This Year’s Line-Up
Pianist, singer and songwriter Debra Power is known for her powerhouse vocals and sparkling keyboard skills, having built a long list of performance/recording credits across Canada and in the U.S.
Debra was weaned on Big Band music growing up, her father a bandleader during the dance era. Encouraged by her parents, Debra studied piano in her youth. In high school she formed her first band, an all-girls group that played local concerts and venues. She then headed off to study music at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where she majored in voice. This period also saw her launch her professional career, where she began carving her broad skill set and gaining experience in R&B and Rock & Roll bands, touring Eastern Canada.
Moving to Alberta in the late 80’s, Debra further expanded her repertoire playing in country bands and performing at feature venues such as the Calgary Stampede. She briefly returned to the Windsor/Detroit area, performing piano bars and festivals before returning to Calgary to settle down, marry and raise her daughter.
Debra’s studio work has included a solo work of original songs, gaining radio airplay on Holger Peterson’s ‘Natural Blues’ program, and on numerous radio stations in Detroit. Her playing can also be heard on several commercial advertisements.
The Calgary blues scene embraced Debra’s great talent as a solo performer and in ensembles, recording/performing in a variety of settings with Canadian greats including Tim Williams, Bill Johnson, Back Alley John and Johnny V, to name a few. She’s become a fixture on the Calgary club scene, and was a featured performer at the Calgary International Blues Festival (2011).
In 2014 Debra was honoured with the CBMA Award for Keyboard Player of the Year, and represented Southern Alberta in the Solo/Duo Category of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, in January, 2016.
Debra released her debut CD, Even Redheads Get The Blues, in early 2016 and she’s sure to get the 19th annual Edmonton Blues Festival off to a great start.
“A barrage of guitar pyrotechnics that calls to mind a grand mix of the styles of past masters like Albert King, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Hendrix.” – Bluesprint Magazine
Cummings’ soulful and explosive approach to blues and rock caught the attention of Blind Pig Records, which signed him to a multi-album deal.
“Someone Like You”, the latest album from master guitarist, master builder, and fan favorite Albert Cummings, marks his return to noted roots label Blind Pig Records.
The Massachusetts native learned the requisite three chords on the guitar from his father, but then switched to playing banjo at age 12 and became a fan of bluegrass music. In his late teens he encountered the early recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan and was floored by the virtuosity. While in college in 1987 he saw Vaughan perform and he returned to the guitar with a new outlook and resolve.
The whiz-kid carpenter began his ascent to masterful blues rock guitarist at age 27, with his first public performance on guitar. Soon he was on the Northeast blues circuit with his band, Swamp Yankee. In 1998 he walked into a Northeast Blues Society open jam, which led to Cummings’ winning the right to compete in the Blues Foundation’s 1999 International Blues Challenge. The following year Albert released his debut recording, “The Long Way”.
That in turn opened up an opportunity for him to work with Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section. So taken with Albert’s fire and passion were bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton that they volunteered to play on and produce his solo debut recording, 2003’s self-released From the Heart. Recorded in Austin, Texas, it featured Cummings fronting Double Trouble (including Reese Winans) in their first recording project since Stevie Ray’s passing. No less a giant of the blues than B.B. King dubbed Cummings “a great guitarist.”
Cummings’ soulful and explosive approach to blues and rock caught the attention of Blind Pig Records, which signed him to a multi-album deal. On his label debut, “True to Yourself”, released in 2004, Cummings was again joined by bassist Tommy Shannon.
Soon tours and shows with blues legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and others brought Albert’s music to a much larger audience.
In 2008 Albert recorded his first live album, “Feel So Good”, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts at the historic Colonial Theatre. Guitar Edge magazine said, “The blues is best served up live, with an enthusiastic audience and a killin’ band, and that’s exactly what guitarist Albert Cummings does on “Feel So Good”. Cummings effortlessly shifts from chimney subdued stylings to raucous roadhouse raunch to soaring yet stinging lead lines, driving his audience to frenzy in all the right places.”
In 2011 Albert released an instructional DVD for the Hal Leonard Corporation entitled Working Man Blues Guitar. Cummings’ next CD, “No Regrets”, was self-released in 2012. It was a return to his true musical roots for the six-string virtuoso, poignantly capturing the core of his influences, displaying the impact that R&B, Rock, Soul, Country and the Blues have had on both his playing and writing. It debuted at #1 on iTunes music charts in the USA, Canada and France.
For his newest recording, “Someone Like You”, Albert chose to record in Southern California with Grammy-winning producer David Z. (Buddy Guy, Prince, Jonny Lang, Gov’t Mule) at the helm. Said Z, “Albert Cummings writes, plays and sings the blues like nobody else. What a blast to watch him gel in the studio with some of the best musicians in Los Angeles.” One of those musicians was Blind Pig label mate and leader of The Basic Cable Band on the Conan TV show, Jimmy Vivino, who performs on three cuts.
Albert Makes his Edmonton Blues Festival debut at this year’s Festival and is sure to get the house rockin’ and the blues hounds on their feet!
