Presidential Musing May 2018

A very merry month of May to all our blues people. As usual, there is a feast of blues and blues related shows on around Canberra this month and a couple of festivals for any intrepid travellers or those who just have to get out of town for a few days. Touring acts include legendary Blues Rockers “Dr Feelgood” at the Basement in Belconnen on Tuesday the 8th. The Blues Society has negotiated a discount on tickets for CBS Members to this event but in order to take advantage of the offer you need to purchase direct from the venue in advance.
Melbourne’s The Detonators are at the National Press Club on Thursday 10th, Hat Fitz & Cara (Qld) are headlining the Earth Mother Concert at Tallagandra Winery on Sat 12th, The Black Sorrows are performing in the Spiegeltent in Civic on the Thursday 17th, Julian James (VIC) at Old Canberra in on Saturday 19th and the Steve Edmunds Band is on at the Harmonie German Club Saturday 26th.
There are plenty of local artists gigs also happening including the Groove Kings at the National Press Club on Thursday 17th, KillWater hosting Bucky and Jeffro’s Blues and Roots jam at the Austrian Club on Friday 18th, the Black Hat Band and Leo Joseph at Beyond Q on the afternoon of the 19th and Minh Ha at the Old Canberra Inn on Sunday 27th.
Last month’s jam was a corker with surprise guest jammers, Davo Fester & Mick Malouf from Glenn Cardier’s band turning up to jam with our locals. I heard they had a terrific time. Even with the change in the date of the jam, we had a great turnout of punters and jammers. I’d like to thank Triple Bypass for doing a terrific job on hosting the day.
This month’s CBS Blues Jam will be hosted by Judi Pearce and the Arrangement. Judi is our very own Chain Award winning Vocalist who has been wowing audiences around Canberra for many years. Judi will be presenting a selection of classic blues and R&B numbers with great musicianship and sweet harmonies. Her band features Nicki King on vocals and percussion, Michael Hardy on guitar, James Hoogstad on sax and harmonica, yours truly on bass and vocals and John “Murv” Cowell on drums. This should be a great afternoon with plenty of support from our leading blues players.
Don’t forget that the workshop/Jam for aspiring players and singers is on again on Wednesday 6 June in the Keller Bar from 7:00 to 10:00pm. Unfortunately, we have had to slightly increase the admission price. Admission for CBS members will remain at $5.00, however admission for non-members will increase to $10.00.
Meanwhile, hope you all have a wonderful blues filled month and hope to catch up at the jam.

Presidential Musing April 2018

Greetings fellow bluesers. I trust you all had a wonderful Easter and those who were lucky enough to get to the Byron Bay Bluesfest are recovering nicely. We will have a write up and pics in next month’s Blues News.

Planning is well underway for our own mini festival in celebration of International Blues Music Day on Saturday 4 August. I hope you’ve got that date pencilled in your diaries. We’ve also just locked in the wonderful Jesse Valach presents Blues Mountain for Friday 3 August. So if you have interstate friends, invite them along for the weekend.

There are plenty of good things happening around town this month, the highlights being the Backsliders at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre on the 14th (we have a double pass to give away – see page 6 for details), Glenn Cardier & The Sideshow on Friday 21st and Chase the Sun on Saturday 27th at the Harmonie German Club.

Also  local bands Killwater at the Hippo Bar on Monday 9th, the Bridge Between at the National Press Club on the 12th, Moondog at the Hippo Bar on the 16th, the Black Hat Band and Leo Joseph performing solo at Beyond Q on the 21st and plenty more in the gig guide.

Our March Blues Jam was hosted by Undercover and a great time was had by all. This month’s Blues Jam will be hosted by, another new band, Triple Bypass, again with some very accomplished local musicians. Please remember that due to a booking error the jam will be held on Sunday 22 April (the fourth Sunday of the month). Next month we are back to the third Sunday as usual.

