Countdown to 2018
Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest






Ramada Hotel Downtown
Calgary Bluesfest Host Hotel
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The Blues Foundation











2006 Festival Artists
  Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King
"Kubek and King have concocted a rare blend of hot guitars and cool savvy"

Texas comes alive with the sound of authentic blues as Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King rock the crowd. Joe Kubek earned the nickname "Smokin" for his flame-throwing chops and stinging power & drive. During the 1970's and early 80's Joe played with Stevie Ray Vaughan and the three Kings, B. B., Albert and Freddie, among the many greats he's shared the stage with over the years. Teaming with jazz guitarist and singer Bnois King of Louisiana in 1989, Kubek and King are a study in opposites. Kubek explodes on stage with a blazing blues/rock style born from the guitar traditions of Texas, while King finesses fat chords with a hollow body Gibson and belts out blues with his whisper-to-growl voice, his sound rooted in the jazz tradition of Louisiana. Together Kubek and King have built a reputation as one of the baddest-ass blues bands in the land.




  Zora Young
"Her rough-edged croon can raise welts or love bumps. She has the versatility to strut comfortably from back-alley funk to uptown jump sophistication."

Despite the prominent presence of celebrated blues artist Howlin' Wolf in her family tree, singer Zora Young grew up singing gospel. She later switched to R&B, evolving into a powerhouse blues vocalist with three decades of experience. Performing and recording with such legends as Junior Wells, Jimmy Dawkins, Bobby Rush, Buddy Guy, Albert King, B.B. King, Willie Dixon, and Maurice John Vaughn among the many, Zora has toured Europe more than 30 times, as well as Asia and the Middle East.




  Dale Spalding
"rich toned harmonica style and a funky gumbo of feels... a must see show!"

Harmonica player, singer, and guitarist Dale Spalding learned the blues from the masters, when fresh out of high school he studied with the legendary Sonny Terry, who soon introduced him to the musicians that shaped the sound of modern blues--Lightnin' Hopkins, Brownie McGhee, Big Walter Horton and Willie Dixon. Dale plays a funky mix, and has shared the stage with such blues & R&B legends as Otis Rush, Doug MacLeod, and Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, famed jazz pianist Duke Burrell (Louis Jordan Band), and Hawaiian superstar guitarist Willie K, among the many. In 2000, the great Latin jazz band leader & percussionist Poncho Sanchez invited Dale to blend his funky gumbo with Pancho's Latin rhythms, pioneering a new sound. The resulting two Sanchez CD's feature Dale's vocals and harmonica, and includes Dale's harmonica performance with the legendary Ray Charles for his famous "Maryanne". Dale was living in New Orleans, where he was frequently heard with friends and local giants such as the Iguanas and Snooks Eaglin, when he became one of the unfortunate millions left homeless by the Katrina disaster. He has since relocated to Austin, and when he's not performing there, tours regularly with Pancho, and travels often to his native L.A. to appear with his own band.




  Amos Garrett & The Eh! Team
Amos Garrett any not be in the public eye like, say, Stevie Wonder or Bonnie Raitt or Maria Muldaur, but he's recorded with all of 'em, and close to 200 more. He's been playing for more than 40 years - and his list of credits is extensive. He took part in sessions for Anne Murray, went on the road with Ian and Sylvia and the Great Speckled Bird, played the classic solo on Maria Muldaur's "Midnight at the Oasis" and was her bandleader for six years, was a member of Paul Butterfield's legendary band Better Days, and won a Juno Award for his work on a classic Stony Plain album called "The Return of the Formerly Brothers" with the late Doug Sahm and pianist Gene Taylor. The "A" Within the last year, there was a made-for-TV film shoot, a tour of France (and Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium), back to Canada for his Kaos Blues Festival appearance in 2005, a tour of Britain in the fall, and a trek through Ontario. The "A" Team is: Amos Garrett (guitar, vocals), Ron Casat (piano, vocals), Brian Pollack (bass), Tom Moon (drums)




  Big Dave McLean
For over thirty years, singer-songwriter Big Dave McLean has been delivering classic blues with his authentic, raw sound and growling low-down vocals, touring clubs and festivals across the nation. When it comes to the blues, McLean's heart firmly beats to the ghosts of the delta greats- especially the incomparable Muddy Waters, with whom he toured over two decades ago. The multiple award-winner recently released two new CD's, one with Colin James & his band, the other an acoustic blues duo with Tim Williams.




