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Odds and sods from the Toronto blues community and beyond.

Sept 2020 – Loose Blues News

Something in the Water? What do Dione Taylor, Brian Blain and Michael Schatte have in common? They’re all releasing new CDs this month and all three of them have a strong focus on water. Dione Taylor’s new album is called Spirits in the Water, Brian Blain’s first single from his new album is “The Water Song” and “Water In the Kettle” is the opening cut from Michael Schatte’s new album. All three releases will be premiered on TBS channels and socials this month (see “Mark Your Calendar” for details).

August 2020 – Loose Blues News

Virtual Blues: TBS Musicians Advisory Committee (MAC) members Gary Kendall and Dan McKinnon have been hard at work assembling and editing performances from last year’s Maple Blues Awards, adding interview sessions. Visit the TBS YouTube Channel and Subscribe to receive notifications of upcoming performances by Big Dave McLean, Michael Jerome Brown, Miss Emily.

July 2020 – Loose Blues News

“Almost Live” Blues: A solid offering of live Blues in Covid came from the stage at Donnelly’s Pub in the city of Thorold, a long-time hub for the genre in the Niagara Region. Most are familiar with Thorold (which banks on the Welland Canal) as home of The Canal Bank Shuffle, a 3-day festival in October featuring Blues performances big and small, with Donnelly’s stage being a festival staple. A solid stop on the Ontario blues map.


Raoul Bhaneja

June 2020 – Loose Blues News

Streaming the Blues: The TBS has partnered with the City of  Toronto to provide some opportunities for local blues artists. Raoul Bhaneja (pictured) kicks it off with a performance on June 4 at noon. Funds will be raised for Unison Benevolent Fund. Live on @CityHallLiveOnline & @TorontoBluesSociety Facebook page. Meghan Parnell & Dave Barnes (of Bywater Call) return on Monday, June 15, Live on @CityHallLiveOnline & @TorontoBluesSociety Facebook page.


May 2020 – Loose Blues News

Streaming the Blues:  The premiere event in Bluesworld,  Blues Music Awards will proceed (virtually) on Sunday, May 3 (5pm ET) on Facebook and YouTube. Enjoy special performances, award presentations, and a few surprises as part of a global watch party. Multi-BMA winning and GRAMMY® Award nominated artist Shemekia Copeland (pictured) will host the event from her living room and BMA nominees will contribute exclusive performances recorded in their homes. Like prior BMA ceremonies, this online event will also feature announcements of all nominees and award winners, along with some special guest appearances. This online experience will give Facebook viewers a chance to share their enthusiasm and comments with fellow blues fans watching around the world as they celebrate blues’ biggest night together.

April 2020 – Loose Blues News

Musicians Take Note: The Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council launched their TOArtist Covid-19 Response Fund yesterday which is an emergency support program that will help Toronto artists who have lost income as a result of COVID-19 arts cancellations. Major donors and partners have generously kick-started the campaign with collective contributions to date of over $500,000 – enough to provide grants for more than 500 artists. Every additional dollar will increase the number of artists supported.

Qualifying artists will each receive up to $1,000 and can apply until April 30th through a simplified online application portal. The first grants will go out by mid-April.Applications at

Loose Blues News – March 2019

Congratulations to the HOROJO Trio (pictured), Ottawa’s blues “supergroup” with Jamie Holmes (HO), Jeffrey Rogers (RO) and JW Jones (JO) who were selected as the best blues band at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.  They were representing the Ottawa Blues Society. JW also took home the Gibson Guitar Award for Best Band Guitarist (and yes, he does get to keep that Gibson ES335). Hector Anchondo, from the Blues Society of Omaha, triumphed in the Solo/Duo Division as well as earning the Memphis Cigar Box Guitar Award as the Best Solo/Duo Guitarist. TBS representatives Sandra Bouza and Sean Pinchin showed Memphis (and the world) what Toronto has to offer and both report a great time while making valuable contacts in the U.S. and beyond. This year’s winners also underscore the international aspect of the IBC, with a Canadian band taking the big prize and runners up from Spain (Felix Slim) and Costa Rica (Jose Ramirez Band), both now based in the USA.

Loose Blues – February 2020

Blues at Winterfolk:  The Winterfolk Blues & Roots festival is moving to the Annex but continues with a healthy dose of blues.  Opening night, Friday February 21, presents festival favourite Jack de Keyzer and a “Blues and Bluegrass” showcase with Ken Whiteley, Chris Whiteley and Diana Braithwaite and the Layrite Boys as well as a “Finger Picking the Blues” workshop with Isaak Bonk, Brian Blain and Mr. Rick. Saturday brings sets from Noah Zacharin and Mr. Rick and a “Campfire Jam” hosted by Brian Blain.  On Sunday Brian will have a solo set and Jack de Keyzer will present  Evolution of Blues Guitar (from Robert Johnson to Jimi Hendrix), followed by the Guitar Jam with Mike McKenna, Danny Marks (pictured), Donne Roberts and D’Arcy Wickham. More info at

Jack de Keyzer

Loose Blues – January 2020

Winterfolk & Blues: More than 100 artists will be performing on 5 stages at Winterfolk, now relocated from the Danforth to the Spadina/Bloor area including the Tranzac. It takes place February 21-24. Buy early and the wristband price is a mere $15 for the entire weekend. Blues highlights include: Ken Whiteley, Heather Luckhart, Jack de Keyzer (pictured), Chris Whiteley & Diana Braithwaite, Jerome Tucker, Brian Blain, Donne Roberts, and more. Tickets for the Winterfolk Preview show on January 18th in Scarborough include a wristband for the February event. More info at

Loose Blues – December 2019

“Almost” to be inducted into Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame: The first Canadian blues recording ever to sell gold, “I’ve Got Everything I Need (Almost),” written by The Legendary Downchild Blues Band’s leader and co-founder, Don Walsh, was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Friday, November 29, 2019.  The song skyrocketed to international fame when it was covered by The Blues Brothers’ Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi, who were heavily influenced by the Canadian group founded in 1969. The song induction will take place during the band’s 50th Anniversary Party in Ottawa on Nov. 29, featuring special guests Dan Aykroyd, Tony D (MonkeyJunk), Suzie Vinnick and Andy J Forest.

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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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