Holly Cole, Royal Wood for Harvest, Sappyfest Announces First Five Too

The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival made a big move today to remind people there's jazz in it's name. Often overshadowed by the blues and rock elements, this year's line-up is one of the strongest in years for jazz fans, featuring three of the top names in Canada. That includes one who's no stranger to the festival, and the city.

Holly Cole spent a good part of her teenage years in Fredericton, before heading off to Toronto and forming the Holly Cole Trio. Her connection to Harvest goes right back to the very start, and I have some fuzzy memory of being at an after-show bar party, and seeing her jump up to sing I Heard It Through The Grapevine and other classics. Cole's been packing venues ever since, and with a new album out called Night, it's only fitting she returns to a place that loves her right back.

Victoria's Michael Kaeshammer is a double-threat, a great vocalist and an amazing piano player. Influenced by early jazz players, New Orleans and stride, Kaeshammer has an excellent live set that keeps going from one high to the next. It's high energy, and perfect to get you in the festival spirit. Elizabeth Shepherd is that rare thing, a singer-songwriter writing new jazz vocal numbers instead of reinterpreting the classics. Her soulful sounds have been crossing over to folks who are not usually jazz fans, although she has critics and connoisseurs from that world impressed too.

He may not be jazz, but Royal Wood's a grand addition to the festival as well, opening the Holly Cole show. Wood's enjoyed the most success of his career the past year, thanks to the skillful pop of his latest disc, We Were Born To Glory. I Want Your Love was a big hit on CBC Radio 2, and he's putting the smart production of classic 45's back on the charts.

If that ain't enough for music fans, Sackville's beloved Sappyfest announced its first performers for this year's event, coming up August 2 - 4. Considered one of the taste-maker festivals in the country for new music, Sappyfest VIII will again feature artists that by this time next year, you won't believe you saw them in such a small place, in such a fan-friendly environment. While there are many more names to come for this year's line-up, the first five are now out. Daptone recording artists (the home of Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones) Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens are coming in from Brooklyn with their sanctified soul. Saxophone whiz and Arcade Fire side man Colin Stetson of Montreal is one the way, along with punk-soul Washington group Chain & The Gang. Also in from La belle province is space rockers The Luyas, and yet another Brooklyn group, rappers The Underachievers.

Sappyfest passes are already available on the website, with early bird passes already almost sold out. Harvest tickets go on sale May 11.

more »

Latest East Coast Music Reviews

Petunia rolls through province with brand-new acoustic album
Petunia rolls through province with brand-new acoustic album
Aug 28, 2:17 PM

It's always a treat to see Petunia when he comes to the East Coast for his annual tour. That's how I spent Thursday night, and as usual, he was joined by his comrade-on-the-road, The Minimalist Jug Band. The pair... more »

Tomato/Tomato among headliners for new Festival (506) in October
Tomato/Tomato among headliners for new Festival (506) in October
Aug 27, 3:08 PM

Music NB has announced the names of the performers being featured at this year's awards week, coming up in October in Moncton. The newly-christened Festival (506) takes over from the more generic-sounding Music NB Awards, and puts an even stronger... more »

Rah Rah!  It's getting closer to Harvest time.
Rah Rah! It's getting closer to Harvest time.
Aug 26, 4:05 PM

It's the time of the year when I start making my schedule up for the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. It's still three weeks away, going from Sept. 15 - 20, but there's so much to see over the six... more »

Vancouver's The River and the Road beefs up folk-rock sound
Vancouver's The River and the Road beefs up folk-rock sound
Aug 25, 6:23 PM

There are lots of famous partnerships in music, from Broadway to Brill Building to British Invasion. Rodgers and Hart, The Gershwins, Bacharach and David, Goffin and King, Mick and Keith, John and Paul, they all had lots of talent, and... more »

Kalle Mattson kicks off album tour in N.B. this week
Kalle Mattson kicks off album tour in N.B. this week
Aug 24, 12:24 PM

Hey, how cool, Ottawa-based Kalle Mattson has just released a new six-track E.P. called Avalanche, and he's kicking off the tour for it right here in little old N.B. this coming Thursday. It comes hot on the heels of 2014's... more »

Cactus Flower mixes indie sounds with '60's style
Cactus Flower mixes indie sounds with '60's style
Aug 21, 3:17 PM

Equal parts indie and '60's, the debut from Cactus Flower is actually the first solo work from Halifax's Jessica Lewis. Also a member of that city's Dark for Dark, and a player in Brent Randall and His Pinecones, Lewis has... more »

View all reviews for August 2015 »

About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

Share this review