Harpdog Brown & The Bloodhounds
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Harpdog Brown & The Bloodhounds

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
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"Music Review: Harpdog Brown & Graham Guest – Above And Beyond"

When one considers that the most common type of harmonica is, by definition, limited – the diatonic scale omits flat and sharp notes – it’s astonishing just how expressive an instrument it can be in the hands of a master like Edmonton’s Harpdog Brown.
Above And Beyond, Brown’s latest on his own Dog Breath Records, finds him teamed with fellow Edmontonian Graham Guest, pianist extraordinaire, who spent years working with blues chanteuse Sue Foley among many others. Together they tear through a delightful collection of blues and boogie favorites that’s both intimate and exuberant.
It helps that Harpdog, who hails from Edmonton, is blessed with a big but supple voice and a raconteur’s charm. He approaches each tune from a storyteller’s perspective, with sly phrasing and nod-‘n’-a-wink aplomb that’s just right for the material.
Brown is a disciple of Sonny Boy Williamson, the innovative genius who virtually defined what the acoustic harmonica is capable of, and covers a pair of Williamson’s tunes here. There are a handful of standards recognizable by even the most casual blues fan - “You Don’t Have To Go,” “Rocket 88,” “Big Boss Man,” and “Flip, Flop & Fly” – but the duo setting and Brown’s singular delivery keep ‘em all fresh. Surprises come with a bluesy romp through Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and the delightful “Canadian Man,” written by Brown’s friend, Steve Pineo. (As a country song it was a hit for Paul Brandt).
Brown sticks to acoustic harmonica for the entire collection, meaning he’s free to employ a full arsenal of hand movements that vary air flow, with the result a dazzling array of tones and expressions, from guttural moans to whoops of joy. Guest is a marvel throughout, providing a solid rhythmic foundation for every tune and embellishing each with sparkling yet seemingly effortless fills that render the lack of additional instrumentation a moot point. Indeed, the two seem to be of one musical mind, audibly responding to each other as the songs unfold – performances were captured ‘live’ in the studio, with the organic interplay between musicians an integral element in the proceedings.
This one’s honest and real, and best of all it’s fun to listen to (and just try to keep your toes from tapping!). Recommended! - Blog Critics


"Harpdog Brown and the Bloodhounds Dug Deep For The underground’s last Gig of the Season"

"On April 28, Harpdog Brown and his gang of thirsty Bloodhounds rolled over to the underground concert with a wayward appetite for some gritty, down and dirty, playtime. Oh yes, these dogs took us on one hell of a fun blues ride, and it was a good thing too because no one could have known it was the last underground Music Society concert of the season. The band began to play, and they really got into it...... With a harmonica mic draped across his shoulders and his hands in the air, Harpdog Brown started warming up to the crowd speaking gently and sincerely. “We’re going to have some real fun tonight…We hope to turn you on to something you’ve never heard before…You won’t be hearing any “Mustang Sally” here tonight,” he promised. out the licks and tricks on his guitar as the Harpdog led them all, drawing and blowing each song down deeper and deeper with his sometimes serious, sometimes playful sharp-harp and vocal submissions." - The Vault Magazine


"Harpdog Brown - Something Borrowed, Something Blues"

Harpdog Brown is a larger than life, swaggering, smooth-talking 30-year veteran bluesman who calls Lacombe, Alberta, home when he’s not on the road.



“I’m out playing every weekend,” he said between puffs on an omnipresent cigarette at the Lido theatre. “We’re up here in Fort St. John on what I like to call a bit of a field trip because we came up on the long bomb from Edmonton just yesterday.” Fresh from playing three blues festival events last month in Saskatchewan, Canada’s hardest working harp player caught a stroke of luck when playing a hotel in Grande Prairie when he ran into City of Fort St. John Mayor Bruce Lantz.








Contributed Photo




“I had his business card in my pocket because he happened to catch our show in the lounge and when I realized I had an opening I called him up and he made the show at the best venue in town here – the Lido theatre – happen within just three or four weeks,” Brown said.



The Juno-nominated Brown has been wailing on his harmonica and crying the blues since the eighties but like a lot of young men breaking into the music business he went down the wayward path of rock ‘n’ roll first.



“It took me only six weeks to realize I didn’t want to be a rock star,” Brown chuckled. “I never looked good in spandex, even when I was skinny.”



