2016

2016 Celebration of Inductees:
May 29, 2016 – Blues on Whyte

Builder

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Builders

To recognize individuals and organizations who have contributed to
the Edmonton blues community through their work:

• Writers for print and electronic media
• Radio disc jockeys/program hosts
• Promoters and booking agents
• Television, film, video
• Education i.e., blues in the schools
• Record companies/producers

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Peter North

(b. 1954, Edmonton, Alberta

Peter North was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta where he attended Victoria Composite High School (now known as Victoria School of the Arts) which has always been known for its outstanding fine and performing arts programs. Working in this multi-disciplinary arts environment had a lasting effect on Peter’s career as a writer, journalist, radio producer, radio announcer and music promoter. “I very much like collaboration, it can make for some spectacular music alchemy – it is a onetime thing, you’ll never be able to hear again” he said at the time of his appointment as the Artistic Director of the Salmon Arm Roots Festival in 2015.

Like many musicians, Peter developed a great ear for many musical genres, be it bluegrass, country, jazz or blues and as a result Peter accumulated a vast knowledge and insight on everything from folk to roots music of the North American Continent. As a music columnist for both the Edmonton Sun and the Edmonton Journal and a variety of publications, he engaged this wide and extensive knowledge and appreciation of music, as evidenced through his fair and insightful reviews. Complimenting his writing skills, Peter has also had an extensive radio career at CKUA. As a producer and host of Dead Ends and Detours for the past 15 years, and Points North from 2010 through 2015, his shows have led to worldwide exposure. Peter has also produced a number of major concerts in Edmonton over the years including shows with Jorma Kaukonen, The Derek Trucks Band, Ian Tyson, the Mickey Hart Band, Country Joe McDonald, Downchild, Maria Muldaur, Big Miller, John Hammond, T Model Ford with Cedric Burnside and a long list of others.

In the early 1990s, Peter booked blues acts at the Power Plant on the University of Alberta campus, such as James Harman, Luther Tucker, King Biscuit Boy, Amos Garrett, and a young David Gogo to name a few. From 2010 to 2015, Peter produced the first Winter Roots and Blues Roundup in collaboration with Folkways Alive at the University of Alberta, which continues to run the event.  This successful program presented the community with a fine series of films, lectures, workshops and concerts which featured guests such as Mark Dufresne of Roomful of Blues fame, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Allen Toussaint, Jim Kweskin, and Big Dave McLean. North and Folkways also collaborated on a number of shows including one with David Honeyboy Edwards.

Peter produced the Come on in My Kitchen series from 1999 to 2010, hosted by Festival Place in Sherwood Park. The artists that made up the core were Mark Sterling, Brent Parkin, Ron Rault, and Dave Crawdad Cantera. The Kitchen revue toured across Western Canada supplemented by invited special guests that have included Big Dave McLean, David Rea, Harry Manx, Calvin Vollrath, and Willie McCalder. Over the years, more than thirty artists have participated in this amazing team—truly a phenomenal achievement to say the least. From this successful revue, a number of the aforementioned musicians—Ron Rault (vocals, bass), Gord Mathews (vocals, guitar), Dave Crawdad Cantera (vocals, harmonica), and Thom Moon (drums)—formed a new and unique band, and have just released an album in 2016 titled Front Porch Roots Revue Sugar Cube.

Peter’s achievements are many, resulting in numerous awards, most notable among them: Music Journalist of the year in 1996 from the Canadian Music Industry. Peter has been recognized six times as the Media Person of the year by the Western Music Association. In 2013, Peter was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Calgary Blues Music Association and in 2015 he was awarded the prestigious Blues Booster Award from the Maple Blues Society of Toronto.

The Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame Foundation is proud and honoured to induct Peter North as a member of the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame in the Builder category for 2016.

Performers

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Performers

To recognize individuals or bands from Edmonton and area that have made a significant musical contribution to the Edmonton blues community and beyond, over a period of not less than 20 years.

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Rusty Reed

(Colin McLeay)
(b. 1962, Edmonton, Alberta)

‘’Above all was Rusty Reed whose ultimate control of the harp kept the audience mesmerized, rarely do you get a chance to see an artist spilling his guts and soul in such a commanding, awe inspiring manner.” — Dory Lanenter in VanCityBuzz upon seeing Rusty Reed performing at the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival in 2014.

