Downchild will blast the Blues at KCT

Downchild will blast the Blues at KCT

Canada’s Premier Blues Outfit Celebrating 50th Anniversary With North American Tour

Barry Coulter

Canada’s premier testifiers, Downchild, are marking 50 years of the Blues, and taking their celebration across North America, touching down in Cranbrook this Saturday.

The legendary Blues band, formed in 1969, had a plethora of hits like “Flip, Flop and Fly,” “Almost,” and “Shotgun Blues” — these songs were all covered by the famous Blues Brothers, who were heavily influenced by Downchild Blues Band, and helped bring them to new fame at the beginning of a global Blues renaissance in the late ‘70s and ‘80s.

But Downchild has never gone away, never needed a comeback, and neither has the music they extoll — the Blues.

Blues is vital, relevant, and reaching a bigger audience than ever — as is Downchild themselves, says Chuck Jackson, longtime singer and harmonica player with Downchild, who spoke to the Townsman from Toronto prior to hitting the road on tour.

“There’s a lot travelling around, we see a lot of great young Blues performers, a lot of young kids getting into the Blues. Now, with the internet, you can basically see artists and find them on Youtube — it’s a smaller world, there’s festivals all over.

“With Downchild we play in Costa Rica, Panama … Blues has been opened up to the whole world.”

Downchild is designed to be and still is a performing band first and foremost. That’s still where they get their electricity from.

“No doubt about it,” Jackson says. “We love playing — this tour right now, we’re doing 24 dates in 31 days. We’re looking forward to getting out there and seeing you folks [in British Columbia].

“We’re going to showcasing all the great music, over 23 CDs, LPs, tapes, 8-tracks … that we’e recorded over the years, We’re going to be playing a little bit of everything, from the hits, and also some from our latest CD, ‘Something I’ve Done,’ which was nominated for a Juno, and the CD before that, ‘Can You Hear The Music.’”

Named after a Sonny Boy Williamson II song, Downchild Blues Band was formed by Donnie Walsh et al, in Toronto in 1969. Walsh remains the original member from that storied era, though the current line-up has been with the band for decades. Jackson himself joined in 1990, and as been front man ever since.

“It doesn’t get old. 30 years — they tell me one more year and I’ll start getting paid,” Jackson joked.

“The newest guy in the band, Fitzy (Mike Fitzpatrick), has been in the band 20 years. We got a great group of guys, and some of the best musicians in the country. It’s always a joy to step on the stage with all those guys, and especially our leader, Mr. Downchild Donnie Walsh.”

Donnie Walsh and Downchild have been called “the Father of Canadian Blues,” and that scene is flourishing today.

“In Canada now, there are so many great Blues bands now, with players coming up,” Jackson said. “And the interesting thing about Canadian Blues is that pretty much everybody is writing original music, writing their own tunes. It’s a great thing. I have a Blues festival I do in Mississauga called the Junior Jam, we get kids nine, 10 years old playing. It’s a fantastic scene.

“The Blues community is really tight. We see each other on the road, we get together and jam, it’s a nice family.”

Downchild Blues Band celebrates their 50th anniversary at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 pm. “Every year is a celebration when you get to be our age,” Jackson said. “Come on out. It’s going to be a fabulous show, We’re going to be playing some great stuff.”

Just Posted

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read