Women’s Blues Revue
The Toronto Blues Society & Massey Hall present…
Celebrating thirty years, the Women’s Blues Revue will once again feature the finest musicians in the business. Massey Hall and the Toronto Blues Society join forces to showcase a star-studded cast of featured artists including guitarist/singer Sue Foley and singers Layla Zoe, Dione Taylor, Cheryl Lescom, Irene Torres and Alanna Stuart – with more announcements to come.
Check out the Women’s Blues Revue Archive for a list of past featured artists.
Rebecca Hennessy (trumpet, band leader), Suzie Vinnick (guitar), Emily Burgess (guitar), Carlie Howell (bass), Morgan Doctor (drums), Colleen Allen (sax), Carrie Chesnutt (sax) and Lily Sazz (keyboards) return to form this year’s all-star Women’s Blues Revue Band.
*Please note: due to unforeseen circumstances, Dawn Tyler Watson will not be performing at this year’s Women’s Blues Revue.
Sue Foley is a multi-award winning musician and of the one of the finest blues and roots artists working today. Foley spent her early childhood in Canada, mesmerized by her father’s guitar and started her professional career at sixteen. By twenty-one, she was living in Austin, TX and recording for Antone’s—the esteemed blues record label and historic nightclub that helped launch the career of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Foley’s first release, Young Girl Blues, quickly rooted her unique talents as a proficient blues guitarist/singer/
Foley is an accomplished and award winning songwriter. Her music has been featured in the major motion picture You Can Count On Me and she also contributed the theme song, “Two Trains,” for the internationally syndicated television series Just Cause. She has been featured numerous times in major print publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Toronto Globe and Mail, The National Post, Downbeat and Mojo Magazine, and has performed and been featured on nationally syndicated radio shows: House Of Blues, Sirius-XM’s BB King’s Bluesville, CBC’s Saturday Night Blues, NPR’s Mountainstage, West Coast Live, Kentucky Woodsongs and Beale Street Caravan.
In 2001 Foley started a project called Guitar Woman based around dozens of interviews she conducted with the world’s leading female guitarists. For eight years she wrote articles, organized and promoted concerts, and worked on a book—fueling her passion for gender studies in music and her desire to bring the work of great women guitar players to light. The Guitar Woman project entered a period of dormancy from 2009-2015 while Foley pursued several musical collaborations and returned to university to get her graduate’s degree.
When she’s not recording or performing internationally, Foley is a Professor of Music. Her specialty is teaching courses related to the roots of American music, creativity, musician entrepreneurship, and empowering women musicians. In her spare time, she studies the cello, reads voraciously, continues to work on Guitar Woman and is planning on pursuing her PhD.
This Saskatchewan–‐born, Toronto–‐based artist has been promoting her new recording, which she calls ‘The Prairie Blues.’ with amazing live performances and Live–‐to–‐Air TV and radio broadcasts. “Born Free” is getting tremendous support in the blues/roots/folk charts on radio stations across the country.
Dione Taylor has made a praiseworthy name for herself as one of this country’s most talented singers, performing for audiences that have included the President of the United States and Queen Elizabeth II. She 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.
This summer, Dione Taylor will be touring at festivals around the country in support of “Born Free.”
Modern life moves fast. It’s easy to stumble through your days, suppress your desires, swallow down your dreams. To hear Layla Zoe sing is to experience an emotional awakening. “I want people to get in touch with the feelings they bury deep inside their hearts,” explains the Canadian singer-songwriter. “I rip people’s hearts out, then put them back in…”
After nine acclaimed albums and too many tear-it-up live shows to count, Breaking Free is the release that confirms Layla’s status as the pack-leader and standout voicebox of Canadian blues. More than that, this tenth album is set to skyrocket her upward trajectory on the international scene, and build on the momentum of 2013’s The Lily(dubbed “thrilling” by The Blues and crowned amongst Downbeat’s Best Albums Of The Year).
Ever since she fell for the blues via her father’s record collection – then fronted his band aged just fourteen – it was clear that Layla had a voice in a million. Those astonishing lungs have led her from early cover bands in British Columbia to her debut solo album in 2005, through sessions with Henrik Freischlader and hook-ups with Sonny Landreth, and onto world-renowned stages from Montreal Jazz Festival to Rockpalast. No wonder that her much-missed friend and occasional collaborator Jeff Healey was once moved to comment: “She’s created probably the biggest buzz vocally of any singer I’ve heard about in years in Toronto. She is wonderful…”
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. To date, Cheryl has released 5 CD’s.