What I Do

The supremely talented Deanna Bogart once introduced me as “a musician’s friend”. I took great pride in that then and continue to do so now. While I’ve been in the business world for a number of years, I realized very quickly that the music business is, more so than any other business, a very personal one built on trust. Couple that with my regard of the arts as being a somewhat heroic endeavour; and the result is that I try to lend a personal touch to everything I do. In the end it’s the only way this middle class Italian – Canadian white boy can relate.

Here’s how I add value:

Booking Agent

I source both festival and club gigs on behalf of artists that I work with, (on a non-exclusive basis), with a local, National, and International perspective. I currently work with:

  • Darrell Nulisch (Dallas via Boston)
  • Reba Russell Band (Memphis)
  • Tad Robinson (New York via Indiana)
  • Erin McCallum (Toronto)
  • Johnny Max Band (Toronto)

I’ve also booked the following artists, among others,  at various times:

Chico Banks, Clarence Spady, Deanna Bogart, Harmonica Shah, Jimmy Burns, Johnnie Bassett, Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones, Johnny Rawls, Larry Garner, Michelle Willson, Roxanne Potvin, The Severn Records Soul & Blues Revue


Promoter

Blues For A Big Town was initially started as a promotion company (sourcing and hiring talent, administration, event planning and coordination, media relations including development of press materials).

Since 1997 I’ve prided myself in introducing a number of dynamic Blues artists in Canada. I established what RJ Spangler referred to as “The Blues For A Big Town Circuit”: Ottawa (usually at The Rainbow Bistro), Peterborough (The Legendary Red Dog), and Toronto (the Silver Dollar Room). At various times other stops were also added: Quebec, Montreal, Kingston, Kitchener, Brantford, and Wingham. Although there have not been many BFABT productions as of late, it’s a labour of love, and remains an itch just begging to be scratched. Here are some acts / shows that I’ve promoted, that, as soon as the lights went up, everyone in the room knew it was going to be special…

  • Big Joe & The Dynaflows
  • Byther Smith
  • Carl Weathersby
  • Clarence Spady
  • Chico Banks
  • Darrell Nulisch
  • Deanna Bogart
  • Deborah Coleman
  • Harmonica Shah
  • James Armstrong
  • Jimmy Burns
  • John Primer
  • Johnnie Bassett & The Blues Insurgents
  • Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones
  • Larry Garner
  • Larry McCray
  • Melvin Taylor
  • Michelle Willson & The Evil Gal Orchestra
  • Paul deLay & The Rockin’ Johnny Band
  • Reba Russell Band
  • Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers
  • Sugar Ray Norcia
  • Tab Benoit
  • Tad Robinson

Media & Promotion

I compose bios, press releases, and can get the word out on CD releases and appearances through my carefully developed network of contacts. I have done the North American publicity for CD releases for:

Chris Murphy, I’m A Happy Guy

Fathead, Livelier Than Ever!; Building Full Of Blues; Where’s the Blues Taking Me

Johnny Max Band, A Lesson I’ve Learned; It’s A Long Road

Erin McCallum, Feel This; Common Ground; Complicated Woman

I also provide press releases and website bios for the respective festivals I work with and, in particular, I handled all the media relations for Waterfront Blues, (formerly The Distillery Blues Festival).

And, I’m always ready to offer my opinion, guidance, and encouragement to artists, (when asked).


Stage Management

First a few words of wisdom for Henry Rollins:

Backstage-Sign

My definition of stage management is more far reaching than the function suggests. In addition to the coordination of the event the day of, I also include the duties of talent procurement, relations, and administration, (advancing of shows and preparation of regulatory paperwork as required). Of note is Waterfront Blues where I assumed full responsibility of programming, booking, media relations, and stage management.

I’ve stage managed the following events:

  • The Beaches International Jazz Festival (including PartiGras!) (1999-present)
  • Waterfront Blues (including The Distillery Blues Festival) (2005-2014)
  • The Barrie Waterfront Festival (2005-present)
  • CNE Bandshell BluesFest (2010,2011)
  • The Wasaga Beach Fest 2006-2013
  • The Vinyl 95.3 Red White & Vinyl Festival (including The 95.3 New Country Canada Day Jam) (2000-present)
  • Afrofest (2012-2014)
  • The Mix 99.9 Beachfest (2000-2007)
  • The Y108 Picnic In The Park (2006-2010)
  • The Maple Blues Awards (2003-2007)
  • The Steam Whistle Brewery Blues & BBQ Festival (2002, 2003)
  • The Dudley George Benefit (2003)
  • The Al Kirkcaldy Musical Tribute (2009)