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

The Presidential Musing – February 2017

Now where did January go? Feels like the months are already peeling off the calendar. I trust you’re all back into the swing of things now that the festive season is over and looking forward to the resumption of our monthly jams. I know I certainly am. And what an awesome start to our jams with the powerhouse trio Chase The Sun hosting. I hope you’ve all got 19th Feb in your diaries.

Remember – there is a special arrangement for this jam. Chase The Sun will do an opening 30 minute set at 2pm, followed by the normal 15 minute sets of jammers till 5.15pm. Then Chase The Sun will come back on at approximately 5.30pm for a full hour set to close the evening.

Bucky’s Budweiser Big Birthday Bash & ALOHA! Blues & Roots Charity gig was the biggest and best ever this year, with a record attendance & superb performances by the artists. And what a fantastic surprise to see Jimmy Barnes’ son-in-law & guitarist, Ben Rodgers up on stage with Bucky’s band, The Rodeo Clowns! I know Bucky was ecstatic about the huge turnout and he had a grin from ear to ear for most of the day. But the biggest smile came when Tara Louise did a ‘Marilyn Munro’ rendition of Happy Birthday to him. I’ve heard there’s a nice little video on Lone Wolf Promotions YouTube channel which you should check out.

Happy Birthday wishes to all the Capricorns and Aquarians who celebrated their January birthdays on the day and a special mention to Chris Harland who celebrated his 40th – one of those ‘marker’ birthdays. It was also a record fundraising effort for The Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group who were very grateful for the generosity shown by the audience.  I’d like to say a big thank you to all the artists and CBS members who supported this event and contributed to making this a very memorable day.

Friday Night Live starts again this Friday 3rd Feb with The Crossbones, a full throttle Rockabilly/Psychobilly act that’s guaranteed to get everyone shaking it on the dance floor. The following Fri 10th Feb, for the first time, Nth Queensland’s favourite modern bluegrass act, The Hillbilly Goats will be putting on a spectacular show of Hillbilly Roots & Old Time Blues.

The following Friday night, 17th Feb is the much anticipated All The King’s Men show, which I spoke about in January’s Blues News. This is a joint promotion with Lone Wolf Promotions and one you definitely must see – CBS members discounted ticket price is $25.

To round off the month, 24th Feb sees the return of KNiKi (WA) & Mike Beale (Qld).It’s been awhile since we’ve seen KNiKi so will be good to see her performing with Mike again.

Another couple of notable shows here in Canberra during Feb are The James Southwell Band CD launch feat Charlie Wooton on 3rd at The Basement in Belconnen. Also on the bill are Harry Brus Band and Marji Curran Band. On Sat 4th, the fabulous Backsliders are performing at Tuggeranong Arts Centre Theatre.

In other news, I heard that Thredbo Blues Festival lived up to expectations once again (see write-up on page 6). Good to see it’s still going strong. Speaking of festivals, it’s only a week till the Australian Blues Music Festival in Goulburn. We’re just doing the final arrangements for our Blues jams at the Goulburn Club hosted by two of our fabulous Canberra bands, The Blue Tone Specials on Friday night & The Johnny Reynolds Band on Saturday night. These jams have turned into a great event for the festival and the musos love it too. You never know who will turn up after their shows to have a jam, but one thing I can assure you, they’ll be damn good. Great to see some of our other Canberra artists in the line-up at the festival – The Groove Kings, The Mighty Bluzicians, Key Grip and Dorothy-Jane Gosper Duo with Richard Steele. Richard is making the trip from Tasmania to play with DJ at the Festival and while he’s here is going to be doing some one on one guitar lessons. (See page 12 for details)  

VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED – If you are going up to the festival and can spare an hour or two on either night to help out, please send an email to K1 at 

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

Your President

John Spencer

Presidential Musing – January 2017

Well there’s another year, done & dusted and didn’t we take it out with a bang? A very big thank you to all those who came along to our special Christmas Party Jam hosted by the wonderful Leo Joseph’s Key Grip. Though we were down in jammers, it was still a fabulous day enjoyed by the 211 people who attended.

