Headliners

Thursday August 24

Confederation Park - 8pm

Blackburn

www.blackburnbrothersmusic.com

 

Blackburn is a band of brothers, literally! Duane -  lead vocals, Brooke - guitar, Cory – drums and Robert – harmony vocals, all share the Blackburn name; a name that has become truly connected to Toronto music history. Musically, the Blackburn name has been forever imprinted in our ears by Bobby Dean Blackburn, a R & B artist who gained legendary status in the Toronto music scene performing the city circuit for over 30 years. Beyond the music, other history runs deep too.

The release of their Brotherhood album in 2009 garnered a Maple Blues Award in 2010 and they have continued to impress, leaving people wanting more ever since.

 

Friday August 25

Princess Street Stage - 7pm

OPENER

Adam Karch

www.adamkarchmusic.com

Although Adam Karch is from Montreal, his music embodies the spirit of Americana like a scenic ride across the country.  He plays a hybrid acoustic blues that consists of precise fingerpicking that recalls players such as Chet Atkins and Kelly Joe Phelps, along with an innovative percussive technique that is thoroughly modern, while somehow primal and anchored in tradition.

Adam has a raw talent that was evident from the first time he picked up the guitar at an early age.  By age 14, he was fronting bands, headlining clubs, and dazzling audiences with both his spirited guitar playing and soulful singing.  His first album “Crossroad Diaries” (Justin Time Records 2002) was an exciting compilation of original songs that highlighted Adam’s impressive range and exceptionally fiery guitar playing.  At this point, Adam toured relentlessly and as his shows began to lean more toward acoustic exploration, he developed his signature sound.  

By the time “Cotton Fields” (Bros Records 2011) was released, the Adam Karch sound was clearly defined with its fingerpicking style that transcended the rock and roll ponderings of his first recordings.  Originals and covers intertwined into a full-fledged celebration of the blues throughout the ages.  The title track was a historical pastoral that at once drew from the tradition of blues spirituals, while poignantly maintaining a modern edge.  

At this point, Adam was just warming up, as his next project “Blueprints” (Bros Records 2014) was a complete deconstruction of the blues and it led listeners to realize that a pop song when stripped down to its essence is indeed a blues song.  Adam, the artist, is at once a chameleon and an innovator.  He is able to interpret any guitar style note for note, but more impressively, he is able to deconstruct the content and build it into something deliciously unique and completely Adam Karch.  Consider how he takes the Bee Gees’ disco anthem “Staying Alive” and strips it down to what it really is – a blues song.

Adam also ventures into original territory, taking the lyrics of long-time collaborator James Stadnyk and adorning them with rich melodies that flow seamlessly with the words, creating an instant union.  The storytelling technique in songs such as “Sin” creates a Southern gothic where characters are both saved and damned in the blink of an eye, as Gospel traditions and a darker blues intertwine.

HEADLINER

Dawn Tyler Watson with special guest Angelique Francis

www.dawntylerwatson.com

www.angeliquefrancis.net

In the past two decades, Singer/Actor/Songwriter Dawn Tyler Watson has earned her place among Canada’s Blues elite. Born in England and raised in Ontario, she adopted Montreal as her home after earning her BFA in Jazz Studies and Theatre from Concordia University. An accomplished and dynamic performer, Watson’s fiery stage presence has earned her national and international recognition. 

Just back from Memphis TN, where she took home the coveted 1st place spot out of over 260 acts at the 2017 International Blues Challenge, Dawns also the recipient of three Canadian Maple Blues Awards and nine Quebec Lys Blues Awards. She's earned the Screaming Jay Hawkins Award for Best Live Performance, a Trophées France Blues for female International Artist of the Year, and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Best Vocalist. 

 

Angelique Francis is a versatile and exceptionally gifted young musician with talent that is way beyond her years. This multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist, singer song-writer and composer has played some of the biggest venues across Canada and the USA. Angelique first took to the stage at age 7 and made her American national television debut at age 13 on the Oprah Network for writing and composing an original theme song for the Gayle King Show. She has an insatiable appetite for many different kinds of music and has wowed audiences across the globe with her stage presence, instrumentals, song writing abilities and her deep textured vocals.

