Helping John Mays of Fathead Comments Off

Over the years – since 2011 with Stonebridge Blues it has become clear the blues scene is a community.

Well a member of this community needs help: John Mays, lead singer of the band Fathead. Blues musicians, fans and supporters— the community— are rallying for John who has been sick for a while.

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Fathead

After several rounds of tests it’s been determined he has pancreatic cancer doctors are going to try chemotherapy and radiation, in hopes the tumour will shrink enough to make surgery an option.

Right now John is unable to work. Being a bluesman is rewarding, but it comes with its downside. On top of dealing with a medical crisis, John and his wife are struggling financially. This battle could be a long road.

John’s roots in music are steeped in the U.S. south: He was raised in Georgia absorbing the southern gospel sounds, doo-wop, blues, and R&B. According to the Fathead website, John also did “a stint with the Godfather Of Soul James Brown.” John has won two Juno Awards and the Maple Blues Award for Male Vocalist of the year seven times. The 73 year-old released a solo CD, I Found Love, in 2011.

He played at Wasaga Beach Blues in 2012, as member of Fathead, and the Maple Blues Revue: what a voice. Several of us, including Fathead stayed at the Waterside Retirement Lodge. During breakfast with John and band mate Al Lerman, he was fun, engaging, beaming— both men were. It was a real treat to talk to them.

John Mays & The Maple Blues Revue ~ August 26, 2012 ~ Photo By Starbound Music Studios, Wasaga Beach

John Mays (in red) at Wasaga Beach Blues in 2012

 

Whenever I see John and Al at other festivals and events, they are always, warm, easy going, and friendly.

Formed in 1992, Fathead has released nine albums and has become a favourite on the music festival circuit. They are considered one of Canada’s top roots/blues bands and have won numerous awards including two JUNOs. Fathead has opened for of some of the blues greats including B.B. King.

Fathead & Friends are holding a fundraiser for him at Hugh’s Room in Toronto on Saturday Feb. 7 at 8:30 p.m. Because people have been supporting John, the event is sold out. Performers include, Jackie Richardson, Chuck Jackson, Harrison Kennedy, Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley, Carlos Del Junco, and Ken Whiteley. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Electro-Fi Records, Steve’s Music, and Long & McQuade are donating raffle prizes. Original artwork will also be raffled off. Hugh’s Room is located at 2261 Dundas St. West. Call 416-531-6604 or visit www.hughsroom.com.

John Mays Benefit Poster

If you are not going to the benefit there are other ways you can help John Mays: you can share this post, donate and send kind wishes of hope. For more information, visit http://www.fathead.biz/help-john-mays.

Yours in Blues,

Erica Phillips

On Behalf of the Wasaga Beach Blues Festival

18th Annual Maple Blues Awards Comments Off

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The 18th Annual Maple Blues Awards will be held on Monday Jan. 19 at The Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall in Toronto. This event is hosted by the Toronto Blues Society and recognizes the best in Canadian blues. Our artistic director, Chuck Jackson, has been nominated for vocalist of the year: http://torontobluessociety.com/2014-maple-blues-awards-nominees/.

MBA15 poster for EP

Tickets are on sale for $35 to $65 and can be purchased at the Weston Family Box Office, located in the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning at 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto, by phone at 416-408-0208 or online at https://tickets.rcmusic.ca/public. Charter members of the Toronto Blues Society can purchase tickets at a discount of $28.00.

Wasaga Beach Blues Festival 2015 Comments Off

We’re gearing up for the Fifth Annual Wasaga Beach Blues Festival this September at the Stonebridge Town Centre.

Contact us to participate: more fans, volunteers, vendors and sponsors are always welcome.

The Blues has a new home in Wasaga Beach.

 

Wasaga Beach Blues Festival Brought Coolness and Heat to Wasaga Beach Part III Comments Off

Fans continued to enjoy live music during the Sunday shows at the Fourth Annual Wasaga Beach Blues Festival at the Stonebridge Town Centre.

