Award winning international blues artist and multi-instrumentalist. www.chriswhiteley.com
Award winning muti-instrumentalist Chris Whiteley has been called “a major part of the roots music scene” by SING OUT! Magazine. Born in Kansas, Whiteley moved to Toronto,where as a teenager he met the legendary Blues artist Lonnie Johnson, whose unique guitar style greatly influenced him.
He formed a group with his brother Ken, and soon they were performing on the Festival circuit, meeting and playing with such artists as Roosevelt Sykes, Taj Mahal, Sam Chatmon of the Mississippi Sheiks, Bukka White and John Hammond. About this time, he served in the house band at Toronto’s then Rock and Roll concert venue “The Rockpile”, where the band provided back up for many visiting artists, including Chuck Berry and John Lee Hooker. Another important mentor for Whiteley was the great Chicago piano player Blind John Davis, who had been the house piano player for Bluebird Records. He had the opportunity to perform many shows and also record an album with Blind John.
He also toured with Leon Redbone, playing cornet and harmonica. He recorded an album with Leon, and also appeared with him on Saturday Night Live in New York.
His own career continued to progress, both as a leader and as a sought after session player. He has appeared on over 200 recordings, playing guitar, trumpet, harmonica and pedal steel . His own recordings have led to many awards and accolades,including Jazz Report Blues Album of the Year, six Juno Award nominations, and 7 Maple Blues Awards, as Horn Player of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious “Blues with a Feeling” lifetime achievement award. As a composer, LIVING BLUES Magazine praised his “witty lyrics–classic traditional blues” and SING OUT! called his songs “Sparks -striking originals”. Chris has written a number one Canadian country hit for the band Prairie Oyster, and also had his songs recorded by such artists as Amos Garret, Cindy Church, Penny Lang, The BeBop Cowboys, Lunch at Allens, Quartette and Juno winning blues band Fathead.He has also written music for radio, television and film, including Sesame Street and the National Film Board. Chris composed the music for the acclaimed documentary “The Bunny Years”, (about the Playboy clubs), which has aired internationally on the A & E, B.B.C., and C.T.V. networks with great success.
Chris has continued to perform throughout North America, on Television and radio,and at festivals, clubs and concerts-including Saturday Night Live with Leon Redbone,Nashvilles’ famed Bluebird Cafe and has twice appeared at the prestigious Chicago Blues Festival.Chris often performs as part of the award winning CBC Radio show The Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean, touring large theatres across Canada.
His latest project is a collaboration with acclaimed blues singer Diana Braithwaite. They have received multiple Maple Blues awards and nominations, and have toured extensively in North America, Europe, and the U.K. Their first album Morning Sun received many rave reviews internationally, (Blues In Britain called it “Manna from Heaven”), and a 2cnd CD, Night Bird Blues, was launched in the fall of 2008, with a 5 week tour of the U.K., Russia, and Europe.The album climbed to number 2 on B.B. King’s Bluesville on XM Satellite Radio.
Chris and Diana have since released 2 more albums, DeltaPhonic and Scrap Metal Blues, and are helping to launch the disc with another European tour and a concert at Toronto’s Glen Gould Studio. They have appeared at Festivals worldwide, including New York City, England, Ireland, and are off to Blues festivals in Pennsylvania and South Carolina this summer.
4 Juno nominations, including one for “Bluesology”
SOCAN Songwriter of the Year
Maple Blues Awards 1997
Horn Player of the Year
Maple Blues Awards 1998
Blues Album of the Year 1993