"One of this country's top blues guitar stars" writes the Globe and Mail about 29-year old, JW-Jones.
JW-Jones has one of the most energetic and exciting live shows on the scene. It is no surprise that he has played throughout the world (CANADA, USA, EUROPE, AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL) and some of the biggest names in blues today, including The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Little Charlie & The Nightcats, Rod Piazza, Anson Funderburgh with Sam Myers, The Mannish Boys and the legendary Hubert Sumlin have invited him to join them on stage.
During a special appearance with the band, Hollywood celebrity and fan, Dan Aykroyd said, "this is an amazing blues band, and I've played with the best!" Mr. Aykroyd wrote the liner notes for the 2008 release 'Bluelisted'.
The new record "Midnight Memphis Sun" features special guest stars Hubert Sumlin and Charlie Musselwhite, while past CDs have had world-class musicians David 'Fathead' Newman (Ray Charles sax player), Little Charlie Baty, Junior Watson, Colin James, and multi-Grammy nominee Kim Wilson who appears on two discs and produced 'My Kind of Evil' in 2004.
Their music has garnered radio-play worldwide, including heavy rotation on commercial radio stations, and features on shows such as the internationally syndicated House of Blues Radio Hour.
In 2009, Guitar World Magazine featured a CD called 'Guitar Masters Vol. 2' that put Jones alongside guitar stars B.B. King, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana and more.
The buzz this band has created over the last decade has earned them a national award - the Maple Blues Award for Electric Act of the Year, and rave reviews throughout the globe. Jones has been featured by Blues Revue Magazine and can be found in the books All Music Guide to Blues and Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings.
When working with Jeff Asselin (drums), and Martin Régimbald (bass), or adding the heavy grooves of Jesse Whiteley (organ), the musicians with Jones always add a powerful energy to the stage.
Canada's Top Touring Blues Act, Jones and his band are born entertainers, and with their unique sound, they continue to set the world on fire one country at a time!
"One of this country's top blues guitar stars" writes the Globe and Mail about 29-year old, JW-Jones.
Jeff Healey first came to international acclaim in 1988 with his multi-million selling See the Light album on Arista Records and his appearance in the movie "Roadhouse" together with Patrick Swayze, Ben Gazzara and Sam Elliott. It was followed by two more releases, 1990's Hell to Pay, and Feel This, released in 1992. Since then, there have been two additional releases, the last in 2000, as well as a live CD and video recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and two "best-of" compilations of the Arista material.
In 2002 he released the first of three albums of classic jazz with the Jeff Healey Jazz Wizards, the classic jazz group with which he played trumpet as well as guitar. The most recent Healey jazz record — a 2006 collaboration with British trombonist Chris Barber — was released internationally on Stony Plain, which has also reissued the first two jazz CDs.
Blind since early childhood due to a rare form of cancer, he picked up his first guitar when he was three, and began to play it flat across his lap, "accidentally" devising the revolutionary technique that became his signature style. He formed his first band at 17, but soon formed a trio which was named the Jeff Healey Band.
After his appearance in the movie Road House, he was signed to Arista records, and in 1988 released the Grammy-nominated album See the Light, which included a major hit single, Angel Eyes. He earned a Juno Award in 1990 as Entertainer of the Year.
He had also begun to amass a formidable record collection — he now has well over 30,000 78-rpm records, in addition to thousands of CDs and tapes — and later created a CBC Radio show, which he named "My Kinda Jazz." (The program still continues today on Toronto's 91.1 Jazz FM station).
By the mid-'90s, Healey had played with dozens of musicians, including B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and recorded with George Harrison. Mark Knopfler and the late blues legend, Jimmy Rogers.
A family man with a three-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter, he preferred to stay close to home. "I've traveled widely before — been there and done that," he said, determined to avoid the lengthy, exhausting tours that had marked his life in his twenties and early thirties.
Despite this he still undertook two or three European tours a year with the blues band, earning ear-splitting applause — and enthusiastic critical response — whenever he played.
Following a lengthy struggle with cancer, Healey passed away on Sunday March 2, 2008 in Toronto.
Remembered by his musicians — and his audiences — for his wry sense of humour as well as his musical playfulness, Healey was a unique musician who bridged different genres with ease and assurance.
1988 See the light
1990 Hell to Pay
1992 Feel This
1995 Cover to Cover
2000 Get Me Some
2002 Among friends
2004 Adventures in Jazzland
2005 Live at Montreaux 1999
2006 It's Tight Like That (live)
2008 Mess of Blues
2009 Songs From The Road (live)
Released in July 2013 on Ruf Records, Bliss Avenue is the most honest and unflinching studio album in Dana’s back catalogue. Once again co-written alongside her long-time wingman and guitarist Jon Diamond, these songs weren’t simply tracked in box-ticking fashion, but wrenched from the depths and laid down without gloss or polish. “If there’s one line that sounds thrown away or dialed in, it has to be redone,” says Dana. “Every word needs to express the emotion of the song or no one will get it and it leaves me cold.”
