Tantramarsh Blues Society

small is beautiful

Dedicated to bringing world-class blues performances in an intimate setting to Sackville and its environs

TBS Winter Lineup





Keith Hallett has come a long way since we first saw him open a show for us and then again touring with Garrett Mason a couple of years ago. He has been working hard, honing his sound in the only honest way there is in the blues: on the road. As a result, he has a developed a tough, old time sound that is his own. There is something real going on folks, and you can listen to his new album here, and see some recent video here and here. This show will be held at Ducky’s and seating is limited so get your tickets early for this one.
The Delta Generators (Boston), Friday, March 11, time and location TBA
There is a real buzz around the fourth album from the Delta Generators which should be out in March, which isn't surprising. Every album they have released so far has been getting increasing attention with the last one winning the Blues album of the year from the Independent Music Awards. The new album, which has already met its Pledgemusic fundraising goal, is tightly written and produced should hopefully get them the international attention they deserve; you can get a taste here.
The Johnny Max Band (Toronto) Friday, April29, George’s Roadhouse, 9 PM (part of the Bordertown Festival)
Touring on the back of his 7th album (2 of which have been nominated for Junos), Johnny will be bringing his particular brand of roadhouse soul to our very own Roadhouse. Johnny plays more than the usual 12 bar blues, borrowing heavily from R&B and soul in his delivery so that you can expect a foot-stompin’, shoulder-shaking evening from a veteran Canadian band. For more on Johnny, please go here.

TBS Presents Watermelon Slim, Big Dave McLean and Joe Murphy

We have a wonderful ensemble show lined up for you this Fall. On Nov. 7, we present a band featuring the multiple Blues award winning Watermelon Slim, the Juno award winning Big Dave McLean and the Maritime stalwart Joe Murphy. Harp magazine says of Slim “"From sizzling slide guitar...to nitty-gritty harp blowing...to a gruff, resonating Okie twang, Slim delivers acutely personal workingman blues with both hands on the wheel of life, a bottle of hooch in his pocket, and the Bible on the passenger seat.” With 30 years and 7 albums, Dave McLean is a Canadian legend who has crisscrossed Canada on tour many a time…we are very pleased that he could stop in and play for us with Slim and Joe (who is giving up his legendary Saturday gig at the Moustache in Halifax to play for us). 

We will not be presenting a Fall Fair show this year, mainly because we felt it was time for other music genres to take centrestage on Saturday night. To this end, we are happy to say that the Town of Sackville will be presenting the award winning alt-county band The Divorcees on Sep. 19 at 9.30 pm. You can find more details on the Fall Fair schedule here.

The red hot 24th Street Wailers are coming to town as part of annual Rotary fundraiser

The Rotary Club of Sackville and TBS Present

The Juno-nominated 24th Street Wailers (Ontario)

Friday, May 22, @ the Sackville Curling Club


Wine & Beer Tasting 7-9 PM Music 9 PM

Tickets $40 for both, available from members or at sackvillerotary.ca

Limited Dance-Only Tickets $20 available at Ducky’s


Experienced, road-tested and tougher than a two by four, The 24th Street Wailers are five musicians who originally met in music school. Their major influence? The sounds from the freewheeling period in the ‘40s and ‘50s when the Blues gave birth to Rock and Roll in black communities in major American cities. When showmanship mattered. When the sax player, not the guitarist, got the girls.

The just released‘Where Evil Grows’ has already received strong notices. Blues in the Northwest says: “Here’s a super fun album of vintage r&b, blues and rock ‘n’ roll from the Canadian-based outfit, The 24th Street Wailers – made up of Canadian and American musicians, namely Mike Archer (bass), Lindsay Beaver (vocals and drums), Elliot Sowell (guitar), Jesse Whiteley (piano) and Jon Wong (saxophone) – together they make a joyous,  retro 40s and 50s sound!” 

