Terry Gillespie

Terry Gillespie

 Vankleek Hill, Ontario, CAN

after experiencing Terry's performance, we would absolutely welcome him back anytime.
C. Anderson, Minstrel Café & Bar, Kelowna, BC

It was World-Class Fun and a World-Class performance
What a band! And Terry is a star and a gentleman too.
Paul, Blacksheep, Wakefield, QC



Dual USA/CAN citizen - can travel freely.

"The blues is the root, the rest is the fruit." Willie Dixon

In the mid 1960’s, Michigan was a very different place than it is now – and even more different than the small village of Vankleek Hill, Ontario Canada where guitarist, singer and songwriter Terry Gillespie now resides. Coming of age in in the USA, Canadian born Gillespie was a crafty teen who wanted nothing more than to join in and immerse himself in the roots of American music. When he was 16 or 17, the drinking age in Michigan was 21. Gillespie was six feet tall and wore a sport coat, shades and a skinny moustache that he drew on his top lip with ink. Terry would sneak in to the bars where jazz and blues music was being played – and ultimately where Gillespie would cut his teeth as a blues and roots musician in his own right. It was in these bars and clubs that Terry began to hone his craft by snapping up opportunities to play with legends including Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker.
1968 brought young Gillespie to Canada. He found peace and community among the musicians and artists and helped create a vibrant musical scene. Gillespie formed Heaven’s Radio – who were widely considered the best band to come out of Ottawa in the '70s. Their highly acclaimed albums of the early 80s, 'Active' and 'Uptown Babies', were re-released as a box set in May 2007. Holger Petersen, President of Stony Plain Records and host of CBC’s long running Saturday Night Blues calls Heaven's Radio, "A highly under-rated band of that era."
From the very beginning of Gillespie’s foray in to the music industry he was never interested in being a pop star. He just wanted to play music. His goal was to get inside the music he loved, to learn the notes and nuances of the songs. Gillespie wanted to be able to deconstruct the complexities of jazz, blues and African music in order to bring it to people and allow the listener to also get inside the music and be lost among each note, each phrase, each groove and each lyric.
Fast forward more than 20 years and find Terry Gillespie as he is now. Some will call him seasoned, some may call him a veteran and others will call him a survivor – a survivor of the excesses of the music industry. A survivor indeed – though Gillespie does not dwell on the past. He takes life’s lessons, trials, and triumphs and uses them to create his music. His musical influences are diverse - drawing from his love of reggae, African music, jazz, and of course, blues.
Terry Gillespie has been called a musical Shaman, Canada's King of Roots Music and Mr. Groove for good reason - his live performances are fascinating, entertaining and captivating in a way that allows the audience to pay attention and not be distracted from the music by egotistical showmanship and maniacal guitar playing. He is both charismatic and soulful. His guitar is tasteful, his vocals beautifully phrased and he is backed by an energy of sound that pulls people off their chairs and onto the dance floor. Those in attendance at Terry Gillespie shows are part of the show, with each audience member an integral part of the band; they too become one with the music.
Terry Gillespie regularly performs in clubs and on festival stages throughout Canada. Twice he has performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in recent years; he has recorded two CDs (Big Money and Brother of The Blues) and has produced music for others; and in September 2007, Terry had the honour of forming a 13-piece international band to play a two-day wedding for Sacha, the son of former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau. In early 2012 Terry Gillespie represented the Ottawa Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN where they were well received by new fans from across the globe.
"Terry Gillespie is one of the most sincerely talented musicians in Canada. He's a bluesman to the core, but not in the traditional sense for he has range and influences that take it to a whole new level. His blues is the truth and it comes through with every word and melody he wraps his soulful voice around. This is real."
- Sue Foley


Can't Remember The Blues

Written By: Terry Gillespie

woke up this morning with a suitcase in my hand
in a happy place in a happy land
with a brand new face I'm a brand new man
there's nothing in the world I don't understand
long time past since I paid my dues
I can't remember the blues

I don't drink whiskey I don't drink wine
I ain't seen the devil in a long long time
everything seems to be all right
when I lay down I sleep all night
nothing left in the world for me to do
I can't remember the blues
I do everything I'm supposed to do
I can"t remember the blues

when the sun comes up it shines on me
nobody ever was so free
I gave it all away I got no load
now I'm walking down a sandy road
I got no socks I got no shoes
I can't remember the blues

I got no phone
I don't get the news


" Terry has been the driving force behind many successful musical configurations over the years including the legendary Ottawa roots/blues/reggae band Heaven's Radio. His current collaboration in the Terry Gillespie Trio with fiddler/bassist Lyndell Montgomery (formerly with Ember Swift) and drummer/percussionist Wayne Stoute (originally from Trinidad) is spectacular." Chris Wihite, co-founder and AD 1994-2009 Ottawa Folk Festival

Heaven's Radio Active
Uptown Babies
Wadi Draa
Brother of the Blues
Monkey Hunger
Big Money

Set List

Terry plays with a 5 piece Band, or DUO or Trio.
All our sets include originals and interpretations. Terry has over 200 tunes in his current repertoire: blues, soul, R&B, Americana and roots.
Monkey Hunger
In The Park
Yellow Moon
Love Again
Brother of the Blues
Rue Guy Boogie
Carl Nicholson aka Van Morrison
Big Boy
Cold Ground
Those Days Are Gone
Change My Style
Bath Tub
What Would Bo Diddley Do
Big Chief
Check Out Your Mind
Decoration Day
Junco Partner
Louisiana Blues
Every Day I Have The Blues
Uptown Babies
I Ain’t Got It
The Round and Round
New Mown Lawn
Keep On Running
Rough Rider
Soul Rebel
River of Jordan
Heed the Word
of the Lord
When I Come Back
To Ya
Natural Girl
Uptown Babies
I Ain’t Got It
The Round and Round
New Mown Lawn
Keep On Running
Rough Rider
Soul Rebel
River of Jordan
Heed the Word
of the Lord
When I Come Back To Ya
Natural Girl