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Shawn Brush’s Tober West By: Ric Taylor

Shawn Brush's Tober West

"I have a big party around my birthday and last year I had a fundraising event that helped me get a new wheelchair accessible"

While he's already celebrated his fiftieth birthday this month, Shawn Brush puts on a special birthday, Octoberfest, fundraising country music event to make for one big party called Tober West. While Brush suffers from a rare birth defect known as Morquio syndrome, which basically causes a kind of dwarfism and weakens bone and tissue. Regardless, Brush has been tenacious recording some fifteen discs and playing countless shows over thirty plus years. Recent times have been a little harder but Brush remains determined to fuel his musical muse and inspired to rekindle a special fundraising party that started last year.

"I always have a big party around my birthday and last year I had a fundraising event that helped me get a new wheelchair accessible and we raised around fifty thousand dollars," explains Brush. "It was raised through grants but the community helped me raise a big chunk of that. With all that goodwill that I experienced, I want to always try to give back and there was another grant available from arts and culture department of the city of Burlington so we applied for the grant to hire the musicians and to put on a big show and here we are. There's a bluegrass club in Burlington and they've put on shows at the Legion for years - I mean, Ricky Scaggs played that room as well as some of the biggest names in bluegrass so it made sense to do the show there.

"We've got some stellar veteran players and some newer ones so we've got a full day of fun," adds Brush. "I've seen Chopped Liver play and they're a young band playing traditional bluegrass bringing some young blood to the show. The Wildwood Strings are veteran Canadian bluegrass guys that play all over the place. Tiny Bill Cody is playing with Mimi Shaw and they're doing some western swing string band music for a new project and they definitely fit the bill."

Brush has assembled a wealth of performers for a full days event as well as a star studded cast dubbed the Krooked Cowboy and Friends to headline with two sets.

"I'm a contemporary traditionalist - I play the old country and you need some good players that know the music and that's what we've got," says Brush. "We've got two really great drummers - Danny Lockwood is a first call session drummer and Sonnie Bernardi from Crowbar is a legendary veteran of the music scene. If you listen to Willie Nelson, they always have two drummers and I wanted to put together a really good rhythm section to do that. Grant Avenue Studio's Bob Doidge will be joining on bass and trumpet. Wendell Ferguson is a guitar virtuoso, he's like the Chet Atkins of Canada. We;ve got top notch guys like Burt Carroll on steel guitar and Matt Horner on keyboards as well. And what don't you love about Ginger St. James? She's a star and I'm happy she is tying it all together as host and she's going to play some of her own songs."

While Dallas Harms was scheduled to be a special guest this weekend, sadly he passed away last weekend. But with special guests Mark LaForme and Harold McIntyre. Shawn Brush is putting on one heck of a party with Tober West to get a little help so that he can continue to help out the community.

"People can come and go, enjoy some bluegrass, have dinner and hang out or they can come for the evening show," says Brush. "I hope some of the diehard bluegrass and country fans come out, maybe see one of their favourite artists and get exposed to some new artists and have a great time. It's a reasonable price and the money goes into paying for the show and a wonderful way to give back to the community. It's Octoberfest, Halloween, my birthday all in one kind of celebration. Any extra money we make will go back into my Shawn Brush Foundation to give back into the community so that I can donate my time and skills to do some good things."

Shawn Brush's Tober West happens this Saturday October 19 at The Royal Canadian Legion in Burlington (828 Legion Rd).   The event runs from 2pm to 10pm with Chopped Liver, Wildwood Strings, Tiny Bill Cody and Shawn Brush doing a featured set with Sonnie Bernardi, Burke Carroll, Bob Doidge, Danny Lockwood, Wendell Ferguson and special guests Mark Laforme and Harold MacIntyre and your host Ginger St. James. Tickets are $15 in advance or $25 at the door. Children 12 and under are free. Click on

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Howdy Partner, The Krooked Cowboy is lookin for some extra hands to help out at the first ever annual TOBER WEST. If Your handy  loading equipment. promoting, selling Tickets, or have some other hidden talents; you'll fit right in with our crew. Contact us now and let us know how you can help out. We are looking forward to meeting you. The Krooked Cowboy says Thanks !!!!

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Live and Local Music Series – Loud English and Shawn Brush – March 1st – Burlington Performing Arts

Find out more about this event at the Burlington Performing Arts Website


Shawn Brush:

Long known as a local favourite. Born and raised in Southern Ontario. Recognized and respected by his peers. Shawn is the best kept secret in the local music scene. A world class entertainer. A superb solo artist who writes songs full of passion and truth. He combines technical musicianship with memorable and impactful songwriting.

“His songs have touched my heart, they resonate truth and dedication.”
– Daniel Lanois

Inspired by such greats as Willie Nelson and bluegrass legend Bill Monroe,Shawn’s song writing and flat picking style instantly awaken your soul.

”…radiating with vestiges of folk legends both past and present like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and John Prine ”
– Bluegrass Unlimited

There’s a sincere bittersweet quality in his voice that reaches the listener deep within. He possesses rare vision and a meticulously crafted gift. Shawn Brush and his music have a quiet power that is difficult to put into words. Somewhere between the virtuosity of his flat picked guitar melodies and the earnest conviction in his words and voice, you can sense the deep and unwavering passion he has for his music.

With guitar in hand, solo or backed by some of the industry’s finest musicians, the Krooked Cowboy is an artist that shines. He has appeared in national media and performed both in studio and live on stage. With a powerful presence, he is a must see.

