Wine, women and religion were common topics of blues songs in the past, says Nanaimo musician Mark Crissinger, but he strives to cover more contemporary issues in his songs.
“I am trying to do something with the genre that still respects the genre,” said Crissinger.
He said blues music can cover topics such as self-doubt, depression or even bullying.
“The blues is about dealing with real issues,” said Crissinger.
He was recently nominated for New Artist or Group of the Year Award for the 20th annual Maple Blues Awards.
“It’s nice to be out here and be noticed. I was really happy,” said Crissinger about the nomination. “I felt like I had made some inroads from last year.”
The award is given to an artist or group that is new to the national blues scene or who has made “considerable advances artistically” during the eligibility period, according to the 20th annual Maple Blues Awards’ website.
Crissinger released his latest album Night Light in September.
He saw an image of a lantern and even before releasing his album knew he wanted to use it for his album cover. He likes the juxtaposition of dark and light.
He released Blues Expression in May of 2015.
Crissinger’s goal over the past two years has been to go out and perform as often as possible. He performs around 120 shows across Canada a year, with about 70 of those being on Vancouver Island.
The Maple Blues Awards is a national program meant to promote blues music across the country.
Nanaimo blues guitarist David Gogo received three nominations this year: Electric Act of the Year, Guitar Player of the Year and Recording/Producer of the Year for the album Vicksburg Call with producer the Pérignon Partnership.
Winners of the categories are determined by online voting from the public.
To register and vote please go to www.mapleblues.ca. Voting is open until Dec. 1 at midnight. Winners will be announced during the Maple Blues Awards Gala held in Toronto on Jan. 23.
The Mark Crissinger Band will be performing with special guests during a community food drive at the Wheatsheaf Pub on Nov. 26 from 2-7 p.m. People are asked to bring a non-perishable food item.