Chris Canas Band
Gig Seeker Pro

Chris Canas Band

Milford, MI | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | INDIE

Milford, MI | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Blues Soul




"The Motor City Guitar Army"

Detroit Blues Defender - Chris Canas.
Chris Canas is a young Motor City blues guitar slinger, singer, song writer and bandleader who calls himself a "Soldier For The Blues". He enlisted early making a name for himself on the Detroit scene over the last decade, even though he's only in his mid-20s. He's been one of the few blues artists to perform at the Detroit Jazz Festival and has recently signed to a national management group. With "soldiers" like this defending the blues, Detroit is in good hands. We spoke with Chris to get the real low down.

Q:How did you get into the blues?
A: I saw Ray Charles when I was two, and was classically trained on trumpet starting in fifth grade. I'd been playing jazz, but once I heard blues, I was about 11, it transformed me. Two years later, my mother would drive me to go see live blues. I met the Butler Twins at the Attic Bar and went to the jams at the Tap Room in Ypsilanti. I learned so much; as long as you were willing to learn and not step on anyone's toes they welcomed you in. Brett Lucas took me under his wing and showed me how to play. He told me, "Dude, you're trying to play too many notes, you need to relax." I was about 15 when Ejuana Taylor Blues Band took me on the road. I also used to play with Sweet Claudette and filled in with Thornetta Davis. At 18 I started my own band and that's been my main focus since. From the beginning my mom Angie Cottingham, has been my singer. Now I have Kevin Schoepke on bass, he was with the Hoodoo Band; and Mickey Coleman on drums, who played with Sweet Claudette."

Q: Why do you live in Detroit?
A: I was born and raised here, there is a lot of history and soul to this place that can't be matched.

Q:What does it mean to you to be from Detroit?
A: There is some bad press about Detroit, but you have to come here and experience it yourself to actually appreciate what it really is.

Q: Do you have any secret things about Detroit?
A: I'm old enough to know those secrets.

Q: What are your early influences on guitar?
A: B.B. King, that's the first cat I was drawn to, then it expanded to Jonny Lang, Prince, George Benson and Charley Christian.

Q: What kind of guitar do you play?
A: I started out on a Strat, then traded up to a black and silver Telecaster. Now I'm in love with my black and gold tuxedo Epiphone Les Paul. That's the one I've been waiting for.

Q: What kind of music are yo listening to?
A: A lot of reggae, old school blues and techno.

Q: Favorite Detroit club?
A: A classic is old school Nancy Whiskey's and my new favorite is the Harbor House downtown. But any place that has live blues, I'm good.

Q: Upcoming projects?
A: I'm currently working with the High Tone Music Group and Grammy -nominated Jimmy Warren, we're just working hard to get more music out there. There's a lot of life to live, and you got to write it all down.

Q: Best way to get a hold of you?
A: or at - Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine

"CD Review"

Featured Blues Review 1 of 6

Chris Canas - She’s Breaking Me

Self release

11 songs; 48:42 minutes; Splendid

Styles: Contemporary Blues; Soul Blues

Typically artists hate having their music labeled and categorized. Presuming that is also how Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Chris Canas feels, I picture him very pleased. As a reviewer, I feel that I need to create a new word or label to describe his third release – one that means “not hard but not soft.” “She’s Breaking Me” with its eleven original songs is the most well balanced CD I’ve encountered in a long while. Between instrumentation and vocals and between upbeat rhythms and slower songs, Canas and his Blues Revolution Band create a wonderful mix.

There are none of the harsh, loud tones nor guitar-hero wanking often associated with CDs on the Rock side of Blues-Rock. But, this is also not “easy listening” music so mellow it should never be played before midnight. An enthusiastic and inspired singer, songwriter, lead guitarist and cornet player, Chris Canas reports that he, “...wants to help keep the "Blues" alive and kicking in the hearts of music lovers by adding a little new with the old. He crosses genres with ease and embraces diversity.”

