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Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest

Ramada Hotel Downtown
Calgary Bluesfest Host Hotel
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The Blues Foundation

2015 Calgary Bluesfest Artists

Alexis P Suter

After singing for several years in various choirs and making small club appearances, Alexis began to sing House/Dance music and released her debut solo recording with the song, "Slam Me Baby" (1990). The success of this record launched her career and she became the first African American woman signed to Epic Sony Japan"s Dance label. In 2005, Alexis recorded her first full length CD, Shuga Fix, featuring original tunes and a more soulful sound, following with Just Another Fool, Alexis P Suter Band LIVE at the Midnight Ramble (Alexis opened for the late Levon Helm at the Midnight Ramble in Woodstock, NY over 90 times), Two Sides, Live at the Turning Point and her current Blues/Rock CD, Love the Way You Roll. Alexis and her band have opened for Bo Diddley, Dickey Betts, BB King, Coco Montoya, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Allen Touissaint, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Winter, Elvis Costello, and for the 20 year reunion of the Muddy Waters Band.

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Amos Garrett

Over a four-decade career, there's not a lot Amos Garrett hasn't done. As one of the most distinctive guitar players since the Telecaster was invented, he's made almost a dozen albums of his own, most of them for the Edmonton-based label Stony Plain. He's appeared on more than 150 artists' recordings, and he's played rock and roll, folk and pop. Not to mention just about every other kind of roots music there is, from blues to country. He's played and recorded with Paul Butterfield, Ian Tyson, Bonnie Raitt, Jesse Winchester, Maria Muldaur, Emmylou Harris, Bobby Charles and Anne Murray.

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Bobby Rush

The creator of a singular sound which he dubbed "folk-funk," multi-instrumentalist Bobby Rush was among the most colorful characters on the contemporary chitlin circuit, honing a unique style which brought together a cracked lyrical bent with elements of blues, soul, and funk. Born in Homer, LA, he and his family relocated to Chicago in 1953, where he emerged on the West Side blues circuit of the 1960s, fronting bands which included such notable alumni as Luther Allison and Freddie King. However, as Rush began to develop his own individual sound, he opted to forgo the blues market in favor of targeting the chitlin circuit, which offered a more receptive audience for his increasingly bawdy material.

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Curtis Salgado

2013 Blues Blast Music Award Winner
Soul ShotSoul Blues Album of the Year

Winner of three 2013 Blues Music Awards, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year and Soul Blues Album of the Year

Vocalist/songwriter/harmonica icon Curtis Salgado sings and plays with soulful authority, never giving less than 100 percent. Salgado's been perfecting his craft since he first began playing professionally in the late 1960s. He fronted his own group, The Nighthawks, inspired John Belushi to create The Blues Brothers, was co-star of The Robert Cray Band and sang and toured with Roomful Of Blues. He released his first of eight solo albums in 1991, hitting the road hard year after year. Salgado and his band toured with The Steve Miller Band and Curtis spent a summer singing with Santana before being sidelined by serious health issues in 2006. He battled all the way back, and, after a full and complete recovery, has been tearing up concert stages all over the country.

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Damon Fowler

On the strength of his hybrid of roots rock, blues, and sacred steel, the Florida native started wowing audiences with his musical exploits as a teenager, building a reputation as one of the hottest young players on the scene. Adding songwriting and vocal skills to his repertoire over the years has brought him many accolades, with critics extolling his originality and maturity as well as his technical guitar expertise. Creative Loafing magazine named him "Best Guitarist... And Slide Guitarist... and Lap Steel Player... And Dobro Player." Fowler's guitar work has been compared to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, while his slide guitar has a hint of the late Duane Allman. He can play fiery guitar runs with the best of them, but it's his lyrical work on lap steel and Dobro that makes him stand out among the legions of guitar heroes.

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Dan Sinasac Band

Dan Sinasac is a singer/songwriter with a passion for soulful, funky rhythm and blues. Growing up across the river from Detroit, his musical stylings were influenced by the sounds churning out of the motor city. A master on the Hammond B3 Organ, Dan's ability to connect with his audience has made him a favourite on the Edmonton music scene. His latest release, the double disk Street Corner History, represents a lifetime of original material, both electric and acoustic. The album won the Edmonton Blues Society's "Best Self Produced CD" in 2015 and represented Edmonton at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

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Ferdi B Blues Project

The Ferdi B. Blues Project (the Project), created in early 2015, is comprised of five highly experienced Blues musicians/aficionados, based in the Calgary area. Each with over 40 years in the music industry, the Project is a unit that is uncompromisingly tight, well balanced, fluid, energetic and produce a unique driving style of urban Blues. The Project features Dawni Martens (lead vocals), George Phillip (bass & vocals), Ray Montana (guitar & vocals), Mike Woodford (drums), and Ferdinand Brathwaite (organ & piano).

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Front Porch Roots Revue

Front Porch Roots Revue, formed by bassist Ron Rault, harmonica player David "Crawdad" Cantera, guitarist Gord Matthews and drummer Thom Moon, has seen the acclaimed musical troupe playing dates across Alberta and B.C. One could hear Front Porch five times in a month and not hear the same show, with their work transcending genres, styles and repertoire. One thing that remains consistent is the peerless musicianship and accessibility of their music, there is something for virtually every audience member no matter where they play.

