An obvious uniqueness that identifies and sets apart Blackburn Brothers is that they are a band of brothers - literally. Duane (lead vocals, organ, piano), Brooke (guitar, vocals, writing), and Cory (drums, harmony vocals). Oldest brother Robert (guitar, vocal harmonies, writing), and cousin Nathan (bass guitar) can be heard as session players in the latest production of the new fall 2023 release of SoulFunkn'BLUES. All share the Blackburn name, which has become synonymous with Toronto's music history, and their unique familial bond sets them apart in the music industry.
The horn section of the band is comprised of long-time bandmates Neil Brathwaite on tenor saxophone and Ted Peters on trombone. Touring bass guitar is Andrew Stewart. Musically, the Blackburn name has been forever imprinted in our ears by Bobby Dean Blackburn, a veteran R&B artist who gained legendary status in the Toronto music scene, performing the city circuit for over 60 years.
Beyond the music, other history runs deep. The Blackburn Brothers are 4th-generation Canadians, descended of freedom seekers through the Underground Railroad and settling in Southern Ontario. The Blues that the Blackburn Brothers create is part of their inheritance, and always about a message of history, freedom, legacy, family, black unity, and love. The SoulFunkn’Blues album is a tribute to all the trailblazers, all of the ancestors and forgotten tribes who taught the Blackburn Brothers the importance of history, blues, soul, groove, rhythm and life. It is a tribute to 230 years of Canadian Roots and Blues.
Blackburn Brothers received the 2024 JUNO Awards nomination for BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR on their recently released album SoulFunkn’BLUES. The JUNO Awards are awards presented by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to recognize outstanding achievements in Canada's music industry.
This JUNO nomination is in addition to three 2024 (BMAs) BLUES MUSIC AWARD nominations from The Blues Foundation for: Album of The Year, Soul Blues Album of the Year, and Song of the Year (a new precedent from a Canadian band). The American Blues Music Awards brings together Blues performers, industry representatives, and fans from all over the world to celebrate the best in Blues recordings and performances.
Blackburn Brothers received several 2024 MAPLE BLUES AWARDS. Considered the highest honours on the Canadian Blues scene, Blackburn Brothers collectively earned a record-setting nine nominations in the upcoming 27th Annual Maple Blues Awards including: Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Recording of the Year, Producer of the Year (Howard Ayee), Male Vocalist of the Year (Brooke Blackburn), Guitarist of the Year (Brooke Blackburn), Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year (Duane Blackburn), Drummer of the Year (Cory Blackburn), Bassist of the Year (Nathan Blackburn). Additionally, their father Bobby Dean Blackburn has been nominated for Blues With A Feeling/Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Blackburn Brother's latest album SoulFunkn'BLUES has lead to several international music reviews, and blues music magazines features and covers. More details on this can be found in the NEWS section.
In 2023, Blackburn Brothers were inducted into the Canada South Blues Society Hall of Fame.
Previous achievements include Blackburn Brothers receiving a 2016 JUNO Award nomination for BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR and in 2010 they were the Maple Blues Award Winner for BEST NEW BAND. The band has collectively received multiple Maple Blues Award nominations for Electronic Act of the Year in 2024, 2022, Drummer of the Year (Cory Blackburn) in 2024, 2022, 2020, and Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year (Duane Blackburn) in 2024, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2017, 2015.
The Blues that the JUNO Awards nominated Blackburn Brothers create is part of their inheritance. The newly released SoulFunkn'BLUES album is a tribute to all the trailblazers and all of the ancestors and forgotten tribes who taught the Blackburn Brothers the importance of History, Blues, Soul, Groove, Rhythm, Family, Freedom, Black Unity and Love.
The Blackburn Brothers live on stage during a 2023 Quebec Tour. Bringing down the SoulFunknBlues Live in Concert.