• Pictured at The High and Lonesome Club in Winnipeg MB.

  • Pictured at The Spirit of 66 in Verviers Belgium on tour with The Perpetrators.

  • Ken has been a long time member of the award winning band The Rockin' Highliners.

  • The Rockin' Highliners from left: Clayton Sample, Dave Babcock, Ken McMahon, Robert Tycholis, Doug Organ, Alex Herriot.

  • Pictured with David Gogo at The Pyramid Cabaret in Winnipeg MB.

  • 2014 WCMA "Blues Recording of The Year" winners The Perpetrators

  • Ken has played on many recordings for various artists. Pictured here at Bedside Studios recording with The Perpetrators.

KenMcMahon.com

The official website for professional drummer and producer Ken McMahon.
Based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Ken has played and recorded with artists such as: Pinetop Perkins, Duke Robillard, The Rockin' Highliners, King Biscuit Boy, Sue Foley, Jack Dekeyser, Big Dave McLean, Brent Parkin, The Perpetrators, Romi Mayes and many more.
Find information on live performances, see videos, check out album info and much more. Scroll down or follow the menu to see more.

News

Sept. 27 - 2016
Coming up...

Shows coming up this fall with The Rockin' Highliners, Brent Parkin, The Perpetrators and Jack Dekeyser. Also look for more shows with Sue Foley this fall. See the shows section for more details.

Check out the 2 new singles from The Rockin' Highliners:


Shows

Oct 7. Fri . 8pm
Watson Arts Centre
Dauphin, MB
The Rockin' Highliners

Oct 8. Sat . 7 & 10pm shows
The High and Lonesome Club
Winnipeg, MB
The Rockin' Highliners

Oct 14-15. Fri & Sat . 10pm
The Royal George
Winnipeg, MB
Brent Parkin

Nov 5. Sat . 8pm
The Park Theatre
Winnipeg, MB
The Perpetrators

Nov 25. Fri . Time TBA
Venue TBA
Destination TBA
Sue Foley

Dec 9-10. Fri & Sat . 10pm
The Royal George
Winnipeg, MB
Jack Dekeyser

Apr 13 (2017). Thu . 8pm
The Park Theatre
Winnipeg, MB
The Perpetrators

Videos

Click on the "Playlist" button for list of videos and live performances.