How are the odds on this? Our members’ lucky door prize was won by K2, who also won 2nd & 1st prize in the raffle! K2 graciously donated the raffle prizes back for a redraw and the winners walked away with big grins on their faces and a couple of awesome prizes. Thanks to K2 for organising the raffle prizes.

We are also very grateful to those who donated cash & presents to Marymead’s Giving Tree. And thanks to K1 for delivering them to the very appreciative staff at Marymead.

I trust you all had a fabulous Christmas with family and/or friends and celebrated NYE in style.

Although January is a relatively quiet month for music here in Canberra, 2017 is lining up to be another big one; both at the Harmonie German Club and other venues around town.

Saying that, there is the BIG annual event next Saturday 14thJanuary – Bucky’s Budweiser Big Birthday Bash. This year Bucky has combined it with ALOHA! Blues & Roots Charity Gig. Only $5 entry with all proceeds going to Eden/Monaro Cancer Support Group.

See details on page 4. Bucky is a tremendous supporter to Canberra Blues Society, so I hope to see a lot of our members there showing the love.

Not long to go till Thredbo Blues Festival, starting on 20th January. Safe travels to all those going. If you’d like to do a review for our Blues News or send in some pictures, it would be very much appreciated.

The Australian Blues Music Festival is on from 9th-12th February, and once again CBS will be running the Blues Jams at the Goulburn Club on Friday & Saturday nights. Our host bands are The Blue Tone Specials (Friday) and The Johnny Reynolds Band (Saturday).

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – If you are going up to the blues festival and can spare and hour or two on either night to help out, please send an email to K1 at

Lone Wolf Promotions will be presenting a special ticketed event at The Harmonie German Club on Friday 17th February with a great band, All The Kings Men (Ray Beadle, Darren Jack, Rosscoe Clark and Grant Cummerford). Keep an eye out on our website’s ‘What’s On’ page for ticketing info etc.

I am really looking forward to our February Jam hosted by the awesome Chase The Sun. It’s been way too long since we’ve seen them play in Canberra and we’re pretty stoked that they want to play for us.

A note to jammers – There is a special arrangement for this jam. Chase The Sun will do an opening 30 minute set, followed by the normal 15 minute sets of jammers. Then Chase The Sun will come back on at 5.30pm for a full hour set to close the evening.

Please make sure you get your names in early on the day.

We still have a few spots to fill for hosting a blues jam next year. To express your interest, please email Ross Buchanan at Remember, you must be financial to be considered.

Have a very safe and happy New Year and don’t forget to pencil in 19th February for our first jam of 2017.

Your President

John Spencer

The Presidential Musing – December 2016

December has arrived, oh BLEEP BLEEP! The countdown to Christmas is on, so if you haven’t done all your Christmas shopping yet, why not pop into one of our valued sponsors stores and have a look for something for your family, friends or better still spoil yourself? Better Music in Phillip, Groove Warehouse in Hume, Rockstar Music in Queanbeyan and Songland Records in Cooleman Court Weston all have some fabulous bargains for Christmas.By all accounts Chris Cain was as good, or even better than what I said he’d be. Canberra fell in love with him and he fell in love with us. The Rick Price show down in The Keller was a real eye opener. This guy can sing, and the support artist, Ivor SK is someone to keep an eye on. He was brilliant.

The CBS membership continues to grow and our last jam hosted by Marji Curran Band saw another record attendance. Thanks Marji, was great to see you back performing again. Once again our jammers showed us just how much talent there is in Canberra. And thank you to Dave Blanken & Gaye Reid for organising a tribute set to Glen Terry; was very touching.

The annual Blues Piano Night with our keyboard royalty last Friday was absolutely brilliant. Can’t wait till next November when they do it all again.

