Archive for Toronto Blues Society

Suzie Vinnick

Friday, December 27, 2019 | 8:30pm

Suzie Vinnick
$25 Advance / $30 Door *

A Saskatoon native transplanted to the Niagara Region of Ontario, Suzie Vinnick is the proud owner of a gorgeous voice, prodigious guitar and bass chops, and an engagingly candid performance style.

Her career has seen triumph after triumph. Among her most recent successes: being awarded the 2019 Saskatchewan Jazz Festival Special Recognition Award; being nominated for a 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award for Producer of the Year with her co-producer, Mark Lalama.  Suzie achieved finalist status in the Solo/Duo Category at the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN; received the 2012 CBC Saturday Night Blues Great Canadian Blues Award and the 2012 Sirius XM Canada Blues Artist of the Year. Suzie has won 10 Maple Blues Awards (she has been nominated for 21 so far!), won the 2011 Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Vocalist of the Year and is a 3X Juno Nominee.

Suzie has toured nationally with Stuart McLean’s The Vinyl Café and the John McDermott Band, and performed for Canadian Peacekeepers in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf. She was also the voice of Tim Horton’s for 5 years.

Suzie has just released her latest album, a full-band roots and blues extravaganza entitled Shake The Love Around.

“Suzie Vinnick is a unique talent; a triple threat singer/songwriter/guitarist. She is emotive, joyous and funky all in the same song. Shake the Love Around is a great evolutionary step for this thoughtful and engaging artist.”-  Blues Blast Magazine


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Steve Strongman

Wednesday, November 27, 2019 | 8:30pm

Steve Strongman
$15 Advance / $20 Door *

Opening Act: Spencer MacKenzie

JUNO Award-winning Canadian bluesman Steve Strongman is a versatile talent, and a restless one. By constantly pushing himself in new directions, he has kept himself vital. His talent is huge and impossible to miss, and it’s matched by his staggering musical ambition — as guitar-slinger, songwriter or vocalist. The same structures and progressions that animate blues and roots music can also choke the air out of it, smothering it in caricature and cliché. But Strongman is a subtle shape-shifter who manages to slip that trap without betraying the music he loves. Throughout, he never sounds an inauthentic note or loses touch with the essence of the blues.

The 2019 release of Strongman’s 7th studio recording “Tired of Talkin'” is destined to further establish the guitar slinger’s reputation as one of the most exciting artists on the International Blues scene.  Strongman’s impressive resume includes stints opening for guitar legends such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Johnny Winter. The performer’s breakthrough 2012 release A Natural Fact was hailed as a standout, earning Maple Blues Awards for Recording, Songwriter, and Guitarist Of The Year as well as a 2013 Juno Award for Blues Recording Of The Year. In 2014 he was thrice-nominated at the Maple Blues Awards (Guitar Player, Electric Act, and Entertainer of the Year) and in 2015 received a second Juno nod for Blues Album of the Year (for Let Me Prove It To You).  In 2018, No Time Like Now, was a Juno award nominee for Blues Album of the Year and in 2019, Strongman won Best Guitarist for the Solo Duo Category at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.  His 2019 release “Tired of Talkin” is earning rave reviews and showcases why Strongman is one of the most exciting performers on the scene today.

Beyond Strongman’s talent as a songwriter, guitarist and front man is his ability to engage his audience and deliver an outstanding performance at every live show. With his inimitable guitar playing and soulful vocals, Strongman delivers incredible performances with power and passion. Steve Strongman has a way of stirring a crowd that evokes the emotion, maturity and authenticity of classic blues themes. His music speaks for truth and passion, and offers hope for the soul in the face of hard times in a way that leaves audiences craving more.  In a musical world of many pretenders, Steve Strongman is as real and authentic as it gets.



Spencer Mackenzie

‘New Artist of the Year’ Maple Blues Award winner, Spencer MacKenzie, has an insightful musical expression emerging from his body and the only explanation is an old soul residing within! He has a deep, soulful, true to the blues sound, with an electrifying twist that captivates his audience. There is no question that musicians should be judged by ability and not by age, and that is certainly the case with blues artist Spencer MacKenzie…”his guitar playing is crisp and clean even as it delivers some down-to-the bone licks…He’s got the blues power in his soul…” – Blues Blast Magazine (USA).