My first ear-worm that has been stuck in my head all day is the chorus from track four, “Who the Hell Are You.” Lyrically, Canas and co-writer and co-vocalist Angie C. tell a story of a lover changing so much in a relationship that it is as if she has become a stranger whom the narrator asks, “Who the Hell Are You?” Shane Rasmussen carries the slower, sad and heart-breaking mood skillfully on organ while Canas’ guitar adds rhythm and a touching solo at the end. Bassist Kevin Schoepke and drummer Frank Kenny keep the beat and add distinctive nuances.

Never fear guitar lovers, Canas’ first love was blues guitar, and he spent plenty of time in the woodshed. The title track nicely showcases an example of his studied lead guitar licks leading the band’s rave up of sound and emotion on another tale of good love gone bad (and expensive), “She’s Breaking Me.”

The opening track is a great introduction to the well-paced set. “Crank Dat Blues and Drive” is an up-tempo romp allowing each member to stretch, including vocals. It’s a for sure party starter. Across the CD, everything is solid – not a throwaway in the bunch.

Chris Canas’ musical background began as a toddler when his mother took him to his first Jazz and Blues Festival at Hart Plaza in Detroit. While mastering the cornet in the Farmington music program, he quickly fell in love with the guitar and the Blues sounds it could make. The Chris Canas Blues Revolution can be seen blazing a trail in the Metro Detroit area and beyond. Canas up front is a self proclaimed “Soldier for the Blues” and has put together veteran musicians to help keep the Blues alive.

This album was made to pump new enthusiasm into The Blues. Based on the rich traditional roots of the past, Canas and crew can be proud of their product and efforts to soldier on while all around turn to rap.

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, I - Blues Blast Magazine

"A Young Master Plays Blues, Brews, & BBQ"

A young master plays "Blues, Brews, & BBQs"

If Chris Canas isn't livin' the blues, he sure knows how to channel it. This guitarist and singer, with jazz training from the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts, recorded his first blues CD at seventeen. Now twenty-four, he says he wants to bring the blues to a younger generation — but any generation can appreciate the stunning maturity of his sound.

With a warm, wet singing voice that is not at all affected, he delivers the traditional repeated blues lines with force and heartbreak. He can growl his way through a sexy original song where he compares succulent thighs to sweet potatoes and then serve up a falsetto ballad reminiscent of Smokey Robinson.

But it's when his guitar starts to sing that his talent really transcends his age. Canas understands how to communicate the electric blues. No mere mimic, he clearly has command of his instrument, coaxing a tight, saw-toothed sound for solos that don't wander but continually surprise. He sneaks in a little wah-wah, or even a touch of Hendrix style, but not for the sake of showing off. He plays what is appropriate to the song, even if we hadn't realized that was what the song needed.

On top of all that, Canas has written a couple dozen blues originals, with titles like "Big Bone Woman" and "Hard Times," that showcase his considerable talent. And he's put together a band of veterans, including Shane Rasmussen on keyboards and Kevin Schoepke on bass, who not only underpin his musicianship but bring their own funk and groove to the party. Chris's mother, Angela Cottingham, sings backup vocals, creating the lovely blend you would expect.

The Chris Canas Blues Revolution has a deep repertoire, covering soul classics like "The Thrill Is Gone" and gig standards like "Dock of the Bay" when I saw the group on a Friday night at Guy Hollerin's. Canas and his band are regulars at this Holiday Inn-based bar's "Local Blues, Brews, & BBQs" series on Fridays, 5:30-8:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 8 p.m.-midnight. This concept, sponsored by WEMU and produced by local promoter Peter Andrews (who helped plan the earliest Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festivals), is intended for an older crowd who still want to party but prefer to do so a little earlier and with a little less drunken stupidity.

The setting doesn't offer the best acoustics for the quality local talent, but that didn't stop people from getting down on the huge dance floor as the Blues Revolution gave its all. It was a friendly atmosphere where strangers struck up conversations and Chris's toddlers danced with their mom. The Chris Canas Blues Revolution returns to Guy Hollerin's on Friday, November 14.

