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Published June 6, 2012 in Loose Blues News, News

Digital Dollars wraps up: Starting back in January, the Digital Dollars Seminars brought together expert speakers from all over North America who shared strategies and tips on the handling of digital sales, distribution and marketing of music. They discussed various social media platforms to promote music, best practices on Facebook and Twitter, growing your mailing list, different ways to help monetize via social media and more. The most recent session was called “let’s get music fans” where the panel of experts shared their experiences with new digital strategies for audience development. It featured Dmitri Vietze (Rock Paper Scissors, host), Johan Hultqvist (Pinwheel Music), Allison Saretsky (Luminato), Kevin LeFlar (Official Community), Reginald Ray (Small World Music). The April session, “Let’s Get Video” covered the popularity of videos and how they have afforded music writers, artists and managers a whole new avenue for promoting and marketing their music. Panelists were David Newland (Roots Music Canada, host) Joel Goldberg (Joel Goldberg Productions), Eric Alper (eOne), Tiffany Ferguson (MuchFACT), Mako Funasaka (Talkin’ Blues Media). On March 10 the session was “Let’s Blog Music” where the panel their experiences with a variety of blogs and the ups and downs of music blogging. Panelists were Johan Hultqvist (Pinwheel Music, host), David Newland (Roots Music Canada), Dave Cool (Bandzoogle), Li Robbins (CBC), Janine Stoll (Janine Stoll Media). The February 11 session, “Let’s Get Social” was hosted by Johan Hultqvist (Pinwheel Music) and included social-media experts Jason Loomis (Ariel Publicity, NYC), Bob Ledrew (Translucid Communications), Suzie Vinnick (Musician) and Emma Julien (Jane Harbury Publicity).
The Digital Dollars Seminar was a partnership between the Toronto Blues Society, Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, Batuki Music Society and Lula Music and Arts Centre funded by the Province of Ontario Cultural Strategic Investment Fund with a lot of help from the late Billy Bryans who passed away before he could see the fruit of his labours. All the sessions were streamed live at where they are archived for future viewing.

Blues at NXNE: Fans of harder, edgier blues will have the opportunity to hear a couple of Toronto’s favourite garage blues thrashers as well as some new sounds from the across the country and beyond. Bradleyboy Macarthur plays The Sister Friday, June 15 at 9PM and CATL plays The Horseshoe Saturday, June 16 at 1AM. Montreal guitar slinger Steve Hill also plays the ‘Shoe Wednesday, June 13 at 9PM as well as the Hideout Thursday, June 14 at 1AM. Toronto expat Whiteboy Slim, now based in Moose Jaw, plays The Sister Friday, June 15 at 12AM. Vancouver’s No Sinners, led by the enigmatic Coleen Rennison play The Horseshoe Friday, June 15 at 2AM and the Rivoli Friday, June 15 at 8PM. Papa’s Garage bring their blues-funk sound all the way from San Fransico for an appearance at the Hideout, Wednesday, June 13 at 8PM. The festivals goes from June 11 to 17 with 650 more bands, an impressive film programme and an interactive media conference. Lots more info at
Blues Cruise News: Tickets are now on sale for Wayne Buttery’s annual “Canada Day Blues Cruise” in Penetanguishene which takes place on Saturday, June 30th. This three-hour, blues cruise event boards at the Penetanguishene Town Dock at 7:30 p.m. with departure at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20.00 each and are available at the MS Georgian Queen ticket office and at all “Wayne Buttery & The Groove Project” live shows. For credit card reservations, please contact 705.549.7795 or Toll Free 1.800.363.7447
New Festival in Uxbridge: Jack de Keyzer and his band play the new Uxbridge Folk N’ Blues festival on Thursday, June 7th at the historic Uxbridge Music Hall where great music has has been played for over 110 years. The festival will also present Cameo Blues Band, James Anthony and R&B legends Bobby Kris and George Oliver and many more.
Brian Cober on the go: Double-slide guitar playing master Brian Cober is a busy guy. Brian just returned from a two week stint touring Israel and is working towards returning to Austin, Texas where he recorded new music last October with musicians Ben Richardson (Grady) and Tom Lewis (Haybale). As well Brian is hosting Grossman’s Sunday night Blues Jam (since 1996) and also plays an acoustic set at The Lola in Kensington Market every Thursday and plays The Gate 403 every Wednesday from 5 to 8:00 with Aslan Gotov on piano.
