While many other genres of music are represented, the Blues artists who play are the heart and soul of the festival. Bluesfest is proud to bring them from around the world to perform for crowds that are considered to be some of the most appreciative and fun to play for in the world. Bluesfest is also proud to have a wealth of Australian Blues talent performing at the festival this year.
In 2017, the King of the Blues, Buddy Guy will take the stage to perform exclusively at Bluesfest. The iconic blues guitarist and singer, who is now 80 years old, has been a pivotal force in music history. Buddy Guy has influenced titans like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan, is a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound, and a living link to that city’s halcyon days of electric blues.
The inimitable Bonnie Raitt, another incredibly gifted artist joins Buddy on the line up. She is more than a best-selling artist, respected guitarist, expressive singer and accomplished songwriter… Bonnie Raitt has become an institution in American Music.
One of the greatest gospel, soul and blues singers of all time, Mavis Staples is returning in 2017 for four exclusive Bluesfest performances. Having managed to remain a leading voice in a career that has spanned over 60 years, Staples recently toured with Bob Dylan on his US Summer tour and in 2016, released her latest album Livin’ on a High Note.
After St. Paul & The Broken Bones tore the house down at their phenomenal Bluesfest debut in 2016, a campaign followed to bring them back in 2017. Led by the charismatic Paul Janeway, whose vocals have been compared to the likes of Otis Redding, St. Paul & The Broken Bones have been selling out theatres across the globe, performed on one of the main stages at Glastonbury Festival and released their album, Sea of Noise last September.
Vintage Trouble blew away Australian audiences with their blistering shows at the festival in 2016, leaving new fans in their wake, eager to see them again; so it’s with great pleasure Bluesfest can announce they will be back to rock the festival in 2017. Their brand new single Knock Me Out was released in February; it’s anthemic, funky and will be electrifying live.
Vocal powerhouse Beth Hart gained a reputation as one of the ‘buzz artists’ at Bluesfest in 2014 and 2015, and will be returning in 2017 for Bluesfest exclusive performances. The Grammy nominated singer-songwriter is riding a creative tidal wave, firing out acclaimed albums, hooking up with the biggest names in music and rocking the house each night with that celebrated burnt?honey voice.
She wowed festival goers with her emotional range and dazzling vocal prowess in 2016, so Bluesfest is thrilled to have Rhiannon Giddens back in 2017. The Grammy Award winning lead singer of African-American folk interpreters Carolina Chocolate Drops, has stepped out on her own, winning over audiences around the world.
It can be argued that it was Booker T. Jones who set the cast for modern soul and R&B music and is largely responsible for its rise and enduring popularity. With classic hits like Green Onions’, Hang ‘Em High, Time Is Tight and Melting Pot, this GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award recipient pushes the music’s boundaries, refining it to its essence. and then injected it into the nation’s bloodstream.
Inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s unparalleled creative and musical influence Experience Jimi Hendrix is a concert that brings together an all-star line-up of some of Australia’s guitar greats each performing their two favourite Jimi Hendrix songs and a couple of surprise duets.
Eric Gales stands head and shoulders among other guitarists in his genre and is out to blow your mind and expand your musical horizons. He is known for mesmerising fans around the world with his uncanny connection to his guitar. Founded in Los Angeles in 2011, The Record Company immediately took their hometown by storm. They are a band who prides themselves on writing and playing raw, sincere Rock ‘n’ Roll.
In 1954 Mud Morganfield, the eldest son of Blues great Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) was born. Possessing a baritone voice very much like his father’s, and blessed with similar vocal phrasing and a sense of how to command a stage, Morganfield cut his teeth on the southside of Chicago. He soon became a popular draw on the Blues club and festival circuit; mixing both original songs and Muddy Waters classics into his live sets.
