Porquis Blues Festival
Past and Present Artist Bios


Inviolet is a rock band with a progressive sound and a tight feel.  Playing songs that people know and love, the band adds harmony vocals to the mix, rounding out the fullness of its instrumentation.  Fronted by Julie Come, Inviolet is a band that is no stranger to the Northern Ontario music scene either. The band has performed locally in recent times, most notably at the Regional Talent Weekend last February, during the Saturday Night of the Divas.  In addition to that most recent performance, Julie and the band have performed at various local venues.  
For those in attendance from the area, there will be a taste of home at this year's event; Inviolet.

Drivyn is a hard rock band that laid its foundation in the mid 1990's and has been performing in Ontario at various venues since.  After years together, the band, hailing from Timmins, combined their efforts and released a self produced, all original album in 2009.  The album is a shared effort, with each member of the band sharing writing responsibilities and credits. Drivyn offers driving rock songs, both original and cover. Another band from Northern Ontario, Drivyn is set to provide some of the close-to-home talent that this year's festival invites, for those looking to see a band that perhaps they have seen before.  

Jake and the FundamentalsJack and The Ripperz

In 2007, Bass player Jack Larabee was asked to put a band together to entertain the breakfast crowd at the Porquis Blues Festival. He formed what was then called the Metropolitan Jazz Trio which performed at the festival for three years in a row. The fourth year, Jack put together Jack & the Ripperz, which consisted of four of the most experienced and versatile musicians he could get his hands on. The band went on to play the main stage at the festival in 2012 and have been Ripping up stages all over Northern Ontario since. The band members come from all different worlds musically, which makes for an interesting stylistic mix. Never happy standing in one place for too long, Jack and the Ripperz are consistently learning new material and tweaking old material, as well as writing new material to be tried out on unsuspecting listeners.

Jake and the FundamentalsJake and the Fundamentals

Fan favourites, North Bay’s own Jake & The Fundamentals, return to close the opening night of the 2015 Porquis Rock 'N' Blues Festival.
Jake, who has shared the stage with a virtual who’s who of the Blues world, started playing guitar at the age of nine. At 13 he played in front of an audience and was immediately hooked. It was also at that time that Jake began his lifelong love affair with the Blues. While his friends listened to the usual British Invasion bands Jake favoured the likes of Freddie King and Lonnie Mack, (although he admits the bluesy early Rolling Stones also caught his ear).
At 17, Jake was already touring the country regularly with his travels leading him to a residency in Detroit. That Detroit experience would shape his life as a player as well as setting the course for an assortment of bands including The Fundamentals that were formed by Jake’s recollection “in 95 or ’96”.
The Fundamentals draw their inspiration from Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, Rock & Roll, and R&B. The band is currently a five piece and various assortments of The Fundamentals have released six CD’s to date – with plans for another in the not too distant future. There’s no time limit because the 67 year old Thomas loves what he’s doing and has no plans of retiring anytime soon.
As Jake has been known to say:”You can’t lie down when you’re busy getting’ down”!

Jake and the FundamentalsConor Gains

Conor Gains is a shooting star on the Blues horizon. “Blues” in Gains’ world is not only a music form in and of itself but also continues to be a springboard for his excursions into related idioms. Sensing that there are two kinds of music – in his words “good music and bad music” – his perspective is that Blues is to be celebrated by stretching the boundaries providing appeal for Blues lovers and non-Blues lovers alike. For proof check out his two releases to date; The Junction Sessions and Run Away With The Night.

All of this sounds like the wisdom of a seasoned performer. And Gains fits that bill as a 22 year old if you consider that he started playing guitar when he was 8 years old, played with the renowned Les Paul at the age of 15, and headlined The Montreal Jazz Festival at 17. Recent additions to these accomplishments include winning the 2014 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search, competing in the Memphis International Blues Competition, and a head turning showcase at the 2015 Blues Summit. The showcase in particular was notable in that the performance realigned audience perceptions. No longer fronting a trio where he dominated the leads, the Conor Gains Band line-up was expanded to include a second guitar and keys. And the Blues only format was now a genre defying mix of the brashness of the Stones’ “Exile On Main Street” period coupled with a funky New Orleans groove.

Jake and the FundamentalsErin McCallum

Erin McCallum returns to The Porquis Rock 'N' Blues Festival to not only put her outstanding singing and song writing on full display but also to emcee and coordinate the event. While being proficient wearing a number of hats, it will undoubtedly be her musical prowess that will rightfully be in the spotlight at Porquis – much to everyone’s delight.
If there’s a score card in play since Erin McCallum released her fine first CD, 5 a.m. Blues, in 2006 it’s one marked by continuous growth and progression. The subsequent releases, Feel This and Common Ground, follow suit by building on the strengths of the one that came before. The process through all three of these albums remains the same: McCallum writing, arranging, and producing strong material, and Erin’s powerful vocals taking centre stage.
Her last two releases break with tradition and simultaneously up the ante. Both produced by Juno Award winner Jack de Keyzer, Complicated Woman and It’s Time work in tandem to uncover a new Erin McCallum. The song writing remains very much in the now and her strong vocals are still omnipresent but they’re more relaxed without sacrificing commitment. And the conscious R&B leanings that characterize the releases seem to fit like a new set of tailored clothes. Of note, check out the rock’em sock’em Soul of “Roll With The Punches”, (“Woman”), “Can You Feel It” (“Time) and the Country Soul of the title tracks “Complicated Woman” and “It’s Time”. All that’s left to be said is “You go girl!”

