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June 2022 – Loose Blues News

Published June 1, 2022 in Loose Blues News

Congratulations! Brooke Blackburn wins solo/duo category at the IBC Challenge at Bobby O’Brien’s in Kitchener. Blackburn, a Torontonian, will be representing the Grand River Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. He used to call Guelph home.

Festival Update:  Our hometown TD Toronto Jazzfest (that’s the new branding) has undergone more than a facelift with major staff changes and not much blues this year – certainly no big name opening-night blues legends as they have done in the past.  There’s a sprinkling of local bluesicians, Sandra Bouza, Bywater Call and Mike Nagoda but the blues highlight of the 10 day fest will be the Toronto Blues Society Talent Search Finals to be held on Saturday, July 2 at 3:15 on the TD Stage in the Festival Village in Yorkville. 

Down the road a piece in Kinkardine, The Lighthouse Blues Festival has put together an impressive lineup of mostly Canadian blues artists: Friday July 8 on the Bruce Telecom Main Stage you can see Spencer MacKenzie, The Ben Racine Band, Bywater Call, Crystal Shawanda and Vanessa Collier. Saturday July 9 Mainstage performers are Shakey Trill, Joshua Miller & Pappy Johns Band, Dawn Tyler Watson, Cheryl Lescom & the Tucson Choir Boys, Angelique Francis and  “honorary Canadians” Ghost Town Blues Band. The Street Festival on Saturday, July 9 will present Dan Walsh, Morgan Davis, C.J. Lee and Suzie Vinnick.

Other stages on Saturday afternoon include The Library (Dark Angel, Jim Dan Dee, Chris Murphy Band and the Erin McCallum Band). The OPG Stage @ Harbour Street will feature Richard Henderson, Tim Woodcock and more. Little Magic Sam will play the Siemens Energy Stage, Bar Down. There’s also a singer/songwriter workshop, and a Sunday Morning Gospel Revival. If you’re coming from out of town, you’ll want to book your accommodations now as Kincardine is a summer vacation destination and rooms are scarce. Tix and info at

Blues in the County:  Sam Grosso, former owner of the Cadillac Lounge and  the new El Mocambo (for a moment) has settled in Prince Edward County and you can take the music promoter out of the city but you can’t take the music out of the music promoter.  Sam has spent the last year transforming his barn into comfortable, top-shelf performance space and has announced a couple of shows of interest to blues fans, LMT Connection on June 11 and a show on June 24 with Doc MacLean, Dave Mowat, Clayton Yates and Terry Wilkins.  He’s calling it “A Night of Acoustic Blues” and there will surely be more interesting programming coming out of the County (apparently the Hogtown Allstars are on deck, too). For tix go to or samsplacePEC on Facebook.

Big Rude Jake Benefit: A benefit, and tribute, to raise funds for Big Rude Jake (born Jake Hiebert), his wife Anna-Lisa and his 7-year-old daughter Hope are set for June 9 at Lula Lounge. Jaymz Bee is organizing, and there is a serious lineup of musicians and vocalists who have stepped up to perform, with Vesuvius Music donating whatever sound costs are necessary. It’s sad to report that this wildly talented singer–whose music combines New Orleans blues, jazz, funk, and R&B, is now hobbled with life-threatening cancer. If you can’t make the show but would still like to help Jake and his family, consider a donation to the Go Fund Me initiative that has been set up. Reservations can be made online or by calling 416-588-0307. (from FYIMusic)

Professor Piano Documentary: Producer/Director (and piano student) Andrea Reid has re-launched her project to produce a comprehensive documentary on Canadian music legend Scott “Professor Piano” Cushnie. Andrea writes, “I have lots of great footage of Scott from my ten years with him. To create this film I need to shoot new interviews with people who can help tell Scott’s story. I will be starting a fundraising campaign next month, not only to raise the funds for this portion of the film, but use the fundraising platform to prove to Broadcasters and Grant Funding Judges that this story has an audience.  

I met Scott when his band Diamondback rekindled in 2007, because our family friend Peter McGraw was the singer in the band. After I met Scott I became his piano student and immediately I wanted to make a documentary on him. Scott was so genuinely entertaining, he was so talented, funny, utterly unique, with a limitless knowledge of musical history.

His vast musical past alone was a great story. Scott was one of the original Hawks in the 50’s, (Ronnie Hawkins band), and he helped Robbie Robertson to get his start there. Scott even toured with Aerosmith and played on their ‘Toys in the Attic’ album, before returning to Canada and starting his own bands. (This is only a tiny sample, he was in at least 12 bands over his career)

I did start filming, but it wasn’t long before the priority shifted to helping him play gigs more often and help his life to run more smoothly. The documentary, after several grant funding attempts failed, went to the back burner, but I was never going to give up on it.”

Anyone who might be interested in contributing to this documentary, contact Andrea at  [email protected].

Volunteers Wanted: The Toronto Blues Society is looking for volunteers to help out during Blues Summit 10 (June 17 – 20). This is a great chance to check out Canada’s Blues scene and be where the action is! If you are a blues fan and want to help out, please send an e-mail to Lucie Dufault at [email protected] for more information and to find out how you can be of help. If you are a musician and want to help, get to know the blues community and attend select seminars during the conference please send an e-mail to Glenn Smith at [email protected] for more information.

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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.