Archive for Blues

BluesIn’ Toronto Presents: Another Bluesy Christmas

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 | 8:30pm

BluesIn’ Toronto Presents: Another Bluesy Christmas
Featuring Paul Deslauriers, Erin McCallum, Murray Kinsley and the Ghost Town Blues Band
$40 Advance / $45 Door *

As the leaves do fall and the wind doth blow, the colours red and green inevitably burrow under snow banks and a new season is hurried into our calendar. Winter is coming. Merry as the season may be, this year, 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 cast of musicians and vocalists from around the city, including but not limited to Paul Deslauriers, Erin McCallum, Murray Kinsley and the Ghost Town Blues Band, all of whom will take the stage and deliver to you some of their favourite songs from Christmas past, present and future.

Escape the cold and warm up to the blues this holiday season. Tickets available right now.

Paul Deslauriers | https://www.pauldeslauriersband.com/
Paul DesLauriers is one of Canada’s elite guitarists  often featuring a formidable slide. Paul fronts one of the nation’s greatest blues bands which was twice crowned Entertainer of the Year and once Electric Act of the Year at Maple Blues Awards. In 2016 they also took 2nd place at the 32nd International Blues Challenge, the world’s largest gathering of blues acts held by The Blues Foundation in Memphis Tennessee.

Erin McCallum | http://www.erinmccallum.com/
“Longing for a female Blues singer who can digest the notes whole, spew them back, adding punch to the lyrics while stirring your animal instincts?  Somebody who dips way down and bends things to her liking, purring over the content one minute before serving it up like a five alarm fire? Then, welcome Erin McCallum.” – Eric Thom, Blues Review Magazine

Murray Kinsley | http://murraykinsley.com/
Reviewers have described Maple Blues Award-winning band Wicked Grin as stripped-down, hellaciously rockin’ new blues with the distinctive voice and guitar-work of Murray Kinsley…

Wicked Grin’s latest album “Murder Creek,” released October 2018, has earned widespread industry acclaim and was a semi-finalist for the 2019 IBC Best Self-Produced CD Award.

Ghost Town Blues Band | http://www.ghosttownbluesband.com/
Recently headlining the blues stage at The Montreal Jazz Festival, Beale Street’s latest success story, 5-time Blues Blast Music Award Nominee and International Blues Challenge Runner-up is Ghost Town Blues Band. Not your grandpa’s blues band, their live show has been captivating audiences in the U.S., Canada and Europe with their “second-line horn entrance,” cigar box guitars and electric push brooms to Allman Brothers style jams and even a hip-hop trombone player. The band’s stage show and energy is unparalleled and has been called the best new live blues show in the world.

Horns, harmonies and homegrown instruments combined with an energetic and roots rich festival set makes Ghost Town Blues Band one of the “must see live bands on the festival scene today.” Both Andrew McNeill behind the drums and Matt Karner on the bass guitar are a punishing rhythm section behind multi-instrumentalist/frontman Matt Isbell with raunchy cigar box guitar licks and raspy “Dr. John-like, whiskey and gravel-soaked vocals.” With the addition of Trombonist Suavo Jones, Cedric Taylor on B3 and Taylor Orr on lead guitar, the grooves go from fresh to funky as the band gains more notoriety in the blues festival and jam circuit. Ghost Town Blues Band has performed all across US and Canada at over 100+ festivals and will perform more than a half-dozen international tours in Canada and Europe in 2019.

“GTBB shows what can happen when the past is distilled through young sensibilities, voices, and instruments. This is 21st century blues at its best.”   -Living Blues Magazine

2019 B.B. King International Entertainer of the Year Nominee – Maple Blues Awards (Canada)
2018- #4 Billboard Blues Chart
2018 Tennessee Music Award Winner “Best Blues Band”
2018 3-Time Blues Blast Music Award Nominee

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Jack de Keyzer

Saturday, December 14, 2019 | 8:30pm

Jack de Keyzer
$25 Advance / $30 Door

“The finest blues guitarist in Canada.” – Jeff Healey

Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter Jack de Keyzer plays the blues world wide, from Alert, Arctic Circle to Puerto Escondido, Mexico; from Athens, Greece to Hornby Island, BC and many points between. One of Canada’s most awarded and  in demand live performers and session guitarists, Jack has released 10 CD’s and 1 DVD. He has also played on hundreds of recordings and live sessions with artists ranging from Etta James to Ronnie Hawkins and Bo Diddley to Blue Rodeo.  He is an exciting live performer, soulful vocalist and world class song writer and performs an average of 120 shows per year. De Keyzer has brought audiences to their feet at many major Jazz and Blues Festivals including the Montreal Jazz Fest, Blues Sur Seine (France) The Ottawa Blues Festival and Puerto Blues, (Mexico).  A much celebrated musician, de Keyzer has been nominated for the Juno (Blues Album of the Year) 5 times and won the Juno twice in 2003 and 2010. He has won 7 Maple Blues Awards (Canada’s national blues awards) , first place in the International Songwriting Competition and won CBC’s Great Canadian Blues Award from a poll of radio listeners. Always touring with an incredible band, Jack will have you rocking in your seat and swaying to his hot  blues, soulful r&b and cool soul jazz. World class.

