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June 2018

Amanda Rheaume + Mimi O’Bonsawin

June 21 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
$15 – $20

Amanda Rheaume Possessed of a powerful, slightly gritty singing voice and an ear for catchy melodies and instantly-accessible roots-pop arrangements, Amanda won a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year and was nominated for a Juno.  Rheaume has released four albums Holding Patterns (2016),  Keep a Fire (2013), Light of Another Day (2011), and Acoustic Christmas (2009). She quickly earned a reputation around Ottawa, her hometown, as a generous community-oriented artist and leader who co-organized the Babes4Breasts concerts and recording projects; spearheaded Ottawa’s Bluebird North songwriter showcases; performed for the troops in Afghanistan three times; raised money for the families of military personnel, and sold 6500 copies of a Christmas EP in Ottawa alone to raise money for Boys and Girls Clubs of Ottawa. Rheaume has delivered her unique and soulful blend of folk-country-pop twinged tracks to audiences around the world, including Canada (coast to coast), the USA, Europe, The United Kingdon, Faroe Islands, Central America and more. She has opened for artists such as Emmylou Harris, K’Naan, Lucinda Williams, and Ani Difranco. Her increasing success stems from her soulful ability to translate personal stories into messages, evoke a feeling of positivity, communicate the strength of those before her, and connect with her listeners. With the release of Holding Patterns (2016) and its single “Red Dress,” Amanda continues a long history of raising money and advocating change through her work as an artist – and this time, it’s personal. Mimi O’Bonsawin Mimi is a Northern Ontario born Roots Songstress who started performing and writing songs at a young age, putting out her first album in 2014. Mimi is heavily influenced by her roots and celebrates her Abénakis and French-Canadian heritage. She writes songs with the intention to give back and spread the word about the merge of those communities. She has been nominated for two Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards, She has performed on countless stages including the prestigious Midem Festival in Cannes, France as well as Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto and has shared the stage with the likes of Buffy Sainte-Marie , Crystal Shawanda  and many more. She recently got awarded Best Music Video and nominated for Best Songwriter at the Toronto Independent Music Awards . Her soulful voice, rich stories and strong message spreads like wild fire. She has been picked up by CBC radio , Walmart and LCBO radio , Stingray and Galaxy streaming as well as other regional radio stations. Her song ‘Stone Gaze’ was placed in Showtime’s Ray Donavon Tv Series ( E1S5) and other tracks from this record were featured on APTN’s Mohawk Girls. Mimi shares her passion through workshops where she explores Empowerment through songwriting and story telling with students grade 4 to 12 in French or English. At the tender age of 24 , Mimi O’Bonsawin is an old soul. Not afraid of getting intimate with her audience and sharing with them a laugh, a tear or a sing along. Her band mates are the musicians on the record and It was important for her to keep the love alive. It’s all about the LOVE. MIMI: NEW MUSIC FROM AN OLD SOUL A revitalized wave of roots-driven anthems has taken off with the release of Mimi O’Bonsawin’s album ‘CONNECTED’ which seeks to be a compelling follow up to her debut self-titled album.

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Wintergarten Orchestra

June 22 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
$30 – $35

Wintergarten Orchestra is a seasoned 11 piece ensemble, performing 1920s-30s pre-swing classics…taking us back to the dawn of Jazz. The music – A quick glance at the titles in the Wintergarten Orchestra’s extensive playlist shows what was going on in America during the 1920’s and early ’30’s. “Anything Goes”, “Let’s Misbehave”, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, “You Do Something to Me”, “I’m Playing with Fire”, “Doin’ the Uptown Lowdown”, “Oh, You Nasty Man!”, “I Found a Million Dollar Baby”, “There Ain’t no Maybe in my Baby’s Eyes”, “Happy Days are Here Again”… reflects everything from love, to wild night life to the boom and bust of the economy. It’s all about Vaudeville, Prohibition and Tin Pan Alley. In Germany, social change was reflected in such protest anthems as “Chuck All the Men Out”, “The Lavender Song” and “It’s All a Swindle”. Many of these songs have become jazz standards like “What is this Thing Called Love”, “All of Me”, “Ain’t Misbehavin’”, “Limehouse Blues”, “Bye Bye Blues”, “Cheek to Cheek” – songs that endure not only because of their great melodies and chord changes, but because they’re just so much fun to play – and listen and dance to!

