The Toronto Blues Society board of directors has announced that Brian Blain will receive the Blues Booster of the Year award at the upcoming Maple Blues Awards in Toronto on February 3, 2020.
Toronto Blues Society president Derek Andrews on Blain’s commitment “Brian Blain has been a pillar of the Toronto blues community since arriving from Quebec. Brian’s no fluster Buddha-like approach to life, coupled with an insatiable and tireless appetite for live music activity make him a weird and wonderful choice as a Blues Booster of the Year.”
Blain recalls the early days of his tenure with the TBS fondly. “Within a few days of landing in Toronto in January 1990 I found myself at a TBS event at Albert’s Hall where I was warmly welcomed by some members and soon found myself volunteering to help with the newsletter. When the TBS got their first computer I took over as (barely) managing editor and that led to similar work for the jazz festival, the musician’s union and numerous other arts organizations,” he recalls. “What a blessing to have spent all these years surrounded by music and musicians – the greatest musicians in the world. Getting to know them, play with them and do whatever I could to support them has been a real privilege.”
A Quebec native who attended Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, relocated to Toronto in 1990, Blain is receiving the Blues Booster Award for more than 25 years of service behind the scenes editing and publishing music newsletters and websites and being the go-to desktop publishing and I.T. guy for numerous music organizations including the Toronto Blues Society, The Toronto Jazz Festival and the Toronto Musicians’ Association. All while juggling a career as a recording artist and playing enough gigs ‘to keep the circulation going’.
Before concentrating on a solo career in the early 70s, Brian produced records for two ground-breaking groups from the Eastern Townships, acid-folk pioneers Fraser & DeBolt (Columbia Records) and Oliver Klaus, the first indie “D.I.Y.” rock band in Canada (according to promoter Donald K. Donald).
A natural musician and bluesman, Blain began by studying string bass at 15, making his first record in 1963, and since, he’s been a sideman, manager, producer, editor, publisher, blogger and tireless promoter of local blues artists through his long-running “Campfire Jams” at local clubs including The Tranzac, Hwy 61 BBQ, The Gladstone Hotel and for the last three years at Toronto’s Old Mill. In early 2020, Blain will release his 5th CD.
The 23rd annual Maple Blues Awards will be hosted by Raha Javanfar and will be held on February 3, 2020. The gala event is considered to be the premier blues event of the year. Tickets for the Maple Blues Awards are available online at rcmusic.com or at the Koerner Hall box office (The Weston Family Box Office, located in The Royal Conservatory building at 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto) or by phone at (416) 408-0208. Public tickets are on sale and TBS Charter Members can get the best available seats to the show for 25% discounted tickets anywhere in the hall. Tickets start at only $35.