—Stephanie Kadel-Taras

Photo by Julian Konwinski

[Review published November 2008] - Ann Arbor Observer

"An Interview with: Chris Canas"

Ambitious, yet down to earth. Blues meet funk meet neo-soul. - Chicago Music Guide

"Blues Soldier"

With a list of diverse influences that include Prince, B.B. King, Al Green, and Travis Tritt, Canas colors his sound with traces of soul and funk but it’s still clearly the blues. “My ultimate goal is to keep the blues alive. I feel like its current state is similar to if you made some Kool-Aid and didn’t put enough sugar in it. It’s just barely out there. I want the blues to be on the radio all the time, I want to be in videos and movies. I just love it. I absolutely love it.” - Illinois Entertainer

"Blues Soldier"

With a list of diverse influences that include Prince, B.B. King, Al Green, and Travis Tritt, Canas colors his sound with traces of soul and funk but it’s still clearly the blues. “My ultimate goal is to keep the blues alive. I feel like its current state is similar to if you made some Kool-Aid and didn’t put enough sugar in it. It’s just barely out there. I want the blues to be on the radio all the time, I want to be in videos and movies. I just love it. I absolutely love it.” - Illinois Entertainer

"Blues Music Review: Chris Canas - She's Breaking Me - Self Released 2010"

She's Breaking Me is a solid Blues album that draws on influences from outside genres. The album didn't necessarily set my world on fire, but it did have some bright, shining moments that made me smile, tap toes, and dance in my chair. That certainly isn't meant as a diss on Chris Canas or the Blues Revolution, either, because it means to me that Chris Canas and company's best is yet to come...and that is a very exciting prospect. - fulltimeblues

"No Cover Productions"

Chris Canas is a new force on the blues scene here in Detroit. Chris is a talented songwriter and a great performer. His first No Cover cd will be out soon to be sure! We are proud to help musicians like Chris who at 19 years of age represents the future of the blues. Chris is shown here performing at the lake orion blues festival 04. - Mike Boulan

"Young Soldier For The Blues"

This is an extraordinary CD from an 18 yr. old young man, Chris has shown enormous growth from Shades of Blue to C- Chris Canas this young man will be a force to be reckoned with, I see tremendous growth in his style from year to year. One day soon his name will be as recognizable as BB King , Eric Clapton, Luther Allison and many more great artist, Chris keep on prefecting your style and be true to yourself and you will go far.

- Pam Adams, for the Bluenotes

"No Cover Productions"

Chris Canas is a new force on the blues scene here in Detroit. Chris is a talented songwriter and a great performer. His first No Cover cd will be out soon to be sure! We are proud to help musicians like Chris who at 19 years of age represents the future of the blues. Chris is shown here performing at the lake orion blues festival 04. - Mike Boulan

"Chris Canas"

Blues music will always be with us. In order to reach a wider audience, however, it needs ambassadors to carry it to new and younger fans.
Often that requires innovative interpretations of the music. One young musician leading the quest for these new horizons is Chris Canas. This talented guitarist, vocalist and songwriter was born and raised in the Detroit area. He credits his mother with sparking his interest in music and a long list of musicians as inspiration ranging from Albert Collins to Prince...
These days he appears regularly at clubs and festivals around Michigan.
Canas fronts the group on guitar and vocals... Their music runs the gamut from traditional blues to original funky blues, all presented with the Canas touch. He refers to himself as a soldier fighting to keep the blues alive. Given his talent and friendly personality he is ideally suited for the role... His 2004 release is titled "Sunshine". This one features eleven studio tracks and one live performance. His personal take on the blues may be heard throughout the album. A favorite of this writer is the title track. Spider recommends that you add "Sunshine" to your blues library... Catch him live and dig his special shade of blues. - WolfGang Spider-Action Detroit


Still working on that hot first release.



