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Jimmy Bowskill Guest Hosted the Healey’s Thurs. Special Guest Night

Jimmy Bowskill and Jerome Godboo Jimmy Bowskill and Jerome Godboo Joe Curtis, 2005, 2008
Blues guitarist prodigy Jimmy Bowskill guest-hosted the recent Thursday Special Guest Night at Healey’s in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 10th, 2005. Bowskill as many already know, is an amazingly gifted blues guitar player and vocalist .. who’s only 14 years old; but who plays guitar and sings the blues as good as many artists decades older with years more performing experience behind them. His voice has dropped an octave in the little more than two years since he was a featured special guest performer on guitarist Jeff Healey’s Live at Healey’s Special Guest Night CD.

At that time, Bowskill, a Peterborough, Ontario area resident was playing blues on the street outside Healey’s when Ronnie Hawkins’ harp player Jerome Godboo spotted him, and immediately recognized Bowskill’s gifted talent on guitar. He along with Downchild Blues Band vocalist Chuck Jackson brought the then young 11 year old Bowskill (along with his parents Steve and Teresa) into Healey’s, so Jimmy could sit in with the Healey’s house band, performing Robert Johnson’s classic "Kind Hearted Woman". This tune ended up on the Live at Healey’s CD, which is one of the most energetic, diversified live modern blues CD's around.

Soon after this impromptu Healey’s performance by Bowskill, Juno/Maple Blues Award-winning music producer/engineer/bassist Alec Fraser brought this young guitar prodigy into his Liquid Toronto recording studio, to record Bowskill’s critically acclaimed debut CD, Old Soul. This CD features an all-star cast, including harp players Donnie Mr. Downchild Walsh (Downchild Blues Band); Dave Mowat and Mark bird Stafford. Bowskill recently won a Maple Blues Award for best new blues talent of the year. His second CD, Soapbars and Dogears is nominated for a Juno for best blues CD of the year.

Three years have passed since Bowskill’s first Healey’s performance, and his guitar virtuosity has evolved considerably. His stage presence and vocal abilities have gained new ground and have matured, too! These days he’s very much 'one of the boys' on stage, along with Godboo, as well as Alec Fraser on bass. They were part of the Healey’s house band this night in March 2005, along with the outstanding drumming talent of Al Webster.

Healey’s was packed with discerning blues fans when Jerome Godboo opened this night of blues with several of his own rousing compositions, as well as the ever popular "Teena Neena Nu". This tune always gets the audience going, and features Godboo’s upbeat vocals and invigorating harp playing that wails away with wild abandon.

Jerome fronted this fine band with vocals and harp talent, that’s loaded with the kind of charisma that wows every audience he appears before. This even includes entertaining former U.S. President Bill Clinton among others in an outdoor music fest a few years ago in Arkansas, as a member of Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks,

Godboo played some incredible blues standards this lively night at Healey’s, including the always welcome, "Hootchie Cootchie Man" as well as an energetic version of the Stones’ "Miss You". Jerome also performed some of his originals from his own very fine solo CD’s, Deja-Vu, Baby; Live At Healey’s and Pain and Glory. The next two exhilirating sets featured Bowskill’s amazing talent on guitar and vocals.

When Jimmy Bowskill got on stage, the whoops ‘n’ hollerin’ in the audience signaled good times ahead! Bowskill proceeded to captivate his very much-hooked fans with his incredible soloing and right from the heart vocals. His hard-edged rhythm guitar playing is outstanding, too!

Every song Bowskill performed this night at Healey’s featured at least one or two of his very deep, well-conceived solos that were breathtaking to see performed live. I remember saying to myself a few times, "I’ve never seen anything like it!" This is due to the special inner soulful expression in Bowskill’s guitar playing, and hardly at all to do with the fact he’s playing so well at such a young age nor the fact that he shares the same birthday as another illustrious blues guitar player, the iconic B.B. King.

Al Webster’s drumming was the essence of this performance, providing the percussive lifeline that allowed Bowskill’s solos to go anywhere he wanted them to. Fraser’s bass playing followed Bowskill’s every musical move, while Godboo’s harp playing helped invigorate Bowskill’s natural joy in performing so he could reach new heights of imagination and creativity.

Renowned guitarist Damian Arokium (ex-Amanda Marshall band) sat in with this fireball of talent on stage during the last set. His guitar playing added something special to the excitement in the room. Arokium and Bowskill inspired each others’ guitar playing to the max, while on stage together!

Bowskill entertained the Healey’s audience with his original "Bailieboro". It’s written entirely by him, and is about his hometown in Ontario. It’s a jazz-influenced number that conjures up images of small town America; like magically time travelling to a happy era of carefree bliss musically and esthetically!

Bowskill’s wild soloing sometimes took on an otherworldly auditory appearance, when he closed his eyes, playing his heart out like there was no tomorrow. One of Jimmy’s instrumentals featured non-stop wa-wa pedal soloing all the way through, which was entirely mesmerizing. His musical taste in this respect is very much like what Hendrix was famous for; but with much more of a classic blues edge to it. Jimmy manages to keep within the musical confines of the true definition of the way blues is supposed to be played, in all his performances.

Bowskill’s eye-popping evening of inspired and inspiring blues concluded with the rousing "Caledonia", that the late great Louis Prima made famous decades earlier in New Orleans. Jimmy’s vocals in this tune and all the others he sang this evening, sound refreshingly like those of a seasoned pro, and have matured much in the past three years. He sang out with strength and soulful purpose on "Caledonia", the way an experienced vocalist far older would have done.

This finale turned into a long, extended jam that featured more of Bowskill’s always captivating soloing, along with Godboo’s equally rousing harp solos. These two soul mates of the 'blues muse’, Bowskill and Godboo, made this finale cook like a BBQ in Muddy Waters’ backyard! Even the late great Louis Prima would have sat up and taken notice had he been here to see Bowskill’s awesome rendition of this all-time favorite. Jimmy’s soloing in this tune, took it musically to heights where it’s never been heard before.

The best way to see a performance this good again, comprising some of the most ingenious virtuosity around; is to attend another special musical night of entertainment, as any and all of Jimmy Bowskill’s and Jerome Godboo’s soul-inspiring blues performances truly are!

Artist: Jimmy Bowskill, with the Healey’s House Band
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Artist: Jerome Godboo
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Juno Awards Official Website:

Venue: Healey’s
178 Bathurst St.
Toronto, Ontario
Telephone: 416-703-5882
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Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jimmy Bowskill and Jerome Godboo
  • Concert Date: urs/ March 10, 2005
  • Venue: Healey's
  • City State Country: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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