Sunday, 18 November 2007

2008 kicks off with Chris Whiteley and Diana Braithwaite

BobCat is starting the year 2008 off with a unique take on some classic blues with Chris Whiteley and Diana Braithwaite.

We got Chris and Diana's CD "Morning Sun" last spring from our friend and BobCat devotee Fran├žois, and it immediately became a favourite. And when they played the Ottawa Folk Festival in August 2007, we were totally sold on them.

This duo -- more than talented enough as individuals -- have applied their creativity to writing an album of blues songs that are tributes to blues styles of the 30s and 40s, but bring wonderful energy, spirit, and maybe a little naughty innuendo that will make even the most rhythmically-illiterate tap a toe and snap a finger.

Chris Whiteley, part of the famous Whiteley family of musicians (Ken, Jenni, etc etc), has been playing profesisonal for more than 30 years. He's played with everyone from Leon Redbone and John Hammond Jr. to country stars Prairie Oyster and Stompin' Tom Connors. His own recordings have been recognized with a Jazz Report Blues Album of the Year, six Juno Award nominations, Maple Blues Awards and a SOCAN Songwriter of the Year nod. Chris's songs have been recorded by Prairie Oyster, Amos Garret, Cindy Church, Penny Lang, Quartette and Juno-winning blues band Fathead. He has also written for radio, television and film.

Dubbed as “Canada’s National Treasure” by Blues FM Radio Show Host Danny Marks, Diana Braithwaite is unquestionably one of the most authentic blues singers of today.

Born into a musical family in Canada, Diana's descendants on her mother’s side arrived in the country from the southern United States via the Underground Railroad where they were given an acreage of rocky land to farm in the Glenallen area. Diana’s career as a solo singer-songwriter emerged as a teenager and she has played with everyone from Albert Collins to Buddy Guy to Jeff Healey to Robert Cray to Pinetop Perkins. Sarah Mclachlan chose Diana as one from 400 singer/songwriters to open the 1999 Lilith Fair at the Molson Amphitheatre.

A recipient of the African-American Women in the Arts Award in Chicago, Diana's songs Bad Luck Man and Blame it on the Bourbon were on the soundtrack for the Gemini Award-winning film, GRACIE, and won a Yorkton Golden Sheaf Award for Best Musical Score.

Diana says: "I am the real thing because I am who I am. Keeping the blues alive. Making my own path and carrying on."

Together, their sound harks back to the Chicago's Bluebird Records, with performers like Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Minnie, Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy, and Lonnie Johnson.

Their show is warm, funny, and their skills as singers and musicians are formidable. And if you don't believe me, get samples of their sound at Amazon.ca.

Diana and Chris are coming to BobCat Saturday, January 19 for an evening concert. As always, mingling and munching at 7, a show at 8, and a break to snap up snacks (and CDs) in the middle. And as always, you are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for the Ottawa Food Bank or, if you don't have any rice or pasta floating about, a dollar or two for the Food Bank jug.

E-mail for a seat, and do it quickly -- if our last show is any indication, we'll fill up fast.

The details again:
  • Chris Whiteley and Diana Braithwaite @ BobCat House Concerts
  • January 19, 7:00 pm mingling, 8:00 pm 'curtain'
  • Suggested donation $25.00
  • Reserve via e-mail, prepayment by arrangement or by using PayPal (please add $1 per payment for the PayPal service charge -- not $1 per person, but if you're paying for four, $101 instead of $100.)
See you in the New Year!

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