Saturday, January 31, 2015

Steve Strongman and Jordan John Add Sparkle to Roly Platt's Tremendous Solo Album

Toronto harpmaster Roly Platt has been on the blues music scene for decades as an award-winning sideman.  For Inside Out, his tremendous first solo album, he's enlisted the help of Hamilton Blues superstar Steve Strongman and the fabulous soulman Jordan John from Oakville.

Roly showcases his artistic mastery of the harmonica in the many soulful and funky instrumentals, He also makes some great choices for instrumental covers (Over the Rainbow, I Got A Woman, Georgia on My Mind) and does justice them all.  There's also a couple of great vocal tracks (mostly featuring the aforementioned Mr. Strongman and Mr. John).

Together with John Tilden (Guitar), Russ Boswell (Bass) Al Cross (Drums) and Lance Anderson (Keys) the band create a powerful vibe. This is definitely a kick-ass team!

The album can be bought and downloaded through Roly's site or purchased through iTunes.

Video above courtesy of Roly Platt

Video above courtesy of Hamilton Blues Lovers

Blast from the Past: Video of Roly Playing with Suzie Vinnick

Links: Roly Platt, More Roly Platt StoriesMore Releases

Previous  (News Roundup w Pearly Jenkins, IBC Winners, Karli June, Johnny Mac Slater) - - - Next (New Russ Burns CD)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

News Roundup (Pearly Jenkins, IBC Winners, Karli June, Johnny Mac Slater)

Best Self-Produced CD: Altered Five Blues Band - Cryin’ Mercy (Grafton Blues Association)

Lee Oskar Harp Award: Nico Wayne Toussaint (Southern California Blues Society)

Featured Video

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

GOOD LUCK! Tons of Local Artists Nominated for 2015 Junos

Not only will the Junos be held in Hamilton this year but many Steeltown musicians are up for nods at the illustrious awards show.  Even the surrounding area is well-represented.

From the Hammer, we have Steve Strongman (Blues Album), Daniel Lanois (Instrumental Album), Diana Panton (Vocal Jazz Album) and Jeremy Fisher (Adult Alternative Album).  Bands with a few Hamilton members were also up for awards such as jacksoul (R and B/Soul Recording) plus Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and Elliott BROOD, who are both in the running for Roots and Traditional Album: group.

Links: jacksoulmore jacksoul StoriesVideo above courtesy of jacksoul

Links: Elliott BROOD, More Elliott BROOD StoriesVideo above courtesy of Paper Bag 13

Other area nominees include Kitchener's Alysha Brilla (Adult Contemporary Album) and Dallas Green (aka City and Colour) for You+Me, his collaboration with P!nk. The latter is up for a Fans Choice and Group Juno awards.

Links: City and ColourMore City and Colour StoriesYou+Me, Video above courtesy of You + Me

The 2015 Junos will be televised live on March 15, 2015.


Below are a few highlights:

Click here for the full list of nominees

Blast from the Past: Last Years' Winners

Links: Juno AwardsMore Juno Stories

Previous (Shea D Duo Earn Niagara Entrepreneur Award Nomination) - - - Next (News Roundup w Pearly Jenkins, IBC Winners, Karli June, Johnny Mac Slater)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

St. Catharines Duo Juliet Dunn and Peter Shea Nominated for Entrepeneur Award

St. Catharines performers Juliet Dunn and Peter Shea (aka the Shea D Duo) were recently honoured with a nomination for the 2015 Niagara Entrepreneur of the Awards Awards.  This was in recognition of their incredible work with the Twilight Jazz series through the Mahtay Cafe.

They'll be competing with many other teams on February 20, 2015 at the Marriott Gateway on the Falls Hotel. GOOD LUCK!

