Countdown to 2018
Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest






Ramada Hotel Downtown
Calgary Bluesfest Host Hotel
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The Blues Foundation










2016 Calgary Bluesfest Artists





24th St Wailers

Experienced, road-tested and tougher than a two by four, The 24th Street Wailers are five musicians whose major influence are the sounds from the freewheeling period in the '40s and '50s when the Blues gave birth to Rock and Roll and 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. Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd heralded the band as a "21st upgrade to jump and jive". Their second release, WHERE EVIL GROWS (2015) further cemented the band's reputation as one of the best Blues acts to bring a much needed high energy Rock n' Roll approach to the game.

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Albert Cummings

"The blues is best served up live, with an enthusiastic audience and a killin' band, and that's exactly what guitarist Albert Cummings does... 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."
- Guitar Edge Magazine

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Alex Zayas

Guitarist Alex Zayas has been burning up stages from his home in Barcelona, Spain, across Europe, in Chicago at such prestigious venues as Buddy Guy', and here in Calgary, where is loved by all. Alex will be appearing with Chicago legend Slam Allen.

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Alittle Voodoo

Alittle Voodoo is led by frontman and guitar mauler, Ron Burke. Likened to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter, Ron's blistering guitar chops and gritty vocal partnered with his steamroller guitar playing won't let you believe you are hearing a 3 piece band. In 1994, the band was recognized with Best Band of the Year, with Ron also taking the honours as Best Male Vocalist and Best Guitar Player at the CJ92 awards. Bassist Tom Knowles, who began playing with the late, great Long John Baldry, has also shared the stage with other music legends such as Jimmy Page, Tom Jones, Crowbar, Kathi McDonald, and Blue Cheer. Rob Vulic fills out the trio on drums and the multiple Juno winning producer and co-writer of much of the latest album, Russell Broom joins the band every chance he can!

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Brandon Santini

2016 Blues Music Award Nominee
Contemporary Blues Male Artist AND Instrumentalist - Harmonica

There are many different opinions as to what the future of the blues harmonica will be. Memphis vocalist and harmonica player Brandon Santini is undeniably a worthy player to keep an eye on as the latest surge of young blues artists leave their footprint in blues history. His name is worthy of conversations that include James Cotton, Kim Wilson, Dennis Gruenling, Charlie Musselwhite and other frontline harmonica players by combining his love and respect for traditional blues with a present, colorful style of playing that is often compared to James Cotton or Paul Butterfield.

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Chet DeFreese

Chet DeFreese is a songwriter and musician from the parched prairies of Southern Alberta. Over the years he has explored many genres of North American folk music from jazz to outlaw country all tied together with his gritty blues guitar stylings. Chet makes his festival debut right here in Calgary.

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Conor Gains & The Ramblin' Moon

At the tender age of eight he found the inspiration that would shape his life, at twelve he was performing at music venues, at fourteen he was ripping off some exceptional guitar leads at a festival, and at 16, was invited on stage and played with, Les Paul at the Iridium Jazz Club. Conor Gains is quickly establishing himself as one of Canada's most recognized Blues guitar players. In 2015, he captured the Cobalt Prize for his impressive songwriting skills. It would be safe to say that anyone who has their finger on the pulse of the Canadian Blues scene has heard about Gains.

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Dan Doiron Band

Dan Doiron is a blazing spitfire guitarist with a six-string wall of sound, who combines traditional and modern guitar influences with lyrics reflecting his views on everyday life. Dan Doiron has been addicted to the raw energy of the electric guitar since he formed his first band at age 13 in Port Hood, Cape Breton. For over 20 years has been a mainstay in the music industry in Atlantic Canada as a musician, music educator,(B.MUS.Ed from Dalhousie University with a major in classical guitar), National guitar clinician and recording engineer.