The resulting album is a window into the singer’s worldview, drawing on everything from the tragic loss of her beloved brother to the loneliness of life on the road. “I’m excited for people, especially those fans who have stuck so close with me, to hear Bliss Avenue,” says Dana, “because I really purged my soul in a starker, more naked way, both lyrically and musically.
“I got so emotional, to the point of tears,” she admits, “singing several of these tunes that are so close to home, like So Hard to Move, Bliss Avenue, Long, Long Game and Vagabond Wind. I want this album to reach people in a way that’s meant to be inclusive. Not like, ‘Here’s my world and my story,’ but rather, ‘Here’s my story, can you relate…?”
Safe to say, you will. It’s impossible not to be reeled in, both by the songwriting and execution of Bliss Avenue. Led from the front by Dana’s smoke-and-honey battle cry, these twelve new cuts are also a canvass for some of the best musicians on the US scene, with Diamond’s powerhouse guitar offering intelligence and groove, Jack Daley delivering seismic bass, keys wizard Glenn Patscha working the Hammond, Wurlitzer and piano, drum god Shawn Pelton keeping the train on the track – plus atmospheric background vocals from Tabitha Fair and Nicki Richards.
Locking in with Dana and Jon’s self-production, this musical dream team flew across a tracklisting that takes in flavours including soul, roots, blues and southern rock. “I realised that you have to hire the best musicians to help you reach your vision,” she nods. “It’s such a collaborative effort.”
It’s been a long road to Bliss Avenue. The youngest of six children, Dana was raised in rural Florida in a family home that rang out with music. Back in those formative days, influences were around every corner, from the rumble of heavy rock played by her siblings in the garage, through the Ray Charles and Hank Williams platters on her parents’ turntable, to the strut of ’70s and ’80s funk that ruled the schoolyard.
Even then, Dana’s musical appetite was insatiable, and when fronting a local band at a roadside Holiday Inn no longer scratched the itch, the singer informed family and friends in Florida of plans to become the latest aspirant star to take on New York. It was a brave move – and briefly seemed a foolish one, as 19-year-old Dana found herself scrapping for survival on Manhattan’s Lower East Side – but the tragedy of her older sister Donna’s suicide had a galvanising effect, and she duly hit the city’s blues-jam circuit like a train.
It was at one of these jam nights that fate smiled, instigating Dana’s first meeting with Diamond: an established NYC session ace who had already toured with the chart-topping Joan Osborne. Sensing musical sparks, they formed the Dana Fuchs Band, and quickly built a buzz, drawing punters to the Apple’s blues clubs and holding their own on bills that featured titans including John Popper, James Cotton and Taj Mahal. And yet, it wasn’t until two years later – when Jon and Dana extended their live chemistry to a fruitful writing partnership – that the band achieved true lift-off.
Word of Dana’s talent even spread to Broadway, and when she was invited to audition by the producers of the 2001 hit Janis Joplin musical Love, Janis, a few bars of Piece Of My Heart, plus her industrial-strength charisma, confirmed they had their lead. Playing Joplin four nights a week proved an effective shop-window, catching the eye of renowned director Julie Taymor and leading to a subsequent turn as Sadie in Sony’s highly acclaimed Beatles movie, Across The Universe. With her vocals featured prominently on the platinum-selling soundtrack, this was a project that saw Dana Fuchs Band shows bolstered by a whole new audience, who duly left to spread the word.
Riding high, the band released its debut CD, Lonely For A Lifetime, in 2003, and found both press and fans receptive to a sound that drew on vibes from ’60s Stax/Volt R&B, Lucinda Williams and the Rolling Stones, while hinting at the lyrical eloquence of Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. It was one hell of an opening gambit, but even Lonely For A Lifetime was topped by 2011’s Love To Beg. Tightening the songwriting and raising their performance through the roof, this second release from the Dana Fuchs Band made international waves, with the UK’s Classic Rock crowning it ‘Blues Album of the Month’, R2 magazine noting that she has “talent simmering towards detonation”, and global fans recognising that in a world of clinical TV talent shows and corporate pop, here was a band that meant every word.
So how do you follow that…? Quite simply, with Bliss Avenue: a third album that shoots for the stars, runs with fans’ expectations and channels the blues while simultaneously defying them. “While the album content may seem dark,” explains Dana, “I’m not in a dark place at all, but rather a very hopeful place for music, spirituality and mankind. It often takes looking into the dark soul to see the light…”
What are the essentials of powerful musical expression?
We believe a soulful black female voice and a virtuoso acoustic guitar. Provided they are of the caliber of Friend 'n Fellow.
