Mon, Jun 24, 2013.
The final lineups and late additions are being announced for this year's festival season in the province. Harvest Jazz and Blues filled the last whole in its schedule Monday by naming veteran Canadian bluesman David Wilcox as headliner for the Thursday night Mojo tent show. Wilcox has been a fixture on the Canadian scene since joining Ian and Sylvia's Great Speckled Bird as a teenager in the 70's. From there, he went on to a successful solo career that saw his distinctive brand of blues hit the national top forty, with hits such as Layin' Pipe and Breakfast At The Circus. He's a mainstay in the Canadian scene, but doesn't get to the east all that often, so he's a fine addition to the Harvest this year.
One of the most-loved festivals in the region has made its full line-up public as well. The 6th annual Larlee Creek Hullabaloo is happening from August 16-18 at its usual spot in Perth-Andover, right along the Saint John with a great view from Baird's Campground. The weekend is popular for its very family-friendly venue, with the stages and vendors set up right beside the campground, so you can wander back and forth between your trailer or tent (or tent-trailer) with ease, in a very relaxed atmosphere. The music runs the gamut from folk to blues to rock to acoustic to old-time, and features a power-house lineup focused on the best East Coast talent around. As well, there are the much-celebrated jams featuring most of the musicians, called the Little Hullabaloo and the Big Hullabaloo, a tradition that has become a major highlight of the weekend.
The Friday night lineup features indie-rock darlings Two Hours Traffic from PEI. The group has become one of the most successful rock bands out of the region, and recently released its Foolish Blood album, with a tour that went across North America and over to Europe. Joining on the bill that night is another exciting PEI act, the wild Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, no-holds barred old-time country featuring Mackeeman's crazy fiddle playing and rubber-legged dancing. Fredericton favourites and Music NB winners Sleepy Driver are there, as well as the capital city's George Street Blues Project, Miramichi's passionate folkie Irish Mythen, and country rockers Blue Flower Coventry.
Saturday features music from noon on, with easier-going smaller stages, and relaxed pace to start things up. Then the Saturday evening sets arrive with a bang. Homeboy Matt Andersen returns to the Hullabaloo stage, after taking a year off in 2012. There's nothing like home cooking, and that's what Matt delivers, surrounded by family and friends. The rest of the night is an all-star event as well, featuring the recent winners of the CBC 2013 Searchlight contest for Canada's best new musical act, Newfoundland's Sherman Downey & the Ambiguous Case. Nobody but nobody commands a stage like Moncton's Backyard Devils, four virtuosos have reinvented country-bluegrass. Three of the best young songwriters of the day share the stage, Dylan Guthro, Molly Thomason and Carleton Stone. Christina Martin and Dale Murray are the folk-rock power couple from Nova Scotia, each with their own award-winning sounds and accomplished writing and playing. Christine Campbell turned lots of heads last year at the Hullabaloo with her new solo sounds, and got invited back this year to the main stage, after her critically acclaimed debut disc of the spring. Then there's beloved local folkie Owen Steel, part of the young breed of back-to-basics singer-songwriters.
The Hullabaloo wraps up Sunday with a brunch-hour send-off, a time for gentler sounds. This year sees Fredericton's beautiful chill-out masters, The Olympic Symphonium handling the send-off. Tickets for the Hullabaloo can be purchased at www.ticketpro.ca or by calling 1 888-311-9090. You can also phone the Hullabacrew at 1 877-778-7271 to learn more about the festival.
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Bob 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).