Chenango Blues Fest Comes To Norwich For 22nd Straight Year

By: Ashley Babbitt

Chenango Blues Fest comes to Norwich for 22nd straight year

NORWICH – Thousands are expected to flock to the Chenango County Fairgrounds in Norwich this weekend for the 22nd Annual NBT Bank Chenango Blues Festival, an event many consider a summer-time staple in the area.

Headlining the festival this year is Robert Randolph and The Family band, a group which both committee members and attendees said they are looking forward to see.

“I am very excited to see everything come together this weekend,” said Norene Palmer, a Blues Fest Committee Member as of this year, and long-time festival attendee. “It has been exciting to see behind the scenes and appreciate all of the generous donations from the community. I am especially excited to see Robert Randolph and the Family Band in my hometown.”

Randolph plays the pedal steel guitar and has been with The Family Band for years.

“My thing is really upbeat, uptempo, with great guitar riffs,” reads Randolph’s website, “but also catchy choruses and lyrics that someday will make this music into classic tunes.”

Randolph was named on the list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine. The group has released six albums, the most recent titled “Lickety Split” in 2013.

Randolph has made guest appearances with artists including but not limited to Soulive, Dave Matthews Band, Rob Thomas, Buddy Guy, Ringo Starr, Santana, Elton John and Leon Russell, and Los Lobos.

The headliners are set to take the Sheffield Bio Science Infield Stage at 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16.

Prior to the headlining group are various other musicians known regionally and nationally in the blues arena.

The Golden State Lone Star Revue takes the stage at 6:30 p.m. The band features harpist Mark Hummel trading licks with guitarists Little Charlie Baty and Anson Funderburgh. Funderburgh was in Norwich last year to play with Eric Lindell and The Sunliners for one of the free Thursday shows in the park.

The Sheffield Bio stage will also be graced with the presence of Samantha Fish at 4 p.m. Hailing from Kansas City, Fish is a guitarist, songwriter, and per her website, has proven herself and her rebellious streak on her latest release, “Black Wind Howlin.’” Fish has said her influences include Tab Benoit, Mike Zito, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Son House and Skip James.

“With those influences as her template, Samantha incorporated the sounds of the classic rock of The Rolling Stones and Tom Petty, alongside contemporary artists like Sheryl Crow and The Black Crowes, in putting together a sound that would become her own,” reads Fish’s website.

The Nick Moss Band hits the stage at 1:45, and the band’s latest release “Time Ain’t Free,” has received rave reviews. According to billboard.com, “Moss’ class shines through on ‘I Want The World to Know,’ which builds into a showcase of his fluency on the six-string.”

Kicking off the Sheffield Bio stage at noon is Mia Borders, a New Orleans native singer and songwriter, and The New York Times characterized Borders and her music as “deeply funky.”

Between bands on the infield stage, the entertainment will continue on the Nelson and Flanagan/Grouse Ridge Tent Stage.

Diehard Blues Fest enthusiasts will no doubt take notice of the infusion of younger performers at this year’s venue. “There are a variety of reasons for that,” said Eric Larsen of the Chenango Blues Association. “We start out with a long list of about 100 artists early in the planning stages of the event, and with younger board members influencing that list – along with some other factors – we ended up with great list of younger talent this year.”

New York State Blues Hall of Fames’ Robert Ross kicks things off at 1 p.m., and he’ll be followed by Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton – a guy who was said to have never met an instrument he didn’t like. Luke Winslow King takes the stage at 5:15 p.m., who plays an eclectic mixture of ragtime, delta folk and rock and roll.

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