Sunday, November 29, 2020

Hamilton Blues Lovers Turns 12!

Today (November 29, 2020), the Hamilton Blues Lovers turn 12 years old! A WHOLE DOZEN!

As you all know it has been a rough year with COVID-19 causing a stop to in-person live music for a long time. A few of our communities still cannot hold music events. Here is a link on how to help musicians during this difficult time.

This was also the year we decided to celebrate the 50th anniversary of local albums. We've only done two so far but will be doing more by year's end.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

First Two Albums from Canadian Band, Christmas Turn 50! Featuring Hamilton's Bob Bryden!

Oshawa's Christmas (later named Spirit of Christmas) was a band like no other. They lasted only a few years, produced just three studio albums, but inspired generations of bands to come. Their LP's are now expensive, sought after collectors items. Singer Bob Bryden, who now lives in Hamilton, was a major part of their success. The band was created from the ashes of his previous project, Reign Ghost

Click here for Bob Bryden's Facebook scrapbook on the band.

The first two albums from the group turn 50 in 2020. This is also the year the band won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oshawa Music Awards


Self Titled Debut


  • Released July 9, 1970
  • On Paragon label
  • Personnel: Bob Bryden, Wolf Hryciuk, Rich Richter, Tyler Raizenne, Robert Bulger, Gary Squiers

Our mini-review:

Psychedelic and trippy, their debut is very loose and free with an off-the-cuff feel. Highlights include Just Suppose and the over 20 minute (a full LP side) workout Jungle Fabulous. 

Bob Bryden's thoughts:

The first Christmas LP was never meant to happen. We went in to do a ‘12 Top Hits’ album of 10 covers and 2 originals (the latter being the only reason we took the gig). In the studio, the producer asked us to jam (total improv). They then scrubbed the covers idea and released the jams and originals. 

Videos above courtesy of Alphan Nukan




  • Released November 27, 1970
  • On Daffodil Records
  • Personnel: Bob Bryden, Rich Richter, Tyler Raizenne, Robert Bulger
  • Click here for Bob Bryden's online Heritage scrapbook
Our mini-review:
More structured than their debut, Heritage is a psychedelic gem with more powerful hard rockin'. Highlights include Blues on an Iceberg and Bustin' Out Tonight

Bob Bryden's thoughts:

‘Heritage’ was done in about 10 days at Toronto Sound with Terry Brown (Rush) engineering. He told us we influenced Rush. I had just become ‘lead’ singer as the 2 singers on the first LP had recently left. Christmas was not a democracy at that time. I was dictator. Wrote all the songs and even many of the other’s parts (not solos). That all changed by ‘Lies To Live By’.

Videos above courtesy of Merry Christmas - Topic


Links: Bob BrydenMore Bob Bryden Stories, More Album 50th Anniversaries

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Monday, November 23, 2020

CONGRATS! 2020 Gilded Hammer Award Winners

On Saturday, November 21 the The Hamilton Fringe presented the first Gilded Hammer Awards during a wonderful online ceremony that honoured the best of theatrical arts in Hamilton. The event is still available to stream on demand until November 28 by clicking here. Funds raised go to Disability Justice Network of Ontario.

Here is a complete list of winners

The Cutting Edge: Innovation Award - Stephanie Hope Lawlor


The Groundbreaker: Emerging Artist Award - Kitoko Kasiama


The Force of Impact: National Achievement Award - Anna Chatterton


Previous (Polaris Heritage Prize Winners) - - - Next (First 2 Albums from Canadian Band Christmas Turn 50)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

"This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide" by Oakville's The Kings Inducted Into Canadian Songwriters Hall Of Fame

The humongous hit This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide by Oakville music legends The Kings has been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall Of Fame on its 40th anniversary. The 1980 hit (from the album The Kings Are Here) spent 23 weeks on the Billboard’s Hot 100 charts and has over 2 million streams on Spotify and 4 million views on YouTube.