2012’s Unshakeable reached Top 10 on the Roots Music Report  and carried the band even further — Dan Aykroyd’s House of Blues radio show called it “raw and authentically funky.” And Bill Wax’s syndicated B.B. King Radio Show on SiriusXM confirmed the band’s widespread national and international radio play. The Wailers have put the icing on the cake with a 2nd studio album, released early this year. Wicked is the CD’s title, and the adjective perfectly describes the music. Recorded in Austin Texas and produced by Billy Horton, producer and bassist for Texas rocker Nick Curran and who is also currently Jimmie Vaughan’s bass player, Wicked is a collection of 11 songs by Lindsay and Emily, with two covers, both of them considerable departures from the originals. Horton’s worked produced a who’s-who of Texas bands, and he helped put The Wailers’ drive and energy into the record’s grooves. The band’s put their autographs on a number of milestones along the road to success. They’ve been the only non-Quebec band to win both the Reléve en Blues and the Air Transat/Blues sur Seine competitions at Festiblues International de Montreal, which sent them to France to perform at The Blues sur Seine Festival. The Wailers were nominated for major Maple Blues Awards two years in a row, and for Blues Group/Duo of the Year at the Sirius XM Indie Awards. In February 2012, the band were semi-finalists in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, cementing their place among their musical peers.

Booking their own dates — which they continue to do — The Wailers have played in some 35 major cities in Canada. The band’s played major U.S. tours, and in 2014  played more than 200 shows across North America.

The band’s touring this year includes more than a dozen-two- and three–day blues, jazz and folk events from one side of the continent to the other. A highlight was Jimmie Vaughan grinning for a set while sitting side stage at one of their club dates this year and slinging guitar with them that night.  Said the artistic director of one important Ontario festival last year: “(This band) is a worthy representative for the new face of the blues.”

“New face of the blues”? Yes, the band likes that. “We’re just trying to restore faith in what the Blues and Rock and Roll were meant to be,” they’ll tell you. But just don’t call the Wailers a “young” band, okay?

Instead of pissing them off, call The 24th Street Wailers exactly what they are: one of the hottest groups of blues rockers you can find, and one that always makes the crowd drink, dance and cheer. Tell them that and they might buy you a drink.

The Buzz

“The 24th Street Wailers continue to step it up! It’s been a joy watching the band grow as musicians who have found their own sound. I love the band’s energy and deep understanding of blues, classic R&B and roots music.”

-Holger Petersen, Stony Plain Records, CBC Radio, SiriusXM 169 and CKUA

“Beyond the 12 bar blues bands and weekend warriors, it is amazing to see the 24th Street Wailers among a new breed of young acts creating fresh material and proving there is such a thing as Canadian blues that is as valid as Chicago, delta, West Coast, British or any other kind of blues out there.”

-Chris Martin, CBC Music Blues Community Producer

“this is just great, gritty, fun, live stuff!”

-Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd), Host of the House of Blues Radio Hour

“Unshakeable is raw and authentically funky…these young players have the natural rhythm and looseness of studied musicians, which is a breath of fresh air.”


“a worthy representative of the new face of the blues”

-Richard Knechtel, GBFS/Summerfolk Artistic Director


Bordertown and TBS Present the JW Jones Band (Ottawa)

Bordertown and TBS Present 

The JW Jones Band (Ottawa)

Friday, May 1, 9 PM @George’s Roadhouse

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door

JW is riding a wave right now on the back of his 8th release: nominated for a Juno, getting strong critical notices, playing over a hundred shows a year, JW is one of the finest Canadian blues guitarists out there.  The new album, Belmont Boulevard, is his first Blind Pig release and was produced in Nashville by Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge, who’s helmed projects for Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, and Susan Tedeschi.

 JW chose Hambridge to produce because “This CD is all about getting out of my comfort zone musically and lyrically, working with a big producer and creating a high-energy experience that matches our live show, and I knew Tom was the man to make that happen.” Its not wonder that the  the Globe and Mail, referred to this Maple Blues Award winner as “one of this country’s top blues guitar stars.” Billboard called JW part of “a new wave of young talent moving onto Canada’s blues stage.”

If his recent shows are anything to go by, this will be a performance that will showcase JW’s blazing fat guitar sound backed by a band that has perfected its chops on countless stages across the world. Not to be missed folks…

We are very pleased that this show is part of the new Bordertown festival in Sackville, and we hope that many of our patrons will also partake in these additional festivities, which include a Bill Stevenson trio performance for Catbird Jazz, a Sappy evening with Rich Aucoin, and additional performances by Ray LegereRon Hynes, our very own Kenny James. In addition, the Sackville Festival of Early Music will present David Greenberg and Chris Norman, and local art galleries (The Fog Forest, the Owens Art Gallery and STRUTS) will have special events as will Live Bait Theatre (a pdf with a schedule can be downloaded here). Quite an amazing lineup for a little town!

We hope to see you at the shows.

