By Ken Wallis, Blues & Roots Radio
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And don’t we all ? That’s why you’re reading this blog, and that’s why I’m writing it !
Well let’s start off with something that’s certainly on the cutting edge of the future. It’s the Blue Frog in White Rock, British Columbia. http://www.bluefrogstudios.ca/
We’ve highlighted their production abilities in past blogs, but now it really hits home. Recently Angel Forrest performed for two nights at the Blue Frog. And the Blue Frog streamed her Friday night concert live on the internet. No charge. They had well over 1600 hits and I was one of them. Is this the new wave? Could be. Hope so.
Canal Bank Shuffle
Well we had such a great time at the Tim Horton’s Southside Shuffle, but it’s now time to move on to the next big festival. It’s the Canal Bank Shuffle held in Thorold Ontario October 16th through the 18th.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll highlight the artists in this blog and we’ll bring you a special two hour radio show on Blues Blast on October 3rd on the Hawk Fm and on October 5th on Blues And Roots Radio.
Dawn Tyler Watson With Ben Racine
It’s a Canal Bank Shuffle tradition to feature the annual 2nd place winner of the International Blues Challenge (IBCs) held in Memphis, and this year, the Shuffle tops it with the first-place winner as well. Dawn Tyler Watson is arguably “Montreal’s Queen of the Blues” and when she sings the blues, you know you’re witnessing something very special. She’s won countless awards, both nationally and internationally and she’s released four albums.
The Last Waltz
In November 1976, The Band performed what they called their “Last Waltz” in San Francisco, inviting many musical friends to join in the celebration. Following in that tradition, Juno and Maple Blues Award-winning producer/pianist Lance Anderson pulled together a group of all-star Canadian musicians to perform a “A Musical Celebration of The Band – Live!”. You’ll love this musical tribute to Canada’s famous band.
Jack De Keyzer
Jack de Keyzer is the perennial favourite at the Shuffle. His brand of blues keeps audiences coming back for more and he puts on one heck of a show.
The two-time Juno Award winner and seven-time Maple Blues Award winner is the only artist to appear at all 15 Canal Bank Shuffles.
Jenie Thai hails from Edmonton but moved to Toronto last year and is a Maple Blues nominee for Best New Blues Artist of the Year. Classically trained in piano at age six, she’s garnering recognition for her dynamic and talented stage presence. Not only can she belt out the blues, but she also plays rockin’ blues keyboards.
Brant Parker Blues Band And The All-Star Jam!!
Brant Parker and his band have been performing weekly in Thorold at Donnelly’s – on the patio during good weather and then indoors when it turns cool. He’s played with just about every blues artist you can think of and that trend will continue at the Shuffle. This year, he’ll perform at the Thorold Legion, backing up anyone and everyone from this year’s talented Shuffle lineup for incredible after-party fun.
Spencer Mackenzie is a local favourite who may be young but he plays like someone who’s been around the blues for a lifetime. He’s appeared at many of the big Festivals in Ontario and Quebec and he won the Maple Blues Award as best new musician.
It seems like Alfie Smith has been performing for a gazillion years and his sound is his unique signature. He plays many different instruments and his songwriting proves that Canadian talent can create the best in the music world. His talent is recognized worldwide and Goodman guitars has named a guitar model after him. Quite an accomplishment!
Josh loves turning it up a notch and he’s sure to do that at the Shuffle. He’s the frontman, lead guitarist and vocalist of the Pappy Johns Band from Fort Erie. He’ll be playing with the Brant Parker Blues Band which promises to be a performance you can’t afford to miss.
The Mighty Duck Blues Band
And yes, the Mighty Duck Blues Band will also be playing at the Canal Bank Shuffle. But before that happens, they kick off a brand new season of their Saturday Blues Matinees at the Bar Upstairs in St. Catharines.
Following their release of their new cd, Duck Soup, the band is gearing up for another blues filled season of guest artists. And what a lineup they have:
More than likely by the time you read this David Vest will have opened the season on Saturday September 23rd. Then Canada’s ambassador of the blues, Jack de Keyzer drops by on September 30th, followed by Lance Anderson with his Hammond B3 on October 7th.
October 14 features Michael Schatte. Then Dylan Wickens straps on his six string for more great Hi Lo-Fi Blues on October 21, followed on October 28th by Paul James.
November starts to get cooler outside, but blues really heats up with Maple Blues Award winner Spencer MacKenzie on November 4 and Al Lerman unpacks his harmonica and guitar on November 11.
The blues keep rolling with vocalist Robin Banks on November 18 and Juno winner Paul Reddick performs November 25th.
Once December rolls around, the festive spirit really takes off. Steve Marriner of MonkeyJunk sits in on December 2 and Mike Branton drops by on December 9. Harmonica wizard Carlos del Junco plays on December 16 and then get ready for a dandy show on December 23. International Blues Challenge winner Dawn Tyler Watson will sing up a storm and on Boxing Day it’s Jerome Godboo.
To round out the year on December 30th it’s Tyler Yarema & Gene Hardy and a special New Year’s Day celebration with guitar master Joel Johnson.
It doesn’t get much better than this so make sure you make as many shows as possible. This is one talented band and here I am presenting them with the Hammer Blues Award for Ensemble of the Year.
It all takes place Saturday afternoons (2:30 – 6:30) at the Bar Upstairs, located in the Ball Hockey Athletic Centre, 16 Melbourne Ave, St. Catharines.
Well there goes another blog. Next week we’ll continue to highlight the Canal Bank Shuffle and you just never know what may pop up by then. Keep your ears tuned to Blues and Roots Radio. You can listen wherever you are in the world though the website or the free TuneIn App.