In The Media

THURS. MAR 22, 2018

Photos by Jose Ed Ramirez of RamzPhotography

Mary Newland and The Blue Bayou Band filled the historic Olde Walkerville Theatre with iconic songs of the seventies during their nostalgic Linda Ronstadt tribute concert held on Friday, March 16, 2018.
The 1970’s was a culturally phenomenal time in music history. Great bands and memorable music became the fabric of people’s lives, among female vocalists no one was more iconic than Linda Ronstadt.
Mary Newland was inspired early in her career by Linda Ronstadt. Her longtime desire to pay tribute to Ronstadt resulted in the formation of The Blue Bayou Band.
Mary Newland and her musical director Richard Baker have storied careers and are well known in the music industry, particularly in Los Angeles, where they resided for many years. They recently settled in Leamington, Ontario where the couple assembled their topflight band of musicians for the Blue Bayou Band.
Current band members are Mary Newland (lead vocals, percussion), Richard Baker (musical director, keyboard, B3 organ), Bob Soulliere (acoustic, electric, and lap steel guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and vocals), Ed Everaert (acoustic and electric guitar, vocals), Merrill Gardiner Mills (bass guitar, back vocals), Ken Cullen (back vocals, keyboard), Nancy J. Mills (back vocals, percussion), and John Knapp (drums).
This touring tribute band first took the stage at the Bank Theatre in Leamington in May of 2017. The band’s tour will cross Ontario and Quebec. Their tour stop at the Olde Walkerville Theatre in Windsor thrilled the audience.


Source: Eyes On Windsor

WED. Feb 21, 2018

Local Singer Returns To Roots

By Bryan Jessop

Whether in Los Angeles or Leamington, successful lead vocalist Mary Newland is eager for the chance to perform.

Newland, who was born and raised in Leamington, is fronting The Blue Bayou Band, a tribute group to 1970s country-rock and pop-rock icon Linda Ronstadt. The eight-member group is made up largely of local musicians who will perform at The Olde Walkerville Theatre at 1564 Wyandotte St. East in Windsor Saturday, March 16. Newland’s partner Richard Baker — who is also the band’s musical director and keyboard player — was enthusiastic about the idea of the tribute group, which is now steadily booking gigs across Southwestern Ontario.

“It’s actually an idea I had some time ago. We just decided that the timing was right,” said Newland.

Newland and Baker were pleasantly surprised by how quickly they were able to form The Blue Bayou Band in the spring of last year, explaining that once auditions were completed, the process took about one weekend.

“It didn’t take long,” said Baker, who was a member of the rock band Santana for five years while living in Los Angeles. “We got the word out through mutual friends and we were pleased with the response and quality of the musicians who replied. They’re really busy as performers, which is quite remarkable for a small area. It shows what a rich artistic culture there is here.”

The group is currently made up of Newland, Baker, Merrill Gardiner Mills on bass and backing vocals, Ken Cullen on keyboards and backing vocals, Nancy J. Mills on percussion and backing vocals, John Knapp on drums, and most recently, Bob Soulliere and Ed Everaert on guitars and other stringed instruments. Soulliere operated the South Windsor School of Music while Everaert owns Stonehedge Productions recording studio in Kingsville.

The Blue Bayou Band made its first set of public performances at Leamington’s Bank Theatre in May of last year, selling out two consecutive evenings. With the upcoming show in Windsor, the group has become part of The Olde Walkerville Theatre’s 100th anniversary. The 600 seat establishment was recently restored by owners Mary and Andy Lambros and has general admission, box seats and VIP booth tickets available.

General admission seats are selling at $30 each, box seats at $35 apiece and elevated VIP booths — which seat six guests each and include a table — at $250 each. Shortly after Blue Bayou Band tickets for the show at the OWT began selling, the availability of booths shrunk to less than half a dozen. Tickets can be bought online at, by calling the theatre at 519-2553-2929 or at the door on the day of the concert.

“This will be a lot of fun,” Baker said of the Walkerville event. “We’re excited about playing in Walkerville — it’s a great portion of Windsor.”

A week later, the band will perform at The Blyth Memorial Community Hall in Blyth, Ont., in Port Stanley on April 27 and 28 and at the Aeolian Theatre in London, Ont. July 6 and 7.

“It’s picking up pretty quickly,” said Newland. “We’re starting to get busy and we’re very excited about that.”

While growing up in Leamington, Newland performed at numerous small venues and coffee houses before moving to Los Angeles in 1972. There, her career as a singer steadily picked up and has since included session work for radio, television and films such as Be Cool starring Uma Thurman, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Travolta as well as Double Down with Jason Priestly and Groom Lake with William Shatner. She has also provided backing vocals for The Beach Boys, Charo, Saga and Beth Hart.

Baker, originally from Montreal, moved to Los Angeles in 1970 to pursue a love of music that began with lessons inspired by his father at the age of three. In addition to being a member of Santana, he has also performed alongside Gino Vannelli, Leo Sayer and Gary Wright. Baker has composed for more than 30 theatrical films and television movies and commercials.
Baker and Newland met while living in LA and since formed the post-production studio Filmcue in Burbank, California. After living in Montreal from 2006 to 2014, they moved back to Mary’s hometown of Leamington. The duo also has a catalog of original music, but as both are longtime fans of Ronstadt, decided that a tribute band would be a fitting direction to take their careers.

“I’ve been a huge fan of hers for so many years as a vocalist,” explained Newland, who has also been inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Barbara Streisand, James Taylor, Carole King and The Eagles. “She’s been a really big influence for me.”

Article Source: Leamington Southpoint Sun News