The Basement has extended an invitation to CBS members to attend their special event on Tue 8 May, Dr Feelgood (UK), with a discounted ticket offer. Tickets for CBS members will be $40, a saving of $15. These discounted tickets are only available from the Basement directly and will not be available on the night (see page 8).

Record Store Day is coming up on Saturday 21 April so get on in to your favourite record stay & grab yourselves a bargain. Our friends at Songland Records are looking for donations of your old CDs, vinyl, DVDs & cassettes with proceeds going to RSPCA. (see page 13)

Our workshop/jams are coming along nicely in the Keller Bar from 7:00pm to 10:00 pm on the first Wednesday of each month. These jams are for aspiring blues players who don’t quite feel confident to get up at the main jam but would like to play in an ensemble situation in a supportive atmosphere.

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped at our stall at Connect & Participate Expo held on Saturday 24 March. Also thanks to The Drivers for showcasing the CBS on the day.

Hope to see you all at the jam this month.

Presidential Musing March 2018

Greetings fellow blues people. Summer has flown by and the year seems to be getting away from me already. I guess I’ll just have to console myself by checking out a couple of the top line acts we have coming up in Canberra in March. There are a couple of must sees in Collard Greens and Gravy at the Harmonie German Club on Friday 9th and Harry Manx at the Street Theatre on Wednesday 14th.  If acoustic blues floats your boat you can’t miss with either.

Local bands The Drivers and the Moondog Blues Band will be playing at the Austrian Club Mawson on Friday 16th and the Dorothy Jane Band at the Narrabundah Festival on the morning of Saturday 17th. Ex-pat Mitch Grainger is returning to the HGC with a band this time, performing on Friday 23 March. Our own master of all things keyboard, Leo Joseph is launching his solo piano CD, “Highway 88” at Beyond Q in Weston from 4:00pm on Saturday 24th. Check out our gig guide for all the fantastic blues acts around town in March.

Our February Blues Jam with Pat Powell was an absolute corker with the room packed & an overflowing jam board. Apologies to those jammers who couldn’t get a spot on the day. This month’s Blues Jam will be hosted by Undercover, a new band with some very accomplished musicians. This should be a great afternoon with plenty of support from our leading blues players.

The CBS jams held in the Goulburn Club at the Australian Blues Music Festival were again the talk of the festival with a number of interstate artists joining in & having heaps of fun entertaining the crowd in the jam sets.

Thank you to our two host bands, The Marji Curran Band & KillWater. Also, thank you to the volunteers who gave up their time to help run the jams. Congratulations to all the 2018 Chain Award winners (see page 6 for all the details).

Don’t forget that the workshop/Jam for aspiring players is on again on Wednesday 7th in the Keller Bar from 7:00 to 10:00pm. We had some great feedback from the first workshop and are hoping to make this a monthly event.

CBS is once again participating in the annual Connect & Participate Expo being held at The Bus Depot Markets on Saturday 24 March. It’s a great day out for all the family. Keep your eye out for The Drivers who’ll be performing on the day.

Meanwhile, hope you all have a wonderful blues filled month and hope to catch up at the jam.

Presidential Musing February 2018

Greetings blues aficionados. As we all know February is usually a big month for Blues goings on around town, particularly with the Goulburn Blues Festival at our doorstep. We’re gearing up for our two Jams at the Goulburn Club on Friday & Saturday night of the Festival. Drop in & say hi.

This years’ festival features some great local and interstate acts and is always worth a hop down the highway to catch your favourite bands. Most of the local venues are involved and for the punters everything is free. Can’t argue with that.

Other good Blues acts around town include The Black Hat Band on the 12th and Killwater on the 19th at the Hippo Bar in Garema Place in the city. The Hippo Bar is working hard to establish itself as a Monday night blues venue and provides a classy atmosphere and live music on a night when otherwise you’d be sitting home watching the Tele.  Key Grip Full Strength featuring the mighty Leo Joseph on keys and the wonderful Angela Lount on vocals is on at Smith’s Alternative bookshop in the city on the 24th. This will be another great show from some of our foremost exponents of the blues.

