Melding poetry, mystery, darkness and light, along with an extensive knowledge of the history and traditions of blues music is what makes Paul Reddick on of the most popular figures on the blues and roots music scene today. For over 25 years he’s been writing and performing his eclectic brand of blues, bringing the art form to new frontiers with his rapacious, deep vocals, masterful harmonica playing and song writing. As the unofficial poet laureate of Canadian blues, words are his weapon of choice and when he sings, it is near impossible not to listen and get lost within the songs, right alongside him and illustrating what the influential British magazine Mojo described as his “wayward brilliance.”
A devotee of pre-war blues and classic artists such as Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson and Howlin’ Wolf, Reddick formed his innovative band Paul Reddick & The Sidemen in Toronto in 1990, developing a cult-like following in the clubs and venues on the circuit at the time and spent a the better part decade touring across Canada. Together they released four albums, two of which were JUNO nominated and in 2002 their ground breaking release Rattlebag won three Maple Blues Awards including Electric Act of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Album of the Year and was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award in the USA. One of the tracks from Rattlebag, the gritty “I’m A Criminal”, was used in the popular Coca-Cola “Sip Stealing” television commercial that aired during the Superbowl. Following the trajectory set forth by The Sidemen, Reddick continued to re-work blues traditions on his solo recordings; Villanelle (2004), Sugarbird (2009), which earned Reddick a Maple Blues Award for Songwriter of the Year, and his seminal recording Wishbone (2012). These recordings were released to critical acclaim from reviewers around the world.
Reddick is also the creator and benefactor of The Cobalt Prize for Contemporary Blues Composition. The intention behind the Cobalt Prize is to promote blues music through exploration of its form. Entries are judged on their ability to creatively utilize blues traditions within the broad contemporary musical landscape. The inaugural Colbalt Prize was awarded at the Maple Blues Awards in 2015, and will continue to be an annual event.
With his extensive career and importance as a major player in the Canadian blues scene, there is no doubt that Paul Reddick will long continue to be an innovator and boundary-pusher in the genre.
This is poetry. This is history. This is blues. This is Paul Reddick.