The Kings had this to say on their Facebook page:
Thanks to everyone for the overwhelming response to our post about "This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide" getting inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.  We are very grateful to you all for reaching out to us, quite humbling actually!  Here's the link to our performance of it at the incredible El Mocambo in Toronto.  Thanks to everyone at the CSHF, Breakfast Television and the Elmo for being so professional, Peter and Toddy for playing so well and Doug McClement for the great live sound mix.  We love you!  

Previous (1st Two Chairmen of the Board Albums - ft Harrison Kennedy - Turn 50) - - - Next (Polaris Heritage Prize Winners)

Monday, November 16, 2020

Two 'Chairmen of the Board' Albums (ft Hamilton's Harrison Kennedy) Turn 50!

Two classic R&B albums by the Chairmen of the Board that featured Hamilton music legend, Harrison Kennedy recently turned 50 years old. Both were released by Invictus Records, a famous Detroit label run by the Holland–Dozier–Holland Motown songwriting team, who also penned a number of the group's hits.

Along with Harrison, the band included Danny Woods, General Johnson and Eddie Custis.

We asked Harrison about his day with the quartet, He had this to say:

Happy that I was the first Canadian of colour to be part  of million a million selling album.

And the only Canadian in that group.


The first album to turn 50 was their Decemeber 969 self-titled debut (which was later renamed after their biggest hit, Give Me Just a Little More Time). Along with that top 3 song, it featured the hit single (You've Got Me) Dangling on a String.

Video above courtesy of pieroangelo2

Video above courtesy of AuntieSoul34


Their second album, In Session was released in May of 1970. Hits from the recording include Everything's Tuesday, Pay to the Piper, Chairman of the BoardHanging On to a Memory and more.

Video above courtesy AuntieSouL1

Video above courtesy of MusicMike's "Flashback Favorites"

Links: Harrison KennedyMore Harrison Kennedy StoriesChairmen of the Board, More Chairmen of the Board Stories

Previous (Drumming Day Videos) - -  Next (This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide Inducted into Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame)

Saturday, November 7, 2020

CONGRATS! 2020 St. Catharines Arts Award Winners

Juliet Dunn won the Making a Difference Award

On Sunday, October 25, 2020 the St. Catharines Arts Awards were handed out during an online ceremony. It was great to see all of the creative energy in the Garden City given it's due.

You can view the entire ceremony below.

Video above courtesy of FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

Click here for the St. Catharines Standard story

Here's a full list of winners

  • Making a Difference: Juliet Dunn (singer, actress, festival director)

    Links: Juliet DunnMore Juliet Dunn Stories,  Video above courtesy of FARENH

  • Arts in Education: Kari-Lynn Winters (writer, performer, teacher)
  • Emerging Artist: Erica Sherwood (actor, filmmaker)
  • Established Artist: Danny Custodio (photographer)
  • Jury’s Pick: Candice Turner-Smith (orchestra director, consultant)
The community’s creative best, and those that support them, received their due on Sunday, October 25.

While the annual St. Catharines Arts Awards moved to a virtual format this year, there was no shortage of real-world talent and support in those recognized with awards during the online affair.

Aimed at celebrating excellence in all areas of artistic creation, the awards seek not only to recognize artistic talent, but to promote the city’s vibrant and growing arts scene. Awards recognize creators and those that support them through their leadership, financial assistance and volunteer efforts.

“Arts and culture gives us so much, it challenges us to think, grow and join together as a community,” said acting supervisor of Cultural Services Kathleen Powell, adding, “it’s no secret culture in our community has exploded in recent years, it’s evident in the recipients and in the list of truly phenomenal nominees, including those providing support for the arts to thrive and those creating and performing in our community.”

Arts Awards recipients each received a hand-crafted award and $500 to support future projects. The Emerging Artist recipient received $500 and a civic certificate. Arts Awards recipients were selected by a jury comprised of past recipients Ola Kiermacz (2019 Emerging Artist), Derek Knight (2018 Arts in Education), the 2019 Awards co-director, Emily Oriold of the Foster Festival, and awards committee representative Wynne Nicholson presiding.

Links: St. Catharines Culture, More St. Catharines Arts Awards Stories

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

TVO's Teenage Head Documentary + Interview Now on YouTube

TVO premiered their fabulous documentary, Picture My Face: The Story of Teenage Head on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Now, it's available for all to experience on YouTube.

