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From our news archives:

Otis Taylor Wins W.C. Handy Award for Best New Artist!

Respect The Dead Garnering Incredible Reviews

Wise & Otherwise Also Getting Great Reviews

New Cds from David Jacobs-Strain and the JW-Jones Blues Band

New NorthernBlues Sampler is now available

Miscellaneous News from NorthernBlues Music

Otis Taylor Wins W.C. Handy Award for Best New Artist!

The 2002 W.C. Handy Awards were a terrific success for NorthernBlues Music and
Otis Taylor. Taylor, nominated for four W.C. Handy Awards (including a nomination for blues album of the year for 'White African'), walked off with a Handy for Best New Artist Debut. The Otis Taylor Band also played two songs at the Handy Awards and were a smash hit at the post-Handy jam session.

The Handy weekend was a total blast with the Otis Taylor Band at Blues City and Paul Reddick & The Sidemen at Silky O'Sullivans! On Friday night, Colin Linden sat in with Paul, and on saturday night, Charles Musselwhite sat in with Otis!
Respect The Dead Garnering Incredible Reviews

Otis Taylor's new CD,
Respect The Dead, is garnering fantastic reviews. For instance, Billboard Magazine said that "Taylor follows the release of his superb, Handy Award-nominated album White African with an equally compelling record that is, unfailingly, a galvanizing listening experience.....Taylor is a rare talent, and this is easily one of the most important blues albums of 2002."

CMJ New Music Monthly says that "Already, this is one of the great blues albums of the year."

And from the Toronto Globe & Mail: "With last year's release of
White African, Otis Taylor moved to the front of the acoustic-bluesman pack. With Respect The Dead, the lead lengthens."

For more
reviews of Respect The Dead, please go to the NorthernBlues web site. Visit Otis' new website! www.otistaylor.com

Wise & Otherwise Also Getting Great Reviews

Harry Manx's new CD,
Wise and Otherwise, is also garnering fantastic reviews. The Chicago Sun-Times said that "Rarely has folk-blues sounded as hauntingly beautiful as when played by Harry Manx, a British-born Canadian who has been profoundly influenced by Indian music....Cooder is as good a point of reference as any for newcomers to Manx. But while such comparisons may work to describe Manx's fretwork, the raw sensuality of his sound is all his own."

Harry even made it into the Washington Post where they said that "Blues fans partial to the music of Kelly Joe Phelps and Ry Cooder should certainly welcome Vancouver-based guitarist Harry Manx's new release, "
Wise and Otherwise" A smart, thoughtful songwriter, Manx often uses a slide to subtle effect, deftly underscoring the emotions that inspire his tales."

You can read more incredible
reviews on the NorthernBlues web site!

 New Cds from David Jacobs-Strain and the JW-Jones Blues Band
NorthernBlues Music is proud to release new CDs from 18-year-old guitar phenom
David Jacobs-Strain and the JW-Jones Blues Band.

David's new CD, '
Stuck on the way Back', will hit the stores on June 18th in the US, and is now starting to get critics hearts a-fluttering. David is one of the best young acoustic guitar players in this continent, and you are sure to be wowed by this incredible-sounding CD (produced by Kenny Passarelli who produces Otis Taylor). The early reviews are coming in and here is what the Cascades Blues Society said about 'Stuck on the way Back', "David Jacobs-Strain is an accomplished player well beyond his years. He writes music like an untamed animal just waiting to be unleashed upon the world, shouting out, "Hey everybody! Listen up! I've got something to say!" And it's not your everyday bump'n'grind guitar licks happening here, either. His material comes across like a master as yet undiscovered. An acoustic gem ready to take on all comers and deservedly awaiting his place among the elite of his profession." Wow... if you want to read more, here is the link: http://www.cascadeblues.org/NWBlues/DavidJacobStrain/

