North Atlantic Blues Festival almost here
The North Atlantic Blues Festival starts Saturday, July 15, at the Public Landing in Rockland. According to the festival’s website at http://www.northatlanticbluesfestival.com/ there will 11 performances throughout the two days, five performances each, with Maine’s very own LC Williams and the Driver between sets.
Saturday will kick off with Christone “Kingfish” Ingram from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Plucked out of the Delta Blues scene, Kingfish’s sound is vaguely reminiscent of Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy, but is entirely his own and equally electrifying.
Following Kingfish is Sari Schorr and her band The Engine Room for an hour of original music. Anthony Gomes takes the stage for over an hour of rock and blues to give it up for Biscuit Miller and the Mix, a funky four-piece blues band from Chicago. Gomes and Miller toured together for five years at one point in their careers, so the transition from set to set should be watched closely — you never know what kind of magic might happen.
The final performance of the evening is Shemekia Copeland, daughter of the legendary Johnny Copeland, who will take the stage for an hour and a half of some of the hottest blues vocalization.
Sunday opens with Kelley Hunt of the “Queen of the 88’s” fame. Then the accordion-wielding Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers take the stage for some heavy and fast -paced Cajun blues. Harmonicon follows with a trifecta of Chicago blues harmonica playing by Sugar Blue, Billy Branch and Jason Ricci before giving it up for Kenny Neal who brings the New Orleans sound to the festival. Sunday’s final act is Walter Trout, a brilliant guitarist in his own right, who played for renowned bands such as John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers and Canned Heat.
The lineup this year reminds us why it is, exactly, that we love this music. From Shemekia Copeland’s Harlem-inspired “Ghetto Child” to Walter Trout’s “Almost Gone” motivated by his brush with death, this year’s festival gives us all the variety that blues is — smooth and soft, rough and risqué, forlorn, and inspiring — lifting you up, breaking you down, and making you want to fall in love and wage war all in one motion.
Advance tickets will be available until Monday, July 10 for $30 for the day or $55 for a weekend pass. Tickets at the gate will be $40 for the day or $75 for the weekend. Children’s tickets (6 – 12) will be $5 and children under age 5 are admitted for free. Gates open at 9 a.m. Advance tickets can be bought at Houston Tuttle in Rockland, K2 Music in Camden, Mexicali Blues in Bangor, Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick, Buck Dancers in Portland, Down Home Music in Fairfield and Musicians 1st Choice in Augusta.