Eight time Maple Blues winner and Big Reed Records recording artist Carlos del Junco and his Blues Mongrels return to the Tidemark Theatre on Saturday, March 16 as part of a 14-stop tour of Western Canada.
As one magazine reviewer said: “…if you think what he can do in the studio is jaw dropping, you have to see him live to get the gist of his uncanny ability.” (Jeffrey Morgan, Creem Magazine). A case in point, he opened for Ray Charles in 2003 at Toronto’s Sony Centre and sold out of his 150 CDs in the 20-minute break before Charles came on!
del Junco has toured many parts of the globe and is considered one the world’s greatest living harmonica players, he’s released seven solo (band) CDs and three duo collaborative CDs. A dynamic live performer, he’s played virtually every major blues, folk and jazz festival in Canada. Also, in addition to two Juno nominations, del Junco won two gold medals for both blues and jazz categories at the Hohner World Harmonica Championships in 1993 in Germany.
del Junco fashions sound the way Michelangelo sculpted his David: with daring and sensuality (del Junco actually graduated from Ontario College of Arts in his mid twenties with honours majoring in sculpture). He is a pioneer of the “overblow” technique, allowing him to play a 10-hole diatonic harmonica fully chromatically. The result is stunning: an eclectic blend of soundscapes from the sublime to quirky that often conjure different instruments, from the sax to an electric guitar, and from violin to the bagpipes.
Simultaneously sophisticated and raw, his playing blurs the boundaries between blues, jazz and “roots” music (hence the name for his band The Blues Mongrels). The emphasis is on blues, but del Junco (a fine singer as well) and his band (Eric St. Laurent on guitar, Henry Heillig on upright bass) are not afraid to merrily traipse off in other directions delivering a seamless fusion of New Orleans second line grooves, swing, ska, swampy roots rock, to singer/songwriter themes. Get ready to trash all you thought about the harmonica, Carlos del Junco and The Blues Mongrels deliver a no holds barred display of melodic fun and virtuosity.
His CD Release Concert for “Hang On” will be Saturday, March 16 7:30 p.m. at the Tidemark Theatre, 1220 Shoppers Row, Campbell River. Tickets are $37 and are available by calling the box office at 250-287-7465 or online at tidemarktheatre.com