guide and inform you on my choices as a black woman living now in this time. I could map out my achievements, I could tell you all about myself in gracious language….but I won’t. Instead I ask that you join me in listening to me tell a story through these remarkable women, whose dream it was to watch me walk through any door I please.


Please Follow: @THENICKYLAWRENCE on Instagram



Alana Bridgewater

Alana Bridgewater (born Newmarket, Ontario) was raised in ScarboroughOntario and discovered her love for performing at an early age. She was a member of The Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus, The Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir and founding member of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale. She attended The University of Windsor, studying with Steven Henrickson and Richard Householder. In 2007 Alana was nominated for a Gemini Award for her contribution to The Gospel Christmas Project (CBC). Alana has appeared in Hannibal (NBC), Dino Dan (Nick Jr.) and the upcoming Mysticons. She is best known for her turn as ‘Killer Queen’ in the Toronto production of We Will Rock You. Highlights of her career include performing for Quincy Jones, Peter Gabriel, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Atwood,Norman Jewison to name a few. Backup vocalist for Angelique Kidjo, Johnny Reid, The Arkells and Carvin Winans. Theatre & AnimationAs well as being an accomplished singer Alana is also a Theatre performer. She is pleased to be working with Soulpepper for it 2017/18 Season. Highlights include Idomeneus and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. She will also be a yet to be introduced character on Mysticons (Nickelodeon)


Donate Join TBS Volunteer

©2019 Toronto Blues Society. Design by Janine Stoll Media.
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.