March 17, 2017

Five Alarm Funk has long been a ROOTS&BLUES favorite and it has been five long years since the band played the Salmon Arm Fair Grounds. The infectious, ferociously upbeat sounds and intense performances of FAF continue to draw praise from crowds around the globe and with a new album, appropriately titled Sweat, the Vancouver-band continues to be one of our finest musical ambassadors.



March 17, 2017

Fans of the hypnotic sounds of West African music and the kora will be enthralled with the playing of Zal Sissoko. An amazing improvisor, Sissoko moved to Montreal from Africa in 1999 and before long his talents were being championed by Canadian cultural bodies and adoring audiences. He sings in the Malinke and Wolof languages.



March 17, 2017

For blues fans, the region’s favorite roots festival has added another veteran of the Chicago blues scene with guitar playing and singing Keith Scott. Scott received his musical education over 30 years ago jamming with greats like Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and James Cotton, and then became a member of the legendary Chicago-based Jimmy Dawkins Band. Scott will be a welcome addition to ROOTS&BLUES in both the acoustic and electric blues workshops.



March 17, 2017

Winner of the ECMA’s 2015 Roots Album of the Year, Irish Mythen is a globetrotting troubadour – an Irish-born, contemporary Canadian folk artist who’s been amassing accolades and achievements across several continents over the years.

In just the last 12 months, Irish has closed out the Philadelphia Folk Festival, performing after the iconic Lyle Lovett, and had tens of thousands in her hands at Australia’s Woodford Folk Festival. On the back of the latter performance, she was even handpicked to open for Melissa Etheridge’s 2016 Australian run. Mythen will be a perfect ROOTS&BLUES fit, playing not only her concert but on workshops with ROOTS&BLUES strong Celtic line-up.


March 17, 2017

A member of the Turtle Clan; and, a Mohawk from Six Nations, DJ Shub last played Roots and Blues as a member of the A Tribe Called Red with whom he won a JUNO Award for Nation II Nation. He was also on board for their most popular single, “Electric Pow Wow Drum”.

DJ Shub’s solo debut ep includes six tracks of “old ways style” powwow step music featuring the vocals Northern Cree Singers, Black Lodge Singers, and Frazer Sundown. Look for a spectacular Barn Stage performance from DJ Shub on the final night of the festival.


March 17, 2017

For fans of acoustic music with an old time sensibility, the sounds of husband and wife duo of Jeremy Eisenhauer and Sheree Plett Eisenhauer, aka The Eisenhauers, should resonate strongly at ROOTS&BLUES.

Based in Kaslo, the couple’s latest release “The Road We Once Knew”, is, at heart, a meditation on change that explores the dynamics of escaping from the city and moving to the country. To quote Exclaim Magazine, ‘They explore an often quiet, distinctly Canadian approach to song craft which paints an ideal backdrop for their soothing harmonies”.


February 16, 2017

What the people are saying…

Halifax Chronicle Herald — Stephen Fearing was born in 1963 in Vancouver, British Columbia and grew up in Dublin, Ireland where his schoolmates included future members of U2. In 1981, he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and immersed himself in the music scene, learning the fundamentals of song writing and performing, while washing dishes to stay alive.

By 1984 he was back in Vancouver, determined to become a professional musician. In the years since, he’s been named as one of the finest songwriters in Canada and has built a national – and international – audience for his music, doing it old school through countless performances at intimate venues and on the concert stages of festivals and theatres across Canada, the US, the UK, and Europe, with appearances at major events like the Reading Festival and WOMAD, to name just a few.

“Fearing’s music crackles with ideas and collaborative energy… masterful guitar work from acoustic rock rhythm to elegant finger style.”

Acoustic Guitar Magazine — In 1996, Fearing, Colin Linden, and Tom Wilson formed a new band called Blackie and the Rodeo Kings to record a tribute album of songs by Willie P. Bennett. Nine albums and one JUNO Award later, the band has become one of the most respected names in North American roots-rock-Americana music.

“The best roots-rock band in Canada, period.” 

Hamilton Spectator — Their musical collaborators are many, but to name a few – Emmy Lou Harris, City and Colour, Keb Mo, Exene Cervenka, Holy Cole, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Sam Phillips, Pam Tillis, Vince Gill, Cassandra Wilson, and Serena Ryder.

In 1998, Stephen Fearing met Andy White backstage at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and a fast friendship was formed. In addition to his own work, White is known for his collaborations with Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, and Sinead O’Connor. As the duo Fearing & White they have released two critically-acclaimed albums and toured throughout Canada and the UK.

Fearing moved from his home in Guelph, ON in 2008, and headed to Halifax, NS. He completed work on Blackie and The Rodeo Kings’ Polaris Prize-nominated Kings and Queens (which featured duets with 14 iconic female singers including Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, and Roseanne Cash). He also got remarried, became a father, and still managed to tour relentlessly.

Fearing has released ten albums as a solo artist, featuring musical guests including: Bruce Cockburn, Margo Timmons, Richard Thompson, Shawn Colvin, and Sarah McLachlan. When not working behind the microphone, Fearing spends time producing records including Suzie Vinnick’s JUNO Award-nominated album Happy Here. “With producing, I really enjoy collaborating with other artists. It’s a blast and, as a bonus, gives me a chance to learn and expand my skill set.”

Like the guests on his albums, the many awards and nominations that have come his way over the years speak to the respect he has earned among his peers, presenters, and critics.

“Blackie and The Rodeo Kings’ ‘Black Sheep’ (penned by Stephen Fearing) is one of my favorite songs from 2011.  Meticulously crafted with deep, resonant writing and featuring vocalist Serena Ryder.  Kind of like The Band recording with Joni Mitchell back in 1970.”

Brew Michaels, OM KRVO, Kalispell, MT — The JUNO Award-winner also shares his knowledge and experience with fellow musicians through songwriting workshops. “The classes dovetail nicely with performing,” he said. “My students are from all walks of life and I enjoy helping to coax them out of their comfort zones to create songs they might not have otherwise found.”

“A master of the finely-turned phrase and the perfectly-pitched line.”

Maverick Magazine — Through a life of many relocations and countless months on the road performing, Fearing has become a gifted storyteller and true musical nomad with the ability to enthrall audiences of all sizes and attitudes. “Getting on stage is the fun part, especially when the adrenaline kicks in,” he says, with a broad smile. “People want to escape and be taken on a journey. I build my shows so they do just that.”

Photos courtesy of Lisa Macintosh and Mark Maryanovich


February 16, 2017

The root of all soul music is freedom-sheer abandon. It’s about luxuriating in the emotions that make us all human. No wonder singer Frazey Ford placed her ear to the earth and tapped into that lush tradition to give voice to her own stories on her newest release, Indian Ocean, an album about pain and dealing with tough truths but also about trust, love contrition and being bold. Ford’s self-possession and passion puts flesh to the musical bones, and you hear a record hit the essence of Aretha’s notion of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

There’s always been something soulful teeming underneath the honey-dipped tremulous restraint in Ford’s vocals on her Be Good Tanyas records, as well as her solo debut Obadiah (2010). It’s just that this time around, the familiar old-timey rustic harmonies have bloomed, transported into a full-throated ebullience that takes us down to where the rivers run deep.

The story of this album begins with filmmaker Robert Gordon (PBS’s “Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life And Times Of Muddy Waters”), who was working on a documentary on Memphis soul, which focused on Al Green and long-time producer Willie Mitchell’s creative home base, Royal Studios. After Gordon heard Ford’s Obadiah song, “If You Gonna Go,” on the radio, he invited her to come record at Royal Studios in Memphis. That journey sparked a collaboration that eventually became the album Indian Ocean, a unique braiding of warm but tough-minded Memphis soul and vulnerable folk acumen.

For 45 minutes, Ford and some of the most talented veteran soul musicians around cast their spells, lifting songs to sweet heights on each others’ borrowed wings. Part of what gives Indian Ocean its gilded edge is the work of Al Green’s band, The Hi Rhythm Section, the iconic architects of the famous singer’s instrumental sound, and countless others associated with longtime producer Willie Mitchell’s Hi Records Memphis label in the 1970s. Charles Hodges (organ), Leroy Hodges (bass) and Teenie Hodges (guitar), the latter who passed away this year, helped Green pen some of his most famous songs. Ford was the beneficiary of their almighty talents, the trio accentuating her sensual and opulent vocals with deep-bottomed bass, subtle backbeats and airy flights of organ.

“It was an amazing feeling being in that studio, singing into those old microphones, and collaborating with these incredibly talented heroes of subtle groove and soul. I could feel the history and vibe of that place coming up through the floor,” Ford says. “I’ve worshiped all of them for 20 years. These guys are our heroes,” Ford says.

But Ford and co producer/drummer John Raham didn’t want to come into the Memphis studio, prescribing everyone’s role. And you can feel it in the spirit of the record. Ford says she wanted the collaboration to have spontaneity: “I’m interested in how people respond. I want their energy.” It’s an energy that spanned the continent, from Memphis to Vancouver. In the end, the album incorporates the skills of at least 16 musicians in total, including Be Good Tanyas member Trish Klein playing guitar on two tracks, guitarists Darren Parris, Craig McCaul, pianist Phil Cook, the golden horn arrangements of Jim Spake, Scott Thompson and JP Carter, and the undulating tides of Debra Jean Creelman’s and Caroline Ballhorn’s backing vocals — that kick off on the hopeful album opener, “September Fields.”

But it might be another emotion that sets the pace of this record. As its short, emphatic title suggests, “Done” is a blasting missive, that’s part Rickie Lee Jones, part power-drill, taking a significant other to task: “I was taking every hit from you / You drive-by-shooting son-of-a-bitch / And I’m done … / Well you criticize by numbers / You hammer at the roots / Wait for me to fuck up to find yourself some proof / And I’m done / You’re just stoking the hatred of a story line / While you hide behind decorum and a fake smile.”

“Natural Law” is another fierce, motoring track, driving on the back of a wickedly throbbing bass pulse, channeling some of Green’s grimier cuts. Its beat begins like a cool Cadillac rumble, a creeping, quickening pace laying waste to all with thoughts of getting in the way. There’s something both empowering and threatening in the tandem force of the lyrics and rhythm. The standout track, “You’re Not Free,” is as forceful as weather. Its cool, breezy lead and backing vocals are the calm before the storm, the song reaching critical mass in a storming surge of impassioned organ and fiery electric guitar.

But there are soft nuances on this record too. Ford changes pace with the billowy beauty of “Three Golden Trees,” a song about betrayal, set to a meditative waltzing rhythm with the autumn tone of a Neil Young “Harvest” track. But for most of Ford’s fans, there’s no separating the pleasure of her music from her uncommon voice. There’s an easy elegance in the restrained singing of the opening verses of “Three Golden Trees,” which begins with some of the most poetic lyrics Ford has written: “You carried me up and over the water / In a white dress covered in rust / And I folded into your shoulder / All through the floods / There were three golden trees over Beulah / And three new graves in the sun.” Her voice sounds like butter melts, liquefying into silence right before the smart inclusion of soft, punctuating horns.

“You Got Religion” makes a heaven of our personal earthly gardens. “Weather Pattern,” a delicate and deceptively simple song about mortality, is one of a number of songs on this record that turn nature into a type of expression — one of Ford’s strongest writing traits. The album’s sophisticated title track is a dreamy, mental wandering over the ocean that feels like baptism. There’s a lightness and a hallowed grace that comes with listening to the songs on this Indian Ocean — like being blessed. Ford unearths lyrical intimacies with honesty, a giving heart, and a sharpness that combines the pretty, the reflective, and the searingly forthright. Ultimately, Indian Ocean is record about renewal, strength, knowing when to breath in and let go, trusting yourself, letting the waves rush over, and appreciating all the things worth loving.”

Biography sourced from the artist’s official website


February 16, 2017

John Primer has undisputedly helped build the sound and style of Chicago blues as we know it today. The echos of tradition bellowing from the birthplaces he played such as: Maxwell Street, Theresa’s, Checkerboard and Rosa’s Lounges, pulse from every chord in his fingers today. John Primer is a Chicago Blues Living Legend.

John’s father died tragically in Mississippi when he was young. When his mother found work in Chicago, John soon followed, bringing the sounds and spirit of Mississippi with him in 1963. He then fell for the music of both the city’s west and south sides. Fronting his first band, The Maintainers, he was asked to join and eventually lead the house band at the world famous Theresa’s Lounge in 1974. Over the next seven years, John would play with such blues originators as: Sammy Lawhorn, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Smokey Smothers, Lonnie Brooks and many others shaping the foundations of the Chicago blues to come.

In 1979, the great songwriter Willie Dixon persuaded him to join his band the Chicago Blues All Stars. John traveled the U.S., Mexico and Europe, trying on hats as a rhythm guitarist, lead slide player and powerful singer. Muddy Waters heard John play and six months later Muddy recruited him not only as his guitar player and bandleader, but also as an opening act. John stayed loyal to Muddy until his death in 1983.

After Muddy’s death, John signed on with the legendary Magic Slim. For the next 14 years, he toured with Magic Slim & the Teardrops as bandleader and guitarist, culminating with the Teardrops being voted repeatedly the number one blues band in the world. This unstoppable blues band invented the “Chicago lump” blues sound we know and love today.

In 1995, John ventured out on his own as a veteran bluesman
and released his solo major label debut, The Real Deal. Since that time he’s released or been recorded on over a dozen albums and toured extensively all over the world. A master storyteller and songwriter, his catalog of songs is endless. Some of the awards attached to him include: 2 Grammy nominations and 2 Living Legend honors as well as a Blues Music Award for Best Traditional Blues Artist from the National Blues Foundation and many more.

Over his amazing career, John has recorded with, opened for or played with a who’s who of other great bands and artists including: The Rolling Stones, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr., Koko Taylor, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, James Brown and B.B. King.
The depth of history and tradition that runs in John’s blood from decades of master blues classes he took from all the Blues Godfathers builds his music catalog and unique style. John Primer is still at the top of his game. With his strong traditionalist blues phrasing, seasoned rhythm and blues vocals and lightning-fast slide guitar techniques, few artists can match him and none have his vast, real deal, blues history.

Biography sourced from the Artist’s official website


February 16, 2017

It can be argued that it was Booker T. Jones who set the cast for modern soul music and is largely responsible for its rise and enduring popularity.  On classic Stax hits like “Green Onions,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “Time Is Tight,” and “Melting Pot” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee and GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award recipient pushed the music’s boundaries, refined it to its essence and then injected it into the nation’s bloodstream.  Sound the Alarm, the new album from Booker T, finds the Hammond B3 organ master looking ahead yet again, laying down his distinctive bedrock grooves amid a succession of sparkling collaborations with some of contemporary R&B’s most gifted young voices.

Sound the Alarm also marks Booker T’s historic return to Stax Records, the Memphis soul label the instrumentalist, bandleader, producer, and songwriter helped put on the map during the 1960s, along with his brilliant band, the MGs.

Creatively, it’s another bold new step in a career that has witnessed a striking resurgence in recent years.  Booker T took home Best Pop Instrumental Album GRAMMY Awards for both 2010’s Potato Hole, his head-turning collaboration with The Drive-By Truckers and 2012’s The Road From Memphis, his critically acclaimed album with The Roots.

He is not resting on those laurels. For Sound the Alarm, Booker T shares production chores with brothers Bobby Ross Avila and Issiah “IZ” Avila, who co-wrote eight songs and serve as the rhythm section on most of the album’s 12 tracks. The highly sought after siblings have worked with such top acts as Usher, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot, Chaka Khan and Earth, Wind & Fire.

“Bobby and I had previously done a little impromptu gig with El Debarge – that was the turning point when I decided to work with him,” Booker says.  “They have a different perspective about the musical palette,” he adds regarding their approach. “Their attitude is quite unique and quite innovative. That’s something I’ve looked for since I was maybe 13 or 14 years old and had figured out a little bit about music. It can be very predictable or it can be exploratory. I’m always looking for something new to do.”

For the tracks “All Over the Place” and “Broken Heart,” the Avila Brothers were joined behind the board by the legendary Twin Cities production team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.  “Bobby was instrumental in bringing them to California when they left Minneapolis,” Booker says. “Terry also contributed music and lyrics and vocal production on this album. He was very instrumental in helping choose many of the singers and direction of the songs.”

Sound the Alarm is graced with soulful guest performances by R&B stars Anthony Hamilton (on “Gently”) and Estelle (on “Can’t Wait”). Another dynamic talent, Raphael Saadiq, contributes guitar work on “Broken Heart” and “Feel Good.” Says Booker of the neo-soul star, “He’s been an inspiration for the album.”
The set also showcases a number of exciting singers who are just beginning to make their mark on contemporary R&B, including Mayer Hawthorne (“Sound the Alarm”), Jay James (“Broken Heart”) and Luke James (“All Over the Place”).

“Your Love is No More,” features the Los Angeles-based group Vintage Trouble, who also co-wrote the number with Booker T.  “John Burk, the co-executive producer of the album, took me to see them opening for Joss Stone at the Wiltern Theatre in L.A., and I just loved them,” he says. “They don’t have a keyboard, and they always say that I’m the only guy they’re going to play with.”

Sound the Alarm also features some top-flight instrumentalists from outside the soul/R&B sphere. “Austin City Blues” is a showpiece for the stunning Texas blues guitarist Gary Clark, Jr.  “Gary and I have a real thing going on mentally, kind of like what I had with Steve Cropper in the MGs, really understanding each other,” says Booker.  “He really is in my corner.”

“66 Impala,” a largely instrumental Latin jazz outing features two of the genre’s top percussionists, Poncho Sanchez and Sheila E.   “He’s holding the line there as far as Latin jazz-pop rhythm goes,” Booker states. “And Sheila has an amazing family history, with Coke Escovedo, who was with Santana, and her dad Pete. That’s the tradition that she is carrying on. She has that Escovedo thing.”

Family plays a role in a couple of other tracks on Sound the Alarm. On “Watch You Sleeping,” Booker T shares the vocals with Kori Withers, daughter of Bill Withers, whose first hits “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Grandma’s Hands” Booker produced.  “When I came out to California, her dad was the first person I produced out here.  I went to a 50th anniversary celebration for him in West Virginia. They had a film of his life, and Kori was singing on the film. John Burk suggested that we use her on the song. Kori is very expressive. She’s her own person, and she’s a beautiful singer.”

The family tradition is also apparent with the appearance of Booker T’s 22-year-old son Ted on guitar for a gorgeous duo track, aptly titled “Father Son Blues.” After hearing Ted’s accomplished playing in his home’s family room and mistaking it for the work of blues hotshot Joe Bonamassa, Booker says, “I thought, ‘This is amazing – you can have something right in front of your own nose and you don’t see it!’”

Flush with new ideas and young talent, Sound the Alarm is also an exciting reconnection to the Stax Records tradition, which began for Booker T as a teen, when the Bluff City label was founded out of McLemore Avenue’s Satellite Record Shop.  “I found the music that I loved for the rest of my life at Satellite Records, while I was on my bike soliciting customers on my paper route,” he recalled.  “I walked into the lobby of the Capitol Theater, and it had been transformed into a record store, and there was Steve Cropper playing records for me there when I was in ninth grade. That legacy is my heart and my life. That’s where I come from.”  And, Booker adds, “I have music inside me, and I’m looking forward to the future. I’m very excited about making some things happen.”


February 16, 2017

Braden Gates is a young man, which may come as a surprise to anyone who has heard his brand of classic foot stompin’, fiddle playin’, guitar pickin’ folk. It would be easy to stereotype Gates as an old soul, but despite his love of traditional folk instrumentation and songwriting and old timey stage clothes, Gates’ sound carries a youthful feel and never feels affected or inauthentic. Through the ease with which he bows his fiddle and picks his guitar, and the straightforward uncluttered honesty of his lyrics, Gates has a natural way with a story.

