Media & Shows
Blues and Roots musician Alan Black is a drummer, harmonica player, vocalist and songwriter.
Toured / Performed With:
... and many more!
• Founding member of 2 time Juno Nominees, Jackson Delta
• Past founding member of The Peterborough Folk Festival
• Founding member of The Peterborough Musicians Benevolent Association
Club-goers in Peterborough, Canada, know that they’re in for some great music if Alan Black is in the house. For years he’s been the backbeat of the best blues, R&B and rock bands in this hip university town, notably Jackson Delta, Buzz Thompson, and Max Mouse and the Gorillas. Alan wows audiences with his ability to play drums and harmonica simultaneously and soulfully. Fans appreciate his heartfelt singing and songwriting and know that he has appeared at every major Canadian festival, been nominated for two Junos, and toured Scandinavia and the UK with the likes of Tracy Nelson and Mose Scarlett.
These days, it’s easiest to catch this talented guy on stage in Al Black and the Steady Band, which offers up New Orleans funk and echoes of the early blues masters. With a rhythm section that includes Black on the drum kit and Andy Pryde on bass, the groove is hypnotic. Together with Gary Peeples on guitar, this core band weaves Rock 'n' Roll and Caribbean rhythms together in songs that can bring to mind The Meters and Little Feat.
Alan Black was brought up surrounded by jazz, big band and country music. The Blacks regularly hosted weekend house parties where country songs were banged out on an old guitar, old standards were sung, parents danced around the living room. His father (a drummer who adored Gene Krupa) took Al to drum rehearsals with his pipe band and the eager student played every piece of furniture at home until allowed to practice on his dad’s drum kit.
As a 12-year-old, Alan saw Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee on TV, bought a harmonica and started practicing along with Bob Dylan and Rolling Stones records. By the time he was in high school he was playing house parties, doing songs by heroes like the Yardbirds and James Brown.
At 19, he was playing drums in a blues band that eventually backed legendary piano player Sunnyland Slim. As co-founder of Jackson Delta, Alan did much to shape the sound, playing blues rhythms on his vintage drum kit and traditional-yet-innovative blues harp, and singing - often on the same song! This acoustic blues trio garnered two Juno nominations, was runner-up for the BB King Lucille Award at the prestigious Handy Awards, toured North America and Britain and opened for John Lee Hooker, releasing several albums along the way.
For decades now, Alan Black has been the backbeat of Peterborough in bands like Stonebridge Blues Band and The Rocket Revue. International audiences have heard him with Colleen Peterson, Larry Garner, Pinetop Perkins, Serena Ryder, Andrew Shedden, Gene Taylor, Pat Temple, Washboard Hank and many others. Now he’s fronting Al Black and the Steady Band and won Roots/Blues Band of the Year at the 2013 Wire Awards. Also in 2013, Alan was inducted into the Peterborough Pathway of Fame.
David Goodfellow photo
David Goodfellow photo
ALAN BLACK AND THE STEADY BAND
Meanwhile, enjoy some sample clips:
1. When I Hear You
2. Good Advice
3. She's Winning
Better Off This Way
Day For Day
The Love Led Acoustic Sessions - 2009
Live At The Harvest
Jazz & Blues Festival
Rick Fines 2000
Out Of The Living Room
Go For The Heart
Rob Watson with
Jackson Delta Live - 1996
Toronto Blues Society
Angel In The Sidelines
Mariposa Folk Festival
Live - I Was Just Thinking That
Saturday Night Blues
Juno Award 1991
(Sun Studio, Memphis)
Soundtrack/Live Recording for:
What they say about Alan Black on stage...
“…Alan Black’s harmonica wails like a banshee…”
(Dirty Linen Magazine, Baltimore, U.S.A.)
“His wailing harmonica had people practically hypnotized.”
(The Record, Courtney, BC , CAN.)
“…he contributes some beautiful sounds, his playing dotted with western, country and delta phrasings…” “…the sturdy and playful work of Alan Black on drums.” “His seamless ability to switch styles makes his work a complement to everyone he shares the stage with.”
(Peterborough Examiner, ON., CAN.)
“Black as well as being a great blues drummer, also plays harmonica and sings – frequently in the same song.”
(The Toronto Star, CAN.)
What they say about “HAPPY AS A MONKEY” (indie)...
