Toronto Blues Society | » February 2023 – Loose Blues News

February 2023 – Loose Blues News

Published January 31, 2023 in Loose Blues News

MonkeyJunk 15th Anniversary Video Series! MonkeyJunk is celebrating 15 years as a band in 2023. To commemorate this milestone, they are releasing 15 live videos throughout the year. Future videos will include guest artists – people the band has collaborated with and/or has been inspired by over their 15 years as a band!  The first video was recorded live with no overdubs at Ganaraska Recording Company in Cobourg. Check it out at

Grossman’s still a nurturing home for the blues: TBS member Lynn Boucher shared her fond memories of Grossman’s Tavern: “The first time I saw Jeff Healey play was here.  It was during a time when the Sunday music jams were so good that I would stay from its start to its finish, sometimes 8 or 10 hours. Even when I had to work the next day! A terrific band called The Blue Sneakers were the house band then. The caliber of jammers was extraordinary. The room was in pause between jammers when I heard those around me begin to whisper. It soon swelled into a collective chant. “Jeff’s here, Jeff’s here!” Jeff who I asked? They knew he had come to play.  Jams have the potential to be awful, but when they soar your open heart begins to fly.  An especially sweet moment there for me was when they had a tribute night for Toronto’s Brian Cober; double slide guitarist extraordinaire.  His band The Nationals were a mainstay at Grossman’s for many years. This tribute night was packed with the cream of Canadian Blues talent. Local and larger.  Even Daniel Lanois popped in to do a couple of songs in honor of Brian. Grossman’s is still here.  Artists have come and gone, of course.  As has the audience.  But it continues as a great place to hear blues.  Still no cover. Still humble. Still  family run. Still a riot.  Look for The Action Sound Band with Leo Valvassori & Eric Schenkman keeping up a long-running residency on Wednesday nights. And The Happy Pals (albeit newer & younger members) are still doing their great Saturday afternoon shows from 3:30-7:30.  Can’t make it Saturday? Sundays you can catch The New Orleans All Star Jazz Band from 3-7pm. And of course Grossman’s continues to be a great incubator for new blues talent. 

For years the Louie family have been awarding a bursary to support musicians from the GTA. Called the Amy Louie Grossmans Music Scholarship, in honor of their daughter… they have supported & continue to support blues artists by offering real money & a real venue for musicians to play.” Check out their website and go discover the next blues stars.

Honouring Jackie Shane:  A fund raising effort is underway to have a historical plaque erected outside the Saphire Tavern in rememberance of Jackie Shane who raised the roof (and a few eyebrows) in the early 60s. There is also a documentary in the works. Resident musicologist Rob Bowman tracked down Jackie in Nashville and had a few conversations with her and had this to say about Jackie: ” In the 1960s, Jackie Shane set Toronto on its ears. Originally from Nashville, she arrived in town as the featured singer with dual trumpet player Frank Motley, quickly becoming the star of the show. Jackie had known since before she was thirteen that she was a woman in a man’s body. In the 1960s, most people had no idea of what the word transgender meant. Consequently, most of her audience understood her as a gay man. Her shows were riveting. Not only was she a great soul singer, but in every set she would feature one or more extended monologues.  A brilliant ad libber who was never afraid to speak her mind, Jackie would use the monologues to draw the audience closer to her. While the band vamped for minutes on end creating nearly unbearable tension, Jackie kept the audience spellbound. More often than not, the monologues addressed the age-old issues of sexual politics but, in Jackie’s case, those politics focussed on issues pertinent to both gay and straight people in a way that most people would have never heard at the time and, frankly, in most contexts don’t hear now. Beloved by soul music aficionados worldwide, Jackie was also an icon for Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community.”  To contribute to the campaign, go to

Congrats to Canadian Blues Artists who have been making their mark south of the border: The Blues Foundation just announced their nominees and the list includes Harrison Kennedy, Blue Moon Marquee, Sue Foley, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and “honourary Canadian” Annika Chambers (aka Mrs Paul DesLauriers).  Canadians also showed their stuff at the International Blues Challenge. The TBS was represented by Heather Luckhart and Garnetta and DaGroovmasters. Brooke Blackburn and Frank Cosentino represented our neighnours at the Grand River Blues Society.  Montreal’s  Adam Karch was the only Canadian to make it to the finals. He received the Best Guitarist award in the Solo/Duo category and earned a cigar box guitar crafted by Matt Isbell. See all the results at

Donate Join TBS Volunteer

©2024 Toronto Blues Society. Design by Janine Stoll Media.
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.