Brown now calls himself the happiest blues guy on earth if only because blues is often wrongly pegged as depressing music. “Hey life would be depressing without the blues,” Brown declared. “That’s how I feel because when you hear the blues it reminds you that the universe kicks everyone in the teeth—the blues is just someone reporting on life as how they see it.” “You know it’s like a fridge magnet I saw once that said, ‘It’s always a sunny day, it’s just sometimes there’s clouds in the way.”’



Influenced by greats like Muddy Waters – who Brown has named his son McKinley after – Fats Walker and Louis Armstrong, Brown calls his style of blues more of traditional blues mixed with a jazz edge that he and piano player Graham Guest deliver with an old school feel.



Brown and Guest cut their first album a year ago called ‘Above & Beyond’ and the record was so-named because it attempted to elevate traditional blues above and beyond the usual.



The duo is excited to start work on their second CD next week, once again in Edmonton’s Homestead Studios, and plan to call it “Naturally’ because of the truly acoustic sound that will come from Guest on grand piano and Brown on vocals and the harmonica.



“When I was 17 I saw James Cotton play and he ruined my life,” Brown smiled. “He ruined my life because he made me want to play harmonica for the rest of my life.”



“We do original music and covers of all the greats, but to me it’s the message of the song—it’s got to be the truth.”



Brown played the Lido Mar. 12, and plans to tour the Peace region this summer. For more information on Harpdog Brown or to order his albums, visit: www.harpdogbrown.com or e-mail: dog@harpdogbrown.com. - North East News


"Harpdog Brown, Lazy Mike will rock your blues away"

Joe’s Garage presents a full night of kick-ass blues.



Local island blues rockers Lazy Mike and The Rockin’ Recliners will team up with Canada’s ambassador to the blues Harpdog Brown.



The evening will begin with Lazy Mike and his boys doing what they do best — rockin’ the blues.



Then Harpdog will take over the Recliners for a smoking set of his own style of deep soulful blues.



Harpdog has been playing blues for over 30 years now, recording five albums in and out of the country. He signed with a Portland, Oregon blues label back in 1994 and is the only Canadian to ever win the Prestigious Muddy Award for the best NW Blues Release of the year back in 1994.



He was also nominated for the Juno in best blues category in 1995 with the same album, Home is Where the Harp is.



The Dog has toured most of Canada and the Pacific Northwest — from Alaska to Frisco he is well known.



To close the evening, Harpdog and Lazy Mike will combine efforts in what Brown so affectionately calls dual exhaust.



Imagine two harmonicas with two vocalists wailing to a huge climax of blues.







The kitchen opens at 6 p.m. with the show set to start at 8:30.



$25 advance tickets are available at Bop City Records.







For dinner reservations and other information, call 250-702-MILO (6456).



— Joe's Garage
- Comox Valley Record


Discography

Live at The Sidetrack Cafe' _1991 (cassette)
Beware Of Dog _1992 inde
Home Is Where The Harp Is _1994 Candlelight Records
available on iTunes
Unleashed _ 1995 inde
also available on iTunes
Once In A Howlin' Moon _ 2000. Vat Records
Above and Beyond _ 2010 Dogbreath Records
Naturally _ 2011 Dogbreath Records

Photos

Bio


Having been in the business as a touring, and recording artist for over thirty years, Harpdog Brown has shared the stage with such greats as Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Pinetop Perkins, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, The Powder Blues Band,
Willie MacCalder, Jack de Keyzer, Fathead, Donald Ray Johnson, and the late Dutch Mason to name a few.

In 1994, Harpdog was nominated for two Muddy awards from Portland Oregon’s Cascade Blues Association.
1: Best regional Blues Band
2: Best N.W. Blues Release.
They won the later (the only Canadian to receive this honor) and in 1995 he was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Blues Album, “Home Is Where the Harp Is”.

Harpdog Brown is one of Canada’s truly gifted blues artists. He’s a lifer in the world of musical gypsies, travelling near and far to share his substantial talents in story and song.

A gifted singer and an imaginative harp player, he brings traditional blues into the 21st century.
With six CDs under his belt, working with two different duos as well as with his band The Bloodhounds, the Dog puts his individual stamp on everything he does.

He is pure blues at its best; absolutely the genuine item. The real deal.

Harpdog Brown's latest recording "Naturally" was voted #1 Canadian Blues Album of the year by the Blind Lemon Blues Top 20 of 2011