Workshops Ready to Go

July 6, 2016 · Print This Article

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.

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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.

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