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The Barra MacNeils CD Release

June 23 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
$45 – $50

The Barra MacNeils are touring this Spring in support of their latest release, “On The Bright Side,” an awesome collection of everything their fans love. It’s an upbeat album, with fiddle tunes that you know will erupt into a flurry of step-dancing on stage. When Lucy sings the heart-wrenching Ribhinn Donn, whether or not you ‘have the Gaelic,’ be sure to have a tissue handy. You’ll need it! The recording and shows will also feature the first single from the release, the instantly catchy:  Living the Dream. The distinctive family harmonies; an array of rhythmic instruments weaving through and around various themes – some decidedly classical but then, suddenly, very traditional Cape Breton; the lads singing a cappella; a thoughtful solo gradually merging into a frenzied all-hands-on-deck medley… it exudes the passion and energy familiar to anyone who has ever experienced The Barra MacNeils stage show. As always, the five MacNeil siblings – Lucy, Boyd, Stewart, Kyle and Sheumas – combine on a vast array of instruments including accordion, guitar, piano, fiddle, bodhran, mandolin, banjo, Celtic harp, tin whistles, bouzouki, flute… underpinned by the nimble-fingered Jamie Gatti on bass. Don’t miss On The Bright Side from The Barra MacNeils!   Canada’s Celtic ambassadors! For nearly three decades, Cape Breton-based family group the Barra MacNeils has been thrilling audiences of all ages, both near and far, with their sparkling repertoire, vocals, instrumental prowess and vibrant showmanship. DOWNLOAD the Single “Living the Dream” HERE (broadcast quality WAV file) STREAM “Living the Dream” via Spotify HERE Track Details – The Barra MacNeils Track: “Living the Dream” Written by: Stewart MacNeil Produced by: The Barra MacNeils with Jamie Foulds Label: Barra Music Publisher:  Barra Music Co Ltd ISRC: CABJ91700001 100% CanCon Album: The Bright Side (May 2018) Composed by: The Barra MacNeils  

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The John Cleats

June 24 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
$25 – $30

The John Cleats band name is a play on the Monty Python actor John Cleese, and the cover from their self-titled album depicts a pair of rugby cleats covered in jewels, representing gender and orientation fluidity and ambiguity. The band name was created by artist James Fowler, who also designed and made the cleats on the cover of the record. The band is comprised of three musicians and singers: singer-songwriter Dimitri Papatheodorou, bassist Stephen Rapos, and drummer Ken Layton; all music personalities the village knows well. Heavily influenced by ‘glam rock’ with a modern twist and ‘70s rock bands, their music is about entertainment and having fun, while getting the awareness out about identity, gender and LGBTQ issues, so people don’t feel isolated. Show your support.. wear your cleats!  

