If there is one thing which continually amazes me it is how much music connects back to Saskatchewan, and in particular to Yorkton and area.
That seems particularly true in the case of blues, as strange as that might seem. Big Dave McLean and Kat Danser are two performers who come to mind with connections to the area. You can now add Terry Blankley to the list.
Blankley, a roots jazzy blues man out of Ontario actually grew up in Kelvington and attended St. Joe's in the city in 1964. It was kind of cool having a note in the CD package asking about Yorkton, with a note that in his time here there was only about 10,000 people in the city. He added he even made TV here in his day appearing on a show called Profile with MC Hugh Vassis.
So musically what does Blankley bring to the table?
To start with the CD was nominated as best roots blues album by the Durham Region Music Society, and Blankley as best male vocalist. While not winning either, it shows the CD has drawn attention.
Well, I'm not sure if its the effects of growing up with Prairie winters inhaled into the old lungs, but he has a deep, growly voice that I really like. To me his sort of voice is what the blues calls for. You really get a feel for the voice on a cut like Lyna, where there is almost a Springsteen-style vocal effort.
Blankley is a man who obviously has a range of influences from jazz, through blues, as well as touches of folk Americana. It all works together since the styles are all rather closely related, with elements common to all.
It does create some wonderful sounds, there is a sort of mix of Spanish, French and jazz on La rue de skid, that is rather unique.
Blankley has his hand in writing most of cuts on this 11-song CD too, and his maturity, in age, as much as as a musician, comes through lyrically. There is a depth of life knowledge here. That isn't to say everything goes back to years long past. Some of the songs connect with the now just as easily, such as the cut Squeegee Kids.
This is a very solid effort, and with his long ago regional roots, one you really need to check out. Head to www.terryblankley.com to learn more.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct 3, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada