With a deep reverence for historical blues music and a burning passion to give this enchanting genre a contemporary twist, Anthony Gomes has been winning listeners’ hearts since his debut album in 1998. Titled Blues in Technicolor, this collection boasts of some powerful songs recorded on the guitar, compelling and robust vocals, and a range of emotions woven into the framework of authentic blues music.
But even before his big opening, Gomes had already been turning heads. Having taken to the guitar in his early teens, he moved to the Windy City in the late ‘90s to immerse himself in the scene and continue his education watching Buddy King, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and B.B. King – the legends of blues music. And during the brief period in 1998 when he worked as a sideman for Magic Slim and the Teardrops, Gomes and his colleagues won that year’s annual Buddy Guy’s Legends “Best Unsigned Blues Band” competition.
From that point onward, there was no stopping him from taking the blues music stage by storm. Gomes went on to deliver twelve releases over the course of the last two decades and has since toured and performed in seventeen countries spread across North America and Europe. And in a fulfillment of the dreams he nurtured as a teenager, Gomes has performed alongside some of the virtuosos he admired the most, including B.B. King, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Buddy Guy, 38 Special, Heart, Sammy Hagar, Robert Cray, Jonny Lang, Joe Bonamassa, and Robert Plant.
He’s also a rare example of a great musician and a great scholar of music history. Having completed a thesis for his master’s degree on the racial and cultural evolution of blues music, Gomes graduated with distinction. Gomes has also been rewarded the C.P. Stacey Prize by the University of Toronto for scoring the highest overall academic grade point average among the history students.
In 2010, inspired by his belief that music motivates the human soul and spirit, Gomes established a non-profit foundation named Music is the Medicine, which seeks to bring together the generosity of great music with the generosity of normal people to enable more and better music to be made across the US and Canada. Over the last seven years, the organization has received private donations and won some beneficial grants including contributions from CVS Pharmacy and State Farm Insurance to conduct programs on musical education, fund songwriting scholarships, and give away musical instruments to aspiring artists who need them.
Having immersed himself so deeply in the world of blues and rock and roll music, it’s no wonder that Gomes was named Artist of the Year (2003) by BluesWax magazine. And it was a well-earned title too because anyone who has heard him play will agree – Anthony Gomes is Canada’s testimony to the fact that when you blend blues music with rock and roll, you get something extraordinary, magical and enduring.
Gomes is playing Biscuits and Blues this coming Saturday, the 12th of August – if you want to see him for yourself, head down!
Photo courtesy of www.anthonygomes.com