Led by Gordie Johnson on guitar and vocals, BIG SUGAR consists of Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe on harmonica and saxophone, Garry Lowe on bass, Stephane “Bodean” Beaudin on drums and Friendlyness, who besides keyboards handles toasting duties for the band.
It is hard to find a fan of the band who has not found ways to attend multiple live performances, for as classic and well known as their music is, it is the impact the band makes while performing in front of an audience that resonates with music lovers – both old and new.
Respect for the past will always see BIG SUGAR lovingly perform their classics which can be heard hundreds of times every week across Canada, but concertgoers have learned to expect the unexpected. BIG SUGAR’s new tunes take the band into exciting original directions and are a harbinger of things to come as they travel the roads ahead.
Growing up in Perth-Andover, you learn a thing or two about the tough grind. The family-oriented, blue-collar community is home to singer-songwriter and guitarist Matt Andersen. While manual labour wasn’t his calling, hard work is something you pride yourself on growing up in a small-town. Having played over 200 shows in 2012, his work ethic has never been questioned.
Matt’s narrative-driven writing cuts through the soul, blending blues and folk, encompassed in total honesty. He takes listeners on a ride with his diverse musical styles, skilled guitar work and over-the-top showmanship. Matt’s intimate, high-energy performances have captivated audiences across the world, from Canada, to the US, to Australia and the UK, from small clubs to festivals.
In 2011 Matt released Coal Mining Blues, produced by Colin Linden. The album was recorded at the Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, New York and features keyboardist Garth Hudson (The Band) and singer Amy Helm (Olabelle). The songs delve into the lives of the working class and the bonds he shares with mining communities, family and friends back home. The moving title track paints a clear picture of the blood, sweat and tears of a backbreaking trade.
“I’m not trying to change anyone’s lives in a big way, but I love it when [listeners] really get involved in the music,” says Matt, who won three 2012 Maple Blues Awards and received a British Blues Award nomination, among many others. “When people get involved, it really makes it a great night — for everyone.” Through his exhilarating performances and connection to his audience, Matt continues to work hard and tell the stories he was born to tell.
Her parents sold corn liquor and her living room was oft-times visited by The Soul Stirrers, The Blind Boys of Mississippi, and many other traveling gospel groups of the day. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Bettye did not get her start in the church, but in that very same living room, where there was a jukebox, filled with the blues, country & western, and R&B records of the time. The “5” Royales, Dinah Washington, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Red Foley, …these were her roots.
By 16, Betty Jo had become enamored with showbiz. She decided to change her name to something more dramatic. She knew a local groupie by the name of Sherma Lavett, liked the sound of the name, and thus, Betty LaVette was born. Singer Timmy Shaw brought her to Johnnie Mae Matthews, notorious Motor City record producer. Bettye’s first single was “My Man – He’s a Loving Man.”, in the fall of 1962. The record was quickly picked up by Atlantic for national distribution. The record charted #7 R&B and put her on her first national tour, with Ben E. King, Clyde McPhatter, and another newcomer, Otis Redding.
After a brief spell at Detroit’s Lupine label, Bettye went back to New York and became the featured singer in the Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford Review, where their Small’s Paradise shows became the talk of the town. Her association with Don and Dee Dee spawned her next big record, for the Calla label. “Let Me Down Easy”, written by Dee Dee Ford, was an atmospheric masterpiece. Bettye’s pleading voice, set against the moody string arrangement by Dale Warren produced a record that is on many “greatest soul songs of all time” lists. It went # 20 R&B in 1965 and led to an appearance on the television show, Shindig. It also put her on a tour with The James Brown Review.
Full bio: http://bettyelavette.com/biography.html
Imelda May, born in Dublin and raised in the Liberties, may be an unknown name to some, but to many she is already a superstar. She is unmistakable both in her music (a fusion of surf guitars, blues and rockabilly that wouldn’t be out of place in a David Lynch film) and her style, with a solitary curl and shock of blonde in her jet black hair. In Ireland, her debut album ‘Love Tattoo’, which she recorded and released on her own label, has gone Triple Platinum. She has shared a stage with Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, David Gilmour, Sharon Shannon, Jeff Beck, Shane Macgowan, Kirsty McCall, Van Morrison, Lionel Richie, Wanda Jackson, Paul Brady and Meatloaf. And now, with the release of her new album “Mayhem”, she is about to go stellar.
