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Thursday, March 4, 2021

New EP From The Swingin' Blackjacks Explodes with Boogie Power!

Need an injection of joy to get over the lockdown Blues? Look no further than Four Hot Tracks, the latest EP from Toronto's The Swingin' Blackjacks. This short but sweet rockabilly collection will give ya a dose of boogie and have you stompin' your feet.

Featuring Niagara's Gary Kendall (Kendall Wall Band, Downchild) on bass/vocals, the trio is rounded out by Matt Allen on lead vocals/guitar plus Adam David on drums. Every one of them are firing on all cylinders and serving up world-class rock.

This explosive recording is available through their website (CD + download), Apple Music and Spotify.

Previous (Hamilton Spectator Readers' Choice Award Winners)

Saturday, February 27, 2021

CONGRATS! 2020 Hamilton Spectator Readers' Choice Award Winners

The 2020 Hamilton Spectator Readers' Choice Awards were recently unveiled. The special supplemental section featured the best that Hammertown has to offer, including our wonderful music community. 

Here's a list of all the music-related winners.

D = Diamond (1st place)
P = Platinum (2nd place)
G = Gold
Everything else is in the top ten.

Local Musician or Band
A special congrats to our sponsors
Our blogger's workplace, St. Charles Adult and Continuing Education Centres, won gold for Best Adult Education


Links: Readers' Choice AwardsMore Spec Readers' Choice Awards Stories

Previous (Maple Blues Award Winners, Day 4)- - - Next (New Swingin' Blackjacks EP)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Winners of Maple Blues Awards, Final Day, Including Hamilton's Smoke Wagon Blues Band

This year, the Maple Blues Awards are online and divided between four Mondays in February.

The last day - day four (February 22) was streamed from Vancouver.

Below is a video of the final ceremony:

Blast from the Past: Last Years' Winners

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Crowbar's Bad Manors Turns 50!

In 2021, Bad Manors, the classic album from the legendary Crowbar, turns 50 years old! This was the unforgettable Hamilton band's second offering and the first just under just its own name (their debut was technically King Biscuit Boy with Crowbar). This was, of course, the album that would feature their biggest hit, the ever-eternal Oh, What a Feeling.


We asked a few local musicians to give their thoughts on this incredible album.

Paul Panchezak (Trickbag, King Biscuit Boy and touring member of Crowbar)
In Melody Maker, Paul McCartney called "Oh What A Feeling" the "party record of the year". I read it with my own eyes as a young high school student. It made me very proud of my home town.

Corey Lueck (Smoke Wagon Blues Band

When I first dove into the world of classic rock and album hunting  my aunt told me stories of this glorious  band that lived and partied together in this old mansion. That sounded like the life to me! I ran out and picked up a used copy at Cactus Records in Oakville which I still own and play today!

I got such a kick out of how fun this band sounded with the cool train imitations on Train Keep Rolling to the hoots, hollering and yodeling on Baby Let's Play House and of course, the iconic shouts on Oh What What a Feeling.

The album was just jammed packed with Blues, Rocking boogies, boogie woogie piano, whaling harp, and screaming guitar! I'd stare at the picture on the center fold of these wild and crazy Canuck hippies out in the snow! This album was a masterpiece that makes you proud to be a Canadian musician

For me it was one of the heaviest sounds I had heard up to that time! It proved that Canadian musicians could hold they're own with the best in the world! And in most cases surpassing!

Links: CrowbarMore Crowbar Stories, Videos above courtesy of UnidiscMusicMore 50th Anniversary Albums

Previous (Maple Blues Award Winners, Day 3) - - - Next (Maple Blues Award Winners, Day 4)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Winners of Maple Blues Awards, Day Three including Hamilton's Jesse O'Brien

This year, the Maple Blues Awards are online and divided between four Mondays in February.

Day three (February 15) was streamed from Montreal.

Below is a video of the third ceremony:

Here's a complete list of winners
Blast from the Past: Last Years' Winners

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Carole King's Tapestry w Burlington's Suzanne O

Today (February 10, 2021), Carole King's classic album, Tapestry turns 50 years old.

To celebrate, here are a few videos of Burlington's Suzanne O, who has performed a tribute to Carole on many occasions.

Links: Suzanne OMore Suzanne O Stories, Videos above courtesy of Suzanne O

We asked Suzanne to give her thought about the classic album. Here is what she had to say: 

For me, every song on Tapestry is a brilliant display of great song writing that is delivered with simplicity, heart, and the perfect mix of musicians. It is an album that universally touched people’s souls the instant the needle hit the vinyl.  

The title track, ‘Tapestry’ is one that can make me cry, so I must be careful in approaching it during live performances.  The message of life’s journey is instilled here so aptly, and hits home - more so during these times.  

Lou Adler intuitively produced these songs in such a natural surrounding with all musicians together in Studio B at A&M; and that was part of the secret.  This album holds the magic that was created not only by the outstanding songs written by Carole King (w/ G Goffin and T Stern), but the ambience of the studio space, and the sign of the times in 1971 when it was recorded. 