Spencer’s newest album ‘Cold November’ had an incredible team in the creation including the legendary Eddie Krammer who mixed one of the songs on the album. His new original ‘Move on Down the Track’ was a finalist in the Blues Category for the 2017 International Songwriting Competition. It is consistently hitting the top of the Blues Charts and receiving rave reviews around the World. Spencer was honoured and extremely thankful to receive a funding grant from FACTOR Canada which has allowed him to bring his album to incredible heights!

“He mentions many of his influences such as B.B. King, Jonny Lang, Joe Bonamassa, Colin James, Jimi Hendrix …. Spencer, nevertheless, has his own sound which, in my humble opinion, is going to carry him to great heights”  – Blues and Roots Radio Worldwide


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Lachy Doley

Thursday, August 15, 2019 | 8:30pm

Lachy Doley 
$15 Advance / $20 Door

Dubbed the Jimi Hendrix of the Hammond Organ, Lachy Doley is Australia’s most celebrated Blues Soul Rock Organ Player in the world today. A player who can pump, pamper and occasionally pound the most unbelievable sounds from a keyboard: sounds that are intense, ferocious and sometimes transcendent.

Recently going viral on Facebook with videos clocking up millions of views. His version of the Bill Wither’s classic Use Me is now sitting at 4 million Facebook views alone.

Lachy Doley has seen much of the world, recording and touring with acts as diverse as Powderfinger, Glenn Hughes, Steve Vai, Jimmy Barnes, The Beautiful Girls – more recently recording on a new album of Joe Bonamassa’s which came out in early 2015. It was 2010 though, that saw the birth of The Lachy Dooley Group and they have been heavily recording and touring ever since.

The group’s latest album Make or Break (May 2019) is on track to surpass their previous album by debuting at #40 on the Australian National Charts the ARIAS. Their previous album Conviction reached #5 on the UK Blues Broadcasters Charts, #1 on the Australian iTunes Blues Charts and #1 on the Australian Blues & Roots Airplay Charts. Along with their third tour of Europe and the UK plus their tour of Canada, 2017 is set to be a big year for the group.

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STINK LP 50th Gala featuring Mike McKenna

Thursday, June 6, 2019 | 8:30PM

STINK LP 50th Gala featuring Mike McKenna and Slidewinder Blues Band

Advance $23.00 / Door $26.00 *

Fifty years in, Mike McKenna is continuing to raise a big Stink. Initially released in 1969 on Liberty United Artists Records by Toronto’s McKenna Mendelson Mainline, Stink has carved its own legacy and remained a consistently-selling blues classic throughout its lifespan. Now, the album is being played in its entirety in concert by guitarist McKenna’s current outfit the Slidewinders Blues Band.

“It’s nice to have the longevity,” says McKenna, a veteran of Luke & The Apostles, The Ugly Ducklings and many other legendary Toronto bands throughout the years.

“And it’s great to still be playing the music and having people enjoying it. It’s cool that Stink is still relevant and means something to so many people out there today. It’s a classic album and we’re a classic band and I’ll admit to it, “ he laughs.

Accompanied by Rob Kirkpatrick (Luke & The Apostles) on drums, Hap Roderman (Rough Trade) on bass and Tom Robertson on vocals, guitar, harmonica and slide guitar, McKenna and his own slide will recreate such favourites as “Better Watch Out,” ”Beltmaker” and “T.B. Blues” authentically.

“We do the Stink album as true to the album as possible, “McKenna admits.” It isn’t McKenna Mendelson Mainline, but it’s as close as you’re gonna hear it.”

But Mainline fans don’t only have the Stink album performance to look forward to: McKenna’s Slidewinders also perform selections from the band’s two follow-up albums, 1971’s Our Home and Native Land and 1972’s Bump and Grind Revue.

“It’s not really a tribute,” McKenna insists. “I’m just bringing the music alive again. I also play tribute to some of my blues heroes like Muddy Waters and Sleepy John Estes, Paul Butterfield – lots of different people that still enjoy. It’s a mish-mash of everything but Stink is really a celebration of the music.”

The original Mainline – McKenna, singer Joe Mendelson (later branding himself Mendelson Joe), bassist Mike Harrison and drummer Tony Nolasco – formed in 1968, following an ad that McKenna placed in the Toronto Star.

“The Apostles had broken up and I played with the Ugly Ducklings during the Gaslight period for about a year, toured with them.” McKenna recalls. “I was such a blues hound at the time that I wanted to form a blues band. I put an ad in the newspaper and Joe, among other people called me and said, ‘Don’t you think you’re a little naïve for putting your name in the paper?’ Those were his first words to me and I thought, “I gotta meet this guy.’ The deal was that whatever we did play, we recorded as McKenna Mendelson Blues – and that was done as a bootleg eventually.”

