A cross-reference to the first overnight radio show (CKCU 93.1 FM) placing a heavy emphasis on Canadian blues and fusions of same (2007-2012). From 2012-2014, "Rockin' the Blues from Canada" was broadcast on CHMR 93.5 FM (where it originated in 2005 as "Patchwork Blues"). This 'blog' was born in 2004 as a promotional tool for arts-related news when Geocites reclaimed its free websites.
Monday, March 10, 2008
STEVE STRONGMAN @ FAT TONY'S BLUES & SOUL CONCERT SERIES
Here is the list of guest artists who will be appearing in concert with Bluesafire (Canada Dave Torosian, Gary Kendall, Jim Casson, Limpy Curry and Mojo Willie) @ Fat Tony's Blues and Soul Concert Series in St. Catharines, ON, every Saturday afternoon from 3-7 p.m.:
As a teenager, Steve Strongman would sneak up the fire escape at Kitchener’s renowned blues club, Pop the Gator, to listen to the music that moved his soul. It was here, sitting in with many of them, that the young guitar protégé cut his teeth on the music that would become the keystone of everything to follow.
Beginning his professional career at the age of 16, playing clubs all around southern Ontario, it wasn’t long until Strongman caught the eye of Mississippi Blues legend Mel Brown. Under his tutelage, Steve met and played with many of the Blues legends of the time. In fact, it was after one blistering opening set that Chicago soulster Otis Clay exclaimed, “I’m gonna do what you do…”.
Strongman branched out touring extensively with rock, country and blues bands in venues like Opryland, Renfro Valley in Kentucky and opening for Roy Clark at his theatre in Branson, Missouri.
After a taste of L.A., playing with Columbia recording artist Tal Bachman, Steve chose to concentrate on his own rock band, Plasticine. With irresistible stage presence and gritty hard-driving rock & roll, Plasticine developed a devoted legion of fans and quickly garnered a record deal with the Allen Gregg venture, Song Corporation. After the demise of the ill-fated Song Corp., Steve reconsidered his own musical future. Plasticine went their separate ways and Steve was opted as lead guitar player for Epic/Sony recording artist Kazzer, leading to more touring of the United States, Canada as well as extensive tours in Europe. In between, he jammed out his blues solo act in venues all around Southern Ontario. But the Blues were calling louder and Strongman, drawn back to the style that first spoke to him, made a natural and resolute decision to answer.
And so, twenty years later, and in a return to his roots, 2007 sees Strongman proudly presenting Honey, his fifth release and debut with Fallen Sky/Fontana. This is an album that offers a seamless blend of old school and new originals that heralds the arrival of Canada’s newest Blues sensation. With nine originals on the 11 song play list, Strongman guides the feel and flow with ease, and this ultra-cool musical gem is a high caliber work paving new ground with its pace changes, dynamics, atmosphere, melody, tricky riffs and mind blowing gritty greasy blues.
Honey caters to blues/rock fans with varied tastes, and the moment the first searing chords of the slide intro to "Hard Headed Lover" kicks in on the airwaves, you know you’re in for a spectacular ride. This is a guitar paradise where Strongman, already a master of the six string, wields his Dobro as deftly as his slide guitar. From the more traditional styling of “Let’s Sleep on This”, featuring stellar horn performances by Terry Townson and Steve Hilliam of The Little Big Band, to the atmospheric, pure heart ballad, “Soul Searching”, he glides through the grooves with cool guitar parts and evocative, sensitive vocals. A soul-powered Freddie King tribute comes in his full-throated appraisal of “Big Legged Woman”, but he shines the brightest when he burns up the strings with scorching licks and tricky riffs on tunes like “Honey” and “That’s Me”.
Mentor and blues legend Mel Brown sits in and gets down to business on the classic “How Blue Can You Get”, and Strongman continues to bring it close to the bone with his slide work on “River” and “Birthday Song”. The ride winds down with the jazz tinged ballads, “Silhouette” and “Keep it to Yourself”, and when it ends, you’ll want to do it all over again.
With a rock-solid command of guitar technique and with innate artistry, Strongman generates a dynamic and powerful energy on stage and delivers stirring performances that captivate his audiences. He has shared the stage and bills with a range of musical who’s who from young rockers like Tal Bachman and Kazzer to Kim Wilson, James Harmon, Luther Tucker, Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl, Roy Clark, Otis Clay, Jeff Healey and Watermelon Slim, just to name a few.
Already capturing industry attention, the Toronto Blues Society lists Honey in the top blues selections for March 2007, and Strongman’s efforts also garnered him top honours in three categories of Hamilton's View Magazine’s “Best Music of 2007”, including “Best Local Male Artist”.
Steve Strongman is a man who has found his home in the heart of the Blues. This summer and fall you can find him touring in support of Honey at festivals and selected venues in Southern Ontario and Western Canada. He’s gearing up for a European tour and is in preproduction for a new CD, slated for release in Summer 2008.
The return of this concert series represents the end of a one year hiatus for Bluesafire. We are grateful for the patronage of venue owner & staff @ Fat Tony's as well as to the fans of this series whose avid support brought it back to life.
The modus operandi for the continuation of this series is to create synergy between the blues societies & roots musicians of Southern Ontario and Western New York.You will find the link for a map to the venue below.