Colin Linden’s biography is made up of the stuff of legends.
His official bio states that Linden’s musical story began as an 11-year-old kid meeting his musical idol Howlin’ Wolf at a matinee show in his native Toronto.
The 11-year-old and the elder statesman of blues had a nearly two-hour-long conversation before the gig.
Story has it that during that conversation Wolf told young Linden, “I’m an old man now, and I won’t be around much longer … It’s up to you to carry it on.”
Linden took those words to heart and has performed non-stop since he was twelve years old.
As a singer/guitarist, he’s accompanied everyone from Bruce Cockburn to Bob Dylan, Greg Allman, and John Prine.
He has delivered guitar work for movies like O Brother Where Art Thou or Inside Llewyn Davis.
He has established himself as an incredible solo artist, as well as been as a member of supergroups like Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.
Linden has also been nominated for 25 Juno Awards and achieved nine wins.
Almost twenty years ago, Colin Linden was brought into the region by Black Fly Jam to perform at the former Buttermilk Salzbergerhof.
“Colin was here with the incredible musician Richard Bell…yes, that Richard Bell of The Band,” says Robin MacIntyre, who along with her husband Enn Poldmaa, have been active organizers of the music event group since the beginning.
“That show was staged at the lovely lodge at the local ski hill.”
Pre-pandemic, Linden also performed as a member of Blackie and The Rodeo Kings for Black Fly Jam at the Pavilion at Algoma’s Watertower Inn.
“Linden just exudes happiness and enjoyment in everything he does,” says MacIntyre.
“He is such a comfortable performer, engaging and connecting with the audience. I love his style and sensibilities of the type of bluesy-roots music he writes.”
MacIntyre notes that Linden’s style is influenced by his time playing and learning from some of the older Deep South blues players, a sound we don’t often get to hear on the Canadian circuit.
“He is also so very connected to the top echelon of players, both here and in the USA.”
Indeed, Linden’s writing, guitar playing and songwriting are highly respected. He is sought after as a player, songwriter, producer and bandleader.
“His ability to be so adept at many parts of the business; performance, writing, producing for studio or television, band leadership, arranging and sharing his expertise with others makes him a true ‘renaissance man in the music biz. It’s fun to see how all that comes together in one person. It’s highly entertaining.”
Linden will be performing solo at The Loft for the special intimate performance on Sunday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m.
In addition to the performance, Linden will be returning the following day to conduct an educational workshop for recording engineers, music producers, students and songwriters.
“We are so excited about that,” says MacIntyre.
“It has always been a part of our concert events to include value-added advantage, both for the audiences and the performers.”
In the past, Black Fly Jam has included afternoon concerts and workshops at local schools when it was appropriate.
“I knew if he had the extra day, Colin would be intrigued and enjoy adding this on.”
MacIntyre notes that Linden has taught similar seminars at places such as The Banff School of Fine Arts and Fanshaw College, among others.
The Monday education session also supports the mandate of the Algoma Conservatory of Music where The Loft is housed.
“It has the capacity to fully support and drive forward the music education programs at Algoma University and The Conservatory of Music. A few years ago we participated in a workshop designed by Greig Nori, present engineer at The Loft, and Rory Ring, called the Music City Initiative. This aspired to investigate the idea of Sault Ste. Marie building a solid reputation as a cultural hub for music production, and enjoyment. This event supports that, and the education to build a strong base.”
MacIntyre notes that the community has many talented people in the music business who are involved in everything from production to playing and could benefit from Linden’s expertise.
“We talked to several people we know who were extremely excited and positive about wanting to attend a workshop of this calibre. We then brought up the idea of this additional workshop to Greig and The Loft, and they jumped at the opportunity to host it.”
Colin Linden with perform at The Loft on Sunday, March 19, 2023. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. The show will start earlier than usual as it is a Sunday night. Doors open at 6:30 pm. There is a licensed bar at the event. (Note: If you need reserved seating to assist you with mobility issues, please contact the venue in advance).
Tickets are $40 and are available online.
Colin Linden will be the featured speaker at a production and recording seminar for recording engineers, music producers, students and song makers.
This event will be held on Monday, March 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. at The Loft. Tickets for this event are $50 and it is being presented by Black Fly Jam, The Algoma Conservatory of Music and Algoma University.
Find more information about Colin Linden and his latest solo album, bLOW at his website here.
Find out more about Black Fly Jam and the events it organizes on its Facebook page.