Archive for Blues

Chris Antonik

Chris Antonik
$20 Advance / $25 Door

Thursday, June 20, 2019 | 8:30PM

Toronto-based Chris Antonik was nominated for Best New Artist in 2011 at Canada’s Maple Blues Awards after the release of his debut album, and has since become one of Canada’s fastest-rising blues artists. Blending innovative, thoughtful songwriting with stunning blues guitar work, some music critics have drawn comparisons to Eric Clapton.

In its 2010 year-end review, Chris was named the “future of the blues” by Canada’s Blues Underground Network. In 2013, Chris’ sophomore album Better for You was hailed by critics as “a masterpiece” and “the best Canadian blues-rock album of 2013” and “the sound of someone taking the blues to a new place.

The album spent three weeks at #1 on DAWG FM (Canada’s only all blues FM station), attained significant airplay across Canada, the US and Europe, including on Sirius XM Bluesville, and was nominated for Best Blues Album by the German Record Critics’ Association. Oregon’s Cascade Blues Association called it “one of the finest releases from the Great White North in many a year.

Guests on Better For You included two-time Grammy award-winner Mike Mattison (The Derek Trucks Band, The Tedeschi-Trucks Band), Blues Music award-nominee Shakura S’Aida, and Steve Marriner (Monkey Junk).

Chris has performed at major blues festivals across Canada, and has toured the US extensively, including performances at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago (for the 2015 Buddy Guy’s Legends Blues Festival), and Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco. In 2016, Chris returned to Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago, and also undertook his first UK tour. Chris released his third studio record “Monarch” in April 2017, which was nominated fro Recording of the Year (and Chris as producer) at the 2018 Maple Blues Awards. Chris was also nominated for Songwriter of the Year.

​In 2018, Chris undertook his second successful UK tour, which included a sold-out appearance at the O2 Academy in Sheffield. Chris also performed on stage with Buddy Guy at his club in Chicago. Coming up for 2019, Chris returns to his hometown with a special performance at Hugh’s Room Live for a night of blues that shouldn’t be missed. Tickets are on sale now.

* Please note that advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.

Cootes Paradise

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Coots Paradise
Advance $20 / Door $25 *

Cootes Paradise is a collective of six musicians who chose to play together based not only on their talents, but who they are as people. The business of music can be a cold and punishing enterprise, so forming a group comprising of kind, enthusiastic, collaborative individuals was the goal that founding member Lily Sazz had in mind when she began to recruit the musicians. The hope was that if these gifted individuals gelled personally, great music would follow. And she was right.

Cootes Paradise specializes in roots based music that is bluesy, funky, and filled with soul. Featuring lead vocals by the legendary Sue Leonard (k.d. lang, Bruce Willis, Bon Jovi), and Wayne Krawchuk (Sidestreet, Tight Little Island) supported by Mark Volkov (a triple threat, playing flute, sax, and violin), Lily Sazz (keyboards, vocals), Amy Di Nino (drums, vocals), and Ian Taylor (bass, vocals), the result is an infectious, groove-based sound with a mix of super cool covers and originals that easily stand up to the rest of the repertoire.

On April 28, catch their debut performance at Hugh’s Room Live. Tickets available right now.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.

Jack de Keyzer

Saturday, April 13, 2018 | 8:30PM

Jack de Keyzer
$25 Advance / $30 Door

From the great city of Athens, Greece to Alert far north in the Arctic Circle, renowned guitarist and singer-songwriter, Jack de Keyzer, has taken his legendary blues performance around the world and back again. Jack is one of Canada’s most awarded and celebrated live performers and session guitarists. He has released more than ten records over his illustrious career and has played on hundreds of other recordings with artists ranging from Etta James and Ronnie Hawkins to Bo Diddley and Blue Rodeo. He is an astonishing live performer, soulful vocalist and world class songwriter, critically acclaimed by music writers and fellow musicians alike.

