Cambridge has the blues.
Local musician, Conor Gains, played a dynamic set of jazz and blues at the Beaver and Bulldog on Saturday night. Gains was accompanied on guitar by Tito Sono and Ricky Mullen throughout the performance.
At the age of 18, Gains has a soulful voice that is reminiscent of blues legends Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Johnson. Gains began his set with “Crossroads”, then followed with a few originals such as “Lazy Boy” and “Sweet Little Things”. He played through a loop effect to give himself multiple guitar tracks, while he played unaccompanied onstage. Gains was joined by Sono half way through his first set.
Sono, who was visiting from Quebec, sang two French songs before starting into a melodic jazz set with Gains. The two traded back and forth with duelling guitar solos as they jammed their way through each song. They managed to keep the audience on their toes as they interluded from an old jazz standard, “All of Me”, into the “Mario” theme song.
As Sono exited the stage, Mullen entered and steered the set from jazz into a bluesy-folk combination. The duo harmonized their way through each song as some audience members stomped their feet as if they were in a country bar.
Gains was born in Toronto, Ontario, but moved to Cambridge at a young age. He began playing the piano at the age of six and guitar when he was 7. He played his first gig at the age of 12 and formed his blues band, The Conor Gains Band, two years later. He won a Bernice Adams Award for “Best Youth” in 2009. He has also played with guitar legend Les Paul at The Iridium Jazz Club in New York.
Gains is taking the rest of the summer off to spend some time in Sauble, Ontario, and write new songs; he is hoping to record an album with his band by next summer.
To stay updated with The Conor Gains Band, visit www.myspace.com/conorgainsband.