If you haven’t heard of the Joel Johnson Band yet, you soon will. This homegrown Six Nations talent is being recognized internationally. The band has earned the opportunity to represent the Grand River Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, which starts January 20th, 2015. Almost concurrently, the band has been nominated for New Artist or Group of the Year at the Maple Blues Awards in Toronto and has been invited to perform there on January 19th, 2015.
Scheduling appearances at both events will be a challenge, especially because most of the band is afraid to fly, but Johnson is trying to make sure that they perform at both gigs. He says that for most awards, you can apply to be considered, but the Maple Blues Awards invitation comes through a committee that selects artists for the nomination. It is therefore an acknowledgement and opportunity that he does not want to miss.
After nominations, The Maple Blues Award becomes a people’s choice award. Take the time to listen to The Joel Johnson Band’s music for free on www.reverbnation.com/joeljohnson and place your votes online to support their nomination at the Maple Blues awards at www.mapleblues.ca.
The band led by Joel Johnson consists of Dwayne Laforme on guitar, Dexter Beauregard on drums, Mickey D on bass, Wayne Degenais on keyboards, Troy Dowding on trumpet and Sal Rosselli on saxophone. Chris Nemeth and Steve Pelletier fill in on drums and bass respectively. They have a new album out, Blues Joose Volume 2, named after Johnson’s good friend Paul Mitten “Joose” (khe’).
Johnson, 34-years-old, is the son of Shelda and John Johnson and father of one daughter. He remembers adoring his father’s bass guitar as a child and drawing pictures of it even before he was big enough to hold the bulky guitar. He was further inspired from hearing his father’s cool mix of blues from BB King and Muddy Waters. He remembers admiring the beauty of “Lucille,” BB King’s famous guitar. Johnson’s parents bought him his first guitar when he was 7-years-old.
Johnson’s father has been deceased since 1990, but his mother Shelda, who is retired, still likes to put her dancing shoes on to go listen to her boy rock the house. Although Johnson seems like he’d be a quiet reserved young man, onstage he knows how to tear it up. He runs his band like a professional, wearing a suit and staying away from alcohol while he performs. He is the type of guy that you know will go places and will make Six Nations proud.
Johnson’s musical career took off in 2010 when his band won the Best Blues Album at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. Since then, he has had the opportunity to share the stage with musical greats from Muddy Waters Band to Downchild Blues Band, and to work in the studio with Jordie Johnson from Big Sugar. His band has been nominated for the Native American Music Awards for Best Blues CD (2014) and the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards for Best Blues CD (2014).
They are seeking the support of the community to participate in the two major blues music awards they’ll be attending in January 2015. There are two fundraisers coming up. The first is on November 14th from 9pm -1am at the Brantford Polish Hall, 154 Pearl St., Brantford. Advanced tickets are available for $15 by calling 519-753-0414.
The second is on November 22nd at The Warehouse, 1890 Tuscarora Road on Six Nations from 9pm-1am.