Ted Leonard (Canadian musician)

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Ted Leonard
Leonard in 2015
Leonard in 2015
Background information
GenresBlues, Canadian blues, blues rock
Occupation(s)Musician, guitarist
InstrumentsElectric guitar
Years active1977–present
Associated actsFathead
Kendall Wall Band
Maple Blues Revue
The Hogtown All Stars
Robin Banks Band
David Vest and the Willing Victims

Ted "Teddy" Leonard is a Canadian blues musician, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. He is best known for his long standing association with the Canadian blues band Fathead and has been a working professional musician since 1977.

Early life[edit]

Leonard was born in Toronto into a musical family, and was one of eleven children. His mother a veteran singer over 25 years in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and his father was three years a drum major at De La Salle College Catholic Secondary School, which was renamed to De La Salle College. Leonard's parents offered for him to take music instruction which he declined as he did not want to play to a set form of music curriculum, he wanted to play the music of his choice. Norm, his brother would loan him his first guitar, a Kay Archtop.[1]

Music career[edit]

Early career: 1977 – early 1980s[edit]

After sitting in with a group of professional musicians at a matinee jam in London, Ontario, was the first time Leonard wanted to pursue a career as a professional musician. In the outset, he performed with a local band called Soul Sausage then later became the sideman for Juno Award winner, Morgan Davis. Leonard has shared the stage with BB King, Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko of The Band and played a tour with blues musician Colin Linden.[2][3]

Kendall Wall Band: late 1980s – 1990s[edit]

In the late 1980s after filling in many times for guitarist Mike McKenna, Leonard joined as the guitarist for the Kendall Wall Band, providing him the experience of performing with a house band at the Black Swan in Toronto, Ontario. This created the opportunity to perform with some of the well respected in blues music in Canada and Internationally. The Kendall Wall Band arrived at a time when it was a crucial period for blues music in Canada, let alone in the city of Toronto. They provided upcoming musicians the opportunity to perform with a working band then, when International and Canadian blues musicians came to town to play the Black Swan they had the Kendall Wall Band backing them up. Teddy performed with blues musicians from Canadian and International destinations on the short list such as Eddie Shaw, Carey Bell, Fenton Robinson, Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, Snooky Pryor, Big Jay McNealy, Honkin' Joe Houston, Phil Guy, Johnny V Mills and Cash McCall.[4][5][6]

Fathead: 1992–2008[edit]

In 1992, Leonard became one of the founding members of the Fathead Canadian blues band. In 1995, he received his first award with the Fathead band, the West Coast Blues Award, for Top Canadian Blues Recording. Then in 1997 the band received both the Jazz Report Award, for Blues Group of the Year and the Maple Blues Award for Electric Act of the Year.[7] Leonard is a Maple Blues Award winner as guitarist of the year[8] and a Juno Award winner with the Fathead band for their album, Blues Weather receiving both in 1999[9] in that same year, the Fathead band won two more awards, the Maple Blues Award for, Electric Act of the Year and the Jazz Report Award for, Blues Group of the Year. The Jazz Report Awards began in the early 1990s, also known as the Canadian Jazz Awards/National Jazz Awards were cancelled in 2010, marking the end of a national award providing recognition throughout the country to the jazz musicians.[10]

In 2001, Leonard joined and has remained a member of The Maple Blues Revue, which was formed by Gary Kendall and Pat Carey. This eleven member group of Canadian blues musicians whom are all multiple Maple Blues Award winners or nominees, perform at the annual Maple Blues Awards Ceremony in Toronto, Ontario and have released one recording, Live at Twisted Pines.[11][12]

In 2003 he received with the Fathead band the Canadian Indie Award, for Blues Recording of the Year for their song, First Class Riff-Raff.[13]

In 2006, Leonard left the Fathead band and embarked on a career as a freelance musician touring throughout North America and Europe performing with blues musicians such as Mark "Bird" Stafford, Paul Reddick, Johnny Max and Pork Belly Futures.[14][15]

Rejoining: 2009–2013[edit]