Though his career began over a decade ago with genuine rock n’ roll honky-tonk, Victor Wainwright has broadened his artistic scope over the years to include music representing virtually every corner of the blues. His insatiable interest in music discovery, sheer love for entertaining and curiosity have led him all around the world, and the resulting perspective reflects his passion for entertaining and creating progressive roots music in an effort to move the art form forward. Composer, producer, vocalist, entertainer and award wining piano player; Victor Wainwright is a raucous high-octane, dynamic performer and crowd pleaser with soul to spare.
“Victor Wainwright, winner of this year’s Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award at the BMA’s, is a force to be reckoned with on a piano. He IS honky-tonk and boogie, with a dose of rolling thunder. Wainwright’s playing is simply beautiful madness.”-American Blues Scene 2013 “Savannah, GA native Victor Wainwright is all about boogie woogie piano, deep soul, and a voice that recalls Dr. John at his best. He is a rising blues star, a tremendous player.” -Chicago Blues Guide 2013
Victor first played the Edmonton Blues Festival in 2012 after festival producer Cam Hayden saw him performing in Memphis the year before… and since then we’ve been trying to get him back…after 5 long years Victor will return, now with a fistful of awards in his hands, including 6 Blues Music Awards as “Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year” (2013, 2014,2015, 2016), “B.B. King Entertainer of the Year” and “Band of the Year” (2016); Blues Blast Awards as “Rising Star”, New Artist Debut Release” and “Band of the Year” (2013), and multiple performances on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise.
Simply one of the premier performers in the blues today, “You’ll be kicking yourself if you miss him this time”, says festival producer Hayden, “Victor is on his way, way up in the blues world, and we are lucky and thrilled to have him making his way to Edmonton once again this summer”!
3 Generations of the Blues featuring Billy Boy Arnold; Bob Corritore, Oscar Wilson and Billy Flynn; Big Jon Atkinson
This blues supergroup came about after a series of conversations between Bob Corritore and festival producer Cam Hayden. Bob is a serious blues dude… harp maestro, broadcaster, record producer, club owner and above all a huge fan of the music. He contacted Cam to ask him to write a letter of support to have Henry Gray honoured with a Keeping the Blues Alive Award. Cam was more than happy to accommodate, and the letter included the line “It’s so important that we honour these great musicians while they are still with us.”
“That got both Bob and myself thinking”, says Cam, “You can’t talk the talk without walking the walk, and over the course of numerous phone calls Bob and I decided that we should put together a band that showcased 3 generations of the blues”. Legendary harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold was brought on board; he and Henry worked together in Chicago during the 1950’s; Bob spoke with Chicago based guitarist Billy Flynn and up and comer Big Jon Atkinson, in his late 20’s, was recruited…Add to that a killer rhythm section and you have an incredible survey of the blues from the 1940’s to the present day.
When planning the 2017 Edmonton Blues Festival, the idea of having Henry Gray co front a “3 Generations of the Blues” Revue seemed a natural. Unfortunately, this giant of Chicago blues, who played with so many of the greats, had a heart attack in January. While Henry is still with us, it was determined by his doctors in May that he could no longer travel by air, making his appearance at the festival impossible.
So, we turned to the deep well of talent that is Chicago’s Cash Box Kings and asked vocalist and front man Oscar Wilson if he would take Henry’s spot. We’re thrilled that Oscar agreed, and will be with us this summer.
Oscar Wilson joined the Cash Box Kings in 2007, bringing with him an instantly commanding stage presence and an authoritative vocal style that gives fire-breathing power to the music. A self-taught musician and singer with an encyclopedic knowledge of almost every blues song known to man, Wilson—standing 6’1” and weighing over 300 pounds—is a natural-born entertainer. Born in 1953 on Chicago’s 43rd Street (aka Muddy Waters Drive), Wilson grew up in the company of many famous blues artists. Junior Wells, Elmore James, Big Smokey Smothers and close family friend David “Honeyboy” Edwards were all regulars at weekly Friday night fish fries/jam sessions at the Wilson home. Throughout his adulthood, Wilson held regular jobs but was always welcome sitting in with Chicago blues mainstays Melvin Taylor and Johnny B. Moore. His vocal inspirations range from Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Albert King to Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Rogers and Little Walter but he mostly sings like Oscar Wilson. Award-winning harmonica giant and vocalist Rick Estrin (leader of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats) says, “Man, that guy can really sing”.
Billy Boy Arnold is one of the last of the legendary Chicago Blues harmonica players. In addition to his solo releases, he recorded with Bo Diddley in the Fifties and has been covered by David Bowie, The Yardbirds and The Blasters. Born in Chicago, he began playing harmonica as a child, and in 1948 received informal lessons from his neighbour John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, shortly before the latter’s death. Arnold made his recording debut in 1952 with “Hello Stranger” on the small Cool label, the record company giving him the nickname “Billy Boy”. In the early 1950s, he joined forces with street musician Bo Diddley and played harmonica on the March 2, 1955 recording of the Bo Diddley song “I’m a Man” released by Checker Records. The same day as the Bo Diddley sessions, Billy Boy recorded the self-penned “You Got to Love Me” which was not released until the box set Chess Blues 1947-1967 in 1992.
Arnold signed a solo recording contract with Vee-Jay Records, recording the originals of “I Wish You Would” and “I Ain’t Got You”.
