Bumper blues fest line-up promises to be ‘best yet’
The 10th Shetland Blues Festival takes place next month September with eight visiting acts and concerts in Unst, Brae and Mareel.
The visitors are Giles Robson and the Dirty Aces, the Paul Garner Band, Dave Arcari, Andres Roots, Richard Townend, the Gramaphone Jass Band, Lincoln Durham, and Orcadian guitarist Andy Taylor with drummer Dylan Pepper and a guest bass player.
Lisa Ward of Shetland Arts said: “Since 2003 the blues festival has grown to become a must-play festival for some of the best bands in the UK.”
The festival represents a mix of all styles of blues, with rock, jazz, Americana, soul and funk all thrown into the mix for good measure.
Giles Robson and the Dirty Aces from Jersey are about to release their new album From The Basement, on the back of the critical acclaim of previous album Crooked Heart Of Mine.
Ms Ward said: “Regularly playing all over Europe and the UK, Giles is being touted as one of the best blues harmonica players in the world and with the experience of the Dirty Aces behind him this tight band will be playing there own brand of blues which veers across a range of influences.
“Echoes of Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Sonny Boy Williamson, Django Reinhardt, Elvis Presley and Howlin Wolf can be heard.”
The Paul Garner Band is a three piece of guitar, keyboards and drums. The blues festival committee is delighted to finally have booked Garner under his own name, as he has been here in the past with the Cadillac Kings and Joshua Blue.
Their recent album 3 Get Ready captures the original, progressive blues music that the trio play. Originally from New Zealand, Garner has become a “go-to” guitar player in London and is in demand for his mastery of authentic Chicago and West Coast blues styles but also bringing a modern sound to the music.
Dave Arcari is slide guitarist and songwriter whose “alt blues” sound owes as much to trash country, punk and rockabilly as it does to pre-war Delta blues. He is currently on his first tour of the USA and was last at the Shetland Blues Festival in 2007.
His latest album, Whisky in my Blood, was released on Finnish record label Blue North in March 2013 and sees him backed by Finnish musicians Juuso Haapasalo (bass) and Honey Aaltonen (snare drum), collectively known as the Hellsinki Hellraisers.
As well as showcasing Arcari’s trademark national steel guitars, the new album features performances on banjo, regular guitar and cigar box which help capture the full breadth of Arcari’s song-writing and performance.
Slide guitarist Andres Roots has played with Honeyboy Edwards, recorded with Arcari and even enjoyed a video on Estonian national television.
Playing and touring in England and in continental Europe since the late 1960s, British harpist Steve Lury first met Roots in London in 2006. Since then the two have appeared at a variety of blues, folk and harmonica festivals and clubs in Finland, Poland, Estonia and the UK – and almost always with Peeter Piik on bass.
Richard Townend will be coming to the festival after building up a solid reputation as one of the finest songwriters around the blues scene.
Ms Ward said: “With a laid-back style, often compared to JJ Cale, Richard is no slouch on the guitar and will be working his magic in Unst as well as Lerwick. Nominated in the British Blues Awards for the past two years in the best blues song category, Richard should not be missed.”
The Gramophone Jass Band from Edinburgh will be coming to spread the word of old-time swinging jazz to as many people as possible. The band will arrive on the back of playing at their Late Night Speakeasy during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Breaking a long-time festival rule of waiting three years to bring an act back to the festival, Lincoln Durham from Austin Texas is returning.
“After blowing the roof off Mareel last year and Lincoln going as far to have a tattoo done to remember Shetland, we could not resist the opportunity to have Lincoln back at the festival,” said Ms Ward.
“Lincoln went as far to rearrange his UK tour to comeback to the festival, so we could hardly say ‘no’. With the release of new album, Exodus of the Deemed Unrighteous, looking likely for an October release, a selection of new songs from the force of nature that is Lincoln Durham will be worth breaking the rules for.”
The Andy Taylor Band from Orkney has also previously visited the festival in the form of Bad Taste and did a week of school workshops around Shetland before the festival started.
Ms Ward added: “A truly international line up of acts as well as support from local bands, the 10th festival promises to be the best yet.”
Festival chairman Jimmy Carlyle added: “Tickets for the festival will go on sale in the coming weeks.”