In 2009, Leonard would leave a freelance career and rejoin the Fathead band.[16] Leonard received two more awards in 2010, the first from the Great Lakes Blues Society, the Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing his involvement in Canadian blues music and The Jimmy Lewis Award, presented by the city of London, Ontario, a lifetime achievement award recognizing his long career as a blues musician. In 2012 with the release of a greatest hits album a concert documentary video is included capturing 20 years of the members in the Fathead band, including their guitar ace Leonard. This will be the second documentary Leonard has been interviewed and involved in with the release of the recent documentary video in 2015 outlining the history of the Kendall Wall Band.[17][18] Along with his tenure with Fathead, he has recorded with Big Daddy G, Rita Chiarelli and Little Mack Simmonds. Leonard continued to perform with the Fathead band until leaving in 2013.[19][20]

Musical styles and legacy[edit]

Leonard has been a guitarist in the Canadian blues and roots scene for more than 25 years, is a self-taught musician developing his own style and form of the blues music sound. He spent 18 years with the Fathead blues band and today continues a career as a freelance musician in addition to contributing to the work of other noted bands as The Hogtown Allstars, Robin Banks Band, David Vest and the Willing Victims and many more, while continuing to lead his own band, The Pocket Rockets.[21]

Awards and recognition[edit]

West Coast Blues Award

  • 1995 Top Canadian Blues Recording – Fathead

Jazz Report Award

  • 1997 Blues Group of The Year – Fathead
  • 1999 Blues Group of the Year – Fathead

Maple Blues Award

Juno Award

Canadian Indie Award

  • 2003 Blues Recording of the Year – First Class Riff-RaffFathead

The Jimmy Lewis Award

  • 2010 Lifetime Achievement

Great Lakes Blues Society Award

  • 2010 Lifetime Achievement

Discography[edit]

With Fathead[edit]

Studio albums
  • 1995: Fathead
  • 1998: Blues Weather
  • 2000: Where's Your Head At?
  • 2002: First Class Riff-Raff
  • 2002: Livelier Than Ever!
  • 2010: Where's The Blues Taking Me
  • 2012: Twenty Years Deep

With Michael Pickett[edit]

  • 1998: Blues Money

With the Maple Blues Revue[edit]

  • 2008: Live at Twisted Pines

With David Vest[edit]

  • 2012: East Meets Vest

With the Kendall Wall Band[edit]

  • 2013: The Way We Was

With The Kat Kings[edit]

  • 2016: Swingin' in the Swamp

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "On The Side With Teddy Leonard" (PDF). Toronto Blues Magazine. 27 (12): 5. December 2011.
  2. ^ "On the side with Teddy Leonard" (PDF). Maple Blues Magazine. 27 (12): 5. December 2011.
  3. ^ "Teddy Leonard Biography". Broadway World. Broadway World.
  4. ^ "Making It The Hard Way, The Way We Was" (PDF). Maple Blues Magazine. 29 (9): 4–5. September 2013.
  5. ^ "Where are they Now". Kendall Wall Band. Kendall Wall Band.
  6. ^ "Kendall Wall Band". Toronto Blues Society. John Blues Picks.
  7. ^ "Electric Act of the Year". Maple Blues Awards. Toronto Blues Society. Archived from the original on 6 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Guitarist of the Year". Maple Blues Awards. Toronto Blues Society.
  9. ^ "Best Blues Album". Juno Awards. Juno Awards.
  10. ^ "No National Jazz Awards for 2010". Vancouver Jazz. Vancouver Jazz Forum.
  11. ^ "Teddy Leonard". Maple Blues Band. Maple Blues Band.
  12. ^ "Maple Revue" (PDF). Toronto Blues Magazine. 32 (2): 6. February 2016.
  13. ^ "Canadian Indie Award". Fathead. Fathead.
  14. ^ "Pork Belly Futures" (PDF). Toronto Blues Magazine. 26 (12): 10. December 2010.
  15. ^ "Fathead Hires New Guitarist". Fathead.
  16. ^ "Teddy is Back!!!". Fathead. Fathead.
  17. ^ "Guitarist Receives Lifetime Achievement Award". Fathead. Great Lakes Blues Society.
  18. ^ "Fathead Concert at Market Hall to be recorded for Documentary DVD". The Peterborough Examiner. The Peterborough Examiner.
  19. ^ "Papa John King named new Guitarist". Fathead. Fathead.
  20. ^ "New Documentary Released by the Kendall Wall Band". Canada Beats. Amanda Hather.
  21. ^ "Where Are They Now". Kendall Wall Band. Kendall Wall Band.

External links[edit]