Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Toronto's Rockin' Rockabilly Scene - A Guest Post by Liz of The Vintage Inn

We are proud to welcome Liz, a very important member of Toronto's vintage scene, and The Toronto Vintage Society, with a guest blog post about Toronto's Rockin' Rockabilly scene! She also has an amazing blog, The Vintage Inn, be sure to check it out!

If you have never visited Toronto then you might not be aware that we have an AMAZING music scene. It is 100% true that you can come and visit our city on ANY Night and find first class live music to listen too. One of those scenes is the Rockabilly scene and Toronto is very lucky to have several amazing bands right on our door step and currently a regular monthly rockabilly night as well!

For this blog post today I want to shed the light on some of the amazing Rockabilly Music right here in Toronto and surrounding cities (some are ones I know well and some are ones I don't but they are all amazing).

(Note: I'm sure I missed some bands and I do apologize)

Millwinders are great and have this great traditional rockabilly sound that is just fantastic. If you ever get to see them live they are loads of fun (and they are all super nice!) and if you like vintage style then Sarah (the only lady in the band) is your gal. Her vintage style is drool worthy AND she is a Toronto Vintage Society member too.

The Swingin' Blackjacks

The Swingin' Blackjacks have this great blend of Rockabilly and Jumpin Blues that  you can easily dance the night away to them...and TVS has. Matt and the band always put on a top-notch show and you can usually catch them playing somewhere in the city, several times a month. Very hard-working band.

The Royal Crowns

The Royal Crowns don't play a ton of shows so when they do play you must check them out. Their sound touches on many genres of music-rockabilly, rock and roll, hillbilly jazz, surf, and rhythm and blues to name just a few. Also 2 of the members "Teddy Fury" and "Danny Bartley" have deep musical roots stretching back to the early ’80s, playing in key bands such as The Bop Cats and Shotgun Shack (source). So this band has a strong Rockabilly background.

Tennessee Voodoo Coupe

TVC is headed up by the very talented and charismatic "Big Rude Jake" who has had a long and successful career in Rockabilly, Jazz, Swing etc. and it shows in his music. This band is always putting on a good show.

Video Note: The dancers in the "dark" in this video are friends in the scene.

Alistair Christl

Self described as the "Reigning Canadian champion of "Hillbilly Bop" – a style that combines the best of Honky tonk, Country Swing, Roots Rockabilly, Jazz and Blues Alistair is another show stopper. TVS has seen him play the Rockabilly Brunch at the Dominion on Queen many times (as well as many other events) and he always impresses every time. He is super fun to dance too as well.

The Kat Kings

The Kat Kings have this great Bluesy/Rockabilly (Bluesabilly?? lol) sound that is just so sweet to listen too and dance too. They are another hardworking band that perform all over the city and beyond. Always try to check them out when you can.

Ginger St. James

Ginger is an outstanding vocalist and great performer. To sum up her style there is a great quote on her website that says: "Raunchy, sassy, bluesy, rockin' with a good-sized dash of jazz AND country, this is a total delight to the ears of any connoisseur of great music. - Tara Jennings"

Hell Bent Rockers

The Hell Bent Rockers are an awesome band from just outside of Toronto in the city of Hamilton. There sound is high-energy mix of classic rock & roll and authentic 50's rockabilly. They will be performing at this Friday's Rockabilly Shakeup at the 3030.


The Greasemarks according to their website describe themselves as "Leaving a trail of stained pillows, broken hearts and busted amps in their wake.The Greasemarks have been doin' 50's rockabilly loud, nasty & right since 2007". TVS has seen this band a few times and we have to say this statement is true :)

The Diamond Drapes

Another great band from Hamilton, the Diamond Drapes are a well dressed band with a classic Rockabilly sound and you know how TVS likes their vintage style. Like to dance? This is a band that will keep your feet moving all night long.

Ronnie Hayward

Ronnie has been playing his rockabilly brand of hobo country for years now. Prior to forming his own trio in 1989, he had already played and written songs on several albums and had been a member of Jimmy Roy’s 5 Star Hillbillies, Herald Nix, The Nervous Fellas, The Bughouse Five and countless other rockabilly and roots-based bands. He has released eleven albums of his own, nine of which are on European labels (Source).

Heather Ballentine

Love Retro Style AND a beautiful voice? Then Heather is your gal. Her signature sound appeals to country, rockabilly and bluegrass audiences alike. Check her out below, I know we are a new fan now.

Extra Music Note: Toronto has also a number of Psychobilly Bands that have a real following as well and are very good if that is your favourite style. Bands like:

The Howling Bullets
Christian D and the Hangovers
Buzz Deluxe
Evil Elvis

For regular updates on the scene here in Toronto make sure you visit Toronto Rockabilly,  "Like" the Facebook page Rockhouse T.O....AND make sure you follow US the "Toronto Vintage Society" who is always up to date on all events, Rockabilly and beyond, in Toronto.

We'd like to thank Liz for the great post, and hope you've all discovered some happenin' new music! 


  1. ahh you make me blush :) YAY rockabilly music!!

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