Jake and the FundamentalsPaul Reddick Band
Multi award winner Paul Reddick never ceases to amaze; no doubt because there’s so much going on under the surface that always somehow wedges its way into the light.
The first glance catches the visual and aural picture immediately: the man in black’s uncoloured vocals – less any affected histrionics – conveying thought provoking lyrics, his proficiency on the harp. But you have to pay close attention to what’s left to be discovered. He’s a modern day Bluesman telling the stories of heartbreak and regret but he does so with a poet’s mind. He acknowledges a world filled with the grace and beauty of God’s hand, but a world that has its trappings intended to lead you astray. In short, he marries the brilliance of poetry with the power of the Blues.
It all started for Reddick in the early 90’s when he formed The Sidemen. The band would produce 4 critically acclaimed and award winning releases. But it wasn’t enough for Reddick to pay homage to the Blues masters; he wanted to take what he’d learned from the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters and use it to reflect the his own world of experience that included his love for not just Blues but for all Roots music. His three solo albums accomplished just that. And none any better than the latest Wishbone. It rocks hard but also has a number of tender moments like the wandering troubadour cited in “The Ballad of Wishbone”:
My mind is all sky he said, and anywhere’s my home…
He was a stranger here in deep dark air
Came in on a train of love – straight out of nowhere…
It’s fitting that Reddick is the founder and benefactor of the Cobalt Prize, a song writing award bestowed on those who “refresh and enrich Blues as an art form”. Paul Reddick does so in everything he touches.

Jake and the FundamentalsDigging Roots
Digging Roots are dynamic inspirational performers that combine traditional Indigenous influences, Folk, Reggae, and Blues. In short, this Juno Award winning band successfully fuses Blues and Roots idioms that borrow from the past while firmly entrenched in the now. Led by the husband and wife songwriting team – vocalist and songwriter ShoShona Kish and guitarist and musical director Raven Kanatakta – Digging Roots effectively reflects their sensibilities. Their work combines songs of love, protest, and support of the human spirit while confronting the sometimes corresponding travails of everyday life. Kish and Kanatakta formed Digging Roots in 2004 and released their first album, the embryonic Seeds, in 2006 that hinted at things to come. That promise was realized in 2010’s We Are that put all facets of their considerable talent on display and won a Juno Award – “Aboriginal Album of The Year”.  Extensive touring in support of We Are ensued, with Digging Roots being featured at a number of high profile festivals and venues across Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and Australia. With those travels serving as inspiration, their new critically acclaimed album For The Light was recorded and released in 2014. The disc remains grounded in their Indigenous roots and previously established themes but brings to the fore a certain maturation in their songwriting and approach. The album contains a number of highlights with the title cut, “For The Light”, serving as the centerpiece. The track is sung in both Anishinabemowin, (one of the oldest Native American languages in North America), and English providing a view of tradition through a contemporary lens. Also notable is “HWY 17” an inaugural winner of the Colbalt Prize, (a songwriting award courtesy of creator and benefactor Paul Reddick). The criteria for the Cobalt Prize is to “creatively utilize blues traditions within the broad contemporary musical landscape… refresh and enrich blues as an art form”. That sounds like of an apt description of Digging Roots.

Jake and the FundamentalsGhost Town Blues Band

“This Is 21st Century Blues At Its Best”
-      Living Blues Magazine
Memphis is rightfully known as “the home of the Blues; the birthplace of Rock & Roll”. The city kept that moniker propped up with the likes of arguably the first ever Rock & Roll record being cut there (“Rocket 88” by Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm), B.B. King getting his start there, the worldwide success enjoyed by Elvis Presley and other members of the Sun Records stable, as well as many other notable musicians and respective recordings.
But the shine started to come off “Bluff City” socially with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and musically with the demise of Stax. It’s taken a long time but the city has is finally starting to right itself. And there’s a lot of worthwhile music in Memphis today although nothing approaching the giddy heights of those halcyon days, (and there probably never will be). That being said, the Memphis based Ghost Town Blues Band are experiencing a meteoric ride that just might bring the city along in its jet stream.
Formed in 2009 as a trio by Matt Isbell, the driving force behind GTBB, the 7 piece aggregation is exciting, high energy, and versatile. The “Blues band” label is misleading in that their repertoire encompasses a number of genres, they like to stretch out into improvisational jams, and they look like they’re having a blast doing it. The sheer joy of making music can’t help but be infectious and adds a visible element as well. (When was the last time that a Blues band opened the show with a second line horn entrance?)
The flame was lit with the band’s performance at The 2014 International Blues Challenge in their hometown. They finished second but their live shows coupled with the release of their latest CD, (their 3rd), Hard Road To Hoe, really poured gasoline on the fire. The album stayed on the top 10 of The Roots Music Report for a month as well as the top 20 of the Living Blues Radio Charts for two months.
Isbell explains that GTBB got their name from their descriptor of the sparse crowds, (“resembling a ghost town”), that the band drew back in the day when they were able to score an elusive bar gig instead of the usual Memphis street corner performances. Based on the positive reception of their high energy live shows it’s highly unlikely that there will be any more street corner gigs anytime soon.