Our mini-review:
More than just a presentation of facts about the legendary Hamilton band, this documentary tells a tale with emotional heft. It explores the legacy and toll the band's taken on it's members. The incredible music and the moving story makes it a great exploration of an unforgettable band.

Here's the documentary:

Video above courtesy of TVO Docs

Guitarist Gord Lewis and bassist Steve Mahon were guest of The Agenda with Steve Paikin before the premiere. Here's the interview:

Video above courtesy of The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Blast from the Past: Teenage Head and other legendary bands @ It's Your Festival

Links: Teenage HeadMore Teenage Head StoriesMore Documentaries

Previous (Maple Blues Awards Nominees) - - - Next (Sax Day Videos ft Richard Thornton)

Monday, November 2, 2020

GOOD LUCK! 2021 Maple Blues Award Nominees

Local artists are once again well-represented among the nominees for the 2021 Maple Blues Awards. The virtual ceremony will be held on February 1, 2021 and hopefully, our talented musicians will win a few.

Hamilton's Jack de Keyzer is for a whopping five awards. Two of his bandmates (Richard Thornton and Alan Duffy) were nominated for one a piece. 

Links: Jack de KeyzerMore Jack de Keyzer StoriesVideo above courtesy of Jack de Keyzer


Also from the Hammer are Smoke Wagon Blues Band (2 nods) as well as their horn player Gordon Achiele (1). 

Links: Smoke Wagon Blues BandMore Smoke Wagon Blues Band Stories, Video above courtesy of Corey Lueck


Hamilton Blues legend Harrison Kennedy (2) and Jesse O'Brien (1) round out the list from Steeltown.

Links: Harrison Kennedy, More Harrison Kennedy Stories, Video above courtesy of Harrison Kennedy - Topic


The Legendary Downchild Blues Band (with members from the Niagara region and Brantford) is in the running for Entertainer of the Year. Band member Chuck Jackson and Gary Kendall are also up for one apiece.

Links: Downchild, More Downchild Stories, Video above courtesy of Anthony Bernstein


Kitchener's Matt Weidinger was also nominated for New Artist of the Year.

Links: Matt WeidingerMore Matt Weidinger Stories, Video above courtesy of Matt Weidinger - Topic


Crystal Shawanda's Church House Blues album from Waterdown's True North Records was also given the nod for Recording of the Year

Links: Crystal ShawandaMore Crystal Shawanda StoriesVideo above courtesy of Crystal Shawanda


Below is a complete list of nominees. Local artists are bolded.


Electric Act

  • Jack de Keyzer
  • Dawn Tyler Watson and Ben Racine Band
  • JW-Jones
  • Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
  • Sue Foley

Acoustic Act

Male Vocalist

New Artist


Female Vocalist

  • Crystal Shawanda
  • Angel Forrest
  • Dawn Tyler Watson
  • Dione Taylor
  • Samantha Martin



  • Jesse O'Brien
  • David Vest
  • Duane Blackburn
  • Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
  • Michael Kaeshammer

Horn Player


B.B. King International Artist

  • Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
  • Ghost Town Blues Band
  • Larkin Poe
  • Rick Estrin and The Nightcats
  • Victor Wainwright


  • Crystal Shawanda/Dewayne Strobel
  • Colin Linden
  • Dione Taylor
  • Kevin Harvey (Durham County Poets)
  • Paul Reddick

Blues With A Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)

  • Alec Fraser
  • Brent Parkin
  • Danny Brooks
  • Joe Murphy
  • Ken Whiteley
  • Michael Fonfara
  • Tom Lavin

Harmonica Player

  • Guy BĂ©langer
  • Harpdog Brown
  • Paul Reddick
  • Roly Platt
  • Steve Marriner


  • Cory Blackburn
  • Dani Nash (Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar)
  • Gary Craig (Colin Linden, Steve Dawson)
  • Lindsay Beaver
  • Matt Sobb (Monkeyjunk)

Blast from the Past: Last Years's Winners