Rusty Reed has become one of Western Canada’s most powerful and passionate harmonica practitioners. What distinguishes Rusty is his natural ability to hear a song or the sound of a harmonica and play it back by ear. Rusty’s earliest influences were recordings by James Cotton and harp-master Little Walter Jacobs, along with live performances by David Burgin playing at the infamous Ambassador Hotel in Edmonton, along with such greats as George Harmonica Smith.

Rusty once told the Edmonton Journal’s music writer Roger Levesque that “I stopped pipelining and locked myself in the basement for about three years and practised and practised and practised.” He listened to and studied recordings to pick up the details of playing on both the diatonic and the more difficult chromatic harmonicas, as he developed his tone and phrasing.

Since 1986, Rusty has been a member of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival House Band led by Amos Garrett, backing and supporting many blues, roots and gospel acts appearing at the festival’s stage 1 – known by many as the “Blues Stage”.  Led by Amos Garrett (vocals, guitar), the Festival House Band has consisted of Kit Johnson (guitar), David Babcock (sax), the late Ron Casat (keys), Michelle Josef (drums) and the leather lungs of Rusty Reed. The fabulous blues artists that Rusty backed at that stage includes Sunnyland Slim and Yank Rachel. In addition to his stellar work with the Festival House Band, Rusty has backed and shared Edmonton Folk Fest’s main stage with the likes of Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Taj Mahal, Bo Diddley, and Otis Rush.

In the late 1980s Rusty Reed formed a band with Fred LaRose on bass, Linsey Umrysh (an Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame 2014 inductee) on drums — an Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame 2014 inductee—and Peter Banford, a phenomenal guitar player whose stage name was Al Hartley. This extraordinary band was known as The South Side Shuffle. Rusty Reed and The South Side Shuffle quickly joined the ranks of Hot Cottage and the Rault Brothers as one of the top blues bands in Edmonton and in the Province. In 1987, the band released a successful and well-received recording titled Stairway to the Blues. They were also featured in the Juno-winning album Saturday Night Blues, a compilation of notable blues artists from across Canada, with the song Clear but Confusing, written by Rusty Reed and performed by The South Side Shuffle. This album was recorded at Holger Petersen’s Stony Plain Records and released in 1991.

Rusty was recruited by Rodger Stanley to be in the back-up band for the legendary Pinetop Perkins when he played at the infamous King Eddie Hotel in Calgary in 1995 and 1996. In 1995, Rusty opened for B.B. King at the Jubilee Auditorium with Tim Williams and Johnny V, as members of Triple Threat. Rusty also played on Long John Baldry’s Juno-winning album I’ve Got a Right to Sing the Blues and in 1999 Rusty produced his own best-selling album Here on Earth.

Besides being a mainstay on the Edmonton Blues scene Rusty has traveled and performed at numerous festivals and events. Most notable are performances at the Edmonton Blues Festival with the Brent Parkin Band in 2001 and in 2015, the Edmonton Blues Festival showcased Rusty Reed and Big Dave McLean as special guests with Jimmie Guiboche and the Sleepers.

The Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame Foundation is pleased to recognize Rusty Reed and The South Side Shuffle in the Performer category of the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame for 2016.

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Fred LaRose

(The Southside Shuffle)
(b. 1954; d. 2013 Edmonton, Alberta)

For more than thirty years, Fred LaRose was known as Edmonton’s first-call bass player, be it for country, roots or blues music. Fred’s wife Cathy said that Fred had the “book” on whatever type of music that had to be played. “He was truly a gem,” said Rusty Reed, his long time friend and band mate.

Fred had an extremely accomplished career in the county music circles in Alberta. He was proficient in both electric and acoustic stand-up bass and was involved in many significant projects.

Playing in Stu Mitchell’s band, Fred performed on CISN Country radio with a live simulcast out of Cook County Saloon in Edmonton. Most notably he was in the band on Sun Country hosted by Ian Tyson, a national country music program on CTV in the 1980s. During that time Fred played and recorded with North America’s top artists who including Emmy Lou Harris, Mason Williams, Cindy Church, Towns Van Zant, Guy Clark, John McEwen, Bobby Bare and George Hamilton the 4th.

Fred’s transformation into a blues player was a natural progression because of his well-grounded and extensive work in roots music. It does not get better than to receive a call in 1985 from Colin James, Canada’s preeminent blues rocker, with an invitation to join his band when it opened for Stevie Ray Vaughn at the Jubilee Auditorium in 1985. “That was my first gig!” Fred said. Not bad for a country boy from Edmonton.