In reality, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer stir up a lot more than just violent nautical imagery. Armed with a sack of harmonicas, a mess of foot percussion and a road-‐worn Telecaster, Shawn “The Harpoonist” Hall and Matthew “The Axe Murderer” Rogers kick out raw and primal blues; continuing in the tradition of a ‘decades-‐deep blues style’ (Scott Brown, What’s up Yukon), while electrifying the genre a with a lightning bolt of new life. Their sound pays homage to influences ranging from Robert Johnson to Jack White, but it’s smothered in greasy, gritty soul, and punched with funk. Early on in their career, Hall and Rogers made the choice to limit their sound to whatever they could play between them, using only their mouths, hands and feet, and eventually the sound became larger than the band itself. Shawn Hall provides soul-‐tinged vocals and blues harmonica, while Matthew Rogers rips on the guitar and foot percussion simultaneously. Their music is not polite; it slaps you on the face and refuses to apologize. It somehow manages to cut through all the layers of clutter, all the anxieties, tensions and phobias and hit people directly at their core. It is how the blues are meant to be played.
Steve Kozak has been a mainstay on the Canadian Blues scene since the mid-eighties performing his up-tempo brand of working man’s blues to enthusiastic audiences at Festivals, clubs and private shows throughout the Pacific Northwest. Steve has built a reputation as one of western Canada’s premier Blues acts having repeat performances at The Edmonton International Blues Festival, The Powell River Blues Festival, and The Pender Harbour Blues Festival.
In January of 2013 Kozak gained national attention by winning the Maple Blues Award in Toronto for New Artist or Group of the Year in Canada for 2012.
The 2012 Maple Blues Award winner released his fourth CD ‘LOOKIN’ AT LUCKY’, a compilation of original compositions and favorite Blues covers featuring special guest, legendary Blues man James Harman. It twice reached #1 spots on Blues and Roots radio station top 20 charts in Canada, and hit #10 in the top 50 Blues albums getting radio play in the US. It continues to be well received and is still charting in the Top 50 Canadian Roots Radio Airplay Charts since its release in August of 2012.
Highlights of 2013 include: co-headlining with his West-Coast All-Stars at The at The Calgary Midwinter Blues Festival, sold out performances at the renowned Dream Café in Penticton BC, and at The Pender Harbour Blues Festival in Garden Bay BC. A featured performance at Vancouver’s International Jazz Festival, Music in the Park in Kamloops BC, The Sky High Blues Festival in Rock Creek BC, The Summertime Blues Festival in Nanaimo BC and guest appearances at The El Mocambo and Monarchs Pub at The Eaton Chelsea Hotel in Toronto Canada during the 2013 Maple Blues Awards.
Wide Mouth Mason
Wide Mouth Mason’s newest release is entitled NO BAD DAYS (September 12, 2011). “We’ve called the record ‘No Bad Days’ because it perfectly describes the experience we had making it”, says singer/guitarist Shaun Verreault. “We worked on our 3rd record, ‘STEW’ with Gordie as producer [GOV’T MULE, NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS]. When we decided to make a more organic kind of record, we knew he was ‘That Guy’ and we couldn’t be more excited about the results!” This ‘live off the floor’ approach yielded stellar results on tracks like the break beat infused “Shut Up & Kiss Me” and the CHRIS ROBINSON penned “Go Tell It To The Waterfall” which also features FACES keyboardist IAN MCLAGAN.
“The band’s collective influences really came together on NO BAD DAYS”, says producer/bassist Gordie Johnson, “…you can hear everything from THE ALLMAN BROTHERS to the ISLEY BROTHERS.” Check out the making of NO BAD DAYS… IT’S A MOVIE (link below) for an inside look at the band’s creative process. The guys even shot their own video for the song “Get A Hold Of You”, highlighting the sense of humor and spontaneity that is part of every live show (link below).