Shane Pacey Trio kick of Friday Night Live this month with their new album ‘Helios’. See my CD review on page 7. This should be a big night so I recommend you get there early if you want a good seat. I must mention Jonno Zilber will be back in town on Saturday 3rd December playing at Smiths Alternative in the city. It’s a very rare occurrence to see this young man perform these days, so I encourage you to get online & book a ticket. You won’t be disappointed. Our Christmas Party Jam is also shaping up to be a big one with our host band Key Grip ready to wrap up our blues jam year. Don’t forget our giving tree for Marymead; a gift under the tree would be a very nice way to bring a smile to a young person’s face. Julian will be back with his vintage vinyl and CD sales too.

While there is no blues jam next month, pencil Saturday 14th January in your diaries. It’s a double header with Bucky’s Budweiser Birthday Bash and Hawaiian Shirt Fundraiser for the Eden-Monaro Cancer Support Group being organised right now. We’ll have the line-up for you in January Blues News. Also Thredbo Blues Festival is on the following weekend. Well worth the trip.

We have some very exciting news for our first jam in February 2017. We have managed to secure Chase The Sun as our host band. Please note, they will be doing a 30 minute opening set at 2pm, and then following the jam, will be back on at 5.30pm for a full hour. We’re aiming to smash our attendance record on this one. There’s still a lot of great music happening this year too, so check out our gig guide to see what’s happening around town and if you’re looking for live music to celebrate New Year’s Eve, FINN will be playing at the Chisholm Tavern on 31st December.

If you haven’t put in your submission to host a jam next year please do so as soon as possible or you could miss out on a spot. Email to express your interest. Remember, you must be financial to be considered.

In closing, I would like to thank all our members for your support this year to help make CBS one of Australia’s leading Blues Societies.

Have a very safe and happy festive season and hope to see you at our Christmas Jam celebration on 18th December.

Your President

John Spencer

The Presidential Musing – November 2016

Welcome to November with the promise of warmer weather and a number of great festivals around the country over the next few months. Plenty to choose from if you’d like to do a bit of travelling.

I would like to say a very big thank you to all the volunteers who gave their time to help out at the Pork Knuckles outlet at Oktoberfest over the weekend. You guys did an awesome job.

Friday Night Live continued its high standard of acts in October, including 8 Ball Aitken with his band revving up the crowd. Even Bucky got into it doing the ‘Crocodile’ dance & taking video of the dancing crowd on 8 Ball’s phone at the end of the show. Chasin The Train was absolutely superb. Kevin Bennett is one of the best vocalists in Australia & Kirk Lorange’s slide guitar work was world class.

Genevieve Chadwick and the Stones Throw played to a very enthusiastic audience down in The Keller and hopefully next time they come back we’ll be able to have them play in Bucky’s Ballroom.

Our October Blues Jam was well attended with The Johnny Reynolds Band doing a fantastic opening set. The surprises kept happening this month with visits from Jock Logus (Candelo), John (FJ) Mifsud (Sydney) and Paulo Leeder (Candelo).Cassidy Richen Buxton’s stepson Callum Richen came along to play sax and the wonderful Dan Fernandes returned to the stage to blow us all away with his powerful vocals. Thank you to all the other musicians who joined in and the punters who filled the room to make it another very successful jam

The wall between the Pool Competition players and music stage is finally completed and will alleviate the sound bleed between the two groups. So it’s a win for all and a big thanks to the Harmonie German Club for doing this work to keep us all happy.

Unfortunately we have been unable to hire a bus for a trip down to Candelo Blues Jam so if you’re still interested in going, please let us know if you are able to car pool. Carlos & Jose Smitz are looking for a lift.

Now, have you got your tickets to internationally renowned US bluesman, Chris Cain this Friday 4 November? Chris blew them away at the Sydney Blues & Roots Festival in Windsor last weekend. (watch out for my write-up in next month’s Blues News). We want to pack that room to the MAX and show Chris how much us Canberrans love our BLUES!

And don’t forget Fiona Boyes has her new album launch ‘Professin’ The Blues’ on Saturday 5 November in the Keller.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Marji on stage due to personal health issues, so I’m really looking forward to seeing The Marji Curran Band hosting our jam this month. We’ve got a few surprise guests coming along to jam too but you’ll have to come along to find out who they are!

The end of the month will see the return of the ever popular annual Blues Piano Night with Leo Joseph, Ali Penney, John Black & Wayne Kelly.

