Thursday, 21 March 2013

'Bluesfest' Melbourne side shows

Robert Cray & Guests Taj Mahal & Shuggie Otis

Hamer Hall, Melbourne - Sunday 24 March
For the first time, three legendary artists on one incredible night at Hamer Hall.
It’s been seven long years since Robert Cray has toured Australia, but he and his long-serving band still shred the Blues like never before.

“Every time somebody asks me about where my music comes from, I give them .... a little rock, soul, jazz, blues, a little gospel feel. It’s pretty wide open. It’s hard to put a tag on it.”
This effortless genre crossover is filtered through some of his most definitive songs like Smoking GunI Guess I Showed HerPhone Booth and I Was Warned. From his impressive catalogue it’s easy to see why he has five Grammy Awards (and 15 nominations), millions of record sales worldwide, is a Blues Hall of Fame inductee (one of the youngest to receive the prestigious honour), and why Fender guitars have made not one, but two signature Robert Cray Stratocaster guitars.

You could call Taj Mahal a singer, composer, producer, two-time Grammy-winner, world-class musical collaborator, musicians’ advocate, world traveller, fisherman or cigar aficionado. These titles are all accurate, yet none convey the warmth, humour, and soulfulness of Taj and his music.

He has been playing his own distinctive brand of music – variously described as Afro-Caribbean blues, folk-world-blues, hula blues, folk-funk, and a host of other hyphenations – for more than 40 years.

First up on this extraordinary Blues Tour is Shuggie Otis - son of legendary R ‘n’ B bandleader Johnny Otis. A musical prodigy he was playing with his father by the time he was 13 and from the word go displayed an uncanny mastery of the blues guitar.
Robert Cray

Tedeschi Trucks Band
with special Guests Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

Hamer Hall, Melbourne - Tuesday 26 March
Grammy Award winners, guitar-slinging royalty and husband and wife dynamic combination, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks bring their Tedeschi Trucks Band to perform for one night only at Hamer Hall.
This 11 piece band overflowing with talent and familial harmony earned a Grammy for Best Blues Album with their first album, Revelator in 2011. Their sophomore album Everybody's Talkin', in May 2012 debuted in the top 25 of Billboard's top albums chart and has maintained a top 3 position on the best-selling blues albums chart since its release. 
Performing with the Tedeschi Truck Band is Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews and Orleans Avenue. They stir together old-school New Orleans jazz, funk and soul, laced with hard-rock power chords and hip-hop beats which has led to rave reviews wherever they play. 
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue stir together old-school New Orleans jazz, funk and soul, laced with hard-rock power chords and hip-hop beats which has led to rave reviews wherever they play. Their latest album For True, featuring Kid Rock, Jeff Beck, Warren Hayes and Lenny Kravitz, debuted at # 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart, and remained in the top 5 for over 50 weeks. Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews is the most awarded artist in Offbeat Magazine’s 2012 Awards with six wins including Artist & Album of the year. 
This lineup will probably NEVER be repeated – the Tedeschi Trucks Band with special guests Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue load up for this special show.

Bonnie Raitt
with special guest Mavis Staples

State Theatre, Melbourne - Wednesday 27th March
More than a best-selling artist, respected guitarist, expressive singer and accomplished songwriter… Bonnie Raitt has become an institution in American Music.

This powerhouse is a 10-time-Grammy-winner (including another win this year for Best AMERICANA ALBUM), Rock and Roll & Blues Hall of Fame Inductee and one of the Rolling Stones "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" and "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."

Her nineteenth studio album, Slipstream, has gained her unprecedented praise from across the generations, inspiring a beautiful Adele cover of I Can’t Make You Love Me and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon calling her ‘one of our greatest artists’.

She has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame, has won ten Grammy Awards (including another win this year for Best Americana Album) and been named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" and "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."

Adele released a cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon called her ‘one of our greatest artists’ during his medley of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and “Nick Of Time” on late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Her live shows have also earned her rave reviews:
Rigourous, sentimental, magnanimous, resilient”New York Times 
Peerless…Surreal” Chicago Tribune 
As Strong as ever…perfect” Boston Globe 
Bonnie Raitt will be wowing Australian audiences with a series of live performances, and her special guests will be Mavis Staples and her band.