George's Roadhouse Fundraiser, Saturday March 28 between 2 pm and midnight

Many friends of George's Roadhouse are coming together to raise funding for critical building repairs. The Argosy has a fine article on the history of George's, plus a sense of what is at stake here.

 Musicians and Bands include The Streamliners, RA and Cookin', Chris Meaney, Patrick Melanson, Janet Crawford, Richard Borque and The Mark Green Band.

Tickets are $15 ($12 for students with ID) at the door.

For more details please contact Richard.Bourque@bellaliant.net

TBS Presents Sugar Ray and Bluetones on Saturday, March 7 at George's Roadhouse

TBS Presents

Sugar Ray and the Bluetones (Boston)

9 PM, Saturday, March 7 @ George’s Roadhouse

Tickets: $15 in advance $20 at the door

The Special Student Price (the door only, ID required): $10


Singer and harp man Sugar Ray Norcia’s career kicked into high gear in 1979 when he formed the original Sugar Ray and the Bluetones with guitar giant Ronnie Earl, and it has stayed there ever since.

Norcia has appeared on over 50 albums including discs with The Bluetones, Ronnie Earl, Roomful of Blues, Big Walter Horton, Otis Grand, Ann Peebles, Michelle Willson, Jimmy Rogers, Pinetop Perkins, J. Geils, Maurizio Pugno, Sax Gordon, Duke Robillard, and his 1999 “Best Traditional Blues” Grammy nominated collaboration with fellow harmonica virtuosos James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite and Billy Branch called Superharps-that also includes fellow Bluetones Mudcat Ward and Anthony Geraci.

In the ‘90s Norcia spent seven high-profile years with the legendary Roomful of Blues. He cut five albums with the group including 1996’s Turn It On,Turn IT Up, which also received a “Best Traditional Blues” Grammy nod.

Today Norcia’s elan and robust tone makes his voice one of the most distinctive, well-defined and recognizable instruments in modern blues.

He continues to tour the world with his durable Bluetones and make acclaimed albums like his forth Severn release 2007’s My Life, My Friends, My Music – which drew Blues Music Award nominations for “Album of the Year,” Instrumentalist – Harmonica,” Instrumentalist – Bass” and “Song of the Year” (for “Last Words of a Fool”.)

The band consists of musicians’ musicians like Monster Mike Welch, one of Boston’s finest guitarists (who has 6 albums of his own), and Anthony Geraci who has backed them up-B.B. King, Otis Rush, Big Mama Thorton, Chuck Berry, Big Walter Horton and countless others.

Sugar Ray’s  recording titled  Evening was nominated for Five 2012 Blues Music Awards including “Album of the Year”, “Band of the Year”, “Traditional Blues Album”, “Instrumentalist – Harmonica” and “Instrumentalist – Bass”. In 2012 Ray was also inducted into Rhode Island’s Music Hall of Fame, as well as the Canadian South Hall of Fame.

Sugar Ray Norcia was nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award for his contribution on an album entitled remembering Little Walter on Blind Pig Records.This was his third Grammy nomination. It featured Sugar Ray Norcia, Mark Hummel, Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold and James Harman. This same recording won two 2014 Blues Music Awards for “Album of the Year” and “Traditional Blues Album”.

Sugar Ray and the Bluetones have a new Record  entitled Living Tear To Tear  on Severn Records that was released on August 19, 2014. It has debuted #1 on The Living Blues Radio Charts and has been nominated for 7 Blues Awards including album of the year, and song of the year (the complete version of which is available here).

Web Links

The band’s wesbite: http://www.sugarrayandthebluetones.com

Audio and video on the band can be found at our website: http://www.tbsblues.com/schedule/








Damon Fowler show for Sackville Winterfest still on tomorrow night, weather permitting...

Just a quick reminder that the Damon Fowler Band (Florida) will be playing the Sackville Winterfest show for us tomorrow (January 31) night, weather permitting. Tickets are $15 in advance (at Ducky’s) and $20 at the door. The special student price (at the door only, ID required) is $10. We have made available 3 tracks from Damon’s excellent new album on our website here, in case you want a taste of what he is up to currently. We have the band’s bio for you and some video as well. Our updated schedule is available here, and we will be adding a surprise show in the Spring, details TBA.