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Davis Rogan & Chris Butcher

June 26 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
$20 – $25

Davis Rogan draws his musical inspiration from Professor Longhair and Fats Domino, as does every New Orleans rhythm and blues piano player. What separates Davis is his lyrics. The wit, irony and self-deprecation echo Randy Newman, but the wry observations about life, humanity and New Orleans are uniquely his. This combination of roots music and sharp lyrics, heard in the 2005 release, The Once and Future DJ, drew auteur David Simon to Davis as David prepared his HBO series about New Orleans, TREME. Davis began working as a consultant and, over six years and four seasons of the show, served as an actor, a scriptwriter, a piano coach, a songwriter and the muse for the character Davis McAlary. By the series’ end, Davis had written or placed more music in the show than any other musician. Davis is a fifth-generation New Orleanian who was raised in the Carollton neighborhood. He currently resides in Treme. He began his broadcast career on WTUL at the age of 10, did his college radio stint at KRRC and was a DJ at WWOZ for 13 years. After graduating from Reed College with a BA in English, Davis began the dual path of teaching elementary school music for the Orleans Parish Public Schools and performing music professionally. Davis’ first gig was with Kermit Ruffins, but he came to prominence in the New Orleans music scene with his eight-piece funk, brass and hip hop group ALL THAT, for which he was lead singer, band leader, principal songwriter, arranger and producer. There are three albums to their credit, including one on Rounder Records. In the early aughts, Davis formed a small rhythm and blues band featuring his original material. 2005’s The Once and Future DJ led to the work on the show TREME. 2011’s The Real was a rumination on the meta existence of writing songs for a character who bears one’s name. In 2014, with the show wrapped, Davis wrote Ex Machina. While rooted in New Orleans R&B, this album harkens back to the funk and rap sounds of his earlier work. Critics have called it his best yet. Davis has played solo and with his band throughout the United States and Europe. He is available for solo, group, workshop and instructional performances. Chris Butcher is a musician firmly established as a representative of the global music village, transcending genre and cultural predisposition, and pleasing audiences across the world. As a leader of The Heavyweights Brass Band Chris has been behind one of the brightest lights to emerge on the Canadian music scene. Combine that with his extensive experience as a sideman, work as a radio host/producer, role as an educator/community builder, Chris Butcher illustrates a promising portrait of an influential career in music. Chris moved to Toronto in his early twenties and quickly built a solid reputation as one of Canada’s top trombone players in the most diverse musical scene on the planet playing in the groups of many of the country’s most prestigious artists including Jane Bunnett, Jay Douglas, Hilario Duran, Archie Alleyne and Kevin Breit among countless others. Chris is now resident of New Orleans after coming down frequently over the years to study with Delfeayo Marsalis and soak up the roots of the music. On special occasions Chris has played and recorded with some of the finest international artists like Quincy Jones, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, The Treme Brass Band, Delfeayo Marsalis & The Uptown Jazz Orchestra, Ernest Ranglin, Giovanni Hidalgo, Broken Social Scene, Dubmatix, David Clayton-Thomas and many more . In 2015 Chris was awarded Emerging Artist of the Year at the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. He also formed Street Brass, a community based ensemble that teaches and performs brass band music of the Americas. 2018 promises to be a year of continued growth as Chris splits time between studying/playing in the great city of New Orleans, touring with the California based Mad Caddies, and his many ongoing projects in Toronto. Chris proudly plays a trombone created by Michael Rath the world’s leading CUSTOM trombone BUILDer

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Johnny Burgin & Sugar Brown and the People’s Blues Army Band