WBB14 Crowd MontageGroovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon

Warmer temperatures and sunny skies prevailed on Sunday. Mark ‘Bird’ Stafford’s Junior Jam, which was popular last year, started the day. Several young people aged 10 to 17 joined Stafford, a harmonica player, Gary Kendall, Tyler Burgess, and Chris Burgess on stage during two sets.

WBBF14 Junior Jam and JamesThe young people who participated in the Junior Jam: Henry Carter, James Caston, Aaron Kowalchuck Kaylee MacDonald, Rory MacDonald, and Korrina MacDonald, played and sang on the main stage with professional musicians. Many of the arrangements were made on the fly— that day. The Junior Jam gets young musicians in front of large crowds on main stages and helps them build their confidence.

WBBF14 Carlos del Junco_emHarmonica player, Carlos del Junco, showed the audience why he has won so many accolades including eight Maple Blues Awards. Joined by his backing band the Blues Mongrels, del Junco had the ever-increasing fans dancing along.

WBBF14 Steve Strongman Jump_emThe Steve Strongman Band really got the crowds going with its brand of loud, high-energy blues-rock. Guitarist Strongman, a sharp- dressed man, jumped off the stage on to a table and played in the crowd. His set, featuring songs from his latest CD Let Me Prove It To You left the fans wanting more and showed why he too has earned so many awards including a JUNO.

WBBF14 Downchild_em Recent JUNO award-winners the Legendary Downchild Blues Band capped off the festival on a high note, playing songs from their recent and award winning CD Can You Hear the Music. Fans flooded to the area in front of the stage and danced and sang along to new and classic Downchild songs. It was a performance that proved why Downchild is one of Canada’s leading blues bands.

WBBF14 VolunteersMontage_emContact us to participate in the Fifth Annual Wasaga Beach Blues Festival in 2015: more fans, volunteers, vendors and sponsors are always welcome.

The Blues has a new home in Wasaga Beach.

 

Voting Opens for the 18th Annual Maple Blues Awards Comments Off

MBA-high-res-293x300From now through Dec. 5, 2014 (11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time) you can vote for your favourite blues artist in all categories except for instrumental: visit www.maplesblues.ca. The Maple Blues Awards are hosted by the Toronto Blues Society.

MonkeyJunk, Downchild, and Steve Hill lead the nominations this year: two of these acts have played at the Wasaga Beach Blues Festival and Chuck Jackson of Downchild is our artistic director.

Downchild - Full Band Happy Colour 2009

Downchild, now celebrating its 45th year, received five nominations: Electric Act of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year (Chuck Jackson), Horn Player of the Year (Pat Carey), Recording/Producer of the Year for Can You Hear the Music, producer – Don Walsh; and Michael Fonfara,  Blues With A Feeling (Lifetime Achievement Award).

WBBF14 Lance Anderson_emLance Anderson, who has been a regular performer at the Wasaga Beach Blues Festival since it began in 2011 has been nominated for Piano or Keyboard Player of the Year. Many of the nominees have played at the Wasaga Beach Blues Festival.

The Maple Blues Awards is a great show celebrating Canada’s blues scene and Koerner Hall is a beautiful venue. The ceremony will be held on Jan.19, 2015 in Toronto at the Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall (273 Bloor St. W.).

Tickets, which range in price from $28 to $65, are now on sale: Call 416- 408-0208 or visit https://tickets.rcmusic.ca/public. Members of the Toronto Blues Society are eligible for discounts. Contact TBS for details: 416-538-3885, info@torontobluessociety.com.

Good luck to all of the nominees and thank you for keeping the blues alive in Canada.

-Erica Phillips

Wasaga Beach Blues Festival Brought Coolness and Heat to Wasaga Beach Part II Comments Off

Wasaga Beach got very loud on Saturday Sept. 13 courtesy of the Fourth Annual Wasaga Beach Blues Festival at the Stonebridge Town Centre

Saturday in the Park

WBBF14 Steve Hill_em3Early morning showers didn’t dampen the spirits of the musicians, fans and volunteers who donned coats and gloves to watch performances by Steve Hill, Chris Gill and Festival Express, plus Texassippi Soul Man Danny Brooks, The Weber Brothers, and Mad Dogs & Englishmen— the Music of Joe Cocker and Leon Russell on Saturday.