Jake and the FundamentalsMonkey Junk

“I’m talkin’ ‘bout the Blues; I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout no monkey junk”
-      Son House
Among the so called new wave Blues bands they stand. They being MonkeyJunk, a trio hailing from the Nation’s capital, and one of the most inventive, adventurous, and ambitious collectives on the today’s Blues scene, (or any scene for that matter). And to counter the above mentioned quote one of the faithful might say “MonkeyJunk is the Blues”.

They’re unconventional. They have no bass player; they get the job done with Steve Marriner on vocals, harp, and baritone guitar, Tony D on guitar, and Matt Sobb on drums and percussion. And if you really must ask about the band not employing a bass player, they will (painfully) answer that Hound Dog Taylor, Little Walter, and a number of other Blues luminaries didn’t always include a bass player on either live dates or recordings.
And they don’t want to be typecast as a Blues band anyway. While the Blues is certainly a large part of their communal vocabulary, they have a style all their own. If it must be defined they term their sound Swamp Roots Rock or equal parts Swamp R&B, Soul, Boogie, and Bedroom Funk. In short, they test the waters of anything with a groove.
In addition to being top flight musicians, they’re also skilled songwriters as well – as anyone who listens to their 3 albums can attest. You want straight down the line Blues? Try “Pay The Cost”, from the first album Tiger In Your Tank. Is Gumbo Funk your preference? Listen to “Je Nah Say Kwah” from their latest All Frequencies. Or if you ache for some Southern Soul, have a listen to “With These Hands” from their second release To Behold.
MonkeyJunk are musical brothers bed rocked in a common bond of their love of all types of Roots music. They’ve crisscrossed the U.S. and Canada playing club dates in addition to playing a number of key festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. They’ve been the recipients of major North American awards and held in high regard by their contemporaries. And now they’re coming to the 2015 Porquis Rock 'N' Blues Festival to “shake ‘em on down”.


Roberto Morbioli (MORBLUS)
An incredibly gifted Italian guitarist. Roby fronted an all-star group of talented Canadian musicians put together by our Artistic Director, Don Elliott.

Hurtin Mike & Leon Bass
Hurtin Mike and Leon Bass, a Canadian blues duo, have been playing the blues together for over fifteen years. They started their musical journey together in 1996 when they formed the Hurtin Blues Band with Al Lamore on drums. Over the years the band grew to a five piece band that included Corb Plummer on harp and Mark Albert on keyboards.

The Hurtin Blues Band recorded two CDs, the first one Piece of Cake in 2000 and the second, Mouse in 2003. Both CDs were well received by fans and the critics and many of the original tunes from the CDs are played on local and national radio.

Mike Burton sings and plays electric, acoustic and slide guitar and Lee Holmes sings and plays electric and upright bass. As well as the long list of standard blues tunes, their repertoire includes many original tunes. Mike and Leon can be heard live in many of the small towns in Northern Ontario and at Blues Festivals throughout the province and weekly in their studio in Iroquois Falls, Ontario.
Contact: Alana

Sabrina Charlebois
At the age of 18, Sabrina Charlebois is Northern Ontario's new young talent. Her songwriting abilities and strong vocals make her an artist you'll be hearing more of and won't want to miss. Sabrina is accompanied by Dave Sauve an 18 year old lead guitar player. Sabrina is currently working on her Debut CD which will be release in the near future.

Jerome Godboo

“A true blues traveler. Emerging from the traditional roots of Junior Wells and Little Walter, Jerome arrived on the gritty steps of the Hotel Isabella in the early eighties and went on to scale the heights packing the Diamond the Horseshoe and the El Mocambo over and again, as the charismatic front man of the Phantoms. Jerome performed and recorded with Ronnie Hawkins, Jeff Healey, Jimmy Bowskill, Dutch Mason and many others.  All along, he has written and produced records which reflect the ongoing moments of his journey.”
– Danny Marks, BLUZ FM

Anyone who has seen Jerome live has the image seared in their mind. There's the machismo and the mischievous grin, the low-slung leather belt of harmonicas, and there's a tenderness and vulnerability as well. Based purely on first impressions, it's easy to make comparisons to Jagger and Morrison, but Jerome imitates no one. If the respect of his peers is anything to go by, Jerome Godboo is a giant on the music scene in Canada. All in all, it's a potent mix, one that combines the still vibrant musical legacy of more than a century of the blues with a passion and urgency that constantly renews itself.

Jerome Godboo has electrified audiences of all sizes. He headlined at the Montreal Jazz Festival (2005) and Mt. Tremblant in (2009). He played the Toronto Air Canada Centre with Ronnie Hawkins. He played to a record-breaking crowd at the Montreal Jazz Festival (2004) and another 30,000 at Canada Day festivities with Jimmy Bowskill. Jerome wowed the crowd at the Vancouver and Victoria Jazz Festivals with Reuben Cherry. Jerome's network television appearances include CTV's Open Mike and Canada A.M., Much Music, City TV's Toronto Rocks and Breakfast Television, Global's News at Noon, CBC's Zed, TVO's Planet Parent, and In Session. He's also been showcased at Moses Znaimer's Idea City and on numerous radio shows.