  Tim James Band
Beltline Blues Festival mainstage is the first "Tim James Band" appearance since Tim returned to Calgary after a year of teaching on the east coast. With his band featuring Mike Little (keys), Curtis Cripps (bass), and Kent Mcrae (drums), he will be playing some new originals, songs from his first album, Upside Down & Backwards, and some old favorites. With styles ranging from straight-up blues to funk, and even a little jazz, this is a group not to miss!




  Brickhouse
"where sights, smells and sounds are tossed on a groove and served on a platter."

Vancouver's hippest blues/funk
/groove band, Brickhouse is a six-piece group that is positively famous as the house band at the Yale Hotel. The six piece group has inspired fans to hum, sing, and even live their songs for over a dozen years with their list of original material that rivals the number of keys on a full size piano! Funky & tight, this band attracts dancers! Rob Bracken (vocal, harmonica), Ray Keesh (bass). Ed Johnson (drums, percussion, Oldrich (OZ) Zitek (sax, vocal), Tim Porter (guitar, vocal), Darryl Havers (Hammond organ, keyboards, vocal) www.brickhousetheband.com




  Johnny Winter
"plays like his arms are on fire"

Blues veteran Johnny Winter has been a guitar hero for over 30 years, laying out the blueprint for fans discovering the blues via the likes of Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton during the 1960's. Constantly shifting between simple country blues in the vein of Robert Johnson, to all-out electric slide guitar blues/rock, Johnny has always been one of the most respected singers and guitar players in rock, and the clear link between British blues/rock and American Southern rock (a la the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.) His recent Grammy nominated "I'm A Bluesman" disc Virgin/EMI, has only added to his Texas-sized reputation. www.johnnywinter.net




  Wes Mackey
In a career that now spans over 4 decades, Wes Mackey has gone from performing in the juke joints of Georgia to Five Star venues around the world, and now makes his home in Vancouver. Born in South Carolina and mentored on guitar by seasoned players of the deep South, Wes carried on to play in bands backing greats such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed. Known for his earthy, swingin' blues, his signature sound includes his use of foot bass pedals, showcasing his ultra-smooth vocal and lush guitar style.




  Johnny V
"The True Heavyweight Champion of the Great Blues North"

No Canadian blues festival would be complete without multiple award-winning guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Johnny V. Known as Alberta's unofficial Blues Ambassador, Johnny V has more than 35 years in the business performing throughout Canada, the US, Europe, and South America, and recording with many of the industry's finest artists including King Biscuit Boy, Reverend Terry House, Amos Garrett, and Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater. He was featured in a segment of the television series "Bluesman," which saw repeated airplay on Bravo (Canada) and BET (USA), and his original compositions have captured him a Juno Award for "I Need a Woman," and television profile with " I Ain't Lying" (Northern Exposure), and "Lost Love" (The Chris Isaak Show, Da Vinci's Inquest). Johnny released his third solo album "Agonostically Eclectic" in 2005.




  Richie Pollack
Richie Pollack is considered Calgary's "cross-harp ambassador," known to audiences here through his years of fronting such bands as The Jump Daddies and the Real Deal, and his appearances on recordings by Donald Ray Johnson and Mike Clark, among the many. Having recently released his first solo effort "Stew," Richie is ready to take it to the street and spread the gopsel of harmonica. Join Richie and his band including Ralf Buschmeyer (guitar), Kodi Hutchinson (bass) and Saul Moore(drums) for a free concert at Olympic Plaza for the Brown Bag Lunch Series, Wednesday June 21 at noon.