June 28 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
$25 – $30

Hard workin blues master from Chicago ‘Rockin’ Johnny Burgin is joined by Sugar Brown and the People’s Blues Army Band who will be getting their groove on at Hugh’s Room Live on June 28. Featured are members from the PBAB’s Nocturnal E-Missions Unit: Russ Boswell on bass, Art Makris on drums, Jay Swinnerton on piano/organ, and Sugar Brown on vocals, guitar, and harmonica. Rockin Johnny Burgin is one of the hardest touring and well recognized traditional Chicago blues guitarists and singers today.  Since his start in the 90s on Chicago’s West Side with blues singer Taildragger, he has become a leading blues attraction throughout the United States and Europe.  He’s been featured in major media outlets such as The Chicago Tribune, WGN’s After Hours with Rick Kogan, The Illinois Times, and KPFA’s Blues by the Bay. Rockin Johnny is a Delmark recording artist with 7 CDs to his credit, including his latest critically acclaimed release, “Neoprene Fedora”, of which David Mac of Blues Junction said, “Everything is thrown into this ambitious ocean of ideas.. On Neoprene Fedora the contemporary and traditional drink out of the same glass– my highest recommendation “.  Johnny currently does close to 250 shows a year worldwide.  He is also in demand as a session player and has recorded with many blues greats including Billy Boy Arnold, Taildragger, Paul DeLay, Jimmy Burns, Andre Williams, Eddie Taylor Jr., Jimmy Lee Robinson and others. Johnny Burgin grew up in Starkville MS and Greenville SC, and while he was still in high school, he got to see many touring blues bands such as Guitar Jr, Gatemouth Brown and Eddie Clearwater. His father was an actor and folk musician and taught him the basics on guitar.  He went to University of Chicago with the intention of becoming a writer, but a different path unfolded and he fell headfirst into the Chicago blues scene.  After learning from the masters by touring with such artists as Pinetop Perkins and Howlin’ Wolf drummer Sam Lay, he put his own band together.  Things started happening fast after The Rockin Johnny Band (with guest vocalist Jimmy Burns) took a Monday night residency at the Smoke Daddy in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.  Their original, energetic approach made them a strong local draw week after week and year after year.  The atmosphere the band generated was so electric that the prestigious local label Delmark Records offered them a contract after hearing just one set. Since those days, Johnny played the Chicago blues festival many times, toured Europe regularly, and has headlined festivals all over the US.  Over the years, he has developed from a blues guitar slinger and local blues hero into a fully fledged singer, harmonica player, a dynamic and engaging bandleader, and a mature, seasoned guitarist.  One look at Johnny’s tour schedule confirms his status as an in-demand blues performer.  Rockin Johnny also plays solo and duo shows, has a great West Coast Meets Chicago package with rising harmonica star Aki Kumar, and does guitar and blues workshops worldwide.  He puts on the kind of satisfying and exciting show that only years of touring can develop.  Elmore magazine remarked on Johnny’s “commanding vocals and stinging guitar”, but Elvin Bishop may have said it best: “his guitar style is raw and rude and real—on the vocal side, a nice original style–he’s damn good!”   Sugar Brown and the People Blues Army Band It’s a blues world, and Sugar Brown is living in it and “calling all blues” with real grace and style. The Toronto-based vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has found his full creative voice on It’s A Blues World (Calling All Blues!), his third album, to be released in March 2018. Following on from his 2014 debut Sugar Brown’s Sad Day and 2015’s acclaimed Poor Lazarus, the new record mines the various strata of the blues genre, digging deep and unearthing dazzling new gems. Brown possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the form, but his songs are passionate, singular, and soulful, constantly resisting generic, mainstream formulations. He explains his free-wheeling and idiocyncratic style this way: “Each song here is a blues world. They go from country to urban, from the ’30s to ’70s, but they are little worlds within the blues. “My last name, Kawashima, means river-island in Japanese.  You can think of each song as an island in a river. You can flow down the river, stopping and listening to one, then moving onto the next.” The voyage is a richly compelling and entertaining one. It’s A Blues World was recorded at Toronto studio Marquee Sound, with engineer Braden Sauder. Situated in an old movie theatre, the studio focuses on analog recording, Sugar Brown’s preferred form. “We recorded on two tracks, to quarter inch tape,” he explains. “I brought in one piece of recording gear, a 1936 Collins mike pre-amp, and plugged in my vocal microphone through that.” “By using the technologies of older recording, I want to give the listener a different sonic listening experience than what we’ve come to blindly accept in digital recording. That is part of the experience of a Sugar Brown album.” It’s A Blues World has a rich, warm and intimate sound that is the perfect setting for Brown’s original compositions. The mastering work of Grammy-winner Peter J. Moore (Cowboy Junkies, Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes) is the icing on the cake of the recording. Joining Brown in the studio were such elite players as Michelle Josef (drums), Russ Boswell (bass), Nichol Robertson (guitar), Julian Fauth (piano), and Julia Narveson (horns and fiddle). One special guest was US guitar ace Rockin’ Johnny Burgin, a close comrade of Sugar Brown on the Chicago scene in the ’90s. “Johnny was largely responsible for  getting me to play blues guitar,” Brown recalls. “In college, I was in his band, Rockin’ Johnny and The Headhunters, and he helped me get into Taildragger’s band, the La-Z Boys, where I blowed harp.” “Having Johnny on the new record helped make my connection to the West Side of Chicago blues explicit. As a seasoned recording artist, he was also very helpful in the studio in keeping the process going.” All…

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East Coast Convergence: Dylan Menzie + Thomas McCallum + Mary Stewart

