Halloween at the Bow is back! Downchild with an opening act TBA. Dress up in your fantastic Halloween gear as there will be prizes for best costume! You are not going to miss this show! Tickets will be hot, hot hot!
The Downchild Blues Band was formed by brothers Donnie and Hock Walsh. In 2007 they celebrated their 40th anniversary with the critically acclaimed Live At The Palais Royale. The band, also known as Downchild [Editor’s note: They changed the name to avoid limiting their potential audience to only blues lovers.], continues to win accolades. This new studio album is nominated for a Maple Award as Recording of The Year.
The Maple Awards are Canada’s version of our Blues Music Awards. If that weren’t enough, the band is also nominated as Entertainer of the Year and Electric Act of The Year. “Mr. Downchild,” Donnie Walsh, is guitarist, harp player, vocalist, producer, and front man. Chuck Jackson also plays harp. The rhythm section is ably anchored by drummer Mike Fitzpatrick, but this year the band can be especially proud that each of their three remaining players also is individually nominated for Maple Awards. They are Michael Fonfara, keyboards; Pat Carey, saxes; and bassist Gary Kendell.
The title track, “I Need A Hat,” and all songs except two were written by Walsh. For me the highlight of this album is the horn arrangements, especially on the opening track, “This Must Be Love,” on “Down in The Delta,” and on “Some More of That.” Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns guests on “Somebody Lied” and he takes a nice trumpet solo. He is joined on that track by veteran Canadian guitarist Colin James.
Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd guests on harp on “You Don’t Love Me.”
Downchild was a primary influence behind The Blues Brothers, which featured Aykroyd, who hails from the Toronto area. On that first Blues Brothers album, Briefcase Full of Blues, it was Aykroyd who sang lead on Walsh’s “I Got Everything I Need, Almost.”
The band may have been together for forty years, but they sound fresh on this new studio recording. If you’re going to see them I suggest you might wear a hat, too.
- Richard Ludmerer is a contributing editor to BluesWax.