Thursday August 4th
OLG Clock Tower Stage
‘Classic Rock’ meets ‘Blues’ with a little bit of ‘Country’ thrown in! That’s what “Earl & The Agitators” is all about. A good old rock n’ roll band having too much fun. These veterans know what it takes to make an audience get up and party, and they give it all they’ve got and then some. “Earl and the Agitators” features Tennessee native Scott Holt, whose 10 year tenure with Buddy Guy established him as an incredible guitarist and a rich, soulful singer/ performer/storyteller in his own right. He is a force to be reckoned with! The band began as an audio-engineering graduation project at Dark Horse Institute in Nashville. It turned into an opportunity for Roger Earl and Bryan Bassett of the classic rock band Foghat to record with their good friend Scott Holt who also happens to be a special guest on Foghat’s soon to be released album “Under the Influence”. Working with the students and staff at Dark Horse was a unique and inspiring experience. Their enthusiasm was contagious and the result was 6 great tracks including 3 original recordings. This gave birth to “EARL & THE AGITATORS” who performed their first show on the Rock Legends IV Cruise on January 24, 2016 with special guests Rodney O’Quinn (Earl #3) on Bass and Tony Bullard (Earl #5*) on Guitar. A full length CD is planned for later this summer. http://www.earlandtheagitators.com/
In the late 1960’s Roger Earl & Lonesome Dave Peverett first toured America as members of the British Blues band Savoy Brown. In 1971, wanting to give their music a more Rock ‘n Roll feel they enlisted lead/slide guitarist Rod Price & bassist Tony Stevens, formed a new band, Foghat, and the rest is part of Rock and Roll history. Signed to Bearsville Records in 1971, the band recorded and began touring relentlessly for the next 14 years. Their hard work has thus far been rewarded with seven Gold records, one Platinum record “FOOL FOR THE CITY” (1975), and one Double-Platinum record “FOGHAT LIVE” (1977). The “FOOL FOR THE CITY” album contained Foghat’s trademark Top 40 hit song “SLOW RIDE” and cemented their place as one of the world’s top rock acts. They continued to hit the charts in the 70’s with singles such as “FOOL FOR THE CITY”, “DRIVIN’ WHEEL”, “I Just Want to Make Love To You”, “Stone Blue”, “Third Time Lucky” and “Somebody’s Been Sleeping In My Bed”, many of which are still classic rock radio staples. In the last few years the band has reached a whole new generation of fans due to its songs appearing on popular home video games like “GUITAR HERO III”, numerous movies, TV shows and commercials, As a result, the live dates continue to pile up! Foghat has been together for 43 years. This band never sleeps or rests on its history! They still tour relentlessly because they just love to play, which is evident in the passion and fun they have onstage during their live performances. That is what Foghat is all about. It’s about the music! http://foghat.net/
Eric Burdon has one of the most distinctive and searingly powerful voices in rock and roll. As the front man and driving force of the Animals, Burdon was at the forefront of the British Invasion, helping to shape rock and roll’s DNA with his imposing yet soulful vocals. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1994 and hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Voices of All Time, Burdon has continued to forge new musical territory with each new record in the five decades since the iconic “House of the Rising Sun.” A long string of hits, including “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and the Vietnam-era anthem, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” further secured Burdon’s unique position in rock and roll history. As one of the pioneers of the psychedelic San Francisco sound, Burdon’s classics include “San Franciscan Nights,” “Monterey” and the anti-war, “Sky Pilot.” As founder of multi-ethnic funk outfit War, Burdon continued topping the charts, with his groundbreaking hit single “Spill the Wine,” while remaining true to his deep roots in rhythm and blues. In 2012, Burdon received hard-earned kudos when Bruce Springsteen made him a cornerstone of his keynote speech at South by Southwest. Burdon joined Springsteen on-stage and was soon back in heavy demand. An EP with garage rockers the Greenhornes was quickly followed up with the full-length ‘Til Your River Runs Dry, which received a high-profile launch and has garnered great reviews since it’s release – in 2013. http://www.ericburdon.com/
Friday August 5th
For Mississippi born Miss Angel Brown, practising music was never an option, a hobby, or even a chore. Music was a lifestyle. Surrounded by it in her upbringing, Miss Angel has no recollection of a life without it: “there was singing at church, singing at school, singing at the front porch after dinner at night.” It was no surprise then that when Mel Brown started wailing his Super 400 Gibson guitar, Miss Angel was hooked and agreed to go on tour with him in the summer of 1975. This decision paved the path for the rest of her life. Miss Angel is a strong woman with a powerful, soulful voice. Her singing is transcendent, deeply rooted in the peaks and valleys of life and love. But she’s not afraid to loosen up either. In fact, she has no problem really shaking her hips if the music moves her.
An amalgamation of blues, soul and world music, multi award winning Australian singer/ songwriter “Peter D. Harper” — known in the music world simply as “Harper”, creates a heady mix of roots music through his creative use of the harmonica, and the haunting drone of the didgeridoo. Harper possesses a strong, resonant voice and a deep, almost mystical approach to music by combining traditional and modern influences, borrowing from Western and World music, he has created a highly original take on the roots genre which many have labeled “World Blues”. Harper has received an amazing 14 x Music Awards in four different countries. His innovative use of electronic enhancement and feedback, breaks the traditional boundaries of the harmonica, giving his music its distinctive harmonics and effects. The powerful guitar sounds and the unique drone of the didgeridoo create raw yet eerie sonic textures, somehow sounding primal and contemporary at the same time. No Depression Magazine,’s (USA) Rod Ames, adds that Harper “has written and arranged some of the most soulful blues rock filled music I have ever heard”. Harper is backed by his very talented Detroit based band “Midwest Kind” http://www.harper.biz/index.html
Hailing from the Metro Detroit area in south east Michigan, Third Coast Kings are a deep funk and heavy soul outfit that brings back the era of music one can only find on dusty old 45 records. Right from the beginning in 2007 the band delved into the old, funky catalog of vinyl records that DJ’s and beat makers were using to get crowds moving. Over the years they have refined this sound into their own unique blend of the old and the new, and have released two critically acclaimed and internationally renowned albums of original material on the Italian-based Record Kicks label. The band’s second album, “West Grand Boulevard”, was named one of the top R&B recordings of 2014, alongside the likes of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Lee Fields, in All Music Guide’s year-end review.
