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Vancouver Island bluesman David Gogo releases rockin’ summer record

'Yeah' saw a mid-June online release with a CD release set for July 5
David Gogo’s 17th studio album 'Yeah' saw an online release June 14 and since has been featured on radio stations in Europe.

While it’s no secret Nanaimo bluesman and legendary guitarist David Gogo has worked on many albums over the years, his latest may just be his favourite one yet.

“I think the biggest thing was I got myself out of my comfort zone,” Gogo said.

Accolades for the award-winning musician include the Maple Blues Awards’ Guitarist of the Year in 2002 and 2004; Western Canadian Music Awards’ Blues Recording of the Year in 2012; Great Canadian Blues Awards’ Best Canadian Blues Musician in 2004; and West Coast Music Awards’ Musician of the Year in 2000.

For his 17th studio album, the bluesman travelled far from the comforts of Nanaimo – far from his guitar collection and local supports – and wound up in a recording studio built inside a 140-year-old farmhouse on the outskirts of Cobourg, Ont. Gogo said the farmhouse provided the perfect, distraction-free atmosphere he craved.

“It’s not like a regular studio where the clock’s ticking … It was just fantastic. A lot of really spontaneous playing and keeping a lot of first tracks,” he said.

The studio was called Ganaraska Recording Co. and had its own guitar collection. And except for one song where Gogo plays his own, the studio’s collection is heard being plucked and strummed throughout the album.

Playing with the bluesman throughout Yeah is his friend and collaborator Steve Marriner; former member of Sheepdogs and co-owner of the recording studio Jimmy Bowskill; and veteran drummer Gary Craig who has played with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Tom Cochrane and Bruce Cockburn.

While Gogo said he considers his previous album, 2021’s Silver Cup, as an acoustic home-recorded product of the COVID-19 pandemic, he sees Yeah as the celebration that followed to “get out there and rock some more.”

“The album itself was just a real thrill and I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a record where things were just so happening and so spontaneous,” he said.

The focus track is a song called Diamonds in the Rough and was inspired by someone who “really floats his boat.” And for local listeners, there are also plenty of references to be picked out. The song Moose Hall Brawl, for example, is based on actual events at the south Nanaimo lodge, and the tenth song, Ballad of Bad Boy Billy, is dedicated to a friend of Gogo’s who died last summer.

“I decided to write a song for him, and from what I’ve heard from people who knew him, they think it’s quite a tribute,” the bluesman said.

The 10 tracks that account for Gogo’s latest project are already available on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, but won’t be available for CD purchase until July 5. And although it has only seen an online release so far, Gogo said he’s pleased with how well the album is already doing. Earlier this month, the bluesman heard a radio station based in the U.K. had featured Yeah as album of the week, and that a few other stations in the Netherlands were also playing it.

“It blows my mind. The record has only been streaming since [June 14] and we’re already getting reviews and air-play over in Europe. It’s a whole different time than when I started out in this business,” Gogo said.

For much of the summer, he will circulate through festivals like the Lighthouse Blues Festival in Ontario, the Blues d’la Baie Blues Festival in New Brunswick and the Donnacona Blues Festival in Québec, while squeezing in B.C. performances when he can. To date, Island venues include the Parksville Museum on July 18 and the Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival on Aug. 8.

Gogo did, however, mention that he’s been toying with the idea of holding a pop-up album release show at one of the second-hand record stores in Nanaimo. Plans have yet to be solidified though.

More information on the bluesman’s touring schedule, or to pre-order Yeah on CD, can be found at

Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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