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n, Ontario, Canada

n, Ontario, Canada


Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada


Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Published on Feb 08, 2008

They call their show "Niagara's best kept secret."
Those words are right on the poster hanging on the wall in the warm
and rustic The Anchorage, where the exposed brick walls hint at its
former life as an engine factory in the early 1900s. There, every
Saturday night for the past two years, The Niagara Rhythm Section
has been entertaining patrons with blues, rock, jazz and, well,
whatever sounds they happen to fancy that particular.
The band, made up of bassist Steve Goldberger, guitarist Steve
Grisbrook, drummer Dave Norris, percussionist Penner MacKay and
Herb Nelson on keyboard, keeps the music fresh by inviting a special guest each week.
It's the guest who sets the tone for the night, Goldberger said, with the band going along for the ride.
"If they want to do Moondance in hip hop, we'll do it," he said.
The Feb. 2 show featured Toronto blues singer Johnny Max, someone they've played with many times
before. The familiarity is evident in the easy back and forth between Max and his bandmates for the night.
Jokes and playful banter are mixed between the songs.
"But a lot of times, the first time somebody comes in, we have no idea what they're going to do,"
Goldberger said. "That's the beauty of it."
There's only one rule for the Saturday Night Showcase Series -- no rehearsals allowed.
Each week can feature an entirely different sound, from rock and blues, to jazz, folk, Brazilian and county.
The Niagara Rhythm Section is off Feb. 9, with special guests Accordion Crimes in their place. Upcoming
shows starting Feb. 16, will features guests Maz Cann, Maria Aurigema, Gayle Ackroyd & Ed Kopala,
Lance Anderson and Mark Rutherford.
A schedule of guests for the Saturday Night Showcase Series can be found at - NIAGARA THIS WEEK

C:\Documents and Settings\Steve.GBH\Desktop\live @ the Ank\CD review Diane Wells.wpd