OLG Clock Tower Stage
To appreciate that genetics play a significant role in musical talent, look no further than Blackburn family. Growing up under their R&B pioneer father Bobby Dean, brothers Duane, Cory, Brooke & Robert were schooled in the soul & gospel influences of the church & the stirring jazz, R&B & blues backdrop of their Dad’s live performances. No matter how you define your blues, funk &/or soul, the Blackburn brothers wear their influences proudly & with the release of “Brother in this world”, it’s all here-socially conscious music with a pure message, funky back beats to ignite any dance floor & the collective musical prowess to rekindle why you fell in love with soul rich blues in the first place. The Blues Community has been sitting on the edge of their seats for the next serving of Blackburn since the release of “Brotherhood” in 2009. That album – and the tour that followed it – garnered the band a Maple Blues Award in 2010, and they have continued to impress, leaving people wanting more ever since. This year, Blackburn has quenched the thirst of Canadian listeners, releasing their newest album “Brothers In This World” last March (2015). Although the band switched labels from Make It Real Records (Brotherhood) to Electro-Fi (Brothers In This World), the fabric of what makes Blackburn a band that captivates remains threaded throughout the entire album. http://www.blackburnbrothersmusic.com/home.html
Juno award winning producer Lance Anderson has put together another all-star show for the Kitchener Blues Festival. In 2016 they will honour the musical contributions of Bob Dylan in a show at the OLG Clock Tower stage. Bob Dylan is an enigmatic and complicated performer. He has been called the ‘voice of his generation’ a title he steadfastly refuses, or the ‘conscience of America’, another label he quickly denies. He IS a gifted and prolific songwriter, with a body of work that spans more than five decades. What no one can deny, is that he has been a major influence in music and one of the most influential people of the 20th century. From protest songs, and his fight in the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s, to his collaboration with THE BAND, Christian and Jewish works, and his continual touring, Bob Dylan has never stood still. Bob Dylan has been covered by many Blues artists including: Eric Bib, Joe Cocker, Soloman Burke, Etta James, The Black Crowes, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Johnny Winter, Jimmy Hendrix, Bonnie Bramlett, R.L. Burnside, Odetta, Leon Russell, Staple Singers and many more. His music has been recorded by everybody From Adele to Patti Smith: The Persuasions to Duke Ellington; Van Morrison to Rage Against the Machine. His musical legacy is enormous. THAT is undeniable. In our two hour show we will bring you some of his best and our artist’s personal favourite Bob Dylan songs performed by some of this country’s top Roots and Blues performers. Lance Anderson is a Juno award winning producer (Leahy) and ‘Maple Blues Keyboardist of the Year’ (2013). He has toured and recorded with Shakura S’Aida for the last 10 years. His label (Make It Real Records) has produced CD’s by 2B3 the Toronto Sessions, Garth Hudson (The BAND), Blackburn and the Cameo Blues Band. This year, Anderson was co-music producer with Kelly Peterson of ‘Oscar With Love’ a critically acclaimed 3CD set that commemorated Oscar Peterson’s 90th birthday in 2015. Lance is a well know musical director and producer with ‘The Last Waltz – a Musical Celebration of THE BAND – Live’ , ‘Genius+Soul=The Music of Ray Charles’, ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen – The Music of Joe Cocker and Leon Russell’ and more shows in theatres across the nation. Anderson has also written music for Film, TV and recently ‘Four Women’ for Symphony Orchestra. The Weber Brothers – “If it is looked at as a passing of the torch or a keeping of the flame, then we are they guys to do it.” says Ryan Weber. I couldn’t think of a more dynamic pair of performers who also have the attitude needed for playing Dylan songs. The Weber Brothers are “The baddest band in the land.” They are also Dylan fans, and fans of great songs. The Webers have put out 10 albums in 15 years and are touring constantly. One of the hardest working artists in the country …. and it shows Paul James – Paul James is one of the most exciting and energetic Toronto-based Canadian musicians – past, present and future. Paul James has received many music awards during his long career in the music business. He is winner of a Juno Award, multiple Toronto Music Awards,‘The Maple Blues (Lifetime Achievement Award for Blues Music in Canada), the London Fire Hall Lifetime Achievement Award, and he has many more music awards to grace his mantle. Bob Dylan sat in with Paul’s band, and came to see Paul perform on numerous occasions. In 1990, Dylan invited Paul James to play an acoustic set to open his show at Canada’s Wonderland. Dylan further invited Paul to sit in with his band many times in Toronto, London, Oshawa and Buffalo. Paul brings a personal knowledge of his friend Bob, to the show and a lifetime of playing Dylan’s music. Matt Weidinger – Matt Weidinger has a voice like no other. The 23-year-old Kitchener, ON native is a passionate young songwriter, who is well known for his mature rock/soul vocals and impressive multi-instrumental talents. He performs like a veteran musician on the piano and organ, and is equally proficient on guitar, bass or mandolin. As a songwriter, Matt appreciates the art of Dylan and is an example of how Dylan’s music still reaches a young generation. Michelle Willis – is a singer, songwriter, and keyboard player who lives and works primarily out of Toronto, Canada. Born in England and raised in Toronto, She spent most of her upbringing singing in church choirs and lifting Carole King and Ray Charles records. Since graduating from the Humber College jazz program, she has shared the stage and studio with artists such as David Crosby, Snarky Puppy, Iggy & The Stooges, Royal Wood, Hawksley Workman, Parachute Club and Nikki Yanofsky to name a few. She is currently a member of Three Metre Day and has a solo CD out called See Us Through (Universal Music Classics). The band – Joining Lance in the band will be sensational session drummer Al Cross (Big Sugar) and bassist extraordinaire, Russ Boswell (David Wilcox). Mitch Lewis (Rockin’ Deltoids) will be on guitars.
