Saturday, February 18, 2017
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Now watching the JUNO Nominee announcement webcast. That's very convenient since outside is miserable freezing rain but I'm still feeling a little left out that I didn't get invited this year. I would have liked to check out the Rebel nightclub (formerly Sound Academy). I think it's the biggest club in town (45.000 square feet!). I heard in the speeches that they have a new publicist so I guess I'm not on "the list." But I rise above these petty things and am glad to promote the blues nominees, the two Colin's, Sean Pinchin, Paul Reddick and, the dark horse nominees, Whitehorse - not regular players on the blues scene but deserve it for bringing the blues vibe to a mainstream audience. It was a bit of a "fun side-project" for these two and I don't expect their next album to be anything near blues but it was nice to have them visiting in our world for a while. I doubt they'll be trying to get gigs on the blues circuit (where, as they say, there's "hundreds of dollars to be made"). Other (non-blues) friends who were nominated include Brenna MacCrimmon (Turkwaz), Chris McKhool (Sultans of String) and Jesse King, aka Dubmatix. You can see the complete list at www.junoawards.ca.
The Canadian contingent at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis made us proud this year. Dawn Tyler Watson (backed up by the Ben Racine Band) won first prize and it must be extra sweet for DTW who just came out of a triple-bypass heart operation. Amazing. I had a nice chat with her at the Blues Summit and she did an accapella tune at a private showcase by the Montreal & Ottawa Blues societies. You can watch it here
Congrats also to JW-Jones and Ben Racine for their awards and also to my buddy Ken Kawashima, aka Sugar Brown, who made it into the finals and I bet would've won if harmonica maestro Bharath Rajakumar had been able to join him as planned. Great that he got to hang with his mentor, Taildragger, who taught him the ropes when he was coming up in Chicago. All the info is at www.blues.org
A lot of my friends and colleagues feel a little uncomfortable about the "competitive" aspect of these awards programmes. It doesn't fit our Canadian ethos. I got to hang out with Harry Manx while he was touring out this way and he talked about how different it was in India where the musicians are really competitive, sometimes trash-talking each other. Now that would never happen here ;-)
And the Maple Blues Awards also happened and it was a great show - fabulous, moving performances and a sweep for Quebec artists. How nice it was to hang with the legendary Stephen Barry who I knew way back when in (lower) Westmount. He received a lifetime achievement award and well-deserved it was. I couldn't get over MC Steve Marriner's impressions of Paul Reddick and Richard Flohil. As if he isn't busy enough with music projects, I wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood doesn't come calling pretty soon. All the winners at http://torontobluessociety.com/about-maple-blues-awards/