January 23, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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,
On Behalf of the Wasaga Beach Blues Festival