In the late 1950s Arnold continued to play in Chicago clubs and in 1963 he recorded an LP, More Blues From The South Side, for the Prestige label, but as playing opportunities dried up he pursued a parallel career as a bus driver and, later parole officer.
By the 1970s, Arnold had begun playing festivals, touring Europe and recording again. In 1993, he released the album Back Where I Belong on Alligator Records, followed by Eldorado Cadillac (1995) and on Stony Plain Records with the Duke Robillard Band Boogie ’n’ Shuffle (2001). In 2012, Arnold released Blue and Lonesome featuring Tony McPhee and The Groundhogs. Another tribute to Sonny Boy was the album “The Blues Soul of Billy Boy Arnold” on Stony Plain Records.
In 2014, he was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the “Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year” category. Billy Boy played the Edmonton Blues Festival in 2006 and was our “Poster Boy” that year. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2013.
Bob Corritore is considered among the top traditional blues harmonica players on the scene today. Additionally he is the owner of the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, the host of “Those Lowdown Blues” on KJZZ, the founder of Southwest Musical Arts Foundation, an official endorser of Hohner harmonicas, a Keeping The Blues Alive award recipient, a Grammy nominated harmonica player and producer, an honorary member of Collectif Des Radios Blues, and a great fan of, and active participant in blues music in general. His album “Bob Corritore & Friends / Harmonica Blues” won a 2011 Blues Music Award and in 2012 Bob received a Living Blues Award in their Harmonica category.
Billy Flynn was born in Green Bay Wisconsin in the mid 1950’s and by the time the 70’s rolled around the blues had captivated him. Having the chance to see and hear Jimmy Rogers, Mighty Joe Young, Luther Alison, Johnny Littlejohn and a host of others at his local blues club and having the opportunity to jam with Jimmy Dawkins (at Dawkins request) when he was just 16 opened a whole new world for Billy. In 1975, Jimmy Dawkins invited Billy to join his band and he jumped at it! While with Jimmy for four years, he also had the chance to work with Sunnyland Slim, Mighty Joe Young and Luther Allison, the very players that got him enthralled with the blues in the first place. He was integral part of The Legendary Blues Band in the 1980’s; a group that featured Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Calvin “Fuzz” Jones.
Big Jon Atkinson is the youngster in this group… In 1988 he was born into the digital cyber age. He grew up in a world full of children playing video games while adults were watching all manner of YouTube videos on their computers. The young man had no use for any of those things and pursued a singular passion, making blues music. A sound inspired him that is seldom heard. He worked to create this music using the great masters of the past as the mentors who would guide him to great heights in the blues world in a very short time. He’s worked with James Harman, members of The Hollywood Fats Band, Kim Wilson, and more… as Wilson puts it, “Jon is one of the only guys doing it the right way. He knows the music. He knows the gist of it. He understands the soul of the music.”
Backing all these bona fide front men is the world-renowned blues rhythm section of Brian Fahey (drums) and Troy Sandow (bass).
If you love the blues, you can’t miss this performance!
Charlie Jacobson is a passionate, Alberta based, 23-year-old blues artist. Over the last few years Charlie has played hundreds of shows across the Canadian prairies and back and forth over the Rockies. With his guitar and suitcase drums always packed in the car, his nomadic lifestyle takes him to shows ranging from music festivals, house concerts, large blues clubs to community halls and theatres. You might see him fronting the four-piece Charlie Jacobson Band or recreating that full sound on his own, playing his suitcase drums with his heels, ripping on the guitar, singing and dancing.
Charlie released his solo debut EP “Live from the Chop Bin” in 2013 and recently released his first full length project, self-titled as “The Charlie Jacobson Band”. As well as his personal projects, Charlie has been cutting his teeth as the guitarist for some of Canada’s most well respected blues acts including Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Russell Jackson and Donald Ray Johnson. This has included performances at the Calgary International Blues Festival in 2013 and 2014, and prominent blues clubs around Alberta. In addition to being an accomplished guitarist and songwriter, Charlie is a true showman. If there is a table to dance on, a banister to slide off or a chandelier to swing from, you’ll find him working it into his passionate, high energy act. Charlie was raised in central Alberta with strong ties to the Aspen parkland and his grandparent’s farm.
Charlie will be working with Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and Sherman Doucette later on Saturday, but we thought it would be a great idea to give this young man a chance to shine in front of our appreciative Blues Hounds to start the day. Help him feel the love!
The Perpetrators front-man and founding member Jay Nowicki is rated one of Canada’s tastiest guitar players. Together with the “meat-and-mashed-potatoes” rhythm section of Emmet VanEtten& John Scoles they deliver a tight, raw and intense blues experience that is sure to make you get up and shake it. The Perpetrators’ albums have garnered WCMA awards and Juno nominations. Their ability to stay grounded to their Winnipeg roots, coupled with the raw energy and extreme talent makes this one of the best groups to come out of Canada.
Once a not-so-well-kept-secret in their hometown of Winnipeg – where they acted as house band for such visiting blues legends as Hubert Sumlin, Louisiana Red, Paul “Wine” Jones and others – The Perpetrators kicked things up a notch in 2006. A European Tour capped off a Juno Nomination and a win at the Western Canadian Music Awards. That decade, The Perps released two more albums, garnering various award nominations.