It’s time for submissions to CBS if you’d like to host a jam next year. Email to express your interest. Remember, you must be financial to be considered.

In conclusion, check out our gig guide and get out and about and enjoy the top quality music available around town this month.

Your President

John Spencer

The Presidential Musing – October 2016

It’s Festival season, but alas we have lost our beloved Great Southern Blues Festival in Narooma, RIP.

But the good news is, we still have the Sydney Blues & Roots Festival being held in the historic town of Windsor from Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th October. If you haven’t been to this wonderful festival, I can highly recommend you making the trip. Headlining with Chris Cain, The Hippo’s (2nd get together in 20 years) and for the first time in 35 years, Stars are reforming with ALL the remaining original members. Plus a star studded line-up making this year’s festival one of the best I’ve seen.

Last month we had some great shows at The Harmonie German Club. My personal picks were Owen Campbell’s ‘Breathing Bullets’ album launch. Owen put on a magnificent solo performance which had the crowd absolutely enthralled. Own said he can’t wait to come back with his band next time. And of course Geoff Achison with Adrian Keating made a wonderful combination at Friday Night Live – blending classical and blues which only they can do so well. The 2nd set saw them being joined by our Canberra Souldiggers, Mitch Preston, James Luke & Wayne Kelly and what a show they put on with encore after encore. Truly a night which will be long remembered.

Our September Blues Jam once again drew a huge crowd. Queen Juanita & The Zydeco Cowboys certainly know how to get people up dancing. Wonderful surprise visit from Gordon Navara, who now lives on the South Coast, Erisa Linsky finally graced the stage for a top set & Steve Hartnett introduced us to his new band The Blue Tone Specials.  And finally, Queen Juanita’s Sisters and Brothers Community Choir sang a few songs with Francine Minjoy doing a great job on the harp solo.

October is absolutely packed with awesome shows, starting on 7th with the gorgeous and groovy Ali Penney & The Money Makers; 8th – that little powerhouse, Genevieve Chadwick & The Stones Throw in the Keller; 14th  – Nashville based, red headed Country/Blues artist, 8 Ball Aitken returns from the US to kick off his Aus tour; 28th – don’t miss this rare performance by Chasin The Train from Sydney and rounding out the month on 30th with the incredible Claude Hay’s ‘Roller Coaster’ album launch in the Keller. Check out all the info further on in the Blues News and get your tickets to those ticketed events folks. Great discount for CBS members.

We’re making progress with our second tier jam, so drop us a line if you’re interested. This will only work if our musicians come along, get involved & support it.

Canberra Blues Society is sponsoring the inaugural Blues Award at the Australian National Busking Championships in Cooma this November, so get your entries in if you want to be in the running. Entries close on 29th October – see page 10 for all the details.

Also there’s been some interest shown in a bus trip down to Candelo Blues Jam on 13th November. That’s if we can secure a bus and a driver. Otherwise we may have to carpool. Please let us know if you want to join us at or 0419 607 710.

The Harmonie German Club has asked Canberra Blues Society to run the Knuckles stand again at this year’s Oktoberfest from 28-30 October. It’s a great opportunity to raise funds for CBS so hope you can spare some time to help out. Details on page 12.

Very important you don’t forget to get your tickets to major international US bluesman, Mr Chris Cain on 4th November. Believe me he is worth every cent of the ticket price & more! I have personally seen Chris perform many times and he ALWAYS gives 110% to his audience. It’s been said he has the voice of BB King & the chops of Albert King. I guarantee you’ll fall in love with this blinder of a guitarist, singer and all round top guy. That’s all for now Bluesters.

Hope to see you at one of our events real soon. Come up & have a chat with me or any of the other committee members.

Your President

John Spencer

The Presidential Musing – September 2016

Yee-ha!  Spring has finally arrived but as we know there’ll still be some cold nights, so keep rugged up when you venture out to the many great gigs around town in September.

