Every second Saturday of the month, the stately Home Smith Bar is transformed into a back-porch blues jam with top Canadian blues artists swapping songs and raising the roof. BRIAN BLAIN hosts and plays bass and guitar and makes sure he invites only musicians who ‘play well with others’. Everybody plays along at the Campfire Jam.
Now celebrating 50 years as a recording artist, Brian is a major figure on the Toronto blues scene, both on stage and behind the scenes. Originally from the hills of Quebec’s Eastern Townships, he has produced 4 CDs and played with such blues pioneers as Hubert Sumlin and Long John Baldry and toured Europe three times, the last time backing Baldry’s long time collaborator, Kathi MacDonald.
He is well-known in Toronto as a chronicler (and blogger) of the blues scene, whether it’s writing songs about fellow musicians or whining about the music business. Jeffrey Morgan of the Detroit Metro Times wrote, “Now here’s something you don’t hear every day: a bluesman singin’ the blues about how lousy the blues singin’ business is these days.” Brian is a sincere artist with unique brand of slow-cooked, solid-groove folk blues – soulful, thoughtful, and always entertaining.
Tonight, BRIAN BLAIN’s featured guest is blues piano legend JESSE O’BRIEN, fresh off a busy summer touring with Colin James, Tom Wilson, and Harrison Kennedy, as well as Colin Linden and the cast of the TV show, “Nashville”. O’Brien started playing keyboards as a kid and did his first gig at 12 with his dad Michael. At 16 he first performed with Ronnie Hawkins. This led to an ongoing musical relationship and multiple shows with Hawkins across Canada and the U.S.A. over several years. Since then, Jesse has worked with many of the greats including Colin James, Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), Levon Helm (The Band), Tom Wilson (Junkhouse), The Cowboy Junkies, Sue Foley, Downchild Blues Band, Colin Linden, Roxanne Potvin, and Lee Harvey Osmond.