In late 2009, Jay Nowicki teamed up with Romi Mayes for extensive touring that saw them travel across the US, Canada, and Europe, and recorded the critically acclaimed live album “Lucky Tonight” in 2011.
2013 had Jay and The Perpetrators back in the studio to record their latest release, the long awaited “Stick ‘Em Up, which Dr. Boogie (Classic 21 – Belgium) described as: “The dirtiest stuff you made so far, and the more accessible for my greasy ears…” Accompanying the release, The Perps returned to Belgium and Holland for the first time since 2009.
“Stick ‘Em Up” was met with rave reviews, as well as a Western Canadian Music Award for Blues Album of the Year.
“The Perpetrators have made the blues tent in Canada bigger.”- Shelagh Rogers, host of CBC’s Sounds Like Canada The Perps will have you up and dancing, Saturday at The Edmonton Blues Festival!
EG Kight’s sound transcends musical boundaries. With a blend of blues, country, Americana, southern rock, jazz, gospel, and funk, her music appeals to the masses, no matter their taste. Taylor Guitars, who supplies her with the tools of her trade, wrote in their Wood & Steel Magazine that she has a “…uniquely rural, deeply personal sound and style.” A veteran of the road, Kight has traveled the world, bringing her diverse musical menu to clubs, theaters, festivals, house concerts, fundraisers, and corporate events around the globe. And she’s garnered many accolades along the way.
Kight was nominated for a 2015 Blues Music Award, was named one of the 2014 Top 5 Best Blues Artists on AXS.com, and her latest album debuted at #9 on the Living Blues Chart. She has also received various music industry nominations, including six for Female Artist of the Year, three for Song of the Year, and one for Album of the Year. She has appeared on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, and an original song from her segment was re-broadcast on the Listener’s Choice Program. She also appeared on Mountain Stage, and Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour.
A noted songwriter, many artists have recorded Kight’s songs, including Koko Taylor, Dorothy Moore, Shaun Murphy, Saffire-the Uppity Blues Women, Ann Rabson and Bob Margolin, Lisa Biales, The Castaways, Reba Russell, Canada’s Shakura S’Aida, German band Blue Alley, and more. Several songs ended up on Grammy-nominated albums, and on two compilations that maintained Billboard chart positions for over a year. And her original songs have aired on the Children’s Miracle Network, Nick at Nite, on ABC Family, and on the El Ray Network. And she placed five songs in a movie slated for a spring 2017 release.
Early in her career Kight was dubbed “The Georgia Songbird,” and today she is considered one of the few true blues vocalists. Georgia Music Magazine writes that she’s “…a gentle and elegant woman who manages to channel Southern charm, sophistication and a fierce passion for the blues into one tremendously intoxicating voice.”
She has shared the stage with artists across the genres, including Gregg Allman, Phoebe Snow, Merle Haggard, Little Feat, Lee Roy Parnell, B.B. King, and Delbert McClinton.
Whether on stage in front of a live audience, in her office writing songs, or in the studio recording songs for her next album, Kight is at home with her music. It’s who she is. It’s what she does. It’s what she loves. And her latest album, “A New Day”, infuses her “country-flavored southern-fried blues” with a little gospel to create her most inspiring venture to date. According to Living Blues Magazine, it is “a testimony to the healing power of music. A New Day is sure to lift the listener’s spirits.”
Get your spirit lifted by this incredibly talented performer, returning to The Edmonton Blues Festival after a much too long, 10-year hiatus.
Hailed as “an artist bringing the piano back to the front ranks of contemporary blues”, multiple-award winning blues & boogie-woogie pianist Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne is called “Blues Boss” for a reason. His musical career began as a child prodigy in the late 1950’s and has continued to flourish for over 60 years with Wayne at the forefront of modern day blues piano practitioners.
Born in Spokane, Washington, raised in New Orleans and now based in British Columbia, Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne has built a stellar reputation within Canada and abroad for his lively attire and energetic concert performances. The zoot suited Wayne has toured North America, Russia, South America, and Europe, where he regularly sells out 800 to 1000 seat venues and headlines many international concerts and festivals. In fact, he performed at the very first Edmonton Blues Festival, way back in 1999.
Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne released his first solo album “Alive & Loose”, which featured Shuggie Otis, on Andy Grigs’s Real Blues Records in 1995. It marked the start of Wayne’s blues journey and was followed by four albums for Canadian label Electro-Fi Records: “88th & Jump Street”, JUNO Award winning “Let It Loose, Can’t Stop Now” and the live recording “Piano-Rama”. Wayne also recorded in Paris for Isabel Records at the same studio that Memphis Slim frequently recorded. Since joining Stony Plain Records in 2011, Wayne has released “An Old Rock On A Roll”, which earned him a Blues Music Award nomination for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Award, and “Rollin’ with the Blues Boss”.
“Jumpin’ and Boppin”, released last year to rave reviews, is his third recording on Stony Plain Records. “While I’m making this wonderful journey through life and having the opportunity to record my own songs, I try to make every recording better than the last”, says Wayne. “This most likely won’t be my last but I am very proud to present this recording to the world and hope that you enjoy it as much as I did writing, recording and producing this album.”
