Friday, August 18, 2017 Frontier Communications Stage
Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials
In Chicago, a city overflowing with unrivaled blues talent, world-renowned Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have been standing tall for almost 30 years. The band’s big sound, fueled by Lil’ Ed’s gloriously rollicking slide work and deep blues string bending, along with his rough-edged, soulful vocals, is as real and hard-hitting as Chicago blues gets. The Chicago Sun-Times says, “Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials are the hottest purveyors of bottleneck boogie to come out of Chicago since Hound Dog Taylor.”
Lil’ Ed Williams comes to the blues naturally. His uncle, Chicago slide guitar king and master songwriter J.B. Hutto, taught him how to feel, not just play the blues. Nine albums and thousands of performances later, Lil’ Ed is now universally hailed as a giant of the genre. Lil' Ed and The Blues Imperials—bassist (and Ed’s half-brother) James “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton—have remained together for nearly 30 years (an extraordinary feat for any group), the band fueling Ed’s songs with their rock-solid, road-tested, telepathic musicianship.
"Electrifying, raucous, pure Chicago blues...Lil’ Ed is a guitarist extraordinaire...slashing slide and flamboyant stage persona." –Chicago Tribune
Dawn Tyler Watson with the Ben Racine Band
In the past two decades, Singer/Actor/Songwriter Dawn Tyler Watson has earned her place among Canada’s Blues elite. Born in England and raised in Ontario, she adopted Montreal as her home after earning her BFA in Jazz Studies and Theatre from Concordia University. An accomplished and dynamic performer, Watson’s fiery stage presence has earned her national and international recognition.
Just back from Memphis TN, where she took home the coveted 1st place spot out of over 260 acts at the 2017 International Blues Challenge, Dawns also the recipient of three Canadian Maple Blues Awards and nine Quebec Lys Blues Awards. She's earned the Screaming Jay Hawkins Award for Best Live Performance, a Trophées France Blues for female International Artist of the Year, and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Best Vocalist.
Her artistic style is an eclectic influence of Jazz, Soul, Folk and Rock that pushes the boundaries of traditional Blues into a whole new dimension.
Playing festivals and concert halls across 4 continents, recording four albums, and appearing on numerous compilations, she has shared the stage with an array of premiere artists, including Oliver Jones, Jeff Healy, Koko Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, and Cyndi Lauper.
"Her fabulous voice and incandescent stage presence make her the Queen of the Blues in Montreal." Le Journal de Montreal
Reverend Shawn Amos
The Reverend Shawn Amos is a Los Angeles-based, chart-topping bluesman ready to turn any venue into a 1960's Chicago blues club. His foot-stomping, harp-wailing performances, like tent revivals of yore, energize the faithful, and convert the wayward to the Rev's message of booty-shakin', deeply joyful blues.
The Rev came up in 1970s Los Angeles, at the feet of musical legends like Marvin Gaye and Quincy Jones, as well as all manner of Hollywood street folk. The son of music agent-turned entrepreneur, Wally "Famous" Amos, and R&B nightclub singer, Shirlee May Shawn found music early, and has worked within it his entire adult life. His rich career as a producer includes overseeing new music and retrospectives from R&B blues legends Solomon Burke, John Lee Hooker, and Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and scores of other legacy acts.
Saturday, August 19, 2017 Kerry Bio-Science Infield Stage
North Mississippi Allstars wsg John Medeski
North Mississippi Allstars formed in 1996; the product of a special time for modern Mississippi country blues. Brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson soaked up the music of their father, Memphis legend Jim Dickinson, and absorbed the North Mississippi legacy while playing and shaking it down in the juke joints with their blues ancestors. R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Otha Turner and their musical families were at their peak, making classic records and touring the world. Eventually, Luther (guitar, vocals) and Cody (drums, vocals) formed the North Mississippi Allstars and pioneered their own brand of blues-infused rock and roll.
The North Mississippi Allstars released their debut album, Shake Hands With Shorty, in the spring of 2000. Their debut proved to be a success and earned them a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Contemporary Blues Album’. After earning 2 more Grammy nominations in the same category for 51 Phantom (2001) and Electric Blue Watermelon (2005), the North Mississippi Allstars earned the reputation as one of the most intriguing acts to emerge from the loam of Southern blues and roots rock. Luther and Cody continually expand the tradition of the Mississippi hill country blues that has inspired them from the beginning, but as Rolling Stone aptly notes, “the Allstars may be children of tradition, but they’re digging deep in undiscovered country”.
Their most recent release, Prayer for Peace, features the bass work of new touring partner Danielle Nicole among a cast of Hill Country Blues allstars and its another stellar recording that pays homage to the groups musical heroes while reshaping and pushing the music forward into contemporary relevance.