Depth, class and entertainment from an exceptional duo that plays so efficiently that they actually should be called a "band" with their incredible dynamics and emotionality. The names of these two experienced musicians are:
Constanze Friend (vocals) studied modern voice in Weimar. As the singer of the R&B Band "Mr Adapoe", Constanze was a guest at many European festivals, e.g. as a support act for Alvin Lee and James Brown.
Thomas Fellow (guitars) studied concert guitar for seven years in Weimar. He has won prizes at international competitions and has been on concert tours throughout Europe, the U.S.A. , India and South America. Professor Thomas Fellow is the chairman of the Department of Guitar/World Music at the Conservatory of Music in Dresden, and conducts courses at various other music conservatories and festivals.
Friend 'n Fellow have been performing as a duo since 1991.
Concerts in London, Paris, New York, Peking, Vienna, Zurich, Lucerne Festival (Lucerne, Switzerland), Tollwood-Festival Munich, Festival Internacional de la Porta Ferrada (Spain), 1st Blues & Soul Weekend (Zurich, Switzerland), Simmen Lörrach, Jazzrally Dusseldorf with Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, Simply Red, Marianne Faithful, Maceo Parker.
In the music of FRIEND 'N FELLOW the intensity of blues, the sound of soul and the freedom of jazz unite in a very unique way. Deeply impressed and moved, the audience follows the virtuos way these two exceptional musicians perform together.
With the April 2006 release of NEW USED CAR, powerhouse singer/songwriter/guitarist Sue Foley has solidified her place as one of the leading lights of the contemporary blues scene. In the male-dominated field of blues music, she's proven she can sling a guitar with the best of them - and she's shared the stage with BB King, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy and George Thorogood, to name a few. But it's her remarkable songwriting skills and unique vocal style that set her apart from the pack. Foley's music is anything but your standard 12-bar blues; she revs up her tunes with a contemporary twist and moves the music forward. Not that she doesn't appreciate the traditional songs - she plays them as well, and has studied the genre ever since leaving home as a teenager, determined to make a career in music.
Her first new studio work in four years, NEW USED CAR is the most accomplished and accessible album of her career, featuring Sue's smooth purr-to-growl vocals wrapped around original songs, punctuated by her high velocity, shiver-inducing lead guitar work. She wrote or co-wrote 11 of the 12 tunes on the disc. "I feel this is the best songwriting I've done in my life - the songs just developed so naturally and seemed to write themselves," says Foley, "it was a remarkable process and it is my strongest work and most satisfying album yet."
Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Foley hails from a large, music-loving, working-class family. In her early years she sang with her father, who loved to play Celtic folk songs, while her brothers were in bands hammering out the hard rock covers of the 1970s. Her love of the Rolling Stones and other blues rock bands found Sue checking song writing credits on the albums, where names like Willie Dixon, McKinley Morganfield and Chuck Berry were found, leading to the originators. For her thirteenth birthday, she received her first guitar - "it was my saving grace," she says - and locked herself in her room until she learned how to play. At age sixteen she was gigging around Ottawa clubs, at eighteen she left home for Vancouver, British Columbia, with nothing more than a small suitcase and her guitar.
With determined drive and talent to burn, her first band built a following playing every club in Vancouver. Word spread quickly about the pretty young girl with a wicked guitar style and unique voice - playing blues tunes and her own songs. Soon Foley was out on the road playing across Canada to enthusiastic audiences. An offer to back blues Harmonica whiz Mark Hummel found Foley and her band touring the US and Canada in tandem. During her first trip to Memphis for the Handy Awards, a fated evening's jam found her trading licks with renowned guitar icon Duke Robillard. In the audience was Austin, Texas' blues club and record label owner Clifford Antone.
An offer came from Antone to record an album and play his hallowed nightclub - the regular haunt of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Angela Strehli and Lou Ann Barton - Foley jumped, immediately relocating from Canada. "Going to Austin had been a dream of mine...I was so inspired by living and breathing the air there that I stayed for close to seven years and recorded four albums for Antone's Records." Released in 1992, debut album YOUNG GIRL BLUES set Foley's extraordinary vocal character beside her already stunning guitar abilities. It was a solid debut, garnering critical acclaim from the press and nationwide radio airplay. Down Beat magazine said, "Foley plays with almost terrifying ferocity, bending strings as if she's tearing out pieces of her own heart." Her live performances also drew the amazement of the press. "After one performance," said Billboard, "she left the audience flabbergasted."
