Thank you for visiting our official website.
We are a Blues Rock and Roots orientated band hailing from Timmins Ontario.
We welcome all fans worldwide. Three of our four members have a background in the mining industry.
Our history and heritage in Northern Ontario have a great deal of influence on our music and what it's about.
The Shaftmen's music is honest and tough. The sound is filtered through the four musicians. It mixes blues, rock, boogie and roots music.
Everything you hear is original.
"“From the beginning the idea of The Shaftmen was to reflect the feel and essence of the north and our culture. Not by line by line references in each song, it’s was more we wanted you to feel you know the region and the artist even though you may never have been here” " - John Emms
“This band of veterans form Timmins have put together a fascinating blues rock album. There is clearly chemistry at work here. John Emms’ songs are of uniformly high quality, and would not be out of place in a Bob Seger working class songbook, Not a bad thing by any means” -John Valentyne-Maple Blues Magazine Toronto
"Even with a rough rehearsal demo, you could tell the songs were really good. They’re catchy and well put together. It’s not long before your singing some of the lines. I’m pumped about producing their new album” - Jack de Keyzer-Juno Award Winner
You can discover a lot more on who we are as individuals as well as The Shaftmen on our bio page. Please be sure to check out our downloads page for really cool samples of our albums "Mining the Blues"
& "Paycheque Blues" as well as checking out various movie clips of our live performances at different venues.
Latest Band News
UPDATE - New Album Release June 26, 2013.
Hey Everyone.. IT'S HERE..our new CD will be out worldwide this week. "The World's Gone Crazy" is the title. It's a big step forward with the use of horns, female backing vocals (Steffany Venneri) and a superb set of brand new original songs in the Blues/R & B genre. Galaxie Blues Radio across Canada and our fans at Apple iTunes have been very supportive. One listen and you will be hooked into the "vibe' of all the new tracks.
We have a number of new shows this summer. More details later.
THX JOHN, MIKE, GIL AND JOSEPH
Spring Update 2012 / North Country Blues / Let's Go Timmins March 10, 2012.
We have just demoed 13 new songs for our new album which at this time is titled North Country Blues.
We are hoping to release the cd for mid July 2012.
We want to record the cd locally use local studios and some extra local players to make a full Northern effort
There is also a song we have been working on called LET'S GO TIMMINS. It's a great swinging rocker that is a perfect anthem for the Timmins 100 Year Celebration.
In addition on a lot of the Blues/ R & B songs we are hoping to add a horn section.
Of course we have asked 2 time Juno winner JACK DE KEYZER to produce and play on the new opus.
We are actively seeking some funds to accomplish this and complete the album
You can catch us live at various locations including the 15th Anniversary of the Porquis Blues Festival in July 2012.
John, Mike, Gil, Joseph
Fall Update/Latest Band News Sept 14, 2011.
The Summer Concert Series was a bona fide hit. We played an all original 11 song set with a number of local heritage songs that were really well received. We would like to thank Midnight Express, the City of Timmins and Guy Lamarche for having us.
Dont' forget The Shaftmen are available for Blues Festivals and dances. We can switch it up and play a large number of choice cover songs for picnics, private parties etc.
or rock out an all original concert set.
In addition we have enjoyed working with Steffany Venneri as a guest vocalist.
We are continuing to write new songs. Lonely Town, World's Gone Crazy (fantastic new blues song) Broken Hearted Blues, Burning Rubber & Gasoline, Still Dreaming Still Believing, Raining Blue, Packing Up, Don't Take It The Wrong Way, a great new song which we have titled Let's Go Timmins and we also have been re-working much to Gil's delight the Smuggler classic Fooled You.
We are stoked to get together with our producer Jack De Keyzer for 2012 and record this material.
Thank you for your continued support.
Keep Rocking The Blues
John, Mike, Gil, Joseph
"North Wind Blues" Video June 22, 2011.
Check out our new video for NORTH WIND BLUES.
This track is from our second cd PAYCHEQUE BLUES..cheers
Timmins 100 Years celebrations & New member joins the Shaftmen! June 14, 2011.