Brian will be headlining the Friday night opening of the Stratford Blues and Rib Fest on July 22 in Stratford Ontario with his band The Nationals. The festival, now in its 3rd year showcases the talents of Jordan Johns and Blues Angels, Shakura S’Aida and Dylan Wickens amongst others.
Acoustic Blue Sunday Series Returns to Westport: The Cove Inn in Westport is once again going to be buried in the blues … at least for six Sunday sessions beginning June 24th with 2011 Maple Blues Award winning guitarist Steve Strongman. The series continues on July 8th with Texassippi Soul Man Danny Brooks, July 22nd Hamilton’s own Harrison Kennedy, August 12th Canadian poet of the blues Paul Reddick with The Weber Brothers, August 26th Montreal singer/songwriter Michael Jerome Browne with John McColgan and ending on September 9th with Toronto’s own Treasa Levasseur with David Baxter. All shows are buffet dinner and entertainment for $45.00. Reservations required 1-888-COVE-INN or (613) 273-3636.
Morgan’s History Lesson in Orillia: On June 7, 2012 at the Orillia Spring Blues Festival Morgan Davis opens the four day festival with his History of the Blues performance. Morgan takes his audience on a musical journey spanning 80 years of recorded blues. Using music, commentary, anecdotes as well as audience participation … Morgan takes people from the African roots of the blues … to field hollers of the deep South … gospel and to regional styles like Piedmont, the Delta, Texas, St. Louis and Chicago.
With a number of awards to show for his work including a Juno for Blues Album of the Year and a number of Maple Blues awards, Morgan is the consummate performer. He brings to the stage his experience of nearly 40 years on the road and his skills as a singer, songwriter, guitar player and now blues historian. In a country without a Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf or Elmore James … Morgan has made it his life to deliver the blues to the people of Canada and to perpetuate the history of the music.
Guitar Mikey Returns to the Hammer: Guitar Mikey aka Mike McMillian returned home recently from Clarksdale, Mississippi to perform a sold out show at The Molson Studio Amphitheatre in front of a hometown Hamilton crowd. Mike was missed … it was evident by the reception he received. And in turn … he repaid the audience with a sublime performance, weaving in and out of a set list of old and new cuts from Mike’s newly released Out of the Box CD.
Everyone in Hamilton knows Mike can play … it’s no secret. Since the tender age of 12 when he formed his first band … to The Steel City Blues Band at 15 lit up the Hamilton music scene … eventually joining up with blues legend Richard ‘King Biscuit Boy’ Newell … and then his years as leader of The Real Thing … Mike has made a name for himself. In the States Mike has travelled from Chicago to Boston and finally settling in Clarksdale where Mike continues to fine tune his craft at the cradle of the blues … as well as taking a turn as house band at the world famous Ground Zero Blues Club.
Mike came to Hamilton packing more than his silver suit and a couple of guitars … he brought with him piano player Mark Yaccavone and harmonica wiz Billy Gibson … forming some kind of funky unholy blues triad. These men can play. They combine that laid back sense of the American South with a fire inside for the blues. It didn’t hurt that joining them on stage was a who’s who of some of the finest artist’s of the North: Gary Kendall (bass), Larry Feudo (guitar/mandolin), Mike Fitzpatrick (drums) and Peter Nunn (keyboards). As well as guest turn by bass player Doug Carter who co-wrote nine songs on the new CD with Mike.
The evening ended with Hamilton’s own Harrison Kennedy taking the stage and shining some of his own brand of light down on the proceedings.
On the Air: Inside The Blues, the weekly radio show produced and hosted by James Doran, is returning to 101.9 DAWG FM Ottawa starting June 3rd – 7 to 8 PM and every Sunday evening thereafter in that time slot. Those living outside the DAWG broadcast area can pick it up on the internet at All Shows will also be archived after broadcast on where they can be listened to at any time.