CD Review by D.M. Wells
This brand-new 10-song disk celebrates the 4th anniversary of the Niagara Rhythm Section’s
(NRS) “Saturday Night Musical Improv” at The Anchorage in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The core
formation of the band is comprised of Steve Goldberger on bass and vocals, Dave Norris on
drums and Penner MacKay on percussion, Steve Grisbrook on guitar and Herb Nelson on keys.
It features a variety of players who have been featured with the NRS in the weekly series over
those years, some of them on repeat occasions. Although their musical friends are of both the
male and female persuasion, this first compilation features just the guys. I’ve been assured that
some female guests will be included on the second disk.
It starts off with a mellow funky groove, interpreting the Jordan/Hickman/Bartley blues classic
“Early in the Morning”, featuring Steve Goldberger on vocals and bass, Denis Keldie on keys, and
Neil Chapman on electric blues guitar – all very tasteful.
John Mays of Fathead, who has now apparently started up his own band, takes over the vocal
microphone on a rhumba version of Mike Bloomfield’s “Georgia Swing”.
Since these performances are all live improvisations, the basic songs morph into jams that are
substantial in duration, one being as long as 12 minutes, and the majority lasting around seven.
Johnny Max, ever the comedian, intros “Loozianna” Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie” by
stating “I’m not really drunk; I’m hammered – there’s a difference. It’s what I look for in a
woman; I don’t think it’s the other way around.” You have to interpret that properly to see the
humour. In any case, the players and audience sound like they are having lot of fun. Johnny
displays his deep, irrepressibly sexy, vocals (not unlike TJ’s own pipes), with “The Stevie
McGeeGees - and Dave” funkin’ up the musical proceedings.
Guitarist Steve Grisbrook does the vocals on made-for-blues Leiber/Stoller/Pomus’s
“Youngblood”, recorded in a classic rock mode by The Coasters in 1957. The Beatles also
covered it in their early live performances. Either Ed Kopala or Steve Grisbrook cleverly
incorporates Deep Purple’s famous “Smoke on the Water” lick into the song.
Downchild vocalist Chuck Jackson got the crowd howlin’, too, on Chester Burnett’s “Who’s
Been Talkin’”, naturally accompanying nicely on harmonica, too, on this lively, mid-tempo
“Who’s Been Talkin’” blends in seamlessly with Roscoe Gordon’s “No More Doggin’” (with a
dance contest being announced). This one’s touted as an “old-time jump blues” and features
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C:\Documents and Settings\Steve.GBH\Desktop\live @ the Ank\CD review Diane Wells.wpd
Denis Keldie on full-throated tremulous vocals similar to Chuck’s and juicy keyboards and Neil
Chapman on guitar.
Tony Springer prefaces a request for an “island song” by stating “I know you think I look so
much like Kim Mitchell”, with someone else jokingly suggesting “something by Don Ho” (e.g.
“Tiny Bubbles”), but Tony thankfully decides on Bob Marley’s “Stir It Up” (the 12-minute
version). The band gets into the groove by providing harmony and background vocals. Tony
takes the “improv” nature of the jam seriously by providing his own impromptu humorous lyrics
and patois (including a Flintstones reference), which, of course, is one of his claims to fame, apart
from his fabulous fretwork. Steve Goldberger gets to boost up the basswork here, as well. Bob,
may he ever rest in peace, would have wholeheartedly approved, I’m sure.
The now sadly-departed Joe Ingrao, to whom the recording is devoted, sings and plays piano on
a jazz-rock version of (B.B.) King/Clarke’s “Why I Sing the Blues”, with guitarist Eric Mahar
standing in for “the king of the blues”. Penner MacKay is keeping time on the drumkit and Steve
Goldberger holds down the bottom end of the mix on bass. Speaking of “bottom ends”, all of
these male singers have vocal tones well-suited to sing the blues, and Joe was certainly no
exception. If you’d never heard B.B. King’s original, you could appreciate this adaptation as it
stands, but I still prefer the original melancholy filled conveyance.
Another classic, “Green Onions”, is performed to perfection by the Niagara Rhythm Section,
with Lance Anderson majestically thrilling the listener on a Hammond B3!
Steve intros the closer, “Talk to Me”, by stating, “We’ll send you out on a ballad-y note”. This
features Cobourg’s Rob Page on keyboards and Bruce Longman on guitar and vocals. It’s a
beautiful ’50s-sounding slow-tempo rhythm and blues composed by the team of John & Seneca
that was apparently written in the ’60s, but I wasn’t successful in tracking down the original
recording of it. Not to worry – this one will send shivers up and down your - ROCKIN THE BLUES FROM CANADA

Steve Goldberger is on bass and vocals, Dave Norris on drums and Penner MacKay on percussion
constituting the regular line-up, with Steve Grisbrook on guitar and Herb Nelson on keys frequent guests.
They have been holding forth on Saturday nights at the Anchorage Bar in Niagara-On-The-Lake for
several years now, where Goldberger lives and runs his recording studio. They usually invite a guest
along for the evening and this CD highlights these guests with the band. It opens, though, with
Goldberger on vocals, on a crowd-pleasing version of “Early In The Morning” before Fathead’s John
Mays takes on the James Cotton
favourite “Georgia Swing”. This track also elicits a small complaint in that in an effort to capture the
ambience of the live performance, some of the between song chatter is kept but the chatter deals
almost exclusively with members of the audience, leaving the listener at home mystified. Perhaps some
judicious editing will improve Version 2.0. Liquid refreshments notwithstanding, Johnny Max does a fine
version of “Polk Salad Annie”. Grisbrook tackles the Leiber & Stoller number “Youngblood” and Chuck
Jackson Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talkin’”. Denis Keldie takes the vocal on “No More Doggin’” with Neil
Chapman on guitar. Tony Springer does a twelve minute “Stir It Up”, the Bob Marley song and Lance
Anderson nails “Green Onions” on his B3 before Bruce Longman closes the CD with the ballad “Talk To
Me”. It may not be possible to maintain the cozy, live-in-a-small-club feel that this band into a CD that
one listens to in a far different setting. But a second attempt at a song later in the evening might
produce a more succinct end result. Version 2.0 could perhaps also include some women. I don’t want to
take too much away from this recording, though, because the playing is of a very high standard and I
look forward to including The Anchorage in my next visit to Niagara-On-The-Lake. Go

