Brian Blain Bio (all media quotes)

Elder blues statesman (WRYCRAFT RADIO) …born in rural Quebec and active in the music scene for forty years, possesses a “northern“ style that gives him a cool edge that just can't be found in any other artist. His easy blend of folk and blues is a running commentary on life as he sees it. He combines his sardonic wit with his soulful guitar skills and crafts it into a unique musical perspective. (VERONICA TIMPANELLI, JAZZREVIEW.COM) ...a fine singer-songwriter and an accomplished performer who lives at the corner of Blues Street and Folk Avenue …one of the wittiest songwriting pens on the Canadian blues scene. (MIKE REGENSTREIF, MONTREAL GAZETTE, FOLK ROUTES FOLK BRANCHES) …this Toronto-based Quebec native, a longtime fixture on the Canadian acoustic blues scene, writes ironic, biting lyrics that are equally funny and insightful. (JEFF JOHNSON, CHICAGO SUN TIMES) …he takes all his love for the blues and its offspring musics and filters it through a brain not exactly embittered by a downtrodden existence. Kind of John Hartford meets Steve Goodman meets the Red Clay Ramblers meets J.J. Cale. (STEVE BACHLEDA, THE BLUES AMBASSADOR, MICHIGAN) …Blain is an astute observer of life and this is reflected in his lyrics which are shot through with a wry sense of humour. (GORDON BAXTER, BLUES ON STAGE)Brian Blain is an articulate, humorous singer-songwriter with a bluesy bent. His vocals are natural in the extreme, with no attempts to sound black or street (mostly the approach works). (BLUES REVUE)Call Blain's music the blues of an educated sensibility that is just too connected to real life to be smug or brittle, an articulated expressiveness without pretension that possesses a literacy far too much lacking in our American music (INDIANA BLUES MONTHLY) …wry and thoughtful songwriting, singing with great empathy, and completely lacking affectation, guided by the universal blues aesthetic of related experiences, connecting listeners to performance, and making them highly accessible (DAVID “DR FEELGOOD“ BARNARD, CKLN-FM)It is refreshing to know of artists such as Brian Blain (MUSIC CITY BLUES SOCIETY, NASHVILLE)

More about Brian Blain

If you're involved in blues & roots music you have probably heard the name but not necessarily the music.  At 16, he and his folk group travelled to RCA's 3-track studio in Montreal where he made his first recording, "Les Marionettes" (Disques Match, 1964) but has spent most of his 50 years in the music business behind the scenes or on the sidelines - managing, producing and playing bass for other artists, editing and publishing music newsletters and websites and being the go-to desktop publishing and I.T. guy for numerous music organizations, while making time for local gigs and selected touring, putting out a CD every five years or so and hosting his legendary "Blues Campfire Jam" at The Tranzac, Hwy 61 BBQ, The Gladstone Hotel and for the last three years at Toronto's Old Mill.

He started out in the hills of the Eastern Townships of Quebec where he played bass in Oliver Klaus, Quebec's original "D.I.Y." band (according to promoter Donald K. Donald), produced an album for Columbia Records (USA) with the iconoclastic folk group Fraser & DeBolt, and put out his first solo recording which featured Jim Gordon, drummer for Derek and the Dominoes, Blues Brother Tom "Bones" Malone on horns (and bass), and members of Manhattan Transfer, Frank Zappa's Mothers and The Montreal Symphony Orchestra. It was called "The Story of the Magic Pick"(Good Noise/Polydor, 1973), a fantasy tale about the music business and the first of many tunes Brian would write about the music scene and the musicians he's worked with like Scott "Professor Piano" Cushnie, Paul Reddick, Kathi MacDonald and the audience favourite, "Last Time I Saw Lenny (Breau)."

His 1999 complaint, "Blues is Hurting," was included on the Toronto Blues Society compilation "Toronto Blues Today." When no one was listening to the singer at a CD launch, he wrote "One More Weasel" at the back table in the Rivoli in Toronto (on a proverbial napkin). As Jeffrey Morgan wrote in the Detroit Times, “Now here’s something you don’t hear every day: a bluesman singin’ the blues about how lousy the blues singin’ business is these days.” 

About the new CD

"Brian Blain's Pension Plan" gets a little political with a new anti-ageism blues anthem, "I'm not 50 Anymore" (with Monkey Junk's Steve Marriner blowing some killer harp) and the Afro-blues "Water Song" with world music luminaries Sadio Sissokho on kora and Harry Manx on mohan veena.

"You Are Also His Son" and "Not Worried Blues (An American Dream)" were recorded with JUNO winner Julian Fauth on piano and Mike Fitzpatrick, the first drummer Brian worked with when he got to Toronto. Mike is the stickman for Canada's most popular blues band, Downchild, and he is joined on this recording by fellow Downchilders, Pat Carey on sax and Gary Kendall on bass and handling the production chores with renown engineer L. Stu Young.

Brian always includes a French tune on his albums and this one is a boogie-piano tour-de-force from multiple-award winning David Vest on the 88s. "Blues des Cantons (Goodbye Sherbrooke)" is Brian's "leaving home" song, a follow-up to "Enfant Choisi," the song he recorded about his adoption (also in French).

"Tai Chi Ten" is a 10-minute instrumental jam with Michael Jerome Browne on mandolin and slide guitar which was recorded when there was some extra time on the last day of a recording session for a previous album. The track was too long to include on that album and was never released until now though Brian has been using it as background music for his Tai Chi work-out (which should last about 10 minutes if done very slow).

The closing track, "Have a Toke" finishes off the album with a psychedelic electronica mash-up. He did something similar when he collaborated with his son the DJ on a tune for his previous album, New Folk Blues 2.0. That tune, "The Ghost of Clinton's Tavern" got more radio play than any of the other more conventional tracks on the album.