Jerome Godboo
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Jerome Godboo

Band Blues


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The best kept secret in music



Godboo's special quality is his ability to raise an ordinary song into something explosive...wringing new meaning from old words, coaxing cadence where none previously existed.

The subject of swooning graffiti in the women's bathroom.

Commands a harmonica the way Jimi Hendrix once commanded a guitar.

That snake-like young harmonica player...I thought he was really cool.

(It is his) performance that has earned the band critical praise, a legion of loyal followers.

The toast of Toronto night clubs.

Godboo commands the stage with his cat like struts and passionate rhythms.

Godboo worked the huge, revolving stage as if born to it.

Channeling the music through his skinny body, Godboo came alive playing his array of harps with genuine style and attitude.



Jerome Godboo is like a kid set loose in a candy store. As the current impressario for the Thursday Night Jam at Jeff Healey's club in Toronto, he gets to take his pick from the plethora of talented musicians in the city, choose the set list, and he gets paid for it. Godboo is clearly thrilled.

"Every Thursday I get to hire these great people," says he and a smile stretches from ear to ear. "I always have great guitarists around me, I never really have to go looking for one.: And that has been the story from day one when he was born into a family including guitar-toting brothers Colin,Martin and Daniel who turned him on to James Cotton,Sonny Boy Williamson,Seigel-Schwall Band,Captain Beefheart,J.Giels and Junior Wells.

You might say the stage was set for Godboo to devote his life to music or you might say he didn't have a chance to go in any other direction. Either way his early exposure to music certainly put his feet on the path that has led him from Ottawa to Toronto, where he is firmly established as one of the premier live music acts in town.

Godboo's highly introspective and slightly warped lyrics seem very natural, especially when you consider the name of his first band in Ottawa," Northrop Frye".

What did the Canadian author and sage have to do with the blues? "He seemed to understand humanity - and approached it in a childlike, quizzical manner," says Godboo. A similar juvenile candour is evident in many of Godboo's lyrics and reflects a slightly twisted but acute vision of reality. "Music is a total surrender to your humanity," he says. " A lot of the show just comes out naturally and spontaneously with a subconcious element rising up, then you begin inventing based on knowing the details of your life. You can't be judging your experience."

Godboo's spontaneous soliloquies on stage certainly reflect that attitude, such as "Today I met a schoolgirl. I went home and consulted my I Ching, it said 'don't go there, man'. That's right, we've all been there." This gives Godboo and the crowd a chance to laugh at themselves and each other with an implicit dig at self sanctimony.

An accomplished harmonicist and vocalist, Godboo's talent has flourished in the fecund blues milieu. After landing in Toronto in '85, he started gigging in blues spots such as the Horseshoe,Lee's Palace Clintons and Chicago's and the notorious Hotel Isabella before forming the infamous Phantoms, who went on to become a top sell attraction in the club scene. Upon the widely mourned demise of that band, he went solo before forming his band "Deep Down". This name is indicative of the straight-ahead workings of the blues - rightfully treated as the exploration of metaphysics and musical virtuosity - which he fuses with elements of reggae and full funk with a healthy does of hard drum rock'n'roll. Sometimes there is even a hint of the flavour of moonshine and spitting.

In between Godboo has played and recorded with a who's who of performers such as Dutch Mason, Long John Baldry,The Tragically Hip, Jeff Healey,Colin James,Prince, Alannah Miles,Jack De Keyser,Billy Ray Cyrus, James Cotton,Levon Helm,Garth Hudson, Ronnie Hawkins and too many others to list. Besides this, he works indefatigably on recording his own CD's; most recently his 'Deja-Vu Baby'.

Unlike many, Deja-Vu Baby really captures the sound, the feeling of live performance, with the looseness and fluidity of a good ole boy session. You can visualize the trade-offs between the musicians on stage; there is a real sense of communal groove in a way that is seldom reflected in modern studio productions. This reflects the philosophy of free-flow improvisaiton that allows Deja-Vu Baby to showcase each artist through the often bouncy and whimsical arrangements. In the transmission from live performance to disc, this is all too often lost; in fact too many bands are incapable of transcending that barrier, thus losing the emotion and excitement they are capable of generating on stage.

This elasticity, lack of rigidity, so well reflected on the album is central to Godboo's approach. To him, improvising on stage is a function of the communication between the musicians and opens the door to making each song bigger and better every time. "Forget duplication (of any rendition) on stage," says Godboo. "I don't like to deal with expectations; trying to guess what other people want is useless."

Further, when working with outside players, he prefers to hit the stage with little more than cursory rehearsal. ("They're all pros, there's no sense worrying.")

Certain songs or treatments may be more apropos to one moment than another. This invites a rapport with the audience based on honesty and emotion that is the backbone of the blues experience. When asked how he prepares mentally for a show, Godboo says "I just breathe: breathe and feel my body, then I go for a walk to the stage and I breathe and look at the band, then I feel the audien - Performing Arts - Autumn 2002


The Pain & The Glory - 2005
Live From Tel Aviv - 2006
One Monkey - 2000


Feeling a bit camera shy



After more than two decades of inspiring and electrifying audiences in his
home base of Toronto and far beyond, Jerome Godboo is becoming a legend. Yet the
vocalist and harp-blower extraordinaire continues to expand and mature as a
songwriter, recording artist and stellar performer.

His two latest CDs display a full range of talents: The Pain and the Glory
is a tight, focused mix of original songs and covers in a Toronto studio
with several old friends in 2005. Live In Tel Aviv (2006), features Jerome
stretching out in front of an audience that is experiencing the full force
for the first time - and they are clearly energized by the big, fat and
inventive blues sound that they hear.

The two CDs are the latest additions to a long and diverse catalogue. Born
in Victoria, Jerome exploded onto the scene in Toronto in the late 1980s
with the Phantoms, a high-energy blues and rock phenomenon. The band
recorded two albums for A&M (Pleasure Puppets and Raw), notched a
top-selling single with "Home" and shot nine videos. The Phantoms tore up
packed theatres and nightclubs from coast to coast, and Jerome - wiry,
cat-like and sporting his distinctive belt of harmonicas - was selected
Front Man of the Year by the Toronto Star.

The Phantoms went their separate ways in 1994, and Jerome has recorded six
CDs of his own since then -- Live at Grossman1s, One Monkey, Déjà vu Baby
and Live at Healey's, plus the two latest additions. He's also been the
harmonica player of choice on recordings by many of his idols and
contemporaries, including Dutch Mason (I"m Back), Jeff Healey (Cover to
Cover), Jack De Keyzer (Hard Workin' Man)Ronnie Hawkins(Still Cruisin') and Jimmy Bowskill (the Juno
Award-nominated Soap Bars and Dog Ears) and Grammy Award winner Alannah
Myles' forthcoming new LP.

On-stage, Jerome can shine in any setting and musical genre. He has appeared
with an astonishing range of performers, including Pinetop Perkins, Levon
Helm, Garth Hudson, Jose Feliciano, Billy Ray Cyrus, Prince, Long John
Baldry and the Tragically Hip. Recent highlights include standing ovations
at the legendary Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago, the 2005 Montreal Jazz
Festival and Moses Znaimer1s 2005 Idea City Conference in Toronto, an
eclectic and influential annual gathering of leaders and thinkers from
around the globe.

All in all, it1s a potent mix, one that combines the still-vibrant musical
legacy of more than a century of the blues with a passion and urgency that
constantly renews itself.


Michele Bateman
Decent Exposure Artist Representation
Box 853
South River, ON.
Canada P0A 1X0
(705) 386-7678