Blue Rodeo emerged in the early 80’s as a countrified rock band in the era of hair metal and glossy pop. Despite sticking out like a sore thumb (or maybe because of it), their single “Try” became omni-present on radio across Canada and set in motion a three decade long career of headlining every club, theatre and arena in Canada. In 1993, when grunge rock was squeezing commercial rock off the radio, they recorded their most acoustic album, Five Days In July, and scored their biggest hit selling over a half million copies of that one record alone.
Over the course of the next 20 years, Blue Rodeo has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, sold over 4 million records, won an unprecedented 5 Juno awards as Group of the Year, been handed keys to the City of Toronto and given a Star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. But for them, the accolades and awards pale in comparison to the good fortune of being musicians.
On October 16th, the band celebrated its legacy with the release of a Blue Rodeo: 1987-1993, a box set of their first 5 albums fully re-mastered and repackaged, plus a fully remixed Outskirts, Casino Demos and an Odds & Ends package.
Main Stage 8:30pm-10:00pm
Charles Bradley commonly referred to as “The Screaming Eagle of Soul,” is a funk/soul/R&B singer signed to the Daptone Records label under the Dunham Records division. His performances and recording style are consistent with Daptone’s revivalist approach, celebrating the feel of funk and soul music from the 1960s and 1970s. One review stated that Bradley “echoes the evocative delivery of Otis Redding”.
He is the subject of a documentary, ”Soul of America”, that premiered at SXSW in 2012.
Main Stage 6:45pm-8:00pm
By all accounts, 2012 was a banner year for up-and-coming blues-hop/soul singer ZZ Ward. She has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, had her music featured on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, MTV’s Awkward and in promos for ABC’s hit series Nashville, and completed a 50-date headlining American tour with sold-out dates in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Denver and Nashville.
Ward’s honey-smoked vocals and soulful lyrics ensnare you from the opening moments of the stomping title track and hold you in their hypnotic sway clear through the final notes of the cool, R&B-flavored “365 Days.”
2013 is promising to be even busier for Ward. She recently appeared on Conan, is co-headlining The Fire and Shine Tour with Delta Rae, and will be performing at SXSW, where she first introduced herself as an artist to watch out for last year. If you thought 2012 was a great year for Ward, 2013 is going to prove the best is yet to come.
Main Stage 5:30pm-6:20pm
Born in Brooklyn, New York. Raised in Switzerland. A long-time Canadian who lives in Toronto. That’s Shakura S’Aida, a truly international artist whose involvement in the Canadian music scene has been ongoing for the almost 25 years. Along the way, she has enriched the jazz, blues and classic R&B communities with her soulful voice, enthusiastic personality and commitment to her deep soul music.
Main Stage 4:00pm-4:45pm
There are voices that demand we listen to them. Not to their words necessarily, but to their tone, to the emotional undercurrent that carries with it the soul of the speaker. Ndidi Onukwulu is one of those voices and she sings to bring us back to sounds of our insides. Lyrics reminiscent of the rattling thoughts found in the back of our minds layer in and around organically ground sounds.
She sings of her life experience so convincingly the audience is set to wonder if they too grew up wandering the dense forests of B.C’s most lonely mountain towns. This may be the reason behind her winning the Maple Blues New Artist of the Year award in January of 2007, representing as she does a distinctly Canadian experience; standing astride lines blurred between contrasting cultures and heritages.
As varied as her influences may be they culminate in an expression of the blues that is undoubtedly Ndidi. On her debut No, I Never, Ndidi Onukwulu proved she can wrap her silky voice around anything from country blues to her own rootsy salon sound.
Main Stage 2:30pm-3:15pm
David Gogo is one of Canada’s hardest working blues-rock guitarists, and he has a string of remarkable accomplishments to show for it. Gogo has garnered three Juno Nominations, the Saturday Night Blues’ Great Canadian Blues Award for a lifetime contribution to the blues in Canada, WCMA Musician of the Year, and has twice been named Maple Blues Guitarist of the Year. Over the years, he has been chosen to open tours for George Thorogood , Little Feat and ZZ Top and has joined BB King, Bo Diddley, Albert Collins, and numerous others on stage – most recently touring with Johnny Winter on Canada’s west coast. His eleventh release, Soul Bender, is adding even more acclaim to an already impressive list.
Soul Bender features outstanding new tracks; some Gogo originals and a few covers that run the gamut of sources and styles (Procol Harum, Elmore James, The Doors, Michael Jackson) but infused with a Gogo twist. The album was recorded by Rick Salt at Lois Lane Studios, where five of Gogo’s previous albums have been recorded. Every effort was made to capture the feel of Gogo’s incredible live shows, and the result showcases Gogo’s best guitar and vocal performances ever! Soul Bender is a sizzling, hardrocking blues album that is filled with heavy grooves, grit and emotion.
Gogo continues to tour relentlessly, bringing his cutthroat wit and virtuosic blues guitar playing to festivals and headline performances across Canada and the US. He toured across Canada with Johnny Winter this fall, as well as touring Holland in October to support the European release of Soul Bender.
Main Stage 1:05pm-1:45pm
Jon and Roy
The duo arrived in 2005 almost fully formed, with a foundation built upon Jon Middleton’s unique approach to the acoustic guitar and Roy Vizer’s original rhythmic patterns. Their debut, Sittin’ Back, proved to be the beginning of a steady ascent that took flight with 2008’s Another Noon.
