Saturday, July 21, 2007

Burned again

A few Bluesfests ago (prior to its relocation to City Hall, and its re-relocation back to LeBreton Flats), folk blues legend R.L. Burnside was scheduled to make an appearance. He never made it - rumour was he'd driven his car into a ditch. This year a few of his offspring were scheduled to make the trek northwards. They didn't make it either. Like father, like sons? I didn't know this as I made my way to the River Stage, but I figured out pretty quickly. The folks on stage were a few shades to pale to be Burnside relatives (barring the harmonica player) and the blues was definitely Chicago, not Mississippi.

In fact, it was David Maxwell and Co. - Maxwell's the guy in the shades, Chicago Bob Nelson's the man on harp.

They were okay, but not what I was looking for, so I decided to head off to the Black Sheep Stage and perhaps catch some of The Soiree's triumphal appearance. Which I did. They're playing at Irene's along with Poorfolk and The Soft Disaster August 10.

Soft Disaster worker Tim Brownlee was on hand for some extra banjo.

That done, I went off to the Rogers Stage to see Janiva Magness. She's a large-lunged lady who performs in a classy R&B style. Perhaps a bit too classy for me, since I was tempted away by the sound coming from the River Stage. This was one of the problems with the new Bluesfest layout. While sound bleed is nothing new at the festival, there were a few occasions when it was really egregious. Cat Power was one, Randy Newman was another.

Ms. Magness.

Her guitar player introduced her on stage; unfortunately I didn't catch any names.

Good thing for her band it was a cool day - I'm not sure I'd want to be wearing a black suit on a regular July day in Ottawa.

One more of Magness.

Then I left - unfortunately before she broke out the washboard (for further coverage, check out Courir dans la vent rose). So, what sounds had tantalized me from the River Stage. It turned out to be Matt Schofield.

Organist Johnny Henderson helps keep it funky - you can just make out Evan Jenkins on drums (I think - bit hard to make a positive ID from this photo).

And one last grimace from Schofield.

Unfortunately, the British blues sensation wasn't quite so fascinating up close. A skilled player with a good feel for the music, but not enough to hold me with a performance by Jon-Rae and The River on the Black Sheep Stage.

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