As a one-man cheering section for the days when blues and jazz met the roots of rock and roll, Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne is an artist who’s got it all: talent, charisma, and showmanship. Oozing with class and sophistication, Wayne is a throwback to the golden age of classic rhythm and blues while offering a fresh approach to the genre.
For his performance this time ’round at the Edmonton Blues Festival, Kenny will be joined by harmonica ace Sherman “Tank” Doucette, whiz kid guitarist Charlie Jacobson and a rhythm section that boasts B.B. King alumnus, Russell Jackson.
Sherman Doucette a former thirty-year staple of the Vancouver music scene from 1969 till 1999 started his musical career at age fifteen playing on Water Street in Gastown – by age seventeen he was playing the skid row clubs and it was not long before he was well established in the Gastown Clubs, Pubs and all night Booze cans in a variety of bands. In 1981 started the Incoginito Band – the house band & host at the Yale Hotel & The Fairview – they were one of the City’s most popular blues bands.
Career highlights for Sherman include guest appearances with John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins at the Commodore Ballroom – several shows sitting in with old friends Long John Baldry, Powder Blues, Jim Byrnes, Pine Top Perkins, Sunnyland Slim and most recently his gig with Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne.
You’ll be “Jumpin’ and Boppin” and “Lettin’ it Loose” with this group of incredible Canadian musicians Saturday at The Edmonton Blues Festival!
Experienced, road-tested and tougher than a two by four, The 24th Street Wailers are five musicians who originally met in music school. Their major influence? The sounds from the freewheeling period in the ’40s and ’50s when the Blues gave birth to Rock and Roll in black communities in major American cities. When showmanship mattered. When the sax player, not the guitarist, got the girls.
2014′s “WICKED” was nominated for a Juno Award and received widespread radio play including major radio shows and broadcasters such as B.B. King’s Bluesville and thebluesmobile.com (House of Blues Radio Hour) as well as CBC. Host of the Bluesmobile and Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd heralded the band as a “21st upgrade to jump and jive”. In March of 2015 they released, “WHERE EVIL GROWS”. This album further cemented the band’s reputation as one of the best acts out there who bring a much needed high energy 1950’s Rock n’ Roll approach to the game.
They are led by Lindsay Beaver, a wild and crazy front woman and singing drummer. The band is filled out by Michael Archer on Upright Bass, Marc Doucet on Guitar, Jesse Whiteley on Piano, and Jonny Wong on wailing sax. The band has been winning over the masses with their unbeatable live performances and a sense of showmanship from a time gone by, something many consider lost in modern day music.
With no signs of slowing down, The 24th Street Wailers have had a non stop touring schedule and played over 650 shows across the USA, Canada and Europe in the past four years. As Willie Dixon said, “The blues is the roots, everything else is the fruits” when referring to Rock n’ Roll… These guys (and gal) live up to that and more…Don’t miss this real deal band. All Killer, No Filler!
James Harman was born and raised in Anniston, Alabama where he quickly picked up on the black blues and soul music being played on juke boxes and the radio. He sang in the church choir until age 16 when his family moved to Panama City Florida, where he found himself surrounded by like-minded blues lovers. Wearing a fake moustache, young James slipped into a still segregated black nightclub to see Little Junior Parker’s show. He was totally overtaken by the blues and soon became a regular, known as “That boy who sings like a man” by patrons.
While still in his teens, he started playing juke joints and dance clubs throughout the South. His performances became legendary-he was “tapped” by talent scouts, signed and taken to Atlanta, Georgia in 1964 to begin his recording career at age 18. He had a series of nine singles (45’s) released during the mid to late 60’s on obscure southern labels. He tried several restarts in new home bases including Chicago in ’65, New York in ’66, Miami in ’68 and New Orleans in ’69.
During his stay in Miami, Harman was befriended by fellow record collectors Henry Vestine, Alan Wilson and Bob Hite of Canned Heat, who persuaded him to move to California, promising to help him get re-started. Harman made his move to SoCal in 1970, and true to their word, Canned Heat insisted on Harman’s Icehouse Blues Band as their opening act on many big shows. Icehouse Blues Band became established at venues such as The Golden Bear, The Ash Grove, The Troubadour and The Lighthouse, which all booked real blues artists.
James Harman was soon in demand for his own shows, as well as backing every living blues artist who was touring without a band. He also opened literally hundreds of shows for artists who did have their own band. In 1978 James tired of using band names and started billing his act as James Harman Band.
James Harman’s side project The Bamboo Porch Revue features guitarist Nathan James playing rollicking, low-down, juke-joint blues over James Michael Tempo’s Afro-Cuban percussion, Troy Sandow’s sparse, pulsating acoustic bass and Marty Dodson’s masterful drumming. Through his long career starting in the early 60’s James Harman has built up an enormous song catalog and has had 20 of his original songs used in movies and television. He has been nominated for 20 W. C. Handy (BMA) awards. He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, and has had 33 releases, on many different labels. He currently tours every spring, summer and fall, working in as many as 29 countries, and has appeared at the Edmonton Blues Festival on 3 separate occasions. Harman was nominated for a Grammy Award, and won two Blues Music Awards for his contribution to the Blind Pig release, “Remembering Little Walter” in 2014. He is a one of a kind song writer, producer, musician, showman, vocalist and internationally known bluesman.