The finest blues guitarist in Canada.” – Jeff Healey

Jack has been a Juno Award nominee five times, winning twice for Blues Album of the Year. He has won seven Maple Blues Awards, taken home first place in the International Songwriting Competition and is the proud recipient of CBC’s Great Canadian Blues Award. Today, he can be found at some of the largest jazz and blues festivals around the world, including The Montreal Jazz FestThe Ottawa Blues FestivalBlues Sur Seine and Puerto Blues. With such impeccable credentials, we are of course very pleased to welcome back Jack de Keyzer to Hugh’s Room Live on April 13, 2019.

* please note that advertised prices exclude fees and tax.

Stephen Fearing

Friday, March 22, 2019

Stephen Fearing
Advance $25 / Door $30 *

Stephen Fearing was born in 1963 in Vancouver, British Columbia and grew up in Dublin, Ireland where his schoolmates included future members of U2. In 1981, he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and immersed himself in the music scene, learning the fundamentals of songwriting and performing, all while washing dishes to stay alive.

By 1984 he was back in Vancouver, determined to become a professional musician. In the years since, he’s been named one of the finest songwriters in Canada and has built a national – and international – audience for his music, doing it old school through countless performances at intimate venues and on the concert stages of festivals and theatres across Canada, the US, the UK, and Europe, with appearances at major events like the Reading Festival and WOMAD, to name just a few.

In 1996 he co-founded Blackie and the Rodeo Kings with Colin Linden and Tom Wilson. Originally intended to be a one-off collaboration to record a tribute album of songs written by Canadian folk music legend, Willie P. Bennett, the trio quickly recognized they had created something worthy of further exploration and both critics and audiences agreed. More than 22 years later, with nine albums and a JUNO award to their credit, the band has become one of the most respected names in North American roots-rock. Their musical collaborators are many, but to name a few – Emmy Lou Harris, Nick Lowe, City and Colour, Keb’ Mo’, Jason Isbell, Lucinda Williams, Bruce Cockburn, Sam Phillips, Pam Tillis, Vince Gill, Cassandra Wilson, Serena Ryder, Holy Cole, and Mary Margaret O’Hara.

This March, come celebrate a true gift to Canadian songwriting, Stephen Fearing, as he sets up for an intimate performance at Hugh’s Room Live.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.

Jeff Lang

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Jeff Lang
Advance $30 / Door $35 *

“Australian guitarist Jeff Lang weaves remarkably skilled blues guitar around his songs, effortlessly playing complicated parts but never at the expense of the songs themselves.”
The Onion

“Lang’s only reference point is himself, a unique singer-songwriter-guitarist who follows his own path”
Le Soleil, Quebec

Australian guitarist-songwriter-vocalist-producer, Jeff Lang has built a reputation for making startling music that is accomplished, intricate, gutsy, melodic and loaded with soul. Often taking unexpected turns, he has consistently inspired his audiences by creating a stylistically diverse catalog of over 25 albums.

As legions of journalists have written, Jeff is not one to be easily pegged, though in a general sense it’s fair to say he largely trades in roots-oriented rock; wider reaching in collaborations with the likes of roving guitar anthropologist Bob Brozman, American blues-rocker Chris Whitley, India’s desert-dwellers Maru Tarang and world music virtuosos Bobby Singh and Mamadou Diabate. Jeff’s work with the latter won the 2010 ARIA (Australia’s Grammy) for Best World Music Album, while he and Brozman took one home for Best Blues and Roots Music Album in 2002. Jeff received that same award on his own in 2012.

Jeff has mischievously called his music ‘Disturbed Folk.’ One writer referred to him as a “quiet achiever.” But the overall impression one has from observing Jeff’s lengthy career is that of a driven man who keeps his head down, playing and recording music as if his very life depends on it.

Outside of his homeland, Jeff has toured the UK, Europe, Japan, India, China, South Africa, New Zealand and Canada as well as concentrated work in the U.S., where he has played upwards of 300 shows, living there for 6 months at a time. He has appeared on prestigious American radio programs A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage and Acoustic Café.
Jeff has shared stages with Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Richard Thompson, Bonnie Raitt, Ani Di Franco, Chris Whitley, Albert Collins, Loudon Wainwright III, Greg Brown, John Butler, AR Rahman and Bob Geldolf, among many others.