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Geoff Muldaur

Geoff Muldaur is one of the great voices and musical forces to emerge from the folk, blues and folk-rock scenes centered in Cambridge, MA and Woodstock, NY. During the 1960s and '70s, Geoff made a series of highly influential recordings as a founding member of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and the Paul Butterfield's Better Days group, as well as collaborations with then-wife Maria and other notables (Bonnie Raitt, Eric Von Schmidt, Jerry Garcia, etc.). He composed scores for film and television, and produced off-beat albums for the likes of Lenny Pickett and the Borneo Horns and the Richard Greene String Quartet. Geoff's definitive recording of "Brazil' provided the seed for, and was featured in, Terry Gilliam's film of the same title. Geoff will perform with Calgary guitar legend, Amos Garrett for this very special performance.

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Jarekus Singleton Blues Band

"High-energy, rock-tinged and tough... a winning blend of modern-day blues and emotionally intense soul with melodic, hot-toned lead guitar, funk-seasoned rhythms and hip-hop flavored lyrics. Singleton creates unpredictable and challenging music that sounds both firmly rooted in blues tradition and fearlessly dedicated to breaking boundaries and blazing new paths." --Living Blues

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.

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JP Soars & the Red Hots

1st Place 2009 International Blues Challenge & Albert King Award Winner

Guitarist and vocalist JP Soars has channeled uncommon influences into a signature sound, with his background performing/recording with metal bands melding with the Gypsy Jazz he performs in solo and duo settings. In 2009, Soars' unique approach paid off as he and his trio The Red Hots defeated bands from around the world to win the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. Soars also won the Albert King Award for most promising guitarist. The group then channeled the excitement of that victory into its 2011 sophomore CD release, More Bees With Honey, which garnered Soars a Blues Music Award nomination for "Best Contemporary Male Blues Artist of the Year," and was named both "Best Blues CD" and "Album of the Year" by the Palm Beach Post.

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Kelley Hunt

These days it's rare when a blues-based artist shows up with both tradition and true originality on their side. Roots R&B / Americana singer / songwriter / piano player KELLEY HUNT is just such an artist -- a woman who has muscled her way onto the scene on her own terms with an identity that is clearly steeped in blues/roots/gospel but reaches out toward refreshingly unexpected horizons. That freshness together with a commanding, passionate stage presence and superior skills as a vocalist, piano player and writer have earned Kelley the respect of critics and fans across the country.

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Michelle Baker

Singing the Blues Vocal Camp Selection for 2015, Michelle Baker has a budding solo career and also spends time songwriting. A multi-instrumentalist, Michelle also performs with the 3 piece band, Across the Sound. Michelle has also sung back-up vocals for McKinley Matters and Deanna Dubbin.

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Mike Little

One of the most sought after and diverse session musicians in Canada, Mike is a ten time CCMA nominee for Keyboard Player Of The Year and has played on over 20 top 40 Canadian singles. While known for being a veteran real deal Hammond B3 organist, Mike is well-versed in all things keyboards. As well as being a prolific studio musician and songwriter, Mike has spent over 20 years on the road backing up some of the biggest names in Canadian Music and has a number of accolades to his credit.

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Peter Fisher Band

Peter Fisher began playing sax and 17, and moved to Chicago to hone his skills with Eddie Burks & the Delta Blues band. He recorded and traveled with Eddie throughout the U.S. and Canada, playing clubs such as BB King's in Memphis and festivals such as Crossroads Festival in Mississippi, Mt. Tremblant, the Maxim Blues Fest. Peter' recorded three CDs of his own, Nothing Nice (19960, I-90 Boogie (2000), and Hurricane Blues (2009), which features the late, great Johnny V.

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Selwyn Birchwood

Selwyn Birchwood, Florida's rising young blues fireball, is a guitar and lap-steel-playing bundle of pure energy. He delivers his original songs with a revival tent preacher#39;s fervor and a natural storyteller's charisma made all the more impactful by his raw, unvarnished vocals. Birchwood plays high-octane blues - at once deeply rooted, funky and up-to-the-minute - with true passion and honest emotion. In 2013, Birchwood won the International Blues Challenge, beating out 125 other bands from the U.S. and abroad. He also took home the Albert King Guitarist Of The Year Award. It wasn't long before Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer offered Birchwood a contract.

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Steve Pineo's Mardi Gras Band

Steve learned his blues at the feet of the masters. He started haunting the fabled King Edward Hotel while still a teenager in 1986 and has shared the stage with the likes of James Cotton, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, The Sons of Blues, Eddie Shaw and the Wolf Gang, Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, Big Dave McLean, Brent Parkin and Alberta's own Amos Garrett. From the beginning, his repertoire was renowned for its breadth and depth. He covered songs by Johnnie "Guitar" Watson and Wolfman Washington, from Jimmie Johnson to Lonnie Brooks, as well as the classics by Willie Dixon, B.B. King and scores of others. Steve"s original forays into songwriting were reworkings of blues classics that had morphed into his own creations.

