MILES ELECTRIC BAND
PATTI SMITH BAND ACOUSTIC
BILLY BRAGG AND JOE HENRY
TONY JOE WHITE
THE RECORD COMPANY
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
THE CALIFORNIA HONEYDROPS
Here we are again, keeping the Bluesfest joyride going in full swing, adding another array of superb artists to our ever growing festival bill. This round of artists marks our 6th Announcement and true to Bluesfest tradition, there will be more to come! For now, indulge in the fantastic musicians added to Bluesfest 2017 today!
Added to the Festival line up today are English Ska icons Madness, who will bring their blend of ska, British pop and soul to Bluesfest for the first time coming Easter. Starting out as the North London Invaders in 1976, Madness have remained a British Phenomenon completing the ‘ultimate invasion’ by performing their momentous hit ‘Our House’ on the rooftop of Buckingham Palace at the Queens Diamond Jubilee Concert, as well as bringing down the house at the Closing Ceremony of the London Olympic Games. Their new album Cant Touch Us Now is the bold, lively energetic sounds of six writers, six lifelong friends, six Mad men playing at the peak of their powers. In its first week of release Cant Touch Us Now has already reached Number 5 on the BBC album chart. Congratulations to Madness!
Bluesfest is honoured to be bringing the nine member, all-star concert experience Miles Electric Band to Australia for the first time. The band has been created in association with the Miles Davis Estate to bring his music to new generations. The group features Miles Davis alumni including Grammy nominee Robert Irving III, legendary Parliament Funkadelic guitarist Blackbyrd McKnight, Munyungo Jackson and Grammy winner Vince Wilburn, Jr. (Davis’ nephew) on drums. Darryl Jones, recognised for his recordings with Davis, Sting and decades long tour duty for the Rolling Stones provides the bass backbone. Finding a trumpeter to join this illustrious group was no small task, but when the Davis Estate heard Grammy winner Christian Scott play, they knew he was worthy. True Jazz fans won’t want to miss the rare chance to see this collective of Jazz icons playing together.
Patti Smith and her band will grace the Bluesfest audience with a powerful acoustic set on Good Friday 14th of April. This is in addition to the performance on Bluesfest opening night (Thursday 13th of April) when Patti Smith and her band perform Horses. Bluesfest Fans are going to be in for a real treat enjoying the intimacy of this performance which allows Patti Smith to connect with her audience in a way that honours the spirit of her hallowed poetry and music.
Legendary British political songwriter Billy Bragg, who is already performing at Bluesfest on Saturday 15th of April, will be teaming up with American songwriter, singer and producer, as well as Grammy Winner Joe Henry for a celebration of the great American railroad, the songs it inspired, and some favourites from their own classic catalogues on Easter Monday (17th of April).
Slightly Stoopid is a much loved American band based in the Ocean Beach neighbourhood of San Diego, California. ”Slightly Stoopid is known for its groovy blend of funk, reggae, punk, & other styles.” - Rolling Stone. An absolute Bluesfest favourite, this will be their third visit to the Bluesfest stage!
She wowed festival goers with her emotional range and dazzling vocal prowess in 2016, so Bluesfest is thrilled to have Rhiannon Giddens back in 2017. The Grammy Award winning lead singer of African-American folk interpreters Carolina Chocolate Drops, has stepped out on her own, winning over audiences around the world, with as the New York Times put it, “the fervor of a spiritual, the yips of a folk holler, and the sultry insinuation of the blues”.
Tony Joe White known to fans as The Swamp Fox is one musician who can certainly call Bluesfest his 2nd home, after multiple performances over many years. The American singer-songwriter and guitarist never ceases to please the Bluesfest audience with his swamp rock melodies, combining New Orleans- style rhythm and blues, country and western, and traditional French Louisiana musical influences.
At just 21 years of age singer-songwriter Max Jury from Iowa / USA will blow the Bluesfest audience's mind with his love of great American songwriting from the likes of Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons and Paul Simon, which has helped him hone and craft his own skill. He is on the road to establish himself as an American Great in his own right. To watch a talented singer ply his craft in a setting like Bluesfest will be immensely stirring.
It will be a ‘First to Bluesfest’ for The Record Company, an American rock band formed in Los Angeles.
Their music is influenced by blues musicians like John Lee Hooker, early punk bands like The Stooges, and rock bands like The Rolling Stones. The 3 gentlemen of the band are on the road to stardom and if you like blues rock then The Record Company has your name written on it. Watch them kill it at Bluesfest and become the new discovery band of the Festival.
