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Ken Wallis Chats With Brant Parker About The Canal Bank Blues Festival In Ontario, Canada


By Ken Wallis.



The Canal Bank Shuffle ran from 2002-2019 in Thorold Ontario. The festival was mothballed after the death of its founder, Tim Sinnett, and the onset of the Covid pandemic. But the blues horizon is brightening with the announcement that the festival is being resurrected with a stellar lineup of musicians.

Ken Wallis interviewed Brant Parker for the radio show BluesSource Canada. The following are excerpts from that interview, edited and amended for clarity and brevity.



Ken Wallis

Like a phoenix rising out of the ashes, the Canal Bank Shuffle is back. October 12th to 15th in Thorald Ontario. It's now branded as the Canal Bank Blues Festival, and it's being brought back to life by Brant Parker. Brant, it’s great catching up with you.


Brant Parker

Great seeing you Ken.


Ken Wallis

This is going to be a super weekend. Why now? With Covid and everything the festival was shut down but somehow, you've managed to bring it back. That’s quite an accomplishment.


Brant Parker

We had a lot of call for it of course after Covid and unfortunately Tim Sinnett who did the festival for 19 years passed away. So myself and Joe Viele from Donnelly’s Pub decided get it going again. We're hitting with our feet running on the ground. I mean it's going to be a big festival this year, we have 20 acts. It’s going to be fantastic.


Ken Wallis

It's four days of music which is absolutely fabulous. Tell us about where it's taking place, the venues, and some of the stages.


Brant Parker

This is the great thing. All the stages are about 30 seconds from each other. There's Donnelly’s Pub of course. Right next door is the Canadian Corps, it's a big room with nice stage and then we also have the Legion which is just basically across the street. It's all within a stone’s throw of each other. It's going to be fantastic and the way we've done the scheduling, you'll be able to see a bit of every band. The schedule will be posted on Donnelly’s website.


Ken Wallis

And you've got quite a lineup of musicians. Give us some of the highlights.

Brant Parker

One of course is Jack de Keyser, who's done every single Canal Bank Festival since its Inception; he's going to be back on the bill. Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne. I'm actually in that band, I'm the guitar player for Kenny. Kenny just won the Blues Blast Magazine for keyboard player the year. He keeps garnering all these awards. We have Murray Kinsley and Wicked Grin, Miller And The Other Sinners from the States are coming. Hayden Fogle who now lives in New York City. He's making an appearance at the festival as well as Spencer MacKenzie and a young lad that's a great guitar player, you might have seen him at some of the festivals this year Joel Dupis, he's fantastic. As well, Maria Aurigema, Rick Taylor, LMT Connection, Little Magic Sam Band, who I just love.


Ken Wallis

That band has one of the best harmonica players I've heard in a long time.

Brant Parker

Yeah, and Sam just really has a great feel for the blues. He's one to definitely keep your eyes on. I think that guy's going places for sure. We have so many different artists, of course, Pappy John Blues Band, that's Joshua Arden Miller and he's got Jeremy Keys, nine-time winner as Buffalo’s best harmonica player. Alie Smith is coming, The Vaudevillian, that's another great act I love, a two-piece act, they're fantastic. As well, as we do regularly every Saturday at Donnelly’s Pub my band with special guests. We're doing 1:30 to 5 and I have two guests that day. One is Maria Aurigema, and the other is Nicole Cerminara. She's from a band called Jin and she's another knockout guitar player singer, so someone not to miss as well for sure.


Ken Wallis

What a great weekend that's going to be where do people get tickets?

Brant Parker

You get tickets at Donnelly’s Pub, or you can call 905 227 1947 and then of course you can come right to the festival and get tickets as well. Show up at any of the doors for the stages, there be a door person there selling tickets as well.


Ken Wallis

Well, I'm certainly looking forward to it and I'm sure you are as well. It must have been a huge undertaking for you to take on.


Brant Parker

Yeah, it's a lot more work than I'm used to that's for sure. Just playing guitar is much easier. 😊


Ken Wallis

And I have to mention one other thing. You've got a special reunion coming up in Hamilton soon.


Brant Parker

Yes, we do that that's going to be great. Back in the day, Bay City Music Hall and Bay City Blues Band, we did every Sunday, as you know Ken, because I saw you there a lot every Sunday. We used to do it at Leander boat Club actually, but at the time it used to be called Bay City Music Hall. I have all the original band members coming out. We're going to do a show on November 5th, 2:30 to 6 o'clock and I'm going to have a couple special guests with us too that I'll announce very soon. The entire original band with Dave McMorrow on Keys, Allan Duffy on bass guitar, Shaun O’Grady on the drums, Bill Holinaty on saxophone and of course myself .


Ken Wallis

That's gonna be great I'm pretty sure that's going to be a full crowd. Brent I thank you so much for coming on the show. Again, the new Canal Bank Blues Festival October 12th to 15th, looking forward to it


Brant Parker

I'm looking forward to seeing everybody. Hopefully everybody comes out, it's going to be a great weekend of music.



Editor’s Note:

Single day passes will also be available.

Thursday Oct 12 $20

Friday Oct 13 $30

Saturday Oct 14 $30

Sunday Oct 15 $20.

Available at the doors of all venues.





Some random pictures from past Canal Bank Shuffles of artists returning this year!


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