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Sugar Blue

"... the man who took Little Walter's innovations on that same instrument clear into the stratosphere" - TIME OUT CHICAGO

"... one of the foremost harmonica players of our times" - ROLLING STONE

Sugar Blue is known as the Jimi Hendrix and Charlie Parker of the harmonica for his astonishing technical mastery. His style is melodically fluid, instantly recognizable for its soaring trills, flamboyant flourishes and swooping glissandos that bring the tiny dynamo's remarkable sonic and emotional range to life. He made his first recordings in the mid 1970s with pioneering blues figures Brownie McGhee, Roosevelt Sykes, Victoria Spivey and Johnny Shines. He moved to Paris, France where he met the Rolling Stones, who used his unmistakable sound on three of their albums, including their '78 platinum disco hit ""Miss You". He toured with Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All Stars, formed his own band and won a Grammy in 1985 for his contribution to the album Blues Explosion. He also played on Willie Dixon's Grammy winning album, Hidden Charms, in 1989.

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Tas Cru & His Band of Tortured Souls

2014 Keeping the Blues Alive Award Recipient

Raucous, rowdy, gentle, sweet, eccentric, quirky, and outright irreverent are all words that fittingly describe Tas Cru's songs and testify to his reputation as a one of the most unique of bluesmen plying his trade today. It's not for nothing that Cru has received wide praise for his songwriting. As Downbeat magazine notes,'His songs are blues poetry - crafted with rare verbal flair and his ability to cast a memorable hook is magical!' Live, these songs are performed with power and passion as observed by Living Blues magazine, 'The vivacity and sheer joy with which Cru plays is intoxicating!'

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The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer

Armed with an arsenal of harmonicas, a mess of foot percussion, and a road-worn Telecaster, the duo kick out raw and primal blues in the tradition of a 'decades-deep blues style' (Scott Brown, What's up Yukon), while infusing the genre with a jolt of renewed energy. Their memorable name is inspired by a lyric from Kris Kristofferson's 'Bobby McGee' that references the blues harp, ("I took my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana") and 'axe', a common term for the guitar. Their sound is distinctly their own, smothered in greasy, gritty soul and imbued with funk. Shawn Hall provides the rousing, rugged vocals and blues harmonica, while Matthew Rogers rips on the guitar and pounds the skins with his feet.

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The Mercurians

Based in Calgary, AB, the Mercurians are comprised of four talented musicians who are well-known on the local scene. Each winners in the 2015 CBMA Awards, guitarist Brett Spaulding, bassist Curtis Cripps, keyboard man Corbie Dorner and drummer Kent MacRae were selected by the public in the online vote as their favourite musicians. Together their sound is authentic blues-rock and they've been making a splash in clubs around the city.

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The Suburbans

The inaugural KLM Youth Hour features The Suburbans are a talented group of young men who are quickly becoming known to Calgary audiences for their tasty blend of Rock & Roll with a blues backbone. Mentored by Calgary keyboard giant Mike Little, The Suburban's debut festival performance is sponsored by KLM Music.

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Vasti Jackson

"Vasti Jackson is a force to be reckoned with in the world of the Blues. As an artist, Vasti is known for sweat-drenched, soul-ripping performances marked by some of the most stunning and innovative guitar playing in Blues today. Always on the move, Vasti's fiery guitar work and stellar vocals leave a lasting impression on all that are lucky enough to see him."
Marc Stone - Off Beat

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Vernon Wills Band

Singer/songwriter/producer/engineer and multi-instrumentalist Vernon Wills is a familiar face on the Calgary scene, although his background in the music industry has a wide reach and a lengthy list of credits. Vernon grew up in the west, performing with such legendary Canadian bands as Willie & the Walkers, Fosterchild and many more. Vernon is a stable on the blues scene here in Calgary and has released one critically acclaimed album under the name of V & the Wholly Cats, A Little Taste. Another much anticipated recording project is in the works.

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Walter "Wolfman" Washington & the Roadmasters

Walter "Wolfman" Washington was nominated by Offbeat Magazine for 4 awards in the Best Blues Performer, Best R&B/Funk Artist and Best Guitarist, and for Living Blues Awards in the categories of Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) and Best Live Performer. An icon on the New Orleans music scene for decades, Washington's searing guitar work and soulful vocals have defined the Crescent City's unique musical hybrid of R&B, funk and the blues since he formed his first band in the 1970s.

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Wicked Grin

Murray Kinsley and Wicked Grin have been rockin' festivals and clubs throughout Ontario and Western Canada with their distinctive hard-driving, in-your-face performances: full-tilt blues with a groove that just won't quit. Winners of the 2014 Maple Blues Award for New Artist or Group of the Year, represented the Ottawa Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January, played the Ottawa Bluesfest, Kitchener Bluesfest, Calabogie Blues & Ribfest and Kingston Blues Festival, toured Western Canada and was runner-up in the Toronto Blues Society's 2014 Talent Search.

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