And storytelling really is at the centre of Gates’ writing: songs about characters hanging out on Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue (unabashed local references are peppered throughout Gates’ work) and other tales of lives lived. Gates’ warm and slightly gravelly voice relays stories that are funny and heartbreaking — usually over the course of the same tune. Full of wit and wisdom, folksy charm and sharp observations, Gates’ compositions are relevant and, strangely, very rooted in 2016 —even if he plays that fiddle and picks that guitar like an artist three times his age.

Biography sourced from the Artist’s official website.

McGoldrick, McCusker & Doyle

February 16, 2017

From Ireland, ROOTS&BLUES is pleased to bring acoustic music fans the brilliance of Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle, as it is a rare occasion when this all-star crew is not on a summer tour with Mark Knopfler. With the fiddle- playing McCusker’s deep Scottish roots, Doyle’s magnificent discography that includes his guitar magic as a member of Solas, and exceptional solo outings like “Shadow and Light”, plus McGoldrick’s sensational flute, pipes and whistle playing as a member of Capercaillie, Lunasa, and Flook, it is no wonder the line-up of stars looking to hire these masters is long. This is as a good as trad Celtic music gets…period.


February 16, 2017

Past Juno-nominated songwriter Maria Dunn draws deeply on the folk tradition of storytelling through song. Melding North American roots music with her Scottish-Irish heritage, she sings about the resilience and grace of “ordinary” people, past and present. Her latest recording Gathering (April 2016) celebrates love—the love of family, community and humanity that connects us and fires our actions to make the world a better place. Her previous album Piece By Piece (Nominee – 2013 Canadian Folk Music Award) pays tribute to immigrant women working at a Western Canadian clothing factory. Maria’s other independent CDs include: The Peddler (Nominee – 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award) and For A Song (Nominee – 2002 Juno Award), all produced by Shannon Johnson (of 2007 Juno-winning band The McDades).

In addition to developing and touring three multimedia people’s history shows, On The River (with Aboriginal women’s trio Asani), GWG: Piece by Piece and Troublemakers: Working Albertans, 1900 – 1950, with videographer Don Bouzek, Maria performs at festivals and theatres in Canada, Europe (UK/Ireland Tour 2015; 2008 Celtic Connections, Glasgow; Netherlands Tour 2011) and USA (2006 Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, Washington, DC). Media features include: Bravo TV (The Carol Project), CBC National Radio (Sunday Edition), CKUA Alberta, BBC Radio Scotland. Her songs are published in the Rise Again songbook, Sing Out! and Penguin Eggs magazines and recorded by other artists including Niamh Parsons, The Outside Track, Bob Bossin.

…remarkable singer-songwriter, think of her as a distaff Woody Guthrie. – Mike Ross, Edmonton Sun

An arrestingly powerful singer-songwriter from Canada who writes great historical and social commentary. – Rich Warren, WFMT Chicago and Sing Out! Magazine

A wonderful collection of new songs from one of our most important and vital songwriters… Essential listening, then, this Gathering. – Roddy Campbell, Penguin Eggs Magazine
Biography sourced from the Artist’s official website


February 16, 2017

Some music cannot be found on a map or within iTunes categories.  Some music is so original it seems snatched from the great, invisible substrata that runs below all human activity, a sound aching to be born without a flag or fixed allegiance – free, questing, overflowing with immediate, tangible life.  This is the music of Toubab Krewe, the vibrant Asheville, NC-based instrumental powerhouse that creates a sonic Pangaea that lustily swirls together rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities, international folk strains and more.  While nearly impossible to put into any box, it takes only a few moments to realize in a very palpable way that one is face-to-face with a true original who recognizes no borders in a march towards a muscular, original, globally switched-on sound.

Formed in 2005, Toubab Krewe has tenaciously honed their craft through relentless touring and a fierce dedication to carving out something they can truly call their own.  The fruits of this hard work can be heard on their latest release, TK2, (September 7, 2010 on Nat Geo Music).  What Justin Perkins (Kora, Kamelngoni, guitar, percussion), Terrence Houston (drums), Drew Heller (guitar, piano, fiddle), David Pransky (bass, guitar), and Luke Quaranta (Djembe, Congas, percussion) have wrought on TK2 reflects the many miles and musical journeys that have transpired since their studio debut.

This is a band that actively draws inspiration from whatever source floats into their purview, something they’ve exhibited in their half decade of heavy gigging, including regular appearances at major U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Rothbury and Wakarusa, and abroad at such legendary gatherings as Festival In The Desert in Mali.  Their globe-hopping propensity has made them an emerging headliner at their hometown’s famous Orange Peel and a familiar face as similar venues throughout the country. Whether on their own or collaborating with luminaries like the Last Poets’ Umar Bin Hassan or Uncle Earl’s Rayna Gellert, Toubab Krewe has already earned the attention and respect of a broad musical community.

Toubab carries echoes of African greats like Ali Farka Toure, Orchestra Baobab and Salif Keita, no doubt picked up during the group’s travels to study and live in Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali.  But what truly differentiates Toubab Krewe from other Statesiders inspired by African music is how they innovate on what they’ve learned instead of simply recreating tradition. Toubab Krewe  carves out a new trail honoring the African originators they admire by making something alive and contemporary.

Press Quotes:

“Toubab Krewe has such a visceral, ear-yanking quality that in the band’s capable hands you just might find your definitions of what is/is not rock n’ roll and worldbeat being completely rewritten.  This is the sound of liberation.” – Blurt

“a futuristic, psychedelic, neo-griot frenzy.” – Village Voice

“a new standard for fusions of rock n’ roll and West African music.” – Afropop Worldwide

“one of the most innovative voices in music today.” – Honest Tune

Biography sourced from the band’s official website.


January 17, 2017

For over a decade, the Acadian trio Vishtèn has dazzled audiences with its fiery blend of traditional French songs and original instrumentals that fuse Celtic and Acadian genres with a modern rock sensibility and indie-folk influences. Lauded as “traditional but fiercely up-to-the- moment” (Penguin Eggs), this band from Canada’s east coast has been recognized as an ambassador of Francophone culture around the world.

The trio comprises multi-instrumentalists Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc from the Evangeline Region of Prince Edward Island, and Magdalen Islands’ native, Pascal Miousse. Cradled in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, in the North Atlantic Ocean, Prince Edward Island is home to a small but thriving a Francophone Acadian community with a rich tradition of song and instrumental music. Nearby, the even smaller archipelago of the Magdalen Islands (les Îles de la Madeleine) is predominantly Francophone, recognized for its distinctive French dialect, songs and unique fiddling style. All three members of Vishtèn were raised in homes in which traditional music, percussive dance and kitchen parties were part of everyday life. Together, they pay homage to their traditions and to the historic and strong musical connections between their two island Acadian communities.

From their traditional roots, these three “high voltage musicians” (Le Guéret, France) have crafted a unique brand of neo-traditional music that combines extensive archival research, original compositions, traditional French Acadian songs and virtuosic instrumentals. The infectious rhythms of tapping feet and lilting mouth music blend seamlessly with the fiddle, guitar, accordion, octave mandolin, whistles, piano, bodhrán and jaw harp to offer a musical experience that illustrates their wide sense of the world and breathes new energy and beauty into traditional sounds. Vishtèn’s energetic shows have been described as “Buckwheat Zydeco meets the Irish” (Pittsburgh News) and their innovative blend of old and new has been acclaimed as “[wrapping] up those musical traditions in a bright wrapper that has the heft of tradition but the exuberance of pop” (SingOut!).

In addition to their work with Vishtèn, Pastelle, Emmanuelle and Pascal are prolific composers and accomplished solo artists. Their original tunes and musical contributions can be heard on numerous releases by fellow trad and folk musicians. The band has received four East Coast Music Awards, including “Roots/Traditional Group Recording of the Year” for Terre Rouge (2016), four MusicPEI Awards and Québec’s Édith Butler Award in recognition of their contributions to la Francophonie Canadienne.

One of the most respected bands in the international folk music scene, Vishtèn tours extensively throughout North America, Europe and Australia. The band has performed thousands of shows at international events and venues, including the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics (CA), Philadelphia Folk Festival (US), New Orleans Jazz Festival (US), Festival Interceltique de Lorient (FR), Woodford Folk Festival (AUS), Shetland Folk Festival (SCO) and Temple Bar Trad Festival (IRE), among others. As they travel, members of Vishtèn share their pride in their Acadian heritage and deep knowledge of their respective traditions. Known as inspirational teachers, they offer workshops around the world and are regular instructors at several fiddle camps in North America.

East Coast Music Awards
2016 Roots/Traditional Group Recording of the Year (Terre Rouge) 2013 Francophone Album of the Year (Mosaïk)
2006 Francophone Album of the Year (11:11)
2002 Media’s Choice Award

Music PEI Awards
2016 Acadian/Francophone Artist of the Year 2008 Francophone Artist of the Year
2008 Group Album of the Year
2008 Traditional Group of the Year

La Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ)
2015 Prix Édith Butler – Francophonie Canadienne

Photo : Jacinta Bernard


January 17, 2017

For 2017 Roots & Blues will present The Mad Dogs Experience on Saturday night in The Barn. A 17 piece band with choir will roll through the great songbook that Joe Cocker and Leon Russell put together under the banner Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Conceived by Dan Shinnan, the lead singer of Boogie Patrol, the Mad Dogs Experience is an explosive two hour show featuring classics like Delta Lady, Bird On A Wire, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Feelin’ Alright, The Letter and Honky Tonk Women. A guaranteed barn burner.


January 17, 2017

With their roots submerged in the thick buttery mud of traditional bluegrass, The Lil’ Smokies have sonically blossomed into a leading player in the progressive acoustic sphere, creating a new and wholly unique, melody driven sound of their own.

The quintet, from Missoula, MT, has been hard at work, writing, touring and playing to an ever-growing fan base for the past 6 years. The fruits of their labor recently culminating with wins at the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Momentum Award for Best Band and at the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass festival band competition.

In 2013 the band also won The Northwest String Summit Band Competition. With a unique blend of traditional bluegrass, newgrass, innumerable unique originals, sheer raw energy, and exquisite musicianship, The Lil’ Smokies weave seamlessly through genres, leaving behind melodies you’ll be singing to yourself for days and a jaw you’ll have to pick up off the floor.

The Lil’ Smokies have no problem captivating large audiences. Sharing the stage with heavyweights like Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Keller Williams, Greensky Bluegrass, The Emmit-Nershi Band, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Travellin’ McCourys, Sam Bush Band, Fruition, Infamous Stringdusters, Bradford Lee Folk and The Bluegrass Playboys, and dozens of others.

The Lil’ Smokies have become festival favorites coast to coast with highlights including Delfest (MD), Pagosa Folk N’ Bluegrass (CO), ROMP Fest (KY), Hangtown Halloween (CA), Telluride Bluegrass Festival (CO), The Summer Music Festival at Roseberry (ID), Northwest String Summit (OR), Targhee Bluegrass Festival (WY), River City Roots (MT) and more! This five-piece bluegrass ensemble features Andy Dunnigan (dobro), Scott Parker (upright bass), Matt Cornette (banjo), Jake Simpson (fiddle) and Matt Rieger (guitar).


January 17, 2017

Livingston Taylor picked up his first guitar at the age of 13, beginning a 40-year career that has encompassed performance, songwriting and teaching. Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Livingston is the fourth child in a very musical family that includes Alex, James, Kate and Hugh. Livingston recorded his first record at the age of 18 and has continued to create well crafted, introspective, and original songs that have earned him listeners worldwide.

From top-40 hits “I Will Be in Love with You” and “I’ll Come Running,” to “I Can Dream of You” and “Boatman,” both recorded by his brother James, Livingston’s creative output has continued unabated. His musical knowledge has inspired a varied repertoire, and he is equally at home with a range of musical genres—folk, pop, gospel, jazz—and from upbeat storytelling to touching ballads.

Livingston has never stopped performing since those early coffeehouse days, touring with major artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Buffett and Jethro Tull, and he maintains a busy concert schedule of over 80 shows a year. He is a natural performer, peppering his shows with personal stories, anecdotes and ineffable warmth that connect him to his fans. His relaxed on-stage presence belies the depth of his musical knowledge, and fans might just as often be treated to a classic Gershwin or something from the best of Broadway.

Livingston is a full professor at Berklee College of Music, where he has taught a Stage Performance course since 1989. He teaches young artists invaluable lessons learned over the course of an extensive career on the road; the course is consistently voted the most popular at the College. His book, Stage Performance, released in 2011 offers those lessons to anyone who is interested in elevating their presentation standards to professional standards.

Livingston’s latest album, Blue Sky, was released in the spring of 2014. It is the third in a series of albums over the last decade that includes There You Are Again (2005) and Last Alaska Moon (2009). It completes a body of work that makes it clear that this artist is not slowing down.

Biography sourced from the Artist’s official website.


January 17, 2017

The new album from young African-Canadian roots phenom Kaia Kater couldn’t come at a better time. As a new generation takes the reins, American roots music is needed more than ever to remind us of the troubled pathways of our own history. Born of African-Caribbean descent in Québec, Kaia Kater grew up between two worlds: one her family’s deep ties to Canadian folk music in her Toronto home; the other the years she spent learning and studying Appalachian music in West Virginia.

Her acclaimed debut album Sorrow Bound (May 2015) touched on this divide, but her new album, Nine Pin (May 2016), delves even further, and casts an unflinching eye at the realities faced by people of colour in North America every day. Her songs on the new album are fueled by her rich low tenor vocals, jazz-influenced instrumentation, and beautifully understated banjo, and they’ve got as much in common with Kendrick Lamar right now as they do with Pete Seeger.

Recorded in just one day in Toronto, Nine Pin was produced by both Kater and acclaimed Canadian artist Chris Bartos (The Barr Brothers, Jonathan Byrd), who also produced her last album, Sorrow Bound Few artists could pull off such a polished, cohesive album in one day, but Kater felt that this actually lent focus to the project. As a concept album, Nine Pin weaves between hard-hitting songs that touch on modern issues like the Black Lives Matter movement (“Rising Down,” “Paradise Fell”) and more personal narratives speaking to life and love in the digital age (“Saint Elizabeth”). And while these larger stories are deftly crafted, this is really an album of moments. Kater’s a cappella voice speaking to the loneliness of a city in “Harlem’s Little Blackbird” while solo dance steps echo in the background, the muted hesitancy of Caleb Hamilton’s trumpet breaking the trance of “Little Pink,” the smoke of electric guitar that cuts through “Saint Elizabeth,” the wave-like ebb and flow of piano behind the plaintive love poem “Viper’s Nest…” All of these moments point to an artist wise beyond her years.

…plaintive, mesmerizing…writes and performs with the skill of a folk-circuit veteran…” -Rolling Stone

You want some authenticity in your folk music or bluegrass – I give you Kaia Kater.” –No Depression

A star in the making…
Folk Alley

“…One of the most remarkable Canadian folk records in some time…Kater’s music is somehow ancient and brand new at the same time.
Tom Power, CBC Radio 2

“Sorrow Bound is a remarkably assured debut album which both honours tradition and declares Kater’s credentials as a distinctive, original artist.”  Steve Hunt – fRoots Magazine (UK) – October 2015

Biography sourced from artist’s official website.


January 11, 2017

Authenticity is something that I believe is important to all of us. And hopefully we get to work with people who are authentic. When you couple that authenticity with talent of a truly exceptional nature: a pastor, a songwriter, a storyteller, a multi-instrumentalist, an award winning educator with an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of African American folk music, including blues, spiritual, and slave songs…its players and styles…you get the Reverend Robert B. Jones, Sr. from Detroit, Michigan.

Robert says, “As much as I love what this music for the way that it sounds, I love, even more, what this music can do.  At its best, Roots music tells the truth, and it gives a voice to those who struggle to be heard otherwise. I am an activist and I try to use my stories and music, not just for entertainment, but in service to my calling and my community and to connect the generations that I am blessed to live between.”


January 11, 2017

With his compelling, sprawling vocal range and songs that strike a perfect balance of familiar yet sophisticated, Dylan Menzie is quickly becoming one of Prince Edward Island’s prime musical exports.

Hailing from Belle River, PEI, Menzie has drawn comparisons to treasured songwriters like Joel Plaskett and Ron Sexsmith, the latter of whom publically praised Menzie when the young artist opened for him; his highest-profile PEI performance to date. His recently released sophomore album, Adolescent Nature, followed his top-four placement in CBC’s 2016 Searchlight Competition.

The album’s lead single, “Kenya,” helped secured Menzie’s high standing in this nationwide contest, and spent eight weeks on CBC Radio 2’s Top 20 countdown, including two weeks at number one.


January 11, 2017

One of the finest songwriters of his generation, Jeffrey Foucault has taken, in his own words, ‘the small roads;’ building a brick and mortar independent international touring career of ten studio albums, countless miles and critical accolades.

He’s been lauded for Stark, literate songs that are as wide open as the landscape of his native Midwest (The New Yorker) and described as Quietly brilliant (The Irish Times), while catching the ear of everyone from Greil Marcus to Don Henley (who regularly covers Foucault in his live set), to Van Dyke Parks (who offered to play on Foucault’s 2011 offering, Horse Latitudes, after catching a live radio interview).

With SALT AS WOLVES, his fifth collection of original songs, Foucault stakes out and enlarges the ground he’s been working diligently all the new century, quietly building a deep, resonant catalog of songs about about love, memory, God, desire, wilderness and loss. SALT AS WOLVES gives us Jeffrey Foucault at the height of his powers, turning the wheel of American music.

“Jeffrey Foucault, sings stark, literate songs that are as wide open as the landscape of his native Midwest.” The New Yorker

“Songwriting brilliance.” MOJO

“Quietly brilliant….” THE IRISH TIMES


Biography excerpt sourced from the official Jefferey Foucalt website.


January 5, 2017

One of the finest blues piano players anywhere, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne is on a wonderful roll these days making critically acclaimed albums for Stony Plain Records and traveling the globe playing for adoring audiences in South America, Russia, the UK, and all over this continent.

Just two years ago Wayne was honored as the Most Outstanding Musician (keyboard) by Living Blues Magazine for the second time which sits nicely near his many Maple Blues Piano Player of the Year awards, and his Entertainer of the Year awards from the same organization. Then there’s his Juno Award for Blues Album of the Year from 2006 and his 2012 nomination for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Award from the BMA.

In short, everyone in the blues world has taken notice of this amazing musician for some time now and his destiny would bring him to our country after he spent his formative years in many of the major blues and roots music centres of the USA.

Canada has been good to Wayne and Wayne has given our blues scene a serious shot of magic as he recorded three albums for Electro Fi early in the new millennium before signing with another Canadian label, Stony Plain, in 2011.

Wayne, who now lives just down the road in Kelowna, has just finished wrapping up a new album for the label and we can expect to hear a few new hot tunes from that forthcoming release and Kenny jamming up a storm on our blues stage as ROOTS&BLUES 2016 unfolds.

Find out more about the Blues Boss at Kenny’s official website.

“Veteran boogie master Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne steps out with this Duke Robillard-produced effort. A showcase for his boogie-blues piano skills, honed in locales like New Orleans and San Francisco, “Blues Boss” Wayne is a soulful vocalist and an electrifying performer, mesmerizing audiences with his spirited barrelhouse-styled key-pounding and flamboyant stage clothing. Think of a cross between Fats Domino and Professor Longhair and you’ll be in the right ballpark.”?About.Com

“There’s no boogie-woogie-blues piano man out there today who pounds the 88’s with the conviction of Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne.” “An Old Rock On A Roll” once again proves that statement to be absolutely true.”
Blues Underground


January 4, 2017

Long recognized and praised as a creative force in acoustic music, Claire Lynch is a pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. Her career has been decorated with many accolades including two GRAMMY nominations, six International Bluegrass Music Association awards and the prestigious United States Artists Walker Fellowship.