Lone Wolf Promotions & CBS have some great gigs lined up at The Harmonie German Club this month too. Check out our gig guide, which was recently emailed out & keep an eye on our website & Facebook pages for any updates. Our Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday 28th August with the existing committee being returned for another year including myself at the helm. I hope you will be happy as we are with the direction the Society is headed.

I would like to thank the members and to the committee who have worked tirelessly to make the CBS a progressive vibrant Society we can all be proud of.

Our 2nd International Blues Music Day was a huge success, coupled with The Bondi Cigars on the Friday night; we had over 700 people through the doors. Big thanks to all involved, from the volunteers, to our sponsors & exhibitors & finally the amazing line-up of artists for making this a truly memorable weekend. And a special thanks to Doug Park, our major raffle prize winner who donated his prize back to the CBS. Will definitely be put to good use by the Society.

Our Annual Youth Jam hosted by Bundah Blues Band with special guest Bailey Judd & Room 15 saw a great turnout of jammers & punters. These kids did a terrific job of hosting our jam. It’s great to see the young ones keeping the blues going & fantastic to see Dan Fernandes up on the stage again.

This month we have a special event with Owen Campbell’s album launch on Saturday 10th. Owen has recently returned from touring the US with Devon Allman (from the Allman Brothers) & Andy McKee. He’s been receiving rave reviews over there for his new album & I’m stoked to see Owen getting the recognition he so deserves. See page 5 for Phil Birch-marston’s CD review.

Geoff Achison’s Blues Guitar Workshop on 24th September is shaping up to be a good one. If you’ve already put your name down, get your money in as we can’t hold your spot without payment. I’m looking forward to seeing Geoff perform the night before with classically trained violinist Adrian Keating. The2nd set will see them being backed by Canberra’s Old Diggers……Oops! I mean Souldiggers! J

Good luck to Key Grip who are heading off to perform at two festivals – the Semaphore Music Festival in Adelaide on 2nd October followed by Docklands Blues Festival in Melbourne on 16th October. Safe travels guys & remember we want lots of pics.

Don’t forget to book your accommodation for the Sydney Blues & Roots Festival on 27-30th October in Windsor.  Fantastic festival with a fantastic line-up.

Exciting news is that on Friday 4th November we have Chris Cain (USA) booked to play for the very first time in Canberra. Keep an eye out for all the details.

Over the next twelve months our wish list includes a bus trip down to Candelo Blues Jam, more workshops, a regular CBS radio program, youth program and progress on a 2nd tier monthly jam. But these ideas are just dreams unless we can get enough people to step up & volunteer to help turn them from dreams into reality. So if you’re keen for any of these things to happen, please drop us a line at and we’ll start the ball rolling.

Hope to see you at one of our events real soon. Come up & have a chat with me.

Your President

John Spencer

CBS Annual Report 2015-16

Canberra Blues Society Annual Report – 2015-16

On behalf of the committee I present the Canberra Blues Society (CBS) annual report for 2015/16.

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

Membership of the CBS continued to grow, culminating with a record membership of 284. This is 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.

The 2015 August youth jam was hosted by students from Narrabundah College who were superbly tutored by John Black.

Our annual Xmas jam in support of local charity Marymead was hosted by The Dorothy-Jane Band. Presents were greatly appreciated by Marymead.

We continued the theme of having an interstate band opening our first jam of the 2016 calendar year with Wards Xpress as our host band in February to a very appreciative crowd.

The remainder of the year saw the CBS jams being hosted with our own high calibre member bands.

The CBS workshop program continued with guitar workshops hosted by Dave Blanken and Leo Joseph in September 2015 and another hosted by Richard Steele in March 2016. Both workshops were well patronised and favourable feedback was received from participants.

2015/16 saw the CBS participate in the International Blues Music Day on 1 August with a mini Blues Festival for the first time. A good mix of quality local and regional artists headlined by the Darren Jack Band was well received by an audience of 400.

For the second year the Goulburn Club invited the CBS to host the open mic jam at the Australian Blues Festival in February. The two host bands were The Chris Harland Blues Band & The Guitar Cases Band. By all accounts this was one of the highlights of the Festival and the indications are that the CBS will be invited to continue running the open mic jam next February.