In 2015 Electro-Fi released “Bonetime”, which was nominated for an unprecedented five BMA awards: SONG OF THE YEAR, ALBUM OF THE YEAR, TRADITIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR, HARMONICA PLAYER and TRADITIONAL BLUES MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR.
It’s gonna be a hot, sweaty, fun-filled evening at the Bamboo Porch and y’all are invited! Be there!!
Jenie Thai is one of two acts representing the Edmonton Blues Society at the 2017 International Blues Challenge in Memphis…both are playing the Edmonton Blues Festival, Sunday August 27. Born in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and raised just outside of Edmonton, Jenie Thai is building a musical presence throughout the country through the electric energy she displays on stage and the old soul that’s conveyed through her songwriting.
Raised in a musical household of six, silence was rare. Jenie’s blues and folk education began young when she fell asleep to the music her parents played while entertaining guests downstairs. Her training on the piano began at age five; she took private lessons for fifteen years. Graduating at seventeen, she continued her musical development, studying classical piano at Augustana University.
In 2008, Jenie diversified her education attending Grant MacEwan Jazz and Contemporary Music Program as a performance major. Upon graduation, Jenie was offered a part-time teaching position at Grant MacEwan University and gained acceptance into Paul McCartney’s international music school based in Liverpool.
Performing as both a solo act and with her trio, Jenie has shared her songs across the country on festival stages, in blues bars, theatres, lounges, and living rooms. Her organic and vibrant music has been unearthed through the stereos of CBC Radio 1, 2, and 3, CKUA, CJSR, and other various stations from coast to coast and internationally. Jenie was nominated for several Edmonton Music Awards (2013, 2014) for “Artist To Watch” and “Female Artist of the Year”.
Vocally, she has been compared to an early Maria Muldaur but soaks in the musical influences of Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Memphis Slim, Muddy Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ryan Adams. A performer, song-writer, singer, and instrumentalist: Jenie Thai combines classical technique, jazz harmonics, and a life-long appreciation for blues and folk.
Boogie Patrol has steadily built their reputation as one of Western Canada’s premier act’s and has garnered acclaim and an enthusiastic following since the groups inception in 2007. A 5 piece group that continue to create superb original music based on their collective influences. We’re talking Blues and Rock’n Soul, with a dose of funk all thrown into the melting pot to create what is Boogie Patrol. A stylistically unique group that is all about bringing loads of energy to the stage and to their music, with a goal of appealing to all walks of life.
Boogie Patrol boasts a frontman influenced by the grit gravel greats of music past and is backed by a cast of some of the most unique and well versed musicians you’ll find most anywhere. Some of them even hailing from Japan to New York to of course home bred Canadian talent!
Dan Shinnan was a volunteer at the Edmonton Blues Festival for a few years and dreamed of getting on that big stage. The time is now; after being a judge at the finals of the Memphis Bound competition to select acts representing Northern Alberta at the 2017 International Blues Challenge, festival producer Cam Hayden was knocked out by the band’s development, professionalism, and talent…they had to be here, and what could be better than to have both IBC contestants on the stage, back to back, Sunday August 27!
Never one to follow convention, and always one to think for himself, Nathan James has created a musical identity with his homemade instruments and self taught skills. Whether you catch Nathan James as his true one man band pickin’ and scratchin’ on his own invention of washboard guitar, stomping out time on his custom suitcase drum set while singing and blowing harmonica or kazoo; or leading his new trio The Rhythm Scratchers, you are sure to be moved and impressed with the unique energy and soul that he possesses. Nathan James is a well respected and experienced artist in his field. For 15 years now, he has successfully made his living touring and recording, solely specializing on his passion of blues, and American roots music. Starting his career of full time gigging musician at age 18, Nathan is no stranger to live performance.
Drawing from a deep well of influences from many early roots artists and styles, James was quickly attracted to the individuality of self made music and artistic expression. While simultaneously discovering the guitar and the blues at age 13, Nathan James has since been in complete focus as to where his life goal would lead. Growing up in the small town of Fallbrook Ca, has been influential in deciding to choose this path. “There wasn’t a lot to do here, so you either got in trouble, or found something productive to do!” Having supportive parents that didn’t force him into the usual college after high school allowed Nathan to go straight into the ‘real working world’ of playing music. “Part of it was luck that I was able to get paying gigs right off the bat!” Local San Diego blues bands the Blues Pharaohs and Billy Watson gave Nathan a chance to get his feet wet with enough local gigs to support himself literally a month after graduating high school! This led to also working with well known Southern California blues acts Jamie Wood, and Johnny Dyer. At age 19 Nathan got the call from internationally known blues veteran James Harman to join his band and tour the country. With Harman is where he gained the experience that has shaped most of his own career.