The Mountain Goats are an American Indie folk band formed by singer-songwriter John Darnielle. Their live performances are described as intense, moving and completely unique. One not to be missed!
The California Honeydrops are a Blues and R&B band, formed in November 2007 playing in the subway stations of Oakland, California, United States and have grown to stardom ever since. These great musicians will deliver fun, high energy dancing music - to Bluesfest! The California Honeydrops are another discovery that will astound Australian audiences for the first time in 2017.
Trevor Hall is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is inspired with the cultural experience of Hindu and his music is a mix of reggae, acoustic rock, and Sanskrit chanting. His music is a Spiritual and Earthly Journey and what better setting can there be for Trevor than Bluesfest!
Please note that a ticket price increase on some of our ticket types will happen tomorrow, Wednesday 9th of November at 5pm. The 3 day Friday/Saturday/Sunday ticket has become our top seller, followed by the 5 day ticket but the truth is, all tickets are selling fast. Don’t miss out!
Peter Noble, our Bluesfest Director shares his excitement about the latest announcement:
After a few headliner single artist announcements, I am so pleased to say there are now going to be a few weeks of multiple artist announcements, and in typical Bluesfest style, they will be beauties.
Headlining today's announce is the much loved Ska 2 Tone British band from Camden (London), Madness, and they are going to tear the house down. From playing on the roof top recently at Buckingham Palace to producing such wonderful Nr 1 singles as Our House, and House of Fun, they truly are one of the great 80's UK bands, and they continue to be huge.
But, that's not all.
I am stoked to be presenting the Miles Electric Band, performing the music of Miles Davis, when he went electric and created fusion music. This amazing event which is produced by the Miles Davis Estate will feature Miles Davis alumni including Daryl Jones, currently playing Bass with the Rolling Stones and guitarist Blackbird McKnight (from Headhunters/Parliament-Funkadelic, and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers). They will electrify the stage performing the amazing creations of Miles with tracks from the ground-breaking albums Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson and more.
There will be numerous Miles Davis alumni as well as musicians influenced by Miles (aren't we all?). Grammy winner Christian Scott will take the hot seat on trumpet in this 9 piece band. Along with multimedia, this is the real deal. A coup for Bluesfest and there have only been a handful of performances round the world to date, and something I am very proud of to present to you.
We are also announcing a very special Patti Smith afternoon acoustic performance with her band on Good Friday, as well as collaboration between Billy Bragg and American singer-songwriter, guitarist, Joe Henry. We also have the swamp fox Tony Joe White returning and the incredible new artist Max Jury, who many compare to Gram Parsons.
We have GREAT Roots artists in the Mountain Goats, The Record Company, the California Honeydrops, and to cap it off the return, by popular demand, last year's favourite artist for many Rhiannon Giddens as well as Trevor Hall finally coming to Bluesfest!
I feel this is one of our best announcements for music lovers.
There is a Blues announcement coming to you next week! Can't wait!
Thank you for supporting us.
It truly is going to be one of our best years.
Peter Noble OAM
Byron Bay Bluesfest
THE SIXTH 2017 BLUESFEST ARTIST ANNOUNCEMENT includes:
2017 ARTISTS ALREADY ANNOUNCED:
The title says it all. Can’t Touch Us Now declare Madness with breezy confidence, and the evidence comes loud and clear. It’s there in their history, in their achievements, in their canonical pop classics. It was there on the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage this summer, when the band blew away the cobwebs and the clouds with a sparkling greatest hits set that also shone with a couple of newies and a lovely David Bowie tribute in the shape of a heartfelt cover of Kooks.
“We were going to do All The Young Dudes but that a felt a bit pompous for us,” says front man Suggs with typical self-awareness and self-deprecation. And that untouchability was also in evidence at London’s Royal Hospital in August when Madness, in inimitable style – and really, literally no other band could have done this – unveiled their 12th studio album before a magnificent audience of Chelsea Pensioners. One British institution paying respect to another British institution.
Best of all, though, the proof of the unique status of Madness is there in the songs on that new album. Can’t Touch Us Now is the bold, lively, energetic sound of six writers, six lifelong friends, six Mad men playing at the peak of their powers. “We made an early decision with regards to the way we’d record,” reflects drummer Dan “Woody” Woodgate. “And that was to get that energy back in. It was all about capturing momentum and speed, and get that excitement going.”