For their appearance at the 25th Annual Chenango Blues Festival Luther and Cody will be joined by Special Guest John Medeski.
wsg John Medeski
John Medeski is not easily contained to a single project or genre; he is credited on over 300 works to date, most notably as one third of the groundbreaking trio, Medeski Martin & Wood. Equally comfortable behind a Steinway grand piano, Hammond organ or any number of vintage keyboards, Medeski is a highly sought after improviser and band leader whose projects range from work with MacArthur Fellow John Zorn, The Word (Robert Randolph, North Mississippi Allstars), Phil Lesh, Don Was, John Scofield, Coheed & Cambria, Susana Baca, Sean Lennon, Marc Ribot and many more. Classically trained, Medeski grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL where as a teenager he played with Jaco Pastorius before heading north to attend the New England Conservatory. He released his first solo piano record, A Different Time, on Sony’s Okeh Records in 2013, and current projects include a new album in the works with his band Mad Skillet (Terrence Higgins, Kirk Joseph, Will Bernard), and HUDSON (a collaboration with Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield and Larry Grenadier), plus a documentary on Medeski Martin & Wood.
Tommy Castro & the Painkillers wsg Magic Dick
Night after night, Tommy Castro, a fierce and fiery road warrior, fervently delivers his driving, blues-soaked, soul-baring music to fans all over the world. The road is where he honed his guitar playing to a razor’s edge. It’s where he learned how to captivate an audience with his intensely passionate vocals and his memorable songs, licks and grooves. It’s where he learned to turn his band into a dynamic, high-performance engine, able to bring down the house with a soulful ballad and then bring fans to their feet with a blistering blues rocker. In the words of Blues Revue, “Tommy Castro can do no wrong.”
Over the course of his four-decade career, Castro has played thousands of shows to hundreds of thousands of fans, packing dance floors, always leaving them screaming for more. He has released 14 albums filled with original blues, soul and West Coast rock, each one standing alone. Hailing from the San Francisco area, Castro, along with his band, The Painkillers (currently featuring bassist Randy McDonald, keyboardist Michael Emerson and drummer Bowen Brown), play music that is guaranteed to fire up fans and leave critics searching for new words of praise. Billboard says the band plays “irresistible contemporary blues-rock” with “street-level grit and soul.” Now, with Method To My Madness, the group turns the intensity up another notch.
Castro formed The Painkillers in 2012, creating a lean, mean four-piece lineup and leaving his tight horn section behind. Fueled by Tommy’s voice and guitar plus bass, drums and keyboards, the band released The Devil You Know in 2014, winning over hordes of new fans. Castro stripped his music down to its raw essence with the band hammering their point home on the bandstand. Jambands declared, “Tommy Castro And The Painkillers are a crackling, stripped-down band with plenty of grit and a rocking soul.”
wsg Magic Dick
Magic Dick is best known as a founding member of the J. Geils Band, releasing nine records on the Atlantic label and five records for EMI. The group toured the world, performing with a who’s who of blues legends and recording #1 Billboard singles. Magic Dicks innovative harmonica playing was a strong distinguishing sound for the band, and since leaving he has leant the same virtuosity to Patty Smyth, Debbie Harri and others.
The Mannish Boys Allstars
Few blues acts have perfected the tricky maneuver of honoring the storied history of the blues, while at the same time keeping the music up-to-date, as admirably as Delta Groove’s the Mannish Boys. It’s a balancing act that they’ve honed over the course of seven highly-acclaimed CD releases and countless nights gigging on concert stages around the world. Conceived as an all-star showcase for the cream of the West Coast blues crop, the Mannish Boys have stayed true to that vision. They’ve continually evolved through the years, seeking out and spotlighting the talents of genuine blues legends in a setting that honors the deep roots of the genre, while also providing them with the support required to excite today’s blues audiences.
The fundamental concept of the band was simple; assemble a group of like-minded musicians to capture the spirit and joy of this timeless music, and reintroduce it for a whole new generation to appreciate and discover. This project, which was only initially envisioned as a one-time testimony to the power of the blues, has now given way to a new institution, privileged with the task of preserving this music and presenting it as a vital, living, breathing entity.
The Chenango Blues Festival welcomes this Allstar band - powerhouse vocalist and frontman Sugaray Rayford, guitarist Kid Ramos, pianist Anthony Garachi and the hard-swinging rhythm section of Willie J. Campbell and Jimi Bott.
The music of Muddy Magnolias, live and on record, comes from a place where the Mississippi meets the A-Train by way of Nashville. Whether yours is the back porch or the front stoop, Spanish moss or window box garden, dusty country lane or crowded subway car, rural honky-tonk or uptown club, this is music that beckons.
