Burning down the Redwood

Sandra Bouza

Written by Joe Taylor

December 01, 2023

This was my first time ever at Redwood Theatre which is located at 1300 Gerrard Street East.  I walked in and it looked like the circus could have once owned the place. Well I found out this place used to house Circus people who would practice their moves as well as a burlesque show place. The vibe of this place was really cool. To add to the coolness of the place was the fact that Sandra Bouza was releasing and performing her brand new CD, A Sound in the Dark.

We started with a wonderful treat, having the incredible Paul Reddick and his partner in crime, Kyle Ferguson, show up and open the evening. If you are not mesmerized by Paul’s incredible harmonica playing, you were charmed by his storytelling before his songs. He has a pretty funny joke about Little Walter, a big Bluesman in the world of music. He explained in detail, his exploits around Europe and actually gave it smells and tastes and textures, so you can picture yourself there. These stories had a romantic flavor, and when he went into a song called, “Blue Winds”, I found myself on some beautiful cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

He went on and told us of his friendship with, Kyle, and how they met back in 1991 and this was the first song they ever played together. It was a Muddy Waters tune. They also pulled out a Big Bill Broonzy tune, which I loved, because not many people know of this artist. He smoked the audience with his final song, “Smokehouse”. This smoke just created the heat that was about to hit the stage next.

Here are some images of Paul Reddick:

The second Sandra Bouza hit the stage and opened her mouth, I knew something special was about to happen. With songs like, “Break on through” and “Burn so Bright” you felt she is gearing up to show the world who she is. That is exactly what she told us later. She recently felt that she really is getting to know herself and is excited to continue that journey.  In fact she joked about the phrase-“You complete me”. She thinks, as well as many people, that is a stupid statement because you should be a complete person when you decide to be with another complete person.

The banter she had with her audience is warm and friendly and to the point, she will even banter in the middle of a song to truly bring home the message she is putting out there.  Her confidence was like a warm embrace and the audience felt they could reciprocate anyway they wanted. Her voice sent out a message of vibrational soul searching that burnt so bright.

Personally, her song,” Sit by the fire” was the highlight of the evening, because it started as a campfire song and turned into metaphysical trip that resonated with everyone in the audience on a personal level. When I first saw her years ago, she was dressed as a skeleton playing in front of the Stone Lion and now she looked like a rising Phoenix emerging from the depths of her experiences.

Another favourite part of the evening was Sandra introducing her sister to the stage and singing harmonies. The family affair didn’t stop there because it was her Mother’s birthday and she and her sister surprised her with a rendition of the Spice Girls song-“Mama”. She had the audience sing along just to make her mother cry. Well it worked.

The stage was filled with many different friends she feels really close to her. I can’t remember all the names, but that stage was filled with love and support and it filled the room for the entire evening. Amber Wilson charmed us with her cello playing and Steve Grant had fun with everyone on his harmonica. As the encore unfolded, Sandra did a couple of personal acoustic numbers and then went back into her history when she was in a band called Red Brick. This one definitely had a funkier side to it.  She finished the evening off strong with a huge Alanis Morrisette song, “Uninvited”. She sent her audience home filled with goose bumps with this version. I know I didn’t talk about her new recording, because I am saving that for a review on Blast Toronto soon. So stay in touch!

Here are some images of Sandra Bouza:

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