“We were all really pleased with The Liberty Of Norton Folgate,” says Suggs of the critically acclaimed 2009 album. It was a beautiful conceptual ode to a vanished London that set the seal on the ongoing vitality of a band whose “comeback” dated to 1992, when Madness reconvened after a six-year break. “We tried to work with different producers on Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da, and ended up just going round and round the houses. So because we loved …Norton Folgate so much we thought: let’s just go back the same studio and the same producer.”
That producer was Liam Watson, pipe-smoking, lab coat-wearing curator-owner-builder of Toe Rag, the fantastically downhome and inventively rudimentary studio tucked into a quiet corner of Hackney (and, famously, birthplace of The White Stripes epochal Elephant album). He’s abetted by the band’s longstanding producer Clive Langer, while the album has been mixed by Brit Award winner Charlie Andrew (Alt-J).
One of the advantages of working with Liam is that it’s only a 16-track studio so things happen very fast,” continues Suggs, noting that the album took a pacy three weeks to record.
“We worked 11am to 6pm,
no rock’n’roll hours, which is another good thing. You’re not sitting about getting pissed thinking how great you are. You just get it done, then you’re in again the next morning. “The emphasis is what it was in the old days – on the writing and the rehearsing, not the recording. If you’re in a big technological studio you just spend most of your time farting around. You can’t fart around in Liam’s!” he laughs. “Push the faders up and there it is!”
First of all, though, Madness made sure the building blocks were properly in place. “We found a place in Holloway, a little tiny rehearsal studio called Storm, 40 quid a day,” recounts guitarist Chris “Chrissy Boy” Foreman. “And we loved it. We didn’t need a crew or an onsite café or any of that nonsense. So we spent a lot of time last year rehearing and writing these songs. Then we did the Grandslam Madness tour, and I suggested we start playing these new songs live. That was a great process. It was really the band going back to what it was in 1979, all of us in a little room, writing songs and enjoying ourselves playing. That’s what we did almost 40 years ago when we started the band, in the basement of a house in Finchley Road that we could go to whenever we wanted. That was really, really important to our beginnings. It was the best nine quid a month we ever spent.”
With founder member Chas Smash having taken a solo album-pursuing leave of absence in 2014, the returning Los Palmas six found themselves creatively energised. “As you get older you lose any fear, really,” offers bass player Mark “Bedders” Bedford. “You feel a lot more comfortable in yourself, which all of us in the band do. You press ahead and trust your instincts, which is a lot of what this record is about. It’s that thing of being out there on that voyage and not worrying what’s around you.”
That gung-ho spirit of adventure, not to mention a fine undertstanding of soul music’s historical sweet spots, is there in Mike Barson’s ‘You Are My Everything’. “It’s quite an old song,” admits the pianist/keyboard player, “which I wrote on my own, about unconditional love, giving yourself in a relationship and not judging or expecting. We recorded it initially after Suggs left the band back in the Nineties. But we got in trouble not having a vocalist, and it degenerated into everybody singing their own songs. It all started to get a bit messy. “But this time round,” he adds of a soaring, blue-eyed ballad featuring sublime backing vocals, “I was really pleased with how it came out. To my mind it’s Marvin Gaye meets Ian Dury in Isaac Hayes’ apartment. And I think Chris excels on the guitar – he really makes that track happen.”
Saxophonist and lyricist Lee Thompson explains how the instantly infectious title track, written with Foreman, began life as a lyric about Princess Diana, “and it also has undertones of the Tudor period, when there was a lot of unrest in royal circles”. “Can’t Touch Us Now is a good illustration of what we’re trying to do,” adds Bedford. “It does hark back to the music we’ve always liked – it’s a bit Motown, it’s a bit Northern Soul. But it also goes back to Slade – it has that stomp about it.”
The pumping singalong that is Mumbo Jumbo, Thompson says, “is another political song. It was the banking crisis that sparked it off. It’s like ‘Promises Promises’ on the 7 album [from 1981], about a marriage and the promises you make that are never kept – but it also applies to politicians. That said, I don’t know the ins and outs of politics – I leave that to Mike and Suggs to row about at the back of the tourbus…”
There’s a more personal, intimate slant on Blackbird. Foreman came up with the music, “an Otis Redding-type, old-soul tune”. Handed on to Suggs, this became a narratively rich, evocative tribute to Amy Winehouse. One set of north London legends, paying respect to another. Then there’s the mighty first single, 'Mr Apples'. It’s a Suggs composition that’s a classic Madness pop number, buoyed by punchy honky-tonk piano and a blessed with a brilliant unruly clatter. “It’s a top Madness song,” agrees Bedford. “It’s the classic thing of having a jaunty melody, an up tune, with quite dark lyrics. These days you miss that clatter on records – it’s Pro-Tooled out. That was our thing making this album: we’re not going to worry about the odd slip. If it’s good take, let’s keep it, and let’s not iron out every kink.”
