Bear Claw - Shadows Tavern 1999
The Bear Claw Blues Band made their debut performance on January 29, 1999, at Shadows Tavern in North Bay, Ontario. The original line up included Keith Stratton on Saxophone, Bill Spring on keyboard and vocals, and Bob Barraclough on guitar and vocals. Shadows was a popular nightspot located in the Kennedy Building on McIntyre Street. The establishment featured a weekly open mic that was very well attended, and Friday night featured artists.

In later incarnations of the ensemble, Peter Pelletier joined on harmonicas, replacing Keith Stratton. The band played mainly around the North Bay area and down Highway 11 through Trout Creek, Sundridge, South River, Burk's Falls and Huntsville,  They were nicknamed the Highway 11 Blues Band.

One night at Shadows local blues vocalist Mary Gray joined Keith, Bill and Bob on stage to sing a few songs. "This Place Is Fine" was improvised on the spot, with Mary inventing the lyrics as she sang.

Play "This Place Is Fine"
by K.Stratton, B.Spring, B.Barraclough & M.Gray
Featuring Mary Gray on Vocals

The very first Bear Claw poster

Keith, Bill and Bob

Peter, Bill and Bob

Bob and Peter with guest vocalist Mary Gray

Mary Gray performing with the Bear Claw Blues Band