 

Saturday Augsut 26

Springer Market Square - 7pm

OPENER

Spencer Mackenzie

www.spencermackenzie.ca

18 year old ‘New Artist of the Year’ Maple Blues Award winner, Spencer MacKenzie, has an insightful musical expression emerging from his body, and the only explanation is an old soul residing within! He has a deep, soulful, true to the blues sound, with an electrifying twist that captivates his audience. There is no question that musicians should be judged by ability and not by age, and that is certainly the case with 17 year-old blues artist Spencer MacKenzie…his guitar playing is crisp and clean even as it delivers some down-to-the bone licks…He’s got the blues power in his soul...” – Blues Blast Magazine (USA)

His debut album ‘Infected with the Blues’ released in May 2016 earned rave reviews and international airplay. Over one year since the release, it still consistently hits the Top 50 Roots Music Report Blues/Rock Charts. "Goodbye Lucille is the best musical tribute to BB King I've hear....." -BLUES MATTERS MAGAZINE (UK). Spencer and his original song "Devil Under her Skin" just took a 3rd place WIN in the Blues Category at the 2016 International Songwriting Competition! Spencer’s new album is set to release early next year.

In 2013 he won Niagara Music Awards Rising Star, was selected to perform the 2016 Youth Showcase at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, in 2016 won the Toronto Blues Society New Talent Search earning a spot to compete at the 2017 International Blues Challenge, won 3rd place in the 2016 International Songwriting Competition in the Blues Category, and recently took home the Maple Blues Award for 'New Artist of the Year' and he has just begun his journey! “There’s no doubt the future of the blues is in good hands with Spencer…..” – Chris Duarte

Duarte, along with other modern blues artists like Jonny Lang and Joe Bonamassa, provide a roadmap for Spencer. He has drawn favourable comparisons to them because they overcame the imaginary stigma of youth to scale the heights of the art form called the blues.

Spencer confirms that blues music has a future and that young people all over “get it” regardless of yet having some of the life experiences that the genre so often detail and that the blues is a feeling, one that can’t be denied or suppressed.

As MacKenzie puts it, “I got the blues running through my veins!”

Carlos Del Junco

www.carlosdeljunco.com

It's probably a good thing Carlos wasn't there when the harmonica appeared in North America in the 1860s. Neil Young and Bob Dylan can probably roll with it when he says they are very mediocre harmonica players. Aspiring harmonica players Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid might have overreacted and pulled out their pistols...

To say he plays the harmonica is like saying "Jimi Hendrix plays guitar". He blows the blues harp through a prism -- suddenly it seems he's holding every color in the musical rainbow right there in his hands.

Simultaneously sophisticated and raw, his playing blurs the boundaries between blues and jazz (hence the name for his band “The Blues Mongrels”). The emphasis is on blues, but Carlos and his band are not afraid to merrily traipse off in other directions delivering a seamless fusion of New Orleans second line grooves, swing, Latin, hip-hop or ska melodies, to swampy roots rock.

Born in Havana, Cuba, del Junco (loosely translated "of the reeds") immigrated with his family at the age of one. He bent his first note on a harmonica when he was fourteen, making his debut with his high school math teacher at a student talent night. In his early 20's del Junco was immersed in a visual arts career; he graduated with honours from a four year programme, majoring in sculpture ( click here to see photos ) at the Ontario College of Art. Sculpture has definitely had an influence on his outlook on music: "Music is just a different way of creating textures and shapes."

Playing a ten hole diatonic harmonica, Carlos has developed the unique ability to play chromatically by using a recently developed "overblow" technique taught to him by jazz virtuoso Howard Levy. Overall, this approach to the diatonic harmonica, although much more difficult to achieve, is in many ways more expressive and communicative than the mechanized tone produced by the chromatic harmonica . Carlos is one of the few pioneers of this overblow method, bringing musical credibility to what has still been considered by many in the music industry - a fringe folk instrument. The sophisticated sound produced by del Junco is at once sensitive, soulful, and sexy while never forgetting the rawness inherent in blues music.

 

HEADLINER

Nick Moss Band with Kate Moss 

www.nickmossband.com

Recognized as one of the greatest guitarists of his generation, fans flock to his shows knowing they will be a grand musical experience! A star high school athlete until sidelined by a serious health ailment, Nick Moss picked up an electric bass at the urging of his brother Joe, a budding blues guitarist just to pass the time. When he rose from his sickbed to sneak out and hear Little Charlie and the Nightcats, the course was set : the allure of performing was irresistible and Nick resolved that night to become a musician. The 16-time Blues Music Award nominee is one of the top draws on the blues circuit and one of the most exciting, dynamic performers working today. And work he does. He and his band play venues, clubs and festivals world-wide and maintain not only a grueling tour schedule, but an active recording schedule as well. Nick is a gifted storyteller, a songwriter that takes his craft seriously and a musician with a daunting work ethic. He is a walking encyclopedia of blues and music knowledge, and his deep understanding of the genre shines on the new release, From the Root to the Fruit (Blue Bella Records, 2016).