Jay Pollmann is a southern Ontario musician / songwriter born in Hamilton and raised just outside the small town of Cayuga. In 2013 Jay set out to launch a solo career finding an outlet for his musical ideas through his acoustic guitar with help from his brass slide, harmonica‘s, his feet and the odd tambourine stomp. He sings songs about the things he knows from “steering with your knees” to “closing down the local watering hole“. Channelling many styles and influences through his acoustic filter, the sound that forms is something Jay calls “Foot Stompin’ Rootsy Blues”. Never one to model or mimic himself after other artists Jay’s sound is organic, original, raw and full of energy.
The Vaudevillian doesn’t just play bad-ass, foot stomping music –they put on a proper show. It’s the kind of show that’s honed by hitchhiking from raucous house shows to rowdy bars, and busking everywhere in between. Jitterbug James (vocals/guitar/carzoobamaphone), Piedmont Johnson (vox/bull fiddle) and Norah Spades (washboard) wail like reincarnated blues singers ripped from the pages of history, and have won over audiences and critics with their sound and imaginative performances. The Vaudevillian will spit, scream and stomp their way into your hearts.
Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, John McKinley has been involved with the Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario music scene since 1979. An exceptionally skilled guitarist, John received the prestigious Mel Brown Award in 2013, honouring his dedication to mentoring young musicians and his contribution to the local music scene. He has recently released his critically acclaimed debut album “Window On The World”. Featuring McKinley’s exceptional song writing and guitar playing, combined with the deep soul of McKinley’s Mexican roots, Window On The World is a musical palette that serves up guitar-driven blues-rock paired with classic sing-a-long melodies.
2015 Memphis International Blues Challenge finalist and winner of the 2015 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search, Michael Schatte plays an eclectic brew of original rock, blues, rockabilly, bluegrass, and celtic that he’s been writing, recording, and performing throughout his career. A respected and fiery guitarist, Schatte has developed the habit of leaving audience jaws agape. He’s been compared to world-class players decades his senior, and counts Peter Green, Danny Gatton, Albert Lee, Mark Knopfler and of course the aforementioned Richard Thompson as major influences on both his electric and acoustic fingerstyle playing.
Matt Minglewood Band are a musical hybrid, a four member band with one foot steeped in the musical roots of blues and country and the other knee-deep in rock. Matt Minglewood himself has long been known as a musical shape-shifter and the band are masters of improv and genre bending. Their constant touring and high octane live show has earned them the well-deserved reputation of ‘down to earth bearers of good will and good times’. Their diversity and broad audience appeal has made them a fave on the Canadian touring circuit. His music and song writing has the natural universality one only hears from a born storyteller. The songs can be somewhat autobiographical as in ‘Me and the Boys’, a song about carefree days of his youth or social issues he puts forth in ‘Long Way From Texas’. Many of Matt’s tunes grapple with the universal feelings of passion, frustrations, hope, loneliness, love, disappointment and regret as well as his deep love of the Maritimes. They are always reflected his life around him and what he is feeling at the time. “Me & The Boys” was recorded by southern-rock legend Charlie Daniels on his CD of the same name. In a climate ripe with ever-changing musical styles Matt’s artistic character has been defined by his simply remaining true to himself. He is on stage the embodiment of a Southern rocker but with an eclectic twist, he is equally comfortable performing a Country ballad, a Celtic air or Rockin’ the blues. A dozen recordings later and now on his own label, Norton Records, Matt has released his first acoustic Cd ‘The Story’ and has no thoughts of slowing down. Recent performances have taken him as far away as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Egypt, Israel and Afghanistan where he was honoured to be given the opportunity to entertain the multi-national troops of the United Nations. Another of his recent highlights was playing and performing across Canada with the ‘Legends of the NHL’, a dream come true! Throughout the years Minglewood has been honoured with numerous accolades, music awards & nominations including 3 gold albums, honorary doctorate from UCB university and entertainer of the year from the Maple Blues Society and in 2013 was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maple Blues Society http://www.mattminglewood.com/
Saturday August 6th
Mel Brown Award winner Cheryl Lescom has been part of the Canadian music scene for over 35 years. Starting off in 1975 with several of her own bands before becoming a back up singer for Ronnie Hawkins and touring with Long John Baldry. She has toured and performed with the likes of Jeff Healey, Matt Minglewood, Dutch Mason, the Downchild Blues Band, Jack DeKeyser, Del Shannon, David Wilcox, Mel Brown, Paul James, Billy Durst and The Detroit Women.
