Give us your feedback

What's new at SOCAN
and in the music industry

SOCAN Interactive

Jay Sewall

Blues singer-songwriter, harmonica player

Song – "Funk in Your Soul" - Now playing...

Jay Sewall was born in 1942 a few minutes from Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, and moved with his mother to Montreal at the age of four. At 15, he bought his first guitar and, during this period, started his first band, the Petes & Jay Quartet. They played the songs of the day – Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy – as well as hits from the 1940s and some of Sewall's compositions.

In 1962, Sewall went to the University of New Brunswick where he studied Physical Education, and went on to teach high school while continuing to perform his idols’ music and his own songs throughout the 1960s.

In 1967, Sewall won the UNB talent contest in Saint John, N. B. It was during this period that he learned to play harmonica – the instrument that would become his true passion. Finally, in 1977, Sewall left schoolteaching and went to Chicago, Detroit and Toronto, and finally returned to Montreal where he formed a very successful group, The Mighty Jay Blues Band. However, the need for change prevailed once again, and after performing at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 1985, Sewall disbanded the group and headed off to India where he pursued his love for yoga and meditation.

In the late 1980s, Sewall made another major move – he left Montreal for Quebec City, where he enrolled in Laval University to improve his French – even composing several songs in the language of Molière. Since 1999, Sewall has made annual pilgrimages to Louisiana, where he plays in the New Orleans Jazz Festival and immerses himself in the area’s rich musical culture. His strongly traditional blues and folk repertoire has expanded and now includes Indian blues, Louisiana blues and New Orleans jazz. Many of his newest compositions reflect these influences, and can be heard on his album Jay Sewall Live.

Today, Sewall is an ever-present member of the Quebec blues community. For ten years and counting, he's been conducting local blues jams; he teaches harmonica and guitar and continues to perform at local bars, private parties, colleges and festivals. In September 2008, Jay received the prestigious Lys Blues Lifetime Achievement Award, Quebec’s top blues recognition. To commemorate this milestone, in 2009, Jay recorded an all-blues album with producer Ken Whiteley. This fifth recording is devoted to his true passion, the harmonica.

Performances/news this month
July 23-24 - Quebec (Vieux Port), QC, Pope-George Bistro
August 14 - Donnaconna, QC, Donnaconna Blues Festival (Jess Bar)
August 19-21, Victoriaville, QC, Weekend-en-blues


All Blues (2009)
Jay Sewall Live (2006)
The Essential: I'm a Bluesman (2003)
Blue Monday Blues (1999)
Be Bop Beluga (1994)

SOCAN Connection
Member since 1981