Day four at Bluesfest was a triumphant one. Not because I saw a legendary, favourite performer. It was the sheer canvas of high-class acts that I was able to capture, most of whom for the first time.
A quick look at Luka Bloom who received a great reception. Then to Chris Smither who’s a product of growing up in New Orleans, the Boston and Cambridge folk-blues scene of the 60’s, a seminal musician the industry and its players hold dear. Eleven albums to his credit and his song “Love Me Like A Man” has been covered by Bonnie Raitt and Diana Krall. His performance in the small Cavanbah tent demonstrated his well-crafted tunes and his dry, somewhat dark humour.
Royal Southern Brotherhood has talent to burn. Cyril Neville poet, philosopher, percussion master and soul singer. A member of The Meters and the Neville Brothers, he has done it all. Devon Allman, son of Allman Brothers band lynchpin Gregg adds a traditional southern rock emphasis to the Neville funk style. Mike Zito is another great guitarist who adds enormous gravitas to this powerful outfit. Playing mostly material from their debut album, their set was excellent.
By now the rain was pretty strong, so time for a strategic move to the Rhythms magazine Q&A where Chris Smither provided an insight into his song-writing style as well as a bonus song for the small audience.
The Lumineers performance matched my expectations. A new band with just one CD release, their star is definitely on the rise – (see previous posts on this site). The crowd was engaged and provided a really positive response. All their album was on display as well as a cover of Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. Watch out for this outfit.
J.D. McPherson has been on my hi-fi for quite a while – again see previous post – and he was brilliant. The tracks from his album Signs and Signifiers were played with enormous enthusiasm and it was a pleasure to see bass player, record producer and label owner Jimmy Sutton. The band was fabulous. A cover of Neil Young’s “Farmer John” was very inventive.
All photos – Chris Smither, The Royal Southern Brotherhood, Luka Bloom and The Lumineers – by Jim Jacob.
We are all getting a little weary. One day to go.