Describing the song’s protagonist, Suggs says: "'Mr. Apples' never stops. By day, a pillar of society; very clear on how people should behave; strict, moralistic, judgemental... But, when that old sun goes down, he’s heading off up the wrong side of town. Exhausting. We worry for him. He’s a very naughty boy.”
Coming soon, too, for this much-loved people’s band: more gigs, followed by more gigs. Having sold a whopping 220,000 concert tickets in 2015 – an “off” year, really – in 2016 Madness look set to top that tally if we factor in their self-curated September event House Of Common (on Clapham Common), November’s House Of Fun Weekender (in Minehead) and December’s arena tour of the UK.
“We do get different generations coming to our shows, most of whom know the classics because, I guess, they’re staples,” says Woodgate. “But when we’ve put in the new songs recently at festivals, they’ve gone down a storm – this summer they’ve been fist-pumping to one of the new tracks, ‘Don’t Leave The Past Behind’.”
“Touring now is great,” enthuses Suggs, “although it couldn’t be as exciting as it was on when we started out on the Two Tone Tour in ’79. You’re 18, going round the world with your mates, The Specials, The Selector, Dexy’s Midnight Runners…” he grins. “It was just a blur of hats flying in the air, pints going, legs and arms going up and down – and sulphate! Which I certainly can’t do any more,” chuckles this endlessly charismatic frontman. “But now I get on stage and look at an audience and think, ‘fuck, all these people have come to see us…’
“That energy we have onstage comes from a lot of things,” reflects this iconic band’s iconic singer. “Primarily we were friends first and foremost, and the band was a by-product of our friendship, not the other way round. And because we took that time out before the start of the Nineties, that was good for us.” These committed family men “inserted ourselves back into the normal world for a few years. Then, when we came back, the live thing exploded in such a great way for us.”
That said, he acknowledges that “we were getting drawn towards the black hole of that Eighties nostalgia, and then that’s when we set about writing …Norton Folgate. I just thought, if we can write one more great album before it ends, then we can say we made our best go at it. Then when that was critically acclaimed it gave us the warp factor to get away from that black hole.” And now, by dint of hunger, and passion, and friendship, and a jawdropping way with a great tune and a smart lyric, Madness are out there, in a space of their own.
“The reason the album is called Can’t Touch Us Now is because we kinda feel we are alone, on our own journey” concludes Bedford. “We’re older, we’re not going to be in mainstream pop, and you could say we’re not regarded as a classic albums band. We’re just ploughing our own furrow and really enjoying it. So that title is Madness saying: we’ve made it this far by doing it our own way.”
MADNESS WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST ON SUNDAY 16TH OF APRIL
MILES ELECTRIC BAND
Visiting Australia for the first time Miles Electric Band is a nine member, all-star concert that has been created in association with the Miles Davis Estate. Miles Electric Band represents two important groups of Miles Davis Players; his contemporaries and the next generation who were inspired by his revolutionary talent.
The band performs music from the influential 1969-1975 era and features artists who played with him during this seminal period when Davis released the albums Bitches Brew and Jack Johnson paving the way for Electronic Jazz and Fusion music.
Miles Davis alumni who played on these iconic albums include Grammy nominee Robert Irving III on piano, legendary Parliament Funkadelic guitarist and musical director Blackbyrd McKnight, noted percussionist Munyungo Jackson and Grammy winner Vince Wilburn, Jr. (Davis’ nephew) on drums. Darryl Jones, recognised for his recordings with Davis, Sting and decades long tour duty for the Rolling Stones provides the bass backbone.
Finding a trumpeter to join this illustrious group was no small task, but when the Davis Estate heard Grammy winner Christian Scott play, they knew he was worthy. Christian has released seven critically acclaimed studio recordings and two live albums. According to NPR, "Christian Scott ushers in new era of jazz". He has been heralded by JazzTimes magazine as "the Architect of a new commercially viable fusion" and "Jazz's young style God." Since 2006, Christian has worked with McCoy Tyner, Prince, Marcus Miller, Eddie Palmieri, Mos Def (Yasin Bey), Thom Yorke and Solange Knowles, among other notable talents.
