Rick Keene Music Scene – A Candid Chat with Dawn Tyler Watson; The Queen of The Montreal Blues

Dawn Tyler Watson could have left us for the big gig in the sky a couple of years ago. Thankfully – the Grim Reaper did not get the email …

photo Laura Carbone

Not only did Dawn recover from four blocked arteries, she went on to become the first Canadian and the second woman to win the IBC Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee. Not too shabby eh?


Please listen below to my chat with Dawn and find out about her health scare, her experiences since Memphis and news on her upcoming new album. Hear a track here !

Dawn? What’s up?

Visit Dawn Here !

Ben Racine – Playin’ the Blues ‘Cause He Loves It!

The Ben Racine Band are playing at the Tremblant Blues Festival this summer. They earned it.



‘A Grand New Brew’ is their latest and second offering in CD form. Capturing the sound of Chicago and New Orleans’ Blues combined with a little Funkiness – the disc is a planned love affair between guitar and horns.

Please listen below as Ben Racine explains the lethal combination.



Visit The Ben Racine Band Here!


Tune in Thursday at 6:15pm to k103.7fm to win tickets to see The Counting Crows !






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sceen card



Ten Great Blues Artists – 2012

The Blues … the Blues .. the Blues …

The foundation, along with Jazz, of music as we know it today. Popular music that is. There are many who carry the Blues tradition throughout North America and the world.

Elmore James , Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters  would be proud of the following artists on this list. Here are ten great Blues artists from 2012 …

Toronto Blues Society – The Maple Blues Awards

The Toronto Blues Society will be celebrating its 16 th annual Maple Blues Awards by honouring nationally and internationally recognized Canadian Blues artists from across the country on January 21, 2013. The nominees are recognized both for their talent as well as their contribution to the growing Canadian blues music scene.

Hamilton’s Steve Strongman leads the way with nominations in six categories, Toronto’s Shakura S’Aida and Paul Reddick, and Ottawa’s MonkeyJunk earned nominations in five categories.

Quebec blues artists are well represented with nominations for Nanette Workman, Michael Jerome Brown, Ben Racine, Stephen Barry, Dawn Tyler Watson and Guy Bélanger. British Columbia’s thriving blues scene is represented with nominations for The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer, Steve Kozak, Colin James, David Hoerl, David Gogo and Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne.

Hosted by Toronto actor and blues musician Raoul Bhaneja, The Maple Blues Awards are taking place at Koerner Hall in Toronto on January 21th, 2013.

Voting is open from Midnight NDT October 27th, 2012, through Midnight PST December 8th, 2012.

Blues fans can cast their votes online at http://www.mapleblues.ca. Tickets for the Maple Blues Awards, held at the Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall in Toronto, are on sale now for $35 – $65 and can be purchased at The Weston Family Box Office, located in The Royal Conservatory building at 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto or online at https://tickets.rcmusic.ca/public.

The 16th Annual Maple Blues Awards Nominees:

Entertainer Of The Year


Colin James
Matt Andersen MonkeyJunk
Shakura S’Aida
Steve Strongman

Electric Act Of The Year

Anthony Gomes
JW-Jones MonkeyJunk
Paul Reddick
Steve Strongman

Acoustic Act Of The Year

Harrison Kennedy
Michael Jerome Browne
Ray Bonneville
Steve Strongman
Suzie Vinnick

Male Vocalist Of The Year

Chuck Jackson
Harrison Kennedy
Matt Andersen
Paul Reddick
Steve Marriner

Female Vocalist Of The Year


Dawn Tyler Watson
Nanette Workman
Shakura S’Aida
Suzie Vinnick
Treasa Levasseur

New Artist Or Group Of The Year


Ben Racine
Boogie Patrol
Conor Gains Band
Steve Kozak
The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer

Recording/Producer Of The Year

“A Natural Fact” Steve Strongman (Independent) Producer – Rob Szabo “Checkered Past”

The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer (Independent) Producers – Matthew Rogers & Shawn Hall

“Time” Shakura S’Aida (Electro-Fi) Producers -Shakura S’Aida, Howard Ayee

“Broad” Treasa Levasseur (Slim Chicken), Producers – Treasa Levasseur, Ken Whiteley, Steve Marriner, Terry Wilkins

“Wishbone” Paul Reddick (Independent) Producer -Colin Cripps

Guitarist Of The Year

David Gogo
Garrett Mason
Kevin Breit
Steve Strongman
Teddy Leonard

Harmonica Player Of The Year

Carlos del Junco
David Hoerl
Guy Bélanger
Paul Reddick
Steve Marriner

Piano/Keyboard Player Of The Year

David Vest
Julian Fauth
Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
Lance Anderson
Michael Fonfara

Horn Player Of The Year

Al Lerman
Chris Whiteley
Frank Thiffault (Ben Racine)
Jon Wong
Pat Carey

Drummer Of The Year

Bucky Berger
Chris Nordquist
Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk)
Sam Harrisson (Paul Deslauriers Band / Dawn Tyler Blues Project)
Tom Bona

Bassist Of The Year

Alec Fraser
Gary Kendall
Omar Tunnoch
Stephen Barry
Terry Wilkins

Songwriter Of The Year

Julian Fauth
Paul Reddick
Shakura S’Aida & Donna Grantis
Steve Strongman
Treasa Levasseur

Ben ‘Racine’ – Roots Music is ‘One of a Kind’

‘Modus Operandi’ …

The mission or a song? Both for The Ben Racine Band on their debut album; One of a Kind.


‘Modus Operandi’ is the third track on an album which has just been released through Iguane Records in Montreal. As with every other track on the disc – the standout is Racine’s voice. Not seeing who you are listening to may come as a surprise if Racine arrives for dinner one day …

On disc, he is a man of African descent standing on stage at the Apollo theatre in the fifties. He is a forefather of the blues vocally. A cutting edge player along the lines of Dixon, Wolf and Waters. Racine delivers.


In person, Racine is a young version of Sinatra in attire and has enough of a backbone to carry the history of the blues on his back.

The song ; ‘Walking the Dog’ – a tune covered and coveted by any individual or group wanting to be part of a blues festival – is done so well by Racine and his men; its a wonder the crossroads are not their home adresses.

The title track features the band backing up Racine’s vocals and guitar riffs with a more than operable slant towards the heyday of Motown. ‘One of a Kind’ is the name of the album and a good description of Racine and what he does.

‘Early Times’ is a sax vehicle, ‘Moose’ Mousseau and Little Frankie Thiffault trade reeds with the best of the best. The song is so feel good – a devasting crime against a family member, the only thing to get a listener down.

‘Shake a Hand’ and ‘Bad L’iL Lady’ are throwback ballads a la Colin James. Nicky Estor keeps time with a high hat and crisp snare as Racine delivers riffs and vocals with conviction. Nothing new on these songs in the annals of blues history yet worth the effort to take in the professionalism provided.


The test of the disc is to be available to stand against the sounds of The Brian Setzer Orchestra or Colin James Big Band. In fact a combination of the Stray Cats and James is a great example of the sound Ben Racine portrays to the audience.

Mission accomplished for these students of the game especially on the tune ‘Hot Grease’. The best interchange of beats, momentum and Kevin Mark’s deeply embedded bass lines. The best of the artillery packed in this young band’s arsenal.

A concert with these guys is a concert filled with sore feet and sweaty heads.

Get your dancin’ shoes on …

Listen to Ben Racine HERE