Just in time for Hill’s performance, the sun came out and the Montreal-based guitarist, who is highly-regarded, delivered a show that rocked the Stonebridge Town Centre and kicked of the Wasaga Beach Blues Festival on a strong, blistering note.

 

WBBF14 Joe and Chris Mix_ em

 

Chris Gill, a guitarist and singer who hails from Jackson, Mississippi, made his second visit to the Festival. Backed by an array of Canadian musicians including Joe Murphy and Lance Anderson, Chris Gill and the Festival Express had people dancing, soaking up the sun—when it did appear—and the sounds.

Texassippi Soul Man Danny Brooks delivered his popular mix of Texas blues and Mississippi blues accompanied by his wife Debi. Some of the songs he performed were from his latest CD Texassippi Soul Man.

Debi Danny, WebersAs the sun set, the musical temperature rose, courtesy of The Weber Brothers from Maryland. Ryan and Sam Weber, along with Shai “Cookie” Peer, Marcus Browne and Rico Browne, who have worked with Ronnie Hawkins and became Hawks, performed a set that had the crowds wanting more.

Mad Dogs Lance and GalsAward-winning producer and keyboardist Lance Anderson created another highly-anticipated show: Mad Dogs & Englishmen – The Music of Joe Cocker and Leon Russell. The ensemble was comprised of Anderson, Chuck Jackson, Danny Brooks, Cheryl Lescom, Quisha Wint, Selena Evangeline, Kolette Easy, Terry Blersh, Howard Ayee, Michael Sloski, Shamakah Ali, Arturo Avalos, Simon Wallis, Dave Dunlop, and Matt Weidinger. Together they delivered soul-stirring renditions of “With a Little Help From My Friends” and “The Letter” and more: “Unchain My Heart” was the encore.

Boston Pizza and Wild Wing, both in the Stonebridge Town Centre, continued the vibe with live music until 2 a.m.

VENDORSThe Vendors’ Village, the Stilt Guys, The Blus Bros and the Wasaga Beach Cruisers and the liquid lounge (staffed by the Rotary Club of Wasaga Beach and Area) contributed to the festive atmosphere.

-Erica Phillips

Wasaga Beach Blues Festival Brought Coolness and Heat to Wasaga Beach • Part I

Wasaga Beach Blues Festival Brought Coolness and Heat to Wasaga Beach • Part I Comments Off

Sizzling music warmed up Wasaga Beach at the Fourth Annual Wasaga Beach Blues Festival at the Stonebridge Town Centre, Sept. 12 to 14. More than 6,000 music lovers from all over danced, boogied, and sang— and soaked up blues from a variety of Canadian and American musicians representing a mix of blues styles.

WBBF14 Chuck Sunday_em

Photos by Enrique Miranda, Enrique Photo Art

Fans started the weekend dining and dancing at the Boogie Woogie Blues Banquet at the Wasaga RecPlex. The Hogtown Allstars, featuring Chuck Jackson Gary Kendall, Pat Carey, Mike Fonfara, Mike Fitzpatrick, and Teddy Leonard— plus Texassippi Soul Man Danny Brooks, Joe Murphy, and Chris Gill— brought guests to their feet. Catering by Taste of Paradise Fine Foods provided southern cuisine much to the delight of the 175 guests.

WBBF14 Banquet Band_ em

The Blus Bros and the Stilt Guys, added to the fun, which continued into the night with more live music from Wayne Buttery & The Groove Project at the Beacon Restaurant.

All the action generated rave reviews on Twitter and Facebook.

More photos are available under the “Photos” tab.

Fifth Annual Wasaga Beach Blues Festival

Contact us to participate in the Fifth Annual Wasaga Beach Blues Festival in 2015: more fans, volunteers, vendors and sponsors are always welcome.

The Blues has a new home in Wasaga Beach.

Life, Death and The Blues

Life, Death and The Blues Comments Off

In case you need more blues, check out Life, Death and The Blues  playing at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto until Oct. 19, 2014.

Written by Raoul Bhaneja, Life, Death and The Blues stars Bhaneja and Divine Brown, plus Jake Chisholm, Tom Bona, and Chris Banks in the band.