"Alan Black was one third of the much loved Jackson Delta. He’s since been running Maggie’s Eatery in Peterborough and playing with every blues band in the area. Gary Peeples was another third and he wanted to stay close to home as well. He resumes his guitar duties on this excellent CD. Rick Fines, of course, pursued a career in music, winning multiple awards, but his presence here on a couple of songs, and the various Jackson Delta reunions, shows that they remain good friends. Andy Pryde plays bass and co-produced with Black. One of the reasons this is such a good CD is the quality of Black’s original songs. Another is Black’s strong singing. And he remains one of the few to play harmonica from the drum kit and do it well. “When I Hear You” opens the disc as if Jackson Delta had never left. It’s a delightful acoustic romp with that characteristic drumming. In “Reincarnation Blues”, he amusingly asks his lover for a second chance. “Empty Words” finds him in John Hammond mode, lamenting a betrayal over sparse guitar and tom toms. “I Been Hoodood” is a Dr. John song that rather departs from the Jackson Delta sound, with extra percussion and back up singers. It also has plenty of Peeples’ searing slide guitar and some appropriate B3 flourishes, making for an album highlight. “Tend To Get The Blues” is a Peeples composition, a fine slow blues. “She’s Winning” moves to a full electric sound, with Black singing lines like ‘In this war called love, you’re sleeping with the enemy’, providing further evidence that Alan Black is not your average songwriter.
(John Valenteyn, Maple Blues Magazine (Toronto Blues Society), 12/10)
“Happy as a Monkey is a brilliant collection of blues songs with a dash of folk and roots…”
“ It is one of the best albums this year!”
(www.ROOTSTIME.be ) Belgium
“…a joyous blast…has a terrific good time feel…excellent album…very pleasing indeed.”
Dave Drury, Blues Matters (Britain) Aug. / Sept. Issue 61
“…very honest and genuine.”
(Marty Kool, KXCI 91.3 FM, Tucson, Arizona
Let me start off by saying this CD has one major glaring flaw….It is WAY too short. I can’t get enough of this Canadian’s back porch and infectious brew of blues. What is it up there across the border that gives them such an authentic handle on the blues? Alan Black handles vocals, drums, harmonica and the brunt of the songwriting with such an ease and grasp of the blues that it boggles the mind. His voice is easy on the ears and well suited to the style. Gary Peeples and guests provide more than capable guitar work. Andy Pryde handles bass and co-producer duties.
All songs feature a pleasing interplay of various guitar styles and harmonica giving a loose country- blues groove. The lead track “When I Hear You” is more or less the music of “Good Morning Little School Girl” with new lyrics. I sure can identify with the sentiment of “Reincarnation Blues”. The writer is content with the notion that he will be able to apply the lessons learned in this life to the next one. The tune is an upbeat shuffle containing slide and breathy harp work. Dr John’s “I Been Hoodood” is given a slow, smoldering blues treatment featuring swampy electric slide guitar.
The band does a credible Canned Heat boogie on “Sink or Swim”, a sad lament on this mean old world….I can picture Bob ”The Bear” Hite putting his husky pipes to this gem. “I Love To Ramble” is a percussion driven guitar feast. The Gary Peeples penned “Tend To Get The Blues” is enhanced by mournful harmonica and a fresh bent to the lyrics. The perpetually lost war of love is bemoaned in “She’s Winning”. ‘This war called love”. “It’s the only war where you sleep with the enemy.”
The blues is an easy pill to swallow in the hands of Alan Black and cohorts. Their approach to the blues adds the best of old school and applies it to modern lyrics. The Canadians have a knack for attaining an authentic blues sound. I could sure go for an extra helping of these feel good grooves. I’m eager to hear what the Canadian Delta has to offer next time around.
Greg Szalony, Blues Blast Magazine, New Jersey, U.S.A, 3/11
“…the singing was superb…Black’s edgy harmonica…really well written and performed originals…killer musicianship and vocals…one of the better releases from Canadian artists this year…”
John Vermilyea, Blues Underground Network, B.C. Canada
April 15, 2017 - 8:00 pm
Market Hall, Peterborough, ON
JACKSON DELTA @ Market Hall
(Alan Black, Rick Fines, Gary Peeples)
AL BLACK & THE STEADY BAND
Jan 28, 2017 - 8:30pm
The Black Horse - Peterborough
PMBA Deluxe blues jam
Al black & the steady band
Jan 21, 2017 - 2 to 5 pm
The Pig's Ear, Peterboro
Resonator & Alan Black
December 17, 2016
Showplace Nexicom Studio