Niagara Rhythm Section – Live At The Anchorage 1.0 – Shed 07-12
Niagara Rhythm Section – Live At The Anchorage 2.0 – Shed 08-13
Written By John Taylor

There are tons of gigs like this going on across the country – seasoned musicians, holding court as invited guests make each week’s show a special event …

Some, of course, do it better than others. Together since 2004, The Niagara Rhythm Section play like the dream band every guest longs for – tight yet supple, responding to the musical needs of the moment with assurance and aplomb, accomplished enough to get along quite well on their own, yet selfless enough to concentrate on making the star shine.

The NRS consists of bassist Steve Goldberger (bandleader and producer, he’s responsible for recording and mixing), with Steve Grisbrook on guitars and Herb Nelson on keys. Drummer Dave Norris and percussionist Penner McKay provide the propulsion.

The theme on Volume 1.0 is predominantly bluesy, beginning with the relaxed “Early In The Morning” that kicks things off. Guests are primarily local legends, though all are first-rate performers. There’s Chuck Jackson, Downchild’s current vocalist, who contributes fine harmonica to the rhumba-rhythm “Who’s Been Talking.” Fathead’s John Mays is typically soulful on “Georgia Swing,” while Johnny Max gets suitably swampy on a sizzling “Polk Salad Annie.” Tony Springer, who’s worked with the likes of David Bowie, brings a funky sensibility to Bob Marley’s immortal “Stir It Up,” and Lance Anderson nails the Memphis groove of “Green Onions” on the B3 he actually lugs from gig to gig. Things come to a fitting close with the belly-rubbing “Talk To Me,” done here with classic bar-band beer-bottle bravado.

Volume 2.0 is a little more varied, from the opener (and NRS theme song) “Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night,” here treated as an easy-going shuffle, to a extended, funked-up instrumental take on Ellington’s “Don’t get Around Much Anymore.” There’s foot-stomping bluegrass (“Can’t Stop My Heart From Loving You,”), balls-to-the-wall rock ‘n’ roll with John Dickie leading a furious romp through “Long Tall Sally,” the obligatory Stones cover (Paul Martin, “Sympathy For The Devil,” with Martin Alex Aucoin sparkling on keys), and a spine-tingling “I’d Rather Go Blind” courtesy of Gayle Ackroyd.

Return appearances include Chuck Jackson supplying the Bob Marley content with “No Woman No Cry,” Lance Anderson playing both piano and accordion on Professor Longhair’s “Back To New Orleans,” and Tony Springer, whose interplay with Grisbrook on “I Play The Blues For You” is a highlight.

...If you are looking for an instant party platter, one that puts you in the party, either volume will provide a suitable soundtrack - Goldberger’s production strikes a fine balance between clean sound and a lively ambiance.

...Both volumes are eminently likeable outings by a solid, unpretentious, and uniformly excellent cast. Real music by real players – it’s a good thing! - Canadian