The Shaftmen are proud to be part of the Timmins 100th Year Anniversery Celebrations.
The Shaftmen will continue our tradition of writing blues/roots songs about our
heritage and culture
Andrew Swartz is now part of our Shaftmen team. Andrew is an accomplished guitarist and
vocalist and is having a solid impact on our songs. Andrew like the rest of the band
rocks as a passionate hobby. Mr Swartz is a high school teacher, new father (again) and
yes ladies a married man.
Joe DiMarco joins the band! June 17, 2010.
We have a new band member Joe Di Marco. Joe has been gigging with the band on keyboards for a few months now. We are thrilled to have Joe onboard. You may have also noticed Steve Clermont and Paul Colameco sitting in as lead guitarists with us on various shows. Both players have added a lot. The Shaftmen are gaining radio airplay at Ottawa's new blues radio station http://www.dawgfm.com/
"Little by Little" Video - Paycheque Blues. June 16, 2010.
NEW Album Released - Paycheque Blues. July 7, 2009.
Well, our new and second disc PAYCHEQUE BLUES is here. We without a doubt raised the bar musically with this new cd. It's very blues based with touches of Jazz, R & B and Rock sprinkled in it's magic.
But most of all it is Accesssible, with BIG HOOKS.
We never make any specific decisions to have the songs come out that way, but they do.
When I write the songs and bring them in and the band arranges them over a year or so, they gel. That's what you get to hear NOW. The sound of the four band members grooving. Bob Pell added some terriffic piano and organ and that was a major plus.
JACK DE KEYZER is another key to this album.
Jack produced the recording sessions, mixed the music and of course played some wicked guitar on about 5 songs.
Jack with some help from myself poured over the music files for about 4 months.to give them that "ol' living room pocket feel" but still retain the passion of the studio takes
We will be out this summer doing "our passionater hobby" gigs.
Pick up the disc locally at CD PLUS and the Shania Twain Centre, from us perrsonally at our shows, or online here,
At this point I should say we will rocking both our debut and this album to ITUNES by Septemberr 2009.
ON RADIO check it out on CBC GALAXIE BLUES, POINTS NORTH, SATURDAY NIGHT BLUES.when the new year returns in September, and Sirius/Xm satellite.
We will publish our new cd reviews and comments from Blues Publications and fans around the world.
Check out some sound bytes from our latest album here
Private Event Bookings! May 26, 2009.
THE SHAFTMEN will play Corporate Parties, Private Events and Charitable Events....
Hi everyone just a note. Over the last 2 weeks we have received a number of requests for private events , bb'q's and coroporate parties. So yes we do play those events for ALL AGES. We also play charitible events which requre a sound system set up and stage area. Just contact us thorugh our user submitted questions page HERE for more information. Thanks for your support!
New album makes national debut on CBC radio. May 24, 2009.
Our album made a national debut on CBC radio on Saturday evening. We are thrilled to be on the air during their "Saturday Night Blues" broadcast. Here is a snippet from their website about the line up for that evening. Awesome stuff!
******************* FROM CBC WEBSITE ******************
2007/08 is the 22nd season for Saturday Night Blues. Join the fun every Saturday evening from 10 to midnight on CBC Radio One.
May 23, 2009
We are always happy have you join us for some great music on Saturday Night Blues. This week we have some great features lined up.
In hour one I'll be speaking with the Toronto band, Fathead. They have been around since the early 90's, gigging all over North America, recording and winning Awards.
In hour two blues and roots based singer/song writer Chris Smither will stop in to chat and play some acoustic music for us.
Lots of other great music lined up for the show including Ramblin Jack Elliott, The Shaftmen, Jimmy Vaughn Big Mama Thornton and many more.
And the SNB Great Canadian Blues Award & contest starts. This award is chosen entirely by you the listeners. Just send us an email to vote for your favourite Canadian blues person.
All of the people who vote will be entred into a draw for an SNB Prize Pack - a ball cap and 5 blues CDs including the SNB 20th Anniversary compilation.