To many, The Weber Brothers are the baddest band in the land. To many others, their story sits like an ancient volume in an old bookstore, dust covered, tucked away behind hundreds of newer, shinier books. Untouched. Waiting to be discovered. Regardless of what side you’re on, there’s an undeniable truth. In the rough and tumble world of rock and roll, The Weber Brothers have been around the block. Ryan and Sam Weber left their Baltimore, MD home one night as teenagers, with the aim of meeting their idol, rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins, and ten hours later showed up at his doorstep. “The Hawk”, the elder statesman of rock whose former protégés (Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, et al.) went on to reshape music history as “The Band”, was duly impressed by the pair’s immense raw talent, and promptly invited them to audition for his storied backing band, The Hawks. Mere months later, after surviving the intense musical apprenticeship of his fabled “Rock ‘n’ Roll Bootcamp,” they were in: full-blooded Hawks. By the ages of 18 and 21 they had already performed alongside Kris Kristofferson, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Jeff Healey and David Wilcox to name a few. Over the past 15 years they’ve recorded 10 independent albums and toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. Between their renowned musical ability, high-energy, awe-inspiring performances and lessons learned first hand from rock n’ roll pioneers, a reputation as the “baddest band in the land”, “heroes of this generation” and “the future in the big shoes of the past” now precedes them. “If it’s looked at as a passing of the torch or a keeping of the flame, then we’re the guys to do it,” says Ryan Weber. http://weberbrothers.com/
Guitarist Aaron Moreland – co-founder of the groundbreaking Kansas-based trio Moreland & Arbuckle — describes their music as “gritty blues and roots rock from the heartland.” Moreland, along with harmonicist/vocalist Dustin Arbuckle and drummer Kendall Newby, electrify raw Delta and Mississippi Hill Country blues, folk, and traditional country with unrelenting punk rock energy washed in hard-hitting Southern soul. Their songs are expertly executed with musical muscle and fifth-gear urgency. When they perform more traditional blues, they play with the same decisive command. With each of their six previous releases, the band has grown musically and lyrically, creating a signature sound while earning a large and loyal worldwide fan base. Their legendary raw and raucous live shows are played with wild abandon. The New York Post says Moreland & Arbuckle have “a raw juke joint exuberance with a dirt-under-the fingernails garage band attack.” The band’s evolution continues with the group’s Alligator Records debut Promised Land Or Bust, produced by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Botch, The Sword). From the howling cosmic opener Take Me With You (When You Go) to the stomping Mean And Evil to the plaintive Mount Comfort, Promised Land Or Bust is a far-reaching musical showcase. The instantly-memorable, slice-of-life songs paint scenes of double-crossed lovers, women meaner than the devil, and isolated loners beaten down by careless love. According to Moreland, “The new album is consciously traditional but still has the signature drive and power that we have crafted over the past thirteen years.” http://www.morelandarbuckle.com/
Slide guitarist and singer-songwriter Eric Sardinas has a reputation for packing intensity into his live performances. Since the late-90s’ Sardinas has taken the stage thousands of times across the globe, with audiences growing exponentially each passing year. His six albums have displayed a distinct style that musically pushes the boundaries of rock and blues, and the world has taken notice. “Playing with intensity all over the world non-stop and loving every minute of it has been my inspiration,” Sardinas explains. “That’s why I get up in the morning and what I live for. Making music keeps me in the moment, allowing my heart to speak to people.” A Florida-born Sardinas picked up a guitar at age six. He was inspired by the energy of roots music from his mom’s soul, Motown, gospel, and early rock n’ roll collection. From his elder brother, classic rock was always being played. Sardinas reflects, “Music was always heard in the house. I woke up to, and fell asleep to it. Still do”. In his teens, he submersed himself in the Blues. “That was it for me,” he says. “In blending my influences, I found my own sound. I feel very fulfilled being able to make this music my life for more than 20 years now. And my goal is to keep growing and improving, and to respect this music and stick by it the way its has supported and inspired me.” http://www.ericsardinas.co.uk/
Gordie Johnson and his Rasta brethren churn out their unique blend of roots-rock-reggae with double neck guitars and dreadlocks flying through the air. BIG SUGAR continues to live up their reputation for thundering live performances spiced with epic dub excursions that keep crowds grooving. BIG SUGAR’S style has even inspired other notable artists, including THE BLACK CROWES, GOV’T MULE and countless young “up and comers”. Calling All The Youth tops a platinum recording career that spans over 20 years, including their recent releases Revolution Per Minute, Yardstyle and the concert dvd Eliminate Ya! Live as well as a collaborations with Reggae legends WILLI WILLIAMS and DENNIS ALCAPONE. Following European tours, a German TV appearance on Rockpalast and a sold -out national acoustic tour, 2015 brings BIG SUGAR, fully electric across Canada. http://bigsugar.com/
OLG Clock Tower
Valdy, born Valdemar Horsdal in Ottawa, Canada has been part of the fabric of Canadian pop and folk music for over 34 years. A man with a thousand friends, from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island to Texas to New Zealand, he’s a singer, guitarist and songwriter who catches the small but telling moments that make up life. Remembered for Play Me a Rock and Roll Song, his bitter-sweet memory of finding himself, a relaxed and amiable story-teller, facing a rambunctious audience at the Aldergrove Rock Festival circa 1968, Valdy has sold almost half a million copies of his 13 albums, has two Juno Awards (Folk Singer of the Year and Folk Entertainer of the Year), seven Juno nominations, and four Gold albums to his credit. One of Canada’s most influential songwriters, Valdy’s composition A Good Song was recorded under the title Just a Man by the venerable Quincy Jones (he sang lead on the recording!). Play Me a Rock and Roll Song has been recorded by a few artists, including John Kay of Steppenwolf. http://valdy.com/
