Jack de Keyzer keeps getting better with age and that’s saying something given he’s already accomplished so much. De Keyzer won a Juno in 2010 for the Corktown Sessions, his live CD recorded in Hamilton, but on his eighth disc, Electric Love, de Keyzer explores the rocking blues of his Hamilton youth for what could be his strongest album yet.
“With Six String Lover I’d gone for the traditional blues and the Corktown Sessions was our live show at the time, with this one I thought I’d go back to when I first started playing the guitar,” recalls de Keyzer. “My heroes were Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Zeppelin and then when I started playing out professionally in Hamilton, I started hanging out with guys like Richard “King Biscuit Boy” Newell and Jesse O’Brien’s dad Michael O’Brien. They turned me on to Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and B.B. King so I got into the more traditional blues but for this album I thought I’d take a step back and revisit the rock blues of what I started out playing and it opened up something inside of me that I felt was really fun. I pursued the blues for some time and then I got into this jazz thing for a while but for this one I thought let’s bring the rock and roll back into the blues. I’ve always loved rock and roll – the energy. I’ve always taken chances on my albums. Sometimes you lose some fans sometimes you gain some new fans.
“It may sound corny but love, it does make the world go round – whether it’s love for another person, love for what you’re doing or the love of music,” he adds on the Electric Love title. “I started writing these lyrics with the idea that love is the thing that turns everybody on. It’s the thing that boots you in the ass and gets you going. That was the starting point and then the message for the album became, if you love something – that’s what keeps us all going. For this album we lucked out, the song writing, the band, the performance and the engineering – everything came together in a way that doesn’t happen that often.”
Accolades aside, de Keyzer does what he does for the love of the music and it’s that passion that shines through his new recordings. As singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, de Keyzer is a man for all seasons and doesn’t fear adding marketer to his resume. He’s excited by the possibilities that technology has made available to musicians in the last few decades.
“There are so many more avenues to get your music out there today,” says de Keyzer. “When I started making records back in the late ‘70s, it cost a fortune to make an album. Now with digital media, the prices have come so far that the power is in the artist’s hands. You still might need advertising dollars but we didn’t have the opportunity to broadcast around the world. There is more opportunity today.
“Since 1999, I’ve produced my albums and mixed my recordings and that’s exciting,” adds de Keyzer. “But there will never be anything that will beat that interaction of a band playing in front of an audience and the band is clicking and everybody’s having a good time. No amount of digitization can ever duplicate.
The stage is where this musician truly shines and with the band featured on Electric Love — David “Groove Dr” McMorrow (keyboards),
Alan Duffy (bass), Rick Donaldson (drums) and Richard Thornton (sax) – Jack de Keyzer brings this new rocking blues back to where it all began.
“Regardless that I’ve lived just outside of Toronto for a few decades, I feel Hamilton is my spiritual home, my high school years were there and all of my formative musical days were there and I still have a lot of musical friends there,” notes de Keyzer. “Hamilton will always be special and we’re going to be introducing all of the tunes from the new album this time out. It’s always a good party when we play but I’m anticipating that this one should be right over the top.”
Jack de Keyzer releases his CD on Saturday, November 17 at Stonewalls. Click on www.jackdekeyzer.com V