JW-Jones Blues Band are one of Canada's hottest young bands, and 'Bogart's Bounce' brings the band to a whole new level. JW-Jones is only 21, and his harmonica player, Southside Steve, is just 17. Still, JW managed to convince Kim Wilson to guest on this CD, and he also brought in Gene Taylor to play piano throughout the disc. Close your eyes, and you'll hear the Fabulous Thunderbirds... This is what the Ottawa Citizen had to say about 'Bogart's Bounce', "Where once the quartet got by on good basic chops, a little flash, and a lot of energy (and those cute boyish grins) the bandmembers have stepped up every element of their craft. Jones's guitar work is a dream on practically every style, from competing jazz-tinged west coast-ish numbers to back-to-basics hard blues. Southside Steve Marriner's harp work is wild, and bassist Nathan Morris and Matt Sobb have fused into a solid groove unit. Production is hot and the songwriting is cool."

New NorthernBlues Sampler is now available

The new NorthernBlues sampler, "The Future of the Blues", is now available. The CD features tracks from all current NorthernBlues CDs and some from upcoming CDs as well. At 14 tracks and over 50 minutes, this low-priced sampler is a great deal. It even has the critics buzzing... "NorthernBlues president Fred Litwin has every right to feel gratified. Since February 2001, his label has radiantly released nine CDs which have received numerous award nominations. Obviously his simple philosophy is being fulfilled. It's a philosophy that he states in the liner notes ... "All of our CDs have to be outstanding. There's no room for anything mediocre." With 14 tracks (including material from upcoming releases) lasting 52 minutes, a 16 page full-color booklet and a list price you'd expect to find at Wal-Mart, this may be "the best damn blues sampler ever!" (Tim Holek on MNBlues.com)
Miscellaneous News from NorthernBlues Music


  • 4 Otis Taylor songs will be in a new Billy Bob Thornton movie called "The Badge" this fall!

  • Harry Manx just finished recording his next CD, which will be a joint venture between Harry and Kevin Breit (Cassandra Wilson's guitarist). Look for this CD in early January, 2003.

  • Look for a major feature on Otis Taylor in the next issue of Blues Revue Magazine!

  • Check out the new W.C. Handy Award CD called 'Blues Greats' on the Tornado label with tracks from Otis Taylor and Paul Reddick & The Sidemen!

  • Now's the time to check out the listening posts at Borders - both 'Rattlebag' by Paul Reddick & The Sidemen, and 'Respect The Dead' by Otis Taylor are now on the listening posts across the US!

  • Harry Manx will be in Belgium in July; JW-Jones is now in Brazil for a festival.

NorthernBlues Music is proud to announce its two latest releases - Otis Taylor's Respect The Dead, and Harry Manx's Wise and Otherwise. Both CDs will be available in stores on April 2, 2002.

Respect The Dead is yet another masterpiece - with another set of 12 hard-hitting original songs. Here's what the All Music Guide said about Respect the Dead:

"Otis Taylor might well be the best and most inspired of contemporary bluesmen. His White African album was a masterpiece - which makes the task of following it double difficult. With Respect the Dead, however, he does a superb job - the man is still very much on a roll...Taylor doesn't work within standard blues structures, and his lyrics stray far from the standard blues lines to encompass history and mythology. Where others seem content with the established limits, Taylor is pushing them further and further - and in doing so, he's making some of the most exciting music around."

Wise and Otherwise continues Harry Manx's experiment of fusing Indian melodies into the blues idiom. However this time around, Harry has been aided by the use of the 6-string banjo. Again, here's what the All Music Guide said about Wise and Otherwise:

"To call Harry Manx a wizard of slide guitar is perfectly true, but not the whole story. Add banjo, harmonica, and the Indian veena to that, and you're approaching the real story. On Wise and Otherwise he demonstrates the full range of his talents, which are firmly based in the blues, but extend far beyond - all the way to Indian music...In some ways he mines similar territory to Kelly Joe Phelps, but by now Manx is assured enough in himself to have a remarkably distinctive sound that comes not from the Delta, but some mystic place beyond. There are few performers like this around who can connect the dots between musical styles with such resonance and make themselves seem a part of them all."


NorthernBlues Music
is proud to announce that Dog My Cat by Harry Manx won the Canadian Indie Award for Blues Album of the Year!


