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Hometown Ronnie Douglas Blues Band wins again

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Abby Cote, Windspeaker Contributor, Mnjikaning (Rama)







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For the Ronnie Douglas Blues Band, winning the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Jazz or Blues Album for the second time- the first time was in 1999-was that much sweeter because they were the hometown boys.

"Winning here in our community with our families and friends in attendance was really great, because it gave them the opportunity to share it with us. After all, it's our families, friends, community and fans that put us here," said Ronnie Douglas.

"The award show is a wonderful thing for Aboriginal people across Canada. It's nice that we have a means to showcase our music, whether it's contemporary or traditional. This way we get some well-deserved attention. We won the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Jazz or Blues Album in 1999 for our first recording. It's great to be two for two," he said.

The band's release "Big Brother" contains 10 tracks of solid blues, including great keyboards, guitar and harp (harmonica).

No stranger to awards, the Ronnie Douglas Blues Band was the winner of the 1999 Toronto Blues Society new talent search and won the 1999 Maple Blues award. For Douglas, the music on "Big Brother" represents the combination of two key musical influences in his life-home and community.

"This recording is dedicated to two very special people: my father, Gordon R. Douglas who passed away on Jan. 28, 2000. I thank my father every day for his gift of music that he gave me. This release is also dedicated to my big brother, Larry M. Douglas, who I thank for his influence on my life and for providing me with inspiration. My brother showed me the ropes, so to speak, not by showing me the licks, but by exposing me to all kinds of good music," Douglas said.

From early on in his life, Douglas remembers being surrounded by local musicians. These musicians provided him with the groundwork and teaching that started him on his own musical career. Many of these musicians allowed Douglas to sit in with their groups when he was in his teens. These days making music is still a large part of community life in Mnjikaning, where the Ronnie Douglas Blues Band has a large, appreciative and very proud following.

"I love what I do, although having a family (his newest addition is only six months old) somewhat limits when and where I can play. The band and I also have regular day jobs, so right now I try to keep our performances close to home," he said.

Ronnie Douglas and the band have submitted their material to the Juno award committee and are waiting to hear if they have received a nomination in the Best Blues category for the upcoming awards in March. For more information on the band, to buy a CD or book a performance call (705)326-6308 or e-mail: rdouglas@bconnex.net.