Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hamilton's Will Gillespie Releases New Album Filled with Vitality

Change of Perspective, the incredible new album from Hamilton singer/songwriter Will Gillespie is a fascinating mix of styles. Jazzy, rocking, funky, laid back and sometimes tender - the album is packed with character and vitality.

Tracks run the gamut from infectious and theatrical to deep and emotional. Will knows how to tell a interesting story and give it just the right sound. The down to earth, everyman lyrics connect you to the lovely songs.

CD's and vinyl can be purchased vid bandcamp. The album is also available online through bandcamp, Apple MusicSpotify

Stream the album here:

Blast from the Past: Will Gillespie EP - Kings of Summer

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Happy 'Punk for a Day' Day! Videos by Dirty Jeans, TV Freaks, Get Off the Cop, Youthinasia

Links: Dirty Jeans, Video above courtesy of Dirty Jeans

GOOD LUCK! Inaugural Gilded Hammer Awards Nominees

From the website:
The Hamilton Fringe is pleased to present The Gilded Hammer Awards, the inaugural celebration of achievement in the Hamilton theatre arts. Hosted by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, this fully accessible online event features The Gilded Hammers awards presentations, local artist performances, Scroll Down digital premiere funded by Canada Council for the Arts and community partners, and a community conversation hosted by theatre collective Femmepire. Tickets for The Gilded Hammer Awards ceremony on Saturday, November 21st are now on sale!
Here is a full list of nominees:

Descriptions courtesy of The Hamilton Fringe.

The Cutting Edge: Innovation Award
Recognizes the skills and achievements of a local artist or arts leader who has carved out new pathways for theatre in Hamilton. This award will have a $1,000 cash prize attached.
The Groundbreaker: Emerging Artist Award
The winner exhibits vision, sensitivity, and strength in the art form. Community impact and burgeoning creativity are given greater weight than polish. This award will have a $1,000 cash prize attached.
The Force of Impact: National Achievement Award
An artist from Hamilton who is making a name for themselves and for the city on the National stage and beyond. This award winner will have travel and accommodations paid for to attend the theatre showcase event.


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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Montreal's Backxwash Wins 2020 Polaris Prize

From the Polaris Prize website:

Links: Backxwash, Videos above courtesy of CBC Music

“Be as honest as you want to be and create the art that you want to,” says Backxwash while reflecting on her win.

This is Backxwash’s first Polaris Music Prize win.

The Prize, which was presented by CBC Music, goes to the best Canadian album of the year based on artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation. It was determined by a Grand Jury of 11 music media professionals drawn from the greater Polaris jury pool of 201 writers, editors, broadcasters, DJs and personalities from across the country. This was the 15th edition of the Polaris Music Prize.

Backxwash’s victory came with a $50,000 monetary reward. The nine other Short List nominees each received $3,000 courtesy of Slaight Music.
Blast from the Past: Last Year's Winner

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Remembering Blues Supporter John Valenteyn

Earlier this month (October 4), Toronto Blues Society co-founder John Valenteyn passed away of a rare blood disorder. Among his many achievements include reviewing many Blues CDs for the Maple Blues newsletter and hosted a long running Blues radio show. Our condolences to his family, friends and fans.

Here are a few social media comments from local artists.

Smoke Wagon Blues Band

Deepest condolences to friends and family of John Valenteyn.  Founding member of The Toronto Blues Society. John was such an amazing friend to the blues community in Canada.  I will always remember our very first review from John way back on our very first album. I was so excited I drove to Toronto and picked up a whole bunch of copies for our friends and family. Every review, amazing radio play, and support over the years has meant the world to us. Thank you John RIP

Lily Sazz (Cootes Paradise)

Your selfless dedication to blues music and the people who create it was appreciated more than you may have known. Our last exchange involved you reaching out to me to make sure you received advance access to our new Cootes Paradise album, as you'd be heading up north and wanted to make sure to write a review in the August MapleBlues newsletter. In an industry where anything other than being ignored is really appreciated, you stood out as someone who always acknowledged and appreciated us. You were a true gentleman, and a kind, gentle soul. Deepest sympathies to Brenda, friends, family, and colleagues. Your loss will leave a canyon in the community. 


Saddened to hear of the passing of John Valenteyn, one of the true pillars of Canadian blues and the nicest guys you'll ever meet. His passion and knowledge of blues was unrivaled and he supported so many blues artists as co-founder of the The Toronto Blues Society and through his over 30 years as host of The Blues Hour on CJRT and CIUT. Only a few months ago, he reviewed our 50th album for the Maple Blues Newsletter in John's Blues Picks, as he'd done for so many of our albums over the years.

Our sincere condolences to his wife of 46 years, Brenda Valenteyn and family. John will be dearly missed......
 Chris Antonik

I was fortunate to be a guest on John's show several times, and his review of my first record 10 years ago helped instill the confidence and encouragement I needed to get moving in this business. 

