The Blackburn family name is tied to the history of the Underground Railroad in Canada, as they are direct descendants of Elias Earls, who was born a slave in Kentucky in 1833 and made his way North to Owen Sound. Elias was the great-great grandfather of Bobby Dean Blackburn who was a seminal blues and R&B Toronto artist in the 1960s and who remains an active performer to this day. His sons Duane, Brooke, Cory and Robert, along with bassman, Andrew Stewart, comprise the band Blackburn. Growing up in the Blackburn household they were schooled in the soul and gospel influences of the Church as well as the stirring jazz, R&B and blues backdrop of their dad’s live performances.
Brooke Blackburn states that with instruments in the house and musicians visiting all the time, as kids, coming together as a band was just something they did organically. Their musical journey together has seen them recognized with a 2016 Juno nomination for Blues Album of the Year, a Maple Blues Award as Best New Band in 2010, and a reputation earned on the blues festival circuit as one of Canada’s most dynamic live bands. With the release of their Juno-nominated Brothers in This World, it’s all here – authentic, original blues with a pure message, funky backbeats to ignite any audience and the collective musical prowess to rekindle why you fell in love with soul rich blues in the first place.
The blues will always have a home on our stage. We welcome this band of brothers to Hilton Beach fresh off their first ever Juno nomination!