"Mavis Staples is the most underrated diva of the century. She has an almost superhuman ability to implant the pure power of passion and emotion."-Rolling Stone 

VH1 named her as one of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll, and Rolling Stone listed her as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of all time. Mavis Staples is a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, and a National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient .

In her 60 year career – from her ground-breaking family gospel group – The Staple Singers ("I'll Take You There", "Respect Yourself") and on her own, Mavis is responsible for blazing a rhythm & blues trail while never relinquishing her gospel roots and it is now that her star is shining brightest.

This is one show definitely not to miss!
Bonnie Raitt

Northcote Social Club Wed 27th March

Bluesfest is honoured to bring this integral blues institution back to Australia and proud to be taking these musicians on the road for the first time. Far too often true musical pioneers become forgotten heroes and the music they played such a part in creating is forgotten along with them. Music Maker Foundation is fighting the good fight to keep the blues and southern roots music alive and pay homage to these incredible musicians. This inspired and inspiring non-profit North American organisation is dedicated to give back to the roots of American music. After truly moving, humbling and beautiful performances over the years at Bluesfest, we knew 2013 would be the year to take this incredible foundation on the road. This year we’ll be featuring The Music Maker Blues Revue featuring Boogie Woogie legend Ironing Board Sam, Guitar slinging siren Pat Wilder, Alabama bluesman Dr. Burt and Zydeco giant Major Handy, with Albert White, Nashid Abdul Khaaliq and Ardie Dean. 
Boogie Woogie legend Ironing Board Sam

Roger Hodgson & Band - The Legendary Voice of Supertramp
Palais Theatre, Melbourne - Thursday 28th March
-Bringing his full band to Australian for the first time-
Roger Hodgson has been recognised as one of the most gifted composers, songwriters and lyricists of our time. As the legendary voice of Supertramp and composer of many of the band’s greatest hits, he gave us “Give a Little Bit,” “The Logical Song,” “Dreamer,” “Take the Long Way Home,” “Breakfast In America,” “It’s Raining Again” “Fool’s Overture” “School”  and so many others that have become the soundtrack of our lives.
Hodgson co-founded the progressive rock band Supertramp in 1969 and was with them for 14 years. He wrote and sang most of the classic hits that brought Supertramp worldwide acclaim. During the time that Roger led the band, Supertramp became a worldwide phenomenon, and albums like “Crime of the Century” and “Breakfast In America” helped them to sales of well over 60 million albums.
His songs have remarkably stood the test of time and Roger Hodgson recently received 2 awards from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) for his songs being in the top played songs in their repertory. And don’t think it’s all in the past.
Roger Hodgson is currently performing across the Americas and Europe in support of his latest release “Classics Live”.
Don’t miss this one-off opportunity to spend an evening with one of the world’s finest composers and lyricists.
Roger Hodgson

The Blind Boys of Alabama / Allen Toussaint / Sweet Honey In The Rock

Hamer Hall, Melbourne - Wednesday 3rd April
"This ensemble is the gold standard...their voices are all fabulous, and they unite to create a sound so pure, smooth and homogenous that it does not seem humanly possible." Fort Worth Star Telegram
The living legends of gospel music will be returning to Australian Shores with their glorious meld of gospel, blues and rock n roll.

It’s harder to find a more joyful sound than their unforgettable shows filled with laughter and packed with emotion.
Winners of 5 GRAMMY Awards and honored with the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award (2009) are just some of their career highlights. The Blind Boys have shared the stage and collaborated with the finest musicians and songwriters including Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Ben Harper, Mavis Staples, Tom Petty, John Fogerty and Peter Gabriel just to name a few. 

Performing with The Blind Boys of Alabama is Grammy award-winning, all-woman, acappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock.
Their music is a celebration of the rich textures of their African-American legacy & traditions through their stunning vocal prowess that captures the complex sounds of Blues, traditional gospel hymns, reggae, African chants, hip hop, ancient lullabies and jazz improvisation. 
On the same bill, is Allen Toussaint, who is absolutely deserving of the title 'Legend' for his shaping of the sound of R&B, soul and funk as we know it, Allen Toussaint brings his incredible canon of production, soundtrack and composition work to Australia. One of the most influential figures in New Orleans R&B, Allen Toussaint has produced, written for, arranged, had his songs covered by, and performed with music giants Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Plant/Krauss, The Who, Patti LaBelle, Dr. John, Aaron and Art Neville, Trombone Shorty, Joe Cocker, The (original) Meters, Glen Campbell, The Band, Little Feat, The Rolling Stones, Devo, Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas, Etta James, Ramsey Lewis and countless others.