Read more about Claire Lynch’s GRAMMY nomination CLICK HERE.

Dolly Parton credits Claire with “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today.” Equally gifted as a writer, her songs have been recorded by The Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, and The Whites.

Claire grew up in Kingston, New York until the age of 12 when her family moved to Huntsville, Alabama. There she began her education in country music and got caught up in the Bluegrass revival of the 1970’s, Blazing her own trail when there were few role models for young women in the genre, Claire Lynch made history when she led the Front Porch String Band which evolved in the 80’s and 90’s into “one of the most exciting post-modern bluegrass bands on the circuit.”

In January 2013, Claire signed a recording agreement with esteemed Nashville roots label Compass Records, She released the ninth solo recording of her career titled Dear Sister. The title track – a tear-inducing masterpiece co-written by Claire with Southerner Louisa Branscomb – is an intimate farewell letter shared between a brother and sister, their lives ravaged by the destruction of the Civil War.

The album eventually reached #1 position on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Bluegrass Chart, received an “Album of the Year” nomination at the 2013 IBMA Awards and a 2014 IBMA award when Dear Sister took “Song of the Year” honors.

In September 2016, Claire released North By South – a tribute to some of her favorite Canadian songwriters, like Gordon Lightfoot, Lynn Miles and Ron Sexsmith which will make her 2017 Roots & Blues appearance, during Canada’s 150th birthday, all the more memorable.

“Claire Lynch is a rare talent indeed. She has a beautiful, effervescent voice which can handle both contemporary and traditional music with complete authenticity. I love to listen to her and I love to sing with her.”
Linda Ronstadt

“…a sterling, silvery vocal presence and a gift for supple, emotional ornamentation….Lynch’s talent is a diamond…gorgeous voice and sense of purpose, supported by (a) superb ensemble…”
The Washington Post

Notice of Annual General Meeting

December 16, 2016

The Salmon Arm Folk Music Society Annual General Meeting will be held on January 17, 2017 at the Comfort Inn in Salmon Arm. Doors will open at 6:30 pm and the AGM will begin promptly at 7:00pm. The membership, past and present, and the public are invited to attend.

All candidates interested to be on the Board of Directors are required to submit in writing their intention to be considered a nominee for the AGM election, and must be an active member of the society by January 5, 2017. Please submit nominee declarations directly to the email: All nominees must submit a biography and CV to be included in the election information pack to be on hand during the AGM.

The election has five director positions open to be filled, including one by appointment. The SAFMS governance committee is encouraging nominees with the skills and experience in marketing, legal and sponsorship to apply. The Board of Director elections will be held during the AGM.

Download Board of Director application form click HERE.

Welcome to the 25th Annual ROOTS&BLUES

December 2, 2016

Yes the countdown to ROOTS&BLUES 2017, our 25th ANNIVERSARY, has officially begun as early bird tickets are now on sale for the weekend of August 18 thru 20.

Coming off a very gratifying year that was financially successful and artistically satisfying we have been hard at work since the last note was played at our volunteer party.
To that end we are pleased to announce that Booker T. Jones- one of the legends of soul, funk, R&B and American groove music- will be one of the headliners at the 2017 Salmon Arm ROOTS&BLUES Festival.

Led by Booker T., Stax Revue and A Journey Thru Soul, Blues and R&B will be closing the main stage on Saturday August 19 with his 10 piece all-star band. The onetime leader of Booker T. and the MG’s, composer, bandleader, producer, singer, ace keyboard player, and Americana music pioneer is also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

Then there are the multiple Grammys Mr. Jones has been honored to receive, the latest coming in 2012 for his The Road from Memphis album of which No Depression magazine felt is an, “album that makes clear not just how important Jones’ once was — but how important he still is.”

ROOTS&BLUES artistic director Peter North feels, “that the festival has a lot to celebrate in August 2017. Twenty-five years is quite an accomplishment and says a lot about the audiences thru the years.” Then there’s the commitment of the community to the event, and the passion that was in place from day one when the festival was born in a community hall. The quality of artists who have pulled off the Trans Canada Highway or flown from all over the world to connect with music fans from all over the province, the Pacific Northwest, and points east has been impressive since the first notes were played.

“It is also our nation’s 150th birthday. Programming will reflect the deep pool of talent we have to draw on and we want to share as many Canadiana roots music traditions as possible,” added North.

Along with Booker T.’s Stax/Soul Revue, ROOTS&BLUES also announces a handful of additional acts that will be part of a 40 act bill.

Acclaimed American Jeffrey Foucault, who the New York Times calls, “contemporary and timeless”, and 21 year-old Prince Edward Island tunesmith Dylan Menzies, are the first announcements out of the gate in the singer-songwriter category.

Red-hot blues pianist/vocalist Kenny Wayne and his five piece all-star band, and American gospel/country blues powerhouse, the Rev. Robert Jones, will be holding court at the CBC Blues Stage.

The ears of bluegrass fans should perk up quickly with the announcement that Claire Lynch, a three time winner of the International Bluegrass Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year Award, will be spending the weekend at ROOTS&BLUES.

To quote Linda Ronstadt, “Claire Lynch is a rare talent. She has a beautiful, effervescent voice, which can handle both contemporary and traditional music with complete authenticity. I love to sing with her.”

The initial release of artists for the 25th Annual ROOTS&BLUES has a strong foundation of talent that will include artists playing Celtic, African, jam band, newgrass, stringband, reggae and Cuban music over the course of the festival.

Ticket Info: Purchase a Salmon Arm Roots and Blues membership for $15 and you can purchase up to 4 discounted Early Bird Member tickets: Adults $119, Youth (13-19) $40, Student (20-25) $79, and Senior (65+) $99. Camping available. Go to for more information.

On the Path to the 25th Annual Roots&Blues Festival

August 24, 2016

Well it is maybe 36 hours since the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Volunteer Party came to a close and reflection is certainly a big part of the process when it comes to staging events of the kind.


For four nights, if you count the Music Crawl, and three days, it seemed to be “smiles all around” unless I was missing something, and according to everyone I’ve talked to, I wasn’t.

In assessing the 2015 festival Dave Gonella, Cindy Diotte, our amazing staff and crew and our devoted volunteers felt we had “vibed out” our audience and that the patrons of the 2015 Roots and Blues Festival were taking a message to all of their friends. That message being “that Roots and Blues was back on track and you had to be here for 2016.”

We were right and this past weekend generated nothing but smiles, ovations, camaraderie, hugs, and dancing, along with chances to make new friends, all while realizing what a fantastic community of music and culture lovers we belong to.

As artistic director I am thrilled with the way the musicians were once again “all in”. Workshops provided countless moments of artistic combustion and brilliant interaction and spontaneity. Judging by the comments we’ve received, and there have been many, the artists felt that the collaborative connections they made on the Barn, Shade and Blues stages exceeded their expectations, which were already high.

Personally, I can’t say enough positive things about the deep Canadian roots music talent pool.

Where does one begin when handing out accolades? Whitehorse, Matt Andersen, Bros. Landreth, Delhi 2 Dublin, kLox, The Jaybirds, Great Lake Swimmers, Locarno, or Quartetto Gelato all jumped into the deep end of the pool at workshops and delivered electric moments at stand alone concerts.

When it was all said and done, every artist on the bill wanted it to be known that they had never met volunteers, crews and staff members who made the process of making music “so easy”.

We thank our sponsors for their generous contributions that come to us in so many ways and forms and we couldn’t do it without them. Please try and support those who support Roots and Blues.

Some of my memories of this festival will be remembering audiences spontaneously standing in appreciation of a spellbinding workshop. I will never forget standing at the side of main stage Saturday evening and watching a Pied Piper like crowd dancing their way toward main stage as Paul Barrere, Fred Tackett and the New Orleans Suspects kicked off Saturday night with some funky festive and ferocious sounds.

I have believed for a while that Locarno is one of the best bands of any stripe in the country and I think Salmon Arm gave the ridiculously talented Tom Landa and company a great platform to reach a big and appreciative audience. Joe Craven’s poems on Sunday night threw a new creative ingredient into the mix and a smile will return to my face repeatedly when I revisit the moment when Barrere and Tackett invited Amy Helm on stage to sing Long Black Veil and The Weight with them at the Celebration of The Last Waltz.

Volunteers and staff are still working tirelessly at cleaning up the site and packing gear away but we’re already looking at 2017 which will mark the 25th anniversary of this festival which coincides with Canada’s 150th birthday. We’ve got to make a lot of magic for that one!

In closing for now, some lines from Jackson Browne’s song The Load Out come to mind.

People you’ve got the power over what we do?You can sit there and wait?Or you can pull us through?Come along, sing the song

Well you came along and pulled your festival through folks, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making Roots&Blues 2016 one to remember for all the right reasons.

On behalf of the Roots&Blues staff, board and volunteers
Peter North

Raffle Winners

August 24, 2016

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the raffle sponsors for their contributions to make the 24th Annual Roots&Blues Festival raffle one of the best ever! We would also like to thank the Province of British Columbia and BC Gaming for allowing our event the opportunity to raise funds through the gaming program.

Below is the list of prize winners:

  1. Janice Helle/Enderby, BC – Shuswap Lake Adventure – Sponsored by Twin Anchors Houseboats
  2. Diane Hystad/Sooke BC – 2017 Festival Lovers – Sponsored by Roots&Blues, Vancouver Island MusicFest and Calgary Folk Music Festival
  3. Craig Tennant/Salmon Arm BC – Peddle, Paddle & Fly – Sponsored by Skookum Cycle and Ski, Noble Adventures and Freedom Flight School
  4. Anne Torvik/Coldstream BC – Godin Guitar – Sponsored by Godin Guitars and Acorn Music
  5. Kelly Reid/Merrit BC – 4 passes to the 25th Annual Roots&Blues Festival – Sponsored by Roots&Blues
  6. Amanda Bailey/Salmon Arm BC – 2 Nights Play and Stay – Sponsored by Talking Rock Golf Course and Quaaout Lodge
  7. Ron Ste Marie/Kamloops BC – Lovers Retreat – Sponsored by Copperstone Resort
  8. Kyle Duford/Armstrong BC – Family Fun – Sponsored by Salmar Theatre, Lakeside Bowling and Salmon Arm Waterslides
  9. John Hanson/Coldstream BC – Dinner for 4 – Sponsored by Shuswap Chefs
  10. Erika Bell/Armstrong BC – His & Her Tax Return – Sponsored by H&R Block

All raffle winners and raffle related queries should be directed to the event office.


August 13, 2016



July 18, 2016

Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle both remember the night they met. It was nearly 30 years ago, and Colvin had been invited to open a solo acoustic performance by Earle at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA. Though their interactions that night were limited to some cursory dressing room pleasantries, each left more of an impression on the other than they may have realized at the time.

“I was knocked out with her,” says Earle. “She was a real live folk singer.”

“I was a big fan—still am—and I was thrilled I got to meet him,” reflects Colvin. “Steve’s just brilliant. He’s a very simple writer in an extremely profound way. I love his singing and his songwriting, he’s just got the whole package.”

Anyone in the audience that night could have sensed the critical acclaim, GRAMMY Awards, and immense impact on popular music that awaited both artists, each already well on their way to becoming widely considered among America’s greatest living songwriters. The long time friends and admirers have now reunited to record their self-titled debut as Colvin & Earle, a true standout for each in a catalog chock full of highlights and masterpieces.

The duo’s collaboration began two years ago with a phone call from Colvin, who had just wrapped up a joint tour with Mary Chapin Carpenter and found the experience offered a different set of artistic rewards from her typical solo touring.

“I found I really enjoy sharing the stage with someone for the whole evening,” says Colvin. “I love being a backup musician, I love singing harmony and being a rhythm guitar player and getting to be entertained by another artist I admire. Touring alone is something I do very well and it’s the right thing for me, but it was a nice change to have this camaraderie and repartee with someone onstage, and when I thought about who else I’d like to share that with, I immediately thought of Steve.”

The first show began with little more than a sound check for preparation, but they discovered an immediate spark, building from initially trading songs and stories back-and-forth to slowly, organically contributing guitar and harmonies to each other’s tunes throughout the night. The Albany Times Union hailed their show as “a near perfect pairing,” while The Morning Call said they “spur each other to greater heights,” and The Cleveland Plain Dealer called it “a joy to be able to witness two of the greatest at their craft.”

Earle, who’s toured with his full band in recent years, discovered a special chemistry that was unlocked when his voice met Colvin’s over acoustic guitars and mandolin every night on the road. He was particularly moved when she joined him on his song “Someday,” a track Colvin had recorded for her 1994 GRAMMY-nominated ‘Cover Girl’ album.

“The first time you’d really hear us sing together in harmony during the live show was on “Someday,” reflects Earle. “That’ll always have to be in the set, because Shawn recorded it when I was completely off everybody’s radar, including my own.”

The shows were so special to Earle that he proposed they record an entire album together in the spirit of the tour, co-writing brand new material to sing in harmony alongside inspired covers like the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” and Emmylou Harris’ “Raise The Dead.” Arrangements were made to hole up in mutual friend Buddy Miller’s Nashville home with an all-star band including guitarist Richard Bennett (who had played on Earle’s seminal ‘Guitar Town’ album), drummer Fred Eltringham (Willie Nelson, Kacey Musgraves), and bassist Chris Wood (of Medeski Martin & Wood/The Wood Brothers). With Miller at the helm as producer and baritone guitarist (Earle calls him “the greatest country singer alive and a monster guitar player”), the band worked through fourteen songs in a week-and-a-half, capturing the spontaneity and magic of Colvin & Earle’s live acoustic shows, while at the same time fleshing out the arrangements with alternating moments of subtle grace and raucous grit.

“The approach in the studio was that if you can play and sing, then it’s not rocket science,” laughs Colvin. “We set up in the house together, Steve and I in one room and the rest of the band in another. We’d rehearse a time or two and record it live, but Steve and I had our lyrics on music stands because the material was so fresh we hadn’t even memorized the words yet.”

It’s a remarkable revelation, considering the conviction and authority with which they inhabit their characters on the album. In a rare change of pace for both artists, the co-writes were true, even-split co-writes, with Colvin contributing a verse here or a melody there and Earle often bringing in a chorus or a chord progression. Album opener “Come What May” is a perfect example of the way their creative process gelled into a gorgeous, cohesive whole, and it’s a prime showcase for their sterling harmonies.

“That was the first song we wrote together,” remembers Colvin, “and it’s a great beginning for the album because Steve hesitates to call any of these songs ‘duets.’ This song is just two people singing to each other.”

“Tell Moses” is a rollicking slice of folk-gospel that works its way from Egypt to Ferguson, MO, while the lively “Happy and Free” is a master-class in what had first impressed Colvin about Earle, the ability to make the simple profound. The album’s more melancholy moments cut close to the bone from Colvin & Earle’s personal experiences, like the winsome “The Way That We Do” and the self-reflective “You’re Right (I’m Wrong).”

“We’ve both been around for a while and we’ve both got shit in that area to write about,” says Earle with a laugh. “For my part, you can’t be married as many times as I have and think its somebody else’s fault that you can’t stay in a relationship.”

For the album’s four covers, Colvin & Earle each picked two to record, pairing “Ruby Tuesday” and “Raise the Dead” with a new interpretation of “You Were On My Mind” that blends elements of Ian & Sylvia and the We Five’s versions (Earle’s choice), and a bluesy take on The Nashville Teens’ “Tobacco Road” (Colvin’s pick).

Perhaps the most touching moment, though, comes with the album’s closer, “You’re Still Gone,” which began with some lyrics written by Miller’s wife Julie.

“Several years ago Julie handed me these opening verses,” remembers Colvin, “and I brought it to Steve during this session because I had written more verses for it, but I didn’t know where to go from there. Steve fell in love with the song and wrote the choruses. It’s really sentimental to me because my father had just died, and Julie’s lyrics inspired me to write the next verses about my dad. Steve didn’t know that, but he came up with a chorus that says, ‘You’re still gone,’ and then it turned out that Julie had actually written the first two verses for her brother, who had passed away years ago.”

Such is the deep emotional connection and spiritual bond that enables this record to be so much greater than the (already great) sum of its parts. Few things can touch the magic of artists so in tune that they seem to be able to read each other’s minds. It would have been impossible to predict backstage at the Iron Horse all those years ago, but Colvin & Earle have gone from sharing a stage to sharing a band to sharing one of the finest records in either of their storied careers. That night in Northampton turned out to be the beginning of a very beautiful friendship indeed.


July 17, 2016

Go to Workshop Schedule


Please note: Artist and schedule changes may occur.


July 17, 2016

The Play Collective is a collaboration of performing artists and musicians who invite interactive play with all ages.

Together Performers, Live Musicians, Artists and the Young at heart collaborate through poi spinning, juggling, puppeteering, music, workshops, interactive art and more! Bring your family and all your friends to discover the hula hoops, giant bubbles, team games and other awesome surprises. Learn something new in our interactive workshops and see how we illuminate the night throughout the festival site! P.S. The Play Collective is a team of local volunteers with performing skills, we happily accept donations at the PlayZONE to support this initiative.




Come be in the centre of it all at the all ages PlayZONE! Learn some new skills with interactive drum & dance workshops, team games, juggling, poi spinning, interactive art, yoga, hula hooping and more! CAUTION: Exposure to play may cause sudden outbursts of joy, happiness, energy, creativity, increased talent and extreme amounts of FUN!


Be amazed as the festival site comes to life with play and performing arts that rove throughout the site! All ages can enjoy our dance workshops, drum classes, yoga sessions, team games and more. This year we are excited to introduce more color to the nightscape, so keep an eye out for our fire dancers and roving poi spinners. Come be part of it all by creating your own lantern in the kidzone craft tent and then join our Lantern Parade on Sunday at 8:30pm!

Play Zone Collective


Only a few more days until we unleash the power of PLAY to inspire joy, happiness, energy, creativity and more! The Play Collective invites you to join them at the PlayZONE for interactive workshops and awesome surprises as you take a break from the real world to get in touch with your inner child throughout the weekend. See you soon!

See more promo material: CLICK HERE


July 13, 2016

Go to Stage Schedule

Please note: Artist and schedule changes may occur.

Workshops Ready to Go

July 6, 2016

Well the workshop schedules have been a while in coming but we do believe we have a great slate of thematic daytime shows for you the patron of the Salmon Arm ROOTS&BLUES Festival, the 2016 edition.

As is always the case, one tries to find the opportunity to present roots music styles that may not have been in play the last couple of years, and that is understandable given the number of genres and sub-genres that fall under the roots music umbrella.

The Barn Stage hosts the first collaborative effort of note Friday evening as David Gogo will host what should be a rousing session titled Blue Jukebox Heaven. Armed with his own incredible arsenal of blues gems recorded by some of his biggest influences in the blues world, Gogo and his band will also play host a great group of classy Canuck blues artists for a seventy five minute set. Steve Kozak will no doubt go to a couple of his favourites in the west coast blues world, while Crystal Shawanda’s powerhouse voice should be able to go toe to toe with Gogo’s ferocious playing and Toronto’s Sugar Brown will grind a few blues gears by channeling the sounds of Lightnin’ Hopkins and Houndog Taylor. Stewart MacDougall and Tim Williams will also be on hand for a session that should shake the barn rafters.

Saturday’s line-up sees no less than 10 day time sessions where musicians will come together under the banner of a theme that gives the session a very focused direction or others that are a little more obtuse.

As an artistic director I do feel there needs to be a balance between sessions that deliver a tight focus on the suggested theme and others that allow for a fair bit of interpretation.

For instance, hardcore bluegrass fans will be a high level of  bluegrass interplay from a cast that collectively has a few hundred years of collective expertise when the Bluegrass Breakfast workshop starts the day in the Barn with John Reischman and his Jaybirds, the young and gifted Molly Tuttle Band and fiddle and mandolin master Joe Craven.

