LABATT BLUES FESTIVAL LINEUP
Once again, co-producers Carrol Deen and Cam Hayden have worked hard to bring the best that the blues world has to offer to the Edmonton Blues Festival. With Grammy winners, Blues Music Award winners, W.C. Handy winners, Maple Blues Award winners, legends, up and comers, and music that reflects the regional diversity of the music we all love, this years festival promises to be the "best ever"...We're here to help "fill the hole in your soul" for another year...
Friday, August 24
Moreland and Arbuckle
Show @ 5:30 PM
Since their beginnings in the Kansas heartland a decade ago, guitarist Aaron Moreland and vocalist/harpist Dustin Arbuckle have captured the visceral spirit of the early 20th century Delta blues and the raw energy of post-World War II urban blues and distilled it all into a hard-driving and powerful garage-rock configuration of guitar, vocals, harp and drums.
Show @ 7:00 PM
Here’s a quick quiz:
What do Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Jay McShann, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, John Hammond, the late Jimmy Witherspoon, Dr. John, Maria Muldaur, Roomful of Blues, and the Canadian band The Rockin’ Highliners all have in common?
Answer: Duke Robillard
Guitarist. Bandleader. Songwriter. Singer. Producer. Session musician. And a one-man cheering section for the blues, in all its forms and permutations. And every one of those names has shared recording studio space or stage time with a man who is a legend in the blues community.
The Blues Music Awards (formerly W.C.Handy Awards) have named Duke Robillard "Best Blues Guitarist" four years out of five (2000,2001,2003,2004) making him the second most honored guitarist for that award! He was also nominated in that category in 2005, 2007, 2008 and again this year. In 2007 Duke received a Grammy nomination for his "Guitar Groove-a-rama”.
Show @ 8:30 PM
Harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite’s life reads like a classic blues song: born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis and schooled on the South Side of Chicago. A groundbreaking recording artist since the 1960s, Musselwhite continues to create trailblazing music while remaining firmly rooted in the blues. His worldly-wise vocals, rich, melodic harmonica playing and deep country blues guitar work flawlessly accompany his often autobiographical and always memorable original songs. Living Blues says, “Musselwhite’s rock-solid vocals creep up and overwhelm you before you know it. He plays magnificent harp with superb dexterity and phrasing. The results are amazing.”
Saturday, August 25
Steve Kozak's West Coast All Stars
Show @ 2:30 PM
Steve Kozak was born in Vancouver BC Canada in 1956 and since the mid eighties has been a mainstay on the Vancouver scene as a guitarist, band leader, singer, songwriter, and tireless cheerleader and promoter of Blues and Roots music. Backed by some of Vancouver’s top musicians, Steve has built a reputation as one of the premier Blues acts in western Canada.
Known for his tireless efforts of promoting Blues and Roots music in the Vancouver area, Steve not only fronts his own band, he designs his own poster graphics to promote his shows and produces posters for other bands, festivals and venues. He is also now working as the Music Director for The Powell River Blues Festival. For their performance this year, the band will feature Steve on guitar/vocals, Dave Webb, keys, Trevor Newman bass and backup vocals, and drummer Marko Ibarra.
Terry Hanck Band
Show @ 4:00 PM
From San Francisco to Chicago to Washington D.C, superlative reviews are flooding in for Terry Hanck's new album, LOOK OUT!, his first on Delta Groove Music. As a saxophonist, singer and and songwriter, Terry Hanck is a rare breed, a triple threat musician-- and at an unbelievably youthful 66 (what is in that water he has always lived near??) -- his singing and playing, along with his tough band, is on fire. Twice recognized in recent years with Blues Music Awards nominations for 2009 and 2011 for "Best Horn"; Hanck is nominated for both horn player and Song of the Year in 2012. This nice guy is finally finishing first--on national blues charts and fans' hearts.
As Living Blues writer Lee Hildebrand testified, "Hanck is one of the most formidable saxophonists in the blues and soul business. He has a virile tone and attack and an uncanny command of upper-register notes." But, whether it is a joyous jump blues romp or a steamy slow dance of a stroll--this is the kind of music that has mattered to the tall tenor man all his life...