Not forgetting of course that this months’ jam features Sydney’s Pat Powell band and will be a corker. Pat is also running a vocal workshop on the morning of the jam, which is a not to be missed for aspiring and established vocalists.

The first in hopefully a series of workshops for aspiring blues musicians will be held in the Keller Bar of the Harmonie German Club on Wednesday 7 February from 7:00 to 10:00pm. The workshop is designed to provide information about playing in a band situation and about how Blues songs are structured. A rhythm section featuring myself on bass and vocals, Dave Blanken on guitar and Mitch Preston will be hosting and mentoring.

We will make sure that all participants get a chance to have a play on material they feel comfortable with. Unlike the jams, the only audience for the workshops will be the participating players. 

The jam workshop costs $5.00 for Blues Society members and $8.00 for non-members.

Don’t forget K2’s 65th birthday celebration on Fri 23 February with Charlie A’Court from Canada and our own Ali Penney & Dave Blanken doing the opening set. (See page 4 for details)

Anyway, good blues and happy trails to all and I’ll catch up at the February jam.

Presidential Musing – January 2018

Well fellow bluesers, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. The silly season is now behind us but the Blues Festival season is just about to hit full swing. Over the next month or so we have the Thredbo Blues Festival on the weekend of 19-21 January, the Goulburn Blues Festival on the weekend of 8-10 February, and the Bruthen Blues Festival in Victoria on the weekend of 16-18 February. All of them have some very fine acts performing and look like being great opportunities to immerse yourself in a bluesy weekend away.  The Thredbo and Goulburn Festivals also feature a number of of our own bands performing including Marji Curran at Thredbo and yours truly in the Minglewood Blues Band at Goulburn. Marji and Killwater will also be hosting the CBS run jam sessions at Goulburn in the Goulburn Club.

Our Christmas Jam was a huge success with a record attendance for such a busy time of the year. The Groove Kings were magnificent hosts and it was great to see some new faces on stage too. We raised over $500 for local charity Marymead thanks to the generous donations made on the day.

Our first Blues Jam of 2018 on Sunday 18 February will be hosted by the legendary Pat (Patou) Powell, one of the finest Blues, Soul and Ska singers Australia has to offer. Pat is originally from Jamaica and came to Sydney in the 1970s via the UK. He quickly established himself in various local, national and international acts (including as backing singer for Kylie Minogue) and has long been the go to guy for anyone seeking an authentic blues or soul voice on their recording.

In addition to the Jam, Pat will also be running a vocal workshop in the Keller from 10:30 am until 12:00 midday on the morning of the Jam. I would seriously recommend any aspiring or established vocalists to get along. Whatever level you are at, there is much to be learned from this man. See page 6 for details.

Unfortunately due to a double booking, our April Jam will now be held on 22 April, the fourth Sunday in April. We will let you know more as we get closer to the date.

El Presidente (AKA) Deano

Presidential Musing – December 2017

The festive season is with us again; it seems to come around so quickly these days. Our last jam for the year will be hosted by the Groove Kings, one of our most talented blues bands and without doubt our leading exponents of Chicago style blues.  The Groove Kings are a bit of an institution in Canberra but if you haven’t seen them you really need to check them out. They really are a class act.

Jammers – make sure you get there early to put your name on the whiteboard. Our Christmas Jam is always well attended. Maybe it’s all those lovely treats on the tables? And don’t forget our giving Tree for Marymead. Unwrapped gifts or money donations gratefully accepted. There’ll also be a vintage music sale by Julian Gilchrist (see page 10 for details).