Paul James is one of the most exciting and energetic Toronto-based Canadian musicians – past, present and future. Paul James has received many music awards during his long career in the music business. He is winner of a Juno Award, multiple Toronto Music Awards, ‘The Maple Blues (Lifetime Achievement Award for Blues Music in Canada), the London Fire Hall Lifetime Achievement Award, and he has many more music awards to grace his mantle. However, winning the respect of his musical peers always rated more highly than winning any awards for Paul. Paul James is a real musician’s musician. He has been constantly surrounded by the world’s stage of big time players, such as Mink DeVille, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan, John Hammond, Dr. John, Spencer Davis, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jeff Healey, Honeyboy Edwards, Johnny Johnson, Jack Scott, and Sunnyland Slim, just to name a few. http://www.pauljamesband.com/
Harry Manx has been dubbed an “essential link” between the music of East and West, creating musical short stories that wed the tradition of the Blues with the depth of classical Indian ragas. His unique sound is bewitching and deliciously addictive to listen to. It’s in the live setting, Manx says, that the bridge between “heavenly” India and “earthy” American blues is most effectively built. “Indian music moves inward,” he explains. “It’s traditionally used in religious ceremonies and meditation, because it puts you into this whole other place. But Western music has the ability to move out, into celebration and dance. So when we play the Indian stuff on stage, it has the tendency to draw people into something really deep; they’ll get kind of quiet and spacey. Then we’ll play some more Western music, and it grounds them once more, they sort of come out of the mood the Indian music had put them in and get into the performance. I love to see that working — that effect on the audience. My goal has always been to draw the audience as deep as possible into the music.” Blend Indian folk melodies with slide guitar blues, add a sprinkle of gospel and some compelling grooves and you’ll get Manx’s unique “mysticssippi” flavour. It’s hard to resist, easy to digest and keeps audiences coming back for more. http://harrymanx.com/
Cowboy Junkies are a Canadian alternative country/blues/folk rock band. The group was formed in Toronto in 1985 by Margo Timmins (vocalist), Michael Timmins (songwriter, guitarist), Peter Timmins (drummer) and Alan Anton (bassist). The Junkies first performed publicly at the Beverley Tavern and other clubs in Toronto’s Queen Street West, including The Rivoli. Their 1986 debut album, produced by Canadian producer Peter Moore, was the blues-inspired Whites Off Earth Now!!, recorded using an ambisonic microphone in the family garage. The group’s fame spread with their second album, The Trinity Session,recorded in 1987 at Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity. Their sound, again using the ambisonic microphone, and their mix of blues, country, folk, rock andjazz earned them both critical attention and a cult following. The Los Angeles Times named the recording as one of the ten best albums of 1988. The band was nominated for Group of the Year at the Juno Awards in 1990 and 1991. In the early 1990s Margo Timmins was named “one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world” by People Magazine. The group has continued to tour North America, Europe, Japan and Australia with extensive North American and European tours following album releases in 2002 and 2004. In 2008, they released Trinity Revisited in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original recording of The Trinity Session. http://www.cowboyjunkies.com/
Taking their cues from bands like Pavement, the Grateful Dead, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Donkeys craft melodic country-rock songs inspired by their state’s warm weather and relaxed pace. High school friends Timothy DeNardo, Anthony Lukens, and Sam Sprague first played together as teenagers, and Jessie Gulati joined the latter two musicians in a band named the Moon and Sixpence soon after graduation. The musicians eventually banded together as the Donkeys, combining a melodic foundation with elements of classic rock, country, and power pop. Part of this magic comes from the fact that there’s no artifice to the Donkeys’ songs, from the matter-of-fact breakup blues of “Boot on the Seat” to the playful recollections of a late, drunken night narrated on “Nice Train.” These are everyday lives in the postmodern world expressed with a deep respect for classic songs from the 70s through the 90s — for spacey grooves and soulful, jangly swagger — that elevates the subject matter beyond the ordinary. Living on the Other Side, the band’s second album, is not meant to hit you over the head with a flamboyant single – instead, imagine Ray Davies jamming with the Byrds, or a Gene Clark-fronted Buffalo Springfield — and you’ll get a sense of the tradition that informs this band. Living on the Other Side is about rolling down the windows, cranking up the stereo, and hitting the open road. Maybe you’re running away, and maybe you’re not, but either way, everything’s going to be alright. http://www.donkeysongs.com/
It’s early 1979, and the Pat Travers Band have just been introduced and subsequently recorded for what would become one of the slickest and hottest guitar-rock albums ever committed to vinyl. “Live! Go for What You Know” was a huge success on both sides of the pond, acclaimed by their musical peers, fans, and music critics alike. It was high-energy. It was electric. It was lightning in a bottle. The album, much like the Canadian musician himself, remains an influence for a whole generation of guitar slingers. The band in question – Pat Travers, guitarist Pat Thrall, drummer Tommy Aldridge and bass player Peter “Mars” Cowling – were unarguably one of the most talented rock quartets ever to perform. They were also responsible for a pair of bona fide studio classics – their 1978 guitar rock debut “Heat in the Street”, and 1980’s more musically diverse and critically acclaimed “Crash and Burn”. “Go for What You Know” was the musical meat in that sonic sandwich. Thrall’s fusion was the perfect foil for Travers, who has always put the melodic tone, and feel of his solos before any fret burning. Aldridge was one of the most noted and flamboyant sticksmen of the era. Cowling was the inspiration, driving the rhythm through his ever solid, yet extremely flexible, four-string work Toronto born Patrick Henry Travers had already delivered a tasty trio of releases before the formation of that formidable four-piece, and would go on to deliver classy melodic eighties rock before a blues period in the nineties, but it’s that famous foursome that set standards, kicked your ass, and made such a musical mark. http://www.pattravers.com/
Downtown BIA Stage
The story-telling Folklore artist, Sean Pinchin, is best known for crafting warm and soulful sounds with nothing but his voice, harmonica and slide guitar. Using his music as therapy, every performance has an emotional delivery that any audience can feel and relate to. For Sean, music has been a lifelong passion. Monkey Brain is a guitar tour de force, a gritty mash-up of the history of roots guitar music torn down and built back up again.
