Jim Dan Dee
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Al Wood is a multi-talented performer and songwriter with a deep reverence for the blues and traditionally based roots music. As a virtuoso harmonica player, talented guitar stylist with a golden-throated voice spanning a career over 20 years, Al Wood's artistry and musicianship are starkly revealed. Wood's versatility delivers a personal flare by capturing the Chicago style blues traditions and merging a journey of hard core real country, melodic jazz with a diverse array of other influences.
The Kinsey brothers, vocalist/guitarist Donald, drummer/vocalist Ralph, and bassist/vocalist Kenneth, enjoyed enormous success throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s recording, and touring first with their late father, Lester “Big Daddy” Kinsey, as Big Daddy Kinsey and the Kinsey Report, and then on their own. The Kinseys arrived on the blues scene in 1985 with a winning formula, joining forces with their father to create a signature sound that mixed the traditional with the contemporary. Big Daddy’s rich baritone vocals, slide guitar and harmonica playing reflected his Mississippi Delta roots, while the younger Kinseys added reggae, rock, gospel and soul to the mix. Driven by Donald’s soulful vocals and impassioned guitar playing, and the tight, in-sync rhythm section of Ralph and Kenneth, the Kinsey Report created a singular sound that caught the attention of blues fans worldwide.
The frantic pace of those years, coupled with the loss of beloved family members, came to a head with Big Daddy’s passing in 2001. Although music was still in their lives, making music became less of a priority as the brothers entered a time of healing and reflection, a time of “trying to get life right,” as brother Ralph says. According to Donald, “we needed time to see where we were individually first, then as a family and as a group.”
Life’s lessons seem to have strengthened the family bond and the resolve to move forward both spiritually and musically. Musically, according to Kenneth, the timing is right. “I am very happy and pleased that we’re gonna be part of the blues landscape that is out there. It is a different landscape now, ever evolving and moving forward.” The Kinsey’s planted the progressive seeds for this landscape over some twenty years ago. How fitting is it that they are back, and again leading the way.
The 4 tunes on Standing (I’ll Be) bring the Kinseys firmly into the present. “Standing (I’ll Be)” the EP’s title track, is an original tune written by the brothers about triumph over adversity. For Donald, it is a song about “overcoming difficult obstacles with faith and the determination to move forward.” For Ralph, it is a song of victory. For the listener, it is an up tempo groove, a cautionary tale about succumbing to everyday temptation. “That’s It,” is a funky blues-rocker about a mean, mistreating woman, that the Kinseys have had percolating in the catalog since their Smoke and Steel Days, (their last recording on Alligator Records). “Nobody’s Fault,” is a traditional gospel tune, featuring Ralph on vocals, and Donald on Dobro and slide guitar. The Kinsey’s grandfather, Lester Kinsey, Sr. was the pastor of Gary's Chase Street Church of God in Christ for many years. Ralph, who was deeply moved by his grandmother’s love of spirituals, was enthusiastic about recording this song. He was inspired by the Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe versions, and wanted to bring his interpretation to this classic gospel song. And then there is the track, “Boogie Diddlin’ an inspired instrumental that combines signature Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker licks while also hearkening back to the brothers’ gospel roots, and to Big Daddy’s influence. The power chords on the bridge of the song come from gospel. As Donald explains, “Dad used to play the heavy bridge. That comes out of the sanctified church.”
When her voice is blended with steel guitars and fiddles, country music lovers from way-back-when hear a kindred soul. When she spins the dial forward a few decades, it’s clear she’s part of a new generation that’s making new sounds and big waves.
Kelly has released four albums and a new EP featuring Jim Cuddy and Buddy Miller. Her past endeavours with former group, The Claytones, garnered a nomination for Americana Album of the Year at the Independent Music Awards in 2015. They were in the top Folk/Roots albums of 2014 on Stingray Music and won the Galaxie Rising Star Award at the 2013 Ottawa Folk Festival.
Blackie and the Rodeo Kings originally formed in 1996 when Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson came together to record what was supposed to be a one-off tribute album to the great Canadian songwriter Willie P. Bennett.
David Gogo's groove-fueled blend of blues and rock is the basis for a singular and storied music career. His songs have been featured in film and television and are regularly played on blues radio programs the world over. He has earned numerous Canadian blues accolades, including five JUNO nominations, a Western Canadian Music Award, a CBC Saturday Night Blues Award, and multiple Maple Blues Awards. He has thirty years of performing and hundreds of thousands of tour miles under his belt. He's played on stage with Johnny Winter, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Albert Collins and Bo Diddley. He has opened for George Thorogood, ZZ Top, The Tragically Hip, Buddy Guy, Charles Bradley, Robert Cray, and Jimmy Vaughan among many others. Gogo can swap road stories for as long as you can listen!
An award-winning guitarist-singer-songwriter, considered one of Canada's most electrifying and versatile guitarists, Cécile plays an average of 150 shows per year. She is quickly earning a stellar reputation and a place alongside Canada’s current roster of great guitarists. Powerful and raw with an exceptional stage presence, she is a force of nature whose lyrics and sound make for an enthralling and intimate experience.
She has released four albums to critical acclaim, been commissioned by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (Home, a song on immigration) and was awarded the 2013 SPACQ Foundation Edith Butler Award for Excellence in French Songwriting for Gris (2012). She’s been nominated for five Maple Blues Awards in the last two years.