Key additions to the Australian touring line up include and renowned programmer/re-mixer Jeremy Ellis, widely known for his work with The Roots, saxophonist Antoine Roney who has toured the world with jazz veterans Freddie Hubbard and Elvin Jones and accomplished world musician Debasish Chaudhauri on the tabla.
Made with the blessing and assistance of the Miles Davis estate, the concert incorporates images, artwork and film from their archive. Miles Electric Band is a featured part of the Davis family’s plan to bring Miles Davis’ music to a new generation of music lovers through festival appearances and recordings.
“Despite boasting a host of bandleaders in the ranks, the group played with restraint and vibe over histrionics keeping the brew on simmer...” Downbeat Magazine
”Everyone rocked and socked, and it wasn’t nostalgic in the least” Daily Variety
“The Miles Electric Band quickly pumped up a party vibe.” The Los Angeles Times
MILES ELECTRIC BAND WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST ON MONDAY 17TH OF APRIL
PATTI SMITH & BAND ACOUSTIC
Bluesfest audiences are in for a rare treat when punk-poet genius Patti Smith and her band play an Australian exclusive acoustic set at the festival in 2017 on Friday 14 April.
Smith’s acoustic sets are powerful, engrossing and mesmeric, giving fans the opportunity to enjoy some of her more poetic and tender songs along with some surprising covers.
Patti Smith is a bestselling author, performance poet, visual artist and activist whose extraordinary contributions to the artistic realm and human rights have been recognised with an induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Polar Music Prize, and the honour of “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres” from the French Ministry of Culture just to name a few of her accolades.
Fans will love the intimacy of this pared back performance that allows Smith to connect with her audience in a way that honours the spirit of her hallowed poetry and music.
Smith delivered a fierce, life-affirming show and a reminder that as long as she continues to write, record and perform, the idea of rock and roll as a transformative, communal art lives on.
– The Hollywood Reporter
“She was a pioneer, a singular voice for women and outsiders, and it is reassuring to see that she has lost none of the fire in her belly.”- telegraph.co.uk
“Patti Smith is living proof that punk doesn’t age.”- Consequence of Sound
PATTI SMITH AND BAND WILL PERFORM ACOUSTIC AT BLUESFEST ON FRIDAY 14TH OF APRIL
BILLY BRAGG AND JOE HENRY
In addition to Billy Bragg’s solo performance, Bluesfest is proud to announce that Billy Bragg and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Joe Henry will bring their Shine a Light concert to Bluesfest in 2017.
The pair’s joint love obsession with the songs and the mythology of the Americas brought them together in 2016 for ‘Shine a Light’: a collection of acoustic covers of railway-themed songs that features harmony-heavy duets.
They recorded the album on railroad trip that spanned over the course of four days and 2,728 miles in trackside waiting rooms as the train stopped to pick up passengers. The thirteen tracks recorded perfectly captures the vivid atmospheres of the environments in which they recorded – from the lush soft-furnished sleeping cabins to the cathedral-like ambience of historic railway stations.
For over 30 years, England’s Billy Bragg has been a fearless recording artist, tireless live performer and peerless political campaigner, releasing iconic solo albums and collaborating with Wilco, Natalie Merchant and more recently Joe Henry. For over 20 years, Henry himself has left a unique imprint on American music. His poetic songs incorporate a broad swathe of American musical styles – rock, jazz, soul, folk-imbued blues and alt-country stylings.
"Bragg and Henry’s latest is a resounding statement on the foundation of one of the greatest achievements of American backbone and its influence on the world." – PopMatters
“a pairing that embodies grit and molasses….musically satisfying and hugely enjoyable…" – Americana-UK
"Haunting, atmospheric and awareness-raising in its celebration of a lost industry and tradition, the album may be romantic but it's also authentic." – The Quietus
"…a muscular chronicle of North America’s railway age." – The Observer
BILLY BRAGG AND JOE HENRY WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST ON MONDAY 17TH OF APRIL
Bluesfest welcomes festival favourites Slightly Stoopid back to their stage for the third time. A much loved American band based in the Ocean Beach neighbourhood of San Diego, California, Slightly Stoopid are known for their slabs of dubby bass, meditative vocal harmonies, rock-steady guitar licks and tightly syncopated percussive rhythms.
Led by co-founders and multi-instrumentalists Kyle McDonald and Miles Doughty, along with drummer Ryan “Rymo” Moran; percussionist Oguer “OG” Ocon; saxophonist Daniel “Dela” Delacruz; keyboardist Paul Wolstencroft; trumpet and trombone player Andy Geib; plus special guest and “unofficial 8th member” Karl Denson (The Rolling Stones/Greyboy Allstars) on saxophone Slightly Stoopid unveiled their latest musical experiment Meanwhile… Back at the Lab through the band’s own Stoopid Records on June 30th 2015.