Markus James has traveled to West Africa many times, tracing the music’s lineage to the cradle of its birth. He went as a scholar and musician and an advocate for the musicians he discovered. There, he has not only honed his own craft, but has helped develop worldwide exposure for African musicians such as Solo Sidibe, Hamma Sankare, Hassi Sare, Massamba Diop and Wassonrai, a group featuring Mamadou Sidibe and Amadou Camara. James’ music is rock that incorporates traditional African instruments and rhythms. With every note, he melts borders and minds. A Beautiful Noise (Gospel Breakfast)
Juno nominated, multi-award winner, Harrison Kennedy grew up with a strong musical influence from his extended family. An audition that he hoped would help him earn some quick money for college led instead to his stint with the million-selling Chairmen of the Board in the early ’70s. In the next four years Kennedy was living the rock and roll lifestyle you think only belongs in the movies. Beginning in 1968, the Chairmen of the Board and played top venues including Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, Soul Train, American Bandstand and England’s Top of the Pops, doing their hit, “Give Me Just A Little More Time.” The Chairmen of The Board performed with B.B King, James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Funkadelics and more. But after a few years, that lifestyle wasn’t what Kennedy wanted. Harrison quit the band because, he says, he couldn’t breathe. He continued to work in music but stayed close to home. “Bluesy” is his description of the music he chose to sing during that time. Always a singer, he eventually got serious about playing, mastering guitar, harmonica, and banjo. He only began touring in the past decade, in support of a growing number of recordings. Toronto-based Electro-Fi Records found the right musical formula. They let Harrison be Harrison—playing his own brand of modern deep blues. Electro-Fi also got him out on the road again. Today, Harrison continues to use his voice as his main instrument. Whether soulful or gritty, he is always convincing. He writes most of his material and likes to tell stories through his songs. http://www.harrisonkennedy.ca/
The future of Baton Rouge swamp blues lies squarely in multi-instrumentalist Kenny Neal’s capable hands. The second-generation southern Louisiana bluesman is entirely cognizant of the region’s venerable blues tradition and imaginative enough to steer it in fresh directions — as his albums for Alligator, Telarc, and Blind Pig Records confirm. Kenny Neal was born on October 14, 1957 in New Orleans, exposed to the swamp blues sound from day one. His dad, harpist Raful Neal, was a Baton Rouge blues mainstay, whose pals included Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo (the latter handed three-year-old Kenny an old harp one day as a toy, and that was it). At age 13, Neal was playing in his father’s band, and he picked up a bass at 17 for Buddy Guy. The guitarist recruited some of his talented siblings to form the Neal Brothers Blues Band up in Toronto (brother Noel later played bass behind James Cotton; five other Neal brothers also play in various bands) before returning stateside. Signing with Alligator Records in 1988, Kenny began releasing a series of consistently lauded albums featuring his laid-back, Baton Rouge blues, with a modern spin on the Louisiana sound he grew up with. Throughout this period, Kenny distinguished himself as one of the brightest prospects of the contemporary blues scene, receiving great critical acclaim in the process. Neal’s sizzling guitar work, sturdy harp, and gravelly, aged-beyond-his-years vocals have served him well ever since. http://kennyneal.net/
Born and raised around Holly Springs, Mississippi, Cedric Burnside, grandson of legendary R.L. Burnside and son of drummer Calvin Jackson, has been playing music all his life. He has developed a relentless, highly rhythmic charged style with strong hip-hop and funk influences. This four-time winner of the prestigious Blues Music Award’s Drummer of the Year (2010-2014) is widely regarded as one of the best drummers in the world. Growing up at his grandfather’s side, he began touring at age 13 playing drums for “Big Daddy” on stages around the globe. In addition to “Big Daddy,” Cedric has also played and recorded with among countless others, Junior Kimbrough, Kenny Brown, North Mississippi Allstars, Burnside Exploration, Widespread Panic, Burnside Exploration, Jimmy Buffett, T Model Ford, Bobby Rush, Honey Boy Edwards, Galactic, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears and The John Spencer Blues Explosion. In 2006 he was featured in Craig Brewer’s critically acclaimed feature film Black Snake Moan, playing drums alongside Samuel L. Jackson. (The film is a tribute to R.L. Burnside, and gives many nods to the late bluesman.) In 2010, Cedric collaborated with his younger brother, Cody Burnside, and his uncle, Garry Burnside, to create The Cedric Burnside Project. They created a new genre of music by infusing Mississippi Hill Country Blues, Funk, R&B and Soul that will keep your foot stomping all night long. The Cedric Burnside Project has brought new life and energy to the blues, it’s no wonder why it’s loved by fans around the world. Following the untimely and tragic death of his brother Cody, Cedric has kept the flame burning, recording and touring the world with guitarist and lifelong friend Trenton Ayers. http://cedricburnside.net/
At just 30 years old, Jarekus Singleton is a musical trailblazer with a bold vision for the future of the blues. Springing from the same Mississippi soil as Charley Patton, Muddy Waters and B.B. King, Singleton’s cutting-edge sound—equally rooted in rap, rock and blues traditions—is all his own. He melds hip-hop wordplay, rock energy and R&B grooves with contemporary and traditional blues, turning audiences of all ages into devoted fans. With his untamed guitar licks and strong, soulful voice effortlessly moving from ferocious and funky to slow and steamy to smoking hot, Singleton is a fresh, electrifying bluesman bursting at the seams with talent. Singleton’s Alligator debut, Refuse To Lose, features a scintillating guitar attack and lyrically startling original songs all sung with a natural storyteller’s voice. Produced by Singleton along with Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer and recorded at PM Music in Memphis, the album is an impossible-to-ignore first step onto the world stage. With songs telling real life, streetwise (sometimes funny) stories brimming with surprising images, pop culture references, infectious rhythms and unexpected musical twists, Refuse To Lose unleashes a new wave of blues for a new generation of fans. http://www.alligator.com/artists/jarekus-singleton/
Sunday August 6th
True to the spirit of power trios of the sixties, Dylan Wickens & The Grand Naturals immediately grab the listener by the ears with their unapologetic take on the blues, by choosing to colour outside the lines with fuzzed up guitars and bass and melodic, hook-heavy vocal lines. Raw, real, modern and traditional; it’s that paradox which defines the sound of these three world- class musicians that have come together to record the aptly titled, Hi Lo-Fi. Wickens’ guitar work transitions between visceral stinging slide and soulful blues/rock with the combination of the two helping to define the band’s sound as both raw and real but contemplative, while his vocals are gritty and fervent with a “Clapton like growl and urgency” (Blinded By Sound). As a songwriter, Wickens composes well crafted and meaningful songs that often have a melodic twist at the end – a nod to the freestyle playing of 60s power trios.