 “If Jack de Keyzer was from Chicago, New York or LA, he’d be famous.” Bob Dylan

“Electric Love…a rock blues album with nods to guitar influences Clapton, Hendrix and Page… a disc of excellent new songs by a bluesman who should be considered their equal.” (Maple Blues) 

Two-Time Juno Award Winner 
Seven-Time Maple Blues Award Winner

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Carlos del Junco

Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 8:30pm

Carlos del Junco
$30 Advance / $35 Door *

It’s probably a good thing Carlos wasn’t there when the harmonica appeared in North America in the 1860s. Neil Young and Bob Dylan can probably roll with it when he says they are very mediocre harmonica players. Aspiring harmonica players Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid might have overreacted and pulled out their pistols…

To say that Carlos is just a harmonica player is like saying Jimi Hendrix was just a guitar player. He blows the blues harp through a prism — suddenly it seems he’s holding every color in the musical rainbow right there in his hands.

Simultaneously sophisticated and raw, his playing blurs the boundaries between blues and jazz (hence the name for his band “The Blues Mongrels”). The emphasis is on blues, but Carlos and his band are not afraid to merrily traipse off in other directions delivering a seamless fusion of New Orleans second line grooves, swing, Latin, hip-hop or ska melodies, to swampy roots rock.

Born in Havana, Cuba, del Junco (loosely translated “of the reeds”) immigrated with his family at the age of one. He bent his first note on a harmonica when he was fourteen, making his debut with his high school math teacher at a student talent night. In his early 20’s del Junco was immersed in a visual arts career; he graduated with honours from a four year programme, majoring in sculpture (click here to see photos) at the Ontario College of Art. Sculpture has definitely had an influence on his outlook on music: “Music is just a different way of creating textures and shapes.”

Playing a ten hole diatonic harmonica, Carlos has developed the unique ability to play chromatically by using a recently developed “overblow” technique taught to him by jazz virtuoso Howard Levy. Overall, this approach to the diatonic harmonica, although much more difficult to achieve, is in many ways more expressive and communicative than the mechanized tone produced by the chromatic harmonica . Carlos is one of the few pioneers of this overblow method, bringing musical credibility to what has still been considered by many in the music industry – a fringe folk instrument. The sophisticated sound produced by del Junco is at once sensitive, soulful, and sexy while never forgetting the rawness inherent in blues music.

website: https://www.carlosdeljunco.com
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9PP3Fv4aBs

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Al Lerman and Northern Bayou

Thursday, November 21, 2019 | 8:30pm

Al Lerman and Northern Bayou
$20 Advance / $25 Door *

Celebrated multi-instrumentalist bluesman Al Lerman is considered among the top harmonica players in the country, and he has been heard on countless recordings and live sessions. His prowess on the harmonica has earned him ten Maple Blues Award nominations, while his engaging and dry wit has earned him a loyal following, building a solid career touring as an acoustic solo act.  Al was the founder and leader of the much-loved band FATHEAD, and worked with them from 1992 to 2016, garnering two Juno Awards along the way. In 2016, his standout “Slow Burn” disc made the esteemed world-wide list of Top 100 Blues Albums Of The Year. That same year he also garnered a Maple Blues Award nomination for “Acoustic Act Of The Year”. In 2017 he received a Recognition Award for “Leadership In Arts & Culture” from the County of Peterborough.  His newest album “Northern Bayou” was released on April 12, 2019.

The blues bug bit at a young age when Al was taken to hear the famed duo of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee at Toronto’s Riverboat coffeehouse. His interest in the music immediately skyrocketed, and over the years he saw the duo no less than forty times. He discovered many blues greats that were regularly touring through the city. Moving into his twenties while playing in local Toronto blues bands, Al sought out many of his musical heroes, seeking both advice and inspiration. He considers himself fortunate to have sat in with blues giants such as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, Sunnyland Slim and many more. A long friendship ensued with Chicago harmonica player Carey Bell who mentored him on the instrument. Hearing him now, there’s no doubt he has learned his lessons well.

