Blues or blues related music performed by blues bands and entertainers in Canada are often called Canadian blues. Canadian blues artists include singers, players of the major blues instruments like guitar; acoustic and electric, harmonica, keyboards, bass and drums, songwriters and music producers. In many cases, blues artists take on multiple roles. Like the blues artist Steve Marriner, he is a singer, harmonica player, guitarist, songwriter and record producer.
Due to Canada’s border with the United States, many US blues artist have been playing in the Canadian towns and vice versa. This gives the Canadian blues musicians substantial opportunities to receive influence from the US artists. This is particularly true for the styles such as Mississippi Blues and Chicago Blue. Essentially these are the major base for the Canadian blues genre.
There are many locally based Canadian blues groups / entertainers who perform in small venues in their home towns. But moreover, much fewer groups and entertainers have achieved global success. These renowned groups and entertainers are supported by a more extensive “blues scene.” But that includes city or local blues societies, blues radio shows, festivals and clubs.
Canadian Blues Musicians
US-born and rockabilly pioneer Ronnie Hawkins, who came to Canada in the late 50s became a key player of the rock and blues scene in the Toronto in the 60s. Richard Newell who was a vocalist, arranger, songwriter, slide guitarist, and harmonica player performed under the nickname “King Biscuit Boy”. His release entitled “Mouth of Steel” appeared on the Red Lightning, a record label from England. His recording “King Biscuit Boy AKA Richard Newell” was nominated for the Best Roots and Traditional category of the Juno Award in in 1987.
The Powder Blues had double platinum sales for their debut album ‘Uncut’ in 1980. The album also had four top 10 songs and the band won a Juno for ‘Best New Group. Johnny V Mills, is a Calgary blues guitarist who has been nominated for several Juno awards. One collaboration involved a recording with Richard Newell and Amos Garrett. Other International performers would include singer-guitarists Jack de Keyzer, Sue Foley, JW-Jones, Roxanne Potvin and David Gogo.
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