NorthernBlues Music
is extremely proud that two of its releases, Breakfast at Midnight by Rita Chiarelli, and Rattlebag by Paul Reddick & The Sidemen, were nominated for a Canadian Juno Award in the blues category. The Juno Awards represent the best in Canadian Music - and NorthernBlues received 2 out of the 5 nominations for blues!

In addition,
NorthernBlues Music received 3 nominations for the Canadian Independent Music Awards with Rita, Paul Reddick and Harry Manx picking up nominations!

NorthernBlues Music Receives 5 W.C. Handy Blues Award Nominations!

Otis Taylor's White African Nominated for Blues Album of the Year!


  Rattlebag Named Best Canadian Blues Recording of 2001!


NorthernBlues Music signs David Jacobs-Strain
Two New Releases from NorthernBlues Music
Otis Taylor and Paul Reddick to be in the movies
NorthernBlues Music Signs David Jacobs-Strain - America's Best Young Blues Guitarist!

NorthernBlues Music, one of the hottest new blues labels in North America, is proud to announce the signing of David Jacobs-Strain. At age 18, he is one of the best young blues guitarists in America! David's new CD Stuck On The Way Back will be released on June 18th, 2002.

David Jacobs-Strain is the future of the blues", says Fred Litwin, President of NorthernBlues Music. "He's a gifted guitarist, a very good songwriter, and has an uncanny ability to move audiences with his music. I am incredibly excited about adding David to our roster. It not only shows our commitment to nurturing young talent - it showcases our commitment to finding the best talent period."

NorthernBlues Music and David Jacobs-Strain fit well together. The label tries hard to find artists on the cutting edge of blues - artists that can stretch the blues envelope. According to David, "The originators of blues music in the deep American south were innovators in their own time. To keep blues alive, innovation must continue. I want to bring new sounds and textures into the music while preserving the underlying 'oral history' of passions and emotions. I am greatly honored to join ranks with NorthernBlues artists whom I greatly admire, such as Otis Taylor and Harry Manx, who are pushing the music foward into new dimensions."

Stuck On The Way Back was produced by Kenny Passarelli, who also plays bass, piano and organ on the CD. Passarelli has had a long career playing bass for a variety of rock stars like Stephen Stills and Elton John, but has now produced a string of incredible-sounding CDs. Passarelli has received wide acclaim for his production of Otis Taylor's White African, one of the top blues sellers in 2001. According to Kenny, "David Jacobs-Strain is the new voice of the blues. He's a gifted guitar player with great promise as a song writer and has a powerful voice."

NorthernBlues Music was founded in the summer of 2000 in Toronto, Canada. To date, the label has 7 releases including the critically acclaimed White African by Otis Taylor. Other artists on the NorthernBlues Music roster include the JW-Jones Blues Band, Rita Chiarelli, Harry Manx, Paul Reddick & The Sidemen, Archie Edwards, Johnny Jones, and now David Jacobs-Strain.

Two New Releases from NorthernBlues Music

We are proud to ship our two latest releases:
Archie Edwards: The Toronto Session (NBM0006)
Johnny Jones: Blues is in the House (NBM0007)

The long-awaited
Archie Edwards CD, The Toronto Sessions, is finally out and shipping. NorthernBlues is really proud of this CD - it's our most extensive production yet. The CD comes with a 28-page booklet that contains a biography of Archie Edwards, Commentary by Archie on his music, complete song lyrics, and additional commentary on each song. In addition, we've added lots of pictures, and a note from myself on the CD. Barry Lee Pearson from the University of Maryland wrote the liner notes, and Juno-award-winning designer, Michael Wrycraft, did the CD design. The front-cover picture of Archie is bound to get lots of peopel reaching for this CD! But, besides the super package, the best part is the sound quality! Archie sounds like he is playing right next to you - it's really amazing!

Johnny Jones CD is a huge treat, and is just plain fun. Johnny Jones is a legend in the blues business, having backed up Bobby Bland, Freddy King, Gatemouth Brown, and others in Nashville. Now, Johnny gets the chance to lead his own band, and he shows why he is so respected. No pyrotechnics - just some great emotional guitar playing. Rusty Zinn, no slouch on the guitar front, wrote the liner notes - Johnny Jones is one of his heroes!

