NORWICH – The final piece of the puzzle fell into place for the Chenango Blues Fest with the addition of two-time Grammy winner, Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience. Long time area favorites, they will be traveling up from Louisiana to kick off the festival on Friday, August 18th. It’s an amazing start to what promises to be a great anniversary party.
Following Terrance at Friday’s free admission show, sponsored by New York Central Mutual, will be John
Primer. John was just announced as an inductee to the Blues Hall of Fame and is one of the last Chicago blues men to have played with legendary artists like Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim. The show will close with Curtis Salgado, the Portland, Oregan based blues and soul man who is a past Blues Music Award winner as Artist of the Year. It’s a star-studded kick-off to the thirtieth year of blues at the Chenango County Fairgrounds, a benchmark few festivals have reached.
Saturday’s show will build on the excitement generated Friday night with a headlining set by Charlie Musselwhite on the Infield Stage, sponsored this year by Norwich Rehab; Kerry, Inc. and the Raymond Foundation. Charlie has played with and recorded with so many notable musicians it would fill the page and he has received numerous awards and been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Preceding him on the infield stage will be Tommy Castro and the Painkillers. Headliners themselves, Tommy’s west coast based outfit has twice received Blues Music Awards as Entertainer of the Year, most recently last year when he also won for Album of the Year. The Painkillers are a dynamic mix of 1960’s influenced guitar blues, Memphis soul and Latin tinged East San Jose funk.
In a hard to tell who is the headliner lead up to Blues Fest those two acts is Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds hailing from Brooklyn, NY. The group has built a loyal following on the strength of Arleigh Kincheloe’s dynamic vocals, a rock-solid rhythm section, horns and a keen sense of fun. This is a rare opportunity to see them perform live, an environment they excel in.
You really can’t arrive a minute late on Saturday because the infield stage leads off at 11:30 A.M. sharp with Gabe Stillman, fresh off rave reviews for his performances on the recent Blues Cruise. Attendees say he stole the show! After him is ace sax man Jimmy Carpenter. When he isn’t touring the world or sitting in with a who’s who of blues players he is the musical director of the Big Blues Bender –one of the premier events in the blues world.
The Nelson and Flanagan, Grouse Ridge and Southern Tier Pet Nutrition folks have teamed up again this year to sponsor the tent stage, annually home to some of the most memorable shows of the weekend.
This year will be no exception with Guy Davis kicking things off. Guy is a multi-instrumentalist, actor in film and on stage, writer, arranger and general all-around entertainer. He will be followed by Melody Angel, herself a multi-talented guitar player, actress and activist who brings a modern spin to classic blues and rock styles. Next up will be Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, a power trio of steel body guitar, washboard and drums that draws inspiration from hill country blues and runs it through rock and roll. Their high energy shows draw fans around the world and their videos have been viewed millions of times on the internet. The stage, and the festival, close with a performance by another long-time festival favorite, the Honey Island Swamp Band. Organizers could think of no better way to end the day than with a down home south Louisiana party with some good friends. The whole day will be a party from first note to last.
The Chenango Blues Fest is a family friendly event run by an all-volunteer staff. Their motto is “by fans,for fans” and they really mean it. If there is an opposite to the high dollar, corporate festivals
proliferating around the country, this is it.
Friday’s show is free, and Saturday’s is free for those seventeen and under. Adult tickets are available at 30th Annual Chenango Blues Festival Tickets Chenango County Blues Society (simpletix.com) or by mail.
Check the group’s website at www.chenangobluesfest.org for details.
- Information from the Chenango Blues Association