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Bringing the blues home
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Canadian Blues Summit in Toronto and the Maple Blues Awards, which is the highest award for Canadian blues performers.
Five nights of music on three stages with about 40 different performances. The first night was a pre-conference show by Juno award winner Morgan Davis.
A highlight of the conference was a Song Circle in which one of the featured song writers was Michael Jerome Browne. He will be doing a concert at Artspace above Books and Company on Thursday, April 18. Recently, he won an award for being Canada’s Best Solo Folk Performer in 2012 and has three Juno nominations.
At Saturday’s “meet and greet” the 24th Street Wailers performed. Their sax player, Jon Wong, won a Maple Blues Award for being Best Sax Player in 2012. Blues Underground is doing a dance in Prince George with the 24th Street Wailers on Saturday, April 13.
It was kind of hectic trying to see all the showcases because they started about 7:30 p.m. and the last one ended around 1:30 a.m. However, the performances were in three different areas in the hotel and start times varied so that it was possible to see partial sets of several performers in an evening.
When I went to the showcases, I was looking for performers that I thought would have good dance music and have the potential to do house concerts as well. The reason is that it is a long drive to Prince George and performers who can do house concerts open up several more places to do enroute.
I saw a great set from Jack De Keyser and his band (De Keyser was brought to Prince George for a Blues Underground dance). I also had the pleasure of sitting with Jack Semple during the set. He and I are good friends. I’d sure like to get both of them here to perform together. Now that would be a great show.
I came home from the Summit with about 25 new [blues musician’s] cards. You can hear many of these tunes on Blues Underground’s show Saturday afternoons from 2 to 4 p.m. on CFIS 93.1 FM.
Blues Underground could not exist without the support of the local media. It is for this reason that Blues Underground is helping CFIS do a fundraising dance on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Kinsmen Complex with Juno award winner Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne backed up by a local band consisting of horn players Justin Frey (sax) and Cam Bell (trumpet) along with Curtis Abriel (bass) and Nick Tindale (drums).