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

This year saw the introduction of the CBS volunteers program. Volunteers have helped with a multitude of tasks during the year at CBS jams, events and workshops.

Our partnership with Artsound FM has continued; media coverage has been broadened with a six month advertising package being won with 2XX FM and enhanced advertising of CBS events through more media outlets and social media. 12 issues of Blues News were produced. Thank you to K2 for her professionalism in producing this high quality publication.

The co-hosted events with Lone Wolf Productions continued successfully during the year.

I would like to thank the outgoing committee for their support and contribution during 2015/16. The good work they put in enables for the successful operation of the Canberra Blues Society. I would also like to thank all the jammers who have performed during the year, our PA operators, Andrew Rickard, Ralph Martin, Bucky and Jeffro for providing high quality sound at our jams and other events, our sponsors – the Harmonie German Club, Artsound FM, Better Music, Johnno’s Tyres, Beyond Q Bookshop, Mojo Guitars, Groove Warehouse, Julian Gilchrist Vinyl Records and Queen Juanita Music.  And last but not least a big thank you to our volunteers.

Finally I welcome the new committee for 2016-17.

John Spencer


Presidential Musings – August 2016

Hi there bluesters. It’s snow season; the weather’s getting colder but you won’t need your winter woollies on when you come out for some very HOT blues this month. Starting with Bondi Cigars (these guys don’t need any other introduction) this Friday night 5th August, followed up the very next day with our International Blues Music Day mini festival. Celebrations start at 1pm with a fantastic hot rod display by Canberra Hot Rod Association. You must check out these lovingly cared for machines before heading into the auditorium at 2pm when The Mighty Bluzicians kick off the music with a bang. Richard Steele will be first up on The Keller stage at 2.15pm. Sad to see Richard will be departing our shores to take up residence in Tasmania so make sure you catch him before he leaves.

We’ve got a stellar line-up of high profile interstate artists performing this year including Robert Susz Continental Blues Party, Montgomery Brothers (who blew everyone away at Echuca last weekend), Pearlnoire Blues Show (damn these ladies put on a good show), The Jacky Howellers, Moondog (recently returned from performing in the Chicago Blues Festival) and Matt Southon. Along with all our local artists, we’re sure there’s something to please everyone this Saturday.

A big thank you to our sponsors who have helped make this day possible. The Harmonie German Club, Artsound FM, Better Music, Rockstar Music, Mojo Guitar Teachers, 2XX FM, Groove Warehouse, Johnno’s Tyres & Beyond Q Bookshop. Please support our sponsors who support us.

The CBS continues to grow with new memberships and renewals,  and jam attendances at a record high. This has allowed us to purchase our own PA system, which will be put to good use for the benefit of our members.

What a fantastic jam in July with an even bigger crowd than June. Ali Penney & The Money Makers were superb as always and it was great to see Doug Curry back jamming. An extra special surprise to see the wonderful Gaye Reid take to our stage again.

This month’s jam is our annual Youth Blues Jam where we showcase a group of talented young musicians from Narrabundah College. Thanks to John Black for continuing to pull this together each year. Very much appreciated. Please come along and support these young players – we want a full house of our seasoned jammers and punters on Sunday 21st August.

Don’t forget to get your Corey Harris tickets for his show on Tuesday 23rd August. Corey is a major American Delta style bluesman who is a long term recording artist for Alligator records. You’ll kick yourself if you miss this one. Great support act too. (Page 8)

This month is also our AGM where we elect a new committee, so if you are thinking of becoming more involved with the organising and direction of this dynamic and progressive Blues Society, maybe joining the committee is for you. However, be aware this will require a strong commitment from you and involves your time and hands on work. If you’d prefer to join our volunteers’ roster, please email us to add your name to our list of dedicated volunteers.

Look out for the write-up on Echuca Blues Festival in next month’s issue. It was a corker of a festival! Keep on bluesin’ and hope to see you at one of our events real soon.

Finally, a note to our local Blues musicians. Sydney Blues & Roots artist applications close on 31st August so get your applications in now

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