Tag Archives: Hock Walsh

Chuck Jackson’s All Star Band Plays Meaford Summer Concert Series

By Bill Monahan

On Friday, July 27th, Chuck Jackson and The All Stars headline the second concert in the free Meaford Summer Concert Series, at Market Square in downtown Meaford (beside Meaford Hall).

Chuck Jackson, from his home base in Port Credit, has become familiar to fans of the blues in the Southern Georgian Bay area, where he has brought his talents to a number of different venues, with different band line-ups.  He is a highly respected blues singer and harmonica player, honoured in 2002 with a Blues With A Feeling Award from the Toronto Blues Society in recognition of his distinguished career.  He’s also won Maple Blues Awards in 1999 and 2007 for Male Vocalist of the Year.

Chuck Jackson with Donny Walsh of Downchild

Although he originally made his name as lead singer of the Cameo Blues Band, he joined the Downchild Blues Band in 1990, replacing their original vocalist Hock Walsh, and has been touring with the band ever since, along with contributing original songs to the band’s repertoire.  His All-Stars line-up usually includes Michael Fonfara and Pat Carey from Downchild as well.  He has often teamed up with Tyler Yarema, including a duo concert last year which packed the Gayety Theatre in Collingwood as a Chris Scerri Presents event.

In addition to his busy career as a performing musician, Chuck is the founder and director of Port Credit’s popular annual fall bluesfest, called the Southside Shuffle, which has been running for twenty years.  He relishes the opportunity through the festival to introduce some new acts to a devoted audience alongside the well-known headliners.  In an interview last year with Mississauga News, he pointed out the he had introduced Jimmy Bowskill to the festival when he was just eleven years old, and since then Bowskill has gone on to win Maple Blues Awards and has become a member of the Sheepdogs.

Chuck Jackson and Tyler Yarema

Chuck Jackson and Tyler Yarema

It’s expected that Tyler Yarema will join the All-Stars for the show in Meaford, which starts at 7 pm and runs rain or shine.

Opening for the band will be Sophie Wensley, a rising local talent with an engaging R & B style.

Blues Veteran Gerry Markman At Meaford’s Red Door

The Friday night dinner music concerts at The Red Door Grille in the Meaford Motel have been a great success and so they are continuing on with an appearance this week from guitarist Gerry Markman.

Gerry Markman is a music industry veteran who has been playing guitar since the age of twelve.  His long career has included associations with the likes of The Cameo Blues Band, The Lincolns, the late Hock Walsh and Alannah Myles.   Along with touring he has done a lot of session work.

Gerry at 19 with The Max Band

Originally from Montreal he started out at a young age playing blues every night of the week at a place called Jazz et Café.  With some musical friends he formed The Max Band (named after his cat) that released a single in 1970 called “The Flying Dutchman”, a song co-written by Markman and Ian Lebofsky.  Over the years it has become something of a cult hit, particularly in Quebec, where it always went over well live.

When founder of Steve’s Music, Steve Kirman decided in 1977 to augment his Montreal music store with a new location in Toronto, he asked Gerry to help get it started.  In the years since, he has moved back and forth between working as a full time musician and managing Steve’s.

In 1981 Bob Segarini talked Gerry into getting back into music full time.  A year later, when the Cameo Blues Band reformed with a new lineup, Gerry was brought on as guitarist.  The Cameo Blues Band had originated at The Hotel Isabella as an alternative project for Hock Walsh, whose sibling frictions with his brother Donny resulted in his on-again, off-again participation in The Downchild Blues Band.  With John Bride and former Crowbar keyboard player “Rabbit” Ray Harrison, the Cameo Blues Band became a favourite of R & B fans in Toronto.  It was Harrison who re-formed the band in 1981 with Markman on board.  As a working musician he played with The Lincolns, the Alannah Myles Band, and Tom Barlow.

Gerry with Tamica Heron and the Harbour Street Band

Years later, he was a co-founder of the popular party R&B band The Sensations, based in Orillia.  He moved to Barrie in 1989 and continued to play with The Sensations while also continuing to commute to Toronto for his day job at Steve’s Music.  He also led the Ruanne’s House Band in Barrie, and twice was musical director for the Barrie Music Awards.  Now his is officially retired both from music retailing and touring, but he can’t quit playing.  Lately he’s played with Tamica Herod and the Harbour Street Band at The Harbour Street Fish Bar in Collingwood, and he still plays fairly regularly around Barrie and Orillia.

It will be a treat for local blues fans to enjoy his music for an evening here in Meaford at the Red Door.

Here’s a cool shuffle with his band The Sensations:

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