Wide Mouth Mason’s unique approach to jamming has earned them two invitations to the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland (which resulted in the acclaimed 2009 DVD/CD release “Live! Montreux, Switzerland”) and tours with AC/DC, ZZ Top and The Rolling Stones. They became one of the first North American rock bands to tour China in the 21st century. Previous albums have yielded such hit singles as “Midnight Rain”, “My Old Self”, “Why”, “Smile” and “Change”.
With the release of NO BAD DAYS watch for the first single and tour dates across North America 2012/2013.
If you took Feist and split her into three, and then had all three of those Feists join TLC… and then got everyone together with the Black Keys… you might be getting close to what Chic Gamine does. They have Motown souls, French Pop spirits, and Rock and Roll hearts. And they’re actually French. Just to make it extra sexy. (Check out the bilingual tumblr!) This band consists of three angel-voiced girls plus one drummer boy: Annick Bremault, Alexa Dirks, Andrina Turenne and Sacha Daoud. With origins in the rich Francophone arts community of Winnipeg’s St. Boniface, the group emerged in 2007 as a full-on vocal collaboration with no lead singer. Each of these voices brings something rare and personal, and with no hierarchy they’re free to trade off and fuse over Daoud’s hyper-intelligent rhythms and some serious instrumental grooves.
Chic Gamine’s first release—self-titled and independent— earned them a 2009 Juno for Roots Album of the Year. ‘City City’, released in 2010, was nominated for the same award in 2011. Their third album and first official US release (‘Closer’, 2013) was mixed and mastered by Rick Rubin’s Grammy winning engineers. It garnered not ‘reviews’ so much as literary high fives. Album number four for Chic Gamine is on track for fall 2014.
A man was once heard to say the evil comes and evil goes, but he was wrong. Evil never goes—it lingers, often for years, sometimes decades, on the rarest and best occasions growing in power. Such is the case with Rich Hope and His Evil Doers, the two-man quartet that ate Vancouver in the most evil way possible, starting way back in 2005.
Guitarist-vocalist Hope and his erstwhile trapsman Adrian Mack approach their 10th year as unholy fools in the business of electric rock ‘n’ roll noise-making with yet more accolades and achievements under their stylish leather belts, not to mention a whole new country signing on to sing the trash-boogie blues ungospel.
In the peak year of 2012, with beloved Armagideon-time anthem “I See Trouble” still blasting from the car stereo, the band took off to Spain for a series of shows culminating in an explosive, sold-out night in Madrid. Out of this came a deal with El Beasto Records and a solemn pledge to return to the scene of the crime—only louder, and bigger.
Blind Boy Paxton
Paxton seems to effortlessly embody the spirit of early musics including ragtime, ’20s jazz and Dust Bowl–era blues, delivering them through a dizzying display of virtuosity on guitar, piano, banjo, and lately, fiddle. And his delivery in dress, manner, speech, and humor of the period is so spot-on that it seems impossible that it is all contained within one so young.
When Paxton sits down to a piano, the spirit of Fats Waller, Art Tatum, and Willie “The Lion” Smith springs forth in a cascade of notes raining from the soundboard. When he picks up the guitar, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Blind Blake are suddenly freed from the crackling Paramount shellac grooves that have imprisoned them for over 80 years. And when Paxton takes up the five-string banjo, the corn liquor-fueled manic urgency of Uncle Dave Macon careens around the room in a dizzying frenzy of old time delight.
Miss Quincy began her music career in the wild mountains of Northern BC with a knife strapped to her leg and guitar slung over her back. Since then she has recorded 3 albums and spent 5 years touring non-stop across Canada and Europe. Her current project is Miss Quincy & The Showdown, an all-girl rock ‘n’ roll band based out of Vancouver.
Miss Quincy & The Showdown have chalked up 2 years, 250 shows, 15 festivals, 7 countries, and over 100,000kms in a minivan together. The band has a new record, Roadside Recovery, produced by Matt Rogers from The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer that will be released in the spring of 2014.
You won’t find Miss Quincy & The Showdown singing pretty pages out of their diaries — channelling Joan Jett and The Black Keys, this is down & dirty blues and straight up rock ‘n’ roll.