June 29 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
$20 – $25

Dylan Menzie The oft-repeated music industry talking points have turned into clichés – “There’s more music being made today than ever before” or “There are many more artists today competing for a piece of the same pie,” or some variation of either. And though they may still carry some truth, singer/songwriter Dylan Menzie pays them little mind. The only person he’s accountable to, that he feels any need to consistently one-up, is himself. “That’s just been me for as long as I can remember,” says the hard-working troubadour. “I’m very competitive and self-critical, but that just forces me to keep growing as a songwriter and as an artist. Standing still creatively just doesn’t appeal to me. At all.” The fact that he’s his own harshest critic is simultaneously a struggle and the very trait that’s propelled him up the ranks of the Canadian music scene, and considering all he’s accomplished in a relatively short amount of time, it’s clear that stagnation just isn’t his strong suit. With a sprawling vocal range and compelling approach to composition, Menzie made an indelible mark in the talent-rich Atlantic Canadian music market with his debut EP, Heather Avenue, in 2013. The release – which earned Music PEI Award nominations and acclaim from industry influencers – led to high-profile performances throughout the Maritimes, including opening slots for City & Colour and Ron Sexsmith. In 2016, Menzie was a finalist in CBC’s annual Searchlight competition on the back of his breakout single, “Kenya,” which then spent two weeks at number one on CBC Radio 2’s Top 20 leading up to the release of his 2016 album Adolescent Nature. The record, anchored by the strength of songs like the aforementioned “Kenya” and follow-up single “Talk to Me,” showcases the pure emotion one can extract from simply a great voice and keen sense of dynamics. “I started out writing everything on acoustic guitar, though more recently, I’ve been bringing everything down to basic piano chords, and if the song can still move me and move people, I know I’m onto something,” he reveals about his creative process. “Once I’ve got that solid foundation, everything else is just colour and texture.” Drawing clear influence from the likes of My Morning Jacket, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, and Joel Plaskett without being derivative of any one, the quality of these songs heavily belies the young artist’s age. In fact, the lyrics – as the album title might suggest – are the only thing here that could clue one in on Menzie’s youth. “I didn’t really see what tied these songs together until I was looking for an album title,” he admits, “and that theme seemed to envelope them all – the idea of finding yourself, where you want to go, and who you want to be in that confusing time of life.” Since Adolescent Nature’s release, Menzie has been in even higher demand, earning one of two spots in the inaugural East Meets West collaboration between the ECMAs and BreakOutWest as well as slots at prestigious events like the Edmonton Folk Festival, Canadian Music Week, Folk Alliance International, and others. But even as excitement behind his breakthrough continues to mount, Menzie already has his sights set on what’s next – another product of his self-competition and refusal to rest on any laurels. And if he continues on his current trajectory of each new song, each new release eclipsing its predecessor, he’ll soon be impossible to ignore. Everybody has an opinion – especially when it comes to music – but few are as critical as Dylan Menzie, and that’s worked out for him pretty well so far. Thomas McCallum Hailing from Six Mile Brook, Nova Scotia, Thomas McCallum likes things to be cut and dry, though this is seldom the case. Take him or leave him, you’re likely to run into him again: putting a tune in your bucket or meandering home. Born and raised in Pictou County, Thomas McCallum grew up in Six Mile Brook, and sang in several local choirs, including the Pictou District Honour Choir. He released his first CD of original compositions in 2014. The man bent over his guitar, A shearsman of sorts. The day was green. They said, “You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are.” Mary Stewart Mary Stewart isn’t a singer songwriter. Well, she does sing and she likely writes more songs than anyone you’ve ever met, but if you’re picturing a sullen woman perched atop a wooden stool, playing depressing songs on her oversized acoustic, you’ve pegged her all wrong. In fact, Mary has never sported an acoustic guitar during a live show and prefers to strum along on her Gretsch, singing clever pop songs, and sharing anecdotes about her love of baking, cats, and hopes of becoming Sidney Crosby’s wife. Hailing from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Mary grew up consuming an incredible range of genres from folk and pop to opera and hair metal – true story. Before her pop days, Mary was classically trained in opera. Her mother sang in hair metal bands and her dad was a sound engineer. “My parents would bring me along to gigs because it was easier than finding a babysitter,” says Mary. She really didn’t stand a chance to fall in love with any career other than music. At 16, Mary had her first recording experience and shared it with fellow New Glasgow native, George Canyon who has since become a long-standing supporter of Mary’s music. Canyon isn’t the only heavyweight Mary has had the chance to work with. She’s opened for acts like Jill Barber, Wintersleep, Jenn Grant, and Blue Rodeo. A huge fan of Jim Cuddy, Mary giggles, “I almost wore a wedding dress on stage.” Among her many accolades, Mary was nominated for Music Nova Scotia’s Female Artist Recording of the year in 2009. Mary currently uses Toronto as her stomping grounds, performing at famous venues like The Horseshoe Tavern and The Drake and is rarely not…

