Tag Archives: Jeff Healey

Damon Fowler Has Earned A Big Reputation Among Guitarists

by Bill Monahan

Blues fans can find respite from the frigid winter weather this weekend, warming up to Southern Blues sounds of young blues phenom Damon Fowler, performing Saturday with his power trio at the Simcoe Street Theatre in Collingwood.

As a genre, authentic blues is in good hands these days with a cohort of young players who have the knack of infusing this venerated music with a respectful blend of its roots and personal feeling.  In this area just this past year, we’ve enjoyed exceptional blues from young artists Conor Gains and Jenie Thai, and now Damon Fowler brings another exciting performer to watch.

A Florida native, Fowler began playing guitar at the age of twelve.  One of his earliest influences was Jeff Healey.  He quickly developed a style that is equal parts tradition and originality, applying it to acoustic and electric guitar, dobro and lap steel, with an emphasis on slide work.  He began gigging as a support act and attracted enough notice that his first, self-released album was produced by Rick Derringer.

As a solo he opened for artists that included several blues legends such as Delbert McClinton, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Jeff Beck, and many more.  His reputation spread.

Jack de Keyser, Blues Legend, Coming to Harbour Street Fish Bar

This Saturday the Jack de Keyser band will return to our area to play the Harbour Street Fish Bar in Collingwood.  This two-time Juno winner and seven times recipient of a Maple Blues Award has been referred to by a U.S. publication as “a coveted super-hero in Canada”.   Jeff Healey’s assessment of Jack de Keyser as “The finest blues guitarist in Canada” is shared by many, including Bob Dylan, who commented,  “If Jack de Keyzer was from Chicago, New York or LA, he’d be famous”. Kathy Pellizzi, writing in Los Angeles Film & Music agrees: “If you think the hippest, hottest bands are coming out of Los Angeles, you are mistaken!   More power to Jack de Keyzer, come show the Americans what we’ve been missing!” 

Playing over 120 shows per year, he has been called “the master of live performance”.  The power of his recorded output, including the two Juno wins, is that he records live off the floor to capture the magic of his live shows and his great band.

Although he is known primarily for his guitar playing, he’s also been praised for his song writing and vocals.  .   Ruth Schweitzer in  Maple Blues magazine said “Multi-talented Jack de Keyzera gifted songwriter, a mean guitarist and a smooth, sultry singer”.    He won first prize in the 2007 International Songwriting Competition for his song “That’s the Only Time”.

The Thursday Outlook – March 9 to 12, 2017

Victoria Yeh is back in town this weekend.  She’ll be adding her inimitable talents to the Thursday night open stage with Chris Scerri at The Leeky Canoe, and joining him again on Friday night at Gustav’s in Collingwood.

If you weren’t proactive enough, you’ve missed your chance to see a couple of great shows this weekend that have been sold out.  One is the latest in the Meaford Hall Gallery Series on Saturday night with multiple award winning guitarist and singer Wendall Ferguson.  If you’re a fan of great guitar players, you can spend the evening across the street with David J. Russell instead.  He been very busy playing all over the area and hasn’t played The Leeky in a while, so it’s worth catching.

The other show you’ve missed if you don’t have tickets already is the Songwriters’ Evening at The Bleeding Carrot in Owen Sound, hosted by Summerfolk’s Jon Farmer and featuring Meaford’s young phenomenon Greg Smith, along with Marshall Veroni and Pat Maloney.  But you can stay in Meaford on Friday night and enjoy the guitar stylings of Stevie Gee, returning this week to The Red Door.

Or check out Freeman Dre and The Kitchen Party at Bruce Wine Bar on Friday.  This band, up from Queen West in Toronto, began as kitchen jams that spilled out into the street, eventually coming together with Dale Morningstar to record a debut CD, “Old Town” at The Gas Station studio in Toronto in 2012.  Great reviews have built a reputation for the band, known particularly for Andre (Dre) Flak’s songs and storytelling, as well as genre-jumping musical styles that have attracted notice in Montreal, New York, and as far afield as Eastern Europe, and the UK.

