Bluesfest program & guide presented by The Byron Shire Echo April 7, 2009
Bluesfest Magic The list of Bluesfest 2009 headliners includes:
Back in 1990 the East Coast Blues Festival made its first humble appearance. It started as a modest event in a funky venue run by Kevin and Karen Oxford at the Piggery, or what is now known as The Buddha Bar. I remember seeing Clarence Fountain and the Blind Boys of Alabama there. I was about 23 at the time and I was there with my mother. It was a breathtaking concert, uplifting, and enlivening. Here were 5 blind gospel singers in brown suits in a tiny coastal town in Northern NSW singing the most sublime music I’d ever heard. This is what Bluesfest is famed for. Over the past two decades, this event has brought the best blues and roots music around the world to Byron Bay. At the time of its conception, there was no real Aussie Festival circuit, events like Big Day Out and Womadelaide simply didn’t exist. Bluesfest is one of those seminal inspirational events that every year delivers the goods with the capacity to amaze, astound and entertain thousands of punters from all over the world. This year is no exception. With a bill that includes Eric Bibb, Ben Harper and Michael Franti, anyone who attends Bluesfest will have an entertainment experience. It’s not just about catching the 2 hour sets of international headline acts, it’s about catching performers you may never have heard of and making your own musical discoveries. That’s the magic of Bluesfest.
Ben Harper and Relentless7, John Butler Trio, Missy Higgins, Jason Mraz, Lucinda Williams, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson, Xavier Rudd, Zappa Plays Zappa, Angelique Kidjo, Paul Kelly, Blind Boys Of Alabama, Drive-By Truckers, Booker T and the DBTs, Augie March, Seasick Steve, Tinariwen, James Hunter, Ruthie Foster, Eric Bibb, Tim Finn, Toni Childs, Tony Joe White, Ayo, Blues Traveller and Fishbone. The following pages contain some text on just some of the treats in store!
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson
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Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson’s album Rattlin Bones took out the 2008 ARIA Award for Best Country Album last year and more recently secured platinum status in Australia. Kasey and Shane won a record five Golden Guitars at Tamworth’s recent CMAA’s 2009 Country Music Awards, taking home Album of the Year (co-produced by Shane Nicholson & Nash Chambers), APRA Song of the Year, Video Clip of the Year (directed by Helen Clemens), Single of the Year and Top Selling Album of the Year. Rattlin Bones debuted at number one on the ARIA charts and immediately became a favourite with music critics. The Australian described it as: ‘simply the best album of her and Nicholson’s careers and a roots album of global significance...Sublime’. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph said ‘this musical coupling is bottled lightning. The first inescapable revelation of their debut collaborative effort is how entrancing their voices are together.’ This husband and wife team were surely made for each other in more ways than one. In September, Kasey and Shane blitzed their way across the USA and hit number one on the Americana radio airplay chart. Rattlin’ Bones was showered with rave reviews. It’s a musical partnership that once more emphasises Chambers’ title as Australia’s greatest alt country performer, and which introduces Nicholson as the perfect foil for her as a songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist. This is premiumgrade alt country, an album that can sit proudly on the shelf beside classics from the likes of Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch.
So who comes to Bluesfest? Apparently, the whole world. The event has just sold their first ticket to someone who will be travelling from Antarctica. Now that’s some busride. Festival Director Peter Noble said, ‘We’re really looking forward to a great anniversary edition of Bluesfest this year, as are our many Australian festival goers. Interestingly – there will once again also be a disproportionate attendance of Northern Territorians – based on gross population – who seem to come in ever larger numbers yearly, with over 150 coming so far. South Australians have bought over 600 tickets to date, Tasmanians over 250, and West Australians over 200 so far.’
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