Canada’s king of roots music, AKA Mr. Groove – Terry Gillespie – returns to Halifax to make his Carleton debut, along with the inimitable Bill Stevenson, on Thursday, June 8th. Live music gets underway at 9 PM and it’s only $10 at the door. Grab some pals and head to Argyle street to catch this legend in the flesh, it’s not like Terry comes to town every day!
Born in Canada, raised in the United States, Terry Gillespie returned home in a hurry in the 60s when the possibility of being blown up in Vietnam seemed almost inevitable. But by the time he came back to Canada, he’d already been infected, inspired and influenced by the blues. He had dug deep into the still-segregated world of the blues by smuggling himself into blues bars to hear — and later play with — Howling Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and a youngster called Buddy Guy.
Fifty years on, his musical palette is far wider and how that happened is another story… Settling in Ottawa, Terry helped form Heaven’s Radio and by the mid-70s there was a single on United Artists, and — later — two LPs on Posterity. In the years since Heaven’s Radio disbanded (there was a brief revival of the band in 2007) he built a steady career playing solo or with a band that often included musicians from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and South Africa. Playing daily with local musicians immersed him in a different musical community — in the same way that it had when he discovered the blues in his teen years and as it did in Ottawa playing rock and roll.
You can hear the results on his new album, Home Boy. It’s his fifth solo CD, and it has a warm “island” feel that permeates the whole record — even though it was recorded live off the floor at the Granary Restaurant in Vankleek Hill, east of Ottawa, where the Gillespies have made their home.
Canadian roots music guru Terry “Mr. Groove” Gillespie rejoins his former Heaven’s Radio bandmate Bill Stevenson for a special Carleton Music Bar and Grill show on Thursday, June 7 at 9 p.m. Together, the noted guitarist and the premiere Halifax jazz pianist played in one of Ottawa’s most noted bands of the early 1970s. Gillespie has also accompanied the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy, while also becoming one of the earliest reggae guitarists in Canada, opening for Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh in the ’70s.