Jeff has delivered show-stopping performances at festivals all across the globe: The Dublin Blues Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Quebec City Music Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Winterhawk Bluegrass Festival, Fuji Rock, Glastonbury, Echo Park China, Ottawa BluesFest as well as on his home turf at Port Fairy, Woodford, Bluesfest Byron Bay and Womadelaide.

Jeff Lang’s unique musical vision easily finds a home in myriad settings, from large festival stages to the intimate, long-running Ann Arbor, Michigan club The Ark to the Sydney Opera House. Most importantly, Jeff Lang has achieved what is a rarity in the cluttered world of contemporary sounds: his own voice.

“Jeff Lang is, in my humble opinion, a national treasure, a truly gifted songwriter and an outstanding guitarist. He has been inspiration to countless Australian and internationally renowned roots artists and surely has a place in history as one of this generation’s finest. He has really touched me and musically, I had a kind of revelation…” –John Butler, John Butler Trio

Jeff will be coming to Hugh’s Room Live this February to showcase the strength of his new record and from across his career. Tickets available right now.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.

Alfie Zappacosta

Friday, February 15, 2019

Alfie Zappacosta
Advance $50 / Door $55 *

“You would not be amiss to compare Alfie Zappacosta to a vintage VQA wine.” – The Music Express

Canadian singer/songwriter, Alfie Zappacosta, never disappoints his audience, and especially not at Hugh’s Room Live. At the first word of his appearing, this show is always nearly an instant sold-out booking, and it’s no doubt due to his ability to energize the listening room, moving his audience to their feet. After forty years of creating staples in Canadian adult contemporary radio, multiple Juno-award winning Zappacosta has created a legendary career as a pop/rock icon. With a mastery of romance, his mesmerizing baritone voice has also been recognized and rewarded on the smooth jazz scene. His blend of live acoustic, jazz and pop music captures his listeners in a soulful engagement not to be missed.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.

Rory Block

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Rory Block
Advance $25 / Door $30 *

“Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.” – The New York Times

Heralded as a living landmark (Berkeley Express), a national treasure (Guitar Extra), and one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists (Blues Revue), Rory Block has committed her life and her career to preserving the Delta blues tradition and bringing it to life for 21st century audiences around the world. A traditionalist and an innovator at the same time, she wields a fiery and haunting guitar and vocal style that redefines the boundaries of acoustic blues and folk. The New York Times declared: Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.

Born in Princeton, NJ, Aurora Rory Block grew up in Manhattan a family with Bohemian leanings. Her father owned a Greenwich Village sandal shop, where musicians like Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur and John Sebastian all made occasional appearances. The rich and diverse Village scene was a constant influence on her cultural sensibilities. She was playing guitar by age ten, and by her early teens she was sitting in on the Sunday jam sessions in Washington Square Park.

During these years, her life was touched—and profoundly changed—by personal encounters with some of the earliest and most influential Delta blues masters of the 20th century. She made frequent visits to the Bronx, where she learned her first lessons in blues and gospel music from the Reverend Gary Davis. She swapped stories and guitar licks with seminal bluesman Son House, Robert Johnsons mentor (He kept asking, Where did she learn to play like this?). She visited Skip James in the hospital after his cancer surgery. She traveled to Washington, DC, to visit with Mississippi John Hurt and absorb first-hand his technique and his creativity.

This period seemed to last forever, Block Recalls nearly forty years later. I now realize how lucky I was to be there, in the right place at the right time. I thought everyone knew these incredible men, these blues geniuses who wrote the book. I later realized how fleeting it was, and how even more precious.

By the time she was in high school, her family had splintered in different directions. With nothing holding her down, she left home at 15 with her guitar and a few friends—heading for California on a trip marked by numerous detours and stops in small towns. Along he way, she picked her way through a vast catalog of country blues songs and took her first steps in developing a fingerpicking and slide guitar style that would eventually be her trademark.