The album’s catchy title track was featured in a Volkswagen TV commercial that ran for nine months across the USA, giving the group considerable profile in that country. The success of the album (which also spawned the YouTube hit, Little Bit of Love) led to new fans and substantial critical acclaim for the pair, who toured everywhere in support of the release. Jon and Roy spent eight months crafting a follow-up, 2011’s Homes, a recording that earned them further airtime and exposure on the CBC, NBC, HBO and MTV, as well as a placement in a six month Scotiabank Canadian ad campaign, all in addition to a headlining performance on Canada Day before a crowd of 45,000 in Victoria.
The duo has earned a reputation that has warranted appearances at some of the most established and popular folk festivals in Canada, including Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa’s Bluesfest. Jon and Roy are unique in that regard. Despite their considerable success as an independent act (a tour of the U.K. with Buck 65, tours of Canada with The Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd) the music-making process – above all else – is what continues to drive them.
Westwood Stage 4:45pm-5:30pm
When Marcus Mosely, Will Sanders and Ron Small went into the studio to do background vocals for blues legend Jim Byrnes’ latest Juno Award winning album, House of Refuge, the gospel trio took on an identity of its own. Dubbed by Byrnes as The Sojourners, they have developed a significant following as a result of ongoing critical acclaim from the CD and ensuing public performances.
In March 2007, producer Steve Dawson took The Sojourners into the studio. Their debut CD Hold On, was released on the Black Hen Music label in Canada, the UK and Europe in September 2007. The album has been nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award in the Outstanding Roots Recording category. The lead track Eyes on the Prize has been selected for inclusion in an upcoming Time-Life compilation celebrating the music of the American civil rights era.
The Sojourners have been nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in the Vocal Group of the Year category. They have also received a nomination for a Maple Blues Award in the New Artist/Group category.
Highlights of the group’s first two years include a definitive show with the Dixie Hummingbirds, opening spots with Jim Byrnes at the Vancouver Jazz Festival for both Dr. John and the Blind Boys of Alabama and featured stages at the Vancouver Folk Festival, the Edmonton Folk Festival, the Canmore Folk Music Festival and the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival.
Westwood Stage 3:15pm-4:00pm
John Lee Sanders
Multi-instrumentalist, and Emmy nominated composer, John Lee Sanders soaked up the deep roots of the blues through his early years in the Mississippi Delta, Alabama, the Bayous of Louisiana, and The plains of Texas. John Lee seems to have a universal gift to reach audiences from any segment of the diverse musical spectrum. With blues at the core, he kept simmering the gumbo, with the flavors of Cajun, Rock, Gospel, Pop, Jazz, R&B, Soul, Country and a deep love of the traditions, and culture of New Orleans. Coming from a musical family of great story telling, John Lee interwove many of those wonderful stories of the deep south into his deep lyrical content. His songs have WC Handy Blues Award Nominations, 3 BC Interior Music Awards, and a 2004 #9 Blues charted hit.
His childhood encounters with the likes of Elvis Presley and Dr. Martin Luther King are part of the landscape that influenced this gifted performer and composer. Currently based out of British Columbia Canada, Sanders’ touring schedule takes him to many of the major Jazz and Blues festivals of Europe, and the top Blues and Jazz festival circuit of Western Canada, and is now becoming a name act on the Canadian music scene. His technical virtuosity on Piano, Vocals, Saxophone, with an “A” list touring band, that frequently includes a horn section, he has been one of the highlights of many performing art center concert series throughout Canada.
Garden Stage 4:45pm-5:30pm
Vince Vaccaro lives on Vancouver Island on the West Coast of BC. Whether performing acoustically or backed by a band, his songs are honest and true.
Garden Stage 3:15pm-4:00pm
Brickhouse is an original band with a vision. A vision that one day ‘live’music will rule the day…again!! For 17 years, fans have hummed, sung and even lived the songs that bring them back time and time again. Singer Rob Bracken invites you into the ‘kitchen’, where sights, smells and sounds are tossed on a groove and served on a platter. Never without a house gig, always a good time.
Dubbed as “Vancouver’s busiest band” (Storman Norman, Rock 101 Sunday Blues) Brickhouse has won the respect among musicians as a band that makes a difference, where the ‘song’ is the focus, accompanied by individual inspiration. On any given night, old and new friends share the stage to play their part in the classic “Brickhouse” experience.
With a list of original material that rivals the number of keys on a full size piano, Brickhouse delivers a message that attracts the young at heart. With over 200 shows a year, it’s no wonder fans choose the set list before the band does.
Now a six piece ensemble, the sounds are forever evolving into a groove that’ll knock your socks off!!
Westwood Stage 1:45pm-2:30pm
Best known as the virtuosic singer/guitarist/songwriter/producer for Wide Mouth Mason, Shaun Verreault is also an in demand co-writer, clinician, producer and public speaker.
With four major label releases (Warner, Universal and Atlantic), Wide Mouth Mason has sold over 250,000 albums worldwide, garnering two Canadian gold records. As a co-writer in the band and principal lyricist, Shaun has secured national radio charting, including top 10, top 5 and top 3 positions. Shaun has released two solo acoustic albums: The Daggerlip Sketches, and Two Steel Strings, which was recorded live on a vintage train crossing Canada. He’s an in demand co-writer, collaborating with established artists like Gordie Johnson, (Big Sugar/Grady), Craig Northey (Odds), and David Gogo as well as lending his experience to promising new artists like Shawn Hlookoff, Stacey McKitrick and the band Soulside In.
Shaun’s live touring experience has been amazing. Wide Mouth Mason has toured with many internationally renowned bands, including AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top and Nickleback, He has played at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where he was hailed as ‘the discovery of the festival’, and invited to sit in with a very impressed Van Morrison. Shaun has also played for the Canadian troops in Afghanistan and WMM was the first North American rock band.
Garden Stage 1:45pm-2:30p