Chris Canas (aka Christopher Lenard Cottingham) was born on July 18th, 1984 to Angela and Lenard Cottingham. He has grown with music in his life whether it be his Mom singing to him or taking him to see Ray Charles at Hart Plaza or his Dad singing and dancing him to sleep as a kid. Music is part of his very soul and is the main reason he has grown into such a musical person today. His first true instrument was discovered when he chose a Coronet over all other instruments because he was too shy to speak up and claim the Saxophone in 5th grade. But he loved it nonetheless and treated it as if the sounds he could make were doubling as a musical release as well as a therapeutic one. Chris quickly rose through the rankings of 5th grade band only to find his music instructor David Drake promoted him to Jazz band. It was this move to Jazz that truly piqued Chris' interest in another realm of music. While in Jazz band Chris played all over eventually landing with the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts group. He primarily joined the jam portion of the group and performed at Bird of Paradise, the Firefly Club, Top of The Park, and even The Ann Arbor Art Fair on numerous occasions. He was being primed to follow in the footsteps of Miles, Monk, Baker, Parker, and Marsallis. But something happened to this young man at the tender age of 10 that was just starting to boil over. The Blues had taken him and it wasn't going to ever let him go. Chris' Uncle Jamerson rolled up in a Cherry Red T-Top Camaro and was bumping BB King’s "Thrill Is Gone" with all his speaker systems might, and an innocent shy boy immediately began his transition into a Blues Man.

Chris eventually discovered a rickety old dusty P-Bass in his grandmother's garage which only had 2 strings on it. Chris took it upon himself to clean it up real good so he could play it. Only problem was he didn't yet know how to fix a Bass so he just learned on those 2 rickety rusted strings. His parents eventually realized that music was his passion and got it completely fixed so he could finally learn how to play the full Bass. Eventually even that wasn't enough and Chris picked up Piano, Sax, Drums, Harmonica, and eventually found his true love.....The Guitar. His first guitar was a cherry red Squire with a celebrate diversity sticker on it and a rainbow strap. Yeah Chris likes color apparently. Now he was ready to go off and learn guitar. He spent days locked away in his room and after learning every BB King, Albert King, and Freddie King song note for note for 6 months he wrote his first album at the age of 15 "Shades of Blue". Of course this was after he didn't get a Playstation for Christmas but instead got a four track mixer which he greatly appreciates.....NOW. Chris went on to win the Ann Arbor Talent Show performing 2 of his songs off of the SOB album "Unforgiven" which he still plays to this day and "The Blues" which was inspired BB King's "A Blues Boys Tune". He landed a gig with Ejuana "Fire" Taylor and went on the road with her and her band for a bit while honing his skills at the Tap Room jam session in Ypsilanti which is still running every Thursday to this day. Chris eventually hooked up with Thornetta Davis and was taken under her wing at the age of 18 and opened his eyes up to the rich Detroit Music scene as well as exposed him to countless Pro musicians. in 2003 Chris formed the, dare I say it one last time, "Chris Canas Hyper Dynamic Blues Revolution" which was later shortened to "The Chris Canas Blues Revolution" which shortened again to "The C2BR" and finally, finally ended with the "Chris Canas Band". Chris has since released a total of 5 albums with his latest being "She's Breaking Me" reaching heights he never thought possible. His is currently finalizing his 6th album "Would You Mind" and is set to unleash it sometime in 2015. Chris has written and arranged well over 150 Original songs and has reimagined a plethora of oldies but goodies. Right now, the Chris Canas Band consists of; Chris Canas on Guitar and Vocals, Angela Cottingham on Percussion and Vocals, Kevin Schoepke on Bass, Greg Sauceda on Drums, Michael Scott on Drums, and our newest member to the Revolution Chris Nordman on Piano and Organ.

Chris " The Soldier For The Blues" Canas, has put together a who’s who of veteran musicians over the years and has learned many many lessons the long hard way to help keep the blues alive and moving forward for all music lovers. The Chris Canas Band has a well  blended set of classic covers and clever, roller coaster like originals that keep the audience captivated and coming back for more.

Band Members