Recordings

2016
The Rockin' Highliners - Singles:
"Still Feels Good"
"Old Friends"




2013
The Perpetrators
Stick Em Up




2012
Brock Reimer
Anvil and Steel




2012
Brent Parkin
Goodbye Canadian Penny
CD Single



2012
Peter Karp and Sue Foley
Beyond The Crossroads




2011
K-Mac and Howik's
Punk Blues Funhouse




2011
Romi Mayes
Lucky Tonight




2011
Dave Babcock and The Nightkeepers
Dusk Till Dawn




2010
Brent Parkin
Vintage Rhythm




2009
The Rowdymen
Gas, Liquor and Fireworks




2008
Billy Joe Green
First Law of The Land




2008
Big Dave Mclean
Got em From The Bottom




2008
Ray St. Germain
Life Ain't Hard




2008
High and Lonesome Years Vol 4
The Swag




2007
Slidin Clyde Roulette
Let's Take a Ride




2006
Debra Lyn Neufeld
Bootleg




2006
We Best Choose To Pick The Blues
Tribute To Big Dave McLean
Variuos Artists




2005
High and Lonesome Years Vol 3
Big Dave McLean
Righteous Ike




2005
Guess Who's Home
Big Dave McLean
Kitchen Party




2004
Debra Lyn Neufeld
Lock Up Your Sons




2003
Big Dave McLean
Blues From The Middle




2003
The Rowdymen
Rubberneckin'




2003
High and Lonesome Years Vol 2
Righteous Ike
Debra Lyn Neufeld



2003
The Rockin' Highliners
Sputnik Cafe




2000
Stony Plains Christmas Blues
The Rockin' Highliners
"What Do You Really Want For Christmas"



1999
The Rockin' Highliners
Oh My




1997
The Rockin' Highliners
What Were You Thinking




1996
The Rockin' Highliners
Chicks, Suits and Cadillacs




1996
Hockey Rock Winnipeg Style
Big Dave Mclean




Compilations


2007
The Best of Billy Joe Green





2005
The Rowdymen
LTD




2004
Zombie Night in Canada
The Rowdymen "The Old Hereafter"
Stumble Records



2003
Country Music Made in Manitoba
The Rowdymen "Two Weeks Notice"




2001
Stony Plain Records 25 Years Later
The Rockin' Highliners "Sassy Sally"




1999
Go West A Vital Collection of Western Canadian Music
The Rockin' Highliners "Dont Jump Back"




Special Interest

1999
Still Jumpin' The Blues - Jay McShann
Background Vocals with The Rockin' Highliners
"She's Got It"




Awards

www.juno-awards.ca Juno Awards
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Nomination 2009
  • Best Blues Recording
  • Big Dave McLean
  • Got 'Em From The Bottom
  • Nomination 2009
  • Best Aboriginal Recording
  • Billy Joe Green
  • First Law of The Land
  • Nomination 1998
  • Best Blues Recording
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • What Were You Thinking?


www.breakoutwest.ca Western Canadian Music Awards
  • Status Year
  • Catagory
  • Artist
  • Album
  • WINNER 2014
  • Best Blues Recording
  • The Perpetrators
  • Stick Em Up
  • Nomination 2011
  • Best Blues Recording
  • Brent Parkin
  • Vintage Rhythm
  • Nomination 2011
  • Best Roots Solo Recording
  • Romi Mayes
  • Lucky Tonight
  • WINNER 2009
  • Best Blues Recording
  • Big Dave McLean
  • Got 'Em From The Bottom
  • Nomination 2009
  • Best Aboriginal Recording
  • Billy Joe Green
  • If Broken Return To Maker
  • Nomination 2007
  • Best Aboriginal Recording
  • Slidin' Clyde Roulette
  • Let's Take A Ride
  • WINNER 2004
  • Best Blues Recording
  • Big Dave McLean
  • Blues From The Middle
  • WINNER 2000
  • Best Rock Recording
  • The Rockin' HIghliners
  • Oh My!


The Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • WINNER 2009
  • Best Blues Album
  • Billy Joe Green
  • If Broken Return To Maker
  • Nomination 2009
  • Best Rock Album
  • Billy Joe Green
  • f Broken Return To Maker
  • Nomination 2008
  • Best Country Album
  • Ray St' Germain
  • Life Ain't Hard
  • Nomination 2007-08
  • Best Blues Album
  • Slidin' Clyde Roulette
  • Let's Take A Ride


The Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Nomination 2009
  • Best Blues Album
  • Billy Joe Green
  • If Broken Return To Maker
  • WINNER 2007
  • Best Blues Album
  • Slidin' Clyde Roulette
  • Let's Take A Ride


Indian Summer Music Awards
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Nomination 2009
  • Best Country Album
  • Ray St. Germain
  • Life Ain't Hard


Native American Music Awards
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Nomination 2007
  • Best Blues and Jazz Recording
  • Slidin' Clyde Roulette Band
  • Let's Take A Ride


WinnipegBlues.com Music Awards
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Nomination 2006
  • Drummer of The Year
  • Ken McMahon


Crossroads Music Association - Arizona
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • WINNER 2000
  • Silver Star Award
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • Oh My!