Otis Taylor and Paul Reddick to be in the movies

Music from
Otis Taylor and Paul Reddick & The Sidemen will be in some new movies in the upcoming year. Otis will be featured in a new Billy Bob Thornton movie in the spring, and Paul's music will be featured in a new independent film entitled "Triggermen" with Pete Postlethwaite. We'll forward more details as these films open.


Archie Edwards CD Launch Party in Washington DC
Harry Manx to tour Australia in November/December
Latest Reviews
Archie Edwards Launch Party in Washington DC

We had a terrific launch party in Washington for the
Archie Edwards CD. The Archie Edwards Memorial Foundation put on the affair which featured many local bluespeople performing Archie Edwards songs; lots of stories about Archie, and selected tracks from the CD. It was a terrific time and people were over the moon with Archie's new CD. During the weekend, I also went to Archie's barbershop for a Saturday afternoon jam. You never know who'll show up at the barbershop - while I was there, there was a documentary film crew (and I was interviewed).

You can see the coverage in the Washington Post at:


Harry Manx to tour Australia in November/December

Harry is off to Australia at the end of November for a 22-date tour of Australia. While he is down under, we will be launching his second CD,
Wise & Otherwise. While he is there, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) will be taping one of his shows for nation-wide broadcast!

Some latest reviews

Paul Reddick

From Blues Revue
Paul Reddick & The Sidemen
NorthernBlues 0005

This bold release instantly distinguishes itself as 'smart' blues. There's simply no better way to describe something so studied and so original in its approach. Paul Reddick is a serious student of the genre and has woven a haunting work that celebrates the prewar country blues of Sleep John Estes and Mississippi John Hurt, the Mississippi Sheiks, and the popular string-band music of the '20s and early '30s. The Sidemen inject guitar- and harp-driven grooves, adding a dark, brooding energy to their fourth outing. Reddick's original songs draw heavily from his knowledge of Alan Lomax's Library of Congress field recordings; his abstract lyrical style draws from such disparate sources as the poetry of William Blake, North American Indian dream poems, and the observational storytelling endemic to all folk-blues.

Reddick himself is key to the Sidemen's sound. His distinctive vocals are mixed forward, creating an intimacy that adds to the disc's foreboding nature. Reddick's harp can produce a wall of sound or an authentic Chicago wail on demand. "Dreamin' Dreamin'" is reminiscent of "Spoonful" but sits back far enough to have a personality of its own. The title track recalls Texas blues while underlining the power of the musicianship; skintight rhythm, blistering guitar, hauting harp, and moody keyboards built around a swaggering central figure. Kyle Ferguson's guitar muscle deserves special recognition. Of course, another key to Rattlebag's success is the deft production of Colin Linden, a Howlin' Wolf afficianado who also donates one of his originals ("Blind River Blues") and contributes mandolin, Dobro, and guitar. A favorite track is "I'm a Criminal," which begins as a sluggish boogie and builds to incorporate
wry rhythmic twists and impressive solos.

Hard blues for modern times? Mostly. But this is not a pure blues record; it's a dark, bluesy excursion with Delta roots and rock undertones. The resulting manic feels comes off, on occasion, as a less warped version of early Beefheart. It's that good.
Eric Thom

Rita Chiarelli

Harry Manx
(Cascade Blues Society)
"Open your ears and mind to a whole new blend of blues-related
music. Harry Manx not only gently crosses over cultures, he takes
giant leaps. At first listen to the opening numbers on this debut
CD, you may believe that Manx is simply a clone in the mold of a
Kelly Joe Phelps with his lap-style slide guitar. But, the further
you explore this disc, you suddenly find yourself emmeshed deeply
into an Eastern mystique of Delta-flavored music. Not the Mississippi
Delta, mind you, but more like the Ghanges.

