Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Hamilton Music Promotor Jim Skarratt Passes

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of musician and music promotor Jim Skarratt. Our condolences to his family and friends.

Below is his obituary:

James Anthony SKARRATT passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on November 25, at the age of 76. Predeceased by his wife Lois (Doel) and his son David. He will be missed by his family and his extended Lazy Flamingo family. Jim was active in the community for decades starting as Program Director at his Alma Matter, McMaster University and then with Skarratt Promotions which brought concerts and entertainment to Hamilton for five decades. He was also an accomplished musician, playing tenor sax with Bobby Washington and the Soul Society. In the 90's his promotion office evolved into the Lazy Flamingo, which continues to serve and entertain the community of Hamilton. The family wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to the PSWs and support staff for their care. Cremation has taken place. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, December 11, at 11 a.m. the MARLATT FUNERAL HOME "Swackhamer Chapel", 195 King Street West, Dundas. For those who wish, the service will be live streamed at www.marlattfhdundas.com

Proof of full vaccination, along with government issued ID, are mandatory to attend indoor funeral services for those age 12 and older. Masks are required.

Here are a some social media reactions:

Carl Jennings (Freedom Train)

How cool was Jim Skarratt? Super cool.

When I was a teenager in the 80’s I was fanatical about knowing all about the music scene, including knowing who’s who in the Hamilton area.

It was a no-brainer that I knew who Jim Skarratt was.

Jim headed his own record label, and he was one of Canada’s top concert promoters, bringing in acts like Frank Zappa, The Bee Gees, Cat Stevens, Neil Young, Chicago, The Turtles, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Billy Connolly and so many more - and Jim lived right here in Hamilton!

I was admittedly nervous when I first met Jim back in 1992. 

I managed to arrange a meeting in his office located on the top floor above his new business venture: a pub he owned in Hess Village called The Lazy Flamingo.

My group Speck Jennings was trying keep our head above water with our original music. 

To keep working, we decided on a plan to play covers under the name Freedom Train to try to break into corporate events and cool venues, hopefully managing to keep performing as full time musicians.

Jim suggested that we play at his pub every Tuesday night, practice the tunes and build an audience. 

The Lazy Flamingo only had acoustic single and duo acts at that time. 

Because we would be the first full rock band with drums playing in a pub in Hess Village, Jim said if people inside or outside complain that it’s too loud we’ll just stop the arrangement.

That meeting changed my life as we ended up playing The Lazy Flamingo every Tuesday night, year round, for 13 years!

So many relationships were built during those years, musicians coming together, staff, music lovers, it was a magical time. 

Jim was there for most of our Tuesday shows, drink in hand, welcoming the guest musicians and customers with his warmth and charm.

Jim helped us by breaking Freedom Train into corporate shows, special events, and in 2000 he was solely responsible for booking us to play Massey Hall, one of our top musical moments ever.

Meeting Jim, knowing Jim and his family, our Tuesdays at the Flamingo, was a catalyst for our CAREER.

So THANK YOU Jim, for helping so many, especially all of us musicians, and for being super cool!


Cadillac Bill

Jim Skarratt helped to make Hess Village what it was - and still is. Him and his son Jay Skarratt kept live music going in the village when most other bars didn't. He helped the music scene in Hamilton and should be remembered and honoured for helping to make this city the music capital of Canada. You did great things Jim; you'll be missed. Cheers to the Skarratt family. Condolences. 

Tomi Swick

As so many friends have posted  the Skarratt family have been an institution for musicians in Hamilton for decades.  The Lazy Flamingo gave so many musicians a chance to cut their teeth, to hone their craft and to play their best for appreciative music loving people.  Jim Skarratt was a friend and supporter to and for me from the day I met him, he let me know he cared every single time I ever saw him.  He and his family gave us all an unconditional home all these years.  No matter how messed up any of us were or got once you were family you had a place .  For a family that has been through so much Jay Skarratt,Steve Skarratt 😞 I’m so sorry for the loss.  I love you guys.  As you know you have a massive extended family of brothers and sisters in your corner.  RIP JIM thank you for everything 

Click here for more Jim Skarrat Stories 

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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Hamilton Blues Lovers Turns 13 Today!

Today (November 29, 2021), the Hamilton Blues Lovers turns lucky 13 years old! We're now in our teenage years! 

