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.


The Presidential Musing – August 2017

It’s August and there’s a new dawn about to rise for the CBS. At the end of the month we will be saying goodbye to K2 as she will not be standing again for the Management Committee.

This will be a huge loss to the Society after over 7 years of selfless commitment and thousands of hours work to propel the CBS to where it is today.

Now considered to be the largest and most successful, dynamic Blues Society in Australia is no mean feat, and we wish her well and might big thankyous from us all at the CBS.

The Annual General Meeting and election of Office Bearers and committee will be on Wednesday 30 August at the Harmonie German Club.

The CBS has recently started to purchase some back line equipment to help our present jams and future ideas with a drum kit. Also we are looking at a keyboard soon. One of the ways the CBS raises funds for these purchases is to run the Knuckles restaurant outlet for the HGC’s Oktoberfest and this year the venue has moved to the showgrounds in Queanbeyan. So as usual we be asking for volunteers to help in this endeavours as well. There will be also been a couple of spots for assistance in stage managing and MCs.

That’s enough to digest for now!

The Presidential Musing – July 2017

It’s July so come into the club for a warm environment and lots of very cool blues. This month we have mega acts appearing.

Firstly, if you haven’t renewed your CBS membership you need to do so now to continue receiving our monthly Blues News and all your membership benefits.

International Blues Music Day is fast approaching and we have a big day organised again, 12 acts, 2 stages with great interstate acts on the bill with the likes of Owen Campbell Band (headliners), Shane Pacey Trio, PJ O’Brien Band, Genevieve Chadwick, Kevin Bennett and Jeremy Edwards as a duo and Jarrod Shaw from Melbourne, with a local contingent of our top artists.

Once again our friends from Canberra Hot Rod Association will bring out their much loved beasts to display in the car park at 1pm. Music kicks off at 2pm with 11:30pm finish. As usual these events are a large undertaking and we’re still short on volunteers. So please think about volunteering some of your time to help us make this event one to remember. Contact K1 – 0414 292 150 or K2 – 0419 607 710 with your availability.

Last month’s jam was hosted by Blues on Tap the house band from Candelo Blues Club what an awesome blues band and well worth the trip to Candelo to see them, every 2nd Sunday of the month. Also a big thank you to all the jammers. It was a great day. Next jam’s host band is KillWater a great rocking blues band from the local area; well worth the effort to come and see.

If you missed Melbourne’s Jesse Valach presents Blues Mountain on Fri 7 July, you should be able to catch him in the not too distant future. He was so well received; he’s been given an open invitation to return whenever he wants. Geoff Achison and Justin Yap Band (both major award winners at the Australian Blues Awards) are touring as a double bill show, coming to the HGC on Sunday 23 July 3pm (check page 5 for all the details).

Friday Night continues the month with another couple of great line-ups: an up and coming blues/rock artist, Christina Crofts will be playing with her band this Fri 14 July – a must see! And the impressive Ali Penney & The Money Makers (Matt Ross, Mike Rix & Rosscoe Clark) will be on Fri 21 July.

The Presidential Musing – June 2017

Well Bluesters!

The half year is here already and there’s more great Blues action still to come for the next 6 months., however I’ll back track for the moment.

May started with the Moondog Trio and they were pretty awesome according to the reports I heard.

Tim Hulsman returned for the 3rd visit in 6 months with his band (which I prefer). Craig Kelly on Bass & Winston Galea on drums. They slayed it with two amazing sets with Tm going off on the slide lap steel guitar.

May Jam’s host band, The Mighty Bluzicians have had a line-up change. No Aria Stone!!  But with replacement James Hoogstad were as great as ever. Thanks very much. Also thank-you’s go to the punters & jammers for putting up with the short notice room change.

Was a real treat to have Marisa Quigley & hubby Darren Christie join the jammers for a set too.

On a personal note I was humbled and honoured at the same time to be re-elected to The Harmonie German Club Committee for the 3rd consecutive time.

This month saw PJ O’Brien Band kick off Friday Night Live with a brilliant performance (they’re back for our International Blues Music day on 5 August. Also this month on 16 June we’ll be having our first ever dinner/show event with the wonderful Dreamboogie (Melb). Bookings are essential for dinner/show tickets. You can get your tickets online through the Harmonie German Club’s website. You can still of course just come for the show. Depending on the success of this, we hope to bring you more dinner/show events in the future.

The CBS jam this month’s host band is from the Candelo Blues Club, their house band, Blues on Tap. Should be a great day for both blues groups.

Once again we will be holding International Blues Music day on Saturday 6 August with an exceptional line-up with this year headliner being The Owen Campbell Band on the main stage & Genevieve Chadwick on the Keller stage. Yet again these events are a massive undertaking and we need help to achieve a great day. So if you would like to assist us and volunteer some of your time I would be very much appreciative and contact K1 or K2.

Just a reminder, CBS membership need to renewed by the end of this month.

The Presidential Musing – May 2017

OMG Bluesters!

It’s May already. Where is the year going? I trust you all had a good Easter break.