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July 2018

Solo Piano Double with Jenie Thai & Hilario Durán

July 3 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
$20 – $25

Buy 3 Get 1 Free Bundle Our “Solo Piano Double” series is an intriguing concept in that each artist will give a 45 minute set – they will not likely be sharing the piano stool and dueting, although that is possible but not requested! We are offering a wonderful incentive to pick four concerts and pay for just three. It all comes down to great playing, open minds and the spirit of discovery. The first in the “Solo Piano Double” series pairs two very different and exceedingly talented artists – blues and soul, effervescent up and comer Jenie Thai and multi-award winning Cuban-Canadian Hilario Duran who studied at the Amadeo Roldan Music Institute in Havana and is considered an unparalleled composer/arranger of the first order. Jenie Thai Born in Chiang Mai Thailand, and raised outside of Edmonton, Jenie Thai is building a musical presence throughout the country through the electric energy she displays on stage and the old soul that’s conveyed through her songwriting. Her studying of music began at age five; she took private piano lessons for fifteen years. Through her classical training she spent her early school years performing difficult repertoire at various workshops, camps, and yearly round festivals receiving national accolade. Graduating at seventeen, she continued her musical development, studying classical piano at Augustana University. In 2008, Jenie diversified her education attending Grant MacEwan Jazz and Contemporary Music Program as a performance major. Upon graduation, Jenie was offered a part-time teaching position at Grant MacEwan University and gained acceptance into Paul McCartney’s international music school based in Liverpool. In 2011, Jenie released her EP “Lady Flower”. With the titled track she received an “honourable mention” as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) under the performance category (a category of 13 finalists out of 16, 000 submissions from around the globe). With the EP, she has been heard on many festival stages including both the Edmonton Folk Music Festival (2011) and the Canmore Folk Festival (2012). Both solo and with her trio, Jenie has shared her songs across the country on festival stages, in blues bars, theatres, lounges, and living rooms. In spring of 2012, Jenie started the “Couch Concert Series”, a continuing project where she arrives on strangers steps to play a living room show in exchange for donations and a couch to sleep on. In April 2013, Jenie Thai released “Only The Moon” which is “a beautifully crafted nine-song album of original songs showcasing a voice that has warmth and beauty…” writes David Farrell, writer for Toronto’s New Canadian Music. The organic and vibrant music has been unearthed through the stereos of CBC Radio 1, 2, and 3, CKUA, CJSR, and other various stations from coast to coast and internationally being aired in states such as Flordia and New York. With the album, Jenie was nominated for several Edmonton Music Awards (2013, 2014) for “Artist To Watch” and “Female Artist of the Year”. Furthermore, in January 2014, Jenie Thai represented Northern Alberta as a semi-finalist in the 30th International Blues Challenge held in Memphis. Most recently, she was nominated for a 2016 Maple Blues Award for “Best New Artist of The Year”. Vocally, she has been compared to Eva Cassidy, but soaks in the musical influences of Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Memphis Slim, and Nina Simone. .A performer, song-writer, singer, and instrumentalist: Jenie Thai combines her love of the traditional piano blues, sixties r&b, and great American songwriters to produce a unique charm as a roots and blues musician on the national and international scene. Hilario Durán Internationally recognised as a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader of the highest order, the Cuban-Canadian Durán has been based in Toronto for the past two decades, but his musical heart and soul have remained closely connected to the land of his birth. Cuban born Hilario Durán grew up in Havana in a musical family surrounded by a variety of diverse musical influences on a daily basis. He began working as a professional musician in Cuba’s Los Papa Cun­-Cun Ensemble and in a variety of musical formats. Later on, in the 70’s, Durán was Chucho Valdés’ chosen successor in Cuba’s most modern big band, Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna. Hilario Durán toured worldwide and performed with Dizzy Gillespie and Michel Legrand, among many others, as part of Arturo Sandoval’s band where he was pianist/keyboardist, arranger and musical director for 9 years. Chucho Valdés has acknowledged Hilario Durán as one of the greatest Cuban pianists of the 20th century, calling the Grammy-nominated and multi JUNO-award winner “an unparalleled pianist, composer and arranger of the first order”. After making his mark in Cuba, Durán continued to hone his skills as a pianist, composer, arranger and musical director of remarkable virtuosity. Since arriving in Canada, Hilario has made a name for himself, he is a multi-Canadian Juno Award winner and nominee; an American Grammy nominee; a multi-Canadian National Jazz Award winner & nominee; and the proud recipient of the 2007 Chico O’Farrill Lifetime Achievement Award, from Latin Jazz USA, for his outstanding contributions to Afro-Cuban Jazz and Latin Jazz. Cuban-Canadian jazz pianist Hilario Durán is a fixture on the Toronto music scene. Durán immigrated in 1998 to Canada and was named as One of the 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians in 2009; in addition, Hilario has been named Best Artist of the Year 2013 by the Toronto Musicians’ Association and also as 2014 Best Vision Award Winner (Premio a la Trayectoria) for his work as entrepreneur as a director of his musical company, ES MI MUSICA PRODUCTIONS. He is also an educator at Toronto’s Humber College, acting as a piano teacher and ensemble director. Hilario Durán has been based in Toronto for the past two decades, but his musical heart and soul have remained closely connected to the land of his birth. He has continued to collaborate with Cuban musicians, but he takes this to another level on Contumbao.  Last November, Alma Records’ Peter Cardinali and award-winning engineer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey accompanied Durán to Havana,…

