Toronto Blues Society | » July 2021 – Loose Blues News

July 2021 – Loose Blues News

Published September 22, 2021 in Loose Blues News, News
34th Women's Blues Revue

The Women’s Blues Revue at Roy Thomson Hall has been rescheduled to Friday, November 26, 2021 and boy are we happy to share that news.  Check out the new artwork from Barbara Klunder on page 2.

Tickets purchased for the original date will be honoured at the rescheduled event.  RTH advises, “While connecting audiences and artists is what drives us, the health and safety of every fan, every musician, and every member of our team is profoundly our priority. We will continue to follow the advice and guidance of our public health experts and review all safety measures at the venue. Please check back before your visit in case any of the guidance has changed.”

Live Music coming back:  FaceBook is starting to get peppered with posts from musicians who are so happy to announce they have a real live gig, with a real live audience!  Our beloved Misissippi Queen, Connie Rouble, is serving her legendary “Southern Suppers” in Hamilton, albeit outdoors with limited capacity. Harrison Kennedy plays July 17. Castros in the Beaches, with Anthony Greene back at the helm after a tortuous battle with City Hall, has announced shows with Fraser Daley (July 30 5:30-7:30) and Danny Marks (July 9 & 23 5:30-7:30). The Moonshine Cafe in Oakville has announced the Durham County Poets for August 28 and Danny Brooks for September 2. Alchemy on College is featuring live jazz on their patio and the Elmo has launched a patio and menu that is worth noting. TBS board member Julian Taylor has seen his July 24 livestream from the Horseshoe upgraded to an “actual” live show with very limited socially-distanced seating. 

Festivals are popping up in Quebec and Alberta but so far the only action in Ontario is the Southside Shuffle and the Lighthouse Blues Festival, both on the week-end of September 11-13  (see our listing of Festivals on page 11)

Advocates for Ontario’s live music and performing arts industries say a lack of clarity in the provincial reopening plan puts their futures at risk. Some venues have chosen a somewhat arbitrary date of Oct.1 as their reopening target, and are booking bands and selling tickets for shows in the fall that may or may not happen. To complicate matters, apparently insurance rates have quadrupled for music venues and advocates such as the Canadian Live Music Association and the Canadian Independent Venue Coalition are trying to soften the blow.

Downchild back on the road with new players:When Downchild kicked off their 50th Anniversary Tour in Canada on June 22, 2019 at the Toronto Jazz Festival the band had no idea the world would be hit by a pandemic and their tour would come to a grinding halt mid-tour for over a year and a half. 

Then, Downchild’s keyboard player for over 25 years and former Lou Reed bandleader, Michael Fonfara, passed away in January 2021, which hit the band hard and left them wondering what the future held. With the long break from touring, drummer and 20-year Downchild veteran, Mike Fitzpatrick decided to retire from music to spend more time at home with family.  But they’re bouncing back with Jim Casson replacing Fitz and Tyler Yarema filling the very large shoes of Michael Fonfara. Casson played with Downchild from 1996 – 2001, and Tyler has been Chuck Jackson’s first-call piano man for his side gigs.

Casson wrote, “It’s been 20 years since my first stint in Downchild and I’m really looking forward to it” and Tyler Yarema states, “I have been a fan of the Downchild Blues Band since I was a little boy growing up in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  This music has been the soundtrack of my life and the main reason I play music today.  It is with this that I accept, from the incredible Jane Vasey, the great Gene Taylor, and the Master Michael Fonfara, the torch that has now been passed to me.  Downchild resumes their “Never-Ending 50th Anniversary Tour” with an appearance at the Sherblues festival in July. For their full itinerary see

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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.