As apart of the Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Fest, I stumbled upon a blues band from Toronto at the Free Stage in Friendship Park on June 27. I wanted to go see City and Colour at the mainstage, but it was sold out. Why would there be tickets left the day before. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I was there at the Free Stage. This band I've never heard before and they blew me away. They are called The 24th Street Wailers. They are a four piece blues band. As I said, they are from Toronto.
They have a great presence on stage and all are incredibly talented. The drummer/lead singer Lindsey Beaver is the band leader. She does most of the singing. When you hear her live as opposed to the album, she can get the bluesy grit in her voice. It's pretty sweet. Drumming and singing is not always the easiest things to do at the same time. But she makes it look effortless. I give anyone props who can do both at the same time and well I might add. Emily Burgess is a phenomenal blues guitarist. She makes it look effortless as she solos and plays in the pocket. I've called her as good as John Mayer when it comes to blues guitar. You might think that is saying something and you'd be right. Michael Archer is the bassist. He fills in the rest of the sound perfectly. Jonny Wong is a such a bad ass blue saxophonist. He is one of the hardest working musicians I've seen live. Not only that, but he won a Maple Blues Award for Best Saxophone Player. That is pretty cool!
I went to their show on Saturday at Vangelis. It was another awesome show. It was because of the Free Stage I went to that show. They played some of the same songs off their 2012 acclaimed album "Unshakeable" as well as some standards. Their energy was present there as well. The crowd was awesome. Another great show. Jonny Wong showed off his chops as to why he won that aforementioned Maple Blues Award for Best Saxophone Player. Just so good. A cool thing they do with Jonny and Emily is give them some space during songs to rip some solos to show their chops and their talent. Phenomenal. I bought their aforementioned album "Unshakeable" and got them to sign it. As well, I got a picture with them. It was crazy that Jonny Wong remembered seeing at their Free Stage show that Thursday and that Emily Burgess remember my name on Facebook when posted on their Facebook page.
I suggest checking them out. They are very good and deserving of their the many accolades and being runner up in a blues competition in Memphis. I hope they come back to Saskatoon soon! I'll definitely go and see them. Check out a song from their 2012 album "Unshakeable" below.
"Jack, Jim, Johnny, and Me"