We have had some fantastic acts this past month; local, interstate & international. It was fabulous to see so many Blues Society members at the Jon Cleary event at the Canberra Theatre. I’d like to mention that Hippo Co (Garema Place) have started Blues on Monday nights. You can catch KillWater there this coming Monday 18 Dec at 8pm. The National Press Club wraps up the year with Ma Pearl Blues Band + Xmas Party on this Thursday night 21 Dec at 7pm.

2018 is shaping up to be another great one for artists wanting to visit Canberra to play. See page 4 for what’s already lined up at the Harmonie German Club. Special mention of Charlie A’Court’s show on Friday 23 February which is also K2’s 65th birthday celebration. She’s super excited that Charlie is booked for this night. We’ll have a special Members draw for a ticket at our February Jam.

Just a quick reminder about our blues workshop in February 2018. The workshop will be held in the Keller and is aimed at musicians interested in developing their skills around working with other musicians in a blues band situation.  Backline amplifiers and a drum kit will be provided. You need only bring your instrument. The workshop will be part presentation and part jamming and will feature a house trio with Dave Blanken on guitar, Mitch Preston on drums and my good self on bass and vocals.  The workshop will be held on Wednesday 7 February from 7-10 PM. Admission is $5.00 for Blues Society Members and $8.00 for non-members. 

It’s a fantastic line-up for the 21st Australian Blues Music Festival in Goulburn in February. And we have our host bands locked in for our Blues Jams in that beautiful old building, the Goulburn Club. Marji Curran Band will host Friday night’s Jam & KillWater will host Saturday night’s Jam. Starts at 9.30pm till late, so drop in & check it out. (see pages 7 & 8 for all the goss)

Remember, there’s no Blues jam in January. Our first jam for 2018 will be at the Harmonie German Club on Sunday 18 February hosted by the fabulous Pat Powell from Sydney. Full details in January Blues News.

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday period.

El Presidente (AKA) Deano

CBS Annual Report 2016-17

Canberra Blues Society Annual Report 2016-17

This has been another successful year with the primary focus on providing and promoting quality blues music for our members and other patrons.

Membership of the CBS continued to grow, culminating in another record membership of 347. This is again a remarkable achievement and reflects that the CBS is heading in the right direction.

Our monthly jams continued to be well patronised throughout the year and were consistently in the mid to high 100s with a record audience of 249 for the November jam hosted by the Marji Curran Band. The CBS continued the theme of promoting youth in blues for its August jam. As for the previous three years the 2016 jam was hosted by students from Narrabundah College, The Bundah Blues Band who were superbly tutored by John Black. For the first time the CBS introduced a closing youth act with Bailey Judd’s Room 15 Band from Goulburn.

For various reasons the CBS suspended its workshop program this financial year. However, Geoff Achison conducted a guitar workshop in the Keller on 23 September 2016 which was well patronised with very favourable feedback by participants.

The CBS ran the Knuckles outlet at the Harmonie German Club’s Oktoberfest for the third successive year raising $1 500 for the Society.

The CBS donated a cash prize of $200 for the best blues act at the National Busking Championships held in Cooma on 5 November 2016 which was won by Canberra band Don Carlo. A special thank you is extended to Steve Hartnett for volunteering to be a judge for this event.

The CBS’s Christmas jam again supported local charity Marymead by providing a giving tree. Patrons generously donated children’s presents which were greatly appreciated and acknowledged with a certificate from Marymead.

The CBS continued the theme of showcasing an interstate band to host our first jam of the 2017 calendar year in February with the stellar blues band, Chase the Sun to a very appreciative crowd. The remainder of the year saw the CBS jams being hosted with our own high calibre member bands.

On 6 August 2016 the CBS celebrated International Blues Music Day for the third year with a mini Blues Festival at the Harmonie German Club. A good mix of quality local and regional artists headlined by Continental Blues Party was well received by an audience of over 400.

For the third successive year the Goulburn Club invited the CBS to host the open mic jam at the Australian Blues Music Festival in February 2017. Canberra blues bands, The Johnny Reynolds Band & The Blue Tone Specials hosted the open mic jams on Friday and Saturday nights respectively. As for previous years this was again one of the highlights of the Festival.

