Date of Concert: July 11, 2021
Harpdog Brown has grown a reputation as a real-deal purveyor of classic electric blues. Think of the old Chess Records and Sun Records of the late ’40s and early ‘50s. These days he’s been touring more and more as Harpdog Brown & the Uptown Blues Band – a vintage New Orleans Blues sound that is piano-driven and at any given show could feature slide trombone, sax, clarinet, trumpet and more. Still a vintage vibe, just a different vintage. They perform mostly originals yet they often include great songs of the masters from that era including Louis Jordan, Satchmo, Sonny Boy Williamson, Wynonie Harris, even Duke Ellington.
He’s been called a Blues Evangelist, and that’s a very fitting moniker. “I speak the blues like it’s the truth, and it is”, he was recently quoted. “I do feel like I’m a servant of the people. A missionary if you will. Music can heal people if they pay attention to the messages in these songs.” He delivers those messages using the vintage sound whether it be with his lowdown classic blues band the Travelin’ Blues Show or with his Uptown Blues Band. Harpdog says “Blues has healing power. It’s a beautiful celebration of our perfectly flawed lives. We help people forget about their issues of the moment and then they realize that we all have our issues, and that’s OK.”
Vancouver-based Harpdog Brown is a gifted vocalist and an imaginative harmonica player born in Edmonton in 1962. An adopted child, he has felt somewhat detached his whole life – “a lifelong battle of not feeling like I belonged. I feel like I was born for the circus, you know, born to travel. The blues tapped me on the shoulder years ago and said ‘this is where you belong, son’. So the blues became my circus and there’s no better way to travel than with a band!”
Harpdog has won four Maple Blues Awards for Harmonica Player of the Year (2014/2015/2016/2019) along with countless nominations including Male Vocalist and Album of the Year. His song ‘No Eyes for Me’ was a winner of the International Songwriting Competition. He holds a Fraser Valley Music Award, has three Western Canadian Music Awards Nominations for Blues Artist of the Year, a Juno Nomination for Blues Recording of the Year and is the only Canadian to win the coveted Muddy Award for Best Blues Performance.
His last two releases, Travelin’ With The Blues (2016) and For Love & Money (2019) earned three Maple Blues Awards Nominations each (Harmonica Player, Male Vocalist and Album of the Year). Both also topped the roots and blues charts and followed his Top 20 charting release What It Is (2014). For Love and Money entered the Living Blues Radio Charts at #6 in May 2019! The release also achieved # 1 in Canada for all genres, #1 in Classic Blues Worldwide and Top 10 Blues albums Worldwide on the Roots Music Report.