By Ken Wallis, Blues & Roots Radio
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“Blues music is becoming more and more popular than it ever was. I'm always meeting people on the road that are really young, and are guitar players. male and female.”
Well the 60th annual Grammy Awards, hosted by James Corden has come and gone and the big winner was Bruno Mars. But my attention was turned towards the blues awards.
The Best Traditional Blues Album category honoured albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental traditional blues recordings.
The nominees were
• Migration Blues by Eric Bibb
• Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio by Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio
• Roll And Tumble by R.L. Boyce
• Sonny & Brownie's Last Train by Guy Davis & Fabrizio Poggi
• Blue & Lonesome by The Rolling Stones
And boy oh boy was it a pleasant surprise for me that the Stones won.
Originally dubbed the Rolling Uglies, this band has outlasted them all. Most folks think of the Stones as rock ‘n roll but some folks remember where there got their start. It was basically by playing and listening to the blues.
This is a great blues album that grew out of a recording session when they took time off to jam some blues. Good move as a Grammy came their way. Keith Richards tweeted, as only Keith Richards could… “Fantastic. It’s about F….ing time” 😊
Best Contemporary Blues Album salutes albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental contemporary blues recordings.
The nominees were
• Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm by Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
• Recorded Live In Lafayette by Sonny Landreth
• TajMo by Taj Mahal & Keb' Mo'
• Got Soul by Robert Randolph & The Family Band
• Live From The Fox Oakland by Tedeschi Trucks Ban
And the Grammy went to the two great artists, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’
It’s a great cd as the two teamed up to release their first ever album together. It's a mix of great tunes with covers of such songs from the Who and John Mayer. It’s a delight to listen to.
Upcoming Cd Releases
Hey blues fans, start your drooling cause we got some gems of cd releases on the new horizon.
Already out is a new blues cd by Crystal Shawanda called VooDoo Woman.
Jack de Keyzer is following up his recent release of the Best of Jack de Keyzer: Volume 1 with a cd he feels is the best work he’s ever done. It’s a live in the studio tribute recording of the great Classic Chess songs of Willie Dixon, Otis Rush, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James and more. The cd is appropriately entitled Check Mate.
While we’re talking about Jack de Keyzer, if you live in the London, Ontario area there’s a special concert coming your way on February 17th. It’s the Firehall Reunion featuring Jack, Godboogie, Cheryl Lescom, Tim Woodcock, Chuckee Zehr, Chuck Jackson and the All Stars Band.
Norine Braun also a new cd out called Kind of Blues
Other cds to come include Suzie Vinnick, Dan Doiron, Dylan Paul Wickens - later Harpdog Brown and Wicked Grin will also be recording new cds. You’ll hear them all on Blues Blast, Thursdays on Blues and Roots Radio at 8:00
Spotlight On Andre Bisson
We turn the spotlight on Hamilton’s Andre Bisson. Without doubt, one of the remarkable talents to emerge in recent years is Andre Bisson.
Andre moved to Hamilton to attend the Applied Music Program at Mohawk College. His study there sparked the formation of his own band that has been highly successful. Without doubt he is one of the elite performers of soul and rhythm and blues music. He and Loretta Hale have teamed up to perform some great music, live and on cd.
He’s an award-winning composer, arranger, guitar player and vocalist. He’s one of the hardest working musicians around. He’s embarked on highly successful tours across Canada, the United States. and Europe. He’s also performed in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge and has opened for such stars as Jimmie Vaughan, Robben Ford and Stephen Page of Barenakend Ladies.
Andre’s first CD Rhythm & Blues Experience was nominated for Blues Recording of the Year at the 2009 Hamilton Music Awards, Voted Best Rhythm & Blues Album of 2009 by Blues Underground Network, and Voted Best CD by the Hamilton Blues Lovers.
Two subsequent releases Till the Real Thing Comes Along
and Bad Scene further cemented Bisson’s place as a master in the rhythm and blues music scene.
He even put out a great Yuletide cd called Rhythm and Blues Christmas
Bisson was nominated for Blues Recording of the Year and Instrumental Recording of the Year for the 2015 Hamilton Music Awards, was nominated for Overseas Artist of the Year at the British Blues Awards and Won Male Vocalist of the Year for the 2015 Hamilton Blues Awards He was also nominated for the prestigious Maple Blues Award as best new artist.
To date, Andre has released a remarkable number of albums; seven in total. They’ve all been met with critical success. What’s amazing is that all seven albums have been arranged & produced by Andre. His composition skills have grown over time and he frequently arranges songs with 11 or more musicians.
And he frequently performs with a full complement of musicians.
His latest cd, Break , amply shows his progression into the forefront of Canadian Rhythm and Blues music.
Here he is tracking the vocals in the studio.
Joining him on this cd are such great musicians as Piano/B3 player
Jesse O’Brien (Colin James Band), Jason Logue (Aretha Franklin, The Temptations),
Rob Somerville (The Temptations, The Four Tops, Paul Anka)
Here’s a video of the title track.
One other important facet to recognize is that Andre was invited to perform at Beatles Week in Liverpool. He re-composed the Beatle tunes to reflect a bluesy salute in the famous venue, The Cavern and was greeted with a multitude of accolades for his appearance. He now puts on an annual Beatles salute in Hamilton that packs the Spice Factory.
Check out his web site http://www.andrebisson.ca/ and you can sample his music on cd Baby.
Till next week, keep your ears glued to the blues!