Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ten acts to see at Bluesfest

I am going to assume that everyone, by now, knows the Bluesfest lineup. If not, you can click here for a full rundown:

And further, I am going to assume that everyone will want to go see the big ones - Jeff Beck, Joe Cocker, KISS (by the way - I have now taken down that vote-for-KISS link because they are already coming to town - well done, Ottawa, we finished ninth), Styx, Jackson Browne. And I would be loathe to recommend all of those artists, since I don't plan to go see Styx or KISS myself. But here are some lesser-known acts worth checking out:

8. Local acts: JW Jones might be the most fun of all the local acts, but Jeff Rogers, Becky Abbott, Tara Holloway, Steve Mariner and Ken Workman & the Union promise to be terrific shows as well. There is a ton of great local music out there, and Bluesfest is a great chance to see some of it before the headliners come on.

7. LeE HARVeY OsMOND: Tom Wilson's band. You know, Tom Wilson of Blackie And The Rodeo Kings? It should also be noted that Colin Linden, Wilson's Blackie bandmate, will be playing Bluesfest too. Here's a video:


6. Brian Setzer Orchestra: I don't know if Setzer is better known for his work solo or with the Stray Cats. Either way, a huge talent, an awful lot of fun, and an influential player who has inspired, among others, Trevor Finlay. Here is a video:

5. Divine Brown: My girlfriend is into all kinds of pop music R&B nonsense, which mostly drives me crazy. But when she picked up Divine Brown's CD, I was amazed. Old-school style, beats and melodies that could have come straight from the early 60s, and a fantastic voice. This Canadian singer is worth seeing.

4. Gov't Mule: A band featuring the Allman Brothers' star guitarist Warren Haynes. Here they are on late night TV.

3. Hubert Sumlin: One of the all time true Blues legends, Sumlin was the guitar player for Howlin' Wolf. I have included an interview with the man, because I couldn't find any great playing videos:

2. Ornette Coleman: Because they don't come much more legendary than this man. One of the greatest free-jazz artists of all time. And to this day, one of my favourite concerts ever was Sonny Rollins at the Jazzfest about eight years ago.

1. Toots and the Maytals: And lastly, the one act at the Bluesfest for which I would gladly skip my own wedding (and, depending on the day they play, I may have to). The Otis Redding of Jamaica, Toots Hibbert still has an amazing voice, and the Maytals are perhaps the greatest of all backing vocalists. Absolutely legendary Jamaican reggae artists, and - perhaps even more importantly - a really, really fun time. Here is a clip of them in the studio from the legendary Jimmy Cliff Jamaican movie The Harder They Come.

There are, of course, other big acts. I might check out Green Day, Stone Temple Pilots, maybe even Ludacris. Ah, who am I kidding? I have a wedding that week. I won't be seeing anyone. Enjoy Ornette Coleman for me!


  1. Bluesfest official site does not have Gov't Mule listed
    This has me very distressed

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