“Masterful and amazing!” ~ Tampa Acoustic Music Exchange
Ken Whiteley is a Canadian roots music legend. His musical journey has taken him from jug band, folk and swing to blues, gospel and children’s music. Among numerous accolades, he’s been awarded a Canadian Folk Music Award, Genie Award for Best Original Song in a Canadian film, Lifetime Achievement recognition from Folk Music Ontario (Ontario Council of Folk Festivals) and Mariposa Folk Festival. He has also been nominated for 7 Juno awards and 16 Maple Blues Awards. Ken’s live performances showcase his outstanding musicianship on guitars and mandolin, award winning original songs and his powerful vocals, called “…a cross between Pete Seeger and Tony Bennett on 11!” Whether leading his own group, solo or collaborating with peers at blues, folk, children’s festivals and concerts of all sizes, his “…deep knowledge and infectious passion” guarantee good times for all. As a producer of over 140 recording projects, Ken’s productions have garnered 10 Canadian Gold and Platinum records, 4 American Gold records, 22 Juno and 2 Grammy nominations, and sold over 8 million copies.
Jackie Washington was born 100 years ago and we’re celebrating his life and music with a special afternoon concert including Sneezy Waters, Chris Whiteley, John Sheard, Victor Bateman and host Ken Whiteley. This concert will celebrate the release of “The World Of Jackie Washington”, a new cd of 22 unreleased performances with contributions from Colin Linden, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Mose Scarlett, Graham Townsend, Reg Schwager and producer Ken Whiteley, and the package also includes the documentary DVD, I Want To Be Happy.
Jackie Washington was born on November 12, 1919 in Hamilton, ON., the second oldest of 13 children. He began performing at age 5 and over his almost 90 years gave untold happiness to thousands of people across Canada. Right after the Second World War he became Canada’s first black disc jockey. He had a repertoire of over 1,256 songs as well as a remarkable memory for people, places, birthdays and trains among many other things. His song “Alone In The Dark” from the Juno nominated recording he made with Mose Scarlett and Ken Whiteley, was selected by the Canada Council as one of the songs honoured to mark 100 years of recorded music in Canada. He was a living connection to early African Canadian music, the swing era and much more. He received many awards and honours including an Honorary Doctorate from McMaster U., but it was his positive attitude to life that really made him so loved.
The legendary Sneezy Waters is another national treasure. From his early years performing with the likes of Bruce Cockburn, Susan Jains and many others to “His Excellent Band” with which he toured to every province and territory in the 1970’s. He is perhaps most well known for his title role in Hank Williams – The Show He Never Gave, which toured across Canada, the United States and Europe. He won the Best Actor award at the 3e Festival du Film Musical in Grenoble, France for his role in the film version of the Hank show. An expression of his long friendship with Jackie Washington including getting Jackie to appear in the film and sing “Mind Your Own Business”.
Chris Whiteley has carved a unique path playing trumpet and swing music in the folk world, making a mark as a songwriter in the blues world and is most often seen performing these days with his wife, the wonderful singer Diana Braithwaite. Chris has won multiple Maple Blues Awards as a horn player, songwriter and winner of the Blues With A Feeling Lifetime Achievement honour. He played with Jackie Washington many times, including on most of his recordings and embodies that positive attitude to life.
John Sheard was one of Jackie Washington’s favourite piano players with his imaginative sensitivity, his profound knowledge of older jazz styles, his technical expertise and his good humour. For most of Stuart MacLean’s long run with the Vinyl Cafe, John was the musical director and band leader and in that role performed hundreds of radio shows and live concerts in every part of Canada. He is also an accomplished record producer and session musician. Look for the twinkle in his eye as he tinkles the ivories.
Victor Bateman is a highly accomplished string bass player. He has led his own contemporary jazz ensembles, large improvised music groups and along with the late Justin Haynes and David Baxter, Another Country, a wacky group that pushed the envelope of country music. He has recorded with many people including the Whiteley Brothers and he currently tours with Murray MacLachlan. He plays bass on most of the cuts on “The World Of Jackie Washington”.