Thursday, November 08, 2012

Blues Artists From Coast-to-Coast Featured At 16th Annual Maple Blues Awards

Performers include Matt Minglewood, Nanette Workman, Carlos del Junco, Suzie Vinnick, Steve Strongman, and The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer
November 8, 2012 Toronto, ON – A cast of some of the best national blues musicians will be performing at the 16th annual Maple Blues Awards gala onJanuary 21 at Koerner Hall in Toronto. The Maple Blues Awards is Canada’s national blues celebration, recognizing outstanding musical achievement and gathering blues musicians and music fans from across the country each year.

Canadian blues luminaries and emerging new talent join forces at the gala concert and create this "must attend" night of Canadian blues. This year the performers include Nova Scotia's road warrior legend Matt Minglewood, Mississippi "Musicians Hall of Fame" inductee Nanette Workman from Montreal, international award winning harmonica virtuoso Carlos del Junco, Saskatchewan native songbird sensation Suzie Vinnick, Hamilton string-bending songwriter Steve Strongman and new kids on the blues block The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer out of Vancouver, owning the most controversial name in blues today.

This illustrious revue are all backed by the hand-picked Maple Blues Bandfeaturing players from Downchild, Fathead who are all current or past Maple Blues Award winners including Gary Kendall (music director), Michael Fonfara(keyboard), Teddy Leonard (guitar), Al Lerman (sax / harmonica), Tom Bona(drums), Chris Whiteley (trumpet / guitar), Pat Carey (saxophone) and Chris Murphy (saxophone).

The January 21st gala event will be hosted by popular actor and blues artist Raoul Bhaneja and is considered to be the premier blues event of the year. Tickets for the not-to-be-missed Maple Blues Awards are on sale now starting at only $28.00 and can be purchased at the Weston Family Box Office, located in The Royal Conservatory’s TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning at 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto, by calling 416.408.0208 or online at Following the awards and concert will be the popular after-party, featuring live music and performances from some of the evening’s winners.

The Toronto Blues Society is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Blues. The Royal Conservatory's magnificent Koerner Hall is designed in the tradition of the classic “shoebox” venues of Europe. Recognized as being among the world’s greatest concert halls, the Toronto Star has called it "the best concert venue in Toronto."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Influential blues master chose music for a career but refuses to leave farming

By Dan England |

When Taj Mahal went to college for an education in farming back in the 1950s, he didn’t like the new term teachers used for agriculture.

They called it “agribusiness.”

Mahal fell in love with farming after watching his mother, a master of her garden, and growing up in the South surrounded by family farms. He even worked on a dairy farm when he was a teenager, eventually becoming its foreman, milking dozens of cows daily and tending waves of corn. But even back then, after he heard that word being thrown around, he saw a future of corporations dooming the individual farmers, he said.  [read more]

Monday, May 07, 2012

Music Review: Albert King - I'll Play The Blues For You

First, I admit to one possible heresy. If I were asked to rank the three Kings of the blues, I’d put Albert first, Freddie second, and B.B. number three. I’ve felt this way since 1968 when his Live Wire/Blues Power album came out. But I also admit that when Albert released I’ll Play the Blues for You in 1972, he and B.B. were pretty much preaching from the same Memphis pulpit. That being said, this new 40th anniversary edition is a reminder of why this King tops my list, and should please every fan of the late and legendary blues man.

Read more:

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Blues artist Muddy Fraser dies at 62

A guitar player whose love of blues music took him all across North America after first blossoming in Ottawa more than 40 years ago has died.
Robert Scrivens, better known by his stage name Muddy Fraser, suffered a cardiac arrest and died in Vancouver on Tuesday, his sister Dianne Scrivens said. He was 62.