The 2010 release of “Rooting Out My Devils” saw producer Alec Fraser (Jeff Healey) come out of the brink of serious illness to beating out authentic pounding grooves on his bass. Alec and Jerome guided the bands natural sense of blues, zydeco and swing and rocked it into funky new originals.

Garden Jane food inspired the musicians Al Cross (Big Sugar), Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors), Shawn Kellerman (Lucky Peterson), Steve Pelletier (Sass Jordan) and Pat Rush (Johnny Winter, Jeff Healey, James Cotton) to offer up energetic playing and musical abundance.

Godboo performs regularly around Ontario.

Jerome Godboo Fact Sheet
Born in Victoria, BC and raised in Halifax, NS  and Ottawa, ON
* Was the front man of  blues /rock phenomena the Phantoms
* Has released 13 albums over 20 years
* Has recorded and toured with the Phantoms, Alannah Myles, Dutch Mason, Jeff Healey, Ronnie Hawkins, Jack de Keyzer, Jimmy Bowskill and Suzie McNeil
* Has jammed with Prince, Pinetop Perkins, Steve Lukather, James Cotton, The Tragically Hip, Levon Helm, Billy Ray Cyrus and many more
* Network television appearances include: CTV’s Open Mike and Canada A.M., Much Music, City TV’s Toronto Rocks and Breakfast Television, Global’s News at Noon, CBC’s Zed, TVO’s Planet Parent, and In Session
* Has been nominated three times for Harmonica Player of the Year by the Toronto Blues Society


Big Bad Wolf
Big Bad Wolf's up-beat blend of Chicago, Delta Blues, Boogie Woogie with a little jazz flavour thrown in, has been meeting with enthusiastic audiences in Grey / Bruce for just over two years now. They have often been described by other musicians as "authentic" sounding.

"We play songs that are favourites from our record collection, artists like Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Robert Johnson, and Jimmy Reed”, says Brian O'Rourke, guitar, vocalist and music director of the band. “We take the tunes and get inside them, understand them, then gradually make them our own."

Paul DiSalle
Recent winners of Sudbury's Q92 2011 Rock Band Rumble, and returning to the 2011 Porqouis Blues Fest, is the Paul DiSalle Trio (aka The Terminators)! These lads have been exciting crowds all across Ontario for some time now continuously earning new fans and friends.  This is a tight and talented blues/rock/funk powertrio, that is energetic and impressive to music lovers and musicians alike.

This trio boasts some of Sudbury's finest talent with Paul DiSalle (guitar/vox), Jesse Leclerc (bass/vox) and David Turnbull (drums).  They will be recording new material this summer/fall so we can expect an album release early in 2012.

With two Juno Awards along with numerous music industry trophies to their credit, FATHEAD has played the top blues rooms, concert halls and music festivals from coast to coast. Their music is steeped heavily in the blues, married with elements of r&b, funk and soul, and possesses a unique ensemble sound that is immediately recognizable as their own. Their latest CD "Where's The Blues Taking Me" (Electro-Fi Records) was released in 2010 and garnered them their fourth Juno Award nomination

Jack Larabee
For the forth consecutive year, Jack, puts his hat on and is accompanied by multi-talented Timmins veteran musicians, who have great passion and enjoy performing yesterday's and today's Jazz, Blues, and Light Rock, easy to digest. Along with your local morning breafast. 
Rippers Performing: 
Drums & Vocals:  Kevin McMahon
Saxophone & Vocals:  Dan Chabot
Keyboards:  Brian Machell
Guitar & Vocals:  Luke Doiron
Percussion:  Lee Wright
Lead Bass & Vocals:  Jack Larabee

Mike DeWay
An excellent Quebec Bluesman, Mike DeWay has perfectly integrated two elements: his blues is Quebecker!  You must see him on stage improvise for his spectators a structured and skilled solo.  Mike is from the Buddy Guy and Freddy King  School of music and you can hear it!  No matter where you discover Mike DeWay, in a theatre, on a Festival stage or on his recent album titled ‘Une Gang de Fous’, you cannot resist his Quebecker Blues.  Dashing in his fifties and from Quebec City, Mike has been scouring the roads of Blues with his guitar in hand for the last thirty years.  His approach towards an essential francophone interpretation of music in a pure Chicago Blues tradition and adaptation of standards modified in his own way doesn’t scare him.  He shares with his public his rich and coloured style ‘Une Gang de Fous’.

Jake Thomas:
Jake Thomas is best known as the electrifying guitar player with Jake and The Fundamentals. Since 1995 the band has shared the stage with dozens of blues artists from across Canada and the U.S.A.  Playing both electric and acoustic guitar, Jake has also built a solid reputation as a "sideman" with artists as diverse as Danny B., Jerome Godboo, Michael Pickett, David Rotundo, Danny Brooks, Willy "Big Eyes" Smith, Ron Nigrini, Magic Slim and The Teardrops, Anderson-Sloski, and many, many more.  He has released seven cd's with various Fundamental line-ups and two acoustic solo cd's as well as recording sessions with other artists. Since 1965, when he first "hit the road" at age17, Jake has played the blues with fire and passion and has no plans to slow down any time soon. 


