Mary Newland and The Blue Bayou Band filled the historic Olde Walkerville Theatre with iconic songs of the seventies during their nostalgic Linda Ronstadt tribute concert held on Friday, March 16, 2018.
The 1970’s was a culturally phenomenal time in music history. Great bands and memorable music became the fabric of people’s lives, among female vocalists no one was more iconic than Linda Ronstadt.
Mary Newland was inspired early in her career by Linda Ronstadt. Her longtime desire to pay tribute to Ronstadt resulted in the formation of The Blue Bayou Band.
Mary Newland and her musical director Richard Baker have storied careers and are well known in the music industry, particularly in Los Angeles, where they resided for many years. They recently settled in Leamington, Ontario where the couple assembled their topflight band of musicians for the Blue Bayou Band.
Current band members are Mary Newland (lead vocals, percussion), Richard Baker (musical director, keyboard, B3 organ), Bob Soulliere (acoustic, electric, and lap steel guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and vocals), Ed Everaert (acoustic and electric guitar, vocals), Merrill Gardiner Mills (bass guitar, back vocals), Ken Cullen (back vocals, keyboard), Nancy J. Mills (back vocals, percussion), and John Knapp (drums).
This touring tribute band first took the stage at the Bank Theatre in Leamington in May of 2017. The band’s tour will cross Ontario and Quebec. Their tour stop at the Olde Walkerville Theatre in Windsor thrilled the audience.
“The audience couldn’t have been more attentive or responsive,” explained Mary. “I felt they were with me every step of the way. I especially enjoyed hearing them applaud at the beginning of a few tunes which were obviously favourites of theirs. The energy I got from them was certainly inspirational.”
“Playing at the Olde Walkerville Theatre was a delightful experience. To be in this storied old venue with it’s vintage architecture and charm provided a great palette for presenting this retrospective catalog of music.”
Asked how she felt the performance went, Mary said, “I couldn’t have been happier with my band and the way they played. This material is deceptive. Some may think ‘Oh, it’s just country rock, how hard can it be?’ Well, it’s actually quite challenging because of the myriad of changes and subtleties in them. Writers such as JD Souther (Faithless Love and Prisoner in Disguise) and of course Don Henley and Glenn Fry (Desperado) created intricately beautiful songs which is why they are still relevant today.”
The crowd in Windsor were thrilled with the performance. Demanding an encore the band came out to perform Hard Times Come Again No More, Heatwave, and Desperado. “Seeing them (the audience) rise to their feet at the end was gratifying to say the least,” stated Mary.
Mary is grateful for and credits the talents of her band members and musical director, Richard Baker for the Band’s success. “Not only is he a genius musician and wrote all the charts for this band but directs them in a masterful way and gets the best out of each member. This is someone who has had a storied career and I am extremely fortunate to have him leading my team!”
A seasoned performer and vocalist, Mary Newland has been actively involved in the music industry most of her life, performing as a vocalist in various capacities, including as a regular attraction with her band in numerous LA area night clubs, playing to packed houses, earning stellar reviews and continuous bookings.
Mary was hired on a regular basis as a back vocalist for major label recording artists like The Beach Boys on Warner Bros, Saga on Warner Bros and Atlantic Records, Charo on Universal Records and Beth Hart on Atlantic Records, as well as for TV and radio advertising and sessions for the film industry.
Along with her partner, Richard Baker, she wrote and performed the theme for a syndicated TV series, “Mad Movies with the LA Connection,” as well as the episodic musical score.
Richard Baker wrote, co-produced and performed on gold and platinum albums and enjoys a career composing musical scores for TV and film.
Richard was an original member of the Gino Vannelli Band for four years, during which time he recorded three Gold albums.
He recorded and arranged on the album: “Touch and Gone” with Gary Wright of “Dream Weaver” fame and spent many years in Los Angeles as a session player which included dates for film and television.
After being hired to work with Leo Sayer “When You Need Me”, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing,” and performing with him on a 14-month World Tour, he then joined the Santana Band and was a member for five years. During his time in the band Richard played, arranged, wrote, toured and co-Produced on two albums certified gold and platinum, “Shango” and “Zebop.”
The band’s next tour stop is at Festival Theatre in Port Stanley, Ontario, on April 27 & 28, 2018. For the latest list of upcoming performances visit: http://www.bluebayouband.com/upcoming-shows/
For more information about the band visit: http://www.bluebayouband.com
Photos by Jose Ed Ramirez of RamzPhotography