In the late 1980s Fred started playing with a young up-and-coming Edmonton harmonica monster Rusty Reed. This outstanding band became Rusty Reed and the South Side Shuffle with Al Hartley on guitar, Fred LaRose on bass and drummer Linsey Umrysh (2014 Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame inductee for his work with Hot Cottage).

Fred performed with The Southside Shuffle when they recorded Stairway to the Blues in 1987, and Rusty Reed’s Clear but Confusing, a tune included on the Juno winning Saturday Night Blues compilation on Holger Petersen’s Stony Plain Records.

Fred also backed up a number of blues legends in his time: Pine Top Perkins, Smokey Wilson, Johnny Copeland, Spencer Davis, Amos Garrett and Maurice John Vaughn to name a few. He also played with the Rodger Stanley Band for the Yardbird Suite Blues program backing up Texan, U.P. Wilson in 1997, Chicago blues singer Shirley Johnson in 1998, Byther Smith in 1999 and harmonica great Billy Boy Arnold in 1999.

Often going out of his way to help or assist, Fred LaRose was an inspiration in the greater Edmonton music community. He was an inspiration in the greater Edmonton music community. He would have been overjoyed to know that the usually unnoticed bass players like Chris Brzezicki, Ron Rault, Dave Bridges, and Nigel Gale are continuing on that special place on the bandstand.

The Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame Foundation is honoured to induct Fred LaRose into the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame 2016 for his work with Rusty Reed and The Southside Shuffle.

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Linsey Umrysh

(The Southside Shuffle)
(b. 1954, Edmonton, Alberta)

Linsey Umrysh is one of the principal blues drummers to emerge out of the Edmonton blues scene, most notably with the ground-breaking band Hot Cottage (circa 1970s to the present).

As children, both Linsey and Rusty Reed banged away on pots and pans. This early musical interest progressed to drums for Linsey, and harmonica for Rusty. They would later in life join up as members of Rusty Reed and The South Side Shuffle.

By the time he was ten, Linsey was playing along with albums by the Ventures and Sandy Nelson, and other albums that had a heavy drum presence. As a grade 12 student, he had his first gig playing with Hot Cottage and remains their drummer, now forty years on.

Linsey’s influences as a drummer and percussionist include Gene Krupa, Richie Hayward and the master of Chicago Blues, Freddy Below who was the man behind Little Walter when he recorded in the 1950s on Chess Records. These recordings were a major influence on The Southside Shuffle and had a strong sway on the excellent rhythm section of Linsey and Fred LaRose. This influence can also be seen in the brilliant lead guitar playing of Al Hartley, all led by the forceful and exuberant Rusty Reed on harmonica and vocals.

Linsey was an important part of that exciting time in Edmonton in the early 1970s when Hot Cottage recorded the landmark album Big Walter Horton with Hot Cottage (1971) and the glory days of The Hovel, then the focal point for folk, roots and blues music in Edmonton.

While Linsey was developing as a musician, he continued his education in the field of audio electronics and attended N.A.I.T. where he earned a degree in Electronic Engineering. “I had no idea it would help open some future doors for me”. As a result of his electronic and musical development, along with a keen interest in the recording process, Larry Wanagas offered Linsey a job as a recording engineer at Homestead Recorders. And in 1981, Linsey opened Edmonton Audio Works to provide a service and repair to the musical and recording industries.

The payoff for Linsey was his ability to assemble recording equipment, and record, mix and release Rusty Reed and The South Side Shuffle’s album Stairway To The Blues. From 1985 to 1989, Rusty Reed and The Southside Shuffle and the Rault Brothers were the preeminent blues band in Edmonton.

Earlier in his career, Linsey also played with Easy Walker, Tacoy Ryde and Swingin’ Richard. He has also backed up a number of major blues acts on the main stage at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival most notably Amos Garret & David Bergin, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Dr. John and Maria Muldaur. With his growing talent, Lindsey was recruited to play with Amos Garret & the Eh Team (1982-83) and Dave Bergin and the Nightshades (1983-84). He also played with Chicago blues guitar master Otis Rush.

Linsey remains an influence to a long list of fine blues drummers including Scott Anderson, Sandro Dominelli,Thom Moon, Chris Nordquist, Jeff Lisk, Bill Hobson and Grant Stovel.

The Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame is pleased to induct Linsey Umrysh of Rusty Reed and The South Side Shuffle into the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame in the Performer category for 2016.

