Tommy Fyfe has been helping to keep the blues alive for 30 years in Sudbury. July 15 and 16, he will celebrate 30 years with the Whiskey River Blues Band at the Townehouse Tavern. Through two nights and a Saturday matinee, Sudbury will get to see Whiskey River play with many past members along with featured appearances by Toronto’s Jerome Godboo, the 2014 winner at the Memphis International Harp Contest and Chuck Jackson the vocalist for 26 years for the legendary Downchild Blues Band. The evenings start shortly after 9 pm and the Matinee, which will be a family friendly affair will start at 4 pm, Saturday.
As the founder of The Whiskey River Blues Band, he has had the opportunity to play with his heroes, learn many different catalogs of music, play almost every event and venue in the city (including every one of 26 Blues for Food concerts). The Whiskey River Blues Band is a familiar name, but the type of event and the depth of knowledge of the players means you never know what you are going to get with a Whiskey River show.
They could step out and play a night of Muddy Waters, a night of modern blues and rock from the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Cream, Clapton, Allman Brothers, Johnny Winter… or they could lay down a Rhythm and Blues and Soul groove from the greats like Wilson Picket, Sam and Dave, James Brown, Freddy King, Marvin Gaye. Of course, there is also several albums that Tom Fyfe has issued under his own name and Whiskey River that have garnered him praise from venerable organizations like Toronto Blues Society as a writer.
The current line-up has Tom on guitar, vocals and harps, Pete Larabie on Organ and Piano, and Steve Malick on drums. They have been the steady players for nearly 10 years. Andy Bedard was a long time member of this line-up on Bass and has recently been covered by Paul Loewenberg. Most every show also sees the appearance for at least a few songs of Tom’s daughter, Stephanie Fyfe. Stephanie began carrying on the family music tradition on stage with Whiskey River or her own bands for 13 years. Over the years, The Whiskey River Blues Band has either counted as a member or collaborated with most of the Blues and R&B players in the community. In addition, Tom has been a steady promoter of Blues shows at various venues and halls around the community, bringing in many of the finest Canadian Blues artists over the years.