Rhoaul Bhaneja

RIP John Valenteyn Blues DJ on CJRT and CIUT, long time Toronto Blues Society member, reviewer of thousands of Blues recordings for Maple Blues Magazine and a one time record store sales man who turned so many customers on to blues music (and more) on his shifts. Condolences to his many friends and family. 

From the Toronto Blues Society:

After a difficult fight with a rare blood disorder HLH John passed mid day on Sunday October 4 at Toronto Western Hospital according to his wife of 46 years, Brenda Valenteyn. Co-founder of the Toronto Blues Society in 1985, John was a pillar of the Canadian blues community broadcasting at CIUT 89.5 FM for fourteen years following a twenty year run with The Blues Hour at CJRT (now jazzfm). According to life long Port Colborne friend Doug McVicar, John’s first taste of broadcasting at Queens University flipped him from a path in engineering to the Ryerson Radio and Television Arts program and his stint as a producer, leading to years on the air. An avid collector, John travelled yearly to the Chicago Blues Festival trolling the aisles at Bob Koester’s Blues and Jazz Mart while catching live shows at Petrillo Band Shell.

His enormous collection made him a natural member of the Maple Blues Award Steering Committee and monthly Maple Blues newsletter reviewer in John’s Blues Picks. His knowledge and passion for blues recordings and artists made him the leading figure in Canada’s blues history. He will be missed.

Cards to Toronto Blues Society and in lieu of flowers, donations requested to TBS via online or cheques to the office address: 910 Queen St. W. Suite B04, Toronto-ON M6J 1G6.

Media Links

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Late Hamilton Blues Legend Jackie Washington on TBS Pioneer Profile Series

The 2nd episode of the Toronto Blues Society's Pioneer Profile Series put the spotlight on the late Hamilton Blues legend Jackie Washington. Hamilton Spectator music reporter Graham Rockingham and longtime musical collaborator Ken Whitely were part of this wonderful show. It was aired on September 30 is is available on YouTube.


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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

CONGRATS! Toronto Blues Society Talent Search Winners (Fergus' Madison Galloway Was 2nd Runner Up)

The 2020 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search took place on October 4, 2020 and after a wonderful event, a winner and two runner's up were chosen.

Mike Nagoda and the Spectrum Blues Band took home the main prize.


Josh Ritchie was 1st Runner Up.

Links: Josh Ritchie, More Josh Ritchie Stories, Video above courtesy of Josh Ritchie Music


Madison Galloway from Fergus was 2nd Runner Up.

Links: Madison GallowayMore Madison Galloway StoriesVideo above courtesy of Madison Galloway


From the news release

October 5, 2020 - The Toronto Blues Society (TBS) is extremely excited to announce that Mike Nagoda and The Spectrum Blues Band is the winner of this year’s edition of the annual Talent Search.

After narrowing the field to six finalists who showcased on Sunday, October 4th, and after careful deliberations, the jury selected Mike Nagoda and The Spectrum Blues Band as the champion, with Josh Ritchie as the first runner-up, and Madison Galloway as the second runner-up.

The judges for the 25th edition of the TBS Talent Search were Sarah Kim Turnbull (Artistic Director of Markham Jazz Festival), Diana Webley (Harbourfront Centre Senior Producer), Josh Grossman (Toronto Jazz Festival Artistic Director), and Kris Kane (Southside Shuffle Festival Chair) .

"Six solid and diverse performers graced the stage at Bar Twelve 16 in Etobicoke but the judges managed to select Mike Nagoda as the deserving talent on this rainy Sunday!", said TBS President Derek Andrews. "The new venue was forced to move the show indoors due to cold weather and a strong TBS team delivered a rare live event for the physically distanced gathering. We look forward to supporting Mike with his package bounty!"

"This year’s 6 finalists of the TBS talent search were all of fine caliber. Each one delivering unique Blues performances that had the fans & judges smiling in delight & tapping their toes. It was not an easy task for the judges to select a winner but their unanimous selection was made", said TBS Vice President Lucie Dufault. "Congratulations to Mike Nagoda & The Spectrum Blues Band, the winner of the 2020 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search." 

Mike Nagoda and The Spectrum Blues Band takes home a professional development package that includes:

The six finalists were (in alphabetical order):


Blast from the Past: Last Year's Winner

Links: More TBS Talent Search Stories

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Thursday, October 1, 2020

CONGRATS! 2020 Canadian Country Music Award Winners

Unfortunately, no local artists won the 2020 CCMA Awards. Nevertheless, Canada's incredible Country music scene received a great online gala on September 27.

Alberta's Brett Kissel was the big winner with 4 awards to his name.

Links: Brett Kissel, More Brett Kissel Stories, Video above courtesy of Brett Kissel

Below is a complete list of winners.