Inspired by the sounds of late sixties reggae producer Leslie Kong (Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, The Wailers), the Baudelaires like some soul with their reggae and they’re not afraid of a little “church” too. That is, if church refers to the feverish gospel-cum-ska sound that Toots Hibbert drew on for hits like “Sweet and Dandy” and “Pressure Drop” or Desmond Dekker liberally borrowed for “Israelites” and Jimmy Cliff majestically carved into “The Harder They Come.”
Dione Taylor is a Juno-nominated, soulful Canadian female singer/songwriter who released her new album, “Born Free” to rave reviews in late November 2015. This Saskatchewan-born, Toronto-based artist has been promoting Born Free, which she calls “the Prairie Blues”, with electrifying live performances in clubs, at festivals and on TV & Radio across the country. Born Free is a powerful and spiritual album: “The sounds and music of my youth are all present in these songs. From the gospel music and blues at church to the southern country gospel at home on the record player, it’s all in there!” Dione Taylor & The Backsliderz are really looking forward to performing at the Kitchener Blues Festival this summer! www.dionetaylor.com
In the Olympic tradition, when the torch gets passed on, the flame transfers from one sure hand to the next — keeping it burning, while at the same time moving forward. It’s a fitting image for young Chicago guitar hero RONNIE BAKER BROOKS on his aptly titled third release, THE TORCH. Not only does he sing with soulful fire and play with a white-hot intensity; he’s also carrying the torch from the previous generation of soul and blues greats and moving the music into the future. Brooks grew up steeped in American music tradition yet his focus remains resolutely on the future. As well as anyone of his generation, he knows the transcendent release at the heart of soul, blues and rock. He knows because, as the son of blues great Lonnie Brooks, he came of age watching the fieriest guitar players and most soulful singers of a previous era express their deepest feelings through their music. “I like to think of how Muddy Waters took the Mississippi blues he heard in his youth and modernized it for his times by making it electric and harder,” Brooks explains. “That’s what I’m trying to do for my generation. I want to take what’s authentic and powerful about the music I grew up loving and bring in other influences without losing the heart and conviction of it.” Brooks flexes his musical muscle at a time when he sees a new vitality being brought to the music through himself, Shemekia Copeland and Bernard Allison. He’s convinced this music would be considered as relevant and as powerful as the latest hits by Kanye West or Beyonce Knowles if exposed to young listeners. “You can see it in the success blues-influenced players like John Mayer and Jonny Lang have enjoyed,” Brooks says. “All they needed was to have their music heard, and people loved it. That’s all it will take.” http://www.ronniebakerbrooks.com/index.html
OLG Clock Tower Stage
Bill Durst is a Canadian Blues- Rock- Roots guitarist, singer, songwriter, entertainer who has written and recorded over 115 songs on 11 albums with 7 national radio chart hits. Heavily influenced by Motown R&B and Toronto Psychedelic Soul music as well as the British Blues Invasion and Jimi Hendrix, he has opened for or shared the stage with Rush, Areosmith, BTO, Yardbirds, John Mayall, Savoy Brown, Bobby Rush, Little Feat, George Thorogood, Bad Company, Edgar Winter Group, Jeff Healey, Steve Strongman, Johnny Winter, Rick Derringer, Jack de Keyser, Ted Nugent, Monkey Junk, L.A. Guns, David Wilcox, Bob Seger, Slade, Downchild, David Clayton Thomas, Sly And The Family Stone and more. Mr. Durst has toured across North America and in Europe and tours extensively in Canada.