She recorded an instructional record called How To Play Blues Guitar in the mid-60s (she was billed as Sunshine Kate on the original recording), but then took a decade off from music to start a family. In the mid- and late 70s, she made a few records that ran counter to her inherent blues instincts, and the result was frustration. Eventually disgusted with trying to accommodate a business which never seemed to accept me or be satisfied with my efforts, she says, I gave up totally and went back to the blues. The result was a record deal with the Boston based Rounder label, which released her High Heeled Blues in 1981. Rolling Stone referred to the album as some of the most singular and affecting country blues anyone—man or woman, black or white, old or young—has cut in recent years.

Back in a groove that felt comfortable and fulfilling, Block threw herself headlong into an ambitious touring schedule that helped hone her technical and vocal skills to a razors edge, and at the same time nurture a distinctive voice as a songwriter. She stayed with Rounder for the next two decades, making records that simultaneously indulged her affinity for traditional country blues and served as a platform for her own formidable songwriting talents.

The world finally started taking notice in the early 1990s, and Block scored numerous awards throughout the decade. She brought home W.C. Handy Awards four years in a row—two for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year, and two for Best Acoustic Blues Album of the Year. Her visibility overseas increased dramatically when Best Blues and Originals, fueled by the single Love and Whiskey, went gold in parts of Europe.

Block joined the Telarc label with the 2003 release of Last Fair Deal, a mix of eight original tunes and six compelling covers of early blues and gospel songs—a recording she characterized as a total celebration of my beloved instrument and best friend, the guitar. She joined blues soulmates Maria Muldaur and Eric Bibb less than a year later for Sisters & Brothers, a collaborative 2004 recording that captured the rootsy, gospel-flavored synergy of these three veteran performers.

Block second solo effort on Telarc is From the Dust, released in February 2005. Driven by Blocks soulful and fiery guitar/vocal attack and her impeccable rhythmic sense, the new album seamlessly merges distinctive original material from her own pen with timeless classics from some of the great bluesmen of the early and mid-20th century (Charley patton, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Son House). The result is a stripped-down recording—unfettered by extraneous instrumentation or superfluous arrangements—that reaches into the core of the human experience and bears witness to it in the most honest and intimate way possible.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.

The Shuffle Demons

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Shuffle Demons
Advance $25 / Door $30 *

What do you get when you cross 3 amazing saxophonists dressed in wacky clothes, a crazy dancing drummer and a killer upright bass player and have them sing songs about Buses, Roaches and Hockey and spend 1/2 their time playing in the audience? The Shuffle Demons, that’s what! They were a band that captured the imagination of a generation with their antics and amazing no holds barred playing and stopped traffic on a regular basis. And now they’re back…

The Shuffle Demons are a high-energy Canadian band that blends virtuosic jazz and funk playing with eye-catching costumes and over the top stage antics to produce an incredible show. A hit at festivals all over the world, the Shuffle Demons are a crowd pleasing, full-on musical group that backs up wild stage antics with phenomenal playing by a few of Canada’s most talented musicians.

To experience the full might of this uniquely powerful outfit, fans and critics alike demand you witness it firsthand. On the final night of January 2019, come by Hugh’s Room Live and catch The Shuffle Demons in full force. Tickets available now.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.

A Bluesy Christmas

A Bluesy Christmas
$40 Advance / $45 Door

Thursday, December 13, 2018 | 8:30PM

As the leaves do fall and the wind doth blow, the colours red and green inevitably bleed into the heart of our streets, homes and sweater collection in a sometimes unflattering celebration of a large man and his captive animals, often without any protest whatsoever.

This year, however, Hugh’s Room Live is here to put the blues back into Christmas.

A Bluesy Christmas at Hugh’s Room Live will feature a beautiful assortment of musicians and vocalists from across the City of Toronto, including but not limited to Steve Marriner, Crystal Shawanda, DeWayne Strobel, Cheryl Lescom, Quisha Wint and Julian Fauth, all of whom welcome you into the room on Thursday, December 13, 2018 as they deliver to you their favourite songs from Christmas past, present and future.

Escape the cold and warm up to the blues this holiday season. Hugh’s Room Live is here, and A Bluesy Christmas awaits…