Tue, Mar 25, 2014.
Big names, new names, the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival has dropped a bombshell on fans today with the announcement of a half-dozen major names for this September's line-up. From Grammy winners to true international stars, the festival unveiled six acts that should leave the devotees more anxious than ever to grab up tickets come May. There's something for virtually every kind of fan included, and wonderfully, most of the performers have never graced the Harvest stages before.
Zydeco has always been a favourite draw at the event, and this year will see the genre's biggest star at his Festival debut. Buckwheat Zydeco, fronted as always by Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural has always been the name most associated with Louisiana's unique brand of country-boogie. The pure party music features Dural's awesome accordion playing, and his immense appeal led zydeco to global heights in the 70's and 80's. It's the group's first time at Harvest.
Another first-time band is Blues Traveler, one of the biggest jam bands ever. It's the group's 25th anniversary, which seems shocking since Run Around is still running around in my head. They have a Grammy and a wall filled with platinum and gold albums, and will surely bring out the tie-dye fans in record numbers. Caution: Harmonica solos.
One of the most exciting new players of the past decade is Robert Randolph, who brought pedal steel guitar out of the country bars and right to the front of the festival stages. Along with The Family Band, Randolph has caught the praise of everyone from Eric Clapton to Rolling Stone mag, who placed him in the 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time list. Randolph has brought the sounds of Sacred Steel to the mainstream, the form of gospel steel guitar music he grew up with in the church.
Add to that list three more high quality acts. Ruthie Foster is one of the most decorated blues artists, grabbing awards of artist of the year, best traditional artist, etc., a major critical and popular favourite, a tour de force singer. Blackberry Smoke is a southern rock band from Atlanta, big on the live sign, popular with rock and country audiences, with old-school hot licks and down-home cooking. Finally, The Wood Brothers are an off-shoot group, Chris Wood being part of Medeski, Martin and Wood, with his brother Oliver joining in on folk-styled harmonies and acoustic roots music.
So, a big announcement, with much more to come for Harvest audiences. Tickets go on sale Saturday, May 10.
Saint John folk duo Tomato/Tomato lead the way in this year's nominations for Music New Brunswick awards. The husband-and-wife team has grabbed six nominations, including those for Album of the Year, Group Recording of the Year and Song of the... more »
The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is well-known for introducing new, exciting acts to the East Coast that wouldn't normally tour in this area. They might be from Los Angeles or New Orleans, or some of the best Canadian groups... more »
As the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival celebrates its 25th year, several favourite acts from the past have been invited back, including some that haven't been around for quite awhile. Even though he lives in Montreal, this year's Juno Award-winning... more »
It was a Harvest show that went down as a classic for the people crowding in the Blues tent in 2011. Levon Helm and his great big 13-piece band rolled into Fredericton for the jazz and blues festival, and stole... more »
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).