Links: Carolyn Credico, Bob Shields, Mike FelicePeter Shea, More Peter Shea Stories, Video above courtesy of Juliett Dunn

Links: Juliet Dunn, More Juliet Dunn Stories, Le Trio Parisisen, Video above courtesy of Peter Shea

Video above courtesy of Juliet Dunn

Blast from the Past: News Roundup w Shea D Duo Video

Previous (Braithwaite and Whiteley Videos)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hamilton's Low Country Hill Debuts with an Exquisite, Atmospheric Sound

Low Country Hill, the new musical project from Hamilton's Paul Hogeterp, exploded on the scene with an exquisite album.  With an atmospheric soundscape, well-crafted lyrics, and Paul's striking vocals, the recording rises well above the usual, predictable alt-folk.

It's low-key approach works well with the introspective, contemplative feel of the whole project.  The listener can explore the artistry of the many layers and textures contained within.  You'll definitely want multiple listens on this one.

Produced by Dave King and with appearance by the great Bill Dillon and Pat Sansone of Wilco, this album is essential to anyone who appreciates original, unique music.

You can pick up a physical CD at Low Country Hill's live shows or through the website,  It can also be downloaded using BandcampiTunes, or eMusic.

Video above courtesy of Low Country Hill

Video above courtesy of Hamilton Blues Lovers

Links: Low Country Hill, More Low Country Hill StoriesMore Releases

Previous (News Roundup w Brandon P General, Jocelyn Fairman. Bryce K Moore, Alberta Country Award Nominations) - - - Next (Braithwaite and Whiteley Videos)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

News Roundup (Brandon P General, Jocelyn Fairman. Bryce K Moore, Alberta Country Award Nominations)




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Previous (Bettye LaVette and Walkervilles Videos- - - Next (New Low Country Hill Album)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2015 Maple Blues Award Winners

Unfortunately, none of the local musicans nominated for 2014 Maple Blues Awards won at the ceremony on January 19, 2015 in Toronto.   On the plus side Tom Bona (who is part of Kitchener's Soulstack) took home Drummer of the Year honour for the second year in a row!

Links: SoulStackMore Soulstack Stories, Video above courtesy of Jon Knight

The big winner of the night was Montreal's Steve Hill who won all the awards he was nominated for (4).

Links: Steve Hill, More Steve Hill Stories, Video above courtesy of Livetoune

The only other multiple winner was Angel Forrest with two awards.

Links: Angel ForrestVideo above courtesy of Randall Stafford Cook

This was also the first year that the Cobalt Prize (sponsored by the Toronto Blues Society and Bluesman Paul Reddick) was awarded.  Digging Roots were the inaugural recipients of the $1,000 prize.

Below is a complete list of winners.

Previous (Area Artists on Blind Lemon Top 20 List)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

CONGRATS! Area Artists Shine in Blind Lemon Radio's Top 20 List

For the Canadian Blues community, Blind Lemon Blues Radio's Annual Top 20 Album List is a highlight of the year.  In January 2015, the results of public online voting were tallied and the favourites from 2014 were unveiled.

As always, many talented Blues musicians from our area were honoured.  Hamiltonians Andre Bisson (5), Jack de Keyzer (9) and Steve Strongman (15) all make appearances on the list.  Oshweken's Joel Johnson and Downchild (with members from the Niagara and Brant regions) earned the 17th and 18th spots respectively.


Here is the full list as well as the honourable mentions
  1. The MacKenzie Blues Band: Slam! Bam!
  2. Bill Durst: Hard And Heavy
  3. Wicked Grin: Shame On Me
  4. Paul DesLauriers Band: Self Titled
  5. Andre Bisson: Bad Scene

    Links: More Andre Bisson storiesVideo above courtesy of Andre Bisson

  6. Brian Cober: Austin Wired
  7. Steve Hill: Solo Recordings Vol 2
  8. Carolyn Fe Blues Collective: Bad Taboo
  9. Jack de KeyzerVooDoo Boogie
  10. Angel Forrest: My Pleasure - Live Love
  11. 24th Street Wailers: Wicked
  12. MonkeyJunk: Tiger In Your Tank (Re-Issue)
  13. Sunday Wilde: He Digs Me
  14. Tim Bastmeyer and Jerome Tucker: Self Titled
  15. Steve Strongman: Let Me Prove It To You