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Debra Power

International Blues Challenge Semi-Finalist 2016, WCMA Nominee Blues Artist of the Year 2016

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. Winner of the Keyboard Player of the Year at the 2014 CBMA Awards, Debra was a Semi-Finalist at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, and in 2016, released her debut CD, Even Redheads Get the Blues.

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Harrison Kennedy

Hamilton, Ontario, may seem an unlikely blues enclave, but award winning musician and composer Harrison Kennedy has always made the locale work for him. No less than B.B. King has hailed Kennedy as Canada's premier blues performer. Based for decades in this port and industrial centre on Lake Ontario, the 60 something vocalist-guitarist is moving south of the border with a distinctive new album, One Dog Barkin Blues (Electro-Fi).

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Jake Chisholm Band

Veteran Toronto guitarist and front man Jake Chisholm' signature style is that of deep blues and raw, hard-hitting guitar. This is true grit power trio blues; no put ons and no punches pulled, just a powerful and sincerely creative musical performance. Chisholm has been an in demand guitar player and singer on the Canadian blues scene since forming the popular jump blues band Jake & the Blue Midnights, and is also a busy sideman, backing up the likes of Paul Reddick, Raoul and the Big Time, Billy Branch, Billy Boy Arnold, Julian Fauth and Jerome Godboo, to name a few. He is also the guitar player in "Life Death and The Blues," a theatre production written by Raoul Bhaneja.

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Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen

New Orleans funk master Jon Cleary is equally renowned around the globe as an accomplished keyboardist and guitarist, and a deeply soulful vocalist. While thoroughly steeped in the classic Crescent City keyboard canon - from Jelly Roll Morton to Fats Domino to Art Neville, James Booker, and beyond - Cleary uses that century's worth of pianistic brilliance as a point of departure to forge his own unique and eclectic style. In 2016, Jon's album GoGo Juice won the Grammy Award in the "Best Regional Roots Album" category.

Read More Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen

 





Lazer Lloyd

Lazer Lloyd is a genre-defying singer/songwriter and virtuoso guitarist whose self-titled CD on Chicago's Lots of Love Records was the #3 blues rock album of 2015. Whether smoking hot or meditative, Lloyd's unique style is forged through the white-hot furnace of his three insatiable loves: songwriting, guitar, and communicating with the audience. At the core he notes is, "Blues, roots rock, folk, it's real; it's about everyone's life story and it heals."

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Mike Zito & the Wheel

On "The Road Never Ends," the second track of Mike Zito's latest CD, Gone to Texas, he cranks things into the stratosphere with a sonic blast of electric slide guitar and blistering vocals, accompanied on vocals and harmonica by the great Delbert McClinton. Also along for the ride on his label debut solo CD for Ruf Records are special guests Sonny Landreth on guitar, Susan Cowsill on vocals and Lewis Stephens (Delbert McClinton, Freddie King) on keyboards. Zito expertly matches them with his core band, The Wheel: Jimmy Carpenter (sax and guitars); Rob Lee (drums); and Scot Sutherland (bass). The result effectively announces one of the most exciting and highly-anticipated new releases of the year.

Read More Mike Zito & the Wheel

 





MonkeyJunk

Legendary delta bluesman Son House spoke about a passion for his music and was quoted as saying "I'm talkin' 'bout the blues...I ain't talkin' 'bout monkey junk!" MonkeyJunk is a band that draws heavily on the legends of the blues and translates that influence into a contemporary blend of swamp R&B, soul boogie and bedroom funk. This triple threat trio comprised of Steve Marriner, Tony D and Matt Sobb draws on almost 60 years of combined experience playing blues live and in studio...and it shows. For this festival performance, MonkeyJunk is joined by Canadian guitar giant Paul Reddick.

