Toronto’s first family of funk and soul is Blackburn. “Brotherhood” is their first Blues recording – a CD celebrating the traces of traditional blues, R&B, soul, hard grooves and harmony that only siblings can create.
The launch of “Brotherhood” returns the Blackburn brothers to the prominence they enjoyed when entertaining packed houses at their old stomping ground, the Bamboo Club. For 15 formidable years, they were part of Toronto’s street culture representing a lineage of unmistakable nocturnal hedonism.
New Orleans has the Neville Brothers; Toronto’s Blackburn similarly fires up live shows with scorching soul power. The brothers put on a show rich in the tradition of the blues, while inflected with an electric urban vibe.
Blackburn’s wickedly tight sound features lead singer, Duane Blackburn, playing a vintage Hammond B3 organ as if he was born on the bench. Duane has a sensuously smooth, yet powerful voice. Crack session guitarist Brooke and drummer Cory have played with many of Canada’s best blues and R&B artists, such as Shakura S’Aida and Liberty Silver. Bass player Mark Ayee has played with the brothers since childhood.
Well-known in Toronto’s African Canadian music scene, Duane, Brooke and Cory Blackburn follow a rich legacy, passed down from their father Bobby Dean Blackburn, that trails back to the Underground Railroad. Their dad led the band at the Zanzibar Tavern on Yonge Street during the 60s and 70s. Brooke carries on his father’s leadership as Artistic Director of Canada’s longest running summer festival in Owen Sound, The Emancipation Festival.
“… A stunning performance… simply magnificent.”
– John Valenteyn, Maple Blues Magazine