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A Conversation With Jim Stefanuk Of The Band Jim Dan Dee.



Jim Dan Dee is a rocket-fuelled blues band that doesn’t hesitate to let it all hang out with some rockin’ blues tunes. It’s a four-piece band featuring Jim “Dan Dee” Stefanuk on vocals/guitars, Bobby Sewerynek on saxophone, newcomer Dwayne Lau on bass, and Shawn Royal on drums. From Toronto, this band is sweeping Canada with a brand of blues of their own.


Ken Wallis interviewed Jim Stefanuk for the radio show BluesSource Canada. The following are edited excerpts from that interview.




Ken Wallis

There's a brand-new album out. Jim Dan Dee has a new one called Real Blues and joining us to tell us all about it is Jim Stefanuk. Jim thanks for coming on the show.


Jim Stefanuk

It's my pleasure Ken, it's great talking to you again.


Ken Wallis

Tell us why the title Real Blues?


Jim Stefanuk

Well, we had a lot of material and we've been a little bit rockier in the past I guess, and we've got a little bit of flack sometimes from the blues community for that. We wanted to keep the blues alive too, just like everybody else, so we really went out of our way to make this a Real Blues album and we picked from about 60 songs. We picked these 11 songs that we thought best represented the blues as best as we could. So that's a part of it. The title has more meanings than that too because we're all going through the pandemic and that was just a real bluesy time for everybody. Not all the songs are sad, a lot of them are kind of more upbeat and some can get very melancholy because we don't just want to feel sadness all the time. We were really hoping that we'd all come out of it again and it looks like we have now so that's basically the double meaning of the title.


Ken Wallis

So, what's the song really about?


Jim Stefanuk

The song is about a few different things. One is just about losing the love of your life and it's all kind of hypothetical. When I write lyrics most of the time, I tell stories to myself. A lot of it draws from life experience but a lot of it is rhetoric as well. It's about not being able to make a go of it in this world for some people. It's about losing people you love both through death and or breakup or misunderstanding.


Ken Wallis

You got a single out. Bleed Me Dry and I thought it was a great video that you have up for that song. What I really liked about it was you showed a side of what a musician's life is all about, because the opening is you guys unloading and a lot of people think that magically you're on stage, but there's a hell of a lot of work that goes into it before you get on stage.


Jim Stefanuk

That’s really what the song is all about, and that it's kind of a light-hearted tongue-in-cheek song. It sounds like just a fun-ass rocker but Bleed Me Dry pretty much says it all. The point is just what does go into a show for us. Often, we play a show, we're playing three one-hour sets and sometimes we're driving two hours or more or way more if we're on tour. Just the sheer exhaustion.


Ken Wallis

And I like the line, “I did it all for the love”.


Jim Stefanuk

That's the point. We're we're not making mad cash at this. We're doing it for the love of the blues and for the love of our friends and fans and just seeing you guys out there on the road that's why we sweat and bleed.


Ken Wallis

Do, you have any plans for the summer? Is the band going to be doing some touring?


Jim Stefanuk

Oh yeah, we're gonna be doing some touring. We're gonna go out to the East Coast, to New Brunswick, spend a week out there. We're gonna be playing The Blues De La Bay Fest Miramichi, which we love, and we'll be playing a few other gigs in northern New Brunswick, which is a place we go to almost every year. Such beautiful people the Acadian community out there. It’s just something that my heart is near and dear to. They're just such big supporters of music. We got lots and lots of stuff planned. Pretty much every weekend is booked already right to September and we're playing the Lighthouse Blues Festival on July 9th in Kincardine area which is pretty exciting. We're also going to be playing just slightly before ur good friends, our very esteemed colleagues Downchild at the Southside Shuffle on September 11th, which is super exciting for us. I had Chuck Jackson call me on the phone personally and it was a bit of an emotional moment for me because we've been at this a lot longer than maybe some people realize, and just to have some recognition from someone like that really warms our hearts.


Ken Wallis

And the Southside Shuffle is just a great festival, lots of bands and lots of stuff going on all the time.


Jim Stefanuk

Yeah absolutely. It's going to be a blast. We'll be spending as much time there as possible

Ken Wallis

So tell us who came up with the name of the band? I got a funny feeling it might have been you?


Jim Stefanuk

There are a couple secrets to that, but like it says in our bio, it's about everything's just Jim dandy, and when I was just mentioning how long we've been at it. My drummer and I, Sean, have been at this; it's going to be going on 18 years or more together. Just the two of us and we've been in quite a few bands. We both take music very seriously, maybe a little too seriously sometimes. That's hard on other band members but it's also really hard on us and our families. We just work really hard so the name Jim Dan Dee was kind of a joke because I’m Jim and I said everything's just gonna be Jim dandy. Let's not take it so seriously, let's just have a good time and make some music. This time with this new incarnation of the band it’s sort of the thing, so that's where it came from. Did we live up to it? No, we still take it super seriously. We just can't stop working hard, we love it too much.

Ken Wallis

I’ve seen you guys perform and you put on a powerful performance and that's sort of captured in the album itself. It almost seems like a live performance.


Jim Stefanuk

Thank you, that is a hundred percent what we were going for. We work with some great producers and stuff in the past but there's always been kind of a lingering of just wanting to sound a little bit more like us. So, we really had the time during the pandemic to record us in our basements basically, and just get it so that it sounded accurate and sounded like us. It's all our own amps that we use on stage. There’re virtually no overdubs. We just wanted it to be the four of us because it's really important, especially to Sean our drummer. He's always insisting, no we can't put that in the recording because if it's not going to be like that live, I don't want it. Thank you for noticing, it's really as live sounding as possible, but of course a little bit more refined. We really enjoyed the process and we're so happy with how it came out. We hope you guys like it a lot.


Ken Wallis

And again, the band is Jim Dan Dee, the release is called Real Blues, and Jim where can blues fans get a hold of the album?


Jim Stefanuk

They can find it on Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, you can go to jimdandee.com and you can buy anything you want there or buy it on Bandcamp and get a cd if you want.


We'll sign it for you. If you have trouble finding anything just look us up and send us a message, we're happy to help.


Ken Wallis

Well, it's a great album Jim. I'm really enjoying it and I know anyone that purchases it will as well. I thank you so much for your time.


Jim Stefanuk

It's been great chatting with you.





Website: jimdandee.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JimDanDeeBand