Red- hot blues band re­turns

Paul DesLau­ri­ers band at Don­nelly’s Pub for two- night Thorold gig


The Que­bec- based Paul DesLau­ri­ers Band has been the hottest blues band in Canada over the past two years and shows no signs of cool­ing off any­time soon.

The multi- award win­ning trio was re­cently nom­i­nated for five Maple Blues awards, adding to the tro­phies and hon­ours it has racked up in re­cent years.

The band is head­ing to Don­nelly’s Pub, in Thorold for a two- night stand Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day.

They should be play­ing to sold­out au­di­to­ri­ums, but these shows, in the in­ti­mate 85- seat venue, are spe­cial be­cause of a part­ner­ship be­tween Don­nelly’s owner Joe Viele, the Canal Bank Shuf­fle Blues Fes­ti­val com­mit­tee and the band.

In an in­ter­view, DesLau­ri­ers ex­plained the rare ap­pear­ance.

“We are stoked to be com­ing back to Thorold. We played the Shuf­fle twice af­ter win­ning a spot at the In­ter­na­tional Blues Chal­lenge in Mem­phis ( IBCs). We then made a re­turn trip, and now two back- toback shows.

“Re­turn dates are great be­cause we re­al­ize that peo­ple really like what we do. That’s the very high­est form of com­pli­ment from peo­ple.”

Viele sees the other side of these re­la­tion­ships. With in­ter­na­tional acts look­ing to play his venue, he said, “I feel proud. I feel in­debted to the Shuf­fle and to Brant Parker ( leader of his house band) be­cause both of them have been a great help to me in get­ting Don­nelly’s out there like I have been able to do.”

DesLau­ri­ers has been around for a long time, but this re­cent wave of fame be­gan largely in 2016.

“We re­leased our first al­bum and then we fin­ished sec­ond at IBCs com­pet­ing against 119 in­ter­na­tional acts. That was a big kicker for us, it helped launch our ca­reer in­ter­na­tion­ally,” he said.

Ac­co­lades have poured in from France, the Nether­lands, the U. K. and the U. S., and, of course, Canada.

Last year the band won four Maple Blues awards. Its five nom­i­na­tions this year in­clude for en­ter­tainer of the year and elec­tric act of the year, and in­di­vid­ual nom­i­na­tions for gui­tarist of the year for DesLau­ri­ers, bassist of the year for Greg Morency and drum­mer of the year for Sam Har­ris­son.

Asked about play­ing the small venue, DesLau­ri­ers said he’s much more con­cerned about build­ing re­la­tion­ships than fu­elling ego.

“This is a tough busi­ness and you live through highs and lows. It’s dif­fi­cult enough mak­ing a liv­ing, build­ing a ca­reer and sus­tain­ing it for a num­ber of years. I’m in my 40s now and I’ve been do­ing this my whole life. We know enough to take care of what’s keep­ing you alive and it’s the peo­ple you work for and work with. We like work­ing with peo­ple who are fun. It’s a big part of our phi­los­o­phy — to build re­la­tion­ships with other peo­ple. We’re mak­ing friends wher­ever we go.”

But DesLau­ri­ers also has a right to boast, at least a lit­tle. In ad­di­tion to the awards men­tioned, DesLau­ri­ers is the win­ner of two Maple Blues Awards in 2014, in­clud­ing for gui­tarist of the year, and win­ner of five Lys Blues Awards in Que­bec. Morency is a two- time win­ner of the Maple Blues Award for bassist of the year. Har­ris­son is the Maple Blues Award drum­mer of the year for 2017 and is the win­ner of a record- hold­ing nine Lys Blues Awards in Que­bec for mu­si­cal per­for­mance.

This is truly a pow­er­house trio. Viele also weath­ered some tough times and like the trio learned about re­la­tion­ships.

“My first year of book­ing acts was hard. There were a lot of dis­ap­point­ments,” he said, “but then I hooked up with the right peo­ple ( The Shuf­fle and Parker) who know who the good peo­ple in the in­dus­try are.”

He, too, is all about build­ing re­la­tion­ships.

“The bands have been phe­nom­e­nal peo­ple. I can’t think of any­body ( mu­si­cians) who I wouldn’t like to have for a friend,” he said.

Join­ing DesLau­ri­ers will be lo­cal stars Parker and 2017 Ni­a­gara Mu­sic Award win­ner Spencer MacKen­zie.

Tick­ets can be pur­chased at Don­nelly’s Pub, 54 Front St. S., Thorold. More in­for­ma­tion can be found at www. canal­bankshuf­fle. com or call 905- 227- 1947.


The Paul DesLau­ri­ers Band per­forms at Don­nelly’s Pub in Thorold Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day.

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