Toronto Blues Society | » Loose Blues News – February 2018

Loose Blues News – February 2018

Published February 1, 2018 in Loose Blues News, News

Winter Blues Festivals:

The Toronto Blues Society is co-presenting an all-star Blues Showcase as part of Winterfolk on Friday, February 16 at the Black Swan (upstairs) with Al Lerman, Kim Doolittle, Julian Fauth and David Essig. The showcase is followed by a performance by Jack de Keyzer and there is a lot more blues throughout the week-end. See Tickets can be purchased through Winterfolk website. Winterfolk is an all-ages, mid-winter, weatherproof event, where you’ll find the best of urban, blues, rock, jazz, country, folk and roots music, emulating a multi-stage rural summer festival. More than 150 artists will be performing at four venues and five stages over the three-day weekend. The festival will also include special tribute events, an awards ceremony, community stages and various themed musical workshops with a combination of paid and free concert stages on the Danforth.

The Cold Weather Blues Fest will take over a strip of Queen Street East in the Beaches on February 23 and 24. Fraser Melvin plays the Grover, Conor Gains at Castro’s, Paul Reddick at Hogtown Smoke, Paul James at the Balmy Beach, Jenie Thai at the Gastro Pub and a special treat, Montreal harmonica meister Bharath Rajakumar will be joining Sugar Brown at the Stone Lion. More at

Down the road apiece, the 7th Annual Aurora Winter Blues Festival kicks off February 3rd, from 7-11 PM, with the annual Blues Bash featuring live music from Sons of Rhythm and local youth musicians. In addition, the night will include dancing, great food and drink, live and silent auctions, and special entertainment appearances.

Friday, February 23, AWBF presents “Journeymen Blues” Night, 7-10:30 pm at St. Andrew’s College Ketchum Auditorium. Featuring the “Killer” lineup of celebrated musicians Steve Strongman, Jack de Keyzer and Michael Schatte. On Saturday, February 24, 7-10:30 pm the Festival continues with a “Throw-back Tribute” Night. Mad Dogs and Englishmen will be paying tribute to the Music of Joe Cocker and Leon Russell, along with featured special guests, the Dan McKinnon Band. Juno Award winning producer Lance Anderson has brought together a wonderful roster of Blues all-stars to recreate the magic of the award winning 1970’s tour, album and movie Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

It’s a nine-piece band which includes two drummers, horns and Hammond organ. The rhythm this group creates is a freight train which will pick you up and drop you down at the Fillmore East in NYC in 1970 – they come together to celebrate the music of Joe Cocker and Leon Russell. It is part revival meeting, hippie love-in and part R&B and Soul history that will raise the roof!

In addition, the AWBF is proud to present special guests, the Dan McKinnon Band as the opening act. Dan was the winner of the Toronto Blues Society’s 2017 Talent Search event this past summer.

The Festival features live music, workshops, and pop-up performances throughout the month of February across several locations around Aurora. Music Aurora is a registered not-for-profit organization whose mission is to foster a vibrant and active music scene in the community of Aurora and area. More info at

Singers Take Note:

MapleBlues contributor Rita di Ghent (aka Voxxy Lady) has published a book called “Vocal Technique for Non-Classical Singers” and will have a combination Book Launch/Workshop /Concert on Saturday, February 10 at the 120 Diner, 120 Church Street, (5pm to 7pm Workshop, 7:30pm to 9:00pm Concert with the Rita di Ghent Trio). All workshop attendees will receive a copy of the book. Contact

Mardi Gras:

Only a few days until Mardi Gras!! Join Alex Pangman & Her Alleycats featuring Peter Hill and John Macleod, and John MacMurchy and Red Hot Ramble for a night of Mardi Gras celebrations in the spirit of New Orleans at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St W, Toronto You can purchase tickets now at Red Hot Ramble is Roberta Hunt, Alison Young, Jacek Zorawski, Jamie Stager, and Glenn Anderson

Congratulations in order:

Blues pioneer Taj Mahal was honoured at the Grammys with the Best Contemporary Blues Album for his collaboration with Keb’ Mo’, called TajMo. They also performed a laid-back acoustic tune at the Grammy “pre-broadcast” show that was streaming on their website – a nice contrast with all the slick production numbers. The Rolling Stones won for Best Traditional Blues Album for Blue & Lonesome.

And closer to home, congratulations to Alec Fraser and Mike Daley on the 10 year anniversary of their Wednesday Night house gig at the Inter Steer on Roncesvales!

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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.