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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Weekday Picks (January 27-30, 2020)

Monday, January 27

9:30am: Morning Music (Improv session) @ Silence (Guelph) $5 or free w a breakfast food contribution (Weekly)

7:30pm: Brant Harmonica Guild @ Warmington's (Brantford) (2nd & 4th week of month)

7:30pm: The Color Purple: The Musical @ Centre in the Square (Kitchener) $?
Wednesday, January 29

7-7:30am: Ensemble! TV Show New Episode ft Mike Woods + Jamie Shea, Hosted by Big Rude Jake @ Cable 14 (Hamilton)

1:30-2pm: Ensemble! TV Show New Episode ft Mike Woods + Jamie Shea, Hosted by Big Rude Jake @ Cable 14 (Hamilton)

Thursday, January 30

9pm: Carlos Mallia Presents @ Moonshine Cafe (Oakville) $10

Please Support the Hamilton Blues Lovers

We are a not for profit organization (but not a registered charity). Money raised will be used to help us better promote the local musical scene. Thank you for your support.

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Weekend Picks (January 24-26, 2020)

Sunday, January 26

8pm: Ancient Shapes w Plastic Heads @ This Ain't Hollywood (Hamilton) $?

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Ensemble! Returns with New Season and New Episodes: Mike Woods and Jamie Shea

The new season of Ensemble!,  the incredible Cable 14 Hamilton TV show, has begun. They are currently running the new episode starring two fabulous local artists: Mike Woods and Jamie Shea. The new host is Big Rude Jake.

Please note that anyone can now live stream Cable 14 for free at On demand is only available for Shaw, Rogers and Cogeco customers though.

Here are some videos from the wonderful featured performers.

Video above courtesy of Hamilton Blues Lovers

Links: Mike WoodsMore Mike Woods StoriesVideo above courtesy of subZtantial905

Links: Jamie Shea, More Jamie Shea Stories, Videos above courtesy of Jamie Shea

The schedule for this episode (more will be added as we find out):
  • Tuesday, January 28, 2020: 9:30pm
  • Wednesday, January 29, 2020: 7:00am, 1:30pm
  • Thursday, January 30, 2020: 6pm

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Please Support Local Charities

Please Support Local Charities

From their website: The AIDS Network is a registered charitable organization, and offers services to the 1.5 million people living in the communities of Hamilton, Halton, Haldimand, Norfolk and Brant.  Since 1986, The AIDS Network has been the primary voice for HIV/AIDS prevention, education and support.

The Hamilton Blues Lovers (HBL) want to showcase a deserving local charity every week.  HBL is not affiliated with these charities nor does it fund raise for them.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Please Support Our Wonderful Sponsors

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NEED COMPUTER HELP? Try First Choice Computer Solutions
Their service is friendly and reliable. In person and remote assistance available.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Please Support Local Charities

Please Support Local Charities

From their website: Neighbour to Neighbour works to improve the quality of life in our community by offering access to tutoring programs for children, community kitchen programs, utility subsidy programs, family counselling, emergency food access and a host of other interventions. Neighbour to Neighbour is empowering people with the tools and ideas that will help change their lives.

They also have an amazing used book store.

The Hamilton Blues Lovers (HBL) want to showcase a deserving local charity every week.  HBL is not affiliated with these charities nor does it fund raise for them.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Hamilton-Born and St. Catharines Raised Rush Drummer, Neil Peart Passes

One of the world's biggest rock legends, Rush drummer Neil Peart passed away on Tuesday January 2, 2020 after a brain cancer diagnosis. Neil, who was born in Hamilton and also grew up in St. Catharines, was an integral part of one of Canada's (and the world's) most popular bands. Their influence is immeasurable.

Our condolences to his family, friends and fans.

Rush placed the statement below on their website.

Jacob Moon, who performed for the band's induction into the Canadian Songwriters' Hall of Fame, posted a tribute video. Click here to view it. He also posted a statement: 
I am shocked, as is the whole musical world, by the sudden and tragic passing of Neil Peart, surely one of our most precious national treasures. His gifts on his instrument are unmatched. His way with words illuminated the human condition in artful and insightful ways.
We will all be poorer for his absence, myself included...We do well to heed his words, and to savor the life we have while we have it.
'Freeze this moment a little bit longer/Make each sensation a little bit stronger' - Neil Peart
Rest well, professor.
Local Media
Many other local musicians took to social media to honour the music legend.

Spider Costello
A HUGE influence on me, not only as a drummer, but his lyrics as well, which spoke to my personal experience as a small-town outsider and inspired me to broaden my literary horizons. A terrible, terrible loss.
Steve Parton
Oh no. The world's most beloved drummer has just died. Neil Peart from Rush is gone at age 67. His lyrics and his drumming made me weep, as I am weeping now. He was my favourite drummer, my favourite lyricist.
Dan McKinnon
I remember seeing Rush on their Vapour Trails tour at the Molson Amphitheatre, their first Toronto show after their hiatus in the 90's. One of the highlight's from that show was Neil's drum solo, which went something like this.... 
Here's to one of the greatest who ever stepped behind a kit!
Bill Majoros (The Foreign Fims)
As a Canadian kid learning to play drums & guitar it was a "right of passage" to learn Rush songs. Tom Sawyer, YYZ, Spirit of the Radio etc Thanks to Mr Peart for epic inspiration.
May your magnificent creative spirit live on in those wonderful, super-duper complex drum beats! 