Our apologies for the lateness of this issue. Our committee members have been away for various reasons this past month.

While it was a little light on with live music at the Harmonie German Club in April due to the Easter long weekend; the Bluesfest Sideshow of Bonnie Raitt at the Canberra Theatre was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

Bonnie was so chilled and having fun, as she took us through the decades of her career from Little Feat to present days. Her band of incredibly talented musicians were faultless. What a performance!

The next Sideshow held in town at The Royal Theatre was the eternally young and full of energy Carlos Santana with a nine piece band. Another romp through the decades of a brilliant musical output with some thirty seven albums under his own banner. What an intense full on energetic 2 ½ hours they delivered; and good on you music fans of Canberra. Both these shows were packed with appreciative fans.

Back to the club, to end out the month with a very rare appearance of Psycho Zydeco with their brand of Blues, Swamp and of course, Zydeco. A special thanks to Josie and Carlos for helping in the arrangements of this event. I did not know there were that many people that get Zydeco. A great night of toe tapping a full on dancing was had by all.

Thanks to the host at the last Jam. The Dorothy-Jane Band, a super band, played to a fantastic crowd. DJ Gosper, Ali Penny, Chris Harland, Paul Leeder and Gavin Kelly kicked ass big time and how good was Chris playing outside his comfort zone? Brilliant guitarist!!

This year has been jam packed with great bands appearing so far, and it doesn’t stop there. The great line-ups just keep coming, including The Tim Hulsman Trio (Melb), Dreamboogie (Melb), Jesse Valach’s Blues Mountain (Melb), The Steve Edmonds Band (NSW), PJ O’Brien Band, Christina Crofts Band, Geoff Achison & Justin Yap Band (Melb) double-header show and Darren Jack Band to name a few leading up to our International Blues Music Day festival on Saturday 5 August.

K2’s been busy this past month, flying the flag for Canberra Blues Society up at Byron Bay Bluesfest and more recently down in Victoria with K1 for the legendary Blues Train and MBAS Blues Jam. See the write up for Bluesfest on page 9.

You can check out all our jam photos and Bluesfest photos on our Facebook page.

Volunteers! We need you to contact us if you’re available to help at International Blues Music Day. This event is too big for just the committee to run. Please email and you will be in the running to win a fantastic prize pack and other goodies.

We are looking for a Blues Newsletter Editor to take over the reins. If you are interested please contact K2 on 0419 607 710.

Lisa and I have been away at the reboot of the Narara Music Festival after a 33 year layoff. More on that in next month’s issue.

In closing – keep supporting the live music events at the HGC and CBS with Lone Wolf will keep it coming.

The Presidential Musing – April 2017

Hi bluesters.

The year rolls on at an amazing rate and the stellar line up for this year keeps coming; but a bit of a flash back to the last month’s artists with two international acts, some top notch interstate and local bands as well. The month kicked off at the Harmonie German Club with Harper and Midwest Kind. Peter Harper’s an expatriate Australian, now well and truly entrenched in the US Blues community.

Kudos to Bucky on securing Harper for the 2nd year running to open his Aus tour at the HGC.  And what a show it was! Harper is a consummate performer and very approachable as well. Big thanks to Gavin Kelly, Dave Blanken and Chris Tominich for the loan of their gear for the show. The following Friday, Stormcellar played another amazing show; the best I’ve ever seen from them.

Lloyd Spiegel’s event was another consummate performance, with his signature banter, storytelling and those beautifully crafted songs; a brilliant show from the man who thinks the CBS is pretty special too.

The Bridge Between hosted last month’s blues jam for the first time and what a class performance they put on. Was a great day with another surprise guest; the wonderful vocalist, Kerrie Sweeney popped in from the ‘Gong to see how we do things. As usual our local jammers were superb and great to see a few new faces on stage; welcome Max Diversi, John H and Adrian Reed.

Our 2nd major international event in March was Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges, an absolutely monumental show and man does he write some very poignant love songs.

To put on shows of this calibre there are of course costs involved; and although we endeavour to keep ticket prices reasonable, including negotiating discounts for CBS members, attendances have fallen short of expectations. Unless we have sufficient numbers coming along to support these events, we will not be able to continue recommending international artists to The Harmonie German Club.

That being said, April is going to be another big month for the blues fraternity in Canberra, with the world renowned Bonnie Raitt performing this Sat 8 April at the Canberra Theatre (tickets selling fast) and Carlos Santana set to appear at The National Convention Centre on 15 April. WARNING – don’t buy tickets from resellers – only purchase through the venue’s website or call the venue direct.

Our month at the HGC will start off with The Replacements, as Andrew Baxter and Mike Beale from ‘not so sunny’ Qld had to cancel. Drew Wimhurst, Leo Joseph & Mitch Preston from the Groove Kings along with Illya Szwec (Sydney) & Matt Nightingale have come together to bring us a brand new (temporary) band. With a line-up like this it’s definitely going to be a fun filled night this Friday 7 April.