  Sonny Rhodes
"I've got fast blues, slow blues, blues in between, up blues, down blues and blues kinda mean"

Performing 250 shows a year, Sonny Rhodes is one of the hardest working performers in America, and a self-proclaimed Disciple of the Blues. His Texas roots are alive in his sound,(he worked with Albert Collins and Freddie King as a young man) and his gritty, passionate vocals, but he is most renowned for his unique lap steel playing. Over the last 37 years he has recorded over two hundred songs, and is the consummate showman, as recognized by his trademark turban, white patent leather shoes, and flashy suits. www.sonnyrhodes.com




  Ron Casat
Ron Casat has been involved in the Canadian and indeed the global music community as a performer, composer, arranger and producer since 1967. An early exposure to the music played by family and friends in southwestern Saskatchewan has led to a career rich and diverse in musical experience. Ron has produced such artists as James Keelaghan, Diamond Joe White, and most recently the world beat sounds of the Rembetica Hipsters. His album credits include work with Amos Garrett, Maria Muldaur, Oscar Lopez, And The Cold Club of Canada. As a composer, Casats' work has been featured on dozens of CBC radio dramas, The Lunchbox Theatres' Production of Dunvegans' Cross, Wildcats! A History of Alberta's Oil Patch, and The Center of the World - a Plains Journey by poet Murdoch Burnett. Ron is looking forward to the pleasure of working with dear friends Jackie Richardson, Tim Williams, and John Cooper on what promises to be a memorable production of Big Mama The Willie Mae Thornton Story.




  Jimmy Payne & His All Star Blues Band
Drummer Jimmy Payne was born in Barbados, where he began his career as a drummer playing in a steel band. After making a pit stop in New York where he performed with top name jazz & blues artists such as Cornell Durpree and King Curtis, he settled in Canada. In the years he's made Calgary his home, Jimmy has performed with a host of legends including Otis Rush, Robert Lockwood Jr., Spencer Davis, Little Milton, Pinetop Perkins, and John Hammond, among the many. Generally considered one of the best blues drummers in Alberta, he's also won the "Real Blues" Award (1997) for"Best Drummer in Canada." Jimmy has a large and faithful following, and returns to our festival mainstage with his All Star Band of guitarist/vocalist Brother Ray Lemelin, and bassist Glen Yorga (bass).




  Come On In My Kitchen
"Foot stompin' down home blues"

Guitar whiz Mark Sterling calls on friends and fellow bluesmen Dave "Crawdad" Cantera (harmonica) and Ron Rault (bass) to help him serve up some of the best acoustic delta blues to be found in this country. Dig in as they cook the classics with their spontaneous recipe and fold spicy originals into the tasty mix.




  Jerry Doucette Band
"Mama Let Him Play"

Jerry Doucette's very first album in 1977 "Mama Let Him Play" went platinum. He hit the road opening for the likes of Bob Welch, Bob Weir (of the Grateful Dead), Eddie Money, and MeatLoaf, building a huge fan following. His second album "The Deuce is Loose" earned him gold record and sent across America twice, touring with such acts as the Beach Boys, Atlanta Rhythm Section, and the Doobie Brothers. He has since released two more critically acclaimed records and a CDROM. Doucette continues to tour regularly, presenting his fans with a blend of energized traditional blues and his classic rock/blues originals. Jerry Doucette (guitar), Doug Elliot (bass), Marco Ibarra (drums), Paul Kaip (guitar) www.jerrydoucette.ca




  Fathead
"Crowd pleasing stuff with plenty of snap, crackle and punch."

Call it Blues, call it R&B, call it what you want, feel-good music is what Fathead is all about! The multiple-award winning group's distinctive sound is a mix of originals and covers anchored in traditional urban Blues, Soul, and old school R&B. you'll clap your hands, snap your fingers, and shake your hips! John Mays (vocals), Al Lerman (harp, sax), Teddy Leonard (guitar), Omar Tunnoch (bass), Hayden Vialva (drums) www.fathead.biz




  Big Time Sarah
"this is modern electric blues at its sweaty, steamy best"

Chicago barnstormer Big Time Sarah has been a sure-fire draw and festival show-stealer with her powerful, commanding vocal style and contemporary blues sound electrifying audiences throughout the U.S. This is modern electric blues at its sweaty, steamy best. Sarah has worked with Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Johnny Bernard and Sunnyland Slim, but has a solid solo career.




  Jimmy Dawkins
"if you like your blues raw and wild, this is a lean, mean, stripped down sound"

Guitarist Jimmy Dawkins is a Chicago institution, and one of the creators of theWest Side sound. He has recorded nearly two-dozen albums of his own, recorded countless others, and started his own Label, Leric Music. Dawkins has toured extensively, appearing in concerts and festivals throughout Europe, Japan, and South Africa, and has been recognized with multiple honours including 3 nominations for the W.C. Handy Awards, and earned the "Hot Club du France" "Prix du Jazz" and the "Big Bill Broonzy Award".