The sessions for Meanwhile… Back at the Lab began in late 2013, shortly following the band’s seventh studio release Top Of The World. "We're a touring act, and we've been on the road pretty much non-stop over the last decade," explains Doughty, offering that the band's own local recording studio and rehearsal clubhouse “The Lab at Stoopid Studios” is a key ingredient of what keeps the band’s sound fresh. In fact, the title and album cover reference the band’s collective escape from touring where they have been working on numerous creative and collaborative projects.
"For us, it was a big turning point as far as having complete creative control over everything we do.” Doughty continues. “That's something big for this band—we want to make the music for ourselves and for our fans. We don't really make music for someone in an office that tells us something needs to be there. We've always had a very organic, do-it-yourself attitude. I think it's paid off in dividends."
Nearly two decades into their artistry, Slightly Stoopid continues to progress into new musical territory, defining their signature sound while creating a contagious feel-good vibe that has its own lifestyle and subculture… and it’s been done entirely on their own terms.
“Slightly Stoopid is known for its groovy blend of funk, reggae, punk, & other styles.” - Rolling Stone
"Slightly Stoopid are not only set on getting fans out of their seats during the shows, but they want to raise awareness for worthy causes as well.” - Huffington Post
"Slightly Stoopid has such amazing, diverse style ranging from punk, metal to reggae—they can play it all and really well.” - Danny Way for Thrasher Magazine
"Where Slightly Stoopid plays is usually where the party's at" - Pollstar
SLIGHTYLY STOOPID WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST ON SAT 15TH AND SUN 16TH OF APRIL
She wowed festival goers with her emotional range and dazzling vocal prowess last year, so Bluesfest is thrilled to have Rhiannon Giddens back in 2017.
The Grammy Award–winning lead singer of African-American folk interpreters Carolina Chocolate Drops, has stepped out on her own, winning over audiences around the world, with as the New York Times put it, “the fervor of a spiritual, the yips of a folk holler, and the sultry insinuation of the blues”.
On her solo debut Tomorrow Is My Turn, Giddens delivers striking renditions of Dolly Parton’s ‘Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind’, & Hank Cochran’s ‘She’s Got You’, popularised by Patsy Cline. The album incorporates gospel, jazz, Blues, and Country, plus a hint of proto-Rock’n’Roll, and Giddens displays an emotional range to match her dazzling vocal prowess throughout.
Music legend T Bone Burnett says of Giddens. “It was clear the first time I heard her at rehearsal that Rhiannon is next in a long line of singers that includes Marian Anderson, Ethel Waters, Rosetta Tharp, Odetta, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone,” Burnett says. “We need that person in our culture. She is, in fact, that person in our culture.”
If you managed to miss her in 2016, make sure you’re there to witness Rhiannon’s triumphant return to the Bluesfest stage in 2017.
“Giddens on her own can wrap her voice around songs in a way few 21st-century vocalists can.”-
The Colorado Springs Independent
“Giddens explores the frontiers of Americana on a solo debut of phenomenal vocal power, effortlessly jumping between gospel holler, tender folk song and lachrymose country ballad.”
- The Guardian
“What was on display tonight was the performance of an artist on the cusp of a true critical and commercial breakthrough with a voice that was regal, confident and, at every turn, breathtaking.”
-The Musical Box
RHIANNON GIDDINS WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST ON THU 13TH, FRI 14TH AND SUN 16TH OF APRIL
TONY JOE WHITE
Bluesfest is proud to announce the return of The Swamp Fox Tony Joe White. From his first club gigs some 50 years ago, and since his debut album Black and White in 1969 Tony Joe White’s songs have become a part of Deep South Blues legend. Many have been covered by other artists: ‘Rainy Night in Georgia’ by Brook Benton and Hank Williams Jr., ‘Willie and Laura Mae Jones’ by Dusty Springfield, and of course ‘Polk Salad Annie’ by Elvis.
White has lived long enough to see plenty of changes. Throughout the 60s and 70s his star rose, leading to collaborations with Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Tina Turner, J.J. Cale and other admirers. At the same time, recording and concert technology changed the act of making and playing music into something foreign to those who were schooled on John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Hank Williams, backwoods church shouts and hints of the supernatural. And so Tony Joe White is more than an artist of unique gifts and sensitivities. He is also a link to a time that may already be lost but will be kept alive as long as he keeps revisiting it in song.