Video above courtesy of CBC News

Video above courtesy of RushWire

Video above courtesy of Noodles Von Soup

Blast from the Past: Rush wins 2018 Polaris Heritage Prize

Links: RushMore Rush Stories

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Thursday, January 9, 2020

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Hamilton Jazz Veteran George Arnone Passes

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Hamilton jazz veteran George Arnone on Sunday, January 5, 2020. Our condolences to his family, friends and fans.

The George Arnone Big Band posted the following message on their Facebook page.
The band is saddened and heartbroken to have to announce that our Founder, George Arnone, has passed away.
George has been a part of the music scene in Hamilton for decades, as a sought-after sideman in various combos and bands and of course, as the band leader in his beloved George Arnone Big Band, which he formed in the 1980’s and played in until his retirement just over 2 years ago.
As a rehearsal band in east Hamilton for many years, George has had hundreds of musicians from the Hamilton, Burlington, Niagara area go through his band.
We will miss George terribly but his name and musical legacy will live on with The George Arnone Big Band.
Here is his obituary:
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of George Arnone surrounded by his loving family on Sunday, January 5, 2020 at the Juravinski Hospital in his 85th year. Beloved husband of 60 years to Ludmila. Loving father of Cita, Patricia, and Charles. Dear grandfather of Evan, Dean, Julia, Nicholas, Blaize, Lucas, and Lee. Loving brother of Rosie, Heather, Mary, Valerie, and Doug. Predeceased by his parents Charles and Amelia, and brothers and sisters, Shirley, James, Billy, and Clifford. George had a great love for his family especially his grandchildren who he spent much time with. He loved sports and played on and coached many teams. George has been a well known saxophone player that played in countless bands over many years and was the founder and leader of the George Arnone Big Band, where he played until his retirement two years ago. He will be forever remembered for his kindness, generosity and caring nature. He will be dearly missed by so many especially his family that loved him dearly. Visitation will be held at P.X. DERMODY FUNERAL HOME, 796 Upper Gage Ave., on Friday, January 10th from 5-9pm. Prayers will be said on Friday. A Funeral Mass will be offered at Blessed Sacrament Church on Saturday, January 11th at 10am. Entombment to take place at Our Lady of Hope Mausoleum at Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Parkinson Foundation or a charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family. On-line Condolences can be made at

Bandmate Dave Baldry had this to add:
George gave me the opportunity to learn how to play Big Band music when I had no background in it...he did this for many musicians in the area.  He loved it when young people wanted to be a part of his band and he was happy to give them (and me!) a chance.  I've had many musical mentors over the years, but I think that he gave me the best chance to expand my talents and for that, I will always be  extremely grateful.  I and those who have had the pleasure of knowing him will miss him terribly. 

Links: George Arnone, More George Arnone Big Band StoriesVideo above courtesy of the George Arnone Big Band

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Please Support Local Charities

Please Support Local Charities

The Oakville and Milton SPCA provides services and support to local animals and residents by engaging the diverse communities they serve. HBL is placing this in honour of Paul C Young.

The Hamilton Blues Lovers (HBL) want to showcase a deserving local charity every week.  HBL is not affiliated with these charities nor does it fund raise for them.

Previous (Producer Nick Blagona Passes) - - - Next (George Arnone Passes)

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Hamilton Music Producer Nick Blagona Passes

We are saddened to hear of the passing of music industry giant, Nick Blagona on January 4, 2020. The famed Hamiltonian worked with many legends such as Cat Stevens, Tom Jones, The Police, The Bee Gees, Chicago, Deep Purple, Rainbow, April Wine, Kim Mitchell, The Tea Party, and many more. He also worked with many local artists as well. Our condolences to his family, friends and fans.

Nick left this comment on his Facebook page.
I am of sound mind and spirit and I wish to express my appreciation to Alex Andronache, Gil Moore, all the staff at Metalworks, for all the great years of mastering that they entrusted me with;
Lindsay and David at Yamaha as well as the crew in Germany for years of generosity for the STEINBERG sponsorship you afforded me. I am very grateful.
I thank every artist whoever entrusted me with their creative output and hope I did each of you proud. 
I thank my children for forgiveness I don’t deserve and for the love they felt for me, regardless.
For old dear friends who cared long after I moved on, and for those close friends who endured throughout my life.
Thank you God, for leaving me ears when all else failed me, physically, and now I take my leave. It’s January 4, 2020 at 10:55pm. MJ had to complete this tonight.
It has Been Real!
His wife Mary-Jane Russell left this note on her Facebook page.
Canadian Music Industry Recording Engineer/Producer legend and my partner of 32 years (who I married in late 2018) Nick Blagona, has died at age 74 of complications to kidney, heart and lung disease, last night, January 4th, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Nick Blagona was in fact Nicolai Nicolaiavich Blagonadegny, of Russian/Prussian heritage.
Nick Blagona is survived by me, Alex Blagona, his wife Joanne Blagona and granddaughter Lilia Blagona all of Ipswich, UK and Anna Blagona and granddaughter Mila Blagona of Toronto, Ontario Canada.
There will be no funeral, to Nick’s wishes.
However he hopes folks who cared will gather and make music together, tell stories, play tunes Nick helped record, raise a glass or smoke a wee bit of him in the Spring, close to his birthday in May, at HALO STUDIO on Augusta St. in downtown Hamilton, thanks to Marcone Music.
Nick Blagona, Uncle Nick, Big Nick, The Tone Guru lived a large life and created a Body of world-class musical output that was magic in both quality and quantity. Nick leaves a legacy so few achieve. Thank you
Media stories: 
More comments:
Here are a few reactions from social media, we will post more when we find them.

