Shufflin' The Blues
A new live album entitled "Shufflin' The Blues" was released on Sept 23/2016 to rave reviews (see Press page and EPK) and world wide radio airplay - which included reaching the # 1 spot on the Roots Music Report charts for acoustic blues as well as #9 in the Top 50 Canadian Blues Album charts for 2016 - followed by a highly successful month long Canadian tour and a return to the Kaslo Jazz Fest in 2017, sharing the bill with David Vest, Blue Moon Marquee, Sonny Rhodes and The Sheepdogs.
. Holly Hyatt and Jon Burden are dealing from the Classic Blues deck, reminding us why generations continue to be inspired by it. In addition to Muddy Waters’, Blow Wind Blow Jon uses a nimble slide to pull Robert Johnson’s, Come On In My Kitchen out of the battered body of a guitar known as Gonzo. Holly’s originals, Let’s Boogie, Lowdown Blues and Get Your Own Man swing and sway as naturally as if they were themselves old blues standards. When she gets into the scat vocals on Slushy Blues, the room warms up yet another notch. Here, she’s as good as any blues torch singer ever was. Moving to a fast shuffle beat, this is no slow seduction. She’s astutely taken her cues from her heroines—Eva Cassidy and Bonnie Raitt—and has made of them something distinctly her own.
Jon’s social conscience is often subtly reflected in his song choices on their three albums. Memphis Slim’s, Mother Earth Blues and Left-Handed Soul tip his hat toward a concern for the planet and the impact of consumerism. Yet he manages to avoid making you feel like you’re listening to a sermon, achieving a languid groove and soul-inflected vocal to lull you into the dance. Its refrain is in perfect tune with the blues spirit: “I feel so cold / living in this right-handed world / with my left-handed soul…"
Black Crow is an utterly wonderful original with a lovely acoustic guitar line anchoring and propelling the song. The lyrics represent a fascinating growth in their songwriting: “So much possibility / so much probability… So many questions / so many answers / will they meet up in the end?” This is a questing, questioning soul, keen to make the most of possibility. And aware that it requires a crow’s watchfulness, its legendary ability to shapeshift to a new form to meet life’s challenges.
Holly takes us gracefully shuffling home in Slushy Blues, leaving you wishing there would have been time for about 10 more songs. This is the magic of the blues—you walk out half on air.
Sean Arthur Joyce/2016
Holly actually began singing and composing blues based melodies at the age of five and got her start in the entertainment business at the tender age of nine . She began playing bass in elementary school, played bass and sang in various jazz combo's and sang jazz, swing and blues fronting a big band in high school. Holly studied voice for two years with jazz/blues vocal instructor, Laura Landsberg after winning a vocal scholarship. She later enrolled in a post secondary music program where she continued to study voice under the tutelage of Cheryl Hodge and majored in performance and voice. During this time she was involved with the “Music Feeds” project and toured with an ensemble that paid tribute to Canadian music from the 60’s to the present day, played a nationally televised concert and appeared on stage with Jazz greats, The Brubreck Brothers (sons of the legendary, Dave Brubreck. “Take Five”) and with the amazing young American jazz pianist, Taylor Eigisti.
While still in high school Holly performed at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival in the US - which featured the world’s greatest bass player, Brian Bromberg – and opened for jazz/blues virtuoso, Carlos Del Junco (multiple Maple Blues Award winner) in Canada. Since then, she has appeared on stage with artists as diverse as bass playing virtuoso, Russell Jackson (Matt “Guitar Murphy”, Charlie Musselwhite) at the Calgary Stampede 2003 and alt/country singer/songwriter, Linda McCrea (Spirit Of The West) in 2004. Holly and Linda performed a very moving version of John Prine’s, “Angel From Montgomery” which brought the house down. Holly also helped promote Merle Haggard’s 2004 Canadian Tour which featured special guests, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings (Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson).
Although the blues provide the building blocks for her vocal approach, you can tell she has listened to and studied vocal techniques of singers in other genres of music, especially jazz. You can hear hints of Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington and more contemporary artist’s such as Bonnie Raitt, Eva Cassidy and Susan Tedeschi. A good example of Holly’s vocal style can be heard on the song 'Train Wreck Blues' from Holly and Jon’s 'Big Wind on the Way' album. This successful combining of blues feel with jazz phrasing is what Holly is all about and forms the basis for her unquestionable talent.
Holly’s voice has been described as “soaring from deep inside the well of Aretha Franklin and Eva Cassidy”
“Holly is one of the most promising young female emerging blues singers on the scene today and can look forward to a long and rewarding career in the music industry”.
Jon always had a guitar around but didn’t concentrate on it until after his family moved to Canada, in the sixties. “I remember looking at the guitar leaning up against the wall when I was 17 and thinking ’I’m gonna’ learn to play that thing”. Many hours were spent up in his bedroom, wood shedding.
There were three distinct pivotal points in Jon’s musical ambitions. The first was seeing Texas blues man, Freddie King perform. “Up to that point I had been playing and listening to bands like C.C.R. and The Stones. After seeing Freddie, who was opening for Grand Funk, playing, singing and sweating, the soul oozing out of the man, I realized that I had just seen the real thing and that all the other music I had been listening to up to that point was kind of irrelevant. It was a revelation. I couldn’t even watch the headliners after seeing Freddie. I had just seen the master; the students were pale in comparison. It was then that I realized that I wanted to play music for the rest of my life and make a career out of it”. The second was attending a concert by Willie Dixon and the Chicago All-stars with Big Walter Horton on harmonica, and meeting them after the show. Jon asked them if they were interested in attending a party and maybe doing some jamming. Big Walter took a shot out of his Mickey of Canadian Club and said “the only place we be jamming is on down the road”. They were headed out that night to do a show somewhere out east the following night. “These guys were real musicians and the only thing that mattered was getting to the next gig. That left an impression on me”. Then there was the Joe Cocker concert in Edmonton in the mid 70’s. “Cornell Dupree was the guitar player and they played a long opening set before Joe came out. Cornell just sat on top of his small Fender amp, as casual as you please, and played the most incredible blues guitar. That showed me that you don’t need smoke and lights to put on a show; you just have to be good”.
Since then, Jon has appeared on shows with Spirit Of The West, Skydiggers, Juno award winning root’s rocker (and friend of Bob Dylan), Paul James and Juno award winning blues guitarist Johnny V. He has played with Grammy award winning Texas blues man, Donald Ray Johnson and Canadian rock legend, Kelly Jay (formerly of Crowbar-“Ooh what a feeling”). More recently, he has played on shows with songwriter/bluesman, Doug Macleod, Canadian troubadour, Fred Eaglesmith and Roger Marin and played with Texas bluesman, Sonny Rhodes and Rita Chiarelli.
Jon has logged many miles playing music since the early 70’s and by his own estimation has run at least a dozen vehicles into the ground, traveling up and down the highway in pursuit of the next gig.
A more than adequate blues guitarist, Jon can also pick some great country licks. Check out 'Cowboy Angel' on Holly and Jon’s CD - Big Wind on the Way. This is pure, traditional country pickin'.