Al offers up a tasty acoustic/electric mix of finely crafted blues songs on his third studio album, Northern Bayou. Produced by Alec Fraser and engineered by Grammy Award winner Peter J. Moore, this mostly “live-off-the-floor” recording captures the bluesified spirit created when a bunch of seasoned pros, who also happen to be very good friends, get together to play. It’s a sure-fire winner.

website: https://www.allermanmusic.com/

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Bywater Call

Sunday, November 17, 2019 | 8:30pm

Bywater Call
$15 Advance / $20 Door *

Harnessing the sounds of southern soul, gospel and blues, Bywater is lead by the raw, powerful vocals of Meghan Parnell and the soulful slide guitar of Dave Barnes. Drawing influences from artists such as The Allman Brothers Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, The Band and The Wood Brothers, the band is a force to be reckoned with.

In 2018, the band broke into the Canadian festival circuit and are continuing to build a presence in the festival scene over next year with already confirmed appearances at the Aurora Winter Blues, Orangeville Blues Festival, Beaches Jazz Festival and the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

Meghan’s outstanding voacls can be heard on the recently recorded version of Faye Adams’ SHAKE A HAND with Bill King and his band.  The recording has been picked up by over 80 international blues and jazz radio stations and by CBC syndication for morning shows across the country.  The band is currently in the studio recording their much anticipated debut full length to be released this coming fall.

website: http://www.bywatercall.com
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tGPWL2LZ6c&feature=youtu.be

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Myles Goodwyn and Friends of the Blues

Monday, November 4, 2019 | 8:30pm

Myles Goodwyn and Friends of the Blues
$50 Advance / $55 Door *

Myles Goodwyn, singer, guitarist, writer, producer and leader of the multi-Platinum selling rock band April Wine, has shaped and directed the group from its earliest beginnings. April Wine has sold over 20 million recordings worldwide.

Goodwyn grew up poor and is the classic “small-town kid makes good” success story. As a young teenager Goodwyn honed his skills playing in cover bands and began writing original material as soon as he could play the guitar.  One of April Wine`s biggest hits, “You Won`t Dance With Me”, was written when he was a teenager.

Myles Goodwyn’s voice is as distinctive and immediately recognizable as his songwriting skills are prolific. Myles and the other members of April Wine were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame in 2010.

Goodwyn received the prestigious East Coast Music Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and the SOCAN National Achievement Award in 2002. In 2016 he released his memoir named, Just Between You and Me, which became an instant seller on the Globe and Mail`s Non-Fiction List. His second book, Elvis and Tiger – this time a fictional was published in 2018 and was well received.

The Myles Goodwyn and Friends Of The Blues recording earned him international acclaim and Juno Nomination for Blues Recording of the Year 2019. The recording won the ECMA award for Blues Recording of the Year 2019.

Not a bad start to a blues career and his first blues recording effort at age 70 or at any age.

Goodwyn was committed to making his follow up recording, Myles Goodwyn Friends of the Blues 2, using the same logic as his blues debut release; “I wanted to write some good blues tunes and sing these tunes as best I could. I really appreciate great blues material because it is timeless, it is vital and its passionate, even heartbreakingly so,” says Goodwyn. His decision to use only “real blues players” was again, deliberate; “ I wanted the real deal when it came to the performances.”

Some of the featured artists on Friends II are; Jack de Keyzer, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Warren Robert, Ross Billard, Bruce Dixon, JR Smith, Matt Andersen, Mike “Shrimp Daddy” Reed, Jack Semple, Sherman “Tank” Doucette, Joe Murphy, Bill Stevenson, Will Van Hansolo, Steve Segal and more. A real feature on Blues 2 is a duet with 6 time winner for Female Blues Singer of the Year at the Toronto Blues Society Awards, Angel Forrest.

The result of these collaborations is testament to the care that went into Myles Goodwyn and Friends of the Blues II and it will surely show, yet again, that Myles Goodwyn is not only a gifted blues singer/songwriter musician and a real blues man at heart.

website: https://mylesgoodwyn.com
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-u3iwCIsCI

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Johnny A

Saturday, November 2, 2019 | 8:30pm

Johnny A
$25 Advance / $30 Door *

Lots of folks throw around the phrase “let the music do the talking,” but only a few have the fortitude to really do it – to just go out there and play, shunning flash, shrugging off image and reeling in the listener on the strength of the songs alone.

