Toronto Blues Society | » November 2023 – Loose Blues News

November 2023 – Loose Blues News

Published October 31, 2023 in Loose Blues News

Congratulations are in order: TBS boarder Julian Taylor was voted “Performing Artist of the Year” at this year’s Folk Music Ontario conference in London. Angelique Francis was selected Recording Artist of the Year and Shakura S’Aida’s Hold on to Love was voted Album of the Year. Blues rules at the Folk Music conference and the TBS had a big presence with a showcase that featured 6 of the top Ontario blues acts and delectable grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Meanwhile, The Canadian Folk Music Awards have announced their nominees and the list includes a few blues-friendly folks, Julian Taylor, Suzie Vinnick, Steve Dawson and Whitehorse. The CFMA 2024 Awards Weekend takes place April 4th to the 7th, 2024, in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. For the complete list of nominees go to

Flohil’s Blog:  Long time TBS advisor and “eminence grise” Richard Flohil has “pivoted” the book project he started ten years ago into a Substack – the platform of choice for serious scribes and long-form writing. Flo writes, “I wrote some 75 per cent of it. Then, life happened. COVID wasted two years. My friend/art director/collaborator Michael Wrycraft died. My financial supporter, Al Mair, died. And if you believe things happen in threes, I decided to quit…”  You can subscribe for free at or pay a modest monthly stipend to keep informed by everyone’s favourite man about town. He calls it “Stories from the Edge of Music”. It’s not necessarily blues (this week’s edition is on English comedian Billy Connolly) but the behind-the-scenes scuttlebutt and pearls of wisdom are precious. 

Speaking of Blogs, if you haven’t checked out Mako Funasaka’s “Talkin’ Blues”, recent podcasts include interviews with guitarist Monster Mike Welch and musician/producer Rob Szabo.

Mojo Train to Memphis Fundraiser: Glenn Marais & The Mojo Train will be representing the Grand River Blues Society at the International Blues Competition in Memphis this January. Join them for a fundraising show at Market Brewing Company (17775 Leslie St. Newmarket) on Saturday November 25th at 7PM to help the band cover their competition expenses. The brewery will be launching a special beer release with a kickback of proceeds going to Mojo Train, plus a raffle, a silent auction including a Cigar Box guitar from Henry Dervaric, and new swag from the band. Tickets are $20 online, $30 at the door. If you can’t attend, consider the Mojo Train to Memphis GoFundMe account:

Remembering Mel Brown: There’s a new statue in downtown Kitchener that honours the late musician, Mel Brown. It was unveiled during a special ceremony last month at the intersection of Halls Lane West and Queen Street South. Brown was born in Mississippi in 1939 but how he ended up living the last 30 years of his life in Kitchener is a unique story.  The unveiling was attended by Mel’s widow, Miss Angel, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, sculptor Abiola Idwu and Glenn Smith, owner of Pop the Gator, who was largely responsible for Mel’s move to Kitchener. Smith said without Brown, there is no Kitchener blues scene, “He invented it really. There would be no Kitchener blues fest without him.”

A Bluesy Christmas in Kingston: For the first time since Covid became a reality Kingston is reviving its annual Christmas Party. As always, the music is live, and the dance floor is ready, willing and waiting. The decorations are red, white and Santa-inspired. A Christmas buffet with a traditional turkey dinner, fresh salmon, salads, pasta, desserts and all the trimmings will be provided. Put on your Christmas finery and make your way to this lovely small city to share in the festivities. Headliners this year are Johnny Max, Cheryl Lescom, Chuck Jackson and their All-Star Band!  It is on Saturday, December 9th at the spacious and danceable Itala-Canadian Club. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Dinner starts at 6:30 pm and the show is from 8-11pm. The cost is $100 per person but if booked for a group of 8 or more, is only $90 per person.  For more information check the Kingston Blues Society webpage. To make a reservation visit or call 613 348-8168. Tickets can be purchased by e transfer at

Blues Stateside:  16th Blues Blast Music Award Winners have been announced with Canadian content provided by Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne (Keyboard Player) and Annika Chambers & Paul DesLauriers’ Good Trouble for Soul Blues Album. For the complete list, go to

Another American blues mag, Big City Blues, has dedicated practically their whole Oct/Nov issue to the Canadian blues scene with profiles on artists including Shakura S’Aida, Steve Strongman, Angelique Francis, Bywater Call and many more with the Blackburns on the cover.  Order your copy at

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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.