Decades into their career, Grammy-winning folk-rock duo the Indigo Girls still amaze conventional pundits with their ability to grow and thrive no matter what the state of the music industry is at any given point. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers began performing together in high school, transferred their honest, urgent performing style onto the stages of countless small clubs, then saw their self-titled breakthrough (an album that included the 1989 release of their first hit, “Closer To Fine,” and went on to win Best Contemporary Folk Recording at the 1990 Grammys).The duo’s constant touring, as well as staunch dedication to a number of social and environmental causes, has earned them a fervidly devoted following over the years. So many artists who launched their careers in the late 1980s have slipped from our collective memory. In contrast, the Indigo Girls stand tall, having earned the lasting respect and devotion of a multi-generational audience which continues to experience their creative evolution in the studio and on stage.
and the Tilt-A-Whirl Band featuring Lou Ann Barton
Jimmie Vaughan is far more than just one of the greatest and most respected guitarists in the world of popular music. As Guitar Player magazine notes, “He is a virtual deity–a living legend.” Since releasing his first solo album in 1994, he has set the standard for quality modern roots music. Throughout his career, Vaughan has earned the esteem of his legendary guitar-playing heroes and superstar peers along with successive generations of young players. His musical ethos and personal style have had an impact on contemporary culture, from spearheading the current blues revival with The Fabulous Thunderbirds to his longtime, innate fashion sense of slicked-back hair and sharp vintage threads (now seen throughout the pages of contemporary fashion journals) to becoming a premier designer of classic custom cars.
To expand your horizons while remaining true to your roots is a challenge that Amadou & Mariam have risen to – and consistently met – throughout their career. Each new album has found the husband-and-wife duo from Mali boldly moving forward and breaking fresh ground, while at the same time preserving their instantly recognisable trademarks: the exquisite song craft, Amadou’s thrilling electric blues guitar and the magical interplay of their two voices. In recent years, Amadou and Mariam have toured with Coldplay and U2 and jammed with musical heroes David Gilmour and Johnny Marr. They’ve performed at a Nobel Peace Prize concert in honour of Barack Obama, and played at the opening ceremonies of the last two FIFA world cups. Manu Chao and Damon Albarn have lent their production skills to their records and they have worked with some of the most innovative names in contemporary rock music via Albarn’s ‘Africa Express’ and other cross-cultural projects, such as ‘L’Afrik C’est Chic’
Called everything from avant garde to part of a dying breed, Meshell Ndegeocello is unquestionably a fearsome bassist, prolific songwriter with the creativity and curiosity of an authentic musical force. With that, she has earned critical acclaim, the unfailing respect of fellow players, songwriters and composers, and the dedication of her diverse, unclassifiable fans. A bass player above all else, Meshell brings her signature warm, fat, and melodic groove to every- thing she does and has appeared alongside the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Alanis Morrisette, James Blood Ulmer, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tony Allen, John Medeski, Billy Preston, and Chaka Khan.
Vancouver, WA-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter Kelly Joe Phelps continues to expand the parameters of modern blues through his strong commitment to literary songs and his expressive yet simple guitar stylings. He spent the better part of 10 years playing bass in small jazz groups, but at home and in private, he continued to play guitar occasionally experimenting with a slide to coax blusier tunes from his instrument. By blues standards, Phelps is young, so there’s much more to come from this free-thinking, innovative and groundbreaking artist.
The Deep Dark Woods’ unflinching pursuit of steadiness between decadence and minimalism is guided at every turn by their intuitive ability to balance grit, clarity, drive and restraint with a sure focus on experimentation. They frame their music with subtle orchestration; songs are trimmed with minimal embellishments of banjo and piano with subtle mellotron flutters. For their album “Winter Hours” The Deep Dark Woods won Best Roots Group at the 2009 Western Canadian Music Awards and Ensemble of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards. The band also had the runaway winner in CBC’s Great Canadian Songquest with “Charlie’s (Is Coming Down)”, a song about Good Time Charlie’s in Regina.
In a time when a lot of bands started to sound the same …something very different has arrived….The Washboard Union is Canada’s only 7 piece outlaw bluegrass band featuring banjo, mandolin, dojo, harp, guitar, fiddle, drums, 4 singers and of course “The Washboard”.
No Sinner’s sound bears a trustworthiness of timbre and melody that’s easy to fall in love with. The music speaks the native tongue of blues, rock and soul and the songs tell the timeless tales of relationship dysfunction. But the persona is unique to this moment in pop.
Twenty-four year-old lead singer/songwriter Colleen Rennison carries with her the burden of someone who has lived, loved and lost—requisite experience for the genres she works in—but communicates in the weird mixed-language of millennial Vancouver: a creole of rugged Canadiana and twenty first century acumen.
“Led by powerhouse singer and actress Coleen Rennison- whose blow-to-the-gut blues could comfortably sit at the bar with Etta James and Bessie Smith – Vancouver’s No Sinner is turning heads with its hybrid of soul, gospel, blues, country and rock…”
-The Globe and Mail – March 2012