RAOUL and THE BIG TIME releas YOU MY PEOPLE and tour in 2010!
Excellent reviews for YOU MY PEOPLE from BLUESWAX (USA), Critic’s Pick CBC RADIO 1 FM and
Top Blues Recording of 2009 Real Blues Magazine!
After a five year wait NOW MAGAZINE : BEST BLUES ARTIST and MAPLE BLUES AWARD winners
RAOUL AND THE BIG TIME release their sophisticated new album YOU MY PEOPLE and are booking for 2010!
Since forming in 1998 Toronto based blues heroes Raoul and The Big Time have forged a musical direction described by Now Magazine as “an eclectic and learned combination of ‘Toronto/Chicago/Hollywood Blues’… a seriously credible homage to the classic school”. With the release of BIG TIME BLUES (2000) and COLD OUTSIDE (2004) they have broadened their fan base at home and abroad with international distribution along with a hit video for BABY DON’T STOP one of the Top 10 on BRAVO in 2005. They have appeared on television nationwide and have opened for blues legends like Buddy Guy, Bobby “Blue” Bland and The Downchild Blues Band. Festival appearances include The Salmon Arts Roots and Blues, Harbourfront, Beaches International Jazz, Mont Tremblant Blues, Southside Shuffle, Canal Bank Shuffle, Hillebrand Estates, JVC Jazz, Downtown Jazz and many more. In October 2009, Raoul made his US debut at Café Boogaloo in Los Angeles with L.A. Blues All Stars, Rick Holmstrom, Jeff Turmes and Steve Mugalian.
Fronted by the multi talented actor/musician Raoul Bhaneja, known to audiences around the world for both his touring theatre success HAMLET (solo) and numerous film and television credits (The Sentinel, Ararat, Train 48) the band consists of veteran founding members Darren Gallen on guitar (David Rotundo, Michael Pickett), Tom Bona on drums (Sue Foley, Bourbon Tabernacle Choir) and legendary upright bass player Terry Wilkins (Rough Trade, Big Sugar, Levon Helm). For the 2010 Festival season The Big Time are also offering an eight piece version of the band including horns and piano.
Left: Raoul Bhaneja of Raoul and The Big Time (photo by Claire Binks Photography)
YOU MY PEOPLE features 13 songs, the majority penned by Bhaneja who also has co-written two songs with Wilkins and one with rising Toronto soul queen Treasa Lavesseur. Other local connections include the song One Card Trump by Juno nominee Elizabeth Shepard and Born To Love by Governor General Award wining playwright Andrew Moodie. Along with guest appearances from Toronto piano maestro Tyler Yarema and horn players Richard Underhill, Gene Hardy and Howard Moore the disc features Vancouver Gospel sensations The Sojourners and a return by two longtime friends, renowned California blues kingpins Mark Hummel on harmonica and guitar wizard Junior Watson. Andy Grigg of Real Blues Magazine (Victoria B.C) picked YOU MY PEOPLE as #6 out of 100 new releases from around the world.
June 5th to June 12th Raoul and The Big Time took the stage at The Hard Rock Café in Toronto to celebrate the release of YOU MY PEOPLE as the house band of THE LUMINATO ARTIST LOUNGE, a new late night venue at LUMINATO where throughout the week they were joined by local and international blues luminaries from Duke Robillard, Johnny Sansone, Juno Winners Julian Fauth, Bill Bourne and Madagascar Slim. On June 6th Bhaneja hosted Traveling Blues a series of free concerts in Dundas Square as part of Luminato featuring Harry Manx, Alvin Youngblood Heart, Kevin Briet, Mamadou Diabaté and he presented the legendary Taj Mahal with his 2009 Maple Blues Award for Best International Artist.
YOU MY PEOPLE is available at a number of online retailers including www.INDIEPOOL.com and ITUNES and in America through Blue Beat Music www.bluebeatmusic.com. Contact Big Time Records 416 994 6603 for booking and interview requests.
For More Information Visit www.raoulandthebigtime.com
What the critics are saying about You My People!
#6 on Real Blues Magazine Top 100 Blues, Gospel and R&B Recordings of 2009
“A feel-good disc that was recorded old-school style - live off the floor on two-inch tape - it captures the live energy of a band whose music is a swinging mix of blues and jazz.”
-Errol Nazareth CBC Radio 1 Metro Morning, Big City Small World and Toronto Sun
“catchy, topical tunes… Really impressive writing going on here. The rhythm section of drummer Tom Bona and bassist Terry Wilkins covers every shift and nuance here, easily switch style and grooves. Standout piano is covered by Tyler Yarema. Jr. Watson covers five tunes here, all with impeccable tone and taste.”
-BLUESWAX Magazine (USA)
“Bhaneja’s abilities as both writer and performer give You My People, the third outing by Raoul And The Big Time, a uniquely hip vibe. He deftly avoids cliché, even when dealing with time-honored topics… The core band is exemplary – bassist Terry Wilkins is a local legend, and drummer Tom Bona and guitarist Darren Gallen are first-call (and first-rate) players for countless acts. All play with exquisitely restraint, honoring the obvious care and craft Bhaneja’s put into each composition.”
-John R. Taylor Blogcritics.org
“We have very few blues anthems on this side of the border but we have in You My People an excellent one… some mighty fine harp to go along with the gritty vocal. Altogether a fine third effort, fourth if one counts The Legendary Miles Johnson. May there be many more!”
-John Valenteyn, Maple Blues Magazine (Toronto)
MORE PRAISE FOR RAOUL AND THE BIG TIME
1999 Maple Blues Award Winners: Best New Aritst
Raoul host of the 2004 Maple Blues Awards and The Toronto Blues Society Harmonica Workshop
2007 NOW MAGAZINE (Toronto) Best Blues Artist
RAOUL & THE BIG TIME
The slickly dressed four-piece led by former Train 48 lead Raoul Bhaneja has done increasingly well for itself in recent years with an eclectic and learned combination of "Toronto, Chicago and Hollywood blues" and a list of influences that reads like a blues nerd's wet dream. No cheeseball stuff here, just a seriously credible homage to the classic school.
-Now Magazine, Toronto Oct/2007
“ Raoul is already up there with the masters of the blues.”
-Blues & Co magazine: Number 28. (FRANCE)
“Bhaneja is the type of young Blues artist who gives old-timers something/someone to admire and smile about… it’s a joy to know the future of the Blues is in good hands. Raoul and The Big Time play Blues that is a perfect blend of contemporary entertainment and vintage Blues foundation… I’d bet that Raoul’s stock continues to rise in both Blues and Hollywood as his combination of talent and total belief in his own success is a winning formula. 4 bottles for another fine disc from an artist you can’t help but dig. He always gives more than he takes.”
-Andy Grigg, Real Blues Magazine.
Recorded in Toronto, Raoul and The Big Time’s COLD OUTSIDE (Big Time 002) is an easy-swinging winner featuring guests Mark Hummel and Junior Watson. Raoul Bhaneja, the singer, harpist, guitarist, and producer, whips up a nice blend of swing, jump-blues (the firey title track) and slow, stripped-down instrumentals. Hot stuff.
-Jeff Calvin, Blues Revue Feb/March 2005
9 out of 10!
Raoul has a natural, character filled blues voice with a harp style to match, whether wailing the blues on the 50’s styled boogie ‘Otherside Of Town’, or laying down a mellow late night groove on ‘Cold Outside, with it’s haunting harp, desolate vocals, tantalizing guitar licks and atmospheric backing harmonies.
-Mick Rainsford- Blues in Britain