For the 18th consecutive year, some of the world’s best blues artists will descend upon Thorold, Ontario.
The festival, held each October the weekend after Thanksgiving, has thrust Thorold onto the world stage as a blues destination. The CBS has a large engraved stone at the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis for its contribution to the construction and support of Canadian bands sent there to compete at the annual International Blues Competition.
Musical director Tim Sinnett travels to the biggest blues festivals in North America to extend invitations to artists to perform at the Thorold event.
Sinnett said, “It’s important to the Shuffle group that Canadian artists are included along with the other world greats as they constantly prove they deserve the recognition.”
This year, the lineup includes Matt Schofield (pictured above), the British blues rocker who is often mentioned in the same breath as Eric Clapton and Peter Green.
In fact, he was named the British Blues Awards Guitarist of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2012, which garnered him an induction into the British Blues Hall of Fame.
From Mississippi, Johnny Rawls will be making his third appearance at the Shuffle. But this time he’ll present an all-star band, including: Lance Anderson on keys, Teddy Leonard on guitar, Omar Tunnoch on bass, Ted Peacock on drums, Howard Moore on trumpet, and Allison Young on sax. They will be performing the music of the legendary Stax musicians from the famed Memphis studio. Rivaling Motown, Stax produced some of the most iconic stars of the last century, including: Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Eddie Floyd, and Albert King, to name a few.
Making his second appearance in Thorold is Toronzo Cannon. His is a story well-suited for a movie script. The Chicago city bus driver worked away at the music he loved, slowly gathering a following until he suddenly created a national buzz before being catapulted into the limelight and the world stage.
Another Chicago artist, Maurice John Vaughn, will be joined on stage by Freddie Dixon, the son of iconic blues legend, Willie Dixon.
Among the Canadian favourites making a return engagement are the wildly popular Jerome Godboo, and Jack de Keyzer, who’s remained at the top of the Canadian Blues scene for four decades. He has a slew of awards to bolster his place among Canadian blues greats, with two Junos, seven Maple Blues Awards, two Guitarist of the Year awards and many more to his credit.
For something different this year, the Shuffle committee will present the talented Steely Dan tribute band, Pretzel Logic. Breaking into a lineup that is traditionally strictly blues, Sinnett said the move was introduced to expose traditional rock fans to the blues artists who appear at the festival.
“Rock and roll came from the blues and the artists we present can, and have, performed on stage with some of the best known rock stars in the world. The genre is still misunderstood and mixing up the shows presented will help overcome that,” he said.
In total, this year’s festival will feature a total of 25 artists performing 29 shows over four days. It runs from October 17-20.
The Canal Bank Shuffle has also contributed well more than $200,000 to local charities over the years.
Admission costs a flat $25 in advance, $30 at the door, and provides entry to all shows. Tickets are available at The Pen Centre Customer Service Desk, Donnelly’s Pub, 54 Front St. South in Thorold, and Trillium Industrial Safety, at 526 Queenston Street in St. Catharines.
To purchase online, or for more information, visit canalbankshuffle.com