Dave Mowat with Ben Sures:

Dave Mowat:
Dave Mowat took up the harmonica after relocating to Winnipeg from southern Ontario in the early 1980s. While in Winnipeg for 13 years Dave learned from some of the best blues players in western Canada including Big Dave McLean, Gord Kidder and Brent Parkin. His love of the old blues took him on personal excursions to Chicago in efforts to find heroes like Sunnyland Slim, Junior Wells, and Honeyboy Edwards. And Dave's own personal experiences lend themselves credibly to an understanding of the old country blues where subject matter was focused on the relations between man, woman and the powers that be. "In my mind it's all about love, God, the good, bad, indifferent, and trying to transpose that to the 10-hole diatonic." Today Dave lives back in southern Ontario at his home on the Alderville (Mississauga Ojibway) Reserve and can be heard in the Peterborough area, or somewhere along the Lake Ontario frontier with such players as longtime associate Ben Sures or with JL Avis and the Barnburners. Dave also bills himself with 'the Curbside Shuffle' and over the years has played in the company of many a fine American blues player such as RL Burnside, Eddie Clearwater, Kenny Brown, Big Jack Johnson, Smokey Wilson and Hubert Sumlin. In 2004 he was a featured performer on Rez Blues TV which airs in Canada on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Dave is an honorary lifetime member of the Manitoba Blues Society, and usually gets back to Winnipeg annually to stay in touch with the blues scene there.

Ben Sures:
Anyone who has heard Ben Sures perform will tell you that big talent comes in small packages. A veteran of the contemporary folk and roots music scene, Ben has long fought for the recognition he deserves in the Canadian music industry. His 2005 award in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition, for his song Any Precious Girl, is evidence of his genius, his originality, and his tenacious ability to flawlessly pick his way to the top of the guitar heap while telling an absorbing story in words that only the craftiest of lyricists could pen. Raised in Western Canada, Ben began playing guitar in high school, and has been writing and performing ever since, touring festivals, small venues and living rooms across the nation. Ben performs live with his talented bass player/back up vocalist, Shantel Koening, sometimes under the alias Supergroup. Often featured on CBC, Ben’s performances are energetic and humourous, and whatever the venue, he manages to connect with his audiences with a seldom duplicated sense of intimacy that draws the listener inextricably into the folds of his melodic story telling. While Ben's voice has been compared to Paul Simon, and his songwriting has been compared to Sarah Harmer and Greg Brown, his originality has truly made him a brilliant and outstanding gem in the diamond mine of the Canadian music scene. Ben has four cds available through Spirit River Distribution, and on his website at www.bensures.com . Now a well respected musician within the industry, he also plays on several compilation albums. If you have the opportunity to experience this unique performer, it should not be overlooked. And, if you’re unable to get out and see him, you’ll be astounded to know that he also makes house calls. If you ask Ben to play in your living room, he will deliver an unforgettable and intimate evening of story and song - and you don’t even have to change out of your pyjamas.

Totally Unhooked:
Comprised of area musicians, this new band features highly energetic and vibrant vocalist Estelle Deschamps.  Behind Estelle are four seasoned musicians you might recognize from Smooth Rock Falls, Cochrane and Iroquois Falls. Look forward to their first single to be released soon!

The Wabi Delta Band:
Northern Ontario's BEST Blues / Roots Band!!! Formed in the early 1990's, the Wabi Delta Band has been an unlikely mainstay in the Temiskaming area. Eschewing the conventional attitude that, to play in bars in Northern Ontario, a band must play Top 40/Classic Rock and New Country, the band has developed it's own following of people uninterested in current trends; people who want good music with their good time! After many line-up shuffles, many two- and three-nighters in bars all over the north, and many festivals, the band still continues to find places to play and people to play to. 

Mike DeWay Blues Band (translated from French):
 ...... "Everybody Understands the Blues" said Albert King in his classic "Blues Power". Yes, everyone knows what is going on, Mike lives for the blues, the blues and the blues. His mission: Ensure that the message of Albert King should make himself as far as possible.
Highly acclaimed on the stages of several events in Quebec, Mike will certainly demonstrate to you his passion for the blues. His communication skills, warm voice and great guitar playing underlie his undeniable artistry. Mike DeWay is the interpreter par excellence of the blues for his Francophone audiences. He does the best-of "Chicago Blues" and their biggest names like Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Freddie King and several others ... A dynamic and colorful artist who promises you the blues, blues and nothing but the blues.

A native of St. Charles Parish Limoilou in the heart of Lower Town Quebec, Mike was born in 1955. “It's been thirty-five years since I began playing the guitar. At age 17 I formed my first band, then there was "Rockson" and I made a comeback in 1994 with the "Only Blues Band”. 

At the age of 8 years, I listened to musicals on TV, Louis Armstrong to Elvis Presley through Glenn Miller. In addition, in 1964 "WOW" the Beatles on the "Ed Sullivan Show". I was very impressed. In the years 1965 to 1969, there were lots of "Rock & Roll" bands in Quebec, including my neighbor who learned songs from British and American artists. There was a lot of influence of American blues. I used to watch them rehearse 3-4 nights a week. I was mesmerized by this music. In 1970 I bought my first guitar, a Gibson ES125 TC 1955, for the modest sum of $80.00.

In 1972 I bought my first album of Jazz-Blues fusion by John Mayal. I jammed with John Mayal for hours and hours between the age of 15 and 19. I listened to the Dobbie Brothers, Bad Company, the Rolling Stones, B. B. King and Albert King. My perception of the blues in general is music that comes from the heart, soul and belly. As they say in Quebec to learn the history ... we understand. The blues lets you escape into delirious improvisations.

