Music review: Gary Sappier Blues Band - Who Ya Foolin'?

The Tobique First Nation's Gary Sappier has hit a nice stretch in his career. For the past couple of years, there have been new CD's, followed up by local and North American award nominations and some high-profile gigs. There have been five discs over a decade, including two in the last couple of years, the latest called Who Ya Foolin'? He's earned ECMA nominations for Best Aboriginal Album, and last year had a breakthrough with a nomination at the Aboriginal People's Choice Music Awards, and he was also selected to perform. That televised show is for all of North America, boosting Sappier's profile. This year, he's been nominated for three awards: Aboriginal Artist of the Year, Best Blues CD and Best Group/Duo of the Year, major stuff. The awards are chose by the fans, based on website listens and votes. The voting has now close, and Sappier finds out Sept. 12 at the Awards Gala in Winnipeg.

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The latest from the blues band sees Sappier surrounded by a big group of funky players, with lots of sax, keys, solid lead guitar from Smokin' Tom Moulton, and a little harp from guest Lonesome Jim Lawrence. Sappier doesn't stick to one style, putting the band through its paces. A pair of cuts, Fripp Jazz and Fripp Blues, explore those two sides, the former a smooth love song with sax, and the latter nasty stuff right out of the tavern. Tobique Blues fits into the Matt Minglewood-East Coast Blues school, a snapshot of home, warts and all: "We're living on love in a broken down house/Oh baby, I got the Tobique Blues." You Are My Lady is a sweetly-sung ballad, and Awe Funk! showcases the popping bass of Byron Simon. You can check in on APTN on Sept. 12 to see if Gary and the group will bring home any of those awards.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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