The Harbour Street Fish Bar continues its string of great Toronto based blues bands on Saturday night with Jerome Godboo, and Godboogie.  This veteran harmonica player, legendary to Toronto fans as front man for The Phantoms, took home the Lee Oskar best harmonica Player award at the International blues Challenge 2014 held in Memphis.  He’s recorded and toured with the Phantoms, Alannah Myles, Dutch Mason, Jeff Healey, Ronnie Hawkins, Jack de Keyzer, among others.  This will be another hopping Saturday night at the Fish Bar.

There’s lots of other good stuff happening in this great Georgian Bay music hub: check the listings at the right.  And then on Sunday afternoon chill out at The Barn Cooperative in Meaford where their open mic has a real magic about it that brings out talent of all types.  No tickets required, but if you want a good seat you’d better try to be there by noon.

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The Thursday Outlook – Feb. 9 to 12, 2016

There’s some excitement in Meaford this week with The Leeky Canoe reopening after renovations that were undertaken in order to provide a better room for live music.  Chris Scerri’s open mic night has moved to Thursdays and tonight he is back and welcoming local musicians to come out and play.  Chris always has a talented co-host to share the evening with him but this time, to celebrate the new and improved Leeky, he’s invited three of Meaford’s most talented musicians to join him: Jayden Grahlman, Beaker Granger and Tom Thwaits.  It promises to be a great evening of music.

And on Saturday at The Leeky, Bored of Education will take the stage, with their popular blend of songs that range from classic rock through a few decades each side of that.  This talented band has some great players, including Tom Thwaits on keyboards.

Gerry Markman

The Red Door Grille at the Meaford Motel continues it’s instrumental music on Friday night with blues veteran Gerry Markman, who has toured with The Lincolns and Alannah Myles, and has played with the likes of Jeff Healey and Dan Ackroyd.  These Friday nights are dinner shows, running from seven to ten.

Steve Poltz live

Steve Poltz

The Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury also features dinner shows this Friday, with two shows at seven and nine featuring folk singer-songwriter Ken Yates.  Music promoter Steve Vipond has also arranged a house concert for tonight starting at 7:30 at The Bruce Street Social Club, featuring the great songwriter, raconteur, Steve Poltz.  And he has an exciting concert lined up at the end of the month with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings on Sunday Feb. 26th at The Gayety Theatre in Collingwood.  That show is general seating so you’ll want to get your tickets early.

The Huron Club in Collingwood has Pat Maloney tonight and some great local talent lined up for the weekend with Luke Martin on Friday, the Dennis McAndrew Trio on Saturday and Jayden Grahlman for a Sunday matinee.

Heartwood Hall in Owen Sound is giving karaoke aficionados a chance to play with a live band on Friday night.  It’s a 4-piece band with a repertoire of over 300 songs.  They provide you with an iPad for the lyrics.  You can check out the repertoire at www.goodenoughlivekaraoke.com.

Gustav’s in Collingwood this weekend features Jason Redman and Aaron Gardner on Thursday, the Dave Quanbury Duo on Friday, and David J. Russell on Saturday.  There’s still time to get tickets for Dave Russell’s special Valentine’s Show next Tuesday at the Gayety Theatre where he will be doing a tribute to Jim Croce.

The Harbour Street Fish Bar presents Tamica Herod and The Harbour Street Band tonight and the Weber Brothers tomorrow night.

Kailey Thompson is hosting the open mic at The Barn on Sunday afternoon.

ATTENTION MUSICIANS:  The Barn is now rotating hosts on a weekly basis for its popular open mic.  It’s an experiment to try to involve more of the local musicians in this community oriented venue.  If you want to try your hand at hosting, contact Angela at barnpress@gmail.com.

And at the Nottawa Community Centre, Laurie Zwarich will be hosting her monthly open mic afternoon on Sunday from noon to five.

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