The follow-up Barn session, Canadian Ceilidh is the Celtic show piece of the weekend. Tom Landa who is here as leader of Locarno is also the founder and guiding light of The Paperboys and as host of this workshop Tom will be reunited with a couple of onetime members of the Paperboys, fiddle ace Miranda Mulholland and Celtic harp player Neil Burnett of Crossbow.

On the flip side of bringing artists together for sessions, I look at the Blues Stage where we’ve put together a collection of fantastic vocalists who have deep roots in a variety of styles.

Jerry Lawson is the founder of one of the greatest contemporary vocal groups ever, that being The Persuasions. Khari McClelland of The Sojourners, Eric Bibb and Roy Forbes are armed with instantly recognizable voices while folk-bluesman Tim Williams is a beacon in the world of acoustic country-folk blues. These cats are so capable of inspiring one another to find new avenues through tried and true tunes whether they come out of the soul, doo-wop, field holler or gospel traditions.

Same goes for the No Testosterone Zone session that is self-explanatory on one hand and open to interpretation from song to song in terms of style and presentation. Bluegrass and old time folk are represented by Molly Tuttle, Trisha Gagnon and Linda McRae, roots rocks from the indigenous perspective of Diyet and ShoShona Kish will be driving the mix as will be the songs of Shred Kelly’s Sage McBride and the instrumental fire of Locarno’s Kalissa Hernandez.

We’re expecting some fireworks to close out Saturday night in the Barn with a controlled free-for-all. Tom Landa and Locarno will be lighting the fuse on a rocket that will find the band mixing the talents of Delhi 2 Dublin and kLoX into the musical ride we’re calling Locarnoval!

Hardcore country music won’t be found in abundance at ROOTS&BLUES 2016 but there will be a couple of serious flurries. One late Saturday afternoon at the Shade Stage called Country Kin. This year we’ve lost two giants in country, Merle Haggard and Guy Clark and the songs of both will be found amongst originals from Stewart MacDougall, T Buckley Trio and Linda McRae. On Sunday morning MacDougall and the T Buckley Trio reconvene at the Blues Stage with Roy Forbes and Circus in Flames for a session titled Hanging’ With Hank that will combine songs from those landmark sources with originals inspired by the masters.

For the hardcore blues fans we’ll bookend the day at the CBC Blues Stage with a blowout featuring three guitar masters, young American blues slinger Jarekus Singleton, Canada’s hottest young bluesman Matt Andersen and veteran New Orleans player Jake Eckert who has been the guitarist for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band for years but who comes to Roots & Blues with the all-star crew The New Orleans Suspects.

And there’s so much more to choose from and who knows what artists will just take the liberty of inviting guests onto our stages for three days of what will be great music.

Music Crawl Update #1

June 17, 2016

Hard to believe, but in two months time the Salmon Arm ROOTS&BLUES Festival gates will be opening and to kick-off the 2016 festival patrons can expect an expanded Music Crawl on Thursday August 18th.


Last year the Shuswap Community Theatre was added as a new venue and patrons loved the intimacy and fine acoustics the theatre on Hudson avenue provided.

We’ll be back at the Shuswap Theatre again with a fantastic line-up led by award-winning bluesman Tim Williams and a dynamite new duo Harrow Fair, who are Miranda Mulholland from the Great Lake Swimmers and Andrew Penner from the Sunparlour Players.

Along with the Blue Canoe, Shuswap Pie Company, and Shuswap Chefs, roots music fans will also be able to catch hot sounds of local and touring acts at the new Urban Market. To bring the evening home Music Crawl 2016, will for the first time, funnel down to the festival site for a rockin’ good time at the Boogie Bar-N.

Colombian reggae band De Bruces A Mi and blues maestro David Gogo and his band will rock the Boogie Bar-N. Gates open at 7:30 and showtime is 8:30.

While the “pay what you can” policy stays in place for the cafes, pubs and Shuswap Theatre Music Crawl shows, members of the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society will gain free admission to the Bar-N show.

Memberships are $15 and will be available for purchase at the ROOTS&BLUES box office until 5 p.m. before the Thursday evening concert. Non-members admission for the De Bruces A Mi and David Gogo Band dance will be a nominal $20 at the gate. The Boogie Bar-N will be a licensed event and the Pub will be open for concert goers.

What’s Next?
A complete Salmon Arm Music Crawl ’16 line-up of artists, events times and venues will be released in early July.

Heads Up!
The festival campsites are 70% sold and going fast. We suggest if you want to camp during the event go and get your spot now.


June 10, 2016

Planning out your festival itinerary and all the logistics that go into attending Salmon Arm ROOTS&BLUES is a job in itself, so we figured we’d give you the first of a few leads on what acts are playing our evening stages the nights of August 19, 20 and 21 at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds.

Main Stage Friday night features three acts that cover a lot of musical ground.

Kicking off ROOTS&BLUES main stage will be Digging Roots as led by Raven Kanetakta and ShoShona Kish. The Ontario-based crew will be followed by another critically acclaimed group from Ontario, Great Lake Swimmers and then Vancouver’s John Reischman and the Jaybirds, the finest bluegrass band in Canada.

Closing out the opening night on the ROOTS&BLUES ’16 main stage will be folk-roots icons Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle. The two will be delivering a 90 minute set that includes new originals like the powerhouse single You’re Right (I’m Wrong) and Happy & Free.

A recent Colvin & Earle show saw the two included covers of The Beatles Baby’s In Black, The Everly Brothers Wake Up Little Susie, and Townes Van Zandt’s classic Pancho and Lefty. Those choice interpretations stood alongside Earle classics like Galway Girl, The Devil’s Right Hand and Copperhead Road while the duo reached for a number of Colvin gems including Sunny Came Home and Another Long One.


The Friday night Boogie Bar-N stage line-up will include what should be rousing performances from Celtic folk-rockers Tiller’s Folly, a Blues Jukebox Heaven set, as directed by David Gogo, who will be joined by a number of guests including Crystal Shawanda, Tim Williams and Sugar Brown. The night will close with Toronto’s kLoX and that duo’s pulsating electronica and roots-influenced grooves.

The Saturday night Main Stage line-up will close and reach a crescendo with a special ROOTS&BLUES tailored show featuring The Sojourners and special guests Jerry Lawson of Persuasions fame and Eric Bibb. Expect vocal pyrotechnicsof the highest order during this collaborative set. Little Feat’s Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett and the all-star band The New Orleans Suspects will kick the night off with a funky southern hit-filled show. Canada’s acclaimed classical yet folk-rooted ensemble Quartetto Gelato with virtuoso guest Joe Craven add a sultry and spicy mix to the evening before giving way to Canadian roots darlings Whitehorse, who are guaranteed to light up the Salmon Arm Fair Grounds before The Sojourners and friends bring it all home.

The Boogie Bar-N will rock until late Saturday evening with performances by some of this nation’s finest young electric roots acts, with The Bros. Landreth and Shred Kelly doing stand-alone shows.

Saturday will wrap with a fiery musical mash-up we’re calling Locarnoval! as orchestrated by Vancouver’s Locarno, who will be drawing on the considerable talents of Delhi 2 Dublin and kLoX.

Sunday night will feature Main Stage shows from both Amy Helm and her band The Handsome Strangers from Woodstock New York, and Canadian blues sensation Matt Andersen who will be closing the show with Joe Craven acting as emcee.

Meanwhile back at the Boogie Bar-N, ROOTS&BLUES will be going out with a bang as Samantha Martin, the New Orleans Suspects, American blues guitar playing sensation Jarekus Singleton and Delhi 2 Dublin promise to send patrons home physically and emotionally drained.

What’s Next?
Stay tuned, as ROOTS&BLUES will be announcing all the collaborative and thematic workshops and day side-stage concerts very soon.


June 10, 2016

The ROOTS&BLUES is pleased to announce the addition of Yukon-based singer-songwriter Diyet who will be making her first appearance at ROOTS&BLUES.

Born in a tent, raised in a small cabin in a village on the shores of a glacial lake in the mountains of the Kluane region of the Yukon, Diyet proudly embodies her Southern Tutchone, Japanese, Tlingit and Scottish roots with a musical presence that is equally diverse and unique.

Diyet is Alternative Folk, Roots, Country and Traditional Aboriginal with catchy melodies and stories deeply rooted in her Indigenous worldview and northern life. She performs as a trio with husband and collaborator, Robert van Lieshout on guitar and foot percussion and multi-instrumentalist and Juno Award winning producer, Bob Hamilton.

“Vulnerable, true to life songs.” Vancouver Sun

Along with a concert set and workshop shows, Diyet will be front and centre along with Digging Roots and Crystal Shawanda for a concert focused on the music of the Grammy-nominated box-set Native North America, Vol. 1: Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985.


May 24, 2016

One of the finest bluegrass bands anywhere, John Reischman and The Jaybirds, will be dispensing their high lonesome sound that is found on five outstanding releases. With a fourth critically-acclaimed album and expanded touring schedule, John Reischman and the Jaybirdsare a top-flight band delivering a truly fresh blend of original songs and instrumentals, old-time heritage, and bluegrass power.

Featuring nine new songs and tunes from all five founding band members, Stellar Jays is the latest in a series of CDs to win rave reviews for a trademark, old-time-infused bluegrass sound that respects tradition while advancing the music. The nomination of Stellar Jays for two 2007 Canadian Folk Music Awards follows praise such as this from Nashville Public Radio: “A masterpiece — a fascinating and fresh-sounding collection of tunes that incorporate the best elements of bluegrass and old-time into a killer new sound.”

“On the evidence of Stellar Jays, John Reischman and the Jaybirds are in their prime as contemporary bluegrass musicians capable of
maintaining and extending the music’s legacy,” says

(Excerpt above is from the artist’s official press release)


May 23, 2016

Coming to ROOTS&BLUES ’16 with a completely different musical sensibility is the award-winning classical ensemble Quartetto Gelato. The groups repertoire consists of a mix of masterworks and operatic arias with tangos, gypsy, and folk songs from around the world.

As one Toronto reviewer stated – “Quartetto Gelato proves that they are indeed the “Cirque du Soleil” of classical music – always fresh, full of surprises, constantly re-inventing.” And what other classical quartet can boast an oboe player who is also a master claw hammer banjo player?


May 22, 2016

Since the inception of Shred Kelly, the Fernie BC based band have been re-defining what folk-rock means. Through their individual pan-Canadian backgrounds, Tim Newton, Sage McBride, Jordan Vlasschaert, Ian Page-Shiner, and Ty West have amplified the traditional sound of folk music with a more contemporary approach.

Pushing the boundaries of the genre, they have incorporated a wide range of influences to create a sound that is uniquely called ‘Stoke Folk.’ The band is best known for their dynamic, high-energy and engaging live show that leaves no dance floor vacant.

Shred Kelly has garnered themselves sold-out shows across Canada, performed at some of the Nation’s premier festivals, and received a growing list of awards and recognition. They recently won ‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Best Live Act’ at 2015 Kootenay Music Awards and won a 2015 Western Canadian Music Award for ‘Best Music Video’ for their latest single ‘Sing to the Night.’

Shred Kelly released their 3rd album – ‘Sing To The Night’ – on January 27th 2015. The new material shows the growth and depth that the band has explored throughout the creative process, and once again demonstrates their signature claw-hammer banjo riffs, layered ambient synth, powerhouse rock, and sweet vocal harmonies. Their acclaimed producer John Critchley (Elliott Brood, Dan Mangan, Amelia Curran, The Once) from Green Door Studios was a master at creating an album that pushed their creativity and gave Shred Kelly a new take on their signature sound, which translates perfectly onto an album, or a packed dance floor.

Sing to the Night named “Top 15 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015” – CBC Music

“Sing to the Night is a huge step forward for this young group.” – Exclaim Magazine

“Shred Kelly’s ‘Sing to the Night’ breaks from the pack and demonstrates a fresh, distinct sound. With great consistency, compelling tone, and overall fantastic music”– Aesthetic Magazine

“Free Press Folk Fest Faves – Favorite Big Blue @ Night Shows – Shred Kelly” – Winnipeg Free Press


May 18, 2016

Miranda Mulholland & Andrew Penner are two members of Harrow Fair. One part stomping songs that echo early Country and Rock n Roll. The other gritty ballads that sound sweet and haunted. This duo’s evocative and rapidly expanding collection of songs are utterly foreign, oddly familiar and deeply gratifying. Debut Full-Length Album due out 2016.

(Content above cited from the artist’s official website)


May 18, 2016

Guitarist, singer, writer of songs, are just some of things that go to make up the man Adrian Nation.

Guitar builder, rugby player, carpenter, martial artist, climber, the list goes on and is reflected in his musical catalogue. Here is an artist who can’t sit at home waiting for imagination to create the songs, rather he goes and finds the places in life where songs can be found.

His music, although acoustic guitar-driven, is not traditionally folk as such. There are touches of folk, rock and even country in his blend, it’s true, but not so much of any one genre as to make the music easily categorisable. Pushed to make a comparison, to name names, you might find a trace of the Canadian songwriter Gordon Lightfoot in there but still, it’s hard to pigeonhole him.

A talented, committed musician in his youth, Adrian Nation describes his first compositions as “the ramblings of a searching teenager”. He may ramble less these days, but his search continues, and he has evolved into one of the most insightful and incisive songwriters of his generation.

Influenced at an early age by the genius of Bob Dylan and the melodic fluidity of Mark Knopfler’s haunting guitar, Adrian’s teenage eyes and ears were truly opened when the late Isaac Guillory “played the guitar like I had never seen” (Diamonds in the Stream). Reflecting on this experience Adrian says, “Suddenly the acoustic guitar was a much bigger instrument than I ever thought it could be. My mind was set.”

Adrian is delighted to be returning to Canada following his highly successful 17 date tour in Alberta last November, to play the Salmon Arm Festival, swapping his toque for sunglasses and his skis for sandals!

“Adrian Nation reminds me of a young Martin Simpson – blessed with boundless boldness and unrestricted flair” (Roddy Campbell editor Penguin Eggs)

(Biography provided by the artist)


May 18, 2016

Now well into his fifth decade as a professional musician and songwriter, New Brunswick native Stewart MacDougall continues to be one of Alberta’s most diverse performers. Before pursuing a solo career in 1997 he was best known for his keyboard and vocal work with Laura Vinson, k.d. lang, Ian Tyson, and Great Western Orchestra.

His songs have been recorded by all of these artists and a number of others including Sneezy Waters and  Randy Travis. A later collaboration with Tyson produced the title song for Ian’s 2008 CD Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Stories. MacDougall’s discography includes three solo albums: Gathering Time, heresay and Ghost Trains.

He also appears on  the  Alberta all-star compilation, Sorrow Bound: Hank Williams Re-Examined  and The Gift, A Tribute to Ian Tyson, which features performances by various Tyson alumni and admirers. The Thorniest Rose, a download single was released in January 2012.


(Content above is from the artist’s bio on


May 18, 2016

Making a first appearance at ROOTS&BLUES is Calgary’s T Buckley Trio. The Canmore Folk Festival says “There’s enough swing and twang to set your feet moving involuntarily and enough soul and lament to make you want to grab a beer to cry into, but the joy these three bring to the stage will leave those lyrics two-stepping through your mind long after they’ve left the stage”

More comments about T Buckley Trio:

“One of the rising stars of the roots scene…” — Bob Mersereau – CBC

“The Trio are a tight fighting unit onstage, adept at near telepathic instrumental interplay and able to draw on a formidable list of far-flung originals and cover songs. ” — Eric Volmers, Penguin Eggs

“The trio turn out warm, flowing melodies with a little grit on the edge that taps into a pure vein of country soul.” — BEATROUTE Magazine

“Boom. I turned my head for a second, and a new generation of songwriters popped up in Calgary, shockingly professional and prolific, securing weekly residencies at top venues and the best players in town to accompany them. T. Buckley is one of those songwriters. In a matter of a few years, he has built a solid fan base in the city, toured across the country, and now released his second album…” — Gillian Turnbull, No Depression Magazine

“Buckley’s musical bloom is a beginning, a redemption, like the dawn bruising your eyes in a truck stop after midnight.” — Calgary Folk Music Festival

(Content above was collected from the band’s official website)


May 18, 2016

Seal Skull Hammer is a Canadian band that was born high in the majestic mountains of British Columbia. Sprung from once-a-week summer jams on Alton Gowen’s front porch in the sunny Shuswap these three melodious mountain musicians have joined forces,  moving off the front porch and onto the stage,  as the band Seal Skull Hammer.

These three do-it-yourselves of the doctrinal ditty are named for the idea of using archaic tools to build what they need,  the band prides itself on having the lowest-tech gear possible to make their music,  giving up doctored sound effects and synthesizers for home-made instruments and hillbilly harmonies.

They hope to entertain you,  laugh with you,  and send you home feeling better than when you arrived.  So put away your toil,  ease your mortal coil,  put your woes and worries in the slammer and listen to some Seal Skull Hammer.


May 18, 2016

Neil Burnett is a composer and multi-instrumentalist who specializes in the Celtic music of his family roots. Among other instruments, he plays the Irish flute, tin whistle, Celtic harp, traditional Irish/Scottish drum, the bodhrán, and keyboards, both acoustic and electronic.

He’s been a performer, studio recording artist, and composer in British Columbia for two decades. He has played and recorded with a number of well-known artists and bands, including the Paperboys (with whom he was nominated for a Juno award for the album Late as Usual), Doug Cox, the Brothers Creeggan (Jim and Andy of BareNaked Ladies), the Widdershins, Will Millar of the Irish Rovers, and more.

He is also an award-nominated composer of music for film, television, and stage. Lately, Neil has been writing and arranging for two new albums expected in Fall, and has been writing and performing with his Cello-playing partner Christina Zaenker in the duo “Crossbow.”

Find out more about Crossbow at

(Excerpt above is from BC Living Art’s bio page:


May 18, 2016

To entertain is one thing. To enrich is another. Singer-Songwriter-Harper-Spoken-Word-Poet HarpPixie blurs the line between performance and transformational offering. HarpPixie’s songs ring with clarity. Her stories say ‘yes’ to vitality. Her poetry bowls the thinking mind right over, and feeds the soul image-after-rapidfire-image. As a workshop leader and as a performer, HarpPixie aims to light you up.

Harp Pixie lives by the tiny Kootenay village of Kaslo, near Nelson (Canada, BC). Her studio looks out over the moody waters of Kootenay Lake, a crystalline lake ringed with stoic glacier-tipped mountains. Inspiration percolates through the wild beauty of this place, and this beauty shines through the vivid imagery and transcendent feel of Harp Pixie’s music.

Harp Pixie lives by the tiny Kootenay village of Kaslo, near Nelson (Canada, BC). Her studio looks out over the moody waters of Kootenay Lake, a crystalline lake ringed with stoic glacier-tipped mountains. Inspiration percolates through the wild beauty of this place, and this beauty shines through the vivid imagery and transcendent feel of Harp Pixie’s music.

(Excerpt above is from the artist’s official website)


May 18, 2016

Samantha Martin was nominated in 2016 as New Artist of the Year honors at the Maple Blues Awards, and will be fronting our gospel show with The Sojourners and Jerry Lawson of the Persuasions.


“Here’s a voice that comes along once in a generation, and only on a blue moon.” — Bob Mersereau


“Samantha Martin’s is a force of nature, one of those voices that grabs you by the throat while causing the hairs on the back of your neck to tingle.” — Exclaim! Kerry Doole


May 18, 2016

Also from central Canada comes one of our new blues heroes who is making his first venture out west the week of ROOTS&BLUES. Sugar Brown has immersed himself in the sounds of everything from the Velvet Underground and Tom Waits to R.L. Burnside and Lightnin’ Hopkins.

