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.


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.

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