Articles Special Feature

Taking the Canadian blues world by storm...

by John Scoles

Blues Scene Quarterly
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
1999

On the strength of his Juno-nominated CD, Blues Money, Toronto-based harmonica player Michael Pickett has been the talk of the Canadian blues scene and the Ontario area in particular all year.  Both Jazz Report and Real Blues have called the CD the Best Blues Album of the Year, and Real Blues has bestowed other awards on Michael including Best Harmonica Player, Best Songwriter, and Best Song for 'World Gone Crazy'.

With an excellent band behind him - featuring Shawn Kellerman on guitar, Steve Chadwick on bass and Dale Anne Brendon on drums - the 50 year-old Pickett is taking the Canadian blues world by storm and doing it with a strong sense of style, substance and understanding.

"People ask me what it is that I'm trying to do, coming back to this traveling thing, playing, touring and all this.  They ask me to describe what it is I do, and I say that I make music.  I don't make claims about one thing or another.  I don't think that's important.  I let the music speak for itself.

The band is breaking ground in the US, getting into areas like Ohio and New York, there's some interest form ragged pup Records in Vancouver, and the main goal right now is to get over to Europe - and have fun.

Discussing inspiration and influences, Pickett points to the example of James Cotton.  "I grew up listening to James Cotton.  And when I used to see him all the time, that band - Charles Calmese, Matt Murphy, those guys - they were having fun.  Every night, they were having a riot.  And that, to me, is contagious. I learned a lot from those guys. I learned what music is all about, what it is that we as musicians are supposed to be doing."

And seeing and hearing The Michael Pickett Band in action, it's clearly evident that not only does Michael understand what the music is all about, but that awareness and joy of his has indeed been "caught" by the band as well.

 

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