He released his 27th album in 2016, entitled Rain Crow. In recent years he has also been on Jools Holland, performed at Glastonbury and on the David Letterman show with the Foo Fighters who featured him heavily in the Sonic Highways Nashville episode.
Don’t miss the return of one of the defining voices of Deep South Blues as Tony Joe White once again takes his rightful spot on the Bluesfest stage in 2017.
“If I were this guy, you could kiss my ass.” – David Letterman
“The predatory, hypnotic swamp grooves that have been Tony Joe White’s stock-in-trade throughout his career lend a magical backwoods bayou ambience to the nine tracks of "Rain Crow", on which his peculiar songcraft and grizzled Woodbine baritone conjure up gripping regional narratives.”- independent.co.uk
“At 70, he's still as intense and dangerous as all hell” - Mojo
TONY JOE WHITE WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST ON MONDAY 17TH OF APRIL
Just 21 but undeniably an old soul, Max Jury comes on like the missing link between Gram Parsons and George Harrison, shot through with the grace of James Blake. Bluesfest is honored he will be making his Australian debut at the festival in 2017.
An impeccable song-crafter, he’s got one foot in the cornfields and the other in the nearest dive bar whilst his fingers skip across the keys of his Fender Rhodes. An Iowa native, he binds together timeless themes of the struggles of being young, drinking the bottle dry and love lost and found with a small town perspective, topped off an airy croon that’s bound to break as many hearts as it heals.
Growing up in rural Des Moines, surrounded by wide open he sought creative solace in his dad’s old bluegrass and new wave records and his mother’s mixtapes. “I would find them and play them in my room,” he recalls of the cassettes. “I didn’t know who the artists were at the time, but looking back it was stuff like The Beatles and Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello.”
Max either plays solo or with a full band made up of friends and ex-lovers, who made their debut at a sold-out, 2000 capacity venue supporting Lana Del Rey, “It took all the nerves out of performing ever again!” remembers Max. “It was like pulling a band-aid off really fast.” So far, playing that massive show has been the strangest moment in Max’s burgeoning musical career. “I haven’t had any really weird experiences yet,” he thinks, “like where a girl gives me a vial of blood after a show.” However, if he carries on like this, such fevered fandom is inevitable.
“His songs are effortless examples of heartfelt, country tinged, beautifully sung and perfectly executed American music.”- Telegraph
“highly accomplished and consistently gorgeous...a remarkable talent” – Mojo
“One of the best songwriters coming out of North America”- Noisey
“He’s an old soul with a voice born to tell stories”- The Independent
MAX JURY WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST ON FRI, 14TH, SAT 15TH AND SUN 16TH OF APRIL
THE RECORD COMPANY
Bluesfest welcomes The Record Company to the 2017 festival line up. Founded in Los Angeles in 2011 The Record Company immediately took their hometown by storm, hailed by LA Weekly for “making bluesy music that would sound more at home in a sweaty, backwoods Mississippi juke joint.” They are a band who prides themselves on writing and playing raw, sincere Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Equally inspired by early Electric Blues as they are proto-Punk and Americana, The Record Company hewed their contemporary take on classic Rock ‘n’ Roll in California, where they have released two EPs that have brought them national attention and radio airplay in the US. Known as a unique and unstoppable live act, The Record Company have rocked countless headline shows, festivals while sharing international stages with such luminaries as B.B. King, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Buddy Guy, Charles Bradley, Robert Randolph, The Wood Brothers, Social Distortion, and Blackberry Smoke.
Our sound has a lot of early Rock n’ Roll but with a greater emphasis on the drums and bass,” says lead man Chris Vos. “We aim to make the speakers move with our recordings.” There is no doubt they will rock Bluesfest when they take the stage at the beautiful Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm during the festival in 2017.
THE RECORD COMPANY WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST ON SAT 15, SUN 16TH AND MON 17TH OF APRIL
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
The Mountain Goats will make their Bluesfest debut in 2017. The trio hail from California but travel the world performing their authentic and distinctive music to appreciative crowds.
The Mountain Goats auteur, John Darnielle, is one of the most imaginative lyricists of his generation. His music is filled with skewed characters, vibrant images and perfectly-framed narratives, that has created a following around the world since the release of their first album in 1994.