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Paul Reddick

Melding poetry, mystery, darkness and light, along with an extensive knowledge of the history and traditions of blues music is what makes Paul Reddick on of the most popular figures on the blues and roots music scene today. For over 25 years he's been writing and performing his eclectic brand of blues, bringing the art form to new frontiers with his rapacious, deep vocals, masterful harmonica playing and song writing. As the unofficial poet laureate of Canadian blues, words are his weapon of choice and when he sings, it is near impossible not to listen and get lost within the songs, right alongside him and illustrating what the influential British magazine Mojo described as his "wayward brilliance."

Read More Paul Reddick

 





Roomful of Blues

Even though Roomful of Blues' lineup has changed over the years, the band has always been one of the tightest, most joyful blues ensembles in the world. According to DownBeat magazine, Roomful of Blues "are in a class by themselves." With their masterful combination of jumping, horn-heavy, hard-edged blues and R&B, since 1967, the group has earned five Grammy Award nominations and a slew of other accolades, including seven Blues Music Awards. With a non-stop performance schedule for over 45 years, Roomful of Blues has earned critical, popular and radio success and a legion of fans around the globe.

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Rooster Davis Group

Based on the piano traditions of New Orleans; a fun, danceable mix of blues, jazz, and New Orleans folk, Rooster's music has bounce and drive and is as much fun for the audience as it is for the musicians to play. Rooster's philosophy is to deliver an energetic performance with a high level of musicianship and respect for the authentic New Orleans piano tradition, and as a result has been successful in all types of venues from folk to jazz and blues. Rooster Davis Group were semi-finalists at the 2016 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Shemekia Copeland

Whether she's belting out a raucous blues-rocker, firing up a blistering soul-shouter, bringing the spirit to a gospel-fueled R&B rave-up or digging deep down into a subtle, country-tinged ballad, Shemekia Copeland sounds like no one else. With a voice that is alternately sultry, assertive and roaring, Shemekia's wide-open vision of contemporary blues, roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with a modern musical and lyrical approach.

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Slam Allen

Guitar, vocals and co-writer of 2 songs for the Grammy nominated CD, Giant, by James Cotton. New York State Hall of Fame Master Musician Inductee. First full-time soul/blues artists to headline on a major cruise line. Nine years as bandleader, lead vocalist & lead guitarist with blues legend James Cotton. 2016 Blues Music Award nominee for Best New CD By A New Artist for his latest release, Feel These Blues. This is Slam Allen!

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Tinsley Ellis

Southern blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis may speak no evil, but he sings and plays with the conviction of, as Billboard wrote, "...a man possessed." Over the course of 11 albums and literally thousands of live performances, Ellis easily ranks as one of today's most electrifying blues-rock guitarists and vocalists. He attacks his music with rock power and blues feeling, in the same tradition as his Deep South musical heroes Duane Allman and Freddie King and his old friends Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes. Atlanta Magazine declared Ellis "the most significant blues artist to emerge from Atlanta since Blind Willie McTell."

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Troy Turner

Louisiana born Troy Turner, "Guitar Burner", has recently made Canada home. Turner combines the future of the blues with a traditional spirit. Hes been said to encompass the sounds of B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Prince in his singular and identifiable style. That's a "Whole Lotta Blues."

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Troy Turner

Louisiana born Troy Turner, "Guitar Burner", has recently made Canada home. Turner combines the future of the blues with a traditional spirit. Hes been said to encompass the sounds of B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Prince in his singular and identifiable style. That's a "Whole Lotta Blues."

Read More Troy Turner

 





Vernon Wills Band

With a brand new CD, Elbow Room hot off the press, Vernon Wills will be appearing at Olympic Plaza on Wednesday, July 27th to tear up the stage for a special noon hour performance.

Read More Vernon Wills

 





Zac Harmon Band

Zac Harmon is an award-winning guitarist, organist, singer, and songwriter whose distinctive style combines the best of old-school soul-blues artists with modern lyrics and themes that bring the blues into a new century. His new Blind Pig CD, Right Man Right Now, is contemporary music that proves just how alive and relevant the blues is today.

Read More Zac Harmon