The band is already in the Maritimes and will play for our friends in Pictou County tonight. We are doing are best to make arrangements to get them here safely for the show tomorrow. The forecast suggests that snow may not be an issue tomorrow night, though blowing snow may. If the weather forces a cancellation (and we very much hope it will not) we will let you know no later than 6 pm, and probably sooner. All tickets bought in advance will be refundable. We very much look forward to seeing you at the show tomorrow (provided you can make it out safely), so that we can collectively stick it to the winter blues! 

Sackville Winterfest and TBS Present the Damon Fowler Band (Florida)

Sackville Winterfest and TBS Present

The Damon Fowler Band (Florida)

Saturday, January 31st, 9 PM, George’s Roadhouse

Tickets are $15 in advance (@ Ducky’s) and $20 at the door

Special Student Price (at the door, ID required): $10

After spending much of the past year touring with the band Southern Hospitality, Damon Fowler is back with his third solo project for Blind Pig Records, Sounds of Home. Damon chose swamp blues master Tab Benoit to produce and record him at Tab’s rural Louisiana home studio, and their collaboration has resulted in Damon’s strongest effort to date. The tension between his measured, laid-back vocal delivery and the hallmark intensity of his guitar virtuosity has never been keener, and the stories told in his songwriting here – sometimes in collaboration with long-time writing partner Ed Wright and Benoit – exhibit a combination of depth, grace and humor very few of his contemporaries can match.

Damon sets the standard for what is to come on the first track, “Thought I Had It All.” It’s an  introspective, brooding tale shot through with razor sharp, frenetic guitar leads. Other songs like the title cut and “Where I Belong” flow in an easy Southern groove.  Damon offers up two covers, peppering Johnny Winter’s “TV Mama” with slithering slide guitar runs, and doing a great version of Elvis Costello’s “Alison.” The country tinged “Old Fools, Bar Stools, And Me” offers a poignant take on a familiar theme. “Do It for The Love” is a sweetly contemplative ballad featuring the lyrical counterpoint of Damon’s lead guitar and Tab’s pedal steel. The album closes with an inspired, finger-picked rendition of the traditional gospel song, “I Shall Not Be Moved.”  As with Damon’s legendary live performances, Sounds of Home takes the listener on a tour through the rich traditions of American roots music, presented by one of its foremost practitioners.

Alongside his solo career, Damon joined forces with fellow guitarist JP Soars and keyboardist Victor Wainwright in 2011 to form the southern roots rock group, Southern Hospitality. SoHo quickly became a strong draw on the national circuit due to their early, roof-raising live performances and their first recording, Easy Livin’, on Blind Pig. Of their first show BluesWax said, “Southern Hospitality, after a single gig, has significant players in the blues world taking notice. Fowler, Wainwright and Soars share much love for the songs of the South. The hot jazz and funk of New Orleans, classic country, gospel, soul, and blues that became rock ‘n’ roll in Memphis and went global by way of a trucker named Elvis.” Hittin’ The Note called the album “a dozen potent shots of pure Southern pleasure. The roughneck, laid-back ways of this fine debut are reminiscent of the best days of Southern rock.” Damon has neatly managed to balance his participation in SoHo with his own, well-established solo endeavors.

On the strength of his hybrid of roots rock, blues, and sacred steel, the Florida native started wowing audiences with his musical exploits as a teenager, building a reputation as one of the hottest young players on the scene. Adding songwriting and vocal skills to his repertoire over the years has brought him many accolades, with critics extolling his originality and maturity as well as his technical guitar expertise. In 2008’s  “Best of Tampa” poll, Creative Loafing magazine named him “Best Guitarist… And Slide Guitarist… and Lap Steel Player… And Dobro Player.” Fowler’s guitar work has been compared to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, while his slide guitar has a hint of the late Duane Allman. He can play fiery guitar runs with the best of them, but it’s his lyrical work on lap steel and Dobro that makes him stand out among the legions of guitar heroes.

Damon’s Blind Pig debut, 2009’s Sugar Shack, showcased a fresh and exciting rising star coming into his own as a performer and writer. Damon’s sparkling original compositions paired perfectly with well-chosen cover tunes from Billy Joe Shaver, Merle Haggard, and the Amazing Rhythm Aces. The critical reaction to its release was unanimously laudatory. The Chicago Sun Times proclaimed, “Make way for the next big-time guitar slinger, wire-walking Tampa, Fla., native Damon Fowler. This kid can play, garnering big raves for his power trio’s live shows. Even better, he shows no need to kill you with pyrotechnics on his major-label debut.”Hittin’ The Note said, “With this album, Damon Fowler is really just starting to open up shop, and I suspect he’ll be open for business for a long time to come,” while Billboard noted, “He’s a formidable slide guitar player, and has also mastered lap steel and dobro as well as electric guitar; his playing throughout the album is deft. Indeed, Fowler may be so skillful that he prefers pickin’ tasty to larger-than-life guitar heroics.”

