By Ken Wallis, Blues & Roots Radio
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Merch and Stuff
It’s always great to see blues fans show up for live events. Paying admission to live events is a great way to support your favourite artists. Make sure you buy their cds that they so meticulously put together and laid out a ton of money to produce. Artists lug their cds to live events in the hope they can re-coop some of the costs of cd production. Buy their latest. Buy the previous release. I’ll never forget one guy at an Andre Bisson concert who ponied up and bought all six cds they had ever produced. Now that’s support.
But there are other ways. At live events, make sure you make your way to the merch tables. Many artists bring along unique items for sale. Tee shirts are a cool way to show your support and help promote the artists every time you wear one.
Here are some of my favs… Steve Strongman, which I wore to the Mont Tremblant International Blues Festival
Angel Forrest’s t shirt sports a dynamic picture of Angel
And Paul DesLauriers promoting his fantastic cd, Relentless
I wore that shirt to the Canal Bank Shuffle and ran into a guy wearing the same shirt. We grinned at each other and he said “you’re wearing my shirt”
I really like the cool shirt from the Ghost Town Blues Band
While in Florida we walked into a retail shop and found this shirt
The owner of the store rents a parking lot every September and puts on a blues concert. How cool is that!
And then there’s the shirt I got at the Kitchener Blues Festival
And here’s another unique idea from Murray Kinsley and Wicked Grin
Still I do have a couple of shirts I wear on a regular basis to blues shows ‘cause I know the value of promotion 😊
The Road To Memphis
It’s that time of year again, as Blues Societies and blues supporters hold their challenges to see who they’ll support for entry in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2018. Canadian blues artists cleaned up last year. Dawn Tyler Watson became the first Canadian and the first woman to ever finish first in the challenge. Ben Racine took the honours as the best guitarist in a band. What an event for blues fans in Canada! It was comparable to Team Canada winning hockey Olympic gold.
I’m sure there are many more artists to be announced in the near future, but let’s check out what’s happened so far.
Dawn Tyler Watson represented the Montreal Blues Society last year, and this year they’ve gone with another dynamo. Angel Forrest, winner of the Maple Blues Award for best vocalist, 4 years in a row, will take the stage in Memphis.
But could this be a déjà vu type of event? Angel brings Ricky Paquette and Denis Coulombe with her to play and with that talent there just might be more Canadian winners!
And if that’s not enough, one man band and multi Maple Blues Award winner, Steve Hill will be performing in the solo/duo category.
That should be enough to get Canadians scrambling for reservations in Memphis. But that just scratches the surface.
Hamilton’s own, Alfie Smith and Nicole Christian will represent the West New York Blues Society. Nicole hails from that area and it’s neat to see the support the West New York Blues Society is giving them.
They’re having a celebration to support their appearance at Memphis on Friday November 10th at Bay City Music Hall. Doors open at 7:30 and it’s only a $10 admission fee.
Another Hamilton musician Tim Gibbons will represent the Grand River Blues Society.
Raoul and The Big Time are also headed to Memphis, representing the Bruce County Blues Society. You can help them get there by contributing at
And cd entries include Jason Buie from B.C. and Sunday Wilde and Reno Jack from Ontario’s North
There will be a lot more info coming soon.
New Cd From Hamilton’s Andre Bisson
Hamilton’s Andre Bisson has released his 7th cd recording and it’s a dandy. Featuring Andre’s powerful vocals, his cd Break is a solid release of new tunes and a remarkable cover of the Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby..
Andre graduated from the Applied Music program at Mohawk College in Hamilton Ontario. The program is famous for its jazz graduates but Andre successfully headed off into the blues world. His previous albums feature his polished composition, arranging and vocal skills. Not to mention he can play a mean guitar.
He’s been performing his unique blend of blues, R&B and Soul throughout Canada, the U.S., England, Wales and Ireland.
He’s opened for such artists such as Colin James, Jimmie Vaughan, Robben Ford and Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies). He and his band have accumulated many accolades including a Maple Blues Award Nomination as New Artist of the Year and represented the Grand River Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
The cd Break is a remarkable cd in that some of the orchestrations boast up to 20 pieces. The cd kicks off with the title track, which is a showcase for his dynamic vocals. Here he is in the recording studio laying down the vocals.
If you haven’t already bought the album, take a gander at the video on Youtube.
The cd features strings, background vocals and killer horn sections.
In an interview for Blues Blast on the Hawk and Blues and Roots Radio, Andre commented about the song Break. “The song is kinda metaphorical in terms of breaking the chains of how we think, in terms of the future, and the way the world is working”
The cd continues to roll from the title track with great tunes and great arrangements. Come on out and hear Andre and his 10-piece band as they put on their cd release party, Sunday afternoon November 5th at the Spice Factory in Hamilton.
And as an added bonus, the clocks go back one hour at 2 am on Sunday so you’ll have an extra hour of sleep to rest up for an afternoon of great music.