Absolutely mesmerizing is the only way to describe this guitarist and singer.


May 18, 2016

Led by Doug Andrew who came out of the punk scene via Shanghai Dog, has been aptly described by Tom Harrison of the Vancouver Province as being “ an act led by a great songwriter…with an extraordinarily sympathetic band…combining for a weird mix of musical eclecticism built on a dark folklore”.

ROOTS&BLUES patrons can also look for Andrew to be a focal point of the festivals 40th Anniversary Celebration of “The Last Waltz.

Photo by Arseniy Yodopyanov


May 18, 2016

For the past nineteen years, through thousands of performances stretching from the Pacific North-west to The Carolinas and across to the British Isles and beyond – they have spread their memorable blend of energy, history, musicality, romance and just plain fun from small and large halls to theatres and festivals.

Tiller’s Folly are modern day storytellers of lore, uniting past with the present. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Tiller’s Folly are a critically acclaimed, internationally traveled power trio at the forefront of a bold new movement in acoustic roots music.

With nine studio CDs to the bands credit, Tiller’s award winning productions continue to expand and refine their potent mix of acoustic & electric based, Celtic influenced Canadiana, Americana, Newgrass ‘and beyond.’

Tiller’s Folly is Bruce Coughlan (songwriter, lead vocals. Guitar); Nolan Murray (fiddle, mandolin, mandocaster) and Laurence Knight (bass, vocals).

(Excerpt above is from the artist’s official press release)


March 24, 2016

2016 JUNO Winner – Adult alternative album of the year Whitehorse, “Leave No Bridge Unburned”.

When it comes to making a commitment to Canadian content for the 2016 edition of ROOTS&BLUES, this festival couldn’t choose a finer contemporary roots act to join us for a couple of days than Whitehorse.


Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet have, over the past five years, established themselves as one of the most creative pairings of the new millennium in roots and roots-rock driven music in North America.

Having established themselves as separate forces on our music scene in the nineties, Doucet as one of the finest and most adventuresome guitarists around, and McClelland as a superior tunesmith and singer, this duo, now husband and wife, released their debut self-titled effort in 2011 to critical raves.

Since then the two, who are also powerhouse performers on stage, have been building a discography that includes an e.p. of material sung in French, another e.p. of choice, classic Canadian covers, and two delicious slates of originals that received raves on both sides of the border, Leave No Bridge Unburned and The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss.

That the two can also mine wonderfully penned songs from solo outings like McClelland’s outstanding 2009 Victoria Day release, and in Doucet’s case, his 2008 winner Blood’s Too Rich which was on the receiving end of rave reviews.

Whitehorse comes to ROOTS&BLUES with an agenda that will find McClelland and Doucet working both together and apart on side stages, and of course as a featured act on our main stage.

What the media is saying about WHITEHORSE:

“Their assurance is sexy; the song craft nimble. Whitehorse is the Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway of Canadian roots rock” — The Globe & Mail


“Domestic bliss with a serrated edge. At once erotically charged and exuberant, the sophomore outing from married duo Luke Doucet and Mellisa McClelland comes off like a Canadian Raising Sand.” — Uncut


“Simply put, McClelland and Doucet are kinda perfect together; their voices either blend effortlessly or bounce back and forth with complementary character, and the minimally appointed songs they come up with together roll over you pleasingly like they’ve been around forever.” — Toronto Star

#rootsandblues #wheremusiciansgotoplay


March 23, 2016

As of the last few weeks Matt Andersen’s career has rocketed to another lofty plateau and with that news Salmon Arm ROOTS&BLUES is very pleased to announce that Andersen will be front and centre at our 24th annual festival on the weekend of August 19th thru 21st.


Since it’s release in late February Andersen’s new album Honest Man debuted in the Top Five on the Soundscan charts sitting in the company of Adele, Justin Bieber, 1975, as well as Macklemore & Lewis.

In the midst of his Honest Man tour, Andersen has already played to over 15,000 Canadians with 45 dates yet to come, he’s making his mark at American Triple A Radio with 13 adds in the last couple of weeks, enjoyed almost 10 million visits and views on Youtube with over 100,000 of those being directed to his Honest Man album.

The powerhouse singer and ferocious guitarist has been building his career coast to coast for over a decade now, playing most of our major festivals, being introduced to large audiences via Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café tours, feeding off the continent wide buzz of rave reviews and his heavy rotation on roots and blues radio programs across the nation.

It’s impossible to argue with the string of reviews that follow his performances and recordings that have played a major role in his winning the 2013 Euro Blues Award for Best Solo Acoustic Act, a similar award at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, numerous Maple Blues Awards and a mantle full of East Coast Music Awards.

“When you hear New Brunswick fretmaster Matt Andersen wailing away the word dexterous comes to mind, because he’s tearing off enough rapid-fire acoustic licks to challenge Eddie Van Halen on “Eruption”. — Georgia Straight


“Matt’s sprawling blue, roots and rock musical hybrid with his soulful voice and astonishing guitar-playing has sparked a phenomenal buzz.” — Toronto Blue Society

Look for Matt Andersen at the 24th Annual ROOTS&BLUES Festival performing both a side stage show with some equally talented roots musicians and of course on our main stage.

Exclaim’s article on Matt Andersen published on April 7, 2016.


March 23, 2016

We are pleased to announce that one of Canada’s most respected indie folk-roots bands Great Lake Swimmers will be appearing at the 24th edition of Roots and Blues from August 19 thru 21, 2016.

Touring behind their sixth album, A Forest of Arms, this exceptional Tony Dekker-led band has once again received critical acclaim that has lifted the band to a lofty plateau that is only achieved via a decade’s worth of an unwavering creative vision, dogged road work, and a collaborative team effort that consistently highlights the talents of Dekker, guitarist and banjo player Erik Arnesen, Miranda Mulholland on violin and backing vocals, Bret Higgins on upright bass and Joshua Van Tassel on drums.

Whether it’s a performance in London England, Dublin Ireland or at Massey Hall in Toronto, that has been put under the magnifying glass, Great Lake Swimmers rise to the challenge of engaging audiences across the western world, spinning together a broad cross-section of subject matter into song that tackle our responsibilities as global citizens to the universality of affairs of the heart.

When approached by Salmon Arm Roots and Blues about the possibility of playing the 2016 festival, the band and management made it clear that they didn’t want to pull onto the Roots and Blues site, play show, jump in the bus and hit the road.

Great Lake Swimmers wanted to play a role in helping creating a great vibe at Roots and Blues for three full days, one that involves the commitment of collaboration that makes workshops memorable while leaving the band members the time to exhale and deliver the best possible concerts in stand alone performances. #rootsandblues

“The Canadians’ set tweaks their established formula with splendid results…gorgeous and rewarding…”

“The result is a poppy, polished, triumphant record.”
— NOW magazine

Interested to know what the media is saying about the Great Lake Swimmers? CLICK HERE


March 23, 2016

2015 has been a grand year for singer-songwriter and bandleader Amy Helm with her chart topping debut solo album Didn’t It Rain and a string of rave reviews for her soulful and spirited live shows.

So it is no wonder that many of us are convinced that the gifted artist will continue impressing audiences in 2016, and one of those audiences will be right here in the Shuswap at ROOTS&BLUES on the weekend of August 19.

While Didn’t It Rain may be her solo debut, this artist made a string of great recordings as a member of the group Ollabelle, while also making significant contributions to her later father Levon Helm’s live shows and Grammy-winning recordings right up until his passing in 2012.

Her legendary father, one of the driving forces of The Band, is the drumming heartbeat on three tracks on Didn’t It Rain and Ms. Helm often reflects in interviews on how her father was “a great teacher as you could ask for.”

She will be arriving at the Salmon Arm Fair Grounds with her crackerjack band The Handsome Strangers and expect this crew to not only deliver a memorable main stage show but add their expertise and spectacular instrumental and vocal fireworks to one of the many thematic workshops that will be programmed for ROOTS&BLUES 2016.

Find out first hand why Amy Helm’s Didn’t It Rain hit number one on the Roots Music Report Charts and went Top Five on the Americana Music Charts.

What the media is saying about Amy Helm? Click here to find out more!




March 22, 2016

Without question one of the most important acoustic blues artists of his generation, Eric Bibb is also one of the most prolific recording artists in the roots music world.

Currently nominated for two prestigious 2016 Blues Music Awards, and the ceremony will be held May 5 in Memphis, Bibb finds himself as a finalist in both as Acoustic Artist of the Year and for Acoustic Album of the Year for his Blues People release.

A smooth, passionate and at times fiery singer, as well as a fluid technically brilliant guitarist, superior tunesmith and ready collaborator, Bibb was nominated for a Grammy for his Shakin’ A Tailfeather disc and was nominated for numerous W.C. Handy Awards before they were re-branded as the Blues Awards.

Born with the blues and activism in his DNA, Bibb is the son of the late great actor/singer Leon Bibb, godson of actor-singer Paul Robeson and his uncle was John Lewis, the founder of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

As Bibb has stated on numerous occasions, “my parents house was a center of artistic life where meeting Odetta, the Rev. Gary Davis and Judy Collins had a profound effect on me.”

Bibb has channeled all those sources that influenced him and developed a sound that is uniquely his, although he embraces settings where he can create new songs and find inspiration in the power of collaboration. Collaborative recordings include dates with Maria Muldaur, Rory Block, Habib Koite, and most recently JJ Milteau on the exceptional Lead Belly’s Gold outing.

Bibb is another one of those master musicians who Roots and Blues staff and audiences will be appreciate not only for his talents but because of his desire to be “all in” and wanting to participate on all levels at the 2016 edition of the festival. Eric Bibb will be bringing another exceptional musician with him for the Roots and Blues weekend, who will be announced shortly.

Find out more about this performer at


March 22, 2016

Given the name of our festival it goes without saying that one of the mandates of ROOTS&BLUES is to “get to the heart of the blues”. For 2016 the first “true blue” blues artist we are announcing happens to be one of the hottest young blues performers on the planet, Jarekus Singleton.

Armed with the instrumental power of an Albert King or a Stevie Ray Vaughan and the swagger and stage presence of Jimi Hendrix, Singleton is a writer, singer, player, and bandleader who comes from the same, deep musical Mississippi well as Muddy Waters and B.B. King.

With high visibility performances at Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco, The North Atlantic Blues Festival, The PA Blues Festival, The Cincinnati Blues Festival, and The Festival International du Blues de Mont-Tremblant, Singleton is on the cusp of international stardom.

Last year Singleton was nominated for three Blues Music Awards (formerly known as The Handy Awards) including the prestigious Album Of The Year and Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year for his Alligator debut, Refuse To Lose. He also was recognized with a nomination for Contemporary Blues Male Artist Of The Year.

Consider that it was only a few years ago Singleton was first delivering his original lyrics as a rapper, but soon after he began to combine his original lyrics with his blues guitar playing. “I love the blues tradition, and have always been inspired by the masters. But I want to create something for today’s audience that is as original and new as those blues masters were when they first started making records. I want to create blues for the 21st century.” Well Singleton has certainly achieved that aspiration quickly and it’s no wonder he’s being drenched in critical acclaim.

“Jarekus Singleton is destined to be the next big name in the blues world.” –Blues & Rhythm Magazine (UK)

“Jarekus Singleton is an exciting new young blues guitarist with melody, hooks, swagger and a strong, original voice. His lyrics are modern, personal, acutely poetic and deeply mature.” –Washington Post



March 21, 2016

It was a year and a half ago at the Winnipeg Folk Festival when after witnessing The Bros. Landreth in full flight, that Bonnie Raitt stated, “I haven’t liked a band as much as The Bros. Landreth in a long time. To hear this kind of funky, Southern-style rock played with such originality and soul will knock you out.”

Endorsements simply don’t get any better than that, and Raitt’s response to the Bros. Landreth’s talents is just one more confirmation on why this band is the hottest young roots-rock band to come out of Canada in a very long time.

The buzz about The Bros. Landreth is loud and that buzz has carried all the way across this country, and down into the States thanks not only to their live shows but their critically acclaimed debut recording Let It Lie.

Just over a year ago the Winnipeg-based band hit the ground running at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville and came home with a deal with Slate Creek Records while the week following the event Rolling Stone Magazine included The Bros. Landreth in a feature titled “The Twenty Best Things We Saw at Americana Music Fest 2014.”

We’re pretty sure many Salmon Arm ROOTS&BLUES fans will be including The Bros. Landreth in their top five acts of our 2016 festival. Catch this dynamite homegrown act before the rest of the world comes calling!


March 20, 2016

Crystal Shawanda grew up on the Wikwemikong reserve on an island in Ontario, Canada, Her parents raised her on Country music, but it was her oldest brother who introduced her to the blues. He would hang out in the basement cranking Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Etta James, and Crystal would sit at the top of the stairs, straining to hear those soulful sounds. She learned early on, by observing her family, that music was like cheap therapy. That’s what the blues is all about: releasing and healing.

While she was secretly pining to be a blues mama, out on stage it was Patsy and Loretta. She started performing country at six and started getting paid gigs at 10, relentlessly playing every stage she could.
Crystal and her dad started taking frequent trips to Nashville when she was 12. She recorded her first album when she was 13 and moved away from home that same year to attend music school. Crystal got restless however, and dropped out at 16 to move to Nashville. She didn’t know anyone but was determined, so she spent days playing where she could and busking in between.

During a chance meeting with a well-respected music executive, Crystal was told, “I just don’t know if Native Americans make sense in country music. I don’t know if fans would be receptive and I wouldn’t even know how to market you.” Crystal tried to take the critique with composure, but would end up moving back home to her reserve and abandoning her dream. Shawanda set out on a dark, self-destructive path, but no matter what, always found herself back in front of the microphone.

She finally came to terms with what was bothering her. “If I was out of tune, I could take voice lessons,” she reflects. “If my song was bad, I could write another. But I couldn’t change the colour of my skin.” So Shawanda moved back to Nashville one more time with a mission to prove him wrong. She paid her dues, playing at Tootsies Orchid Lounge six days a week, and managed to build up a buzz and land a production deal with Scott Hendricks. She was later signed to a record deal with RCA Records by Joe Galante, who had heard Crystal cover B.B. King and Janis Joplin. This venture produced a top 20 song on country radio and the highest selling album by a Native American in BDS history.

After this, she found herself feeling like a fish out of water. She says, “I so wanted to be what everyone wanted me to be, I lost myself along the way.” So Crystal took some time off and, one day while watching the news and feeling overwhelmed by the headlines, she walked into her music room, picked up her guitar and wrote “The Whole World’s Got the Blues.” This was the start of her first blues album.

“The songs just fell out of me and throughout the recording it was like setting my voice free,” she says. “I can’t help but feel like I’m home, no longer holding back.”

Crystal’s latest album is a modern take on the blues, but is deeply rooted with heart-wrenching laments and catchy rump-shakers. It’s where the north meets the south and captures the resilience of the human spirit – much like the way Crystal does.

Roots and Blues is thrilled to have Crystal Shawanda in the 2016 line-up and along with her solo concerts, she’ll be participating in one of our major theme concerts with Digging Roots and other artists.

“Shawanda is a powerful performer on and off the stage. Humble and talented, Shawanda is passionate about her craft. Never giving an audience less than her best.” – PPCORN ENTERTAINMENT WEB


March 19, 2016

One of the great soul, gospel and blues singers of his generation, Jerry Lawson is best known as “the voice” of the critically acclaimed a cappella group The Persuasions, and understandably so as he spent the better part of four decades with the influential and groundbreaking vocal group.

When Lawson was the lead singer of the Persuasions, which he left in 2003, Greil Marcus, the dean of roots music journalists called the group “a perfect marriage of passion and intelligence”. Rolling Stone has rated their 1977 album Chirpin’, as one of the one hundred best works of the seventies.

Since his departure from The Persuasions, Lawson has participated in a tribute recording to Bruce Springsteen (Born To Run), recorded an album with Talk of the Town and cut solo projects, his most recent outing being the album, Just A Mortal Man.

In 2005 he performed with Rod Stewart in the Katrina Benefit Telecast, in 2010 was a focal point in the a cappella documentary film “A Lesson In A Cappella”, and recently teamed up with hip-hop artist VaeeDaBoi.

Armed with one of the most soulful and supercharged voices around, Lawson will be coming to ROOTS&BLUES with his guitar player and over the course of the weekend he will be collaborating with The Sojourners for a concert that will be a collaboration unique to ROOTS&BLUES. We’re pleased to report that it is one that both Lawson and The Sojourners are truly excited about.

We welcome this living legend to ROOTS&BLUES and to find out more about Jerry Lawson visit his website:


March 1, 2016

For all of the great Canadian musicians who went south during the seventies, Canada was blessed with a number of musicians who migrated north. Tim Williams is one of those fine and multi-talented artists who decided Canada was where he was going to hang his hat and our scene has been so much better for that move.

Yes, he is a terrific bluesman, but he’s so much more. he’s recorded, along with his critically acclaimed blues albums, traditional country and border music, and folk gems, been a sought-after producer for many established and new emerging artists.

ROOTS&BLUES Artistic Director Peter North wrote years ago that “Tim Williams is Canada’s Ry Cooder.” Toss in the fact that he’s a brilliant raconteur, and Williams brings a vast arsenal of talents to a festival table. Look for Tim to not only deliver great solo shows but be the ringleader at a few cool workshops, and check out his latest solo recording “So Low”.

Note: This performer does not have a twitter or facebook account and these links are redirected to the performer’s website.


March 1, 2016

Another veteran of the western Canadian scene, Linda McRae’s talents first came to prominence when she joined spirit of the west for what would become an eight year tenure with the popular roots group. during that time she was heard on a number of Spirit of the West albums including “Save This House”, and “Faithlift”.

The next phase of her career found her original songs being produced by the likes of Colin Linden and Gurf Morlix.

One turn led to another and McRae’s  compass pointed her towards the states where she has been working and living for the few years, immersing herself in traditional folk styles while injecting those sounds into her original songs.

We also shouldn’t forget that she was a spark plug in a short-lived but ever so tasty west coast roots group of all-stars called The Knotty Pines.

McRae’s latest albums, “Shadow Trails” and “50 Shades of Red” have been met with rave reviews and she’s toured around the continent with her banjo and guitar from major festivals to folk clubs to prisons and educational institutions.

“When all the trends fade and become dated, and all the music from the cutting edge becomes dull, Linda McRae will continue to stand tall, singing and playing music with honest soul and humility, cutting through the fog with her timeless clarity. Linda is one of the true, soulful pioneers of honest roots music. Her singing and playing brings honor to her heroes and to her friends and fans.” — Colin Linden


March 1, 2016

For almost 45 years Roy Forbes has been a mainstay at festivals, and folk club produced concerts across this land. The B.C. native burst onto the scene during a renaissance period for Canadian roots music and in quick succession the singer-songwriter released a series of recordings under the name Bim. Those recordings earned him loyal audiences thanks to deep well of songs that included “Right After My Heart”, “Fly Back North”, “Tender Lullaby”, “Farmer Needs to the Rain”, “Waitin’ for You Mama”, and “Shell of a Life”.

That impressive foundation was added to with another string of recordings that saw him shed Bim for Roy. A series of releases as Roy Forbes found the songbook expanding via albums like Crazy Old Moon and The Human Kind and bi-product of that great songbook has been numerous artists, ranging from the great western orchestra to American bluegrass star Kathy Kallick, serving up wonderful interpretations of Roy Forbes songs.

In the new millennium Forbes has released a collection of his interpretations of classic folk-roots songs, under the banner of “Some Tunes for that Mother of Mine” (2006) and an energized live solo set titled Strikin’ Matches Live! (2014).

Roy also continues to host the popular Roy’s record room on the CKUA radio network on Monday evenings and his vast knowledge of classic roots styles, including western swing, rockabilly and rhythm and blues, will be tapped into during workshop sessions at ROOTS&BLUES 2016.

