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Who are The Shaftmen?

The music of THE SHAFTMEN has been described as “tough and earthy”…. No surprise then that the music that comes out of a heritage of blasting, mucking,
and refining the earth’s core is earthy, real, and built upon a solid foundation.
The feel and power of the band is directly influenced by the culture and heritage of Timmins and Northeastern Ontario. No different than Buddy Guy’s Chicago or Bob Seger’s Michigan “What comes out is what’s inside” It’s as simple as that.

You also may note the name and distinctive “Head frame Logo” These mining head frames and real life miners are part of a culture that literally built an entire part of Ontario.
With, “Mining The Blues” we wanted to pay tribute to our heritage and musical roots. We love the pure swagger and gutsy music of artists like The Rolling Stones who of course were influenced by Bluesman like Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters.
It’s clear we are not a strict 12 bar blues band. Were more into the emotion of the blues, and the feel of a great rockin’ riff or chord pattern that’s derived from blues, R & B and rock n’ roll. Hence, the title Mining The Blues.

We were thrilled to have Juno winner and legendary Canadian guitarist Jack De Keyzer as our producer. Besides Jack’s obvious talent, he is one hell of a great guy. We would no doubt call on him again, if he was available. Ultimately when you involve your own heritage, culture and community we believe it becomes music that feels and heals…Crank up this baby….enjoy.

John Emms

Songwriter / Lead Vocals & Guitar
John’s health issues kept him out of music for 15 long years. He considers The Shaftmen a very passionate hobby.
John is a member with SOCAN, BMI, Music Film and Motion, and will soon join the Toronto Blues Society.

John joined CARAS (Juno Awards) where his membership helps to promote Canadian artists. He also writes a popular weekly music column with the Timmins Daily Press.

John released 2 solo (mostly acoustic) albums in 1997 and 2001. Emms is extremely proud of what the band has achieved and says the new album is a huge musical step up in the right direction.

John now hosts a new rock/roots radio show called Collection of Songs at  http://emms.podbean.com/

John's new radio show is podcast on APPLE iTunes    

John's first new solo digital cd Close Another Door will be available everywhere on the planet by mid July. Visit John at www.johnemms.com 

Gil Boissonneault

Bass Guitar
Gilbert "Gil" Boissonneault, 53, was born in Noranda Quebec on April 17 1958.
He grew up in the town of Larder Lake, Ontario. His father who was a miner, Paul played the fiddle. Gil picked up the bass at the age of 17 and listened to bands like the Beatles Deep Purple, The Who and Led Zeppelin.

After graduating from high school, he got a job in a local mine (where he still works
30 years later as an electrician) and played bass for bands in the Timmins Area. Some notable bands he played with were called X-IT, Paragon, Kashmir and a heavy metal act called Antics.
He later played country music with bands such as Northwind and the Outriders with Paul Colameco. Gil met John Emms in his Kashmir days where the band shared a bill at the famous Airport Hotel in South Porcupine with the group Smuggler.

In 1976, Gil bought his Fender Fretless Precision which he still plays today.
He also plays a Fender Jazz and an Ibanez Soundgear, which he loves.
"It has simply an incredible tone" he says. His favorite bass players are
John Entwistle, Paul McCartney, Geezer Butler, Roger Glover and
local legend Jake Couture

Mike Charette

Mike began playing drums at the age of 11 after being given a drum set from a friend. At the age of 13 he joined the Sea Cadets and for about 4 years, played symbols, the snare, tenor and bass drums.

Mike received his first set of drums from his older brother at the age of 14 and joined the High School band. He played drums for many different bands and had a great time before he became old enough to drink in the bars.

From there on he played only country music for the next 10 years, as well as playing dance music for occasional weddings and High School dances.
Mike stopped playing the drums for about 20 years whilst his children grew up, and now they have grown up and moved on, he wanted to get back to his passion of playing the drums.

He converted his basement after the loving approval of his wife of 32 years into a space to play the drums.He then joined up with an old music friend doing volunteer and charity events.

Joe Di Marco

Born and rasied in Timmins, Joe was originally a self taught guitarist.
He made the move to piano upon hearing jazz great Oscar Peterson.
During the fall of 2009 after some jamming Joe was asked to become a member of the band. He accepted and has become integral to the band's overall sound, and enjoys the original material. His other influences are Greg Allman and Jason Dagg.

On occasion, on stage The Shaftmen are joined by guitarists Steve Clermont and Paul Colameco.