In 2015 they released Beat the Champ, a gorgeous album that tackles the surprising theme of wrestling. Writer John Fink describes the album as being “about the simple and beautiful stories of professional wrestling as seen by fans who need something simple in their messy lives. The songs are also about the complicated and beautiful lives of the people who work in professional wrestling, who do their best to entertain, to leave a mark, and, when all else fails, to survive. It is an album about, as the chorus of one of its tracks puts it, nameless bodies in unremembered rooms.”
Be there to witness their live performances which can be described as intense, moving and completely unique.
“One of Darnielle’s premier talents as a musician is his ability to cast personal mantras as singalong anthems. At his best, his songs feel as essential as water. Mountain Goats fans will testify to the healing powers of standing arm-to-arm with hundreds of people while shouting "I am going to make it through this year if it kills me." – Pitchfork
“The music is fantastically rangy, with discordant strings and jazz piano nuzzling punk-busker guitar.”- Rolling Stone
“Beat The Champ takes you on a walloping emotional journey that proves great song writing can compliment any subject matter” – Alternative Press
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST ON THU 13TH AND FRI 14TH OF APRIL
THE CALIFORNIA HONEYDROPS
Bluesfest is thrilled to announce that The California Honeydrops will bring their feel good sound to the festival in 2017. The California Honeydrops don’t just play music—they throw parties. Led by dynamic vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski, and drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line, the Honeydrops bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to their shows.
They’ve taken the party all over the world: on nine European tours, featured slots at such premiere festivals as Monterey Jazz, High Sierra, and Outside Lands, and recent performances supporting B.B. King, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, and Allen Toussaint.
Listening to Lech sing, it can be a surprise that he was born in Warsaw, Poland, and raised by Polish political refugees. He learned his vocal stylings from contraband American recordings of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong, and later at Oberlin College and on the club circuit in Oakland, California.
Bluesfest audiences are in for a real treat when The California Honeydrops take the stage across the festival, their shows are more like parties than traditional concerts and feature extensive off-stage jamming and crowd interaction. “The whole point is to erase the boundaries between the crowd and us,” Wierzynski says. “We don't make setlists. We want requests. We want crowd involvement, to make people become a part of the whole thing by dancing along, singing, picking the songs and generally coming out of their shells.”
“...a party band capable of working a festival-size crowd into a frenzied freak-out” —Relix
“The Honeydrops embody and channel the freewheeling High Sierra spirit like few other bands, and their festival sets are starting to become the stuff of legend.” JamBase.com
“The album is a collective of feel good sounds and it is impossible not to tap your foot and smile while listening. Better than the individual songs, though, is the potential that the songs have for raucous live performances.” — Washington DC Examiner
THE CALIFORNIA HONEYDROPS WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST EVERY DAY!
Bluesfest is proud to announce that Trevor Hall will make his long awaited Bluesfest debut in 2017. His music is an eclectic mix of acoustic rock, reggae and Sanskrit chanting – it echoes with the names and teachings of divinities, while maintaining a refreshingly universal message.
Trevor quickly broke through the music scene joining a series of sold-out tours with artists such as Steel Pulse, The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Matisyahu, Michael Franti, SOJA, Brett Denne, Colbie Callait and Nahko & Medicine for the People. While on the road, Trevor sees the stage as his moving temple, a place where he can share in the experience of his spiritual journey with his audience. Trevor’s annual trips to India also continue to serve as a source of creativity and motivation for his music. The precious lessons and experiences that he has harvested from his journeys East have moved Trevor to return a service to those whom have colored his music and his life so beautifully.
His latest album, Kala, written in Hawaii and recorded in LA, was released August 21st, 2015. It debuted at #2 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and #5 on Billboards Folk Chart.
“Trevor Hall brings a soothing, enlightened musical journey of acoustic tones mixed with deep lyrics, particularly to his new album, KALA. His lyrics run so deep, one cannot help but relate it to true poetry, and even then, that cannot describe the totality of how his songs take one on an incredible journey.”- topshelfreggae.com
"The 28-year-old Hall has a career arc like no other and his most recent records are a reflection of that. Kala is a discussion of the concept of time. Hall’s philosophical take aims to dig deeper into the nature of this important subject." – thepier.org
"Hall has mastered his sound which is an eclectic mix of acoustic reggae, rock and sanskrit chanting. Hall’s unique sound has landed him on sold-out tours alongside musicians like SOJA, Michael Franti, Colbie Callait and Matisyahu to name a few." – clture.org
TREVOR HALL WILL PERFORM AT BLUESFEST ON THU 13TH AND SAT 15TH OF APRIL