Cowboy-Metal trio GRADY is fronted by Gordie Johnson, whose unique and powerful guitar stylings blow the cobwebs off that bottle of tequila sitting on the bar shelf while Big Ben grinds out the bottom end with the lowest frequencies seen this side of The Rio Grande. Trinidad Leal, Austin Stoner-Metal mainstay, hammers out the beat like a 500 pound jackhammer. In 2004, with Austin, Texas as their home base, Gordie and Big Ben started GRADY with drummer Chris “Whipper” Layton (Double Trouble). GRADY quickly became an Austin staple, winning Best New Band at the 2005 Austin Music Awards and playing the world famous Austin City Limits Music Festival. After releasing their debut CD “Y.U. So Shady?” independently, they were “discovered” by Jello Biafra after a SXSW show and given a new home on his legendary label Alternative Tentacles. “Y.U. So Shady?” was also released in Europe on alternative metal label Voices Of Wonder. GRADY’s sophomore CD “A Cup Of Cold Poison” caught the ear of Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) who called to say, “I been listenin’ to Grady every day.” Their following release “Good As Dead” lead to extensive touring, including a North American tour with Nashville Pussy. The culmination was a release of the DVD/CD package “Calling All My Demons” that chronicles a complete GRADY show. GRADY’s live show is a spontaneous subsonic combustion that swerves between punk rock agro and field holler hypnosis. As Jello Biafra once enthused “These guys are the missing link between Junior Brown and Black Flag”. http://shadygrady.net/
Rising out of the ashes of psychedelia in 1969 Canada’s legendary Chilliwack released 12 albums over a 15 year period producing numerous Canadian and international hits including “Lonesome Mary” in 1970; “Fly At Night”, “Arms Of Mary”, and “California Girl” in the mid 70’s; “Communication Breakdown” in 1979; and “My Girl (gone gone gone)”, “I Believe”, “Whatcha Gonna Do” and “Don’t Stop” between ‘81 and ’84. All this work led to fifteen gold and platinum certifications, a host of awards, high profile television appearances and coliseum concert tours. Chilliwack’s reputation for consistently powerful shows led one journalist to propose an insurance policy covering career damage to major international artists who had to appear on the same stage. Now in their 35th year, and with the live CD THERE AND BACK still winning over young classic rockers and delighting long time fans, Bill Henderson and the band are rocking like never before. Hearing the revitalized Chilliwack of 2006 is hearing those songs for the first time… all over again. And, hearing their latest song, “Patent On The Wind” – a powerful rock indictment of the ownership of life forms – you realize that Chilliwack is about more than nostalgia. http://www.gonegonegone.com/
Downtown BIA Stage
The Gospel Breakfast is an annual favourite at the Kitchener Blues Festival. Lance has brought together some of the areas finest performers to wake up your spiritual self from a night of blues revelry. They will play soul stirring music by Aretha Franklin, Mavis Staples, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, The Five Stairsteps, Matthew Moore and Lennon and McCartney, They will also have some gospel originals and will be joined by very special guest Harrison Kennedy. Blues is the music of Juke Joint saturday nights, and gospel is the same energy brought to church. It is the remedy for whatever ails you. We will lighten your soul and your step, and you will be lifted up to face the rest of the day. Lance Anderson is a Juno award winning producer (Leahy) and internationally known Hammond organist. He has toured and recorded with Shakura S’Aida for the last 10 years. His Hammond organ and drum duo ‘The Joint Chiefs of Soul’ has put out a new CD and continue to play festivals across the country. Lance is a well know musical director and producer with ‘The Last Waltz – a Musical Celebration of THE BAND – Live’ , ‘Genius+Soul=The Music of Ray Charles’, ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen – The Music of Joe Cocker and Leon Russell’ and more shows in theatres across the nation. Anderson has also written music for Film, TV and recently ‘Four Women’ for Symphony Orchestra. Quisha Wint is a gospel powerhouse and one of Canada’s finest R&B singers. This phenomenal and expressive vocalist proves that you can live out your dreams through inspiring others. Quisha Wint is an accomplished songstress/performer/arranger/songwriter who was born to sing and entertain. She grew up in a Jamaican home listening to Reggae, Motown, Gospel, R&B, then expanded to jazz when she entered the well-known jazz program at Humber College in the mid ’90s. As one of Toronto’s sought-after session vocalists, Quisha is a rising star in the tight-knit music industry thanks to her bright personality and strong emotive vocal abilities. A career highlight was when Quisha was asked to sing with Jane Siberry on her hit song “Calling All Angels” in the 2000 film “Pay It Forward” which stared Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment. Cheryl Lescom – Kitchener native Cheryl Lescom has toured with Long John Baldry and Ronnie Hawkins. Winner of the KBF Mel Brown Award in 2006, Cheryl sings like she has souls to save. Long John Baldry said, ”Cheryl has one of the best and biggest voices in Canada … I’ve had many great singers with me over the years and Cheryl is by far one of my favourites.” Cheryl has a new critically acclaimed CD out called “1953” with the Tucson Choir Boys that is receiving national radio play. Matt Weidinger has a voice like no other. The 23-year-old Kitchener, ON native is a passionate young songwriter, who is well known for his mature rock/soul vocals and impressive multi-instrumental talents. He performs like a veteran musician on the piano and organ, and is equally proficient on guitar, bass or mandolin. Matt and Lance are both Billy Preston fans, and have been influenced by gospel piano and organ. Special Guest Harrison Kennedy – the 2016 Blues Juno award winner for his wonderful CD – This Is From Here, is literally the Chairman of the Board. Harrison grew up in a house filled with music and famous visitors such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Lonnie Johnson. In 1969 he took a hiatus from college to become a founding member of the million selling Detroit Soul Super Group “The Chairmen of the Board” with whom he toured the world, as well as appearing on Soul Train, American Bandstand and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Harrison draws from a very deep well of African American music. He brings a lifetime of performance and living to every song he sings.
River City Junction is a Canadian Blues/Retro-Rock power trio, long steeped in the traditions of Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll. A rich blend of old school Chicago Blues, Motown, and Classic Rock, their music forms a very potent sonic cocktail that is raw, organic and uplifting. Leaning heavily on their roots, River City Junction’s driving sound is deeply infused with elements of yesteryear yet remains distinctively their own. http://rivercityjunction.com/
A Tribute to the music of Nina Simone performed by Quisha Wint, Sharon Musgrave, Silvia Didonato and Stacey Lee Guse, featuring Jimmy Boudreau with an exceptional backup band.