“It has never been anything less than a major pleasure to listen to new songs by Forbes, a craft-conscious writer who remains one of the truest troubadours in the Canadian mosaic.”
the Toronto Star


February 24, 2016

That three remarkable singers from the U.S. would align themselves under the banner of The Sojourners in Vancouver remains one of the most inspiring stories in the Canadian roots music community of the last couple of decades.

Marcus Mosely who hails from Texas, Will Sanders whose roots are deep in Louisiana and Khari McClelland who was raised in Detroit are a group that strangely enough Canada can call it’s own and The Sojourners are without question one of the top vocal groups on the continent.

Brought together by Mosely after he received a call from bluesman Jim Byrnes a few years ago, requesting he round up a few talented friends for a recording session, The Sojourners took flight at that session and have been soaring at high altitudes ever since.

Three terrific recordings (Sing And Never Get Tired/The Sojourners/Hold On), prestigious dates with Byrnes opening for the Blind Boys of Alabama and Dr. John, headlining spots at Canada’s finest roots festivals and participation in the award-winning Things About Coming My Way: A Tribute To The Music of the Music of the Mississippi Sheiks as well as the Time-Life box-set Let Freedom Ring, are confirmations of the impact The Sojourners have had on audiences around the world.

As the Sojourners bio proclaims: This is not music that strives to be polite. In The Sojourners’ universe, echoes of doo wop, R&B, country and blues weave together to create a unique sound that has all but vanished from today’s world. This is gospel music that can take a punch and remain standing. Singing praise music with their own special ‘stank’, the Sojourners sound just as at home in a road house bar as they do in a revival tent.

ROOTS&BLUES fans can look forward to a strong gospel blues component this year and expect The Sojourners to be the foundation of what will be a marvelous and inspired set early Sunday afternoon and of course The Sojourners will be doing a stand alone concert as well as workshops of varying themes at side stages.

The Sojourners would make Pops Staples smile in a big way!

Visit The Sojourners website to find out more about this band:


February 24, 2016

From England via Wales comes one of the hottest young proponents of the blues-folk tradition on the other side of the pond.

A triple threat as a fine singer, instrumentalist and songwriter, Harley has been creating such a buzz in his backyard that he has landed coveted and multiple spots at the Glasonbury Festival (Avalon Main Stage), landed tours and opening slots with artists like Bruce Hornsby and Iron and Wine, received considerable airplay on BBC and landed on the Euro Americana charts while going on full length tours in theatres and classy cabarets through Germany, France and England..

Roots Magazine called him “a slide guitar master” while respected BBC music host Johnnie Walker simply called Harley “awesome.”

Not that Harley hasn’t ventured to North America before, his last two albums were recorded stateside, the latest being the duo disc Live at Southern Ground with upright bassist Daniel Kimbro a mainstay with the Jerry Douglas Band. He also showcased with great impact at the most recent Americana Music Conference in Nashville and Kimbro will be supporting Harley at Roots and Blues.

Along with his stand alone concert at Roots and Blues, Martin Harley will be no doubt be part of some smokin’ hot chemistry on our blues and singer-songwriter workshops.

Oh yeah, and he’s also performed at Royal Albert Hall and completed an entire tour on a bicycle and broken the world record for the highest gig ever and no we aren’t sure if that has something to do with substances or altitude!

“With depth that accompanies wisdom, the grit of anxiety and influences of yesteryear’s troubadours, enter Martin Harley: an artist fitting perfectly into your broken heart”

Find out more about Martin Harley:


February 24, 2016

Starting with Nickel Creek (Chris Thile, Sean and Sara Watkins) a number of years ago, there have been a number of remarkably young bluegrass artists making their mark on the bluegrass world in what seems to be the blink of an eye.

Count Molly Tuttle among them, as this gifted American singer, songwriter and guitarist, who is barely out of her teens, has been praised by Bluegrass Today, Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and American Songwriter Magazine. She’s appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, won first place in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest, played at the renowned Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco, while finding time to attend and graduate from the Americana Music Program at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Such is her talent on all fronts that she had had more than two million hits on Youtube while receiving raves from established bluegrass veterans around the continent, including mandolin ace John Reischman who will be collaborating with Tuttle and her band at the 2016 edition of Roots and Blues.

The list of credits keeps growing as she’s also recently played the Newport Folk Festival on the east coast of the states and headlined at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley.

Find out what the growing buzz about Molly Tuttle is all about at ROOTS&BLUES 2016.

Visit the official website:


February 24, 2016

This crew of veteran western Canadian roots music players and out and out characters have a collective resume that boasts success in the blues, country, folk, roots-rock and singer-songwriter scenes over a period of four decades. Drawing on the talents of musicians from Edmonton, Calgary, Bragg Creek and Vancouver, Front Porch has been juggling a number of shows and themes over the past decade with a core cast that is augmented by longtime alumni, depending on the theme of the show.

For ROOTS&BLUES, Front Porch will be comprised of bassist Ron Rault, whose career has included recording dates with blues legends Johnny Shines and Louisiana Red and songwriting for the likes of Powder Blues (Jump Up): harmonica ace Crawdad Cantera who has backed American bluesmen Lazy Lester and Larry Garner: Gord Matthews, the original and longtime guitarist of k.d. lang’s Reclines who also spent a decade on the road with Ian Tyson; respected young Alberta tunesmith and pianist J.R. Shore who has twice won the Calgary Folk Festival Songwriting Contest; longtime Ian Tyson drummer Thom Moon; smokin’ B3 organ player Garth Kennedy; and Vancouver-based Doug Andrew who can usually be found leading the always interesting Circus In Flames.

Since 2012 Front Porch has produced a tribute to The Band called Up On Cripple Creek which has played sold-out dates in soft-seaters and classy cabarets on the prairies while making appearances at festivals like the Vancouver Island Music Festival and the Wild Mountain Music Festival.

The group has cut two albums, a self-titled release and 2015’s Sugar Cube which hit the number one spot on the CKUA Radio Network.

Members of Front Porch have also toured the country with The Gift: A Tribute to the Words and Music of Ian Tyson and participated on the recording of the same name. Look for Front Porch to be front and centre at our 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Last Waltz while pitching in on any number of side stage workshops and sessions during ROOTS&BLUES ’16.


February 19, 2016

Nanaimo’s red-hot and rockin’ guitar master David Gogo will help light the fuse to the entire festival weekend and he’ll be doing so in part by playing material from his 2016 Juno-nominated album Vicksburg Call which is his sixth Juno nomination. His first dates all the way back to 1995 when he was nominated for Best New Solo Artist, what a run!

Gogo’s warm, rugged, seasoned vocals, and his extraordinary, virtuosic guitar talents are laid bare alongside his emotions on this album – a combination that grabs you from the opening bars and keeps you hooked through all 10 tracks.

Known as a fierce live performer, Gogo leaves it all on stage with every show and his deep well of material will also find him pulling out faves from his Soul Bender and Come On Down albums and feel free to yell out for requests of his takes on Neil Young’s The Loner and the Steve Stills penned Jet Set (Sigh) which are both found on the latest release.

“I doubt there is another blues guitarist around at the moment who can speak through their instrument quite like David Gogo can. This is music that demands attention and respect in an age of disposable pop covers. Modern blues at its best.”? Ken McGrath – Sorted magAZine, Ireland

We can also expect to hear Gogo insert himself into the mix on some acoustic BLUES workshop sessions built around some seriously heavy talent at ROOTS&BLUES 2016.

Visit David’s official website!


February 19, 2016

This first-rate blues artist has been turning the heads of blues fans in Canada for thirty years now since he first broke into the Vancouver scene in the mid-eighties. When it comes to tasty west coast blues guitar playing Kozak’s name is at the top of the list in this nation, just ask greats like Duke Robillard and James Harman who have shared the stage with this gifted bandleader, instrumentalist, writer and singer.

Gaining national recognition in 2012 Steve Kozak was nominated by industry professionals from across Canada and won a prestigious Maple Blues Award for New Artist or Group of the Year.

Bruce Iglauer, the head of the prestigious Alligator records in Chicago, said of Kozak’s Lookin’ At Lucky release, that, “it is a well-crafted album, performed with taste and subtlety,” confirming the arrival of this artist.

Throughout his career Steve has shared the stage, and played with many blues greats including; Pee Wee Crayton, Big Joe Duskin, Sonny Rhodes, Eddie ‘The Chief’ Clearwater, ‘Ice Pick’ James Harman, Duke Robillard, Rod Piazza, Rick Estrin, Lee Oskar, Big Joe Louis, Mitch Woods, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, and Rockabilly guitar legend Evan Johns.

Check out Steve’s latest news on his website.

Salmon Arm ROOTS&BLUES fans are going to be soaked in the sounds of the Best of B.C. Blues and expect the sparks to keep flying when the jammin’ starts on the CBC Blues stage all weekend long.


February 17, 2016

When looking at and listening to, the incredible explosion of what we term “world music” within our country’s borders, the experience and conversation begins with Tom Landa.

The founder of the critically acclaimed Paperboys has also been fronting Locarno for the last few years, a band that finds it’s sizzle in his Mexican roots while incorporating large doses of Cuban Son, Folk, Pop and Funk.

Landa’s goal when putting together Locarno was to create music which is heavily influenced by Mexican music but using the elements and musicians around him in his hometown of Vancouver. A key element to this sound are the partnerships he created with producer Joby Baker who has worked with Alex Cuba, and Miguelito Valdes who lends his trumpet and percussion talents to the project. Miguelito was born and raised in Havana Cuba and has played with Afro Cuban All Stars, Omara Portoundo and The Buena Vista Social Club. Rounding up the group is Sam Esecson on drums and percussion, Kalissa Hernandez on violin and vocals and Nick La Riviere on trombone.

Over the past few summers Locarno has inspired adoring audiences at the Vancouver Island Music Festival, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Victoria Jazz Festival, Starbelly Festival and the Calgary Folk Festival and other major events, to dance the night away with the end result being a swirling, sweating, percolating mass of humanity in front of festival stages.

Great collaborators all, Locarno also spearheaded the brilliant BC World Music Collective project at the VIMF in Courtney Comox last summer, which stood as one of the highlights of that festival alongside performances from Graham Nash and Leftover Salmon.

Tom Landa’s brilliance in the world of Celtic Folk music with the Paperboys will also be utilized in ROOTS&BLUES ’16 workshops, as will the formidable talents of his Locarno band mates in numerous side stage sessions.


“Locarno’s approach is so genuine and so welcome for audiences who enjoy great song writing, a respect for tradition, a searching musical curiosity, and virtuoso performance skills. Their compelling blend of Mexican, Cuban and North American popular music delivered with exuberant energy is a winning combination.”
Michael Juk, producer CBC

Another great Locarno video to enjoy:


February 11, 2016

When putting together what will be a truly memorable festival experience for our patrons, it is imperative that we bring to you musicians and individuals who are both decidedly unique and ridiculously gifted.


There’s no doubt that Joe Craven, a master of the mandolin and violin, mind-boggling percussionist, story-teller and emcee is the kind of artist who will turn heads and then turn them again all the while adding considerable artistic depth and merriment to Roots and Blues 2016.

Joe Craven’s resume is simply as impressive as they come as a recording artist, performer, and teacher. Joe’s talents were evident in his alternately slicing and sweet violin and percolating percussion playing which was a focal point of the David Grisman Quintet for 17 years, including all of the choice sessions Grisman, Craven and company cut with Stephane Grappelli and Jerry Garcia.

Craven took his skills and spent another seven years working with banjo master Alison Browne and just for good measure added his talents to the acoustic super group Psychograss that included a number of other members of the Grisman alumni-association, (Mike Marshall, Todd Phillips, Darol Anger) as well as Tim O’Brien and Tony Trischka.

Along the way Craven has also recorded four solo discs, with his Django Latino outing considered an absolute gem that found him interpreting the music of the Hot Club of France with a number of Latin flavours.

Toss in the fact that he is one of the most engaging emcees around, just ask audiences at Telluride and Delfest, and we guarantee you will have a craving for more Joe Craven minutes after the 2016 Roots and Blues festival gates open.

“Everything Joe touches turns to music,” says David Grisman. Believe him.

Check out what Joe Craven is up to CLICK HERE


February 4, 2016

Two legendary figures from a legendary band in the world of roots rock music are headed to the 24th edition of the Salmon Arm ROOTS&BLUES Festival and will perform the music of Little Feat and much more!.

Little Feat has quite simply been one of the major forces in Americana and rock and roll music since the late Lowell George put the band together in 1969.

It’s been a legacy of classic albums, from Sailin’ Shoes and Waiting For Columbus thru to recent efforts like Chinese Work Songs and Rooster Rag, for this California-based band that put a whole lot of New Orleans funk into their musical mix as the years progressed.

Paul Barrere was enlisted by George and immediately the guitarist and singer started having an impact on the band, contributing songs like Skin It Back, Fat Man In The Bathtub, All That You Dream, High Roller, Old Folks Boogie and Missin’ You.

While Fred Tackett didn’t officially join Little Feat until 1988, after a nine year hiatus following the death of George, he had made his mark with the band years earlier, contributing the song Fool Yourself and guitar to the Dixie Chicken album and also playing on the Time Loves A Hero and The Last Record Album sessions.

Tackett, and this is the short list, has also recorded with the Allman Brothers, Jackson Browne, Glen Campbell, Bob Dylan, Vince Gill, Rickie Lee Jones, Aaron Neville, Van Dyke Parks, Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs, Ringo Starr, Tom Waits, and the Wallflowers.

Barrere and Tackett will be playing acoustic solo shows and plugging in with their good friends The New Orleans Suspects at the 24th Annual ROOTS&BLUES in Salmon Arm, British Columbia.

Feats don’t fail us now!

Read what people are saying: CLICK HERE


February 3, 2016

From deep in the heart of the urban jungle of Toronto to the heart of the Shuswap come kLoX, one of the hippest and rooted electronic acts in our nation.

Two classically trained musicians, the tabla playing Gurpreet Chana, aka The Tabla Guy, and violinist Mason Bach, joined forces a few years ago with a vision to create dance music that incorporates tradition while embracing the now and summoning the future.

Integrating their instruments with computer aided performance technology and turntables, these two young players are guaranteed to have the Booge Bar-N pulsating with their uniquely engineered rhythms. It’s a musical equation that delivers a sonically explosive soundscape and one that takes all audiences prisoner.

Chana harnesses custom software to create nuanced soundscapes, drawing from the tabla’s percussive core to sculpt the melodies that drive his electronic compositions. Live, it is a captivating immersive experience, underscored with spectacular responsive visuals. A dynamic fusion of tabla with a bold array of musical styles, which must be seen, to be truly appreciated.

As for Bach, catching him in a live setting is to witness an artist with a seemingly unending enthusiasm for his craft. Trying to stop this man in any way from feverishly bouncing up and down with his violin or over his laptop and arsenal of MIDI gadgets during a show would be a truly unwise choice. The uninitiated can’t help but notice his gleaming ear to ear grin, which lasts from the second he hits the stage until a performance has peaked and come to its conclusion.

ROOTS&BLUES audiences can also expect kLoX to be at the centre of some inspired musical mash-ups.


January 27, 2016

The 2016 Salmon Arm ROOTS&BLUES Festival is pleased to announce that the critically acclaimed duo of Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish, known around the globe as Digging Roots, will be playing a major role at this year’s event.


No strangers to ROOTS&BLUES patrons, this award-winning team has been touring the globe the past few years, delivering their message filled, and story built songs to receptive audiences in Europe, Australia, the Norwegian Arctic, Mexico and the U.S..

The body of work for the latest Digging Roots project, For The Light, released in mid-2014, was in part inspired by their global travels and the recording mines and fuses a unique mix of roots, alternative, hip-hop and reggae sounds and grooves, with bluesy overtones.

The husband and wife team of Kanatakta and Kish will be appearing in Salmon Arm with a large ensemble, plus Digging Roots will also be the foundation for a very special thematic project that will be announced at a later date. That project will find these gifted musicians collaborating with a number of artists on material with a common denominator that focuses on the music of indigenous people on this continent.

This Juno Award-winning couple has become one of our nations’ finest musical and cultural ambassadors and at 24th ROOTS&BLUES Festival we’ll all be reminded as to why.

What the people are saying about DIGGING ROOTS:
Review – Digging Roots


January 20, 2016

With a major detour to the 24th ROOTS&BLUES in Salmon Arm.

If you were wondering whether ROOTS&BLUES was intending on inviting musicians who can collectively whip an audience into an absolute frenzy this summer look no further than one of this continent’s most arresting and explosive live acts, Vancouver’s Delhi 2 Dublin.

Rolling into 2016 with a wave of fresh momentum spurred by rave reviews for the new D2D release “We’re All Desi”, this amazing live act, that got its start a decade ago, continues to take the world by storm, raising the rafters in halls in the UK, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Dubai, and Germany, as well as every corner of this country and the US.


Fuelled by the talents of co-conspirators and founding members Tarun Nayar (tabla, electronics), Sanjay Seran (vox), and Ravi Binning (dhol, dholak) and their equally gifted road partners Serena Eades  (violin), James Hussain  (guitar), and Jaron Freeman-Fox (violin, guitar), Delhi 2 Dublin have rightly been dubbed “the United Nations of rock ‘n’ roll”.

A Delhi 2 Dublin show is a spectacular mash-up of the electronic and acoustic, and multiple world and groove-based influences that will light the Salmon Arm site up on the evenings of August 20th and 21st.

Plus the band has nine albums of material to draw from, so look for D2D to be one of the major catalysts for a serious good time at ROOTS&BLUES.


December 11, 2015

Every major music city has an all-star project band, or bands, and one of the finest in one of the great music Mecca’s of the world is the New Orleans Suspects who came together six years ago in the Big Easy.

What was considered at the outset a, part time, good time project, quickly became a full time endeavor as Neville Brothers drummer “Mean” Willie Green, Radiators bassist Reggie Scanlon, Dirty Dozen Brass Band lead guitarist Jake Eckert, pianist/organist CR Gruver, and sax ace and longtime leader of James Brown Band Jeff Watkins, clicked on so many levels that audiences and promoters were demanding more gigs and requesting recordings of which the Suspects now have three.

View a New Orleans Suspects video go to this link:

To borrow a quote from Chicago Sun-Times music columnist Jeff Elbel from earlier in 2015, “the diverse histories of its members are impressive, but the infectious sound of the New Orleans Suspects exceeds the sum of its notable parts.” “It’s an odd combination of backgrounds,” says veteran James Brown saxophonist Jeff Watkins. “But we’ve honed it into our own voice.” “We reflect every place we’ve been,” says bassist Reggie Scanlan, whose résumé includes work with Crescent City staples like Professor Longhair, James Booker and Earl King. “Jeff had twelve years with James. You can’t leave that behind.”

As its name might imply, the band sometimes nods to hometown heroes, including Dr. John and the Meters.

Equally important are soul giants like Wilson Pickett, James Brown, and Sam & Dave, as well as roots-based rockers Little Feat and The Band.

Look for the New Orleans Suspects to be on site at the 2016 edition of Roots and Blues for two days, Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21. ROOTS&BLUES will also be announcing a couple of legends in roots-rock who will be joining the Suspects for a few shows that are guaranteed to be filled with instrumental fireworks and built on the songwriting of one of the greatest songbooks of the last fifty years!



November 27, 2015


We just want to make sure the word is out!

Tickets for the 24th Annual ROOTS&BLUES Festival are now available for purchase. You can buy ’em on the website, at our office, or at the customer service desk at each of the Askews Foods stores in Sicamous, Salmon Arm (downtown and uptown) and at the Armstrong location.