Johnny A. is that kind of performer. For the better part of three decades, the Massachusetts-based guitarist and bandleader has proven himself capable of generating heat at venues from working-class bars to international amphitheaters – and every sort of venue in between. And when the house lights are turned up, he’s just as adept at captivating serious students of the six-string with a virtuosity that earned him the rare honor of having his name placed on a signature Gibson® guitar.

“I want to create instrumental music and deliver it like a vocalist,” he says “You can be a great player, on any instrument, and people will take notice for a while…but what people really remember is someone who brings them a great melody.”

On Driven, his fourth outing as a solo performer – which is due for release this June — Johnny serves up plenty of that, in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins and Ben and Jerry’s combined. From the Motown-inflected party-starter “C’Mon, C’mon” to the introspective “A Mask You Wear” (a song that’s flecked with subtle slide playing redolent of George Harrison’s vintage work), he paints vivid landscapes, scenes that create an emotional connection without words.

Nowhere is that more evident than on the album’s sole cover, a languid take on the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody,” which fuses the original’s mournful poignancy with a gentle jazziness – not to mention an underlying swing that’s all the more impressive when you consider that it, like the rest of Driven, is the product of a one-man band.

While Johnny has been a bandleader for most of his career, he opted to work alone on this outing. That meant playing all the album’s instruments himself, but it also meant producing and engineering the songs – which he recorded in a studio that he invested plenty of blood, sweat and tears in building.

“It was different, but it wasn’t all that difficult,” he says of going the solo route on this outing. “I started out as a drummer, so I knew what I was doing there, and I just built the songs on my own. I just visualized myself as the band – I could see myself playing everything, and doing it all at once.”

That take-no-prisoners attitude has been ingrained in Johnny A. since he first set foot on a stage, whether as leader of locally-acclaimed Boston acts like Hearts on Fire or in the company of acclaimed artists like J. Geils frontman Peter Wolf – whose band he anchored for more than seven years. It fully came to the fore in 1999, when he independently issued his first solo album, Sometime Tuesday Morning – a disc that eventually went on to sell 100,000 copies and spawn “Oh Yeah,” a single that topped the AAA charts (a feat no instrumental song had accomplished in more than a decade).

“When I was in my early bands, I sang, but when I was with [Peter Wolf], I came down with a really bad bronchial infection and never recovered my voice completely,” he says. “I made a conscious decision at that point to focus on instrumental music. I re-evaluated how I played, redefined my approach completely.”

That new approach won plenty of accolades from outlets like the Boston Phoenix, which dubbed him “a singular presence on the Boston rock and pop scene, winding jazz, blues, popular tunes, rock, and flourishes of psychedelic improvisation into a tight, passionate ball.” The success of Sometime Tuesday Morning led to a second release, Get Inside, which brought forth a radio hit in the form of the title track – and drew the folks at Gibson®, who approached Johnny to collaborate on a custom guitar, the second best selling signature model in the company’s illustrious line of instruments.

Ever the restless spirit, Johnny A. continues to glide across genres effortlessly, exploring elements of jazz, soul and even a bit of Chet Atkins-styled country on his instructional DVD Taste, Tone, Space, which was released in 2006.

That stylistic fluidity got front and center placement on Johnny’s 2010 release, the live CD-DVD package One November Night, which captures just such a riveting evening for posterity and proves that , in the words of Premiere Guitar Magazine, “ Johnny A.’s magic crosses over because, like [Bill] Frisell, he doesn’t just play guitar – he plays music.” That year he earned a Blues Artist of the Year award at 2010’s Boston Music Awards.

The journeying continues on the appropriately-titled Driven, a veritable sonic travelogue that takes the listener from the mists of the hypnotic opener “Ghost” through the rough-hewn terrain of “The Arizona Man,” before fading out in the mysteriously lovely sepia tones of “Gone (Like a Sunset).”

“My goal was to make a really lyrical album that would stay with people, not an album that would make people think ‘wow, that guy’s a great guitarist,’” he says. “I’m not interested in blowing someone’s head off with my playing, or showing how I can shred. With my favorite guitarists, I always tried to put my finger on how I could pick them out of a crowd. You can have all the chops in the world and be voiceless – I always want to have a voice.”

website: http://www.johnnya.com
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dped6eRaFUM&feature=youtu.be