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Gordon Grdina’s Haram

July 4 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
$25 – $30

Gordon Grdina – Oud Jesse Zubot – Violin François Houle – Clarinet JP Carter – Trumpet Christopher Kelly – Sax Kenton Loewen – Drums Tommy Babin – Bass Liam MacDonald – Riq Emad Armoush – Vocals/Ney Juno award winner Gordon Grdina is an accomplished Oud/Guitarist whose sound is a combination of his interests in mainstream jazz, free-form improvisation and Arabic classical music. Aside from leading the avant-garde Gord Grdina Trio and the Persian contemporary ensemble Qalandar, Gordon Grdina is half of the free-punk duo Peregrine Falls and part of the New Music/Improvising collective Grdina/Houle/Loewen and Haram, Gordon’s main ensemble for the exploration of Arabic classical music. This ancient music is redefined by the arrangement and exploration of the pieces from a modern avant-garde perspective. Gordon put Haram together about six years ago to find new ways of approaching the Arabic music he’d been studying. The group’s 10 members come with varied musical resumes – jazz and electronic, new chamber music and Brazilian, African and Arabic percussion are all there. Currently Gordon has four NYC bands The Gordon Grdina Quartet with Oscar Noriega, Russ Lossing, and Satoshi Takeishi, The Marrow with Hank Roberts, Mark Helias & Hamin Honari, Ismaily/Grdina/Maneri, and MGB with Matt Mitchell & Jim Black. As well as these jazz and world music accomplishments Gordon is a long-standing member of the Dan Mangan Band. He has collaborated with Gary Peacock, Paul Motian, Mats Gustafsson, Evan Parker, Colin Stetson, Samuel Blaser, Jerry Granelli, David Tronzo, Fredrik Ljungkvist, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten, Fred Lomberg-Holm, Han Bennik, Wilbert De Joode, Francois Houle, Benoit Delbeq, Jeb Bishop, Eric Boeren, Michael Moore, Matt Mitchell, Jon Irabagon, and Michael Blake. He has performed at many festivals across North America and Europe most notably, Festival International de Music Actuelle de Victoriaville, Calgary Folk Festival, Reeperbahn Festival, Ottawa Folk Festival, Guleph Jazz Festival, Natt Jazz Festival Bergen, Bimhuis Amsterdam, Unterfarht, Blue Note Poznan, Jazz Club Rura Wroclaw, B-Flat Berlin, Fasching, Barbes, ShapeShifter, Allways, Massey Hall, Orpheum, Burning Eagle Festival, Haldern Pop, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, Halifax Pop, Halifax Jazz Festival Ottawa Jazz Festival, Deer Shed, Tramlines, Acoustic Lakeside, Jazztopad, Osheaga, and Glastonbury. “Gord is a motherfucker. He doesn’t play the guitar like anybody else I’ve ever seen. The instrument becomes an extension of his frantic mind, embracing both the chaos and the deep kindness he exudes as an individual. Gord’s playing isn’t referential to anything. It’s not nostalgic. It doesn’t remind you of how the guitar is so cool when it’s played well. It just reminds you that life is infinitely absurd but the pros outweigh the cons. Madic will have the privilege of sharing some of his solo work with the world soon.” – Dan Mangan

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Seems Like Only Yesterday – A Tribute to Jesse Winchester

July 5 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
$30 – $35

Jesse Winchester was the first act to perform at Hugh’s Room when the club opened in April 2001, and returned every year until his death in April 2014. That special relationship continues in the form of the 3rd annual celebration of Jesse Winchester’s music – “Seems Like Only Yesterday”, featuring Jesse’s son, Marcus Lee Winchester, with additional performances by Ron Nigrini, Fergus Hambleton, Blair Packham, Katherine Wheatley, Allister Bradley, Rebecca Campbell, Bill McKetrick, and Terry Jones. All performers will be ably backed by Jesse’s original guitarist, Bob Cohen, and bassist David Woodhead.  

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