The CBS again participated in the Canberra Connect and Participate Expo at the Bus Depot Markets 25 March 2017 with an information stall and the Monica Moore Blues Band performing on stage. Community interest was very encouraging with many signing up for CBS information.

The CBS volunteers program continued for the second year. Our volunteers have helped with a multitude of tasks during the year at CBS jams and other events.

Our partnership with Artsound FM has continued; media coverage has been broadened with monthly advertising in BMA magazine and special events in the City News, and more activity on social media. 12 issues of Blues News were produced. On behalf of the CBS I extend a special thank you to K2 for her professionalism in producing this high quality publication.

The CBS has continued to extensively promote blues music events throughout Canberra and the region with both a comprehensive website “What’s On” calendar and an email gig guide.

During the year the CBS purchased a camera for photography at events, mics, speakers and PA for use as required. The CBS plans to purchase drums and a keyboard in 2017-18.

The co-hosted events with Lone Wolf Productions and the Harmonie German Club continued successfully during 2016-17.

In winding up this committee report I take the opportunity to thank all the jammers who have performed during the year, our PA operators, Bucky and Jeffro and Bryan Williams for providing quality sound at our jams and other events, our major sponsor – the Harmonie German Club for use of the its facilities and grant under the community support program, our other sponsors Artsound FM, Better Music, Rockstar Music, Mojo Guitars, Rhythms Magazine, Beyond Q Bookshop and Johnno’s Tyres.

I thank the outgoing committee K1, K2 and Ross for their support and contribution during 2016-17. The good work they put in enables for the successful operation of the CBS. Last but not least I extend a big thank you to our volunteers.

Presidential Musing – November 2017

This November we come to an end of an era, with our MC and PA operator David (Bucky) Buckmaster moving on. David’s skills as a sound man and his witty, cheeky approach to the MC role will be sorely missed by all. We wish David all the best in any future promotional activities and the Blues Society will continue to provide as much assistance as possible in publicising any blues related events that he is involved with.

Also, a big thank you to Bucky’s sidekick Jeffro Martin for making sure our host bands and jammers have the best possible sound.

The November Jam will be hosted by Canberra’s longest serving blues band, the Drivers, who are fast approaching 30 years together and if not for the untimely death of bassist Ben Connelly earlier this year, with the same line-up the whole time. The Drivers will be presenting a mix of original and classic blues guaranteed to get you stomping. The all new Drivers line-up features Steve Hartnett on vocals, harmonica and guitar, Michael Hardy on guitar and vocals, Doc Rennie on drums and yours truly on bass and vocals.

The Canberra Blues Society will again be hosting the jams at next year’s Australian Blues Music Festival in Goulburn, to be held on the weekend of February 8-11. The last two years jams from all reports were fantastic. Our jammers got to play with some of the festivals top performers including Dreamboogie, Blue Eyes Cry, Lazy Eye & Ray Beadle who as usual blew everyone away with his virtuosity and taste.

We are looking for volunteers again to help us run these jams so please consider giving up an hour or two of your time if you’re heading up to the festival.

Pencil in Sunday 17 December for our annual Christmas Party Jam too. Hosted by The Groove Kings, with lots of treats, CBS member lucky door prize, Xmas hamper raffle and giving tree for local charity Marymead.

Have you decided on your favourite blues album to write about yet? Send us a short article telling us about your favourite album, why you like it and how it moves or inspires you and we’ll publish your efforts in the Blues newsletter. All published articles will entitle the author to select a CD of their choice from the Blues Society’s collection. (see details on page 9)

We’d also like to extend a big thanks to Steve Hartnett for making the trip to Cooma to judge the Blues Section of the Australian National Busking Championships. A special ‘Blues Buskers Bar’ was set up in the Cooma Hotel & the blues contingent was bigger this year and featured contestants from all over (Victoria, Sydney, NSW South Coast and of course Canberra). The winner was “Black Souls” a duo (Juliet & Bart – both CBS members) from Canberra who look to have a promising career in front of them and no doubt we’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the near future.

