When it seems like much of Canadian blues is disconnected from the genre’s African roots, history and influences, along comes Blackburn to represent. The brothers’ great-great-grandfather Elias Earls was born a slave in Kentucky in 1833. In Boston, he met an Owen Sound woman and headed north to Canada, settling near the most northern terminus (retreat for the Underground Railroad).
This band of literal brothers — Duane, Brooke and Cory Blackburn plus Andrew Stewart — are a soul fraternity whose father Bobby Dean Blackburn (a former boxer turned R&B, blues and rock ‘n’ roll artist and road warrior who’s still performing) has been a seminal figure in the Toronto music scene for over 30 years. Their dad brought home rehearsal tapes and musicians frequented their house. Growing up around music, it’s no surprise it’s in their blood and although all have had lives and educations outside music, forming a band was truly a natural evolution. From boogie jams driven by Hammond keys to slow burning laments dripping with guitar, horns and solid grooves, Blackburn infuses whatever style they’re channeling with a heavy dose of soul.
Biography by Kerry Clarke