Sydney Drum & Percussion Show artist Lozz Benson has just released a new track with her rockabilly and blues trio That Red Head. It’s a punk-infused anthem titled ‘Gotta Be A Man’. Powered by Lozz Benson’s propulsive drums and fierce vocals, the relentless single is a musical manifestation of Benson’s…
Dapper rockabilly drum legend Slim Jim Phantom, who made his name playing train-like shuffles and contagious punk beats with The Stray Cats is touring Australia with his trio in May and has added a Sydney Drum & Percussion Show meet & greet session to the end of his tour. Since…
An unexpected but welcome interview subject at Bluesfest 2017 was The Rolling Stones’ bass player Darryl Jones, who was at the festival as part of the Miles Electric Band. AM’s Greg Phillips spoke with Darryl backstage prior to the Miles Electric Band’s final Bluesfest appearance, where we discussed his love…
Alex West,B Mus, has a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Southern Cross University. With more than 25 years experience as an educator and 1nstrumental teacher, he has been a pioneer in music for education, health, well being and aged care. His educational work was honoured by the National Australia…
Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips was offered a last minute interview with Chicago-based singer, songwriter, guitarist and activist Melody Angel backstage at Bluesfest 2017. Racing against rapidly diminishing sunlight, we had a mighty fine chat about her roots politics and her Bluesfest weekend. Melody debuted her new album is In…
Report: Greg Phillips Photos: Jason Rosewarne
After four glorious days of musical excellence, punters may not have had much left in the tank but Bluesfest day 5 delivered again anyway. It was such a pleasure to enter the venue yesterday to be met with the sweet, soulful tones of UK singer-songwriter Laura Mvula. What a delightful performer with an incredible voice. Like most of the artists this weekend, Laura seemed genuinely sad to be leaving the festival. Meanwhile over on the north side of the venue The Wilson Pickers and audience were getting their jig on. Local singer songwriter Glenn Cardier was a sentimental favourite with many who recall his quality songcraft from the 70s. Glenn’s 2014 Bluesfest appearance was the inspiration for further recording and shows and it was great to see him back this year. It was also fantastic to see a procession of Australia’s finest blues guitarists on the Delta stage one after the other. Ray Beadle & the Silver Dollars motored through their set, followed by Lloyd Spiegel with his nimble fingerstylin’ and amiable stage patter. In his first Bluesfest appearance, I’m sure organisers saw enough to know he needs to be a regular from now on. Jeff Lang took to the Delta next and not surprisingly blew everyone away with his lightning guitar licks. On such a lazy Monday afternoon, Tony Joe White’s swamp rock worked a treat. Dynamic local hip hop artist Remi brought something a little different to Bluesfest this year and the crowd lapped up his vibrant beats and rhythms. The Miles Electric Band added a regal element to the day, paying tribute to ‘The Chief’, Miles Davis with a band featuring many musicians who played with Miles back in the day. Rolling Stones bass player Darryl Jones played some sublime bass notes to Funkadelic’s Blackbird McKnight’s intricate fretwork, while Davis’ nephew, Vince Wilburn Jr was stunning on drums. Stay tuned for an Australian Musician interview with Darryl Jones soon.
Fresh from our video interview with Melody Angel, the Chicago singer, songwriter and activist rocked the socks off the Juke Joint stage. Angel told us she was having the time of her life and it showed in her on-stage energy. For many, St Paul and The Broken Bones were ‘Best in Show’ band for 2017. Following up on their 2016 Bluesfest shows, the expanded band delivered some wild and passionate performances. Also to be found in the wild and passionate category is Beth Hart, whose incredible lung capacity seems unlimited. The Record Company’s final Bluesfest performance occurred this time on the more intimate Delta stage. Recognising that the remaining day 5 crowd were the hardcore, true believers, lead singer Chris Vos promised to lay it all down for them, which they did.
Crossroads tent headliner for the final night was the much adored Neil Finn. On a balmy Bluesfest night, with so much global tension happening elsewhere, it was comforting to be part of Finn’s glorious Private Universe. Featuring a set list from all points of his career, Neil is not only a master songwriter but is also an incredibly engaging performer.