In 2011, Blind Pig released Devil Got His Way, which went a long way toward fulfilling the tremendous potential that his acclaimed debut promised. His remarkable songwriting skills and vocal expressiveness were maturing, and his instrumental voice, by turns incendiary and deeply lyrical, got even stronger. The styles and moods of the songs on Devil Got His Way ran the gamut. The sharp title cut told a sordid tale, punctuated by furious slide guitar runs. “After The Rain” was a beautiful, meditative ballad. “Tight Rope” recalled the playful tone of Leon Russell’s version, without sounding derivative. From the swampy nighttime heat of “Cypress In The Pines” to the wistful, R&B feel of “You Go Your Way” to the ironically rock anthemic “American Dream,” Damon showed the uncanny ability to make all the flavors of American rock’n’roll uniquely his own. Like its predecessor, Damon’s second Blind Pig release garnered high praise from reviewers everywhere. As Living Blues put it, “Devil Got His Way is full of lyrically rich, confident songwriting and  shimmering Americana-laced guitar. Fowler is as expressive a songwriter as he is a singer and instrumentalist. He’s preaching an otherworldly, Americana-themed gospel from a six-stringed pulpit. He is a roots guitar guru in the making.”

Damon Fowler’s star is on the rise. As Wade Tatangelo put it in a feature piece in March, 2013, in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “Damon Fowler’s big, dimple grin cuts through the darkness as he stands outside the historic cottage he calls home in Bradenton Beach. It’s the same endearing smile he’s flashed on stages across the country and, in recent years, abroad, for nearly two decades. But these days, his smile shines just a bit brighter. In the past year Fowler has married, become a father and witnessed his music career reach new heights thanks to the formation of the super group Southern Hospitality.”

And to this list of accomplishments we can now add the release of a superb new recording, Sounds of Home. The All Music Guide says  

“…his sixth album and third for Blind Pig Records, shows this [broad-ranging ability] clearly, from the opener, "Thought I Had It All," an eerie, swampy confessional, through the drive-the-highway pop of "Spark," the bright, bouncy, and melodic country shuffle of "Where I Belong," and sharp covers of Elvis Costello's "Alison" and Johnny Winter's "TV Mama" (these two, along with the charming version of the traditional "I Shall Not Be Moved" that closes the album, are the only ones here that Fowler didn't write). Produced by Tab Benoit and recorded at Whiskey Bayou Studios in Houma, Louisiana, Sounds of Home has a deep, clear, and full-room sound, with Fowler's guitar lines cutting though sharp as Texas wind over a Louisiana swamp, and when he goes to the lap steel, well, it's like a sleek and chiming gospel angel just flew into the room.”


Our new site is tbsblues.com

Damon’s site is www.damonfowler.com


24th Street Wailers a strong possibility for the brand new Sackville Sampler festival (May 22-24)

We are very excited to be part of the new Sackville Sampler festival in May, and even more so since we might be able to bring in the 24th Street Wailers, the hottest roots act in Canada these days. The last record has made waves, opening up tours in all parts of Canada and deep into the US. Jimmy Vaughn was impressed enough to sit in with them in Thunder Bay and they plan to record their next album soon in Texas. Here is a taste of their music. Please tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Almost confirmed: Sugar Ray and the Bluetones to perform for TBS on March 6 or 7.

We are almost there folks; Ray and his crack band are likely returning to the Maritimes after what has been too long. Ray's superb phrasing on his singing and his harmonica has led him to outfits like Roomful of Blues (3 albums) and Ronnie Earl; but he has kept up his commitment to his own Bluetones for 35 years. And you can see why, with musicians like Monster Mike Welch (who has 4 albums of his own) on guitar, Mudcat Ward (a standup bassist's bassist) and Anthony Gerachi on keys (who has backed B. B.King, Otis Rush and Big Mama Thorton among others).

another week

Another week gone by as we get closer to the launch date of the new website. So many opportunities to blog, post to social media, etc. we want to talk about services like spotify and rdio that are tranforming the way we listen to music, start listening lists, and much more..but that is going to have to wait until the basic stuff is figured out...