  Kathi McDonald
Singer Kathi McDonald is one of the most in-demand duet and back-up singers in the business today. With a career spanning more than thirty years kicked off in high gear when she met Ike and Tina Turner and snagged a spot with the Ikettes, Kathi has performed and recorded with such giants as the Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, and Leon Russell. She also spent over two decades recording and performing with the late blues legend Long John Baldry.




  Maurice John Vaughn
"up to the minute urban blues"

Echoes of Albert King, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker and B.B. King can be heard in Vaughn's unique guitar style. He as performed, toured and recorded with top Chicago blues talents such as Luther Allison, Son Seals, and A.C. Reed among many. Vaughn writes up-to-the-minute urban blues songs, and performs them in a close rapport with the audience. His innovative songs, passionate singing, blistering guitar playing and romping saxophone mark this true blues original.




  Dill Dowey & The Blues Devils
"a powerful and heartfelt voice, a searing slide guitar tone, and a tour bus full of experience"

Bill Dowey one of the most convincing and dedicated blues artists in Canada, and his group The Blues Devils are a perennial favourite among blues fans. Dowey has performed locally and toured internationally with an impressive list of greats including Jethro Tull, John Hammond, the Neville Brothers, Buddy Guy, Jeff Healey and Colin James. The Blues Devils: Brad Carter (drums), Richard Kowalewski (bass), Christine Davis (vocals),Dylan MacDonald (harmonica), Paul Finn (guitar)




  Jack Semple
Award-winning guitar player and singer Jack Semple astonishes crowds everywhere he plays with his virtuosity (he's considered a guitar player's guitar player), his unparalleled feeling, and technical wizardry. Not to mention Jack has a set of pipes that are smooth as silk and as raw and jagged as rocks cutting through an ocean shoreline! Semple has played and sung his way from Vancouver to Montreux, and has shared the stage with a wide range of artists including Martha Reeves, Danny Gatton and k.d. Lang. He has won a Juno Award, taken the top prize in Much Music's 1992 "Guitar Wars," and recently received a Western Canadian Music Award for his latest solo release. With six cd's to his credit, Jack defies categorization as his music ranges from acoustic jazz to groove laden funk to hard rockin' blues.




  Blue Rhino Band
"Outrageous Rhythm & Blues!"

With two front men, four singers, a fat horn section and a funky bottom end, Blue RHINO reinterprets R & B, soul, and funk standards with only one rule... if it isn't fun. they don't play it! Blue RHINO: André Patterson (vocal, trombone), Russell Emerson (guitar, vocal), Bruce Lovstrom (drums, vocal), John Leimseider (keyboards), Rob Young (vocal, percussion), Rodney Hunter (bass), Pete Fischer (tenor sax)




  Auntie Kate & the Uncles of Funk
"Victoria's undisputed Queen of the Blues"

Auntie Kate hits the stage like a barely controlled force of nature, rocking and kicking out blues with a style all her own. Outfitted with dark glasses, and with her unabashed stage presence and her powerful hard edged blues vocals, Auntie Kate takes command of her audiences. Guitarist Tom Bowler, her musical partner & guitarist, roots the Uncles of Funk with his uncluttered funky rhythm and searing blues licks. Tommy Knowles (bass) is a stalwart of the Calgary blues scene, & played for years in Long John Baldry's band. Ron Casat, Calgary's resident keyboards genius, has played with Amos Garrett, Ian Tyson, and just about every recording artist in Alberta. Drummer Lawry Rugg has been an 'Uncle' for 5 years.




  BluesSmyth
"Building Rock and Soul on a Blues Foundation"

Calgary's Bluessmyth plays solid blues painted with gold by rock and hidden gospel, a fresh blend of music. Brothers Jason (bass), and Chris Yaholkoskis (guitar, vocal, harmonica) join drummer & Bluessmyth founder Calvin Beckers, to create their sultry, Mississippi-soaked sound.