With COVID-19 starting to get better (fingers crossed), this year was a major improvement from the previous one now that venues are having live music again. Hopefully, many of you are able to check out some amazing, in-person music now.

Previous (National Electric Guitar Day) - - - Next (Jim Skarratt Passes)

Monday, November 22, 2021

CONGRATS! 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards Winners

On Sunday, November 21, the 2021St. Catharines Arts Awards were handed out during an online ceremony. You can view the event below.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Downchild Blues Band's Debut 'Bootleg' Turns 50

Bootleg, the explosive debut album from the now-legendary Downchild Blues Band turns 50 this year (2021). Their original lineup included Hamilton bassist Jim Milne


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Saturday, November 13, 2021

Waterdown's Karen Thornton Glides Through Bluesy, Jazzy Landscape on New Album

Waterdown's Karen Thornton has returned with an incredible new album, Worth the Wait. The lady approaches Jazz with more of a singer/songwriter vibe sprinkled with soul. Her passionate vocals and splendid piano work just glide along the bluesy, jazzy landscape. 

Karen's partners in crime are no slouches either. The main band includes Paul Intson (bass), Jason Fowler (guitar), Maureen Brown (percussion), Steve O'Connor (organ), Jason Logue (trumpet), Rob Sommerville (trombone, tuba), Leo Sullivan (tenor sax, clarinet) along with backup vocals by Nicola Mitchell & Carla Small. Other guests include Rick Gratton (drums), Ravi Naimpally (tabla), Ron Korb (bass flute) and Caitlin Boyle (viola)

If you want a copy of this amazing CD, you can contacting her at her website (CD) or download it via Bandcamp.

You can stream the album below or by clicking here.

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Sunday, November 7, 2021

50th Anniversary of 'Led Zeppelin IV' + Local Covers

Today (November 8, 2021) is the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin's 4th album (though officially untitled, most people know it as Led Zeppelin IV or ZOSO)

Below are a few local covers of songs from the album.

And now a song from the band:

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Thursday, November 4, 2021

GOOD LUCK! 2022 Maple Blues Award Nominations Including Local Artists! VOTE!

 From the Maple Blues newsletter

There’s no stopping the blues – not even a second year of a global pandemic. In a year like no other, 2021 has proven that Canadian blues artists are tenacious, forward-thinking, and incredibly creative in the face of adversity. Despite ongoing challenges and changes, Toronto Blues Society continues to support and promote Canadian Blues artists by announcing the nominees for the upcoming 25th annual Maple Blues Awards. The winners will be announced on January 31, 2022 at the LIVE Maple Blues Award Show to be held at Koerner Hall in Toronto,

Blues fans can cast their votes online at www.mapleblues.ca. Public Voting opens November 3, 2021 at 12:01 am Eastern Time and closes December 1, 2021, 11:59 pm Eastern .

Here's a complete list of nominees:
Local artists are bolded.

Acoustic Act

Male Vocalist

Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)

  • Harrison Kennedy (Hamilton)
  • Murray Porter (Six-Nations)
  • Alec Fraser
  • Bobby Dean Blackburn
  • Brent Parkin
  • Dalannah Gail Bowen
  • Danny Brooks
  • Shakura S’Aida
  • Tom Lavin   

Electric Act




  • Jesse O' Brien (Hamilton)
  • David Vest
  • Duane Blackburn
  • Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne
  • Lance Anderson

Horn Player

  • Richard Thornton (Hamilton)
  • Alison Young
  • Chris Whiteley
  • Mat 'Moose' Mousseau
  • Mike Clark

New Artist


  • Gary Kendall (Niagara)
  • Alan Duffy
  • Alec Fraser
  • Alec McElcheran
  • Keith Picot


Harmonica Player 

  • Roly Platt (Simcoe)
  • David Rotundo
  • Guy Bélanger
  • Harpdog Brown
  • Steve Marriner


  • David Gogo
  • Dawn Tyler Watson
  • Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
  • Steve Marriner
  • Sue Foley

Female Vocalist 

  • Crystal Shawanda
  • Dawn Tyler Watson
  • Dione Taylor
  • Miss Emily
  • Samantha Martin

International Artist

  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
  • Elvin Bishop
  • Larkin Poe
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band


  • Colin Linden
  • Kat Danser
  • Rick Fines
  • Steve Marinner
  • Sue Foley