A girl’s perspective on the sounds you’ll hear at Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle
Words by Jennifer Wanzel and Kristy Elik

After raising three kids between the two of us, we’re making it our mission to get back out into the world and experience all the exciting to-do’s we’ve been putting off. Last month, we tackled the hills of Braeben for an afternoon of golf.

For our second foray out into a more adult playground, we sat down with blues legend and Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle cofounder Chuck Jackson to get some expert advice about the hottest performers appearing at this year’s Festival, taking place the weekend of September 9 to 11.

Chuck suggested we take a listen to the music of several award-winning blues and jazz artists who are set to appear at the Festival. Here’s our not-so-expert review, as well as some tips from a couple of chicks about the Port Credit hotspots you’ll want to find yourself at over the weekend.

We hope you enjoy our adventure! If you have any suggestions for us: i.e. trips to exotic locales, mud baths, shucking oysters, etc. please feel free to contact us at [email protected]. And see you there!

p.s. Look for us at the Festival! We’ll be hanging out all weekend in our special Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle MississaugaLife hot pink t-shirts. Tweet our pic to @mississaugalife for a chance to win a dinner with Chuck at Roc’ n’ Doc’s.

The first band Jenne and Kristy listened to was The Blind Boys of Alabama. Kristy had no idea that all eight members of this gospel-inspired group are actually blind: “it makes their incredible talent that much more extraordinary,” she says. “I can picture myself at a church in the deep south, swaying along with the congregation in time to the music,” Jenne laughs. The verdict? The Blind Boys are a must-see…

Next up, we heard the soulful sounds of Mavis Staples. Fresh off her first Grammy win for Best Americana Album (You Are Not Alone), this icon of rhythm and blues gospel began her career singing with her family’s band, The Staple Singers, in 1950. Jenne and Kristy were both moved by her music; a human rights activist whose song Eye on the Prize is about the battle against racism, Staples’ passion is evident with every note she belts out. The verdict? Mavis Staples offers a highly emotional, thought-provoking journey.

The Johnny Max Band was next on our playlist. Nominated for Juno Awards in both 2010 and 2011, Johnny’s music, according to his bio, “doesn’t always follow conventional Blues lines… this veteran of the musical wars favours substance rather than convention.” We love the substance!! Jenne says she “felt like slapping a tambourine against her thigh the whole time,”
while Kristy loved this showman’s sense of humour. The verdict? Toe-tapping fun.

On the schedule next for us was Matt Andersen, a solo artist whose work is at once rapturous and brooding. “You can appreciate his immense musical talent as you listen to his magic fingers pluck notes from his guitar,” Jenne emotes. Covering such well-known hits as John Denver’s Country Roads and Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine, Andersen’s music is simply mesmerizing. The verdict? Andersen is one with his guitar and you can feel his passion.

Big Bill Morganfield is the son of Muddy Waters, and both Jenne and Kristy were astounded by the authenticity of this artist’s music. “This is real blues to me,” says Kristy. Adding to the back-to-the-bayou sound is the complement of Morganfield’s guitar to the whine of a sole harmonica. The verdict? An amazing Southern blues gem.

Our next listen was to two-time Juno Award and seven-time Maple Blues Award winner Jack de Keyzer and both of us were blown away by the smooth sound of this legendary artist. The verdict? The late Jeff Healey called him “The finest blues guitarist in Canada”— and we agree.

Last but definitely not least, Jenne and Kristy listened to the great music of the Downchild Blues Band, fronted by none other than our own Chuck Jackson. Rumour has is that Downchild was Dan Aykroyd’s inspiration for The Blues Brothers. We get why! The verdict? Flip Flop and Fly and I’ve Got Everything I Need (Almost) are must-hears live. We’re really excited for this year’s 13th Annual Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle Blues & Jazz Festival, taking place in Port Credit the weekend of September 9 to 11.

Aside from all of the amazing talent we’ve listened to here, there are many more artists scheduled to perform—on stage at the Blues Pavilion in Memorial Park, at the Maximum JamStage at the Royal Canadian Legion, in all of the bar and clubs in town, and on Lakeshore Road and beyond for Saturday’s Street Shuffle from 2 to 6 p.m. And then there’s the food and the drinks and the people-watching!

One of the highlights of the Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle for both Jenne and Kristy is always the Junior Jam. This year, the Jam takes place on Saturday, September 10 at 11:30 a.m. in the Canadian Blues Pavilion. Without fail, amazing young talent turns up to perform on stage with Mark ‘Bird’ Stafford and his band.

Visit www.southsideshuffle.com. And see you there!