Each song seems to carry its own vibe and meaning for me, especially playing it live, so I embrace every track on the album with open arms and full heart.  I think this recording affects people on such an emotional level that it cannot really be described by most.  

My feeling is that it transports them to a place of peace and a feeling of pure joy in hearing musical excellence.  I love performing the entire album during our shows, because of the effect it has on the listener.  We take a little trip together that seems to make time and space evaporate. That’s the magic!


Here are a few videos from the lady herself.

Links: Carole King, More Carole King Stories/Covers, Videos above courtesy of Carole King, More 50th Anniversary Albums

Previous (Maple Blues Award Winners, Day 2) - - - Next (Get Out Your Guitar Day ft Blake Halladay)

Winners of Maple Blues Awards, Day Two

This year, the Maple Blues Awards are online and divided between four Mondays in February.

Day two (February 8) was streamed from Ottawa.

Below is a video of the second ceremony:

Below is a complete list of winners

Monday, February 8, 2021

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.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Hamilton's Brandon P General Honours Buddy Holly with a Stunning Covers Album

Brandon P General has taken his considerable talents to honour the legendary Buddy Holly in his latest offering, The Apartment Tapes. The Hamilton singer/songwriter released the album on February 3rd 2021, the anniversary of Holly's death. This wonderful collection is a tribute to the early rocker's final recording, also titled The Apartment Tapes.

While keeping true to Holly's spirit, Brandon does an incredible job of maintaining his own unique style and sound. This is a stripped down affair which focuses on the emotional heft of these classic tunes.

You can stream or downlaod this fabulous album through Brandon's Soundcloud page. The recording is embedded below too.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Please Support Our Wonderful Sponsors

Please Support Our Wonderful Sponsors

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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Honouring the Day the Music Died w Videos by Hwy 24 Band, Sonny Boy Mick, The Big Bopper

Click pic to learn about 'The Day The Music Died"


Links: Hwy 24 Band, Video above courtesy of HWY 24 Band

Links: Big BopperVideo above courtesy of JohnnyElvis1935

Previous  (Day 1 of Maple Blues Awards) - - - Next (Brandon P. General's Buddy Holly Covers Album)

Local Artists Win on Day 1 of 2021 Maple Blues Blues Awards

This year, the Maple Blues Awards are Online and divided between four Mondays in February.

Day one (February 1) was streamed from Toronto and a number of local artists won some of the first batch of awards.

Below is a video of the first ceremony:

Below is a complete list of winners. Locals are bolded.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Happy Play Your Ukulele Day ft Carl Jennings and Friends

Links: Headstones (Rickferd's band),  More Headstones StoriesVideo above courtesy of Carl Jennings

Previous (Black History Month Videos) - - - Next (Day 1 of Maple Blues Awards)

Please Support Local Charities

From their webiste: The Cancer Assistance Program is a community-based, not-for-profit organization, led by a team of volunteers and staff, offering free services to ease the physical, emotional and economic impact of those in our community affected by cancer.

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 (Work Songs from Willie P. Bennett, Paul Templeton, Mo Kauffey & Manitoba Hal) - - - Next (Back to School Videos: Rick & the Krickets, John Kay of Steppenwolf, Beach Boys)

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Kicking Off Black History Month w Videos ft John Ellison, Jackie Washington, Sharon Musgrave, Viola Desmond

Historical Bits

  • John Ellison is the writer of the world-famous song Some Kind of Wonderful which he first recorded as part of the Soul Brothers Six.
  • John moved from the States to Canada. He became a Canadian citizen in 2006.
  • He currently resides in Dundas.

Links: John EllisonMore John Ellison StoriesVideo above courtesy of John Ellison - Topic

Historical Bits:

  • Jackie spent most of his life in Hamilton, Ontario.
  • In 1948, Jackie became the first Canadian black disc jockey when he was hired by Hamilton's CHML
  • Jackie was a major force in the Canadian blues scene for decades.
  • He passed away in 2009.

Links: Jackie WashingtonMore Jackie Washington StoriesVideo above courtesy of Jackie Washington - Topic

Historical Bits:

Previous (Carol Channing & Mario Lanza's 100th Birthday) - - - Next (Play Your Ukulele Day Videos)

Carol Channing & Mario Lanza's 100th Birthday

Today (January 31, 2021) would have been the 100th birthday of Carol Channing and Mario Lanza. Both were famous American actors and musicians.

Carol Channing

Biography highlights from Wikipedia

  • Born (January 31, 1921)
  • Began starring in roles as a musical actress (1949)
  • Won a Tony for Hello Dolly. (1964)
  • Oscar nomination for Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
  • Performed at the first Superbowl half-time show (1970)
  • Received Lifetime Achievement Tony Award (1995)
  • Passed away (January 15, 2019)

Links: Carol Channing,Videos above courtesy of Sun Record CompanyMore 100th Birthdays

Mario Lanza

Biography highlights from Wikipedia

  • Born (January 31, 1921)
  • Made opera debut (1942)
  • Signed movie contract with MGM (1947)
  • Passed away (October 7, 1959)
  • Movie debut with That Midnight Kiss (1949)

Links: Mario Lanza, Videos above courtesy of Richard BurtonMore 100th Birthdays

Previous (Local & Canadian Blues Music Award Nominees) - - - Next (Black History Month Videos)

Saturday, January 30, 2021

GOOD LUCK! Local & Canadian 2021 Blues Music Awards Nominees

Below is a complete list of nominees.

