Ken Wallis Introduces Us To Five Canadian Blues Artists
You Should Get To Know
Ken Wallis has retired ... well not really ... since leaving his position as the Associate Dean, Media & Entertainment, at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Ken has kept busy with his big love in life, Blues music. Ken's company, Blues Source Entertainment, promotes Blues artists in the Southern Ontario region.
Ken also hosts two radio shows, Blues Source Canada ( Formerly Blues Blast ) and Blues Source International which air on Blues and Roots Radio weekly, the Blues Source Canada shows feature music and interviews with Canadian based artists such as Steve Hill, Samantha Martin, Miss Emily, Steve Strongman and many more, and, on Blues Source International Ken has interviewed artists such as Victor Wainwright, Grainne Duffy, Lachy Doley, Mary Stokes & Brian Palm, Catfish just to name a few.
Ken's shows are available as a listen on demand, on The Sound Cafe Podcast Page HERE
We asked Ken to give us five Blues artists, based in Canada, who we should listen to.
When one thinks of all the great performers of soul and rhythm & blues music, one doesn’t usually associate it with a young man from Northern Ontario – until they meet Andre Bisson. The award winning composer, arranger, guitar player and vocalist is one of the hardest working musicians around. Soulful, talented and sharp Bisson was clearly born with a passion for music and performing, as well as the smarts and talent to pull it all together and build a large following in Southern Ontario and beyond.
Erin McCallum frontlines a four-piece band, comprising drums, bass, guitars and that unmistakeable big voice - a captivating alto-tenor. For over a decade, Erin and the band have been on tour relentlessly, performing for millions of fans - and turning heads in the music industry along the way. With four all-original albums to her credit, songs from Erin McCallum can be heard Worldwide, and have topped commercial radio charts.
In February of 2020 at the Maple Blues Awards in Toronto, Miss Emily walked away with Female Vocalist of the Year, New Artist of the Year and the Sapphire Canadian Blues Music Video Award. This national recognition hearkened back to her early days of county fair singing competitions. In 1993 a then 12 year- old Emily Fennell was winning accolades not by emulating Whitney Houston or Celine Dion like her peers but by channeling Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin; belting out song choices that belied her age. Those traditional influences would be the foundation of a career characterized by fearless honesty and a constant connection to the roots of popular music.
THE SMOKE WAGON BLUES BAND
Featuring whisky-stained soul vocals, funky blues harmonica, slick R&B/roots guitar, swinging piano work, soulful organ, riveting saxophone, with a racy, taut rhythm section, The Smoke Wagon Blues Band, in one form or another, has been performing on festival stages for over two decades. Formed in 1996, the band first became crowd favourites in Hamilton, Ontario’s famous Hess Village. Seven independent album releases, international radio play, and a large local fan base propelled the band to venues across the continent. "The Ballad of Albert Johnson" & the groups previous three albums were international hits reaching the top of the Roots Music Report Blues charts and garnering 5-star reviews in blues magazines and blogs.
Cootes Paradise specializes in original roots based music that is bluesy, funky, and filled with soul. Featuring lead vocals by the legendary Sue Leonard (k.d. lang, Bruce Willis, Bon Jovi), and Wayne Krawchuk (Sidestreet, Tight Little Island) supported by Mark Volkov (a triple threat, playing flute, sax, and violin), Lily Sazz (keyboards, vocals), Amy Di Nino (drums, vocals), and Ian Taylor (bass, vocals), the result is an infectious, groove-based sound with a mix of super cool covers and originals that easily stand up to the rest of the repertoire.
More artists from around the world you should get to know