Be blown away by the effortless beauty that is Sweet Honey In The Rock when they play as special guests to the incomparable Blind Boys of Alabama.
Blind Boys of Alabama
“Miss LaVette now rivals Aretha Franklin as this generation’s most vital soul singer”
New York Times

With declarations such as this from the New York Times, it is not surprising that her 2012 Bluesfest performance captivated festival headliner John Butler and kept the audience transfixed for her entire set: at times reducing herself, and a great number of her audience,  to tears with her soul-baring, gut-wrenching delivery.
Despite being discovered and signed at the age of 16 with the infamous MOTOWN label, her rise to superstar status has been nothing short of what Bettye has described as “....a scramble. The scramble is my story”.
To mark this triumphant year for Bettye, she has released two major creative endeavours -  a brilliantly reflective album, Thankful N’ Thoughtful  and a riveting autobiography, A Woman Like Me. Together they present Bettye at the top of her form, an artist with the unflinching courage to confront her past while reshaping her future.

“You’ve got a singer here who is willing to stretch and is not content to live in the safety zone”   - Elvis Costello

An exceptional interpreter of song, Bettye delivers through her rough yet tender, sensuous voice. Her dynamic power seethes throughout each song, wringing out the sorrow, sharing her hard earned wisdom and story throughout these tales of reinvention.  By the time Bettye’s finished recording a track, she has fully inhabited its body and soul.
Bettye’s new album, Thankful N’ Thoughtful  features a selection of contemporary tracks written and previously recorded by Bob Dylan, The Black Keys, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Patty Griffin, Gnarls Barkley just to name a few.  Bettye rearranges deep within her soul and exorcises as her own through her voice filled with longing, rage, desire, despair, survival and victory. The album has attracted rave reviews.

"She sings, she smoulders, she testifies… standouts included a shiver-inducing cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold", as well as re-workings of songs by the Beatles, Ray Charles and her old friend Otis Redding. LaVette still brings a world of pain to every note”.
 Dimitri Ehrlich, Uptown Social.

"LaVette's nuanced singing evokes prime Tina Turner with even more command."
Rolling Stone.
An artist, a story and a woman not to be missed!
Grammy Award nominated soul singer, Bettye LaVette

“Jake is taking the instrument to a place that I can't see anybody else catching up with him."

- Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) after releasing his own album of ukulele songs

When Jake last played Bluesfest in 2008 the word went out and  the buzz filtered through the festival about the young Hawaiian guy shredding it on the uke that resulted in a swell of excitement for his second set last time. It’s rare for a young musician to earn comparisons to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis. It’s even harder to find an artist who has entirely redefined an instrument by his early thirties. But Jake Shimabukuro (she-ma-boo-koo-row) has already accomplished these feats, and more, in a little over a decade of playing and recording music…on the ukulele. 
Forget everything you think you know about the limitations of this traditional Hawaiian instrument and let this young uke axeman show you a thing or two.
Jake Shimabukuro
JON ANDERSON – The Voice of Yes
THE CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE - Wednesday April 10 & Thursday April 11

One of the most recognisable & influential voices in progressive rock, as the lead vocalist and creative force behind the band Yes, JON ANDERSON was central to that band’s phenomenal success. Jon’s solo show includes many classic tales from his days with the supergroup and his ensuing solo career as well as the timeless songs from all across the Yes songbook & his own eclectic solo work.

Jon was the author and a major creative influence behind the series of epics produced by the legendary supergroup Yes including  such complex pieces as "Close to the Edge", "Awaken", and especially "The Gates of Delirium.” Additionally, Jon co-authored the group's biggest hits, including "I've Seen All Good People," Roundabout," and "Owner Of A Lonely Heart." Noted for singing in his original Lancastrian accent, this is a chance to see this truly unique musician perform solo, up close and personal.
Jon Anderson