A special priced Family Pack Pass for $376 (includes 2 Adult & 2 Youth weekend tickets) are exclusively available at the Askews Foods stores over the holiday season.

Wanna head straight away and buy your tickets?



Thank you to all our Festival Supporters, Sponsors, Volunteers, Board of Directors, and Staff and the City of Salmon Arm

August 21, 2015

Thank you to all of you who were a part of the 23rd Annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues festival, we appreciate each and every one of you for participating in our festival celebration.   A HUGE THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.


Salmon Arm Folk Music Soceity

Congratulations 2015 Roots and Blues Festival Raffle Winners!

August 12, 2015

Congratulations Raffle Winners! Thank you for your support we appreciate it!

1st Prize – San Francisco trip for 2 – Jennifer Bertram Salmon Arm, BC

2nd Prize – Norco Mountain Bike – Nick Snoek, Tappen, BC

3rd Prize – Guitar from Acorn Music – James McArthur Merritt, BC

4th Prize – Roots and Blues ticket package – Eric Darbyshire Vernon, BC


Much Anticipated Roots and Blues Festival to Kick Off in Salmon Arm

August 11, 2015

The Roots and Blues Festival kicks off this week with a Music Crawl prequel on Thursday night.

The crawl will feature a number of international and Canadian musicians, including Salmon Arm’s own Jesse Mast, who was awarded the 2014 North American Country Music Associations International Songwriter of the Year Award.

The weekend long festival features a range of artists on a number of outdoor stages throughout the weekend.

David Gonella with the Roots and Blues Festival says they usually expect up to 10,000 visitors a day but this year they might exceed those numbers.

“Every room in the valley is booked and I think a lot of people are coming from the south because of the dollar being cheaper and just picked up demand,” said Gonella.

The various stages will feature over 40 bands and musicians. A global village will also showcase food from around the world. There will also be a Family Fun Zone, misting stations, artisan market, and shaded beer gardens.

For more information on the event, visit

Thursday Music Crawl Schedule

August 6, 2015



















Blue Canoe
Peter Lawren Clark
7:45 PM
121 Shuswap St
Tom Walbank
9:15 PM

Wicked Spoon
Jordan Dean
7:00 PM
200 Trans-Canada Hwy
Brent Parkin
8:15 PM
Jesse Mast
9:30 PM

Shuswap Chefs
Kat Danser
6:30 PM
551 Trans-Canada Hwy
Jordan Dick Trio
7:45 PM

Shuswap Pie Co
Dolly Vardens
5:30 PM
331 Alexander St NE
Seal Skull Hammer
6:30 PM

Hideaway Pub
Crown the Guilty
8:00 PM
995 Lakeshore Dr
Salmon Armenians
9:00 PM

Shuswap Theatre
Red Tail Ring
7:30 PM
41 Hudson Ave NW
Naomi Wachira
8:40 PM
Magpie Ulysses & James Lamb
9:30 PM

Ross St Stage
7:00 PM
Ross St @ Hudson Ave

Salmon Arm Arts Centre
Experiment in F# Minor – Cardiff Miller installation
open till 8:30 PM
70 Hudson Ave NE

Mongolian folk-rock group Hanggai merge ancient language with modern sound

July 30, 2015

Mongolian folk-rock group Hanggai merge ancient language with modern sound

More from Rebecca Tucker | @RebeccaTee



In Away from the Grasslands, the new mini-documentary about Mongolian folk-rock group Hanggai, mouth harp-player Horizha — in voiceover — gives a brief personal history.

“I grew up on the grassland with my grandma,” he says as scenes from the Xilin Gol Grasslands in inner Mongolia, interspersed with those filmed in studio during the group’s recording of their 2014 record Baifan, play out onscreen. “Nowadays many herdsman and their children crave life in the big cities. They go there seeking fun and to make a living. But after a while, they realize that life in the cities is very difficult and complicated. Some can’t adapt.”

“Because, deep in our core, we embody the nomadic lifestyle,” he concludes. “pure and free.”

This is perhaps the central tension of Hanggai. The group is comprised of musicians who are ethnically Mongolian, and Hanggai’s music draws heavily from that heritage, incorporating throat singing, traditional instruments and — most significantly — it draws from Mongolian folk tales for lyrics. But the sound of Hanggai is deeply influenced by Western rock and folk music; it’s accessible, in other words, to a worldwide audience.

 Deep in our core, we embody the nomadic lifestyle, pure and free

“The Mongolian spiritual strength is really important to us, so we feel we have a responsibility to continue the musical and cultural traditions,” says Yiliqi, who co-founded the group, he estimates, somewhere between 2003 and 2004. “We’ve chosen songs that are really representative of the various areas of Mongolia, to show our audiences clearly how multifaceted and broad Mongolian culture is.”

Yiliqi suggests that the deep spiritual element inherent to the group’s music helps Hanggai impart messages that are as universal as the group’s sound, particularly since the group can’t depend on speaking those messages out loud to a significant portion of its audience. Their songs are sung in Mongolian meaning that, even in China, there’s sometimes a language barrier. “Today, whether you’re talking about the environment, or humanity, or ethics, we’re in a dangerous period,” he says. “We have hope that spirituality might be helpful. But we aren’t out to say everyone needs to think a certain way. After all, during Mongolian times, there was a freedom for people to believe what they wanted.”

Filmmaker Khalid Ali, who made Away from the Grasslands often travels to China — his brother lives there and speaks the language, which helped immensely during filming — and was drawn to Hanggai just by hearing their music. It was nothing like he’d ever heard before. “As a Westerner in China, I immediately go looking for things related to art, and especially music,” he says.

The group’s musical model — juxtaposing ancient sounds with modern, Western ones — is not particularly novel, but when done well, it has profound impact. In Canada, First Nations DJ trio A Tribe Called Red do something similar, layering Native chanting, drumming and, in their live shows, dance, over contemporary beats and sounds. Hanggai, too, is not the only group in China to incorporate traditional instrumentation into pop music but, Ali says, few have done so with such success.

“From my perspective, the industry is just really starting out there,” Ali says. “I think that a lot of musicians, artists, filmmakers, whatever are trying to figure out how to create and how to navigate it. I think it takes a certain kind of person to do that. Ilchi (one of Hanngai’s founders) is a pretty smart guy. He’s very good at making connections with people, and he’s one of the few musicians who has reached out to Western musicians and producers.”

It’s led to success in China and abroad — Hanggai embarked on a Canadian tour this summer — but Yiliqi says, Hanngai’s success transcends the ordinary parameters of fame. “I think that while we have something of a name now in China, it’s not really the same thing as being truly famous,” he says. “Because we’ve really influenced people purely through musical methods, it’s an influence of a type that’s beyond language — and that goes for the attention we’ve received outside of the country as well. For us music has always been the most important element of what we’re doing; music is the key to what we do.”

Hanngai performs Aug 1-3 at the Canmore Folk Festival in Canmore; Aug 6-9 at the Edmonton Folk Festival; Aug 14-16 at the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival.

Bluesfest: Canned Heat delivers rockin’ boogie blues

July 29, 2015

Canned Heat perform at Ottawa Bluesfest 2015. All photos by Terry Steeves.

The rain definitely did not deter folks from coming out on Friday night to see rock ‘n roll blues legends, Canned Heat. The scene was a colourful array of rain slickers and umbrellas which covered the area in front of Ottawa Bluesfest’s Monster Stage, and nearly all the way up the grassy slope.

Lead vocalist/harp player/ guitarist, Dale "Kingfish" Spalding.

In their 50-year career, Canned Heat haven’t slowed down their schedule and have continued to spread their brand of rockin’ boogie blues on stages across the world. Their rich musical heritage includes their earliest and unforgettable performances at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and of course their headlining act at 1969’s Woodstock Festival.

The current band line-up consists of Dale “Kingfish” Spalding (lead vocals/harmonica/guitar), John “JP” Paulus (lead guitar/bass/vocals), Larry “The Mole” Taylor (bass/guitar/vocals), and Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra (drums/vocals). Taylor has been a member on and off since 1967, and de la Parra, who also joined Canned Heat in 1967, has remained on-board since day one, and is the band’s leader. I had a chance to chat with de la Parra, about his book, Living The Blues, full of tales and experiences of the band’s history. He also shared with me the early stages of the band’s evolution that would eventually define their sound:

Our first record was totally purist. It wasn’t all that popular and didn’t really sell. We changed our approach and decided to heavy up our sound…a sort of boogie woogie married with rock ‘n roll. The result was our second album, and we have evolved more to that style ever since. When we found our sound, we wanted to become the loudest band in the world. By the late 60‘s/early 70‘s, that‘s what a lot of bands were doing. Frank Cooley built these powerful amps for us called TNT‘s. We had the classic monster set-up…no earplugs…were were young, so our ears could take it! (laughs)

The show began with the iconic harmonica intro to one of their early hit classics, “On The Road Again” (Boogie With Canned Heat – 1969), followed up with more from that era, “Time Was” (Hallelujah – 1969), and “I’m Her Man”, from the same album, which had a wonderful jazzy spice and a catchy, upbeat tempo. De la Parra’s shuffling rhythm, blended with Taylor’s walking bassline, Paulus’ hot guitar licks, and Spalding’s tangy harp flavourings, set the crowd in motion.

“It’s time to go back to Woodstock…and by the way, it rained at Woodstock, too!” With that, they took us on a journey back in time with, “Going To The Country” (Living The Blues – 1968). The song defined the hippie movement era in its free-spirited and anti-establishment message, and became their biggest selling hit to date. Paulus took the lead on vocals, and I could see a mass of umbrellas bobbing up and down to the song’s rhythm.

John "JP" Paulus on guitar/bass/vocals and Adolfo "Fito" de la Parra on drums/vocals.

Another highlight came with “So Sad (The Worlds in a Tangle)” (Future Blues – 1970). I loved its recurring sinister-toned intro, and heavy rocking groove. De la Parra later spoke to me about this 5th album; one that featured personal heavy statements concerning environmental issues, and the last one Alan Wilson appeared on before he died:

Future Blues went out all the way for the environment. The album was banned for awhile because of the cover…an upside-down American flag being put into the ground on the moon by astronauts that depicted the Iwo Jima statue, and the earth all clouded up with pollution in the background. It became a classic because of its message. Wilson was deep into nature and the environment. Back then, there were no organizations like Greenpeace or anything like that. You were nothing but just a rebellious hippie if you spoke out about such issues.

“Let’s Work Together”, swept the crowd into more energetic dance moves with its swampy rocking blues, and later in their rendition of “Let The Good Times Roll”, a special guest appearance was made by Ottawa’s blues guitarist, JW Jones. The song’s changing intensities, each player’s soloing turn at bat, and sudden swerves to and from the main melody, produced swells of cheering from the audience.

By the end, both the crowd and the band had just seemed to be warming up when the short hour came to an end. I felt incredibly fortunate to have witnessed the combined forces of these 4 men, whose vast playing experience and immense talents showcased the legacy of their work, and brought back a little bit of Woodstock on a wonderfully rainy afternoon.


July 24, 2015

Rooms and camping are booking up in the Salmon Arm area quickly this summer and our friends at Shuswap Tourism sent out a mass email today asking hotel, motel, and campground operators about availability on the weekend of August 14 thru 16.

We received a number of responses and here are those that we received by 2 p.m. today.

Podollan Inn/Salmon Arm –   – has six rooms for Friday and Saturday – no availability Sunday night


Suite Escapes bed and breakfast still have availability in beautiful Scotch Creek

Call Conny to make reservations:  250.955.6136


Hostel: Squilax Hostel and General Store

24 beds and tenting

some availability



Viewpoint Motel, 15 minutes from Salmon Arm

Availability: August 16TH: 3 Cottages

August 14TH: 1 Cottage

Some RV sites and Tenting still available




My Lakeview Inn

Accommodate six people

Apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms

Call Ingrid at 250-955-6429

One hour from Salmon Arm on North Shuswap


In addition the Best Western Salmon Arm, Best Western Sicamous

and Sorrento Inn all had a few rooms available and there are many options in Vernon.


The Quaaout Lodge and Spa in Chase has a few double queens left and reservations can be made by phoning Toll-free at1.800.663.4303 or Direct: at 1.250.679.3090


Another consideration is heading to–Canada

which had a number of Air B&B options posted as of Friday morning.

Your Friends at Roots and Blues

Review: Canned Heat “Songs From The Road” (Ruf Records)

July 24, 2015

Canned Heat are back. They have apparently sold more records than any other blues band in music history, and are the only blues band to have had three number one records. I am told that they have played more festivals worldwide than any other band of any genre, too.

Canned Heat’s latest incarnation is a force to be reckoned with, some 50 years after the band first formed in L.A. They released their classic self-titled debut LP in ’67.

They were heavily into the blues both musically and off stage as vinyl collectors, and for a white blues and boogie band, they were undoubtedly way ahead of their time.

I particularly liked a line in their press blurb for this album, which reads: “The world turns. Fashions change. Bands rise and fall. But you can’t stop the boogie.” True that. Five decades after Bob “The Bear” Hite and Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson formed the band in California, they keep on hitting that dusty road to take their musical message to their fans far and wide.

The latest in the acclaimed Ruf Records series, “Songs From The Road,” the band’s sixth for the German label since 1999, captures Canned Heat at their best and on blistering form. On CD and DVD across two discs. Rattling the rafters of Bonn’s Harmonie club in Germany with a 16-strong set of their raw blues boogie.

Drummer Adolfo “Fito” De La Parra is in the pocket all over this live offering, one of the best guys behind a kit out there on the blues scene today. Bassist Larry “The Mole” Taylor nails the back end nicely. On lead vocals and harmonica is New Orleans native Dale Spalding and John “JP” Paulus covers guitar duties for Woodstock-era band member Harvey “The Snake” Mandel, as he recovers from health issues.

The set was recorded on one night in March this year; the band fierce and bang up for it. From the opening dirty groove of their famous cut “On The Road Again,” which really is a timeless classic (and on hearing it again I have just decided I want that track played at my funeral, just as the coffin disappears!) to the closer “Euro Boogie,” the signature sound and feel of Canned Heat is in tact. The hits continue with smashing live versions of “Going Up Country” and “Let’s Work Together.”

Apart from their musical legacy with this band, Hite and Wilson should also be commended for their efforts in bringing back long forgotten legends, turning detective to track them down and get them booked on to mainstream festival bills; such as the wonderful and greatly missed Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown (he did the very best version of “Got My Mojo Working” on his fabulous 1989 Alligator album “Standing My Ground,”) and Skip James.
They collaborated with many blues greats including John Lee Hooker and our own John Mayall. While they have graced the stage of most major venues around the world, including the Royal Albert Hall in London and Madison Square Garden in New York, they also hold the record for playing the most biker rallies of any band, staying true to their roots.

No strangers to tragedy, they lost three members: Wilson, Hite and guitarist Henry Vestine. Wilson died at the age of 27 of barbiturate overdose, which was suspected suicide. He suffered from depression. On April 5, 1981, having collapsed from a heroin overdose during a show at the Palomino in Los Angeles, Bob Hite was later found dead in de la Parra’s Mar Vista home at the age of 38. On October 20, 1997, a cancer stricken Vestine died in Paris, following the final gig of a European tour. Many more members also died prematurely over the five decades of the band’s history.

Despite the tragic set backs, the band has kept on rolling by drafting in like-minded players over the years of line-up changes, who slotted in to the band’s ethos and integrity like a hand in a glove.

“I think Bob, Alan and Henry would be happy and impressed that the band, and mainly Fito and Larry, have kept the Canned Heat legacy alive,” says Skip Taylor. “And are still allowing people around the world to hear and feel Canned Heat, and the boogie music we all love.”

They make it sound easy. They make it sound fun. They rock. They roll. They take no prisoners. The audience get swept up with the passion and the party atmosphere of this one-night only Canned Heat experience.

Well, it was one night only for the lucky guys and gals in the audience on that sweaty 16th March night in Germany. But the two disc set here – superbly recorded and filmed, maintaining the quality and high standards all of the releases thus far in this Ruf “Songs From The Road” series – means we can all relive that night over and over and over……………………………Hot stuff!

Ballroom Thieves Talk New Album, Dylan, More

July 23, 2015

The Newport Folk Festival caught up with Martin Early, singer/guitarist of the Ballroom Thieves, on the eve of the festival to talk the latest record, festivals and the Bob Dylan tribute set.

Allston Pudding: You just released A Wolf in the Doorway, your debut album. What’s reception been like?

Martin Early: Reception has been great so far. We toured extensively in support of it, and it was really one of the first tours where we saw a significant bump in show attendances and general excitement all across the country. It’s been really nice to see the hard work we’ve been putting in for the last few years pay off, but mostly we’re just happy that people seem to be enjoying the record.

AP: Boston Calling was a recent hometown show for you — festivals are certainly different beasts from something like Folk The Cold. What do you like and dislike about the festival experience?

ME: There’s a lot to like about playing festivals. We love meeting up with other bands and sharing stories from the road, and we’ve been fortunate enough to play some well organized but laid-back fests lately, so our responsibilities were pretty much limited to playing our songs. We don’t get as much time to sound check as we would at a normal club show, but when you consider that we get to play for bigger audiences, enjoy seeing all kinds of bands we love in one place, eat and drink to our heart’s content, and meet plenty of fellow music lovers, it’s really not too bad of a trade.

AP: Newport is an entirely different festival from others, too — what does it mean to be playing such a festival packed with such legacy?

ME: Playing Newport has been a goal for this band since before we had a band name, so the gravity of it all definitely isn’t escaping us. We’re incredibly honored to be listed among such a star-studded lineup of musicians, and a look back at the history of the festival increases that honor exponentially. We used to joke that Newport is the pinnacle of any musician’s career, so we could all retire once we’ve played it, but now that it’s happening I think we just need to come up with some new goals…

AP: You’re also performing on the day of ’65 Revisited — the Bob Dylan tribute set. What has Bob Dylan meant to you as a band?

ME: I’m a big Dylan fan, and I think any songwriter can find heaps of inspiration in his body of work. What impresses me most about him is how he’s managed to stay at the top of his profession for several decades. He’s continually evolved through the drastic changes and fluctuations the music industry has naturally gone through, and there just aren’t many bands who can stay relevant in the way that he has over such a long time. Absolute badass.

AP: If we’ve seen you at the Sinclair and Great Scott, what can we expect from your set at Newport?

ME: You can expect a few new tunes and maybe a new spin on a few older ones but, more importantly, you can expect us to be as happy as we’ve ever been on a stage. I’m not exactly known for my on-stage smile, but I doubt I’ll be able to contain it come showtime on Sunday. You can also expect us to be roaming the festival grounds in the highest of spirits all weekend. The lineup is killer and we can’t wait to hear so many of the acts that Newport has lined up for us all this year. We’ll see you at the Fort!?

– See more at:




Exceptional artists will deliver exceptional performances…

July 16, 2015

After attending the Vancouver Island Music Festival this past weekend it is pretty much impossible to not return to Salmon Arm pumped about roots music in general and the audiences that follow everything from traditional folk from the U.K. to Delta blues to West African music.  Once again Doug Cox, founder and artistic director of VIMF, hit a series of home runs when it came to the booking and presentation of the artists and acts.

For many it was very tough deciding which workshop to be at although I escaped that dilemma as Doug had placed me at numerous stages throughout the festival to do some emcee and interview work.

Highlights came fast and furious Friday afternoon and evening as main stage presented a superior mix of styles and artists from across North America. The Tex Mex sounds of Los Texmaniacs rivaled those of Doug Sahm’s Texas Tornados and the stunning lead vocals and harmonies of the three young ladies who comprise eastern Canada’s Trent Severn were being talked about all weekend long.  Lyle Lovett led his Large Band onto the stage just as the sun was descending and the man and his crew were at 30,000 feet about ten seconds after take off.  Does it get any better than Lovett who seamlessly strings together everything from big band Texas blues to bluegrass while engaging the audience on every level during his sensational performances.  Even the tweeners, blues player Mary Flower and Tim Williams hit home runs in their respective 15 to 20 minute slots.