Jazz Report Magazine
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • WINNER 2000
  • Blues Band Of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners


www.coca.org Canadian Organization of Campus Activities (COCA) Awards
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • WINNER 1999
  • Independent Artist of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • Nomination 1998
  • Artist of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners


www.aria.ab.ca Alberta Recording Industry Association
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • WINNER 1997
  • Recording Artists of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • WINNER 1997
  • Best Blues/R&B/Soul Artists
  • The Rockin' Highliners


Real Blues Magazine
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • WINNER 1997
  • Best Unsigned Band
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • WINNER 1996
  • Top Ten Independent Release
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • Chicks, Suits and Cadillacs
  • WINNER 1996
  • Best Live Canadian Blues Act
  • The Rockin' Highliners


Jimmy King Memorial Trust Scholarship
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • WINNER 1993
  • For the study of Jazz
  • Ken McMahon


www.torontobluessociety.com Maple Blues Awards
  • Status Year
  • Category
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Nomination 2000
  • Entertainer of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • Nomination 2000
  • Electric Act of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • Nomination 2000
  • Male Vocalist Of The Year
  • Robert Tycholis
  • Nomination 2000
  • Drummer Of The Year
  • Ken McMahon
  • Nomination 1999
  • Entertainer of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • Nomination 1999
  • Electric Act of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • Nomination 1999
  • Male Vocalist Of The Year
  • Robert Tycholis
  • Nomination 1999
  • Drummer Of The Year
  • Ken McMahon
  • Nomination 1999
  • Recording Of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • Oh My!
  • Nomination 1999
  • Producer Of The Year
  • Duke Robillard
  • Oh My!
  • Nomination 1998
  • Entertainer Of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • Nomination 1998
  • Electric Act of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • Nomination 1998
  • Male Vocalist Of The Year
  • Robert Tycholis
  • Nomination 1998
  • Drummer Of The Year
  • Ken McMahon
  • Nomination 1998
  • Bass Player Of The Year
  • Ryan Menard
  • Oh My!
  • Nomination 1998
  • Recording Of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners
  • What Were You Thinking?
  • WINNER 1997
  • New Artist Of The Year
  • The Rockin' Highliners

Bio

Notable playing and recording credits include:
Pinetop Perkins Duke Robillard The Rockin' Highliners
King Biscuit Boy Phillip Walker Stuart McLean
Sue Foley Jack Dekeyser Carlos Del Junco
Big Dave McLean Brent Parkin Harpdog Brown
Ray St. Germain Raoul and the Big Time The Perpetrators
David Gogo Jack Semple Romi Mayes

John Evans

Timeline

1970's
  • 1971 Ken was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on October 20, 1971
  • 1973 Started playing at age 2 and took lessons from father, Bill McMahon (long time Winnipeg jazz drummer and drummer with The George Reznik Trio)
1980's
  • Spent years studying Reg Keln (Lenny Breau, Tom Jones, Fred Penner)
  • Was in school jazz and concert bands from grade 7 to 11
  • 1984 Already sitting in with top Winnipeg musicians by age 13 (Jimmy King, Ron Paley, George Reznik)
  • 1987 Did first professional gig on the patio of The Pony Corral, Pembina Hwy with "The System"
1990's
  • 1990 Started giging and touring full time with a variety of groups
  • 1993 Winner of the Jimmy King Memorial Trust Scholarship
  • 1993 Took a career defining lesson from Terry Clark (Boss Brass, Fifth Dimension)
  • 1993 Joined and started touring with Juno award winners "Big Dave McLean and The Muddy-Tones"
  • 1996 Joined The Rockin' Highliners and moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 1998 Was nominated for a Juno Award in the category "Best Blues Album" with The Rockin' Highliners
  • 1998 Nominated for The Maple Blues Award "Drummer of The Year"
  • 1999 Nominated for The Maple Blues Award "Drummer of The Year"
  • 1999 Relocated to Toronto with The Rockin' Highliners
2000's
  • 2000 Nominated for The Maple Blues Award "Drummer of The Year"
  • 2001 Moved from Toronto back to Winnipeg
  • 2003 Left The Rockin' Highliners to concentrate on freelancing
  • 2009 Was nominated for a Juno Award in the category "Best Blues Album" with Big Dave McLean
  • 2009 Was nominated for a Juno Award in the category "Aboriginal Recording of The Year" with Billy Joe Green
2010's
  • 2014 Won Western Canadian Music Award for "Blues Recording of The Year" with The Perpetrators
  • Currently Since 2002 Ken has played and recorded with more that 50 different artists



