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A Conversation With Chuck Jackson Of The Hogtown Allstars


Photo Credit: Ken Wallis.



The Hogtown All Stars is a unique band. Filled with veteran blues artists that boast a multitude of blues awards, this band is about to take the blues world by storm. We chatted with Chuck Jackson, lead vocalist and harmonica player, to find out more about the album.


Ken Wallis interviewed Chuck Jackson for the radio show, Blues Source Canada. The following are edited excerpts from that interview.



Ken Wallis

There's a brand-new album out by a somewhat new group and it's filled with seasoned award-winning veterans. The group? The Hogtown All Stars. The album is called Hog Wild and joining us to tell us all about it is Chuck Jackson, lead vocals and harmonica player with the band. Chuck thanks for coming on the show.


Chuck Jackson

Ken my pleasure, thanks my friend.


Ken Wallis

For listeners outside of Canada what does Hogtown refer to?


Chuck Jackson

Well, Hogtown refers to the city of Toronto and the slaughterhouses back in the turn of the century.


Ken Wallis

The band is a who's who of the blues world. It's actually a super group, I’m calling it. Who's in the band and what do they play?


Chuck Jackson

We've got Gary Kendall on bass guitar we've got Pat Carey on saxophone, Howard Moore on trumpet, Teddy Leonard on guitar, Jim Casson on drums, Tyler Yarema on piano, and myself singing and playing harmonica.


Ken Wallis

And you guys have been together for a little while, you started out in 2013.


Chuck Jackson

Yeah, when we weren't touring with Downchild, it was a chance for us to get together and perform in bars and outdoor venues during the summertime. Downchild plays their festivals or theatres, so it was a chance for us to get intimate back into bars again with some of our fans.


Ken Wallis

The album features eight new songs and two covers. Tell us all about those.


Chuck Jackson

That was a real collaboration. We've done over 20 albums with Downchild and we wanted to make this album a little bit different; a collection of songs I’ve written over the last 20 years.

I wrote a couple of new ones during Covid, which was an opportunity to do something while we were sitting around doing nothing. I wrote Hog Wild, the title track and I wrote Mr. Lucky which has a pretty cool New Orleans type feel to it. I wrote a couple of songs for my wife, how we first met, Angel In My Bed and I Just Think Of You. I collaborated with Teddy Leonard to write The Sad One and with an old-time buddy from the Cameo Blues days back in the 70s, John Bride and we wrote Subway Casanova.


Ken Wallis

During the recording it must have been something else with all you great all-stars getting together.


Chuck Jackson

It was fantastic and real good fun. One of the songs that Gary Kendall penned. A Real Good Night, we got to bring in some great backup singers led by uh Quisha Wint. With all the different genres, of the album make it quite different for our listeners that are familiar with all the stuff we've done with Downchild.


Ken Wallis

There's a great video on Hog Wild; it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a utility lamp used for a mic. [laugh] What a great video it is and what a cute ending with Pat Carey and Howard Moore. You got to explain that to our listeners.


Chuck Jackson

Jim Cason produced the video and it's one of the few songs on the album that doesn't feature any horns. Stony Plain wanted us to do that song first, so we thought well how are we gonna include the guys in the horn section? So, at the very end we've got both horn players sitting at home waiting for the phone call to come to the studio which they never got.


Ken Wallis

I almost missed that and it broke me up when I saw it. It's amazing that you've been able to get so many musicians together that have so many other commitments, scheduling must be a nightmare.


Chuck Jackson

It is, especially right now with us still touring with Downchild. When you've got players of their calibre, they're all going to be very busy. But we've been starting to fill up some of the stuff in the summertime. We're going to be playing the Southside Shuffle in September and we've got some outdoor gigs that we're going to be doing. It looks like it's gonna be a very busy summer after two years of basically sitting around wishing we could be out there.


Ken Wallis

Well, I certainly would advise anybody that's listening to try and catch you guys live. I have to admit She's Got The Stuff is one of my favourite tunes and it reminds me of a throwback era and boy does Teddy Leonard ever tear it up on that tune.


Chuck Jackson

Teddy does a great job on all the songs and he's always been one of my favourite guitar players even back in the days with Fathead and Tyler Yarema is just a fantastic piano player. He’s really highlighted on Mr. Lucky. Everybody seems to get their chance to shine through the whole album.


Ken Wallis

Again, it is The Hogtown All Stars, Hog Wild is the name of the album and Chuck where can fans buy that album?


Chuck Jackson

You can go to our website at hogtownallstars.ca. You can also go to Stony Plain Records and purchase there. You can get them on iTunes, Amazon or you can go to Spotify to listen the album. And of course we're really hoping that we're going to get a chance to see some people at some of our live performances and be able to sell some cds and autograph them for everyone.


Ken Wallis

Well, I gotta say it's a must-have cd. It's got to be the cd of the year. It is a great album and again Chuck I thank you so much for your time. It's been great chatting with you.

Chuck Jackson

Ken we always appreciate your help and your devotion to the blues and I hope to see you soon through the summer.


Ken Wallis

You can count on it.




Website: www.thehogtownallstars.ca

Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups