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30th Women’s Blues Revue


The 30th Women’s Blues Revue took place on November 19, 2016 at Massey Hall in Toronto

Celebrating thirty years, the Women’s Blues Revue featured the finest musicians in the business. Massey Hall and the Toronto Blues Society joined forces to showcase a star-studded cast of featured artists which included guitarist/singer Sue Foley and singers Layla Zoe, Dione Taylor, Dawn Tyler Watson, Cheryl Lescom, and Alanna Stuart and more…

The Women’s Blues Revue Band

Rebecca Hennessy (Bandleader/Trumpet)
Suzie Vinnick (Guitar)
Colleen Allen (Sax)
Emily Burgess (Guitar)
Carrie Chesnutt (Sax)
Morgan Doctor (Drums)
Carlie Howell (Bass)
Lily Sazz (Keys)

Featured Vocalists


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/songwriter and launched her out on the road—working and sharing the stage with greats such as BB King, Buddy Guy, Joe Cocker and Tom Petty. In 2001, she won the prestigious Juno Award (Canadian equivalent of the Grammy) for her CD, Love Coming Down. Foley also holds the record for the most Maple Blues Awards (seventeen) and has earned three Trophees de Blues de France. She has also garnered several nominations at the International Blues Music Awards in Memphis, TN.

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.


Dione TaylorDione Taylor is a Juno–‐nominated, soulful and powerful Canadian female singer/songwriter who released her brand new album, “Born Free” to rave reviews in late November 2015.

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.”


Dawn Tyler WatsonIn the past two decades, Singer/Actor/Songwriter Dawn Tyler Watson has earned her place among Canada’s Blues elite. Born in England and raised in Ontario, she adopted Montreal as her home after earning her BFA in Jazz Studies and Theatre from Concordia University. An accomplished and dynamic performer, Watson’s fiery stage presence has earned her national and international recognition.Dawn is the recipient of three Canadian Maple Blues Awards, nine Quebec Lys Blues Awards, a Screaming Jay Hawkins Award for Best Live Performance (France), a Trophées France Blues for female International Artist of the Year, and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Best Vocalist. As well her wildly successful duo with guitarist Paul Deslauriers, placed in the top 5 out of 234 acts at the 2012 International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN.

Playing festivals and concert halls across 4 continents, recording three albums, and appearing on numerous compilations, she has shared the stage with an array of premiere artists, including Oliver Jones, Jeff Healy, Koko Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, and Cyndi Lauper.

Dawn Tyler Watson’s artistic style is an eclectic influence of Jazz, Soul, Folk and Rock that pushes the boundaries of traditional Blues into a whole new dimension.


Layla Zoe 1 longerModern 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 LescomCheryl 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.


Alanna Stuart 400x400Former Gospel-belting musician Alanna Stuart spent her formative years moving between the Jamaican Pentecostal Church and Toronto’s indie scene, inspiring the soulful dancehall sounds of her duo Bonjay. Heavy, heavy bass. Static, propulsive rat-a-tat beats. Spacey future soul classics. Bonjay’s sound set your spine a-tingle with basement-rattling tunes and vocals that stand hairs on end. Drawing their name from Spice Island slang for “good god!” the pair marry dancehall innovation, twisted indie sentiments and soul hooks. It’s an unlikely mix, but one that makes sense coming from one of the world’s emerging melting pots. Their output has received acclaim from the New York Times, The Guardian, and Exclaim!. Bonjay’s frontwoman, Alanna Stuart, has supported blues and soul luminaries Etta James, John Lee Hooker Jr, and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, as well as modern music tastemakers Feist, Little Dragon, and Diplo. Bonjay’s debut album Lush Life arrives in early 2017.

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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.