And after much consultation, we will finally have the fantastic Psycho Zydeco doing a ticketed show for us on 29 April, with a $5 discount for CBS members. This is a must see show, so please spread the word. We want that room packed.

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped man our stall at the Connect and Participate Expo, and also to the Monica Moore Band, who I heard gave a wonderful performance showcasing the Blues to the appreciative audience. This month’s Blues Jam will be hosted by The Dorothy-Jane Band.  Just checkout the line-up DJ’s put together. WOW! It’s going to be a HUGE day! If you’re a musician, bring your instrument; see Ross or myself to put your name down on the board for a jam. If you’re a Blues lover, bring a friend and sit back & enjoy some of the best music in Canberra.

NOTE – Our April Jam is on Sun 23rd due to Easter falling on 3rd Sunday this month.

Have you pencilled in 5th August for our International Blues Music Day festival? I really hope so as the line-up is locked in. We’re still busy working on the poster, but you can check out the full list of artists on our website.

If you would like to volunteer to help on the day or with preparations beforehand, please drop us line at and you could go in the running to win a fantastic prize.

There’s a lot to see and do this month, so hopefully I’ll see you at a show or two around town.

Happy Easter & safe travels.

Your President

John Spencer

The Presidential Musing – March 2017

Thankfully the heatwave we endured during February has passed as we head into March at our ‘home of the blues’ The Harmonie German Club. With the support and co-operation of our major sponsor, the HGC and also the terrific relationship we have with Bucky (Lone Wolf Promotions) this year is lining up to be our biggest and best yet.

Despite the record high temperatures, the Blues Jams held at the Goulburn Club over the weekend of the Australian Blues Music Festival were a roaring success yet again. Both our Canberra Bands were very well received by the punters. Thank you to The Blue Tone Specials and The Johnny Reynolds Band for your wonderful performances. Also many thanks to the CBS volunteers and especially K1 & K2 for their tireless work for the Society over the weekend. These jams are a great place to showcase the talent we have in Canberra & see some of the best musicians in the country getting together after their shows to have fun with their mates or make new friends in the Aus blues music world. See page 7 for all the goss on the festival.

Congratulations to Geoff Achison who scooped the 2017 Chain Awards. Geoff returns to perform at the HG club later this year. So keep an eye out for the announcement.

No sooner had we recovered from the huge weekend, we were treated to an outstanding performance by All The King’s Men. And what a performance it was; with two of Australia’s greatest guitarists, Ray Beadle and Darren Jack ably backed by the hot rhythm section of Rosscoe Clark & Grant Cummerford. The second set saw the 3 piece horn section join the boys on stage for a mind blowing set.

Our first jam of the year, hosted by the absolutely amazing Chase The Sun, lived up to everything we hoped it would. With a good roll up of jammers, we had just begun the 2nd set when we received a surprise visit from 2017 Chain Award winners the Justin Yapp Band who’d just finished performing at the Multicultural Festival. Thank you to the jammers who graciously allowed us to re-arrange the whiteboard to accommodate Justin’s Band for a ripper of a set. I must say every single set that day was of the highest standard & the room was really buzzing.

After the jamming ended, Chase The Sun came back on to round off the day with a high powered set of close to 1½ hours. This band would undoubtedly have to be one of the best Blues/Rock Power trios in Aus. Bucky’s already locked them in for a ticketed CD launch event later in the year. Definitely a MUST SEE.

Was fabulous to see the ever charming (and Bucky’s favourite) KNiKi & Mike Beale back at Friday Night Live. Must be well over 2 years since we’ve seen this duo at the club. An extra treat for us was the rhythm section of that debonair drummer, Mitch Preston and young Alec Coulsen on bass and we had the pleasure of watching Mitch do a very rare solo drum performance.

With such a fantastic month of live music, it begs the question – How are we going to keep up with this high standard for the rest of the year? Well, try this on for size – Harper & Midwest Kind (US), Stormcellar, Great Dane (ex backing band for both Jeff St.John & Dutch Tilders), Lloyd Spiegel – The Keller Sessions, Kate Lush Band from Sydney and we team up with Bucky & The HGC to present Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges with his band. So if you’re looking for some great Blues music from some more heavyweights in the World of Blues, March is shaping up as another beauty.
CBS will be at the Connect and Participate Expo spruiking the benefits of CBS and the Monica Moore band will be singing the Blues on the main stage around 3pm.

This month’s Blues Jam will be hosted by The Bridge Between, a very popular and hard working local band so come along and join in the fun. If you’re a musician, bring your instrument and put your name down on the board for a jam. NOTE – Our April Jam is on Sun 23rd due to Easter.
Also, pencil in 5th August for our International Blues Music Day festival. The line-up is awesome. Tell you more next month, but we can say the weekend kicks off on Friday 4th August with the Darren Jack Band – Friday Night Live.

And finally, best wishes to the Chris Harland Blues Band as they head off to perform at Kiama Jazz & Blues Festival this weekend.

That’s all for now. See you at a gig soon.

Your President
John Spencer

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