  Gary Martin & the Heavenly Blues Band
"Rockin' Alberta Blues"

Calgary based guitarist Gary Martin has been performing for over 35 years. Taught by the veterans of the "Howlin Wolf camp" and notables such as Sam Lay, Little Milton, and Jimmy Johnson, he went on to perform with such artists as Pinetop Perkins, Howlin' Wolf, Luther Guitar Johnson, and Billy Branch. In 2004 Gary reunited with his uncle, the great Hubert Sumlin, to perform in a "Tribute to Howlin Wolf" at the Sasktel Jazz Festival, and has appeared off and on with the lengendary Motown "Funk Brothers" for 25 years. Over the last year, he has appeared with the Temptations, the Platters, Joe Hunter and Martha Reeves. Gary's 5 piece group the Heavenly Blues Band have been together for over 15 years, and features harmonica player Pete Johnson, Marvelous Marv on sax, James "Chip" Burney on bass, and drummer Dyllis Dufree, for some rockin' Alberta blues.




  Joy Riders
"Hand-clappin' R&B Gospel"

Joyriders is a Calgary based trio who perform original, gospelatized R&B, with a powerful message and soulful grooves. The trio of Marie Bridge (vocals), Guy Plecash (keyboards, vocals), and John Reid (tenor sax, flute) are joined by a hard drivin' rhythm section for a spirited set of hand-clapping, funky gospel by this 7 pc. group!




  Billy Joe Green Band
"indefineable...unexplainable... charismatic 'Royal Jelly' stage presence"

Billy Joe has worked as a bandleader and sideman throughout North America for over three decades. Virtually self-taught, he has rocked, reeled, boogied, tumbled and stumbled - only to get up again and carry the blues banner one humble step further. Born into the Moose Clan of the Kejick Ojibway Nation located on Lake of the Woods, his home base is currently Winnipeg. Recognized as one of Canada's premier blues guitarists, Billy Joe has won an armload of awards, including his four recent wins at the Winnipeg Blues Awards, and nomination for the 2006 JUNO's for Best Aboriginal Recording. www.billyjoegreen-band.com




  No Guff
"organic front porch blues/
old time jazz / jug band hooch"


Mixing genres with gleeful and artful abandon No Guff brews up its very own organic front porch blues / old time jazz / jug band hooch. The No Guff musical collaboration between John Rutherford and Dan Tapanila orchestrates a quirky roots/blues groove with sparse instrumen-tation and a unique take on various North American music styles. www.telusplanet.net/public/leahkm/noguff/main.html




  Darren Johnson Trio
Singer/songwriter Darren Johnson's sound has been described as post modern roots music that seems to span decades of classics. Becoming a full-time professional musician in 2000, Calgary audiences grew fast as they discovered the young artist in blues clubs around the city. Darren's 2005 release brought him plenty of recognition, "Hear Nor There" saw him touring Europe to critical acclaim. He was recorded live on CKUA's Alberta Sessions, and enjoys extensive airplay on CKUA and CBC Radio. Greg Carroll (bass) Brother Ray Lemelin (guitar)




  Jim Guiboche
"hard-hitting muscular grooves and economical, powerful solos"

Jim Guiboche is one of Alberta's most recognized blues artists whose depth and experience have brought him to the forefront of the blues scene. His skills as a sideman and bandleader have seen him backing many prominent blues artists from across North America, such as Lazy Lester, Larry Garner, Jimmy Burns and Jody Williams (Howlin' Wolf) to name only a few. Jim has a special talent for accompanying harmonica, performing with many renowned harp players including Dutch Mason, Rusty Reed, Sherman "Tank" Doucette and Little Mike and the Tornadoes. His combines old school blues with a modern edge, solidifying his place in the blues world with his passion and fire.  www.jimmyandthesleepers.com




  Tim Williams
One of Canada's foremost bluesmen, guitarist / songwriter Tim Williams plays over 250 dates a year, traveling with an arsenal of vintage instruments (six and twelve string guitars, slide guitar, banjo-guitar and mandolin), a vast reportoire of blues, rags and original songs, and an evening's worth of anecdotes ranging from the hilarious to the historical. A studio musician, producer, and performer in constant demand, Tim has played Folk/Blues/Jazz festivals and clubs throughout North America and Europe.