In 2002 Wayne Buttery invited me to join his group, called The Groove Project after he had performed as a guest with a couple of pickup bands in which I was playing.
Wayne started this group in 1998 and was developing The Groove Project into a tight 8-piece blues showband with 2-3 horns, a harp player and 4 rhythm section players.
Most of the songs were originals crafted by Wayne and Charlie, with a couple of Russ Strathdee compositions (Groove Grove , The Heat Of Your Touch) being added to the mix.
- Wayne Buttery – lead vocals, lead guitar
- Charlie Hinkel- lead vocals, bass
- Dennis King – drums, percussion, vocals
- Bob Federer – organ and piano (1998-2004)
- Michael Keys – organ, piano (2004)
- Mark Rutherford – organ, piano, vocals (2004-2010)
- Paul Robillard – trumpet, percussion (2002-2018)
- Russ Strathdee – tenor and alto sax (2002-2013)
- John Shand – guitar, alto sax, vocals (2002-2006)
- Larry Kurtz – blues harp (2002-2004)
- Brian Jago – harp, vocals, percussion (2004- 2009)
- Bob Woodward – percussion (at the Beacon)
- Gabor Szepesi – organ (2011-2019)
In 2003 the band produced an album called “LIVE At Twisters”.
Twisters was a roadhouse pub on Highway 93 in Orr Lake, Ontario. The band had played there numerous times and, with great crowds and ambiance, it was this venue used to record a live show. Recording equipment was brought in by the Power Plant recording company and set up in the ladies washroom.
Rehearsals were held in Wayne’s garage, sometimes in the dead of winter with no heating. Keyboard chair was shared by Bob Federer and Mark Rutherford.
Two rather significant steady gigs with Wayne Buttery and The Groove Project were (1.) a weekly Blues Cruise and (2.) a weekly Wednesday night houseband open mic show that became known as Freakin’ at The Beacon.
The Blues Cruise was a show held on a boat called the Georgian Queen (owned by Paul Robillard’s family). Capacity of a cruise was around 200 people and the boat was always packed.
Fund Raiser Shows
The Groove Project was always up for helping out a good cause, such as the Haitian Relief project in January 2010.
Freakin’ At The Beacon
Another venue, the legendary Beacon restaurant in Wasaga Beach became a beacon to attract numerous talented musicians from all around Southern Ontario for Wednesday night jams.
A rather prestigious gig was when we played at the iconic Silver Dollar Tavern in Toronto…