Toronto Blues Society | » 2014 Talent Search
Published January 4, 2014 in Past Events

2014 Talent Search


lobster man conor

And the TBS
2014 Talent Search Winner is…
The Conor Gains Band!

The 2014 Talent Search Finals were held at Monarchs Pub on Saturday, July 5, 2014. Congratulations to The Conor Gains Band and all the participants of this year’s Talent Search. Congratulations as well to Wicked Grin who were named this year’s Talent Search runner up. The evening was a spectacular showcase of emerging Canadian blues talent!
Many thanks to Angelique FrancisThe Oh ChaysTobin Spring, and The Ria Reece Band for their spectacular performances!
Check out this video of The Conor Gains Band performing Damon Fowler’s Sugar Lee at the 2014 TBS Talent Search.


Angelique Francis_Please Photo Credit Adrienne Mignardi 02 - verticalAngelique Francis | Kanata, ON |

At only sixteen years old, Angelique Francis has wowed audiences near and far, and completely wowed Toronto at the 2014 TBS Talent Search!

Angelique Francis is a singer song writer, composer and multi-instrumentalist (including Piano, Drums, Key board, Harmonica, Upright Bass, Acoustic guitar, electric guitar and the electric Bass). Among her many accomplishments are performances at the Ottawa Bluesfest, Opening for Canadian rock legend Trooper July 2013, Toronto Honey Jam, Museum of the City of New York, Library Archive of Canada, and The Quebec Ontario Music festival.

Conor GainsWinner: The Conor Gains Band | Cambridge, ON |

At 20 years old, Conor Gains has already been nominated for a Maple Blues Best New Artist Award as well as performed with the BB King All stars, in Nashville and Memphis. In July 2011, the trio headlined the blues stage at the “Montreal International Jazz Festival” and performed at the “Tremblant International Blues Fest” in 2012.

OhChaysPromoThe Oh Chays | Port Alma, ON |

The Oh Chays, husband and wife folk-roots duo Kelly and Michael Authier (pronounced “OH chay”), have played stages big and small across Ontario, wowing audiences with their spirited and versatile musicianship and their hilarious, often biting wit.

Ria_Reece_hi_res_8x10_2013-09-01_3-33_PM_3000x4000The Ria Reece Band | Montreal, QC |

The Ria Reece Band is old school Rhythm & Blues. Powerful and soulful, Ria Reece’s haunting vocals take center stage. A great live act, this Montreal band’s energy and passion is consistently felt throughout every performance. The band’s most notable influences are the bluesy sounds of Etta James and Koko Taylor, the soulful sounds of Sam Cooke and Al Green.

Tobin Spring PhotoTobin Spring | Huntsville, ON |

Huntsville based bluesman Tobin Spring has made some waves in the Canadian blues scene opening for a variety of artists including Big Sugar, Blue Rodeo, Kim Mitchell and April Wine. He’s had four of his songs put into heavy rotation on Moose fm stations across Ontario (“It’s Only Life”, “September”, “Higher Height” and “Both Sides Of The Coin”) He also wrote and produced the theme song for the 2010 Ontario Winter Games entitled “Be Here”.

wicked grin-stormy waterRunner Up: Wicked Grin | Ottawa, ON |

Since 2003, Murray Kinsley and Wicked Grin have been rockin’ festivals and clubs throughout Ontario and Quebec with their distinctive hard driving, in your face blues.  Murray’s fresh take on gritty blues and killer guitar delivers full-tilt blues with a groove that just won’t quit.


Prizing for the winner includes: 

  • A showcase slot at Blues Summit 7 in 2015
  • A performance at the 2014 Southside Shuffle
  • A performance at the 2015 Aurora Winter Blues Festival
  • A performance at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel’s Monarchs Pub
  • Two days of recording at Revolution Recording Inc
  • A band/artist photo shoot with Bill King
  • Rehearsal time at Cherry Jam Rehearsal
  • Consideration to represent TBS at the International Blues Challenge 2015 in Memphis
  • Consideration for a showcase at Folk Music Ontario 2014
  • Mentoring meetings with industry professionals and more!


The TBS Talent Search is open to emerging Canadian blues artists who have not previously competed in the TBS Talent Search and who do not have national distribution.

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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.

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