    Links: More Steve Strongman storiesVideo above courtesy of Tasha Heart
  16. Johnny Cox: Thin Blue Line
  17. Joel Johnson: Blues Joose Vol. 2
  18. Downchild: Can You Hear The Music

    Links: Downchild Blues BandMore Downchild Stories, Video above courtesy of Folk Roots and Blues Music

  19. Jerome Godboo: Sanctuary City
  20. JW Jones: Belmont Boulevard
Honourable Mentions
Blast from the Past: 2013 Winners

Previous (News Roundup w Dave Pomfret, Trish O'Neill, Leah Daniels, Scott Taplay) - - - Next (2014 Maple Blues Award Winners)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Burlington's Steve Dénommée Creates Beautiful Debut Album

With his band, Bare Blue SeaSteve Dénommée does an amazing job of covering the best in Canadian Rock.  Now thanks to his debut album Eponymous, the Burlington singer/songwriter proves his own songs have a place alongside those classics.

Permeated with one character filled song after another, the album is welcome addition to the Canadian music landscape. Expressive vocals, infectious rhythms and beautiful lyrics are the order of the day here.  The music will make you groove and reflect on the world at the same time.

His bandmates contribute a little magic to the collection as well. Bob Moore (drums), Ian Murray (bass, vocals) and Tim Park (guitar) all pop up.  Other guests include Janet Murray (vocals), Robin Smith (keys) and album producer Lee Buckland (guitar).

There are many ways to download this phenomenal recording.  It can be purchased through iTunescdbaby or eMusic.

Videos above courtesy of Bare Blue Sea

Links: Steve DénomméeMore Releases

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Susan Wylde's Simply Complex an Epic Collection of Many Styles

Local singer/songwriter Susan Wylde never gets complacent on her latest disc, Simply Complex.  Each song has its own unique personality and she adds extraordinary spirit to every single one.

This is truly a roots (with emphasis on the plural) album as Susan explores every vein: Blues, Jazz, Country and so forth.  The intermingling of styles makes this an epic collection of hard stompin' tunes and tender, soulful melodies.

Simply Complex also features some incredible guitar work from the late, great, Brian Griffith.  His masterful playing adds some extra beauty to a project that already boasts a ton of it.

This album is packed with other incredible guests such as Wendell Ferguson, Jack deKeyzer, Pete Schmidt, Carrie Ashworth, Mark Cashion, Alec Fraser, John Dustin, Dave McMorrow, Rick Donaldson, Bob Siboney, Colleen Allen, Turner King, Dave Dunlop, Jerome Godboo, Paul Reddick, and Shelley Hines.

You can download this must-have collection through cdbaby or iTunes.

Video above courtesy of Hamilton Blues Lovers

Blast from the Past: Susan Wyle CD - Into the Light

Links: Susan WyldeMore Susan Wylde StoriesMore Releases

Previous (News Roundup w Duane Rutter, Bob Bryden, Joe Cocker, Bear Band, Tom Wilson, more) - - - Next (New Steve Denommee Album)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hamilton's Frankie and Jimmy Scream the Blues and it Sounds Unbelieveable

From the dirty back alleys of Hamilton comes Frankie and Jimmy's debut LP, Scream the Blues.  As tough and gritty as Steeltown itself, the album has some raw and mighty Blues shouting. Ain't no polite, polished, soulless grooves to be found here.

The boys take a number of classic blues/early rock songs and strip them bare and roughs 'em up a little. The result is a sound that's both old fashoined and edgy with a punk-like vibe.  All beautifully masted by Mike Trebilock.

You can even get a 12" LP of this great album.  They are available at the duo's raucous live shows and can be picked up at at Hammer City, Crash Landing, Dr. Disc and Cheapies.  E-mail them at to get a copy as well.  As if their live shows weren't hot enough, you can also buy Frankie and Jimmy's hot sauce there too.  Each bottle comes with a download code for the album.