Highlights

I could sit here writing for a long time about what has been special to me so far in my musical journey, but I will just mention a few things right now that I think are important. I have been lucky enough to do numerous tours throughout Canada and The United States over the years, as well as numerous trips to Europe. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. A definite highlight was the 13 city cross Canada tour that The Rockin' Highliners did opening for George Thorogood in 1999. You haven't lived until George puts on a gorilla mask and sings backup to one of your bands original tunes. I've been able to do many television and radio appearances in Canada and The United States including most notably, three national appearances on "Late Night with Mike Bullard". Playing the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, TX. Was an amazing experience, it's like the Disneyland of music. The 14th Annual International Blues Talent Competition in Memphis, TN. was my first trip to the southern United States. It was truly a powerful experience. The 1999 Red Barn Fundraiser for Frontier College, hosted by Peter Gzowski and the 1998 Peter Gzowski "Radio Cabaret" in Edmonton AB. were two chances to be meet a Canadian legend and be part of something great. Also three trips to Europe headlining festivals with Sue Foley was amazing.
I've been lucky enough to do dozens of festival appearances including notably:
  • Ottawa Citizen Blues Festival ~ Ottawa, ON.
  • Harvest Blues and Jazz Festival ~ Fredericton, NB.
  • Buffalo Rocks The Inner Harbor ~ Buffalo, NY.
  • Bospop Festival ~ Weert, Holland
  • King Biscuit Blues Festival ~ Helena, AR.
  • Little Rock Blues Festival ~ Little Rock, AR.
  • Alleyfest ~ Longview, TX
  • Winnipeg Folk Festival ~ Winnipeg, MB
  • Sighisoara Blues Festival ~ Sighisoara, Romania
  • Lucerne Blues Festival ~ Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Rauma Blues Festival ~ Rauma, Finland
  • Blues Alive Festival ~ Sumperk, Czech Republic

Playing Philosophy
  • I am a firm believer in the "Zen" of the quarter note (The groove is the most important thing).
  • Maintain a less is more philosophy when playing.
  • Play for the song, not for myself.
  • Always try to give the singer or soloist what they need when they are doing their thing.
  • Although I have played many different styles of music throughout my career my heart lies with "Roots" oriented music.

Musical Influences

A lot of people have asked me over the years, who is my favorite drummer? I have a really hard time picking one, but these picks (not in any specific order) have given me much drumming inspiration throughout my life!
  • Bill McMahon
  • Reg Keln
  • Steve Jordan
  • Willie "Big Eyes" Smith
  • George Raines
  • Jim Keltner

Gear

  • Snare Drums
    A - 6.5" X 14" Ayotte Custom Maple Snare in Maple Gloss finish
    or - 5" X 14" Champagne Drums Custom Spalted Hackbury Snare in Natural Gloss
    or - 6.5" X 14" Yamaha Stage Custom Steel Shell Snare

    Kit 1 - Ayotte Professional Series in Cabernet Red finish
    B - 7" X 12" or 8" X 10" Rack Tom
    C - 14" X 16" Floor Tom
    D - 16" X 22" Bass Drum

    Kit 2 - Yamaha Stage Customs in Raven Black finish
    B - 8" X 12" Rack Tom
    C - 16" X 16" Floor Tom
    D - 17" X 22" Bass Drum

    Cymbals
    1 - 14" Sabian HHX Stage Hats or 14" Dream Bliss Hats
    2 - 16" Sabian HHX Stage Crash or 18" Sabian HHX Stage Crash with rivets
    3 - 20" Sabian HHX Stage Ride or 1966 Zildjian 20" A Ride
    4 - 18" Sabian HHX Stage Crash with rivets or 18" Sabian HHX treme Crash
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