There was a time I can remember in a leafy suburb on the west side of Edinburgh, in a beautiful and historical part of the city called Corstorphine that a young lad would go to bed on a Friday or Saturday night with his transistor radio, dive under the blankets so his mum and dad would not hear the music as he tuned into far away sounds on long wave transmissions from the other side of the atlantic, he even managed to acquire an earpiece to go undetected. The connections on a good night were bad but the fact that he could hear people chatting in ' funny ' accents playing music that he'd never heard of was pretty cool.
That young lad was me in the 1970's and how far it is from that quiet cul-de-sac to the sprawling metropolis that is Toronto, and in a weird quirk of fate, am now responsible for transmitting via the internet, music from all around the world directly into the homes of thousands of people daily, and I can tell you that we have listeners in Corstorphine, Edinburgh.... and the quality of transmission is a wee bit better too ... amazing really !!
The story of Blues & Roots Radio would take a book to recount, but, as in all good tales there is an exciting chapter about to begin.
A New Chapter
Exciting times ahead for us all at Blues & Roots Radio with the launch of two channels on August 1st. BRR Essential and BRR Discover have been much anticipated by the hosts at the station and also by the artists, managers and publicists that we are in touch with regularly who all see the potential for not only more airplay but for more awareness of the artists from Canada and beyond from listeners the world over.
" An Essential Journey To Discover Great Music "
I have discovered some amazing talent that calls Canada home while on my journey through the independent music scene here, I think it is one of the richest nations in the world for raw talent and diversity in the independent music industry.
I still pinch myself that the artists that I have quoted below are people that I can go and see perform as they pass trough Ontario and indeed in many cases call friends, they are from a diverse background and from coast to coast, Essentially that is the beauty of Blues and Roots Radio in being able to Discover great new music from different corners of not only Canada but from around the world, from your backyard and from mine, it has always existed but BRR have become the messengers delivering the music around the world.
When I arrived in Canada eight years ago not knowing what I was going to be doing, I knew I wanted to carve out a different path than music, after all I had been playing for close on 30 years and had just gotten married, Music consumes your life if you are passionate about it, anything that you are passionate about does... right ?
I wanted to devote time to my wife and get a full time job and .... don't laugh ... I was serious at the time in my way of thinking, but my wife had other plans and low and behold eight years later music consumes both our lives and is our shared passion, especially independent artists music.
I knew nothing of Canadian artists and scenes when I landed but with plenty of time on my hands while waiting on a work visa I went about discovering,
These wonderful quotes below are from people that I have met on my journey and admire as amazingly talented Canadian independent artists
' Blues & Roots Radio have made it possible for folks to discover my music and have introduced me to a myriad of new music from all over the world ' - JDE
' What I love about listening to BRR is the diversity ' - JS
' Blues & Roots Radio is more than just a radio station, its a family. They love music, and the people that play it, ' - SM
' I am grateful to Blues and Roots Radio for finding another way to celebrate the beautiful underdogs ' - SF
... and one of my favourites that sums up what I feel inside but written by another
' I truly enjoy discovering new music. I gravitate to music with authenticity and passion. That’s why I love Blues and Roots Radio. Authentic passionate people connecting listeners with the perfect variety of music from around the world .' - MM
More quotes can be found on our testimonial page >>>> HERE
What is the point of this I hear you say ! ....
Well. if you have been following my blogs you will know there is a hidden message somewhere contained within.
I would never have known about the artists below had it not been for the platform created to introduce me and an ever growing listenership to their wonderful talents in a diverse range of genres, and the mind blowing thing for me is they say hello when I see them with a warm smile, embrace or shake of the hand.