Niagara Rhythm Section Live at The Anchorage 2.0 Shed

This long running Saturday night gig at the Anchorage Inn in Niagara-On-The Lake has just been renewed. Steve Goldberger is the vocalist/bassist, bandleader and recording engineer, with Dave Nelson on drums and Penner McKay on percussion. Herb Nelson often sits in on keys as does Steve Grisbrook on guitar. There is an invited guest every Saturday and Version 2.0 has an even more diverse guest list than did Version 1.0. Chuck Jackson does a fine job on Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” and we go from reggae to jazz with Mark Rutherford leading the band on piano for Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”. Susanne Hyatt from the Odyssey Blues Band drove down the highway from St. Catharines to contribute “Standing On Shaky Ground”. Lance Anderson returns to play some Professor Longhair this time, “Back To New Orleans”. Tony Springer “Plays The Blues For You” and is in excellent form. I haven’t heard much from Gayle Ackroyd since the early days of the Blues Society and she turns in a heartfelt version of “I’d Rather Go Blind” here. John Dickie does a rousing “Long Tall Sally” that really raises the energy level. We really do need a live John Dickie album soon! This man knows how to work a crowd. The band ends the CD with a country song, “Come From The Heart”. The easiest and most enjoyable way of getting these CDs would be for you to head on down to Niagara-On-The-Lake. The Anchorage Inn is on Ricardo St.

- John Valenteyn, - Toronto Blues Society



Honourable Mentions:

Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir/Ten Thousand/Shoutin' Abner Pim

Del Junco, Carlos/Steady Movin'/NorthernBlues

Loco Zydeco/Time To Turn The Key/flamingcheese

Wild T & The Spirit/Fender Bender/JazzhausTop Twenty

And now the top 20, counting down:

20 Rotundo, David Band/Live at Roc 'N Doc's/Stone Pillar

19 McCord, Scott/Blues For Sunshine

18 Chiarelli, Rita/Uptown Goes Downtown/Mad Iris

17 JW-Jones/Blueslisted/NorthernBlues

16 McLean, Big Dav/ Acoustic Blues/Stony Plain

15 Whiskey Howl/Whiskey Howl/Pacemaker

14 Manx, Harry/Live at the Glenn Gould/Dog My Cat

13 Reddick, Paul/Sugar Bird/NorthernBlues

12 Garrett, Amos/Get Way Back/Stony Plain

11 Wayne, Kenny "Blues Boss"/Can't Stop Now/Electro-Fi

10 Bharath & His Rhythm Four/Friday Night Fatty/Self

9 Porkbelly Futures/Porkbelly Futures/Cordova Bay

8 Niagara Rhythm Section/Live At the Anchorage 2.0/ Shed

7 Zoe, Layla/Live at Errington Hall/Layla

6 Blues Element/Are You Ready/Self

5 Fauth, Julian/Ramblin' Son/Electro-Fi

4 Niagara Rhythm Section/Live at the Anchorage 1.0/Shed

3 Levasseur, Treasa/Low Fidelity/Slim Chicken

2 Healey, Jeff/Mess of Blues/Stony Plain

1 DeAdder, Lou/Mister Eclectic/

There you have it! Please remember... I didn't pick them... I just counted the votes! Thanks to all who voted, sent music, or lent their support! Remember, always support independent Blues Radio; if you don't, the Howard Sterns will take over the world!

Many thanks, Terry Parsons, CHMR FM
- Terry Parsons, CHMR FM


The weekly musical journeys are worthy of documentation. Hence, the live archive. Two CD's have been released to date with volume 3.0 in the works.


Featuring the Niagara Rhythm Section (the NRS) and their weekly guests every Saturday night since 2003.

This first volume features the late great keyboard man, Joe Ingrao who was a regular member of the NRS in it's early years. Joe was well known for his work with Liberty Silver, Long John Baldry and the Lincolns, to name a of few of the hundreds of bands he worked with over his all too short career. Other guests include, Chuck Jackson (of the Downchild Blues Band), Denis Keldie, the most in demand session keyboard player around, Neil Chapman (Buffy St. Marie, Sat. Night Fishfry, Pukka Orchestra, Satellites), John Mays (Fathead), Lance Anderson (Anderson/Sloski, Shakura S'Aida) Bruce Longman (Slowpoke), Johnny Max and the amazing Tony Springer (Wild T).