After touring and recording nonstop with Harman for 3 1/2 years, Nathan decided to have a go at literally a solo career- that is playing one man acoustic based blues. This was instantly successful, leading to playing over 30 gigs a month at times. With the strain of carrying the entire show by yourself all the time, Nathan met up with harmonica player/vocalist Ben Hernandez, a like minded young blues roots musician aficionado, and together they started working as a duo. As word spread of these two and their ability to bring back to life the spirit of duos like Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcghee, they gained international notoriety while traveling all over the West Coast and in 2007, they entered the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and took 1st place! They made their way to the 2008 Edmonton Blues Festival shortly thereafter. And we weren’t the only stop for the talented pair…That year alone the duo traveled to Denmark, Italy and Taiwan. Currently Nathan’s Rhythm Scratchers are forging a cumulative sound that combines elements of 1920’s acoustic blues, amplified juke joint hill country, and 1950’s uptown blues mixed with 1960’s soulful R&B! Influences range from Tampa Red, to B.B. King, to James Brown and the Famous Flames. This is not your average blues power trio that leans towards the much abused “blues rock” formula. Instead each member in the band knows all the nuances of the different feels and tones. Knowing how to get people’s attention, Nathan will often go out solo from the bandstand and burst into a frenzied ragtime breakdown that can lead to a washboard solo on his custom LED lit ‘Washtar Gitboard’! Another unique aspect of a live show is band mate Troy Sandow. He may start off the set on upright bass while Nathan will play an uptown lead guitar style in the vein of B.B. or T-bone Walker. Then he will switch over to amplified harmonica and Nathan will fingerpick a driving groove on his baritone guitar in the style of R.L. Burnside or Lightnin’ Hopkins. Rock solid drummer Marty Dodson rounds out the trio. Although Nathan’s band pays homage to these traditions and has the same quality of musicianship, there is an original and fresh new energy coming from musicians of a much younger generation.
Acclaimed eight-time Juno Award-winning singer/guitarist Colin Linden joins 7 other Canadian acts at this year’s Edmonton Blues Festival.
Linden, a long-time Nashville resident, and the two members of his trio have been playing together for over 25 years, and it shows on their 2015 release, “Rich in Love”, which sparkles with their seamless musicianship and collective talents. The music takes influences from blues, country rock and roots. And then there is the playing, where every guitar pluck, bass note, subtle drum sweep or organ solo from this consummate musician and his band adds to the stories.
Born in Toronto, and raised in White Plains, New York, Colin Linden returned to Canada in 1970. He was already a guitar prodigy at 11 years old, and when most kids that age are playing sports, Colin was meeting and being mentored by one of his musical heroes, the great bluesman Howlin’ Wolf, which helped set the youngster on a course to pursue the sounds of his dreams. That encounter helped fuel a career that has featured his work on literally hundreds of albums. At last count, the total number of recordings on which he has played approaches 400, while over 100 albums bear the “Produced by Colin Linden” credit.
As a testament to his roots music acumen and early devotion to the idiom, Colin – at the tender age of 15 and accompanied by fellow Canadian musician Doc MacLean – embarked on a summer blues odyssey of the USA, working down from the border and hitting Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Atlanta, Memphis and other points south in the Mississippi Delta. Along the way, they met up with and performed on numerous occasions with a “who’s-who” of blues legends, including Sippie Wallace, Buddy Moss, Little Brother Montgomery, Sunnyland Slim, Tampa Red, Henry Townsend, Robert Wilkins, Sleepy John Estes, Son House and Sam Chatmon.
Colin Linden is a genuine renaissance man of roots music. He’s a singer and songwriter of great skill, an in-demand and prolific record producer (Bruce Cockburn, Tom Wilson, Colin James), a sideman to the stars as guitarist for the likes of Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and, for the past decade-plus, a member of the highly successful trio, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.
Colin’s songs have been covered by The Band, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Keb’Mo’, and Colin James, and his well-stocked trophy case includes eight Juno Awards, multiple Maple Blues Awards, and a Toronto Arts Award. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for the star-studded “A Tribute to Howlin’ Wolf CD”.
Linden has a well-deserved reputation as a slide guitar virtuoso of true originality and his riveting slide work can be heard both on albums from numerous artists as well as on his own sizeable solo catalogue. Believe it or not, Colin has never performed at The Edmonton Blues Festival and we are thrilled to have him with us Sunday August 27!
Anthony Geraci’s Boston Blues All Stars featuring Toni Lynn Washington, Michelle “Evil Gal” Willson, Mike Ledbetter and Monster Mike Welch
Geraci’s exquisite piano work has been spotlighted in the past with Sugar Ray & The Bluetones and with Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters. As impressive as those gigs were, nothing prepared me for this album from Anthony Geraci and the Boston Blues All-Stars.”- Mark E. Gallo, Blues Bytes September 2015
And that review sums up the incredible talent that Anthony Geraci brings across the continent to light up the stage at the 19th annual Edmonton Blues Festival. Pianist, Hammond organist and composer Anthony Geraci was born in New Haven, Conn. in 1954. His interest in playing piano began at age four when he told his parents “I want a piano!” Kind of an odd request when most kids want a new baseball glove or bicycle. His parents weren’t musical-not even a record player at their house- but they always supported their son’s undeniable passion for music. They soon bought a Kimball Grand Piano that his mother paid 4 dollars a week to own. Lessons at the Neighborhood School of Music which was affiliated with Yale University soon followed. At around the age of sixteen he befriended a fellow musician, Ed Cherry at high school. They soon began listening to music together after school and one day Ed played a Jimmy Rogers recording, Chicago Bound that literally changed his life. Ed went on to be Dizzy Gillespie’s guitarist for many years.