Blackie & The Rodeo Kings
Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden and Tom Wilson have to be individually three of the most talented artists in Canada, I use the term ' Monster ', put the three of them together and you have BARK or Blackie and The Rodeo Kings and there's no way of describing the force that they are collectively adequately enough that would do them justice, add into that mix Gary Craig and John Diamond as the rhythm section and they are incredible, especially live. I have been extremely lucky to have met and interviewed Stephen and Tom a couple of times and look forward to meeting Colin when they play a festival in my home town of Port Credit September 9th and move on to Hamilton September 10th. >>> TOUR
and ... if you like storytelling .... Tom can tell 'em
Folk Music In The Maritimes
There are many top class artists in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador ... here is one I have admired for a long time.
I first met Newfoundlands Matthew Byrne in Niagara Falls the second year I was here, he was playing in a fantastic band with Tom Power called The Dardanelles and the reason I had gravitated to listen to them was that they played with so much power, passion and knowledge of their traditions, it was, to me, refreshing to see young people showing exemplary musicianship and moving forward with their compositions and arrangements. I met Matthew again just last Christmas when he came to Mississauga to perform with The Ennis Sisters, my friend, Mark Murphy plays with, manages and writes songs with Ennis, he introduced me to Matthew again and I was pleased to be told the Dardanelles are planning a reunion sometime very soon, and not only that but Matthew has released a brilliant solo album which really showcases his talents as an individual artist.
The album is called Horizon Lines and it is a fabulous release. On the recording he is accompanied by some of Newfoundlands finest traditional players including his father, It will be an Essential part of your collection.
In August Matthew plays three top Festivals in St John's NL, Goderich ON and Owen Sound ( Summerfolk ) ON, and then he is off to play the renowned Rogue Folk Club in Vancouver ( See one of my earlier blogs for a description of the venue ) and many more gigs before heading back out east. >>>> TOUR
Manitoba's Music Scene
Where do I start with Manitoba !!? ... let's start here
Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, you will never meet a nicer guy in this business, immensely talented whether performing solo, with his band or with Cara Luft as The Small Glories. Well respected on the Canadian and international music scene his repertoire is heavily influenced by Country, Blues, R & B, and Soul. He has a unique voice, exquisite musicianship and is a wonderful lyricist, put it all together inside one big lovable personality and you have JD Edwards.
He heads to Tonder in Denmark in late August, so for my friends in Europe do not miss the Small Glories at the Tonder Festival, individually JD and Cara have had successful Folk / Roots careers, together they are very special indeed.>>>> TOUR
Roots and Soul
Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
Powerhouse performer of Roots ' N ' Soul based in Toronto, originally from Calgary, Alberta Samantha Martin is a wonderful example of raw talent and determination harnessed into a being that has become an unstoppable force. I walked into the Cameron House in Toronto to listen for the first time a few years ago, the intro bars played, Sam launched into the first few lines and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, the entire performance convinced me she was going to be a star, since then she has played Massey Hall at The Women's Blues Review, been a special guest on stage there with Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, opened for The Blind Boys Of Alabama, has been nominated for five Maple Blues Awards and released a stellar album called ' Send The Nightingale '. She has been on the music scene for a lot longer than from when I met her first and she has performed with some amazing musicians, I am thankful I took the decision to walk through those doors that day. I love her band too, great bunch of people as well as being insanely talented individually.
Sam has just launched a campaign to help fund her brand new album due for release at the end of 2017, this release is going to be an amazing recording with some awesome instrumentation and I've been told a very full sounding band, throw in Sam's songwriting abilities and a visit by her recently to Nashville for a couple of co writes and I think it's going to be one to Discover and add to your collection. >>>> TOUR
I saw her and the band perform a couple of the new numbers at The Moonshine Cafe before she headed to Nashville and can tell you it is going to be a wee cracker.
Find out more about the campaign and contribute >>>> HERE
BRR Essential and BRR Discover
I hope I have given you some Essential artists and bands to Discover over the next week from Canada in the Blues & Roots scenes. On the new BRR Channels you will most certainly hear these and many others from the awesome shows that come from every continent of the world,
Diversity is a key component in the success so far and expanding on that to create a second platform can be no bad thing in my mind.
I hope you can support and listen in to the two channels being launched on August 1st and the new schedules set to launch on each from September 1st.
Happy Essential Discovering