Lionel Young Band
Show @ 5:50 PM
Lionel Young is a high energy performer with a bent for the blues. His LIONEL YOUNG BAND, winners of numerous awards for best in and around the Colorado region, have won the 2011 International Blues Challenge (IBC) band competition. Added to his victory at the 2008 IBC in the solo-duo catagory, that makes Lionel Young the first double champion in the history of the IBC. This year, Lionel was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Ìnstrumentalidt-Other category for his stellar work on blues violin.
Fans of the driven, classically trained Young, love his distinctive brand of blues on the electric violin. His show features not only Young originals but interpretations of blues classics by Willie Dixon, Leadbelly and Stevie Ray Vaughan, features the strength and passion of Young’s playing, as well as his smooth vocals and unique translations. The songs, which include his award-winning composition ” Brown Cloud Over Denver” and “Hey, O.J.,” a controversial little gem, alternately stir up social concerns and soothe the weary soul. It’s prime. It’s fun. It’s Lionel Young.
Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials
Show @ 7:00 PM
“The world’s #1 houserocking blues band” - The Boston Globe
From smoking slide guitar boogies to raw-boned Chicago shuffles to the deepest slow blues, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Lil’ Ed Williams is an awe-inspiring master bluesman. He and his blistering, road-tested band, The Blues Imperials—guitarist Mike Garrett, bassist James “Pookie” Young, drummer Kelly Littleton—are celebrating 20 amazing years together. Live, Lil’ Ed And The Blues Imperials simply can’t be beat as Ed breaks out the deepest back-bends, the highest toe-walks, and the most authentic electric slide-guitar blues being played today. Not since the heyday of Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers has a Chicago blues band made such a consistently joyous, rollicking noise. This year, Ed was nominated as “Entertainer of the Year” and the band was nominated as “Band of the Year” at the Blues Music Awards.
The Blues Broads Featuring Tracy Nelson, Angela Strehli, Annie Sampson and Dorothy Morrison
Show @ 8:30 PM
What do you get when you bring together four legendary female singers from the world of the Blues? The answer is the incomparable stage band, The Blues Broads, and a stage show that is heaven sent for blues lovers everywhere.
All four female singers in The Blues Broads are headliners in their own right. These superstars of the seminal era of the genre do what they do best-blow the house away with soulful, irreverent, throaty blues sung from the bottom of their hearts- multiplied by four unforgettable voices.
Sunday, August 26
Show @ 2:30 PM
Ben Prestage’s musical background began before he was born... even before his parents were born. Ben’s great-grandmother was a Vaudeville musician who toured with Al Jolson and also participated in medicine shows. Her daughter was a Boogie-Woogie pianist and painter who used to play for Ben when he was coming up. On the other side of the family tree, his grandfather, who was a Mississippi sharecropper, turned Ben onto the sounds and culture of Mississippi and Blues in general.
Ben's interesting approach to instrumentation, (fingerstyle guitar, harmonica, banjo, lap-steel, fiddle, resonator guitar, foot-drums, vocals, and his award-winning original songwriting (recipient of "The Most Unique Performer" at "The Song- writers' Showcase of America") has earned him invitations to perform across North America, Europe, and as far as North Africa. All awards aside, he has proven himself, through his live performances, to be the future of American Blues and Roots Music, and is one of today’s most talented outsiders.
Tim Williams and the Electro Fires with Special Guest Big Dave McLean
Tim Williams' career began in the coffee houses of Southern California in the mid-1960s and continues today around the world from his home base on the Canadian Prairies. Tim has played festivals, folk clubs, concert halls and roadhouses from Rabat, Morocco, to Melbourne, Australia, and from Dawson City, Yukon Territory to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, all to huge acclaim. His guitar skills are frequently compared to Ry Cooder and David Lindley (and like them, Tim plays a wealth of other string instruments), and his songwriting has won praise from the likes of Tom Russel and Willie Nelson. A string of Maple Blues Award nominations (Toronto Blues Society), two JUNO award nominations, five Betty Mitchell Awards for composition/musical direction in theatre, and roughly a dozen awards from Real Blues magazine (as artist, guitarist, producer) attest to the high caliber of his work.
As part of this big “Prairie Blues Extravaganza” Tim and the Electro-Fires will be joined by a bona fide prairie blues legend, Big Dave McLean. Big Dave is finally getting his recognition, at an age when the rest of us would be contemplating retirement. Only in the last decade or so have there been significant inroads into recording this definitive Canadian bluesman.