Well Bluesfest, you served us well. You delivered bonafide music icons, legends in the making and proved that it’s the music that matters, not the hype nor the accumulation of social media likes. It’s the real-time experience of seeing something thrilling happening before your eyes on stage, being engaged and in the moment … and my god … there were moments! See you same time next year.
Report: Greg Phillips Photos: Jason Rosewarne
On the penultimate day of Bluesfest 2017, things got off to a roaring start with local blues guitar musician and friend to Australian Musician magazine, Lloyd Spiegel. It’s hard to believe that it was Lloyd’s first Bluesfest appearance but judging by the crowd reaction it won’t be his last. Check out his Double Live album too! Blues and soul music is in good hands if young American Max Jury has anything to do with it. The authentic soul passion and conviction injected into his music defies his age.
Appearing for the third time, we just had to revisit The Suffers, our new favourite band. Frontwoman Kam Franklin has a commanding stage presence and her fellow band members are so obviously having fun up there every night. The Record Company graduated to the Crossroads stage and delivered another gritty set. Bluesfest faves Jethro Tull were up next and while Ian Anderson’s voice doesn’t soar as it used to, his flute playing and energy levels were top shelf. Buddy Guy was back too and it doesn’t get any bluesier than when this man is dishing’ it out. It was guitar legend overload on day 4 with the great Carlos Santana and band playing to the festival’s biggest crowd. Soul Sacrifice set the tone for a massive set of latin gold.
Zac Brown was back to the festival again this year after impressing many in 2015 with the band’s hardcore alt country rock. A blistering version of Metallica’s Enter Sandman had the Crossroads tent pumping. On a more mellow note Michael Kiwanuka was playing his hypnotic brand of blues under the Mojo bigtop. A particularly moving version of Prince, ’Sometimes It Snows In April’ left the crowd gasping. Madness equals fun, it’s as simple as that. Beginning their set with two of their biggest hits, One Step Beyond and Embarrassment, the crowd had no choice but to dance. Over on the Jambalaya stage Hammond organ legend Booker T presented his Stax Review to a packed tent. It doesn’t get any better. One day to go!
South African born, Grammy award winning world music flute player Wouter Kellerman chats to Australian Musician editor about his Bluesfest appearance, his beginnings and future.
Bluesfest is thrilled to announce that Patti Smith has kindly donated $10,000 AUD to local charity Rise Above The Flood a local organisation working on a ground roots level to help those impacted by the recent flooding. Volunteers from the charity were invited by Bluesfest to collect money at the festival and patrons have also been giving generously as they enter the festival. All the proceeds from ‘Rise above the Flood’ will be donated to these local community groups:
– Murwillumbah Council – Mayor Appeal Fund for Flooding
– Helping Hands Lismore – A community run organisation with flood assistance packages
– Northern Rivers Community Gateway – Direct Flood Assistance.
– Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre – Direct Flood Assistance.
Rise Above The Flood are all volunteers who are working with community groups to make sure that monies raised will go directly to the community and not to administration of a national body.
Bluesfest Director Peter Noble OAM comments on the generous donation:
As you are entering the gates you will see volunteers collecting for those impacted by the recent flooding in our region. Being here at the festival it’s easy to think everything is fine. The truth is, it isn’t. There has been perhaps one billion dollars in damages to homes and property with many people unable to pay expensive insurance premiums. Saddest of all is that people have lost their lives. It’s not hard to give a little, it will mean a lot.
Patti Smith has graciously donated $10,000 to Rise Above The Flood. Her performances at Bluesfest are among the greatest ever and we can now see what a wonderful human being she is as well. People including our staff have lost their possession, property and friends so we find her generosity extremely touching.
With a career spanning five decades and with album sales over 4o million, The Doobie Brothers are one of the most loved bands on the planet. Just prior to the band hitting the stage at Bluesfest Byron Bay on Saturday April 15th, Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips sat down with…