The quartet came to the quick realization that sticking around Canada wouldn’t be the most prudent of career moves.

“We looked at each other and said, ‘If we end up staying in Canada, we’re going to die a musical death here,’” McKenna remembers. “I was all for it – I wanted to go play somewhere. We originally were going to go to LA just like Neil Young and Bruce Palmer did, but we decided to go to England. There was a huge blues boom there and because we were British subjects we could work over there on six-month visas.

“It was quite a culture shock.”

With a few months of landing, Mainline obtained an agent, signed with Liberty United Artists Records and made an immediate impact as a live act in a scene that included John Mayall, Keef Hartley and the Chicken Shack and Fleetwood Mac.

With the astute and humorous pen of Mendelson, Stink was recorded, released and an instant worldwide hit.

“I think we could have all been stand-up comedians at one point, “McKenna admits. “We had great humour in the album – Joe’s writing encompassed lots of humour and lots of human statements. I think the thing was that the music was honest. We didn’t try to put a lot of flash to it, although everybody had their own unique sound. People from Florida to Canada to the UK to Europe always tell me that they like to play the album and just dance around with it.”

The 10-hours of daily rehearsal paid off as Mainline thrilled audiences on the UK club circuit (once opening for Howlin’ Wolf), a festival in Utrecht, Holland (sharing the bill with The Who and

Traffic) and eventually headlining in Australia (Frijid Pink fired them for getting too much applause from concert audiences) and America (getting a standing ovation for their opening slot and impressing The Jeff Beck Group which included singer Rod Stewart).

“When they saw Joe up there screamin’ and yellin’ and jumpin’ at them, they just loved it,” McKenna recalls. “We were very lucky very fortunate and we worked very hard.”

McKenna was also working on developing his own slide technique, one informed by the old blues greats and one that would eventually win admiration from the great Duane Allman.

“The slide guitar was something that I loved more than anything,” McKenna states. “Listening in my early days to Elmore James and Robert Johnson. And in those Stink songs, you can hear some ragtime, a little bit of Howlin’ Wolf, some Muddy Waters- and then you hear Mainline, the accumulation of all these different bands.”

Today, Mike McKenna and the Slidewinders Blues Band are keeping the Stink flame alive, whether it’s playing locally around Toronto or appearing at the Kitchener or Wasaga Beach blues fests.

“I love playing ‘One Way Ticket ‘ – one of my absolute favourites because I get to smoke away on the slide guitar – and of course our signature song, ‘Mainline,’ ‘I Think I’m Losing my Marbles’ and ‘T.B. Blues’ – it just keeps going!

“I love them all and I love playing them – even at my current age of 100 years old,” he quips.

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Anthony Gomes

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | 8:30PM

Anthony Gomes

Advance $35.00 / Door $38.00 *

Anthony Gomes, #1 Billboard Blues Artist, is a triple threat force as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. This, along with his high-energy shows and dynamic stage presence, make him one of the top draws on the Rock/Blues circuit today.

Gomes’ new record Peace, Love & Loud Guitars, named Best Blues Album of 2018 by Blues Rock Review and SoundGuardian Magazine, is the culmination of a life spent honoring Blues traditions while never losing sight of his own identity.  The Toronto-born guitar slinger stands his ground as a creative artist and is eager to push the Blues back into the mainstream.

“My goal is to keep the Blues fresh, exciting and even dangerous,” says Gomes. “I want to bring back the thrill longtime Bluesmen created in their day. At the same time, I think it’s very important for the music to grow and evolve.”

He has performed with the likes of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Robert Plant, Heart, Sammy Hagar, Joe Bonamassa, .38 Special, Jonny Lang, Robert Cray and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

Gomes recalled a conversation he had years ago with one of those legends. “B.B. King told me the Blues are like the laws of the land. They need to be amended to the times we live in,” Gomes said. “As an artist, it’s very exciting to think that the Blues can be just as groundbreaking today as it ever was.”

Believing that music can inspire the human spirit, Anthony founded the Music Is the Medicine Foundation in 2010. This non-profit organization is dedicated to changing the lives of others through the healing power of music.

Anthony Gomes has nothing left to prove while leaving all his passion on the table. Nonetheless, he continues striving to not only find the legendary “lost chord,” but the ultimate combinations of words, notes and performance. Looking for an actual 21st Century guitar hero? Here he is.

You can get a free album download featuring his hit song “Come Down” and other hit songs from throughout his career at:

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