The collaboration between Kalley North and Jessy Wilson crosses genres effortlessly, showcasing two voices that soar together in a blending of cultures as electrifying as if Janis Joplin and Tina Turner, or Whitney Houston and Lee Ann Womack had joined forces.
Gracie Curran & the High Falutin' Band
Gracie Curran has earned her reputation for jaw dropping Blues & Soul, in every blues club and juke joint from Boston to Beale Street. In the three years since the release of her critically acclaimed debut album "Proof of Love", the singer has been packing houses across the country, wowing audiences with her powerful voice and soul shaking delivery. With a contagious enthusiasm and amazingly fun live show, Curran is quickly becoming one of the most exciting young entertainers on the roots scene today!
Saturday, August 19, 2017 Nelson & Flanagan/Grouse Ridge Kennel Tent Stage
Victor Wainwright and the Wild Roots
Blues, Roots Rock and Soul, featuring the high-octane boogie piano and soulful vocals of Victor Wainwright and backed by one of the most gifted bands on the scene: the WildRoots. With the release of BOOM TOWN, their latest record, they’re poised to ignite blues/roots fans with a sound that’s infectious and impossible to ignore.
Born in Savannah, Georgia, Victor's childhood was filled with music. Surrounded by a musical family, Victor found himself emulating his Dad's vocals and Grandfather Jessie's boogie-woogie piano playing. Over the last decade he has broadened his artistic scope to encompass nearly every corner of the Blues. Victor’s star is definitely on the rise, having won the coveted Blues Music Award as “Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year” in both 2013 and 2014 and Band of the Year and Entertainer of the year in 2016.
Ghost Town Blues Band
Beale Street’s latest success story, 2015 BBMA Nominee for “Best Blues Band and 2014 International Blues Challenge Runner-up is Ghost Town Blues Band. Not your grandpa’s blues band, their live show has been captivating audiences in the U.S. and Canada with a second-line horn entrance, cigar box guitars and electric push brooms to Allman Brothers style jams and their hip-hop trombone player. Both Preston McEwen behind the drums and Matt Karner on the bass guitar are a punishing rhythm section behind multi-instrumentalist/frontman Matt Isbell with raunchy cigar box guitar licks and raspy "Dr. John-like, whiskey and gravel-soaked vocals." With the addition of Trombonist Suavo Jones and Jeremy Powell on keys, the grooves go from funky to "funk-nasty" as the band gains more notoriety in the blues festival and jam circuit.
"With a shoot-from-the-hip Memphis attitude, and a STAX-busting explosion of modern blues vision, GTBB represents a welcome changing of the guard. GTTB is 21st century blues at its best!"
Jason Ricci and JJ Appleton
Jason Ricci is one of the most popular harmonica players on the planet today. Through two plus decades of endless touring, TV appearances, recordings and the internet Jason Ricci’s style of playing is so revolutionary and influential that there exists an entire younger generation of players imitating his music. Some of his credits include:
Jason was a featured performer on Johnny Winter’s Grammy award winning CD ‘Step Back’ (2014)
Has received multiple Blues Music Award Nominations 2009 – 2016, and won a Blues Music Award in 2010.
Featured performer at the Rock & Roll hall of fame with Zac Brown & Tom Morello for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band induction in 2015
Jason has worked and/or recorded with Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside, Nick Curran, Walter Trout, Ana Popovic, Cedric Burnside, Joe Louis Walker, Peter Karp, Sue Foley, and many others.
JJ Appleton has traveled over many musical territories as a songwriter, singer, guitarist and producer and has always used one compass - the blues. After seeing Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee at age 10, he was hooked and crooked.
The joining of forces between award winning blues harp master Jason Ricci and singer/songwriter/guitarist JJ Appleton on their release of Dirty Memoryis one of the most unexpected and exciting blues music releases of 2015. Containing original songs that nod to Delta blues and roots history, the album stakes a claim in modern Americana authenticity to bring raw, powerful emotions and world class musicianship in an acoustic format. Ricci’s fiery harp performances blend perfectly with Appleton’s deep, wry, truthful songs and fierce resonator guitar skills.
Alvin Youngblood Hart
The cosmic American love child of Howlin Wolf and Link Wray! Known as a “musician’s musician,” Alvin Youngblood Hart’s praises have been sung by everyone from Bob Dylan to Brit guitar gods Eric Clapton & Mick Taylor.
Since the release of his 1996 debut recording, the all-acoustic BIG MAMA’S DOOR, Hart has relayed his eclectic musical message around the world. He creates a blurred line of Blues, Roots, Country and Rock music that has been enjoyed in our culture for decades. A devout follower of the “no barriers” approach carved out by veteran performers like Gatemouth Brown and the late/great Doug Sahm, Hart aims to delight the masses and points to challenge the so-called blues purists.