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New National Blues Award Announced To Honour Artists In The Canadian Blues Music Collective

By Stevie Connor.

Today, Monday June 19th 2023, a new national Blues award initiative was announced to honour artists and members of the Canadian Blues music collective. The announcement came via Blues & Roots Radio, a multi award winning online radio platform, who are based in Port Credit, part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario, Canada, the station airs many shows featuring Blues artists, and in particular Canadian Blues artists, on their schedule.

You can read all about the award HERE

Blues singer, songwriter, musician, performer, investigative writer, and contributor to the Canadian Blues Collective for decades, Erin McCallum, was inspired to develop an official distinction that is based on the foundation of peer-driven recognition. The basis of this inspiration is to provide a space for recognition that honours eligible artists based strictly upon their musical merits and contributions, without political bias or influences outside of the eligible artist’s musical merits/contributions. The Blues Legend & Legacy Distinction does not operate by submissions, deadlines, vote or committee, however, offers opportunity to recognize artists, and inform and educate Blues fans, through its structure of peer-driven selection of the Blues Legacy Distinction. This structure is unique to the Canadian Blues Music Collective, in the sense that it is strictly artist driven, self funded, and possess a high criteria for recognition.

This distinction is not sponsored by any record companies, managers or entities, and will not profit financially through any fees, memberships, or payments. Due to its high mandate/criteria, The Blues Legend & Legacy Distinction will remain an elite honour that recipients themselves have the authority to contribute to - maintaining the intention and integrity of merit based recognition it is founded on.

This distinction, established by Erin McCallum, is to recognize and honour artists who have made significant contributions to the Canadian Blues Music Collective. The intention is to provide a unique and credible recognition to artists based on their musical merit, influence, and impact within the Canadian Blues community. The Blues Legend & Legacy Distinction also provides a peer-driven platform for artists to recognize colleagues whose contributions meet the same criteria for this distinction.

We asked Erin to tell us about this new initiative, “For a few years, I’ve been working on bringing something unique and worthwhile to the Canadian Blues Community. For over half of my life, I’ve been part of it; playing, performing, writing, listening, producing, presenting, doing on air radio, consulting, researching, and learning. I’m still doing all of those things.

Canadian Blues is evolving - and that’s a good thing. It means it is alive and well. I’m someone who has literally grown up making “my” kind of Blues, so I support that fully.

I also think it’s really important to acknowledge the artists who have made important contributions; the ones who have made an impact. What would happen if there was a peer-driven way to do that? Something unique - a high bar and a strict mandate - to honour the artists in Canada who have made significant contributions. That’s exactly what the Erin McCallum Blues Legend & Legacy Distinction is about.

I believe that this idea is different than the other acknowledgments that are in place for artist’s achievements and contributions, in the sense that it is structured to inform people about the musical merits of Canadian Blues musicians - and it’s lead by musicians themselves.

Being peer-driven, merit based, and having a very high mandate to receive this distinction is something that I hope and trust recipients will value as something meaningful. There are no committees; just the facts and the artists. This is an initiative that stands alone with respect to what’s out there, and I think it’s the right thing to do, for the music and all who love it. I hope and trust that this is something that will be embraced by the Canadian Blues community - that’s what will drive its growth and success.

Thank you to Blues and Roots Radio for giving the Erin McCallum Blues Legend & Legacy Distinction a home - I can’t think of a better collaboration for something like this.”

We have no doubt that this initiative will be well received by the Canadian Blues community, Erin is a long time contributor through her work as a musician, performer, radio presenter, and journalist. Erin's formal post-secondary education was in media studies (news, radio), graduating from Humber College in Ontario, she went on to be mentored by Canadian News Hall of Fame inductee, Robert Holiday, and she is a regularly published writer in music and investigative journalism, having focused on music for the last six years. Erin has an exclusive monthly column in The Sound Cafe featuring musicians and industry professionals from across Canada who work predominantly in the Blues & Roots genres called 'Behind The Curtain'.

You can read all about the award HERE

You can read Erin's articles HERE

Photo Credit: Randall Cook photography and media.


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