New Album Latest! May 8, 2009.
We will be releasing our first song from our upcoming disc PAYCHEQUE BLUES.
This track is titled BLUES SCHOOL. It’s our tribute to the Blues Icons that have inspired our band and millions of people worldwide.
The song will reference artists such as Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, Paul Butterfield and many more. Blues School also features the scorching slide guitar of Canadian blues icon and Shaftmen producer Jack De Keyzer.
Our first target will be Galaxie Blues Network and CBC’s Saturday Night Blues Radio show with host Holger Peterson.
Both programs run Canada wide and also have airplay in the USA.
Blues School has been described as “the type of track Jeff Healey and Stevie Ray Vaughan had so much crossover success with in their careers”
You can hear a 60 second clip of the new track HERE
We have also included a 65 second clip of our classic cover of Jimmy Reed’s Bright Lights Big City
You can hear that HERE.
Dig It! The Shaftmen
Application to OAC (Update) Apr 9, 2009.
Hello everyone. Well, we did not get the Ontario Arts council grant we applied for. Only 1 of over 50 grants that was given went to Northern Ontario artists. So that is not very good stats on the part of the OAC.
We have some big shows coming up this summer, and we want to finish up our new disc through whatever means possible. The new songs are the best we have ever written and performed. We had a lot of airplay on our debut disc and our new album NORTHERN HERITAGE BLUES is likely to garner even more.
But as usual I get ahead of myself. We have asked keyboard man Bob Pell to join us on stage whenever he can this summer and fall. He will be a huge asset to our sound.
On behalf of everyone in Shaftmen land..
Application to OAC Nov 25, 2008.
We will be making an application to OAC for funding for our opus.
We are once again, working again with some very talented people. Esteemed producer and Juno winner Jack De Keyzer. Silverbirch Productions out of Toronto will handle manufacturing and mastering of our entire new album project. Also, Matt Gardner who represents our website design. The Timmins Museum (NEC), The “Shania Twain Centre, and of course the City of Timmins!
It’s the 100th Anniversary of Mining in 2009 and we are paying tribute. In the meantime make sure to check out Matt’s new design, our photos, our blogs, our My Space site, our videos on youtube.com and of course when we play a gig.
On behalf of everyone in Shaftmen land..
New Album News Oct 16, 2008.
Okay folks we are ‘working” on our second album. Right now the title is Northern Heritage Blues. 12 or 13 exciting tracks will selected for the disc from the 16 songs written for the project. Bob Pell will join us on vocals piano and organ for 5 songs. Our producer Jack De Keyzer will play his killer lead guitar on about 4 songs, do some background vocals as well as mix the disc’s material at his Hawkstone Studio. The new demos show a real progression. Blues School, 25 Tons, and Paycheck Blues are just 3 of the tracks we are really excited about and should catch on big time in the USA and elsewhere. I can guarantee this album will be hot.. .it’s going to be a barnburner!
We received a lot of airplay by our friends at CBC Radio coast to coast in Canada with our debut disc MINING THE BLUES. Look for changes to our website by Matt Gardner. He gives our site the coolest of looks. Also visit us at www.myspace.com/theshaftmentimmins
All The Best
The Shaftmen are on MySpace.com Jan 25, 2008.
We have invaded www.myspace.com in a huge way..lots of new fans, friends and artists have joined on board..it’s very exciting…PROFILES and song-plays have went up 300 percent in 3 weeks..It’s nuts...
Our Fans can check,under music / search type in keywords "the shaftmen".
Galaxie Blues Network has added Too Much Confusion, across Canada…and the northern parts of the USA Jan 25, 2008.
The song has drawn huge praise from international artists and fans. “Who ever we talk to, they mention the freshness of that track says John Emms.
"Too Much Confusion"..Rips it up in Europe
Nov 13, 2007.
We were thrilled to find out that our track "Too Much Confusion"
opened up Turino Italy’s Catfish Blues Radio Hour on November 2nd says John Emms. It’s hard to consider your songs are being broadcast in another country. It shows music crosses over, even if they do not understand all the words.