It is with profound sadness that we must announce that our beloved friend and record producer, Nick Blagona died last night. We will miss him terribly, and vow to finish the project we started together a few months ago. It was very important to him. We send our deepest condolences to his beautiful and devoted wife, Mary-Jane Russell.
Lily Sazz (Cootes Paradise)
My heart is broken over the loss of my dear friend, Nick Blagona, who died last night. I am among the lucky individuals who called him a close friend. My last visit with him on Wednesday was more than 2 hours of sharing laughter, stories, and deep thoughts of successes and regrets. My husband Paul and I will miss him terribly, and I weep as I write this. Mary-Jane Russell, his wife, showed such love and devotion throughout all of this, and I can only pray that there is some relief together with the grief, knowing that Nick is now free.
Lily also made and posted this video.

Video above courtesy of Lily Sazz
 Dale Harrison (Headstones drummer)
Sad New in Rock History today. Legendary Rock N Roll producer & Engineer Nick Blagona has passed away. RIP.
Nick; I want to thank you for the amazing music you produced through the years, your resume is nothing short of incredible. I remember meeting you in the early 90's taking on a spec project with "Paradise Alley" My first opportunity to work with one of the greats, an you where so freaking cool , Me: are we going to use a click for this track ? .... You : why is your time that bad? Ha .. yah it turned out to be a hell of a track.. thank you for that brother! Also in that time I had the privilege to meet your lovely wife MJ, you two are such an awesome couple always kind and always had encouraging things to say to me which helped me get to where I am. Gracias! Through the years we stayed in touch and kept running into each other, from Ian Gillan's Deep Purple concerts, Tea Party recordings in Metal Werks, while I was tracking with Headstones and later mastering for us. Most recent collaboration with Tommy Grasley. I wish the circumstances were different but with life comes death. You where loved by all who know you and the work you have done is timeless art that will be appreciated forever! Until we meet again brother. Love and respect .
Bill Dillon
Last words from a man last night with a recording history that others could only dream of, and many in the business of recording, with the highest credentials, hold in esteem and reverence the body of work Nick left behind, a quick look at his discography would reveal many hundreds of famous albums, artists and hit singles too long to list here, but we've All heard them thru our lives.
I worked on only two relatively small projects with Nick and throughout those short weeks the stories and experiences he would share were also the stuff dreams are made of.
Nick helped make dreams come true for soo many artists globally, it's no stretch to say he left behind a major portion of what we've come to know as the recording industry,he was a key figure in its on going success. I'll take a chance here to speak on behalf of all of us in the business around the world in wishing him God bless and thank you Nick.
Duane Rutter
Nick mixed and mastered my 2015 album Crazy Things and I was over the moon to have him do it. Not only was Nick is a legend who will be dearly missed, but he was a helluva great guy.
Mary, our family and I wish to extend our most heartfelt condolences to the wonderful Mary-Jane Russell as well as all of Nick’s family and many friends. 
Patricia Lynn (Buckshot) Bebee
Thank you Nick for giving everything you've got to our musical community. I will be forever grateful that you mixed and mastered "Merchants of Youth" and for suggesting I go on tour with Nina Haugen - lol. You got me and I was so lucky to have gotten to know your silly jokes and know that we just lost a genious! Your spirit will live on......may you rest in peace. Love Lynn. 
Nick Blagona. A LEGEND.
I was fortunate to work with Nick a number of times. He was funny and brilliant. I loved hearing his stories. His mix and mastering was both genius and magical.
Nick was a generous man. One evening he introduced me to Deep Purple in Hamilton. As we were being introduced, my friend Tom Browner and I experienced the true Love of brothers and true friends when Ian Gillian, Nick and Mary-Jane we’re reunited. You could feel the love.Looking back it was the last time they would see each other after Decades of work. Our favourite songs.
He was “The Tone Guru.”
Nick, I will miss you. Until we meet again,
Keep on ROCKIN. XO 

Blast from the Past: Nick Wins 2016 Hamilton Music Award

Links: Nick Blagona, More Nick Blagona Stories, Videos above courtesy of Bridge The Atlantic

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