Toronto Blues Society | » February 2022 – Loose Blues News

February 2022 – Loose Blues News

Published February 1, 2022 in Loose Blues News, News

Talkin’ Blues: Mako Funasaka has posted the 300th episode of the Talkin’ Blues Podcast ( featuring an interview with American guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter and producer Steve Vai (solo artist, Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth Band & Whitesnake.). Mako writes, “A number of years ago, I almost had the chance to interview Steve Vai when he was in Toronto for a week. When it looked like it might happen, I thought it would be cool to create a podcast around an interview with him. So, I arranged to interview Andrew Galloway and Shakura S’Aida to see how it would feel to do a podcast series around interviewing people in the music industry. My interview with Steve Vai didn’t happen then but it inspired my podcast series and I’m thrilled to finally interview Steve for the 300th episode.” You can find the “Talkin’ Blues” podcast on Spotify, Google Play, iTunes and other podcast outlets including:
You can also check out the TBS YouTube channel to view our curated (by Gary Kendall and Dan McKinnon) selections from the Talkin’ Blues archives. This month’s episode features a talk with, and performance of “Home” by Ruthie Foster, Harrison Kennedy performing “Chain Gang Holler” from his “Soulscape” album, and an interview with the legendary Odetta.

Toronto Blues Doc: If you weren’t witnessing the live Blues scene 30 years ago, check out a little gem of a documentary called Toronto Blues on YouTube. It showcases an era when Paul Reddick’s Sidemen were blowing up the Toronto scene, and Donnie Walsh and Downchild were a staple at Grossman’s Tavern. Shot on 16mm by Ted Procyshyn in 1993, the short doc also features Mike McDonald, Gene Taylor, radio host Eddy B, Jerome Godboo and Morgan Davis as well as two Toronto blues pioneers, Rose Clay and Andy Earl.

A new Home for Hugh’s Room? Toronto’s premiere showcase room for roots & blues music has been looking for a new home since they lost their west-end venue in early 2020. Their search was stymied by the Covid crisis but throughout they have been keeping their eye out for the ideal venue (ie 150+ capacity). They think they found one in the east end, an old church on Broadview and they will be looking for support from the city and pulling out all the stops to make this happen. The blues was always a big part of Hugh’s Room and here’s hoping they can pull it off.

Ken Whiteley’s Song of the Month: TBS board member and Canadian blues & roots patriarch, Ken Whiteley has just recorded a new album, Long Time Travelling, and for a limited time he’s giving a free download of one song a month beginning with the title track, Long Time Travelling.
Ken writes, “Last winter I was thinking about old folk songs that I loved and wanted to put my own spin on. The project grew as I dug into songs I’d known for over fifty years and began recording them. Some songs wanted new words. Some had a myriad of versions and it was like piecing together a puzzle.” Download the recording of Long Time Travelling for free at

Anna Ruddick joins The Unison Fund: Popular bassist Anna Ruddick has joined the Unison Fund team as Music Industry & Client Services Manager. This is a newly created position designed to support the diverse range of artists, crew and music workers accessing Unison’s financial relief and mental health & wellbeing services, while shaping industry relations across the breadth of the charity’s programs and initiatives.

Allen Toussaint Honoured with a street: New Orleans’ Robert E. Lee Boulevard will be renamed for Allen Toussaint. The street, which stretches for four and a half miles through Lakeview and Gentilly, will officially go by its new name starting on Feb. 1, 2022.The campaign to honor Toussaint started after his death in 2015 at the age of 77 and aligned with the push to rename several city parks and streets in New Orleans that honor white supremacists and confederates. The call to action from the City Council was amplified by the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd.“This process was very thoughtful and in-depth,” Council member Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, according to street was originally named Hibernia Avenue to honor the thousands of Irish workers who died digging the New Basin Canal but was renamed to Robert E. Lee Boulevard in 1960 amid the civil rights, in an obvious act and message of white resistance.

When one door closes, another opens: The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame is closed until late April in order to conduct facility maintenance, fill open staff positions, and gear up to bring back the International Blues Challenge, Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame inductions, Keeping the Blues Alive Award ceremony and all the other experiences you love in grand fashion. The new President and CEO, Judith Black wrote, “The building may be closed but the great blues experience is still happening online. Our social media and website are the places where you can find the latest news. As we are taking this brief “pause for the cause”, please stay safe and well because this spring we look forward to reopening our doors and welcoming you back home.”

Meanwhile, up the road in Calgary, Studio Bell in the National Music Centre has just re-opened and is offering free admission to Studio Bell until the end of February. If you’re in that neck of the woods, check out the evolving story of music in Canada across five floors and 22 exhibition stages. They also feature afternoon musical performances.

The National Music Centre has also just announced OHSOTO’KINO, a new Indigenous programming initiative that will launch at Studio Bell in 2022 and focus on three elements: creation of new music in NMC’s recording studios, artist development through a music incubator program, and exhibitions via the annually updated Speak Up! gallery. OHSOTO’KINO is a Blackfoot phrase, which means ‘to recognize a voice of.’ This title acknowledges the Blackfoot people and the territory on which National Music Centre resides. A call for applications is now open for the OHSOTO’KINO Recording Bursary and Indigenous musicians from across Canada are encouraged to apply at by February 23, 2022 at 11:59 pm MT. Two submissions (one for contemporary music, the other for traditional) will be selected by NMC’s National Indigenous Programming Advisory Committee and awarded a one-week recording session at Studio Bell to produce a commercial release.

– Janet Alilovic, Derek Andrews, Brian Blain

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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.