Canadians are in bold.

Acoustic Blues Artist

Contemporary Blues Female
Acoustic Blues Album


  • Shemekia Copeland 
  • Rick Estrin 
  • John Németh 
  • Sugaray Rayford 
  • Lil’ Ed Williams 
  • Anthony Geraci and The Boston Blues Allstars 
  • John Németh and The Blue Dreamers 
  • Rick Estrin and The Nightcats 
  • Southern Avenue 
  • Sugar Ray and The Bluetones 
  • “All My Dues Are Paid” – written by Kathy Murray, Rick Estrin, Frank Bey, Kid Andersen (performed by Frank Bey) 
  • “All Out of Tears” – written by Walter Trout, Marie Trout, and Teeny Tucker (performed by Walter Trout) 
  • “Blues Comin’ On” – written by Dion DiMucci and Mike Aquilina (performed by Dion Feat. Joe Bonamassa) 
  • “Is It Over” – written by Don Bryant and Scott Bomar (performed by Don Bryant) 
  • “Uncivil War” – written by John Hahn and Will Kimbrough (performed by Shemekia Copeland) 
Best Emerging Artist
  • Hard Workin‘ Man, Andrew Alli 
  • Harlem, King Solomon Hicks 
  • Here I Come, Jose Ramirez 
  • High Risk Low Reward, Ryan Perry 
  • Peace In Pieces, Betty Fox Band 
Blues Rock Artist
  • Tinsley Ellis 
  • Reverend Peyton 
  • Ana Popovic 
  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd 
  • Mike Zito
Blues Rock Album
  • Ain’t Done Yet, Savoy Brown 
  • Ice Cream In Hell, Tinsley Ellis 
  • Mike Zito and Friends – Rock ‘n’ Roll: A Tribute to Chuck Berry, Mike Zito 
  • Mississippi Suitcase, Peter Parcek 
  • Ordinary Madness, Walter Trout
Contemporary Blues Album
  • Cry Out, Kat Riggins 
  • My Blues Pathway, Kirk Fletcher 
  • Self-Made Man, Larkin Poe 
  • Stronger Than Strong, John Németh 
  • Uncivil War, Shemekia Copeland
Soul Blues Male Artist
  • William Bell 
  • Don Bryant 
  • John Németh 
  • Johnny Rawls 
  • Curtis Salgado
Soul Blues Album
  • All My Dues Are Paid, Frank Bey 
  • Found! One Soul Singer, Sonny Green 
  • That’s What I Heard, Robert Cray Band 
  • Where Have All The Soul Men Gone, Johnny Rawls 
  • You Make Me Feel, Don Bryant 
Traditional Blues Female Artist
  • Rory Block 
  • Rhiannon Giddens 
  • Diunna Greenleaf 
  • Trudy Lynn 
  • Teeny Tucker
Traditional Blues Male Artist
  • Billy Branch 
  • Sugar Ray Norcia 
  • John Primer 
  • Jontavious Willis 
  • Kim Wilson
Traditional Blues Album
  • 100 Years of Blues, Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite 
  • Blueswoman, Nora Jean Wallace 
  • Every Day of Your Life, Jimmy Johnson 
  • Rise Up, Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters 
  • Too Far From the Bar, Sugar Ray & The Bluetones featuring Little Charlie
Contemporary Blues Male Artist
  • Selwyn Birchwood 
  • Chris Cain 
  • Rick Estrin 
  • Christone “Kingfish” Ingram 
  • J.P. Soars 
  • Thornetta Davis 
  • Ruthie Foster 
  • John Németh 
  • Sugar Ray Norcia 
  • Sugaray Rayford 
  • Christoffer “Kid” Andersen 
  • Chris Cain 
  • Laura Chavez 
  • Kirk Fletcher 
  • Christone “Kingfish” Ingram 
  • Willie J. Campbell 
  • Larry Fulcher 
  • Danielle Nicole 
  • Patrick Rynn 
  • Michael “Mudcat” Ward 
  • Tony Braunagel 
  • June Core 
  • Derrick “D’Mar” Martin 
  • Bernard Purdie 
  • Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith 
  • Billy Branch 
  • Rick Estrin 
  • Dennis Gruenling 
  • Jason Ricci 
  • Kim Wilson 
  • Mike Finnigan 
  • Anthony Geraci 
  • Johnny Iguana 
  • Bruce Katz 
  • Jim Pugh 
  • Mindi Abair 
  • Jimmy Carpenter 
  • Doug James 
  • Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff 
  • Nancy Wright