Never tired of signing the blues, Chuck Jackson and the Downchild Blues Band open a new tour in support of a new album in Sidney this month.
Already, the show on Wednesday, October 11 is almost sold out (although you have a chance to win a pair of tickets on the PNR’s Facebook page!) and that bodes well for the venerable Canadian blues band, whose music spans nearly 50 years and still wins new fans every day. Downhild’s 18th album, Something I’ve Done, releases on Friday, October 13 — an ominous day for some, perhaps, but for Jackson, he’s had a lot of good luck with the blues.
Jackson has been the lead singer for Downchild since 1990, which fall about at the middle of the group’s history. Downchild Blues Band started in 1971, producing and releasing their first album, Bootleg, on their own. And since then, they’ve found label success — and are the recipients of three Juno Awards, including Best Blues Album of the Year in 2014 for Can You Hear the Music. Jackson himself has won two Maple Blues Male Vocalist of the Year awards and the band itself has a credentials list so long that there’s isn’t enough space to list them all.
But their fans already know they’re something special.
In an interview with the News Review, Jackson said Downchild’s fan base is always growing. That’s due, in part he said, to a new generation of people being introduced to the music by their parents and even grandparents. He recalled a concert recently when he was approached by a 19-year-old fan who told him she’d grown up listening other parents’ vinyl albums.
“We’ve had such a great following,” he said. “So many fans have followed us for so long over the years.”
To keep people interested in their band of Chicago-style jump blues, Jackson said they always strive to create new music. Not content to rest on their laurels and just play their classics, he said they are always writing new music — and that’s reflected in this latest album.
“We are always being influenced by travel and what we do every day,” he said. “We enjoy making new music.”
Jackson said the album’s first single, Mississippi Woman, Mississauga Man, was written from his experience traveling from his home in the Ontario city, down into the cradle of the Delta Blues. He jokingly referred to his home town as “the Mississauga Delta.”
Jackson and other band members were given the freedom to contribute to this latest album, working in concert with Donnie Walsh. Known as “Mr. Downchild” Walsh has been around since the beginning.
“The fact that a bunch of guys in the band have been writing songs means this album has a different flavour to it,” Walsh stated in a media release.
“I think (the album) is one of our best,” Jackson said during the phone interview.
He said he’s looking forward to the tour, which focuses mainly on western Canada. They open in Sidney Oct. 11 (show starts at 7:30 p.m.), they head up-Island to Qualicum Beach Oct. 12, then stop in Duncan Oct. 13 before heading to the lower mainland, interior, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
Opening for Downchild at the Sidney show is blues guitarist David Gogo. Jackson said he knows him well and has invited Gogo many times to the blues festival he hosts back in Mississauga (Tim Horton’s Southside Shuffle).