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Spotlight on local music: Bluesparks

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Name: Bluesparks

Members: Claude Dufour (aka Reem The Harp), Craig Jones, Sean Rose and Jason MacNeil.

Hometowns: Val David, Quebec; Toronto, Ontario; Perth, Ontario; and Cambridge, New Zealand.

What's the origin of your name?

Bluesparks was on a list of names Claude created for the band, he wanted something catchy with lots of spark. He wanted a name that would demand quality from the musicians in the band. (He) had Sparks written by itself and added Blues to it. It felt right and just grows on you.

How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?

We've known each other for three or four years. Claude and Craig met through an ad in the paper and we met Sean through the Boot Pub jam night. From the original Bluesparks, only RTH is left. Getting Craig was the first step in rebuilding the band. We asked Sean Rose to audition and went through three drummers before getting Jay in the band. We put a year of practice in before our first show.

What are your musical backgrounds?

Other than Jay who has been to music school, the band relies on pure soul and muscle memory and lots of practice!

What brought you to Whistler?

Skiing, work and the girls...

When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?

Jan. '07 was the start when Sean decided to play with the Sparks. We went through the process of getting Sean into the feel of the band, more blues and soul, less reggae.... A soulful voice with a southern feel. We knew Sean's voice was what we needed, his guitar was a bonus!

How do you describe your music?

From the North to the South of the Mississippi, we like to call it southern rock with a big blues aftertaste.

Do you play covers, or original material?

Now we play mostly covers, arranging the songs to the feel of the band. We are working on a couple of originals with a hint of funk and soul coming through — they'll be rockin' songs!

Describe a typical rehearsal…

Two to three hours with stop and go. We try to make it as tight as we can without making it sound overworked.

What’s your favourite song to perform together?

Ma Ma, Ma Ma, Stormy Monday, Statesboro Blues....

Who are your musical influences? Sean is into Brownie Mcgee, Sonny Terry, Robert Johnson, Ray Charles. RTH is into the harmonica artists like James Cotton, Little Walter and Sugar Blue. Craig is influenced by island, rock, folk and funk artists like Crowded House, Lenny Kravitz and now the blues and R&B. Jay is influenced by bands like Sublime and Primus and a lot of funk and R&B.

If you have to pick one “theme song” for the band, what would it be?

Room To Move

I know you haven’t been performing together for long, but what would you say is the best venue in town?

So far our best show has been at the Longhorn Saloon...

What’s been your most memorable time on stage?

"Rosefest," When Sean’s father, Tom, came and played guitar with us at the Longhorn.

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