Forty-eight hours later on Sunday evening a 73 year-old Graham Nash held an adoring crowd in the palm of his hand as he sang like a 40 year-old and set up each tune with the perfect story of its origin.  Wasted On The Way, Cathedral, Marrakesh Express, Bus Stop from his days with The Hollies, Immigration Man, I Used To Be A King, and two new tunes set to be released next year were part of the deep musical menu. It all led up to Our House and Teach Your Children that had the delighted audience singing at the top of their collective lungs.  Then Leftover Salmon came out in the cleanup spot and rocked the house upside down with selections from their entire 25 year history with tunes from The Band and the John Hartford songbooks thrown in for good measure.  Bill Payne of Little Feat fame is now a full time member of Leftover Salmon and he looks and sounds like he’s having the time of his life.

The audience response was exactly what I was hoping for as the artistic director of the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues festival as jam band music is an important component of this year’s festival.  It apparently is NOT a genre that only resonates with American audiences.  The crowd was with Drew Emmitt, Vince Herman and company for the entire set, cheering, dancing and hooting during extended solos and guest appearances from members of the Texmaniacs and Hot Rize. Yes we Canucks like jamband music to.

Salmon Arm has musical kindred spirits of Leftover Salmon appearing at Roots and Blues 2015 including Brothers Keeper, Mark Karan, Jason Crosby, and the Cyril Neville led Royal Southern Brotherhood, which I first caught at Vancouver Island Music Festival a year ago.  One hopes those same responses to instrumental fireworks and extended jams ignite the Salmon Arm audiences in a month’s time.

A year ago after attending the Vancouver Island Music Festival I made sure we not only snagged Royal Southern Brotherhood but recent Juno winner Quique Escamilla, Russell deCarle of Prairie Oyster fame and guitar master Tony McManus. I guarantee all of those exceptional artists will deliver exceptional performances this year at Salmon Arm Roots and Blues.

I believe we have the same kind of gifted talent pool booked for Roots and Blues 2015 as that at the Vancouver Island Music Festival and the same kind of spirited, focused performers and we’re only a month away.

Peter North

Artistic Director



Pick The Performer Winner Announced

July 16, 2015

Donna-Jeanne Wray of Salmon Arm was the happy winner of the 2015 Pick the Performer contest with her nomination

of  the John Butler Trio!  Congratulations to Donna-Jeanne Wray, who won a fabulous house boat vacation from Twin Anchors

House Boats, 4 golf passes to Salmon Arm Golf Club Championship Course, 2 Weekend Backstage Passes, and the possibility of

meeting her nominated performer in 2016!

Thank you to all who participated in the Roots and Blues Pick the Performer contest!

We look forward to seeing your nominations again next year!

– See you at the festival.

Roots & Blues Named to top 10 best BC festivals

July 3, 2015

Embrace the heat at out-of-town festivals – GEORGIA STRAIGHT

July 3, 2015


June 25, 2015


5:15 PMScott Cook & the Second ChancesTom Walbank
5:25 PMTacoy Ryde
6:30 PMSlocan Ramblers
6:45 PMOysterband
7:50 PMMonica Heldal
9:00 PMRiffat Sultana
10:30 PMStooges Brass BandCurrent Swell
12:30 PMBrent Parkin
4:30 PMStooges Brass Band
6:00 PMCanned Heat
6:45 PMMarco Claveria Project
7:30 PMHanggai
7:55 PMJosh Hoyer & the Shadow Boxers
9:00 PMElephant Revival
9:15 PMBrothers Keeper with Mark Karan & Jason Crosby
10:30 PMMarty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
10:45 PMRoyal Southern Brotherhood
11:00 AMThe HeartsAmos Garrett & Geoff Muldaur
12:15 PMDevon Coyote with Sherman Doucette
1:15 PMTony McManus
1:30 PMRocky Lawrence
2:20 PMThe Small Glories
3:15 PMAmadou Fall Trio
3:35 PMTim Chaisson
4:50 PMRussel de Carle Trio
6:00 PMThe Duhks
7:00 PMElephant Revival
7:20 PMQuique Escamilla
8:00 PMCanned Heat
8:40 PMRoyal Southern Brotherhood
9:15 PMBallroom Thieves
10:00 PMJohn Oates
10:30 PMStooges Brass Band
With: Scott Cook & Friends

More Great Acts Announced to 2015 Lineup

June 24, 2015

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival announced the last pieces of the 2015 line-up today, and two months out in front of the major music event that is the only event of it’s kind in the Shuswap, Okanagan and North Thompson regions of B.C..

The newly announced artists add some regional depth to the programming as singer-songwriter James Lamb and spoken word artist Mapgie Ulysses have been making strong contributions to the scene in Nelson and the Kootenays for the past few years.

Devon Coyote will be taking to stages at the festival site on both the Saturday and Sunday, dispensing his energetic and melodic roots based rock sound with his trio which will be augmented by special guest, Okanagan harp master Sherman “Tank” Doucette. Coyote’s return to Salmon Arm comes only months after his strong performance on the Powder Blues bill for the Roots and Blues benefit in mid-March.

Coyote, Lamb and Magpie Ulysses are not the only younger artists to be added to the R&B line-up as Phoenix Arizona-based bluesman Tom Walbank, who is originally from England, will be making his first appearances in Canada during the Roots and Blues weekend. The singer, songwriter, guitarist and harp player will be ripping it up with his gritty, down at the bottom approach to dispensing the blues.

Rounding out the younger contingent is Alberta’s folk-rock band The Hearts who have won over large audiences at events like the prestigious Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Having just released a new album titled Equal Love, the Jeff Stuart led band has just come off strong showcases in Austin at SXSW and will also be returning to the Edmonton Folk Festival the week before Roots and Blues.

As the Roots and Blues “Celebration of 50 years of the Grateful Dead” gains momentum, the festival has officially added three acts that will play a substantial role in delivering tunes from the songbooks of Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and company.

Mark Karan of The Other Ones and Bob Weir’s Ratdog fame will be channeling the guitar playing of Garcia and delivering his wonderful interpretations of songs like Easy Wind from Workingman’s Dead at the electric Dead Celebration on the Sunday at the Salmon Arm Fair Grounds. Also on hand from the San Francisco Bay Area will be multi-instrumentalist Jason Crosby who has worked extensively with Phil Lesh and Friends, Weir in acoustic settings, and Crosby also been a member of Susan Tedeschi’s band and Robert Randolph’s Family Band thanks to his tasty organ, violin and guitar playing.

“The final ingredient for the Grateful Dead Celebration is the addition of western Canada’s longest running jam band, Edmonton’s Tacoy Ryde. They come armed with a ton of material from the Dead songbook and will also be doing reggae and Latin workshops and jam sessions. These guys have toured with everyone from Third World to Steel Pulse going back 35 years,” says Roots and Blues artistic director Peter North who has also lined up Colorado’s Brothers Keeper, the Cyril Neville led Royal Southern Brotherhood and the Slocan Ramblers to participate in the two celebrations of Grateful Dead songs.

The final addition to the festival line-up is renowned guitarist Wendell Ferguson who won Guitar Player of the Year seven times at the Canadian Country Music Awards. Through the years, Ferguson has backed The Dixie Chicks, Deanna Carter and The Arrogant Worms and recorded with Quartette, Murray McLauchlan, James Keelaghan, Bob Snider and Gordon Lightfoot. He’s also the funniest man you’re like to meet in the world of folk-roots music.

“Wendell was on his way to teaching at the Nimble Fingers camp in Sorrento so we had to grab him as he was headed that way,” says North who will be using Ferguson on a honky-tonk workshop with Prairie Oyster’s Russell deCarle on the Saturday and as an emcee on main stage Saturday night.

The Slocan Ramblers release Chris Coole-produced sophomore album Coffee Creek

June 15, 2015

The Slocan Ramblers release Chris Coole-produced sophomore album Coffee Creek

July 11 – the Tranzac, main hall, Toronto, ON  **official album release**
July 12 – Keogh Park Bandshell, Tottenham ON (1-3pm)
July 17-19 – Ness Creek Music Festival, Ness Creek ON
July 21 – Battleford House Concert, North Battleford SK (7:30pm tickets:
July 22 – The Blackfoot Balehouse, Blackfoot AB (7:30 pm tickets:
July 24-26 – Dawson City Music Festival, Dawson City YT
July 28 – Fratters Speakeasy, Red Deer AB
July 29 – The Stop Coffee House, Black Diamond AB
July 30 – Waterton Lakes Opera House, Waterton Lakes National Park AB 8pm
Aug. 1-2 – Kaslo Jazz Etc. Fest, Kaslo BC
Aug. 4 – The Blue House, 503 4th St, Nelson (7:30pm tickets: Otter Books, 398 Baker St, 250-352-3434)
Aug. 5 – Fernie Arts Station, Fernie BC (6:30-8:30pm)
Aug. 6 – Ironwood Stage & Grill, Calgary AB (8pm)
Aug. 7-9 – Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Edmonton AB
Aug. 10 – Connections Coffee House, Sangudo AB (7:30pm)
Aug. 12 – Snedden House Concerts, Kelowna BC (7:30pm)
Aug. 14-15 – Salmon Arts Roots & Blues Festival, Salmon Arm BC
Aug. 16 – Shady Grove Bluegrass Fest, Nanton AB
Aug 21 – Roy Thomson Hall Patio, Toronto ON

Best New Artist at the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival – Torontoist
“Every few years a new generation of bluegrass players seems to be spawned from the hipster streets of Toronto. Enter the Slocan Ramblers, one of the hottest young bluegrass bands I’ve heard for ages. […] It’s hard to single any of them out, they all play so darned smooth and make it sound so easy.” – Penguin Eggs Magazine

Add Toronto’s Slocan Ramblers to the list of bands taking a pass on polished pop production values and embracing the unvarnished authenticity of old-time mountain music and bluegrass – while showcasing their own worldly influences.

Praised everywhere from Hockey Night in Canada to the pages of Sing Out magazine for their debut effort Shaking Down the Acorns, and having already opened for Steve Martin and been featured in a TV series alongside the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Slocans are getting set to launch a follow-up album, Coffee Creek on July 16.

Recorded live-off-the-floor around a tree of microphones in Toronto’s Casa Wroxton studio and produced by banjo wizard Chris Coole (Foggy Hogtown Boys, Sylvia Tyson, Jim Cuddy, David Francey), the album features a diverse repertoire that ranges from a sweet bluegrass original written on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (“Galilee”) to a rowdy recreation of the classic “Groundhog” and a tender original called “April’s Waltz,” which proves the band can also play slow – with great precision and emotional sensitivity.

There’s also a Woody Guthrie cover (“Pastures of Plenty”), a nod to Roy Acuff (“Streamline Canonball), a trans Atlantic number that adapts an old English folk song, and a folky number called “Elk River” that sees Alastair Whitehead trading in bass for banjo and lead vocal duties while banjo-picker Frank Evans and guitarist Darryl Poulsen play lead and rhythm guitars.

For the rest of the album, Evans showcases his wizardy at both clawhammer and three-finger banjo styles, often dueling with mandolinist Adrian Gross where other bands might feature a fiddle solo.  Whitehead’s bass and Poulsen’s muscular rhythm guitar and occasional flourishes of fancy flat-picking fill out the sound.

All one-time students of the Humber College music program, The Slocan Ramblers – who are named for a historic mine in B.C.’s Slocan Valley, where Whitehead spent his summers – count among their influences lesser-known bluegrass great Dave Evans and celebrated player Norman Blake.

They came together for a one-off gig in 2010, and the chemistry worked so well that they got themselves a house gig at Toronto’s Cloak and Dagger and started refining their sound.

They debuted on CD in 2012 with Shaking Down the Acorns, which was called “excellent” by the Huffington Post and prompted the folk magazine Penguin Eggs to describe the Slocans as “one of the hottest young bluegrass bands I’ve heard in ages.”

Torontoist named them Best New Artist at the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival.  The Bluegrass Situation listed them as one of its Top New Discoveries from the 2014 Folk Alliance conference.   And CBC’s Tom Power praised their authority, passion and ability to experiment – and also their handsomeness (!!)

The band opened for Steve Martin on the main stage of the Toronto Jazz Fest, and Edie Brickell asked for a copy of the album – meaning it’s possible even Paul Simon has listened to The Slocan Ramblers!

To top it off, the Slocans were featured on the Vision TV gospel special God’s Greatest Hits, which caught the attention of Don Cherry and resulted in him praising the band’s performance of “Abide with Me” during an episode of Coach’s Corner.

Described by Sing Out as “a tight-knit ensemble with a lot of drive, yet with something of a tantalizing ‘rough edge’ to their sound,” The Slocan Ramblers are building on that mix of rawness and refinement with Coffee Creek.

Their crowd-pleasing, high-energy live shows make their summer album launch dates must-see events.

2015 Line Up – Performer Release

March 19, 2015

May 7, 2015 – Salmon Arm, BC
Salmon Arm Roots and Blues is pleased to announce 16 more acts to the 2015 line-up for the festival that takes place August 14 thru 16 at the Salmon Arm Fair Grounds.

Current Swell, one of B.C.’s finest musical exports, will be on hand to close the Friday night main stage, while six time Juno Award winning roots and country vocalist Russell deCarle of Prairie Oyster fame, blues legends Geoff Muldaur and Amos Garrett, and the breakout folk-pop band of the summer, Boston-based Ballroom Thieves also lead the way in this announcement that suggests Roots and Blues will be knee deep in musical riches.

The world music component of Roots and Blues has also been fully addressed as Senegal kora master Amadou Fall will be bringing his trio of west African musicians to Roots and Blues, while the ten piece Afro-Cuban ensemble, the Marco Claveria Project, will deliver a pulsating polyrhythmic sound to fans of music born in Central and South America.

“Toss in the latest World Music Juno Winner Quique Escamilla, who wowed audiences at the Vancouver Island Festival last summer, Kenyan-born songstress Naomi Wachira who was named Folk Singer of the Year in Seattle in 2013, and the beautiful Pakistani and Sufi music of Riffat Sultana and we feel we have the diversity in world music sounds we were hoping to present, “ says artistic director Peter North who took over the AD role a year ago.

Learn more about the line up, please click here


Roots & Blues Celebrates the Grateful Dead

March 3, 2015

The Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival is pleased to announce that a number of the artists attending the 2015 edition of the festival will participate in performances paying tribute to both The Grateful Dead and the band’s late leader Jerry Garcia.

Despite being dubbed as a “Long Strange Trip”, the journey and music of the Grateful Dead that spawned the Dead Head culture has proven to be timeless and as enticing to audiences that span several generations.

That 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of The Grateful Dead becoming an entity in San Francisco and the cornerstone band of that scene, and that 2015 also marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of Garcia, it seems only fitting that the incredible songbook and spirit of what this group of musicians created be recognized by Roots & Blues.

“Yes the Dead helped create the psychedelic scene of the sixties, but the band has always been so much more than that. Collectively and individually Garcia, Bob Weir, lyricist Robert Hunter, drummer Mickey Hart and the others had a foothold in the traditions of folk music from country to blues and bluegrass while Hart in particular has been a pivotal player in introducing a huge audience to many sounds associated with world music,” says Roots & Blues artistic director Peter North.

“I don’t think anyone so eloquently addressed the brilliance of Garcia like Bob Dylan did shortly after his passing,” said North of the following quote.

“There’s no way to measure his greatness or magnitude as a person or as a player. I don’t think eulogizing will do him justice. He was that great – much more than a superb musician with an uncanny ear and dexterity. He is the very spirit personified of whatever is muddy river country at its core and screams up into the spheres. He really had no equal. To me he wasn’t only a musician and friend, he was more like a big brother who taught and showed me more than he’ll ever know. There are a lot of spaces and advances between the Carter Family, Buddy Holly and, say, Ornette Coleman, a lot of universes, but he filled them all without being a member of any school. His playing was moody, awesome, sophisticated, hypnotic and subtle. There’s no way to convey the loss. It just digs down really deep.” Bob Dylan

Salmon Arm Roots & Blues will present a handful of shows drawing from the deep well of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia with acoustic acts diving into traditional sources like Mississippi John Hurt, Jesse Fuller and Jimmie Rodgers while electric acts will take on classic Dead tunes ranging from ‘Fire On The Mountain’ to ‘Deal’ to ‘Truckin’’.

One of the acts that will be dispensing a number of Grateful Dead songs at Roots & Blues will be Brothers Keeper out of Vail, Colorado. While a band armed with a great songbook of originals, which you will hear on the weekend of the Festival, Brothers Keeper ( has always been inspired by the sounds that make the jam band scene unique.

Coming with Brothers Keeper are two members of the extended Grateful Dead Family, multi-instrumentalist Jason Crosby ( who has been performing with both Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, with the other artist being guitarist/singer Mark Karan who toured and recorded with Lesh, Weir, Mickey Hart and Bruce Hornsby in The Other Ones after Garcia’s passing. Karan also spend the better part of a decade in Weir’s band Ratdog. Both Karan and Crosby live in San Francisco.

“These guys all know the Grateful Dead and Garcia/Hunter songbooks inside out and there are a few other great artists who have serious connections to the Dead camp that will be announced as part of the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival down the road,” said North.

“When you look at the reaction to Weir, Lesh, Hart and Billy Kreutzmann coming together for three final Grateful Dead ( reunion shows in Chicago this coming July and that there have been half a million requests for tickets, I think it is fair to say there are a lot of people out there who love this music and the vibe that goes with it. Salmon Arm Roots & Blues intends to present some of this music in a great light and I also believe it is something that has been overlooked on the western Canadian festival scene for some time,” added North.

Early Bird Member Tickets December 1st, 2014 ALSO (Salmon Arm residents discount) Read on..

September 15, 2014

August 14, 15 and 16th 2015 Salmon Arm Roots and Blues festival member early bird tickets available now!

The financial support of the City of Salmon Arm has in large part made this year’s Festival possible, and as a thank you to the residents of Salmon Arm for their support, the SAFMS is offering an additional $10 per ticket off the already reduced Early Bird pricing for weekend passes.
Just in time for holiday gift ideas, this is an amazing opportunity to save more than $70 per ticket off gate price. Not only a great value, it’s also a wonderful way to reunite family and friends this summer.
Early Bird Member passes are on sale now for $119 (with the additional $10 off for City of Salmon Arm residents) and sales at this super low price are limited to the first 1000 tickets. After this, Earlybird Non Member pricing applies but Salmon Arm residents will still be able to receive a $10 discount up until May 29th when this second tier ends.

Weekend Passes include Fri. to Sun. (all day plus evening)
Day Tickets include all day and evening
Evening Tickets are only available at the gate after 5:00 pm Sat. and Sun. and are subject to availability
Adult: 20-64
Youth: 13- 19 (Full time students from the age of 20 to 25. Must provide a valid student ID)
Senior 65 + may also be asked for valid ID at the gate.
Tickets will also be available at the gate for purchase at gate prices effective August 9th, 2014.

If you would like your tickets mailed NOTE* Select the mailing option on purchase page.

* NO REFUNDS OR EXCHANGES (line-up subject to change)
Early Bird Member Prices in effect December the 1st, 2014. They are available until February 27th or while quantities last. Maximum (1000). You must purchase a $12 membership for the member pricing, Up to a limit of 4 tickets per membership. Adults Early Bird Member $119, Student 13 to 19 up to 25 with STUDENT ID $85, Senior 65+ $97 for a 3 day weekend pass! (5% GST will be added to the end of your order)



Please purchase in ADVANCE, tickets on sale until March 14th at 5 pm.  CASH ONLY at the door.