Once a 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.
There have been some great musical moments at clubs, lounges, music conferences and numerous festivals including the Toronto Jazz Festival where Brian hosted a blues jam at the Rex a few years back and had jazz luminaries Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart, and Russell Malone “playing 12-bar blues all night long and loving it”.
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.