Read more:

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Complete digital release of Ric and Ron record labels,
plus box set of ultra-rare material on ten 45 RPM records
BURLINGTON, Mass. — Rounder Records has released the complete catalog of the pivotal New Orleans R&B labels, Ric Records and Ron Records. All 140 songs released by the labels on 45 RPM singles, by artists such as Johnny Adams, Eddie Bo, Al Johnson and Irma Thomas, will be released on seven 20-song digital albums.
In addition, in conjunction with the Numero Group and Ace Records, Rounder will release a box set of ten 45 RPM records of almost all newly discovered material, including the audition recording by Johnny Adams for his first recording, "I Won’t Cry."
Between 1958 and 1962, the Ric and Ron labels captured the sound of a unique period in New Orleans music, when the first era of classic R&B was waning, and before the sounds of funk and soul music became the city’s new signature. In these recordings, you can hear incipient funk in Eddie Bo, and the sanctified sensibility of soul music in everything Johnny Adams sang. It was, in every sense, its own era, when shuffling second-line parade beats laid the foundation for a new and uniquely New Orleans groove, and musicians broke free of the strictures of standard jump blues and 6/8 ballads.
The box set, From the Vaults of Ric & Ron Records: Rare and Unreleased Recordings 1958-1962, affords us an incisive window into the workings of these small but significant record labels, with, among other treasures, demo recordings of Eddie Bo's “Every Dog Has Its Day” and Al Johnson’s “Carnival Time.” In the finished recordings, also included, there is a high level of musicianship and craft, with arrangements by Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack and guitarist Edgar Blanchard. The sound of the records, often made in Cosimo Matassa’s legendary studio, is superb, especially with these new transfers made from the original tapes. And hearing this music on these new records is just the way they were intended to be heard, one song at a time at 45 RPM.
The songs on the box set, which is limited to a worldwide edition of 1,500, will not be available digitally for the time being. They include:
Johnny Adams: “I Won’t Cry” (audition),* “Who Are You” (audition),* “My Baby Done Closed the Door” (demo),* “No Way Out for Me,”* Walking the Floor Over You”*
Edgar Blanchard & The Gondoliers: “Blues Cha Cha,”* “Bopsody in Blue”*
Eddie Bo: “Nothing With Out You,”* “Satisfied With Your Love,”* “Every Dog Has Its Day,” “Every Dog Has Its Day” (demo),* “Ain’t You Ashamed,”* “I'll Do Anything for You”*
Al Johnson: “Carnival Time, Carnival Time” (demo),* “Lena, Let Come What May”(demo)*
Barbara Lynn: “Found My Good Thing,”* “Question of Love”*
Paul Marvin: “Hurry Up” (alternate take),* “Goofer”*
*previously unreleased
The complete Ric and Ron recordings are available at all digital stores.
The box set is distributed in the U.S. by the Numero Group, and in the U.K. by Ace Records.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Buddy Guy interview on PBS

Great interview with Buddy Guy on PBS. The transcript is here.

I met Buddy Guy backstage in Austin right before his performance for an Antone's Night Club anniversary concert. Miss Lavelle White had accompanied my wife and I to the concert and she asked me to take her back stage to meet him. She had performed around Chicago with him back in the day. He was sitting down when we met him with a fifth of Amaretto next to him. I noticed he had a jewel encrusted incisor when he smiled. He and Lavelle talked for awhile. Then Guy's wife walked in. "Who's this?" Buddy stumbled for a few words trying to give her the history of their friendship. It was not a very comfortable situation to be sure. Lavelle and hightailed it back to the auditorium very soon after that.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: Peter Karp/Sue Foley: He Said - She Said

I interviewed Sue Foley in a restaurant in Austin's Four Season's Hotel back in the early 90s near the beginning of her music career. I must say, the lady has grown musically as you would expect someone to after this many years on the road. Her voice is strong as is her guitar work. On this new CD from from Blind Pig Records, Foley has teamed up with Peter Karp, a man who takes both his music and his lyrics pretty seriously.

This is not your typical blues album. There's touches of country and rock throughout along with a host of other music flavors as the artists trade off songs. If you're tired of your typical, "I'm broke, drunk and down and out" blues albums, give "He Said - She Said" a spin. I think you'll enjoy the music and you might even have to use your brain while you're listening to it.