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Al Hartley

(Peter Banford)
(The Southside Shuffle)

Al Hartley (the stage name for Peter Banford) was an integral member of Rusty Reed and The Southside Shuffle. He is known for his outstanding guitar playing but sadly he passed away early in his career.There is little print information available about Al Hartley’s career, however there is no end of affectionate anecdotes and stories when his name is brought up among Edmonton’s blues musicians and aficionados. To ensure there is an archival record of this Edmonton blues guitar great, the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame Foundation would like to invite contributions from those who knew him so that his story can be preserved on our website.

If you have any anecdotes, bio info, or pictures, please contact us at info@EdmontonBluesHallofFame.com.

Legends

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Legends

To recognize musicians from outside of Edmonton who have made
significant contributions to the Edmonton blues community:

• Musicians who have mentored or supported local artists

• Recorded in Edmonton
• Engaged local musicians for the recordings
• Picked up local musicians for tours
• Education i.e., blues in the schools
• Repeat performers in Edmonton by invitation

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Russell Jackson

(b. 1954, Memphis, Tennessee)

As a young man, Russell Jackson went to Chicago to pursue a musical career as a bass player. He developed his craft in a very competitive Chicago blues scene, and was finally rewarded when he was hired by one of Chicago’s great blues artists, vocalist Otis Clay. While playing in one of Chicago’s clubs, he was then spotted by none other than Mr. B.B. King and as a result of this encounter; Russell was invited to join the B.B.King Orchestra as the fulltime bass player. This opportunity lead to a very fruitful and productive seven-year relationship, and the opportunity to travel around the world with the Ambassador of the Blues as B.B. King was known. During this time, Russell consciously studied the manner in which B.B. King conducted himself as a band leader, which Russell would later apply to great effect in his own distinguished career.

Russell improvised on a number of approaches to playing bass—most notable was his use of his thumb on the bass strings. This technique is commonly used by present day funk bands but Russell was the first to employ the technique in a blues context. While Russell became extremely proficient with the electric bass, he is known more notably for his talents on the stand-up bass. Russell is a disciple of the legendary Willie Dixon and continues to champion the tradition of the stand-up bass.

After his time with B.B. King, Russell went to Los Angeles to study at the prestigious Dick Grove School of Music. In the late 1980s, Russell relocated to Austin, Texas where he worked as a recording session and band member behind Katie Webster, Lucky Peterson, Kenny Neal, Matt Guitar Murphy and Luther Tucker. It is at this point that this gifted nucleus of first-call session players would form the Silent Partners which over a short time-frame included Russell, along with Mel Brown (Bobby Blue Bland Band), and Tony Coleman (B.B. King Band). They recorded an album in 1989 titled If It’s All Night, It’s All Right on the famed Antone’s record label. The band was later joined by Andrew Jr. Boy Jones (Freddy King Band). This configuration of players became the principal backup band and the top studio musicians in Austin, Texas. The band also had a strong tie to harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite as Russell performed with him in Edmonton at the Ambassador Hotel in the mid-1980s and then Jr. Boy Jones backed Musselwhite into the early 1990s.

Russell moved to Vancouver, B.C. in 1990 and he put together a well-groomed band made up of young artists that started traveling across Western Canada with numerous stops in Edmonton. The tie to Edmonton is firmly cemented with theCommercial Hotel Blues on Whyte when all of their managers over the last twenty-five years have booked Russell on a practically yearly basis.

Russell’s professionalism in how he conducts himself on and off stage has been an inspiration to the younger blues artist in this city. In 1991, Russell invited Edmonton’s young up-and-coming keyboard maven Graham Guest to play on his album The Alley Man. Russell has recorded a number of albums over the last couple of years most notably Becoming Blue in 1999 and Have Mercy in 2007. Russell has had the honour of being invited into the recording studio to play on many distinguished artists’ albums: Donald Ray Johnson’s Pure Pleasure, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne’s Juno winning album Let It Loose and most recently in 2013 on Edmonton’s Marshall Lawrence’s album House Calls.

In 2014, Russell moved back to Austin, Texas and with his dual citizenship he has been able to travel around the world as part of the Kenny Wayne Band (featured at the Edmonton Blues Festival in 2004), and now as the bass player with Shawn Holt (son of the late Magic Slim) and the Teardrops (showcased at the 2015 Edmonton Blues Festival).

The Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame Foundation is honoured to welcome Russell Jackson into the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame in the Legends category for 2016.

coming soon