Monday, March 19, 2018

Ron Campbell & the bLUES bUSTERS throw a haymaker with 'The Main Event'

album uses boxing metaphor to deliver the blues

“The Main Event” is 16 original tracks from Canadian blues band Ron Campbell & the bLUES bUSTERS (

Though perhaps little known internationally, the bLUESbUSTERS are hardly novices; in a career stretching back to the mid-'60s, they've honed their blues chops on a thousand smoky roadhouse stages and are the pride of their hometown, Powell River, Canada. Guitarist/songwriter Ron Campbell has charted on college radio, has written for film and stage, and has won several songwriting awards.

“I've been doing this for 51 years,” says Campbell. “I've recorded a few other CDs, but this -- finally -- is the one that feels right.”

Ron Campbell & the bLUESbUSTERS are a Chicago-style blues dance band with a jazzy twist. This four-piece group -- Ron Campbell (guitar/harp/vocals), Dennis Fox (bass/vocals), Neko (drums), and “Burnin'” Ted Durnin (keys/sax/vocals) -- have been described as “a cross between Joe Bonamassa and Dave Brubeck.”

Not limiting themselves to the usual guitar-based lineup, their prominent use of both saxophone and blues harp, as well as the vocal jazz-style harmonies of their three lead singers, definitely set them apart. Fans have praised their “jazzy, swinging tunes,” their “brilliant songwriting” and their “strong blues vocals.” Of their newest CD, Campbell says, “The preliminaries are over. This is the album I've worked a lifetime to create. To me, it truly is The Main Event.”

In an advance review, Blues Matters magazine said, “'The Main Event' contains something for every blues fan. The songs fit into that slow blues, slightly funky groove [with] enough shifts in mood and key to keep the listener interested. Songs like 'If The Train's On Time' have a pleasing, road-worn timbre, full of down-and-dirty slide guitar and Johnny Johnson-like piano playing. 'Ben's Bounce' is a Hammond organ, harmonica and saxophone-led upbeat stomper. The distinctiveness of the vocals ... and a good production style present 16 original songs which all show their musicians and writers to good effect.”

Once described as “Canada's best-kept blues secret,” Ron Campbell & the bLUESbUSTERS have, with 'The Main Event,' become contenders.

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