MAY 27, 2016 REVIEW: CRYSTAL SHAWANDA

Staying In TUNE with Juno Awarding Winning, multi nominated  and accoladed Internationally Acclaimed superstar, the largest and fasting chart climbing Native American singer/songwriter, CRYSTAL SHAWANDA

Another stellar performance thanks to Bluesin’ Toronto promoter Ross Robinson.  His blues series brings such incredible talent from around the globe to the forefront of Toronto’s hottest musical setting, at Hugh’s Room, for an up close and personal dinner show atmosphere.  May 20th marked the season finale of Ross Robinson’s Blues Series and his next season will resume once again in the Fall, but, check out the huge talent coming this summer to Hugh’s Room at www.hughsroom.com I was disappointed to hear that Danny Marks was rushed into surgery regarding his vision, but relieved to find out he is on the mend.  Replacing such massive talent was no easy feet, however, Juno Award winning Canadian singer/songwriter and blues pianist Julian Fauth was surprisingly talented and refreshing.  He revealed pre-war traditional boogie sound during his barrel house renditions and originals, it was the right touch of Jazz, truly brilliant.  Unlocking the powerful transformation from country to blues was the sensational, multi-accoladed and Juno winning, singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Crystal Shawanda and her gifted husband and guitarist Dewayne Strobel.  Their modern versions of the blues were potent and jammed full of wisdom.  Revving up the audience all night long during the 2 hour showcase, was an easy task for the highly energetic Crystal.  Even though Shawanda has switched genres, you can’t take the country out of the gal!.  They carved influential pathways, incorporating an amazing blend of rockin blues with an abundance of her award winning country sound drizzled over top.  This musical roller coaster took us thru her 3 albums from her diverse and impressive career, even performing covers like “What You Gonna Do About Me” by honorable blues legend Buddy Guy and Crystal, Dewayne, drummer Al Webster and bassist Stan Miczek introduced us to new hits to come like “Trouble” and this soulful and zesty performance was laced with unbelievable brilliant guitar.  Emphasizing how romantic music can be especially when you are on stage with your husband.  I dream one day to have this ideal marriage of friendship, love, passion and extra ordinary musical intimacy on stage like the kind that Crystal and Dewayne exude.  Their personalities off stage are genuine, calm and soft; yet, set them under the stage lights with mic and guitar in hands, WOW, explosive transformations occur, guaranteeing to leave you awe-inspired.  A lot of passion goes into any performance, but, this was like no other ever seen.  This show ignited my soul and they nailed it!!  I was intrigued from the start & blessed to have been one of the elite to catch this 2nd 2016 Hugh’s Room performance with Manitoulin Island now Nashville superstar entertainer, who has leaped boundaries in her stupendous career. Non stop action filled, sexy guitar and that wicked rasp to her vocals reminded me of 2 similar award winning artists from Peterborough, one Lindsay Barr and one Missy Knott (who has traveled and recorded with Crystal and Dewayne in Nashville).  An extended encore was followed by a standing Ovation, equalling one phenominal viewing of  flawless mastery of their crafts. “The Whole World’s Got The Blues” has some serious infectious grooves, check it out folks at www.crystalshawanda.com

Photos and review by volunteer contributing photojournalist Deb Draper