The blond hair is the same, the body posture is also the same, and there are touches in the voice that have a similar genetic connection, but Devon Allman has toiled long and hard to establish his own musical identity, separate from his legendary dad, Gregg Allman. In 2017 Devon Allman returns to Bluesfest on the back of his critically acclaimed new album Ride or Die. He will once again bring his bring his first rate guitar skills and powerful vocals to the stage at the festival.
Tony Joe White known to fans as The Swamp Fox is one musician who can certainly call Bluesfest his 2nd home, after multiple performances over many years. The American singer-songwriter and guitarist never ceases to please the Bluesfest audience with his swamp rock melodies, combining New Orleans-style rhythm and blues, country and western, and traditional French Louisiana musical influences.
Just a couple years ago, Nikki Hill was a bartender with an affinity for punk and a deep love for classic R&B. At her husband (and now guitar-player) Matt Hill’s behest, she stepped out from behind the bar and onto the stage. The response has been ecstatic, and now the band tours the globe relentlessly, stunning audiences with their muscular sound, Matt’s volcanic leads, and, of course, Nikki’s inimitable charisma.
He won the hearts of many Bluesfest goers in 2016, so it’s with great pleasure they welcome Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton back in 2017. This young musician sings and plays banjo, guitar, piano, fiddle, harmonica, Cajun accordion, and the bones (percussion). He is also renowned for mesmerising audiences with his humour and storytelling. He’s a world class talent and a uniquely colorful character.
Bluesfest is proud to welcome Australian-based musician Jeff Lang to the festival in 2017. He has earned worldwide acclaim as a virtuosic guitarist, a dynamic songwriter and a startlingly unique live performer. With a back catalogue of 16 studio albums, Jeff has been featured at major festivals for the past decade, blending rock, roots, folk, blues, ballads, instrumentals, improvisation and a devastatingly high level of musicality.
Ray Beadle has ripped it up at Bluesfest in the past, so they are welcoming him back with open arms in 2017. Ray’s guitar and vocal styles evoke numerous blues legends, whilst concocting a breathtaking style all of his own. It is not by chance that Ray has become a favourite amongst Australian blues and music fans.
One of Australia’s most highly lauded Bluesmen will make his Bluesfest debut in 2017. Lloyd Spiegel is an award winning solo artist on the cutting edge of the blues scene in Australia. Australian Guitar Magazine recently named him as one of the 50 top Australian guitarists of all time and he recently won every prize he was eligible for at the Australian Blues Awards.
In the 70s, Australian singer-songwriter/guitarist Glenn Cardier produced three albums of highly original folk / rock songs. He played the first two Sunbury festivals and worked with the likes of Frank Zappa, Spike Milligan, and Fairport Convention. His hard-strumming, quirky onstage persona was always at odds with his recorded work and through the 80s and 90s Cardier became increasingly reclusive. Cardier’s re-emergence in the 2000s as a songwriter / performer of real distinction has been nothing short of extraordinary.
No stranger to festivals having played Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo with his band Back Door Slam, Davy Knowles makes his Bluesfest debut in 2017. Originally from the Isle of Man but has moved to Chicago recently where he made his 2016 album Three Miles From Avalon, he is known for his confident and distinctive guitar playing, commanding solos and tight-knit band.
Bluesfest is thrilled to that The California Honeydrops will bring their feel good sound to the festival in 2017. The California Honeydrops don’t just play music—they throw parties. Led by dynamic vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski, and drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line, the Honeydrops bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to their shows.
She may be at the bottom of this announcement, but Melody Angel is destined to be at the top in the near future. Born and raised on the southside of Chicago, she began playing guitar at the age of thirteen. Inspired by an array of artists such as, Michael Jackson, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, SRV, Big Mama Thornton, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Slash, Lenny Kravitz, Santana, and Jeff Buckley, it is impossible not to be moved by her powerful words and heartbreaking delivery – an important voice and one that deserves to be heard around the world.
The 2017 Byron Bay Bluesfest runs 13 – 17 April. For more information and complete line-up, visit: www.bluefest.com.au for details.
Image: St. Paul & The Broken Bones – photo by David McClister