New Haven was rich as far as listening to and seeing major music artists, and NYC was only a few hours away by train. Seeing Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Willie Dixon was part of his blues education that could only be learned by seeing these great artists fist hand. Years later Anthony had the opportunity to play piano with Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Chuck Berry, Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Rogers and many more-something a sixteen year old budding blues pianist would never have seemed possible. Anthony has recorded with Big Walter Horton, Ronnie Earl, Big Jack Johnson, Zora Young, Kenny Neal and many more. Anthony graduated from the Berklee College of Music with B.A. Degree, and a M.A. from Skidmore College. He continues to perform worldwide with Sugar Ray and the Bluetones as well as selected performances with Anthony Geraci and the Boston Blues All-Stars.
His recent release, Fifty Shades of Blue, on Delta Groove Records has been met with acclaimed reviews and earned multiple Blues Music Award nominations from the Blues Foundation in Memphis, including “Best Song” for the title track, “Best Album”, and “Best Traditional Blues Album”. Anthony also received an individual nomination for the “Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year” Award. “Fifty Shades Of Blue” was also nominated for “Traditional Blues Album of the year” by Blues Blast Magazine, and was ranked as one of the top 50 Blues recordings of 2015 by Living Blues Magazine.
Joining Anthony is the Boston All Stars, And they are just that! Two award winning vocalists, Toni Lynn Washington and Michelle “Evil Gal” Willson provide the sass and sizzle; The twin guitars of Monster Mike Welch (undeniably one of the hottest guitarists on the scene today) and Mike Ledbetter chip in with dynamite licks, and the rhythm section of Michael Ward and Marty Richards propel this musical vision masterfully.
It’s the real deal folks and you won’t want to miss this exquisite, and rare, performance Sunday at the Edmonton Blues Festival!
For over 30 years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The groups distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up”. Co-founder Kim Wilson, the sole original member, still spearheads the group as it evolves into its newest incarnation.
“We started as a straight blues band”, vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. “We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We’re an American music band and we’re much higher energy than we were before.” In addition to Wilson, the current Thunderbirds line-up features Jay Moeller on drums, Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller on guitar, and Randy Bermudes on bass. “To be in the T-Birds, you need to understand the different styles of music and different ways of playing,” Wilson comments. “You have to be willing to adopt a more contemporary style. The guys we have now are able to do that.” The band continues to tour extensively, in both North America and Europe. Wilson is currently writing songs on his own, with band members and other writers.
“I’ve primarily been a solo songwriter, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with the guys in the band”, Wilson says. The thread throughout the T-Birds career has been the respect the group commanded for its peerless musicianship and devotion to the sounds of blues, R & B and rock ‘n roll. In fact, Muddy Waters called Wilson his favourite harmonica player and vocalists. “Muddy Waters was very good to me,” Wilson says. “He almost adopted me. I’ll never forget him.”
For Kim Wilson, the musical journey started in Goleta, California. At 17 he began playing the harmonica. His influences included Little Walter, George “Harmonica” Smith, Lazy Lester and James Cotton. At the same time, Wilson began singing and was deeply impacted by Bobby “Blue” Bland, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers and Muddy Waters. In search of other musicians who shared his love of the blues, Wilson headed to Minneapolis. He stayed there for a year and a half, playing locally, before moving to the burgeoning music scene of Austin, Texas. It was there that he met Jimmie Vaughan and they founded the T-Birds in 1974. The band developed a reputation as a compelling live act and subsequently signed a record deal with CBS/Epic Records.
In 1979, The Fabulous Thunderbirds released their first self-titled album. Primarily blues influenced, it became a cult classic. “Things were wide open back then, “Wilson recalls. “There were hundreds of stages where bands could show what they had.”
In subsequent releases, the band started to incorporate more Cajun, rock ‘n roll and soul influences. The album “T-Bird Rhythm” marked a creative turning point for the group as it collaborated with noted producer Nick Lowe. In 1986, The Fabulous Thunderbirds reached a commercial peak with the album, “Tuff Enuff”. The single of the same title as well as the singles “Wrap It Up” and “Look At That”, all went top 40. The song, “Tuff Enuff” was featured in the film “Gung Ho” starring Michael Keaton.
For the remainder of the ’80s, the band continued to record and tour, and released the album, “Powerful Stuff”. Jimmie Vaughn left in 1989 but Wilson kept the group going, incorporating keyboards into the guitar-driven sound. Kim moved back to California in 1996, continuing to cultivate the T-Birds music. “The thing about the T-Birds is that we can play both blues festivals and rock venues,” Wilson comments. “We’re a diversified band now and everybody’s on the same page.”
As a side project Wilson formed Kim Wilson’s Blues Revue, a traditional blues band. He also owns a blues label, Blue Collar Music, that has released three albums – one by Kim, one by “Big Al” Blake and one by Fred Kaplan. Wilson has also recorded and written with noted session guitarist Danny Kortchmar and drummer Steve Jordan. However his current focus remains The Fabulous Thunderbirds. “This is a great time for this band,” he says. “We’re looking forward to the future.”
The Fabulous Thunderbirds played the second Edmonton Blues Festival in 2000, and Kim’s Blues All Stars were here in 2011. Don’t miss this incredible closing act for the 19th Edmonton Blues Festival.