Playing harmonica at the Saturday Matinee at Dollar Bill’s in Kingston, ON circa 1980. With Dutch Mason
A long time ago I started to learn Spanish. I have visited Cuba many times and in the last few years I have tried to bring it all together by playing music with some Cuban friends. Yuca con Mojo – Cuban Blues is the title of my latest CD released in November, 2018. Recorded in Cuba. I think you will like it!
I’ve always been on the side of the underdog. Maybe that’s why the blues has always had a hold on me. Blues is real.
I started playing harmonica in 1975 when I was living in Kingston, ON where I was born. My first regular gig was playing at the famous Dollar Bill’s lounge in the Prince George Hotel. We had the Saturday matinee. In those days they had all the great bands (Fabulous T-Birds, Dutch Mason, Sonny and Brownie, you name them, they were there) coming through and we got a few of them up on stage with us during the Saturday matinee. The picture shows one of those occasions – this one with Dutch Mason. That’s me on the left and Greg Forbes on guitar with Jamie Campbell on keys.
In 1981 I moved to Toronto and didn’t play out much but spent more time learning how to play guitar as well as perfecting my harmonica playing. Mostly I was too busy working to play music! I had the blues! In Toronto, I organized tenants’ associations and then worked with refugees from Central America. I had a stint working in a copper rolling mill too. Later, I spent ten years working with homeless folks and street-involved youth. Along the way, I taught at a community college for many years.
In 2007 as blues duo called Up the Line, Reeves Miller and I were finalists in the Toronto Blues Society Talent Search.
After Reeves and I stopped playing together, I worked in a trio with Brian Blain and Malcolm Gould on percussion.
In 2018 I recorded Yuca con Mojo: Cuban Blues in Cuba with Yasel Giral, Pedro Perez and fellow Canadian, Fraser Melvin.
Currently I am excited to be playing in a duo format with Fraser Melvin,