In the Studio: Drummer Jim Casson has been experimenting with “a unique combination of orchestration, conversation, ambient grooves and farm equipment.” The drummer for such acts as The Rockit 88’s, The Meteors and The Mighty Duck Blues Band amongst others including a number of years as drummer for the seminal Canadian blues act The Downchild Blues Band. With his new CD Dark Orchard Jim has really gone out on a musical limb this time around producing a musical ‘all in’ approach … incorporating everything at his musical disposal. It’s a hybrid piece … marrying many genre’s and many art forms … it’s a work of great creative vision and great courage. Its poetry. Aiding Jim in his creation on this funky journey into experimental waters are the talents of Christopher Plock, Dave Curry (The Mighty Duck Blues Band), Tim Johns (The Meteors), Johnny Max, Dave Rave, Heather Dale and many others. Dark Orchard can be found at or on itunes.
Montreal bluesman Dale Boyle just finished wrapping up a new roots album called Throwback (with guests Annabelle Chvostek and Michael Jerome Browne) which he will launch at the West Island Blues Festival on June 7 (indoor show) and June 16 (outdoor show). When You Wake, a song he co-wrote with Rob Lutes recently placed in the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) semi-finals, and was one of five songs internationally to be awarded the ISC D’Addario prize. Dale will also be performing at the reception party for the 24th Association for Psychological Science Convention in Chicago. The band includes best selling author and musician Daniel Levitin and five-time Grammy Award winner and bassist for Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Victor Wooten.
In the Hospital: Montreal bluesman Steve Rowe is having heart surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal and will be off the blues circuit for at least a month. Steve is Montreal’s “guitar hero” and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Producer Frazier Mohawk (aka Barry Friedman) who has been running the Studio at Puck’s Farm for twenty years is in the Complex Care care unit of Southlake Hospital in Newmarket where many years of a hard-living rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle has finally caught up with him. Frazier came up in the California music scene of the 60s and though he is not readily associated with blues music, he was producer on such ground-breaking albums as Butterfield Blues Band’s “East-West”, Koerner, Ray and Glover’s “Running, Jumping, Standing Still” and (after settling in Toronto) McKenna Mendelson Mainline’s “Bump and Grind Revue.” The studio continues to operate under the direction of engineer Walter Sobczak.
Big Night for the Blues: The Memphis based Blues Foundation held its 33rd annual Blues Music Awards on May 10th at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis. The big winners on the night were Tab Benoit and the Tedeschi-Trucks Band. Tab took home three awards including Contemporary Male Blues Artist of Year, Contemporary Blues Album of Year as well as The B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award. The Tedeschi-Trucks Band shared five awards including Album of the Year for Revelator, Band of the Year and Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year.


Acoustic Album: Conversations in Blue – David Maxwell & Otis Spann
Acoustic Artist: Eric Bibb
Album: Revelator – Tedeschi Trucks Band
B.B. King Entertainer: Tab Benoit
Band of the Year: Tedeschi Trucks Band
Best New Artist Debut:
Runaway – Samantha Fish
Contemporary Blues Album:
Medicine – Tab Benoit
Contemporary Blues Female Artist – Susan Tedeschi
Contemporary Blues Male Artist –
Tab Benoit
DVD of the Year:
Live at Antone’s – Ruthie Foster
Gibson Guitar Award: Derek Trucks
Historical Album:
Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightning (Chess Records)
Instrumentalist: Bass – Biscuit Miller
Instrumentalist: Drums – Chris Layton
Instrumentalist: Harmonica – Charlie Musselwhite
Instrumentalist: Horn – Terry Hanck
Instrumentalist: Other – Sonny Rhodes (lap steel guitar)
Koko Taylor Award: (Traditional Blues Female) – Ruthie Foster
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Marcia Ball
Rock Blues Album: Dust Bowl – Joe Bonamassa
Song of the Year:
“The Lord Is Waiting, The Devil Is Too” Johnny Sansone
Soul Blues Album: Show You a Good Time – Bobby Rush
Soul Blues Female Artist: Denise LaSalle
Soul Blues Male Artist: Curtis Salgado
Traditional Blues Album:
Chicago Blues A Living History the (R)evolution Continues
Traditional Blues Male Artist – Charlie Musselwhite

– Christopher Darton, John Valenteyn, 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.