”Shawn Brush will weave a spell of musical intoxication around your brain and you will wake up the next morning sprawled across the front lawn of your mind!”
– Ray Materick, Songwriter

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The Community Responds with a fundraiser for a new Van to Shawn Brush – The Krooked Cowboy

Shawn Brush is a local musician with a little twist.  This accomplished guitarist, singer song writer, also suffers with a rare form of Dwarfism call Morquio Syndrome.  While Shawn is out and about in the community regardless of his mobility challenge, he lives most of his life in an electric wheelchair which presents unique circumstances for a performing artist.
Shawn’s customized ride is a 2002 Ford E150 Van called the Grey Ghost.  Because of Shawn’s wheel chair and the need for driving hand controls, he requires a custom ride to get around.  Many buses are not accessible for wheelchairs, taxi, and UBER’s nope…..  So when Shawn Brush found himself trapped inside his Van after his wheel chair lift system failed – he turned to social medial for support.
Episode one – The Cause
The community, jumped to his support, he was quickly donated an electric wheelchair, it needed new batteries, and a few adhoc adjustments from Shawn’s best friend and bass player Harry White and he was up and rolling again in the short term.  His custom wheel chair has been in repair since Sept – we are now mid November and Shawn while really grateful to have a chair that gets him around, the reality is he is disabled person whom could have been left this long without a chair, and there is a long story there about a system that can let people fall thru the cracks, without community support, Shawn could have been one of those people, but in a moment of sheer frustration he reached out and his responded.   Then on Oct 14thwe raised over $10,000.
Episode One – Part 2 - Keep Shawn Rolling Fundraiser!
We were so overwhelmed with the level of community support
Episode Two – Fundraising Updates
Yet, Shawn continued to have wheelchair woes.
Episode Three – Wheelchair Bluesand more Wheel Chair Blues
So we continued to fundraise to get Shawn really rolling, after the success of the Music Event, we have had a guitar travelling around getting signed by other local famous musicians, cause our Musician’s community in the greater Hamilton area is so amazing, Unison kicked in 2000 and this week were happy to receive news from the March of Dimes that they will contribute 15,000 to the Van modifications.
Fundraising Announcements – March of Dimes
Tom Wilson and Terra Lightfoot have signed the Guitaralong with Daniel Lanois,Gordon Lightfoot band, Bob Doidge and Caroline Wilesand many, many, more.
This guitar will be raffled on Dec 1stat the Moonshine Café.  Tickets are 10.00 and we are selling 1000 tickets.  Tickets are about half sold to date.
If you would like a to purchase a ticket for the Guitar Raffle please email or call, and we can get you your ticket before Dec 1st.  Winner will be called by phone if not at the event.  (Moonshine Café, Oakville)
If we can raise $25,000 cash local car dealership Leggat Auto Group has agreed to get Shawn into a nearly new Utility van ready for conversion.  We are about 5000$ away from that goal.
We invite to join us at the Moonshine Café and to get your raffle ticket to help Keep Shawn Rolling and ensure that he can get out and about to keep providing quality inspired local music.
Thank youfrom Shawn Brush.
Sincerely on behalf of the Shawn Brush Foundation we thank you.

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Nov 20th – Fundraising update – Thank you March of Dimes – 15,000 towards the Wheel chair conversion! Thank you!

We are excited to announce that we have received word that have been approved for a 15,000 grant from the March of Dimes, this will help with the more than 20,000 it will take to convert a van to wheel chair access. We are still 5000 away from our 25,000 goal. Legatt's in Burlington has agreed if we raise 25,000 they will put us in a near to new GMC Savannah ready for the March of Dimes funded conversion - 5000 more to go - can we do it? Get your raffle tickets nows! find out more at

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Local Krooked Country Crooner Shawn Brush found himself in an unfortunate predicament when both his Electric Wheelchair and Disability Van began to break down.  Stranded in his van unable to get out due to a wheelchair lift system failure at a music gig, the fire dept had to come to the rescue.    An outpouring of community support soon had a donated wheel chair and friends helped to repair and customize the new chair and fundraise for a new van.
A Signed by Musical Legends – Guitar Fundraiser was launched on the heels of a very successful musical fundraiser held at the Boston Manor on Fairview St in Burlington.  This one of kind guitar will be raffled off  Dec 1stat the Moonshine Café in Oakville.   Both of these endeavours involved the combined talents and signatures from local music legends including, Tom Wilson, Daniel Lanois, Terra Lightfoot, Steve Strongman, Tomi Swick, Laura Cole, Caroline Wiles and support from many many more…..The Shawn Brush Foundation is very close to it’s fundraising goal of $25,000 cash towards the purchase a new Van, and with the sale of 1000 tickets for the Guitar fundraiser – they will reach that goal.
Living most of your life in a wheel chair brings about a very unique travel predicament, unable to ride the bus or take a taxi, services like Darts are not available for pub jaunts to play music.  Shawn while has limited mobility still leads a very active life and is an accomplished musician, so when Shawn reached out to his community for support, the response was overwhelming.  Tim Morrison, General Manager, of local car dealership Leggat Buick Pontiac GMC on Fairview Street in Burlington, saw this unique outpouring of support and rose the challenge of helping to find Shawn a van that he could afford and was suitable for the more than 20,000 in custom modifications to be wheel chair accessible with hand driving controls.  Tim agreed if through fundraising we could come up with $25,000 & Leggat’s could take care of the rest for a base model near to new Utility van ready for conversion.
The Shawn Brush guitar will continue to travel until Dec 1stwhere it will be raffled at 10pm at the Moonshine Café (tickets 25$ at the door).
Find out more about how to get your Guitar Raffle Ticket or if you have the means donate on line at
Thank you for helping to keep Shawn Rolling…

The Shawn Brush Foundation!

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