Track 1: EARLY IN THE MORNING (moderate blues) Steve Goldberger,vocal - Denis Keldie, keyboards and Neil Chapman, guitar
Track 2: GEORGIA SWING (up-tempo rhumba blues) John Mays, vocals
Track 3: POKE SALAD ANNIE (Louisiana swamp) Johnny Max, vocals
Track 4: YOUNGBLOOD (rockin') Steve Grisbrook, vocal - Denis Keldie, organ and Ed Kopala, guitar
Track 5: WHO'S BEEN TALKIN (minor rhumba blues) Chuck Jackson, vocals & harmonica
Track 6: NO MORE DOGGIN' (Old time jump blues) Denis Keldie, vocals & keyboards - Neil Chapman, guitar
Track 7: STIR IT UP (reggae) Tony Springer, vocals & guitar
Track 8: WHY I SING THE BLUES (rockin') featuring the late, great, Joe Ingrao, vocals & piano
Track 9: GREEN ONIONS (the classic) featuring Lance Anderson on the Hammond organ
Track 10: TALK TO ME (another classic 60's tune) Bruce Longman, vocals & guitar - Rob Page, keys

LIVE AT THE ANCHORAGE 2.0 features 12 tracks a variety of styles and artists.

* Chuck Jackson lead does a great reggae version of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”.
* Lance Anderson does Professor Longhair’s “Back to New Orleans”
* Mark Rutherford does a swampy version of Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”
* Tony Springer sings an soulful version of Albert King’s “I Play the Blues for You”
* Gayle Ackroyd does a heartfelt version of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind”
* Mark Lalama does a great medley of Randy Newman’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On” combined with Billy Preston’s “Nothin’ From Nothin” and “Will it go Round in Circles”
* John Dickie rocks out on the classic “Long Tall Sally”
* Paul Martin and Martin Aucoin tear up the joint with the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”
* Bob McNiven does a great bluegrass tune “Can’t Stop My Heart From Loving You”
* Suzanne Hyatt funks the house with the classic “Standing on Shaky Ground”
* And Steve Goldberger sings a couple heart-felt tunes including Tom Waites’ “The Heart of Saturday Night” and the Fringe Locals’ signature tune “Come From the Heart” written by Susanna Clarke and Richard Leigh

For more info visit



2008 Niagara Music Award winners, The Niagara Rhythm Section, Canada’s hottest back-up band and their weekly guests have been performing every Saturday night since 2003 at The Anchorage Inn in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada.

Each week they invite a different Canadian artist to be their guest and the put on an unrehearsed two-hour show of live improvised music. Their guests have included both well-known "name" artists as well as some of the most in demand studio musicians in the country. They come from far and wide to spend a night with these stellar musicians and groove on the wonderful vibe.

Over their tenure at the wonderful Anchorage Inn in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake, the range of styles and talents over the years has been everything from jazz, to country, to Brazilian funk, to blues and folk. From sidemen to front men, sometimes the artists are well known to the public and sometimes, they are the studio guys that are only really well known to fellow musicians.

Some of the guests over the years have been: Chuck Jackson, Tony Springer, Carlos Del Junco, Lance Anderson, Denis Keldie, Johnny Max, Gayle Ackroyd, Mark Lalama, John Dickie, Steve Grisbrook, John Mays, Al Lerman, Danny Marks, Jerome Godboo, Maria Aurigema, Cleveland Fats, Neil Chapman, Whiskey Jack, Tom Leighton & Conrad Kipping, Blair Packham, Bruce Longman, Steve Strongman, Suzanne Hyatt and many more amazing talents.

The players in the Niagara Rhythm Section are no slouches either. Each week these seasoned veterans, hailing originally from Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto, walk in and back up these guests with no rehearsal or preparation.

Most weeks, bandleader and record producer, Steve Goldberger will lug his 16 track mobile recording rig down to the club and record the show. Produced and mixed later at his “Hitsville NOTL/Shed Studios, these CD’s are a result of these efforts and capture some of the amazing moments and great improvised jams.