Manx' Indian-influened songs, may not appeal to everybody, but
they do provide a whole new aspect for the music to explore. He
is quite an adept performer when it comes to standard Blues outings,
though, which are very nicely covered on the CD with covers Muddy
Waters' "I Can't be satisfied" and Jimmy Reed's "Shame Shame Shame"
doing justice to both numbers. His self-written pieces, as stated
before, are quite comparable to the best of Kelly Joe Phelps, perhaps
it's the lap-steel sound. Songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, Harmonica
player, even on the mohan veena, Harry Manx is an interesting artist
that can only be described as in a category all his own. Eastern
and Western cultures truly collide on "Dog My Cat".
-Greg Johnson


JW-Jones Blues Band


 NorthernBlues is proud to announce the release of two new CDs on November 6, 2001:

Archie Edwards: The Toronto Sessions, Volume 1 (NBM0006)
Archie Edwards was a old-time Piedmont bluesman who lived in Washington, DC. He played extensively with Mississippi John Hurt in the 60s. In 1986, Archie played a concert in Toronto (attended by the rock band U2), and then went into the recording studio, where he recorded enough material for 2 CDs. For some reason, these albums never hit the market, and NorthernBlues is releasing them for the first time. This will be a great package - extensive liner notes including bio, commentary from archie edwards (who died in 1998), complete lyrics, and commentary on each song, great designed package, and the best recorded sound ever for Archie Edwards!

The Blues Is In The House (NBM0007)
Johnny Jones has been Nashville's premier blues guitarist for over forty years! Johnny has played with Freddy King, Gatemouth Brown and Bobby Bland to name a few. He hung out with Jimi Hendrix in the 60's when Jimi would stop in Johnny's club to jam. Another superb package with bluesman Rusty Zinn providing the liner notes. This CD is just a pile of pure blues fun!

 Harry Manx's Dog My Cat now available in Canada!  

Harry Manx's new CD, Dog My Cat, is now available in stores across Canada. The CD features Harry playing the Mohan Veena - a 20 string Indian slide guitar, lap slide guitar, harmonica, and features some incredible vocals. Harry's interpretation of 3 cover songs is nothing short of astonishing, but makes the CD really stand out, are Harry's original songs - songs that stay in the heart and demand to be listened to many, many times.
  I am proud to announce that NorthernBlues has just signed one of North American's best, and most avant-garde, blues bands around - Paul Reddick & The Sidemen. Their new CD, Rattlebag, produced by Colin Linden is simply astonishing. Rattlebag should hit stores in Canada in July and in the United States in early August. Al Kircaldy, DJ at Trent University, says that Rattlebag is a "haunting disc that breaks new ground", and that Paul Reddick is "one of the most intelligent, creative, and intense (harmonica) players in Canada or anywhere else."

Rita Chiarelli - Breakfast at MidnightRita Chiarelli's new CD, Breakfast at Midnight, will be in stores across North America the first week of May. Rita has an incredible three-octave range and this CD shows it. Breakfast at Midnight is completely original, and is a very personal document. Detailing the ups and downs of relationships, Breakfast at Midnight is full of heart-felt passion. And this CD will prove, without doubt, that Rita is one of the most passionate and powerful blues vocalists in North America.

  NorthernBlues signs 2 new artists!    

NorthernBlues Music has just signed a contract with Harry Manx, a one-man-band who plays lap slide guitar, the Mohan Veena (an Indian instrument), blues harp, banjo,and vocals. Manx's CD, Dog My Cat, will be released in July, 2001.

Harry Manx


NorthernBlues Music is proud to announce the signing of Brian Blain, a gifted blues singer/songwriter. Brian's CD, Who Paid You To Give Me The Blues?, will be released in Autumn, 2001.

Brian Blain


     Click here for photos from our launch party >>  
  Thanks to all who attended our launch party at Blues on Bellair on Feb. 21st!

The night was a smashing success - our capacity crowd squeezed in out of the cold and was treated to three incredible sets! The hotter-than-hot
JW-Jones Blues Band warmed up the room quickly, Rita Chiarelli blew everyone away with her passionate vocal delivery and high energy, and The Otis Taylor Band held the audience spellbound. It was indeed a blues journey we will remember for a long time to come!

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