I love this music to the max! 

The Barrel House Blues Band:
Formed in the spring of 2007. Their music is a blend of R&B, Chicago, Texas and British Blues. With a twist of Outlaw Country and straight forward Rock and Roll they pay homage to their blue collar roots. They are a melting pot of high energy, hard working, ripping blues rock music. However when called upon can be smooth and stinging. They do it because they love it! The energy and vibe of their live shows is certain to leave any blues fan satisfied!

Dig Newton:
The Love child known as Dig Newton was created almost three years ago by four lads with a strong love affair for Funk, Blues, R&B and Rock 'n' Roll. Joanisse, former drummer of Bran Van 3000, and Funky Steve make up the strong back-bone of this soulful group with their complimentary grooves and sharp ear for rhythm. Guitarist Moore adds jazzy licks and smooth backing vocals leaving plenty of room for Thomas to add his powerful and lively voice that completes the character of this rock solid 4-piece groove band known as Dig Newton. 

Fans love the sound. Fans love to dance and the brotherhood that has been formed within this band can be felt by the crowd any time they take stage. Finally, after a year of hard work Dig Newton have released their first album "Plant a Seed". Cd's available at all live shows and online (CD Baby, i-tunes, amazon, etc.); it is also available locally at CD Plus. 

The band has already taken to the studio working on a collection of approximately 16 new songs. In the coming months please check out their myspace site to find out what they are up to, as new songs should be available this summer. Remember, there are all kinds of music to explore and discover out their so band together and support your local talent where ever you may be.  

Danny B. and Jake Thomas:

Danny B.:
Danny "B" has been performing since the age of three. As a youngster he played drums and at the age of nine he had his own band. He evolved into a singer, harmonica player, voiceover talent and on-screen and theatre actor. Danny made his acting debut with a principal role in the movie "Hank and Mike" starring Thomas Michael, Paolo Mancini, Joe Mantegna and Chris Klein. 

Danny has lent his music, voice and acting expertise to the internationally renowned black light theatre group, Famous People Players. He has co-starred with such luminaries as the late Al Waxman, Nathan Lane, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, Michael Burgess and Ernie Sabella. 

Danny has entertained from coast to coast in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia. He has shared the stage and recording studio with legendary musicians such as Doug Riley (Dr. Music), David Clayton-Thomas, Jackie Richardson, Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny, Michael Kaeshammer, Big Momma Thornton, Big Moose Walker, Lefty Dizz, Steve Kennedy, Pentti (Whitey) Glan, Bernie LaBarge, Peter Cardinali, Phil Woodard and a host of others. 

Danny makes his home in Toronto. In addition to his many live festival and concert dates he just made his acting debut in the movie "Hank and Mike" starring Thomas Michael, Paolo Mancini, Joe Mantegna and Chris Klein. He can also be heard lending his vocals, voice and harmonica to scores of radio and television commercials including Kit Kat, Bell, Blue Light, Oreo Cookies, Becel, Kraft Dinner, Cheez Whiz, Coca-Cola, Esso, Burger King, The Bay, Listerine and too many to list on one page. 

Also a songwriter, Danny has written and co-written a variety of songs including "He Had A Dream That Day" "When You Live With The Lame You Learn To Limp" (also a Bravo video), "I Like", "Dolly's Smile", "Francisco's Van", "It's About Time", "Still Smokin", "Danny's Boogie" all of which can be heard on his 3 CDs, "He Had A Dream That Day", "Much Too Late" and "You Can't Make Peace". 

A singer, a voiceover talent, a harmonica player and actor, Danny has the ability to adapt to any style of entertainment. 

Jake Thomas:
It was 1965 when a promising young guitarist from North Bay Ontario named Jake Thomas hit the road in pursuit of his musical passion. His travels took him to cities such as Detroit and Montreal, but it wasn’t until 1967 that Jake landed and decided to stay in Toronto. It was here that Jake found himself merging with well-known Toronto blues, jazz, and R&B performers including George Olliver, Bill King, Aaron Space, and Doug Kershaw. Jake also joined the musical brotherhood in bands like Truck and Buckstone Hardware. To supplement his busy gigging schedule, Jake also took on numerous recording sessions and even some film work with actor Don Scardino and film producer Don Shebib.

The highlight of Jake’s career in Toronto had to be when he opened shows for blues greats such as Taj Mahal, Muddy Waters, Johnny and Edgar Winter, James Cotton, and Ruth Brown. These were influential times for the young guitarist from the north. By the late 70s Jake had re-established himself back in North Bay to raise a family and by the early 90s he formed the first incarnation of Jake and the Fundamentals, playing the kind of music that had always inspired him, blues and R&B.

Since then, Jake has played with greats such as Dutch and Garret Mason, Willy “Big Eyes” Smith, David Rotundo, Enrico Crivellaro, Chuck Jackson, Danny B., Jack DeKeyser, Jeff Healy, and many others. Jake and the Fundamentals have opened for dozens of headliners over the past decade and continue to frequent festivals and clubs across Ontario. Although he is recognized as a skilled and soulful electric guitarist, Jake is being rediscovered as a fine finger-picking country blues performer on the acoustic as well. When all is said and done, Jake delivers the goods big time. With his blood ‘n guts style of guitar playing, Jake Thomas IS the Wyatt Earp of the blues. 

