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Published October 16, 2012 in Loose Blues News, News

Jordan John’s Signs: Multi-Instrumentalist Jordan John has signed a historic five album record deal with legendary Canadian composer/producer and chairman of Verve Records, David Foster.  The 26 year old musician was first brought to Foster’s attention through footage of John opening for the legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin at last year’s TD Canada Trust Jazz Festival.

Jordan is the son of rock and roll hall of fame bass player Prakash John (George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Alice Cooper and Lou Reed) who acts as bandmate and manager as well as father and mentor.  Jordan John and the Blues Angels (Prakash John and Al Cross) can be found playing in and around the Toronto area.  They play a regular Monday gig at The Wilson 96 (615 College St. Toronto) and on most Thursdays they can be found at The Bier Markt Esplanade.

In The Studio: Long-time locals The Burgess Brothers have been hard at work in the studio and hope to release their debut recording shortly.  A mix of originals and covers, drummer Tyler (ex-Downchild / Stompin’ Tom) says the playlist covers a broad spectrum.  “We like a lot of different styles, and at this point we’re not out to brand ourselves with a particular sound,” explains Tyler.  “This is what we do, what we like to play, and while we wanted to take our time and get things right, we also wanted to capture the spontaneity and sheer joy of playing live.”

The brothers have called on a number of old friends to help out, including Paul Reddick (guitarist/vocalist Chris Burgess was in an early incarnation of Reddick’s Sidemen) as well as current Downchild members Michael Fonfara, Pat Carey, and Donny Walsh.  Tyler, who also provides harmonica and shares vocal duties with Chris, is excited about a harp duet with Walsh, founder of that venerable blues institution.  “It was an honour to play with Donnie,” says Tyler, adding that “We’ve really got a bit of everything on there, from hard-core blues to a bit of country, and the instrumentation ranges from an acoustic outing with Chris on dobro to a full horn section on some cuts.”

The brothers ran into technical glitches with the sudden passing of original producer and friend Steve Kloudt. “That came as quite a blow,” says Tyler.  “We were very close.  And since then we’ve run into seemingly endless issues with converting our initial mixes to a format we can work with.  But we’re getting there!”  Here’s hoping the technical details get worked out soon indeed …!

Musicians Take Note:  If you’ve released a new CD this year, you should submit it for consideration for a JUNO Award. Submission forms are available on-line at Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and broadcast partner CTV, have announced that Regina, SK, will host The 2013 JUNO Awards and JUNO Week celebrations from April 15-21, 2013! The 42nd annual JUNO Awards will be broadcast live on CTV from the Brandt Centre on Sunday, April 21, 2013

Robbie Antone’s Blues Machine: 2012 has been a big year Robbie Antone.  The Oneida Nation on the Thames born singer/harmonica player made huge progress this year as winner of the Jack Richardson Music Award for Best Blues/R&B, Toronto Blues Society Talent Search Finalist and Memphis International Blues Challenge Semi-Finalist.

Robbie who counts Sonny Boy Williamson II, Little Walter and Charlie Musslewhite as some his harp playing influences can be found playing in around the London, Ontario area with his band Blues Machine.  Members of the band include: Rick Joyce (guitar), Rob Valente (bass), Hayden Vialva (drums) and Chuckee Zehr (piano/vocals).

Robbie Antone’s Blues Machine’ music can be found on and on the net.

Honouring Our Own: Juno-winning singer, composer, actor and Canadian television personality Cathy Young is the latest member of the music community to be toasted at an Honouring Our Own tribute concert being held Sat. Oct. 20 at Toronto’s Black Swan. Young won a Juno for Most Promising Female Vocalist Of The Year in 1974 (Ian Thomas was the winner of the Male equivalent award, the categories being merged in 1994) and was also nominated in 1975 as Best Female artist.

Young was a regular on the ‘ Rita McNeil & Friends ‘ CBC tv series, played Mary in the original Toronto/Robert Stigwood theatrical production of  ‘Jesus Christ Superstar ‘ and has appeared on a number of televised specials and programs, as well as composing theme songs for films and tv productions. For two consecutive years she was the New Year’s Eve feature performer at the Crown Plaza Hotel and has performed extensively at the world’s finest hotels and resorts and on numerous cruises.

Her musical pedigree goes back to Yorkville’s halcyon days of the late 60’s. Born in Toronto, at 16 years of age Cathy became part of a scene that also gave birth to the careers of such Blues and Blues/Rock luminaries as Mike McKenna, Luke Gibson, Pat Little and the Kensington Market band. She celebrated 40 years in the music business with a concert at Hugh’s Room in 2010 and was featured in Bruce McDonald’s 2011 documentary Toronto Rock & Roll Stories as one of the scene’s seminal artists.

McKenna and Little will be performing at the concert among a stellar cast of artists that also includes Shamakah Ali of A Team fame, Debbie Fleming, Johnny Brower and many “surprise” guests. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Black Swan’s newly renovated second floor lounge at 154 Danforth Ave. Cover is just $15 at the door.

The concert is just one of several attractions that are part of organizer Pete Otis’ first annual SongTown Toronto Music Festival taking place over the entire weekend on two stages at the club.

The weekend kicks off Fri. Oct. 19 with a release party for the SongTown IV: Toronto compilation cd produced by his Pete Otis Music Publishing and features an all-star lineup that includes Joe Mavety, Steven Ambrose, Robbie Rox and Michael Fonfara. During the day Saturday there’s a workshop covering songwriting legalities and a celebrity jam hosted by Jon Long. On Sunday afternoon McKenna hosts a slide guitar workshop and a SongTown Revue show at night features another cavalcade of talents whose songs have appeared on the first three compilation album releases. For more information contact

Buffalo Blues in Thorold: This year’s 11th annual Canal Bank Shuffle in Thorold, Ontario has a decidedly Buffalo, New York slant on the festivities. Joining Canadian Shuffle stalwarts like Jack de Keyzer, Jerome Godboo, Harrison Kennedy and Chuck Jackson this year is a number top flight acts from across the border.

Maria Aurigema has toured and played with the likes of Tommy Castro, Kenny Neal and Maria Muldaur and recorded (CD Take Me) with such Canadian homegrown talent as Gary Kendall, Mike Fitzpatrick, Mike Fonfara and Pat Carey of Downchild fame.

Dive House Union, The Blues Hounds  and blues great and Buffalo New York born Lucky Peterson will also be featured. The Canal Bank Shuffle runs from October 18 – 20, 2012 in various locations in Thorold, Ontario.  Information including ticket prices, festival line-up and locations can be found at

– Christopher Darton, John Taylor, BrianB

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