This play, which is directed by Eda Holmes, features a special guest appearance by a different blues artist at every performance. Chuck Jackson of the Legendary Downchild Blues Band was part of a recent show.

A must see for any blues lover,” Jackson says.

You can watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9uv0lfEb0U.

Here’s a list of the legends who have or will appear in Life, Death and The Blues.

 

LEGEND GUEST LIST

For more information, visit http://passemuraille.ca/archives/current-season/life-death-and-the-blues.

-Erica Phillips

Canada’s Blues Community Celebrates at the 17th Annual Maple Blue Awards

Canada’s Blues Community Celebrates at the 17th Annual Maple Blue Awards Comments Off

Koerner Hall had the blues last night.

Presented by the Toronto Blues Society, the 17th Annual Maple Blues Awards brought together fans, musicians and those who support blues music from across Canada. Dawn Tyler Watson and JW-Jones hosted and performed at the celebration.

The Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle Blues and Jazz Festival, in Mississauga, which was founded by Chuck Jackson, won the Blues Booster Awards for its contribution to Canada’s blues culture and festivals’ scene.  Jackson, of the Legendary Downchild Blues Band, established the iconic popular festival in Port Credit in 1999. Jackson is also the musical director of the Wasaga Beach Blues Festival.

Jackson couldn’t attend the ceremony but prepared this video  message:

Chuck Jackson Thank You

Ottawa trio MonkeyJunk was the big winner. Steve Marriner, Matt Sobb and Tony D. won five awards: Electric Act of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Recording of the Year for All Frequencies and Harmonica Player of the Year for Marriner.

House band, the Maple Blues Band kept the vibe hot: Gary Kendall, Teddy Leonard, Michael Fonfara, Chris Murphy, Al Lerman, Pat Carey, Chris Whiteley and Tim Bona. Kendall, Bona, and Whiteley picked up awards last night.

MonkeyJunk, The 24th Street Wailers, Charlie A’Court, David Vest and Little Miss Higgins also delivered high-energy performances.

Winners

Female Vocalist of the Year

Angel Forrest

New Artist or Group of the Year

The Mackenzie Blues Band

Electric Act of the Year

MonkeyJunk

Acoustic Act of the Year

Dawn Tyler Watson and Paul Deslauriers

B.B. King International Artist of the Year

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Entertainer of the Year

MonkeyJunk

Harmonica Player of the Year

Steve Marriner

Bassist of the Year

Gary Kendall

Male Vocalist of the Year

Jim Byrnes

Guitar Player of the Year

Paul Deslauriers

Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year

Lance Anderson

Horn Player of the Year

Chris Whiteley

Drummer of the Year

Tom Bona

Songwriter of the Year

MonkeyJunk: Steve Marriner, Matt Sobb and Tony Diteodoro

Recording of the Year

All Frequencies – MonkeyJunk (Stony Plain)

Blues With a Feeling Award

Bob Walsh

 

A post awards reception with a jam session led by Lance Anderson capped off the 17th Maple Blues Awards.

Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners. For more information, visit www.torontobluesociety.com.

 

-Erica Phillips

Congratulations to the Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle

Congratulations to the Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle Comments Off

The Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle Blues and Jazz Festival in Port Credit has won the Blues Booster of the  Year  Award from the Toronto Blues Society.

This special Maple Blues Award recognizes the festival’s contribution to the Canadian blues industry.

Chuck Jackson of the Legendary Downchild Blues Band established the music festival in Mississauga in 1999. Jackson is also the musical director of the Wasaga Beach Blues Festival.

He has received many accolades for his contributions to helping keep the blues alive in Canada; as a promoter through festivals and as a member of Downchild: the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Inductee into Festivals and Events Ontario Hall of Fame, Mississauga’s  Music Walk of Fame, and Mississauga’s Legends Row.

The Maple Blues Awards gala takes place on Jan. 20, 2014 in Toronto at the Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall. For more information, visit http://torontobluessociety.com/about-maple-blues-awards/ .

Congratulations to Chuck Jackson and the entire Southside Shuffle team.

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