Wishing you all a great and blues-filled November.

El Presidente (AKA) Deano

PS Calling all bands interested in hosting a jam next year – email

Presidential Musing – October 2017

Greetings fellow bluesers. October is shaping up as a great month for the blues in Canberra with performances from several touring acts including Eric Steckel from the USA. Eric has performed at festivals around the world and is widely considered one of the most exciting blues guitarists to emerge in recent years. Steckel is playing at the Harmonie German club on Sunday 8 October at 3:00pm. This is one gig not to miss!

American singer songwriter Bonnie Kaye’s playing and singing have drawn comparisons with namesake and sister in blues, Bonnie Raitt. Bonnie and her bluesy, soulful five piece band are performing at the National Press Club for the 1st time on Friday 20 October.

Also in town this month is Melbourne singer, songwriter and guitarist Matt Katsis who will be performing material from his soon to be released EP, “As the River Runs” at the Front Gallery and Cafe in Lyneham on Friday 6 October.

To round off the month, CBS presents Transvaal Diamond Syndicate, one of Australia’s finest foot-stompin’, hard hittin’ Blues Rock outfits from Qld, performing at the Harmonie German Club on Saturday 28 October at 8pm.

The Cooma busking championships are being held on Saturday 4 November.  The Canberra Blues Society has donated the $200 prize for the best Blues artist or band and will arrange for the winner to perform in Canberra. We are working with the festival to raise the profile of the blues in the Championships to try and ensure a growing blues contingent of entries this and in future years.

The $64,000 question for October is “What’s your favourite blues album?” Send us a short article telling us about your favourite album, why you like it and how it moves or inspires you and we’ll publish your efforts in the Blues newsletter.

All published articles will entitle the author to select a CD of their choice from the Blues Society’s collection. (see page 11)

Finally, don’t forget that Oktoberfest is on over the weekend of 27-29 October at the Queanbeyan Showground. Oktoberfest is an important fundraising event for the Blues Society and we are still looking volunteers to help out. If you can spare any time over the weekend please get in touch with us.

Until next month, yours in the blues.


The Presidential Musing – September 2017

First of all a big greeting to all Canberra Blues Society (CBS) members from the new El Presidente.

For those who don’t know me, I am a local blues musician and aficionado and was the first President of the CBS back in its inception in 1997. In recent years I haven’t been that active due to life and family commitments but have recently retired from work and felt the time was right to get back on the bike.

As you may already know, John Spencer and Kerry Sattler (K2) did not stand for their relative positions on the Committee at the last AGM which was held on 30 August. I thank John and Kerry for the wonderful job they have done over the last few years, guiding the CBS from strength to strength. They have left a couple of pairs of big shoes to fill, but I am confident that the current committee is fully capable of carrying on the good work. 

The new CBS committee is –

Dean Edgecombe – President, Kerry Scarlett – Secretary, Dan Collins – Treasurer, Ross Buchanan – Media Officer

Steve Hartnett – Events Co-ordinator, John Van Buuren – Membership Officer, John Spencer – Musicians Jam Co-ordinator

Over the next few weeks the committee will be considering a range of new ideas to further the promotion of blues music in the ACT and the region and will work closely with the Harmonie German Club and other venues and events involved in bringing the best in Australian and International blues acts to Canberra and the region. We will also be doing our best to raise the profile of our considerably talented home grown blues artists.

Our annual Youth Blues Jam was another successful day, with students from Narrabundah College forming Bundah Blues Band to open the jam, some great jamming from our locals; and young hotshots from Goulburn, Leaving Reality wrapping up the day with a killer closing set.

Here’s to warm weather and cool blues in the months ahead.


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