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Martin Luther King tribute

This Sunday! Jan. 15th I’ll joining Rev. Wayne Walder and the congregation for their annual spoken and musical tribute to Martin Luther King. Service starts at 10:30am at the Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Visitors are always welcome here. Monday, Jan. 16th I’m off to the 15th Annual Maple Blues Awards. I have been nominated for the Blues With A Feeling Award, which my brother Chris graciously accepted last year. Jan. 19th to 22nd I’ll be singing a couple of Gordon Lightfoot’s gems at the 10th anniversary of Gordon Lightfoot celebration at Hugh’s Room. For more gig details, click on Shows.

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On a personal note…

On a personal note… Last month, after almost 40 days in the hospital, I finally returned home and am so glad to be recuperating here.

On Friday, Sept 9th I taught a morning yoga class at the Sivananda Yoga Centre on Harbord Street and rode my bike home, rehearsed for a big gospel concert I was to do in Sudbury, Ontario that Sunday and then went down and played two sets at the Vegetarian Food Festival at the waterfront. By the time I got home, I knew ‘something’ wasn’t quite right with my body and by the next morning I feared I might be coming down with pneumonia. I spent that Saturday in the emergency department (with Ellen my wife) trying to arrange things so the Sunday show could go on without me and that night was taken up to a ward in the hospital. After a bad night, by 5 in the morning it was clear that I was getting worse and was taken to intensive care.

What happened over the next two weeks I really only know by what I’ve been told by Ellen, my son Ben and others. The short of it is I kept getting worse to the point where I was on life support. Finally a 3D echocardiogram revealed that I had a tear in my mitral valve and I was operated on by a great surgeon (Dr. Finedel) and began the slow process back.

I’ve received wonderful care from so many people. I’ve been so fortunate to receive the love, support, good wishes and prayers of more folks than I can ever all thank personally. I’m continuing my physiotherapy and I’m now playing guitar and singing every day. Unfortunately I had to make a decision to cancel all my gigs from now until Christmas so I could focus on healing, but I will begin resuming performing and recording in 2012.

Once again thanks to family, friends, and so many people as I truly feel I’ve been blessed with a circle of love. ~ Ken

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Lonnie & Treasa…

Toronto concerts I know you’ll enjoy… This Thursday, November 3rd at Lula Lounge, Treasa Levasseurwill be releasing her new CD. BROAD – her self-description of her personality and her approach to life – has 4 different supporting bands, 4 different producers, and was cut in 3 studios in 2 different towns. I was one of the 4 producers along side Steve Marriner, Terry Wilkins and David Gavan Baxter. In my studio we recorded 2 songs with Treasa and The Wroxton All-Stars band (Ben Whiteley, Bucky Berger & yours truly) along with my engineer Nik Tjelios on the board. Be sure to add this CD to your music collection. I’m also suggesting that you check out Mark Miller’s book launch for his new book about the legendary Lonnie Johnson. It’s happening this Wednesday, November 2nd at the Gladstone Hotel. I’m sorry to miss both events.

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Sultans, Treasa & Lonnie…

3 Toronto concerts I know you’ll enjoy… The Sultans of String release their new CD MOVE this Saturday, October 29th at Trinity St Paul’s Church. I really enjoyed laying down a mandolin track on the CD.

Treasa Levasseurwill be releasing her new CD BROAD next Thursday, November 3rd at Lula Lounge. The Wroxton All-Stars band who are Ben Whiteley, Bucky Berger & myself along with Amoy Levy & Ciceal Levy on backing vocals had a great time in my recording studio with Treasa.

Also Mark Miller will be releasing his new book about the legendary Lonnie Johnson next Wednesday, November 2nd at the Gladstone Hotel.

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Unreleased Jackie Washington songs…

The first of the unreleased Jackie Washington recordingsare now available for download. These are tracks of Jackie with GrahamTownsend and Reg Schwagger, Terry Wilkins and Bucky Berger, and a solotrack, which was one of the last recordings Jackie did. Click on Jackie’s picture to be redirected to these songs.

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Vegetarian Food & Jazz Sudbury Festivals…

This weekend I’m off to the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival (Friday, Sept. 9) followed by the Jazz Sudbury Festival (Sunday, Sept. 11).

Joining me on the Sudbury stage will be the fabulous Levy Sisters (Ciceal & Amoy pictured with me here), bass vocalist Pat Patrick, bassist George Koller, drummer Brad Hart and my nephew Jesse Whiteley on keys. We’ll also be welcoming Sudburian, Reverand Jeremy Mahood up on stage for a few songs.Hope to see you out there and be sure to say hi after the show. This will also be your chance to pickup Amoy’s new solo recording.