Shrimp Daddy and The Sharpshooters:

Michael Reid: They call him “Shrimp Daddy” and he plays the “Blues”.
With a pseudonym like “Shrimp Daddy” one conjures images of the fishing fleet of Louisiana’s’ “Bayou Delcambre,” Cajun accents, Zydeco music, washboards, accordions & fiddles.  Not to be! …. His deep gravelly vocals, accompanied by the mesmerizing sound of his harmonica, supported by his hard playing band “The Sharpshooters” whisks you to the juke joints of Mississippi as well as the hard edge blues clubs of Chicago. The music of the “Walters”, Willie Dixon, Howlin Wolf & Muddy Waters augmented with the unforgettable sound of Butterfield is his forte!

Transplanted from “La Belle Province” this native Montrealer now makes Toronto his home. It was there he was introduced to & captivated by the sultry sound produced by the blues harmonica. Wasting little time he secured as many tapes & cds containing “blues harp” and the masters as he could, haunted the local clubs & hounded the established players for advice & harmonica lessons which they graciously provided. Practicing diligently his hard work shows and he’s now a welcome addition on stage by the very artists he once stood in awe of. Michael “Shrimp Daddy” Reid is a must hear! 

Harrison Kennedy:
Best known as the lead vocalist on the Chairmen of the Board blues classic "I'm the Chairman of the Board," Harrison Kennedy was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, before moving to Detroit to join up with the Chairmen, a group started as part of the new Holland-Dozier-Holland label Invictus/Hot Wax.

In the mid-'70s, Kennedy left the group and struck out on a solo career. Over the years he has been able to pull from styles as varied as funk, soul, R&B, folk, rock, and gospel. In 2008, Kennedy was nominated for Best Blues Recording in Canada's Juno Awards. 

Elmer Ferrer with Irene Torres:

Elmer Ferrer:
Toronto-based Cuban virtuoso Elmer Ferrer is widely recognized as one of the world's premiere modern guitarists. He has recorded and toured the world with many of the most prestigious Cuban musicians, and played to crowds in excess of 90 000. An accomplished music composer, producer, arranger, and performer, he is also the leader of the remarkable Elmer Ferrer Band, “known for wowing the crowds with blues rock sprinkled liberally with Cuban jazz” (The Ottawa Citizen, 2007).

Born in 1973 in Sancti Spíritus -a small city that holds one of the strongest histories in Cuban traditional music- Elmer started to play guitar at age 12. During his first year out of four of classical guitar studies at Havana´s famed National School of Arts (ENA), he saw the American movie “Crossroads”. The film opened the door for the sixteen-year-old classical guitarist Elmer Ferrer to the world of Jazz and Blues. He soon discovered the art of guitarists like John Scofield, Pat Matheny, Scott Henderson, Steve Vai, Mike Stern, Robben Ford and Steve Ray Vaughan, and decided he wanted to play the electric guitar. But there were no electric guitar programs in Cuban music schools back then; thus, Elmer continued to study classical guitar, while devoting every free minute to the self-study of the electric instrument. One year after his graduation as a classical guitarist, the same ENA hired him to teach at the new ‘Department of Electric Guitar’. 

Known as Cuba’s most sought after electric guitarist, Elmer has been one of the most prolific studio musicians in Cuba in the last decade. He contributed to several music recordings, including two Latin Grammy nominated albums and an Oscar nominated movie soundtrack. He has performed at international Jazz and Blues festivals world-wide, and played live shows and improvised jams with international figures as Me'Shell Ndegé Ocello, Ed Motta, the Otis Taylor Band, Los Lobos, and Chris Duarte. Some of the Cuban names he has collaborated with, include the multi awarded Juan Formell & Los Van Van, Orlando Valle "Maraca", and the 6 times Grammy winner maestro Chucho Valdés.

With his first CD as a soloist (Metropoli –Unicornio, 2002), Elmer won the Best New Album Award at the International Music Fair Cubadisco 2003, and was also nominated for Best Jazz Album of the Year. The Elmer Ferrer Band was formed in Havana one year later, and had its International debut at the 2005 Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest (Ottawa, Canada), opening concert for American star Kid Rock. Elmer´s second CD Fango Dance was released at the event, and ranked fifth in units sold. Since then, "Cuban Elmer Ferrer has toured the world with his band, thrilling crowds with his blazing guitar riffs of Latin jazz, blues and rock" (Ottawa Metronews, 2007) and the phrase “return by popular demand” has been heard more than once. On four years of existence, the Elmer Ferrer Band has made the line up on stage at international events with Keb Mo, Johnny Lang, Bonnie Raitt, the Chris Duarte Group, David Hidalgo & Los Lobos, Kid Rock, the Derek Trucks Band and Van Morrison.

Critics have compared Ferrer's guitar skills to those of music legends like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Words like “Methany meets SRV” has been used when describing his guitar work. Elmer's signature high energy jazz-blues-rock fusion has been called "an advanced mix of Cuban jazz with electric blues", and has brought him international acclaim as one of the strongest voices in today’s world of modern electric guitar music.