Videos above courtesy of Frankie and Jimmy

Blast from the Past: Frankie and Jimmy Video and Others

Links: Frankie and JimmyMore Frankie and Jimmy StoriesMore Releases

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Jack de Keyzer Revisits Award-Winning Hamilton Show With Voodoo Boogie

Jack de Keyzer earned a Juno with the amazing live CD, The Corktown Sessions in 2010.  With 2014's Voodoo Boogie, the Steeltown Bluesman has revisited that legendary show.  Boasting great unreleased gems from that stellar performance, this album showcases quite a a powerful night.

With fabulous covers (All Along the Watchtower, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, You Shook Me) and some of Jack's best songs (If You Were My Woman, Pleasure is My Business, Cinderella), this is a welcome companion piece to his earlier live disc.  It contains all the energy and groove of the first CD.

Jack's backed up by an amazing team that includes Dave "Groove Dr." McMorrow, Danny Lockwood and Al Duffy.  Guests Chris Murphy and David Colter lend a hand for one track.

You can pick up a copy of the CD at any of Jack de Keyzer's electric live shows.

Video above courtesy of Hamilton Blues Lovers

Video above courtesy of Randall Stafford Cook

Links: Video above courtesy of Jack de Keyzer, More Bob Dylan Covers/Stories

Blast From the Past: Our Review of the Corktown Sessions

Links: Jack de KeyzerMore Jack De Keyzer StoriesMore Releases

Previous  (News Roundup w Duane Rutter, Bob Bryden, Joe Cocker, Bear Band, Tom Wilson, more) - - - Next (New Frankie and Jimmy Album)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: Year in Review

2014 turned out to be another great year filled with amazing local music and a few sad moments as well.  This was the year that we partnered up with sponsors to help spread the word about the wonderful music scene.  You can check them out on the right side of our blog.  In 2014, we also started covering a lot more country music and had tons of fun doing it.

Speaking of country, this was definitely the year for St. Catharines good ol' boy Tim Hicks,  Not only did he get a much deserved Juno nomination but he added quite a few awards to his shelf (Canadian Radio Music, CMAO, CCMA, SOCAN, and Top Country).  We reviewed two of his spectacular CD's (Throwdown and 5:01) as well,

Another St. Catharines singer/songwriter, Ron Sexsmith, made many appearances on our pages.  This year he won a Juno, won a Niagara Music Award, was in CBC's top Canadian songs of all time, receieved an honorary degree from Brock and played on a wonderful Jazz tribute CD.

Canadian supergroup Blue Rodeo brought Hamilton guitar master Colin Cripps into the fold and released their first album with him this year.  He turned into quite a good luck charm as the band had a lot happen to them in 2014.  There was a Juno nomination, winning a Governor General's Award, getting on CBC's top Canadian songs list twice and releasing a kick ass Christmas CD.

Blues institution Downchild (whose roster includes a few local players) had quite a banner year as well.  Bassist Gary Kendall won a Maple Blues Award early in the year.  The entire band released a stellar album, Can You Hear the Music?, which won a Juno and a was nominated for both an Indie and a 2015 Maple Blues Award.

On a sadder note, we lost a many talented musicians in 2014.  Hamiltion guitar legend Brian Griffith passed away as did Tava Lesku (aka Tava Tunes), Roy Pongetti, Philip Bast, Jesse Winchester and Andy Grigg.  On the international front the great Johnny Winter, Joe Cocker, Pete SeegerJerry Vale, Phil Everly, Casey Kasum, and Paul Revere of the Raiders also left us this year.

Most Popular Blog Posts
Other Highlights of the Year
Our Top 3 Reviews
Our Top 3 YouTube Videos

Links: Fred Eaglesmith, More Fred Eaglesmith Stories

Links: Steve SinnicksMore Steve Sinnicks Stories

Links: Fearing and WhiteMore Stephen Fearing StoriesMore Andy White Stories

Here's to an ever better 2015!!!!

Blast from the Past: 2013 in Review

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