The weather may be chilly, but Roots and Blues artistic director Peter North is busy lining up a hot list of artists for next year’s festival.
As the calendar flips into 2018, it marks the 50th anniversary of Sly and the Family Stone, the ground-breaking interracial band from the San Francisco Bay area that created an amazing and timeless body of work between 1967 and 1974.
Fusing soul, funk, rock and psychedelic sounds, the Family Stone provided a soundtrack to the times with tunes like Stand, Everyday People, Dance To The Music, Thank You, Family Affair, I Want To Take You Higher, M’Lady and Hot Fun In The Summertime.
No wonder the Family Stone was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and through the years influenced greats like Prince and that their music was reworked by many hip hop and rap stars.
Founding members of the band, Jerry Martini and Greg Errico, along with Sly’s daughter Phunne, will take the audience higher on the main stage on Saturday, Aug. 18.
From across the Pond, Martin Simpson brings more to the world of British traditional and contemporary folk musician than is almost imaginable, says North.
“He is one of the best acoustic guitar players on the planet,” says North. “He will bring those gifts to the 2018 edition of Roots and Blues, making both main stage and workshop appearances, and digging into music that has spanned what is now a 45 year career.”
Talk about an eclectic bouquet of music!
Playing a mix of Mexican son jarocho mixed in with Irish jigs and reels, country and bluegrass, soul, pop and funk, along with a healthy dose of ska, soca and African high life seasoned with a dash of reggae, it’s The Paperboys.
The Vancouver band will be front and centre at Roots and Blues 2018, says an enthusiastic North.
“This is one of the best folk bands this country has ever seen,” he says of the group led by Tom Landa that has been making music for 25 years and very early on established itself as one of the most exciting and innovative units on the international roots music scene. “They have played all over the world, so reliable, so tasty.”
The Paperboys’ current lineup features Landa on vocals, guitar and jarana (Mexican guitar), original member Geoffrey Kelly, who is also a founding member of Spirit of the West, on flute/whistles, Kalissa Landa on fiddle/vocals, Brad Gillard on bass/banjo, drummer Sam Esecson and trombonist Nick La Riviere.
Roots and Blues is a festival created with the whole family and many musical tastes in mind. It begins with a ‘crawl’ that quickly notches up to a full-on festival.
While the festival has presented many fine blues artists over the past 25 years, few have come to the event with the pedigree and resume that defines guitarist, singer and songwriter Rick Vito, says North.
Vito was a member of Fleetwood Mac from 1987 through 1991, touring the world with the group and contributing four original tunes to the Behind The Mask album.
He has been a featured player on Bob Seger’s albums since 1986. He also played with John Mayall, Jackson Browne, Little Richard, Roger McGuinn, Bobby Whitlock, Dobie Gray, John Fogerty, Delaney & Bonnie, Albert Collins, Dolly Parton, Maria Muldaur, and others.
Vito was Grammy nominated in 2010 and is the recipient of the W.C. Handy Blues Award. His latest CD, Mojo On My Side, was released in Europe in 2014, and worldwide in 2015.
Moving right along, “mysticssippi bluesman” Harry Manx will switch it up and tailor his exotic sounds to a union with the Yaletown String Quartet.
“Manx has delivered an array of projects built on the foundation of his immediately identifiable Indo-blues sound and much of it created with his 20 stringed Mohan Veena,” says North, noting Manx and his quartet will showcase material from his new album Faithlift. “Manx’s journey is unlike that of any of his peers and he continues to open doors that are as unique as they are exciting and challenging for the listener.”
Looking south to the heart of Mexico, Son de Madera will bring a traditional sound that has not been commonplace at Roots and Blues.
Founded in 1992, this is a son jarocho band based in Veracruz, Mexico. , its core members are Hernández, Tereso Vega, and Rubí Oseguera Rueda.
Ramón Gutiérrezt plays the guitarra de son, and sings. José Tereso Vega Hernández, son of elder master-musician Andrés Vega, plays the jarana, sings, and plays harmonica. Mexico City’s Rubí Oseguera, is widely admired among jaranero revivalists as a model of traditional jarocho dance style; her footwork adds a percussive cadence to some of the band’s performances. Los Angeles-based Mexican American Juan Pérez plays electric bass, adding a contemporary touch to the group’s sound.
Tickets for the Aug. 17 to 19 festival go on sale Dec. 1. Buy a membership for an annual fee of $15 and you can purchase up to four tickets at reduced prices until March 31. And active members can vote at the AGM which will be held Wednesday, Jan. 17 at the Comfort Inn.
Get your tickets for the red-hot summer, musical extravaganza at www.rootsandblues.ca, call 250-833-4096 or drop into the office weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.