Irene Torres:

Irene Torres is a Peruvian born singer songwriter who has resided in Canada for the last eighteen years. There she has developed her sound and distinct style of writing within the hip and culturally diverse backdrop that is Toronto. In the summer of 2005 alongside close friends and writing partners, Sol Torres was formed. Since then, Aaron Jones(The Badonkafunks, Mark Feldman), Ben McDonald (Yuka), Ryan Spratt (DPT, Yuka), Matt Giffin, James Irvin, Joel Visentin (Sabor Latino), and Michael Costantini (Organic Funk), have been writing great tunes and leaving behind memorable performances.

Despite all being involved in a variety of different ensembles and projects, all members past and present, agree that with Sol Torres, they seem to have found a winning combination based around a positive outlook on life, friendship and the importance of community. In 2006, Irene sung her way to Top 40 Finalist round on the popular Television Show, Canadian Idol. Since then she has studied singing and music theory with award-winning pianist and arranger, Dave McMorrow (Rough Trade, Etta James, Billy Holiday) and Ben D’Cunha. Recently, Irene has joined forces with Nice+Smooth/Caroline Records/itunes artist ‘Sol Azul’ which has gained international renown for their dance floor hits.

As well as licensing their songs world wide for Television, Advertising, Fashion Shows and on the Internet. In addition she has been writing and performing with many other artists and ensembles such as The Errol Fisher Blues Band (Blues/Jazz/ Soul), Rhymestone (Turkish/World/HipHop), Minority (metal), Michael Costantini (Flamenco/Folk/Soul), Rhythmicru (HipHop). Torres’ sound characteristically features her voice over a mix of funky bass lines, jazzy trumpets, soulful sax lines, Spanish guitar and trip hop beats.

In 2007 Irene’s lyrical compositions were featured in the soundtracks for films, ‘Exhale’ and ‘After Sunset’. She is also a busy session singer on several demos and masters written by award-winning composer D’Arcy McGuire and Evren Ozdemir amongst others.

Currently Irene is focused on writing and performing in Canada and the U.S. working hard continuing to develop her repertoire and sound as well as sharpen her tools within music and commercial advertising. She is in the process of developing her first solo EP. All Booking Inquiries should be directed to: i.torresmusic@gmail.com

The Gary Kendall Band: 

Everyone knows Gary Kendall as oft-elected Maple Blues’ Bassist of the Year, blues man about town and keeper of the bottom end for Downchild. But Gary’s alter ego is found in his much beloved Gary Kendall Band – a band in which each carefully selected player is equal and accountable. Formed in 2005, Gary reached out to some of Toronto’s best musicians to create a turn-on-a-dime squad of blues marauders to build a loyal following for their own brand of music –and for doing exactly what they like to on any given night – play the blues. 

The chemistry found between Gary Kendall (bass/lead vocals/songwriter), Tyler Burgess (drums/harmonica/vocals), Darran Poole (guitar/vocals) and Wayne “Shakey” Dagenais (piano/organ/percussion/vocals) is beyond formidable. This spirited foursome plays together relentlessly and have so much fun at it, one’s never entirely sure what to expect – and that live spontaneity is exactly what the blues has been needing for a long time.

With a two CD catalogue (Dusty & Pearl, Feels Real Strong) and new, downloadable single (“This Sacred Ground”) to draw from, Kendall & Co. mix it up and dish it out with every performance, playing to blues-savvy crowds drawn to a groove they already know never quits.

Think about it – with a talent pool from bands including Downchild, Fathead and Stompin’ Tom – the possibilities are endless, and all of them good.

The quality of the music on any given night with the Gary Kendall Band is a given. It’s not Downchild. It’s not The Kendall Wall Blues Band or any variation of Kendall’s Maple Blues Revue. It’s a fresh, impassioned outlet for four talented musicians clearly inspired by their collective love of the music business. This is a true band who conspire to write their own music, arrange, play and sing it they way they like it – and it’s a guaranteed “Real Good Night” in any live setting. Experience counts for something. The Gary Kendall Band counts for more than that. 

Erin McCallum:
When Erin McCallum first heard Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog", she sensed something very special.  She heard a sound and delivery that she identified with immediately, and continues to channel both in the studio and live performance.

A relative newcomer to the music scene, McCallum is making great strides employing that basic approach - true to the long-estavlished roots of Blues - as basic as her own vision of the genre.  And people are starting to take notice.  Establishing a sound revolviing around that voice - a captivating alto tenor - and ably supported by Trevor MacKenzie on guitar, Ron Lombard on bass, and Joe Pace on drums, Erin has twice been nominated for an Ontario Independent Music Award ("Best Blues Band")

Erin has just released her second CD Feel This, that features a mix of various Blues stylings, while remaining within the musical territory staked out with her first offering 5 a.m. Blues.  McCallum uses the platform of the 11 selections - all written and arranged by the artist from thought to finish - to cover a range of topics; and not all of them the usual Blues variety.

With her strong vocals front and centre, MacKenzie's first-rate guitar serving as the soloing focal point and Lombard and Pace holding down the bottom end.  McCallum leads the band through various musical excursions.  Feel This is sure to surpass the acceptance of 5 a.m. Blues, that captures the imagination of DJ's and listeners in over 50 countries.

And it's just the beginning.  Feel This, with obvious merits, is a stepping stone in the process.  There are big things on the horizon for Erin McCallum.