The six-month countdown to Roots and Blues 2018 has begun and with that comes the announcement of four more exceptional and diverse acts that will be playing the festival between Aug. 16 and 19 at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds.
The combined roots of these acts have a sonic reach that embraces the sounds of the British Isles, the heart of Texas, soul music basted in gospel vocals, and hardcore, award-winning blues.
At the top of the list is Colin James and his electrifying band, who are still riding high on the 2017 Juno-winning Blue Highways album. Fresh off a spectacular evening in Toronto last month at the Maple Blues Awards, where he won three top honors – Electric Act of the Year, Guitarist of the Year and Producer of the Year – James remains Canada’s ambassador of the blues and one of the top draws on the Canadian concert scene from coast to coast.
It has been 13 years since James graced the Roots & Blues main stage and he’ll also be participating with members of his all-star band in a major blues workshop on the Sunday afternoon of the festival.
Roots & Blues audiences are always looking for that “new find” and Britain’s folk duo Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage will be making their first festival trek to Canada this summer thanks to an anchor date at our festival.
In concert, the young duo are found huddled round a single microphone, singing intimate duets with the instrumental coloring of mountain dulcimer, dobro and guitar. They are a folk duo that look and sound classically timeless, yet feel refreshingly unique.
A five-star review of the duo’s debut disc, in Britain’s Spiral Earth magazine, stated, “This is folk music for everyone – a master-class in proficiency, an exercise in individuality and a declaration of love of the folk tradition from both sides of the Atlantic.”
Staying in the world of exceptional original songs coupled with tasty renditions of timeless classics comes one of the great Texas tunesmiths, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, who, a few decades ago established himself as one of “the” heavyweights of the Texas songwriting scene alongside peers like Lyle Lovett, Nancy Griffith and of course, the late Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark.
One needs to look no further than Gilmore albums like Spinning Around the Sun, After A While or One Endless Night to be reminded of the deep well of thoughtful and poetic original songs in his arsenal and his skillful interpretations of material from friends like Butch Hancock or a Hank Williams classic.
Appearing with Gilmore will be Telecaster ace Bill Kirchen, of Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen fame, who made his debut at our festival in 2014. Kirchen is also a songwriter of considerable merit. Kirchen and Gilmore have been on the receiving end of rave reviews south of the border and this appearance will be part of their first visit to Canada as a duo.
Another act that will be one of those “festival surprises” is Rev. Sekou whose musical path has run parallel to that of his work as an activist, author, documentary filmmaker, public intellectual, organizer, pastor and theologian.
A year ago, Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost released the critically acclaimed album, “The Revolution Has Come.” Afropunk celebrates the album’s, “deep bone-marrow-level conviction.” The single, We Comin’, was named the new anthem for the modern Civil Rights movement by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In a couple of months, Rev. Sekou will release In Times Like These, which features the six-time Grammy nominated North Mississippi Allstars. Rev. Sekou’s newest collaboration is a unique combination of North Mississippi Hill country music, Arkansas delta blues, Memphis Ssul and Pentecostal steel guitar.
Look for rapid-fire announcements of more acts for our main stage and side stages every few weeks as Roots & Blues early-bird passes are available until March 31.
For information on the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, please call 250-833-4096 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. or go online for ticket purchases at rootsandblues.ca