When Carlos del Junco starts to blow, people know he's something special on the harmonica. The Port Hope, Ont., musician was recently nominated as "Best Blues harmonica player" in the annual Maple Leaf Blues Awards - an award he's taken home eight times in its 16-year history.
Del Junco's acclaimed playing is showcased again locally in a Friday, March 15 set at White Rock's Blue Frog studio, with his Blues Mongrels (guitarist Eric St.
Laurent and bass player Henry Heillig) joining him on the Johnston Road stage. The concert date is part of a western-provinces tour that began Tuesday (March 12) on Mayne Island.
Del Junco played Blue Frog last year, too, and also Crescent Beach Legion hall a couple years ago. "Both shows were really well received," he told the Now. "(It is) great to see the White Rock blues audience appreciating the 'other somewhat related stuff' that I do compared to the more straight-up blues, which includes some really fun and whacky instrumentals."
On stage, del Junco puts his 33 harmonicas to the test on tracks from Mongrel Mash, his most recent CD, and older songs.
"I am usually good for releasing a new disc every three years or so," he noted. "For me, the trick is keeping it diverse and not releasing the same CD, so to speak, over and over again - which I hear so many straight-ahead blues band doing.. There will most likely be a new disc in a year. Although after a separation from a 14-year relationship just when the last CD came out, I have been reassessing what life has to offer and (I am) not in a huge hurry to release something just for the sake of doing so."