Catfish the show’s host told us by email, he was really excited about “The fine effort", and will look at sharing our music with all his fans.
The Shaftmen to Head to European Blues Radio
Sept 26, 2007.
“A few days ago I received an email from Catfish Blues Show host Edoardo Fassi of FLASH 97.7 in Turin, Italy. He asked if we could send him a couple of our discs. He plans to feature cuts from "Mining the Blues" on his blues show, which IS the longest running blues show in Europe. In addition, he is a journalist with STAMPA one of Italy’s largest newspapers. He also plans to write about the band. So we will send the stuff out this week. We seem to be hitting a nice streak with the album, I think it shows the disc has got legs” says John Emms.
Download Full Versions
Sept 23, 2007.
You can now download full versions of four of our tracks from our album. Too much confusion, 4 a.m. Blues, Hurt my pride and Shaftmen Boogie. Check them out over on our downloads page.
Shaftmen Gain American Exposure
SEPTEMBER 18, 2007.
The Shaftmen are very excited about being reviewed in BLUES REVUE says John Emms.
It is a premier blues magazine in America and has International Circulation.
In a nutshell the reviewer Tom Hyslop stated "Showing the traditional side of blues-rock, Canada's Shaftmen add rough edges, distorted tones and mannered vocals on rootsy rockers.
To be sure, Hyslop did not like the ballads Jimmy's Place and Never Knew Much says Emms but Jimmy's Place has always been a great live number in our shows.
In addition we have now been on GALAXIE BLUES NETWORK for 10 months straight with 4.A.M Blues, and have been featured on Canada's SATURDAY NIGHT BLUES..with different songs on a number of occasions.
The Shaftmen our demoing 12 new tracks to be recorded in late spring 2008.
The Shaftmen are to get Europe and U.S. exposure
JULY 24, 2007.
The Shaftmen are very excited about their upcoming exposure in both Europe and America.
“We recently were told that "Mining the Blues" will be reviewed in the Oct/Nov issue of BLUES REVUE, the National American Blues magazine. It is the largest blues publication in the world, "So it’s great exposure” said John Emms.
Johnny Winter is featured this month and Maria Muldaur and Downchild Blues Band will be featured in the issue we will be in.
If that was not cool enough The Shaftmen will have a review in the September/October issue of Blues Matters, Europe’s largest Blues Magazine.
“This magazine contacted us about reviewing our album and said it was a go”.
They also have there own record label, so I think we will try to make inroads to see they can release 4.A.M Blues or Too Much Confusion from our album.
So far 4.A.M. BLUES has received heavy airplay on Galaxie Blues and CBC Radio here in Canada says Emms.
The Shaftmen have also demoed 8 new songs for inclusion on the band’s next album, which they will be begin recording in late spring 2008. The band will be in Port Credit, Ontario for the South Side Shuffle Blues Fest. Headliners will include Powder Blues Band, Downchild Blues Band and world renown blues icon Buddy Guy, in September.
The Shaftmen dig up national airplay
March 5, 2007.
Story by Chelsea Romaine - Timmins Daily Press
The Shaftmen may be a band well-known to Timmins, but soon blues lovers across Canada will know exactly who they are.
After playing together for nearly two years, the Timmins quartet has received national recognition thanks to the CBC Radio program "Saturday Night Blues."
The band received word last week from host Holger Petersen that their song "4 a.m. Blues" from their debut album "Mining the Blues," will be played on the show for the next few weeks.
"This is beyond my wildest dreams," said drummer Mike Charette.
"I was just excited to be playing in a rock band."
In addition to the Saturday Night Blues show, which can be heard across Canada and in northern parts of the United States, the song will also be put into regular rotation on the Galaxie Network's blues channel for the next two months.
"We thought we had made a pretty good record, but this kind of confirms that we did," said band songwriter, rhythm guitarist and lead singer John Emms.
Emms contacted Petersen after being encouraged by friend and colleague David Macmillan, who is the director of Canadian operations for Eagle Rock Entertainment.