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Ray Montford

Saturday, October 19, 2019 | 8:30pm

Ray Montford & Friends
$25 Advance / $30 Door

Ray Montford & Friends return to Hugh’s Room for a rare Toronto Show, one year after the release of Ray’s new album ’Share My Sky’, which is now available on vinyl as well.  For this show, Ray will perform an intimate solo acoustic set, followed by a longer electric set with his stellar band.  The repertoire will feature music from Ray’s entire catalogue.  Joining him will be: Lynn Moffatt – vocals, Ben Riley – drums and Mat Falvai – bass.
Ray Montford’s powerful original tunes are characterized by a wild and raw beauty. Often inspired by the human condition, his instrumental compositions paint haunting canvasses that are rich in imagery, leaving an indelible mark on the listener. Blurring boundaries between rock, blues, jazz and folk, the most striking aspect of Montford’s artistry is that he finds countless ways to convey emotion through his compositions and soulful playing. In the end, it’s all about taking the listener on an unforgettable journey.
Share My Sky, Ray’s new and eight studio album, finds the guitarist expanding his sonic range and compositional depth to offer his most personal and emotional statement to date.

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Lloyd Spiegel   

Wednesday, October 9 ,2019 | 8:30pm

Lloyd Spiegel   
$25 Advance / $30 Door

“A revelation, the consummate performer, an Oz Blues & Roots icon.” – Rolling Stone Australia

Australian blues musician Lloyd Spiegel isn’t here to change the world, just make it a little more bearable. As Lloyd celebrates his 30th year on tour in 2019, he can’t recall a time before playing guitar. Picking up the instrument at age four, Lloyd played his first professional show at age ten and was touring the east coast of Australia at 12.

By 16 he was on tour in the United States, cutting his teeth as a true travelling blues man. Lloyd’s travels not only honed his craft, earned him a swag of awards and brought him to take counsel with the founding fathers of modern blues – it taught him the most important part of being a blues musician: connecting with everyday people.

Lloyd has toured extensively throughout Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan, viewing himself as a social worker more than anything else – someone to help people forget about their worries for a few hours and put a smile on their face. His contributions to music have earned him myriad accolades, such as Best Artist and Best Album at the Australian Blues Awards and being named as one of Australian Guitar Magazine’s Top 50 Australian guitarists of all time.

He has also supported the likes of Ray Charles, Bob Dylan and Etta James, and sat in with masters of the blues genre such as Brownie McGhee and Luther Allison.

In 2019, Lloyd releases his tenth album ‘Cut And Run’, the final part of an unexpected trilogy about personal redemption Lloyd didn’t even realise he was writing until it was finished. Where previous albums ‘Backroads’ and ‘This Time Tomorrow’ had Lloyd asking questions and begging forgiveness for the sins of his past, on ‘Cut And Run’ he has found the tenacity to face the next chapter of his life.

First taste of the album is lead single ‘Track Her Down’, a deep and soulful blues number about the fleeting, yet precious, nature of connections he makes with people on the road and the fragility of personal relationships for a travelling musician.

Since 2004, Lloyd has been the world-wide demonstrator and premier endorsee for Cole Clark Guitars, an Australian company that designs and builds its guitars with Lloyd’s hard-hitting style in mind.

Somewhere between songwriter, social worker and truth-seeker sits Lloyd Spiegel, guitar in hand and a song at the ready. Don’t miss this incredible talent and charismatic personality when Lloyd Spiegel returns to stages around the world.

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Bill Durst

Saturday, October 5, 2019 | 8:30pm

Bill Durst
Advance $25.00 / Door: $30.00

Bill Durst is an award winning Canadian Blues Rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, entertainer who has written and recorded over 125 songs on 12 albums with 7 national radio hits. The Jack Richardson Hall of Famer has opened for Aerosmith, Rush, BTO, Yardbirds, Johnny Winter, Burton Cummings, Loverboy, George Thorogood, Bad Company, Edgar Winter Group, Jeff Healey, John Mayall, Downchild, David Wilcox, Little Feat and more. Mr. Durst has toured across North America and in Europe and tours extensively in Canada.

Born in Wingham and growing up in London, Ontario, Bill was heavily influenced by Motown R&B, Toronto Psychedelic Soul, British Blues, Hendrix and BB King. Durst entered the national/international stage with his classic rock band Thundermug who had a number one hit in 1972. Thundermug recorded 5 albums, (3 albums in the 1970s, two CDs in the 1990s), releasing records in the US and Europe. Bill’s first two solo albums came in the eighties but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that Durst got some real career momentum.

In 2004 Bill formed a “fuzzy, little, smokin’ blues band”and since then Durst and co-writer/bassist Joe DeAngelis have produced 5 full length CDs; The Wharncliffe Sessions (’05), The Great Willy Mammoth (’09), Bill Durst Live (‘12), Hard And Heavy (’13), Good Good Lovin (’15).

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