A masterful guitarist and top notch harpist, McLean’s raw and gravelly vocals bespeak of a life lived to the fullest, and a career spent performing in and around those countless small towns that dot the Canadian prairies. When it comes to the blues, however, McLean’s heart firmly beats to the ghosts of the delta greats--especially the incomparable Muddy Waters, with whom he toured over two decades ago. Just how important the Mojo Man was to the development of Big Dave can be gleaned in an 11-minute tribute, aptly titled ‘Muddy Waters for President’. Actually written for the dean of Chicago bluesmen, Muddy died before getting around to recording it.
Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots
Show @ 5:30 PM
Victor Wainwright brings power-house blues, Memphis soul, and roots rock’n’roll to the stage. His band, features the high-octane boogie piano and big soul sounds of vocalist and blues man Victor Wainwright, backed by one of the tightest smokin’ bands on the scene; the WildRoots.
Victor, along with producer/bassist/co-writer Stephen Dees have teamed up once again to deliver a blues and American roots ‘tour de force’. In short, they have scored another musical Bull’s Eye! On the heels of their critically acclaimed debut release “Beale Street to the Bayou”; their new CD “Lit Up” is poised to ignite blues fans with a freshness and flair that’s infectious and impossible to ignore.
Victor Wainwright, singer, pianist, “hepcat” from Memphis, Tennessee by way of the Savannah, Georgia; is a raucous high-octane dynamic performer and crowd pleaser with soul to spare. After earning what he calls a "double major in Boogie, a Ph.D. in Swing and a master's in Rhythm," the "Piana' from Savannah" is making a name for himself in a big way.
Stephen Dees is a rock n' roll aficionado, touring and-or recording as bassist and vocalist for Hall and Oates, Todd Rundgren, Pat Travers, and Foghat to name a few. He was a Billboard and MTV char-tee with his band Novo Combo, and has received great acclaim for his original rock band "Bandees."
Rick Estrin and the Nightcats
Show @ 7:00 PM
“Rick Estrin sings and writes songs like the brightest wiseguy in all bluesland and blows harmonica as if he learned at the knee of Little Walter.” - DownBeat
Rick Estrin ranks among the very best harp players, singers and songwriters in the blues world today. His work on the reeds is deep in the tradition of harmonica masters Sonny Boy Williamson II and Little Walter Jacobs, while at the same time pushing that tradition forward. The Associated Press called his harp playing “endlessly impressive.” The great guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr. (who was schooled by Robert Johnson and who played on most of Little Walter’s Chess recordings) told Estrin, “Little Walter would be very proud of you.” His award-winning original songs have been favorably compared with those of Willie Dixon and the team of Leiber and Stoller. And his hipster, street-smart vocals are the perfect vehicle for driving those songs home.
For more than 30 years and nine albums, Rick fronted the jumping, swinging Little Charlie & The Nightcats, featuring guitarist Little Charlie Baty. With Baty’s recent retirement from touring, Estrin—along with the Nightcats’ longtime rhythm section of J. Hansen and Lorenzo Farrell and a new member, fiery guitarist Kid Andersen—takes the lead on his own.
Tommy Castro and the Painkillers
Show @ 8:30 PM
Connecting with his audience and sharing his enthusiasm with his fans is something Castro does naturally and effortlessly. With his horn-fueled, blues-rocking, road-tested band behind him, Castro never fails to sweep his audience out of their seats and onto the dance floor. His ability to ignite a raucous good-time party – along with the recent CDs Hard Believer and Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue – Live! – assure that Tommy Castro and his band are in constant demand. Listening to Castro’s recordings and seeing him live, believing is not only easy, it’s a whole lot of fun. This year, Tommy and the Painkillers are up for no less than 5 Blues Music Awards including Band of the Year, Entertainer of the Year for Tommy (he won this award in 2009 and 2010), Contemporary Blues album, Contemporary Blues-Male Artist (twice nominated, won this award in 2010), and sax man Keith Crossan is nominated as Horn Player of the year. This is one of the hottest blues bands on the planet and the 6 piece outfit will light it up to close the festival this summer!