She remained based in Austin, released WITHOUT A WARNING in 1993 and BIG CITY BLUES in 1995, all while touring extensively, including overseas to Europe and Japan. And the praise flooded in. "Echoes of Earl Hooker, Bessie Smith, T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters and other forebears of the blues filter through the cannon of singer, songwriter and guitarist Sue Foley," said the Los Angeles Times. Q magazine stated, "her singing is not only sexy as hell, but somehow manages to capture the tone of Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, while still sounding contemporary." When she wasn't on the road, she was over at Antone's hanging out -
"I was there every night, sitting in with everyone in town, and all the artists who would come down for the anniversaries." She was soon sharing the stage and opening up for the likes of Buddy Guy, Tom Petty, George Thorogood, Joe Cocker, Koko Taylor. By the time she recorded 1996's WALK IN THE SUN, Foley came fully into her own songwriting style. "I had to start crossing musical barriers and stop being compelled to stay within the boundaries of the blues, and stretch out..." Down Beat raved, "Sue Foley has just started a new chapter in her career, and it's the best one yet."
1997 was a year of change. After ten years on the road, she decided to become a mother, and moved back to Canada to be near to her family. She later remarked "I stopped and decided what I wanted - having a child, learning about life - a lot of that put things back in perspective." A year later she was back in action, releasing 1998's TEN DAYS IN NOVEMBER on the Shanachie label to continued critical and commercial success. Touring took backseat to motherhood, but she still hit out for selected dates and weekenders and enjoyed a high profile on the summer festival circuit.
The year 2000 brought two new releases - most importantly the Shanachie title LOVE COMIN' DOWN, which resulted in her winning a Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy) for Best Blues Album. She also swept the nation's Maple Blues Awards, winning an amazing five trophies for Recording of The Year, Songwriter of The Year, Entertainer of The Year, Guitarist of The Year, Female Vocalist of The Year. France's blues music award, 2000's Trophee de Blues was bestowed on Foley for Best Female Guitarist. Britain's MOJO magazine honored LOVE COMIN' DOWN as one of the top 10 blues releases of the year. JazzTimes remarked, "all the elements - songwriting, playing, soulful conviction - come together for her on this solid outing." Her live performance profile heightened as she opened for BB King and John Lee Hooker among others. 2000 also found the resurrected Antone's label (now owned by the Texas Music Group) releasing BACK TO THE BLUES, a compilation of unreleased songs recorded during her 1990-1996 Antone's years.
2002's WHERE THE ACTION IS marked another highly praised recording and Foley again swept Canada's Maple Blues Awards, bringing home five more trophies, including Recording of The Year. (To date, she has received a record setting 17 Maple Blues Awards, more than any other artist.) She was nominated for a prestigious WC Handy Entertainer of The Year Award. Down Beat said, "The real action comes when she sets down her Telecaster and picks up her acoustic guitar to make the time hallowed "Down The Big Road Blues" her own." The Hartford Advocate chimed in, "Foley digs deep into her vocal range and wrings it for all it's worth."
In 2003, a live performance in Toronto was recorded - with a stripped down band, the mostly acoustic show was an inspired example of Sue Foley's live performance prowess. The intimate and remarkable recording proved so excellent, it was released in the US and Europe in 2004 by Ruf Records and named simply CHANGE. "We did it on the fly without rehearsing," said Foley, "I was playing from memory and trying out songs I'd just written, and of course the songs I love to play at home." Once again, the accolades came pouring in. The Philadelphia Inquirer stated "Foley has a killer voice - an impossibly alluring blend of sex and innocence to go with those blazing guitar chops." The Detroit Free Press added "If you're amongst those folks who get bored with the same 12 bars, this is your kind of action."
With the completion of the CHANGE, Foley turned her attention to a project she started in the late 1990's, when researching women guitar players. Having been inspired in her teen years by the work of Memphis Minnie, Sister Rosetta Tharp and Elizabeth Cotton, she decided to document the relationship of the woman guitar player - from past to present and beyond. "I thought I would research this and looked around to find that there was little to no documentation... it looked like the entire chapter had been excluded on purpose, or to be more polite, maybe just overlooked," noted Foley. She decided to start work on a book - researching female musicians of the past and interviewing many contemporary guitarists. The book is still in the works and there are plans for tours and a documentary. "It's almost like a new mythology for me," she comments, "the lives of these women are unique and inspiring. Seeing as there's no solid literature on women guitarists, I feel an obligation to share their stories with the rest of the world." (see www.guitarwoman.com for more information)
As an aside to the book project, Foley co-produced and wrote extensive liner notes to the Ruf Records album BLUES GUITAR WOMEN, released in late 2005. The compilation consists of two CDs, one featuring contemporary artists and the second featuring traditional players. Foley appeared on the nationally syndicated House of Blues Radio Hour touting the release and her research. The All Music Guide said of the package "from originals to blues standards, there's something for everyone here. What's most surprising is how little known so many of these fine performers are, and the way the heritage gets passed down, guitar to guitar for over 70 years."
Sue Foley's commitment to music is more intense now than when she first hit the road as a teenager. NEW USED CAR proves she is one of the most creative and intriguing artists on the touring circuit and affirms her rising star burns as bright as ever.