When Emms and Charette started playing with lead guitar player John Savard and fretless bass player Gilbert Boissonneault almost two years ago, they didn't know where the band would lead them.
"The purpose was to kick around and play some music," said Charette. "One song just led to another."
This past November the band released their debut album, complete with 12 original songs produced by renowned blues musician Jack de Keyzer.
But at one point, Emms said, it seemed like they had given up a lot because they didn't do covers.
"The bottom line is I think you give up a lot not being a top 40 act," said Emms, adding there is less money and fewer gigs. "But when it gets picked up nationally you have to think it wouldn't have happened if we were playing Bryan Adams tunes."
Both Emms and Charette said it didn't hurt to have de Keyzer producing and even playing on the track Petersen chose to play.
"De Keyzer has gotten our foot in the door in a lot of ways," said Emms.
"Jack de Keyzer played on our first album so the way I see it we've got to be doing something right," added Charette.
Besides playing in local and not-so-local blues festivals, including the long-running festival in Porquis, the band said they aren't making any plans besides thinking of their next album, due in about a year. Emms said the band will continue singing and playing about what they know best, life in Northeastern Ontario.
"Bob Seger sang about Michigan and Bruce Springsteen sang about New Jersey," said Emms. "There's no reason why you can't have a band singing about Timmins in the same way."
The band is also being featured on the Porquis Blues Festival's 10th-anniversary CD, which features Juno award winning musicians such as de Keyzer and Garret and Dutch Mason.
YouTube users can view five of the band's videos on the site.
"Saturday Night Blues" airs on Saturday nights from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Porquis Blues Festival CD February 17, 2007
The Shaftmen are excited about being part of the
10th anniversary CD titled Porquis Blues 10 Great Years 1998-2007.
To be part of an album with artists as cool as the late Dutch Mason, The Downchild Blues Band, and our producer Jack De Keyzer is very gratifying for the guys. On a personal note, I have been a huge supporter of this festival since it’s inception, and have had a blast working with SAB and the all the people involved.
YouTube February 14, 2007
The Shaftmen are now featured on You Tube!
Thanks to Steve for all the help with the video stuff! Couldn't have done it without all your help. Head on over to you tube and check out the responses and maybe leave on of your own. We have featured video from our Jack de Keyzer supporting act at the Mac.
Video Downloads February 14, 2007
Head on over to the downloads section to check out the new videos we have of our Jack de Keyzer supporting band gig! What an excellent night! SEE FOR YOURSELF! Thanks again to Steve for all the hard work with the video footage and editing!
We Have A Blog! November 24, 2006
The Shaftmen are pleased to announce that we now have an official blog. You can check it out here.
Head on over, and read up on the latest and greatest news and events and leave a few comments of your own.
Online Store Up & Running - November 24, 2006
The online store is now up and running, check it out !
Album launch party news! November 12, 2006
The Shaftmen will be holding their official CD release party of their album Mining the blues in 2 parts.
The first will be at the Blues and brews bash on November 18th supporting Jack de keyzer at the McIntyre Arena and at their own gig at The Victory Tavern (The Vic) in Timmins on December 9th.
Check out the tour page for further details.
The Shaftmen.com is launched October 16, 2006
Well here it is! ... Our new official web site.
Here you can find all the latest news and information on the band and their music. A special thanks to Matt for the work on the website and to Voyo for the large collection of photos. Drop us an email if you have any comments about our rockin' site!
Debut album is coming Soon October 16, 2006
"Mining the Blues" will be released on November 18th.
An official launch party is set for the release. Check back later this month for further details.
Track From Album To Be Featured
In Compilation October 16, 2006
The Shaftmen wish to announce they will have a (yet to be selected track) from Mining The Blues on the 15 track CD compilation titled disc "10th Anniversary Porquis Blues Festival".
The album will also feature Canuck blues legends.. Dutch Mason, The Downchild Blues Band, Jack De Keyzer and Rita Chiarelli, to name just a few.
Scheduled release date Christmas 2006
The Shaftmen have also been asked back to rock the Porquis Blues Festival in 2007..as part of the 10th Anniversary Celebration.