top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureKen Wallis

RECAP: The 20th Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival



The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival celebrated the 20th anniversary of the festival and what a party it was!  It was non-stop music and entertainment in one of the premiere festivals in Canada.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

What a treat it was to take in all the wonderful times at this festival.  The following is a chronological walk through of what we were able to catch.  And we didn’t catch it all.  There was so much going on even The Flash couldn’t have hot-footed to all the fun.

The fesitival opened up Friday night and as we strolled to the TD Main Stage, we got some great blues from the Son Roberts Band welcoming us to the festival.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

The main street featured the Blues Cruise on Broadway with over 29 classic cars that made you yearn for the good ole days.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

We first took in a rousing performance by Glen Marais and the Mojo Train, and this band was on the right track.  Their music simply captivated the crowd that was treated to a searing-hot set.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

We then took in Joshua Arden Miller and The Pappy Johns Band.  Led by Joshua’s scorching guitar the band laid it all out.   When Joshua pulls out his guitar, you’re in for a rollickin’ good time.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

Then it was time for powerhouse vocals with Garnetta Cromwell and Da Groovemasters.  They put out great Soulful Blues and their set highlighted Garnetta’s lead vocals which had you up and dancing.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

Then it was time for the man on the radio, Danny Marks.  He’s a veteran of music and media and his performance had the crowd cheering,


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

Back at the main stage multi-award winner Jack de Keyzer showed why he’s won so many awards.  His tight-knit band features a strong lineup of professional musicians including Richard Thornton on sax, Nick Succi Sr. on bass, and Rick Donaldson on drums.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

There’s no better way to end an evening than with the legendary Downchild band.  It’s the band’s 55th Anniversary and there’s no sign of a slowdown.  Donny Walsh on guitar and Chuck Jackson on vocals are a match made in blues heaven.  With Gary Kendall on bass, Jim Casson on Drums, Pat Carey on Sax, Tyler Yarema on keys, Downchild continues to present their classic brand of blues.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

Day one was a smashing success, but there was much more to come!

I started Saturday off hosting a panel workshop on Women In Blues. I was so fortunate to have Cheryl Lescom, Chuckee Zehr, Dale Anne Brendon, and Rosie Fleischer-Dufour on the panel.  It was a lively discussion that provided insight into the future of women artists in the music business.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

Larry Kurtz And The Lawbreakers With Rick Taylor kicked off Saturday.   What an amazing harp player Larry Kurtz is.  And when you put him with seasoned guitarist Rick Taylor, you’ve got a scorching set of music.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

Then the ever-popular, all female band, The SheWolves of London tore into their set.  The band consists of Cheryl Lescom on vocals,, Sarah Smith on guitar and vocals ,and Chuckee Zehr on keys and vocals,  Alison Dale, and Dale Anne Brendon on drums.  They are all accomplished musicians in their own right, and they prove the future of women in blues is solid.




Yukon born Brandon Isaak, who now lives in Vancouver, brought forth his special brand of music.  He oozed talent as he played and sang his heart out to an appreciative audience.  He’s well known as a creative songwriter who plays multiple instruments.  You can’t help but come away from his performances with a feeling you heard something special.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

I was thrilled to see the Angeline Hunter Trio.  I had heard their music but had never seen them live.  I was thoroughly impressed by their vibrant stage presence as Angelina sang and hit all the right notes with her guitar.  This is a band that is rising into the upper atmospheres of the blues world.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

When you see the Ghost Town Blues Band you’re for some great southern blues.  Hailing out of Memphis, the band is led by Matt Isbell.  For this performance they were joined by Larry Kurtz on harp, Joel Dupuis on guitar, and Chuckee Zehr on keys.   As Matt always says, the band puts some south in your mouth!



The Nick Moss Band has been playing the blues in Chicago for over 30 years.  He has released thirteen albums to date, and has hooked up with New Jersey native Dennis Gruenling, who is without doubt one of the top harmonica players in the world.  Together they bring you into the traditional world of Chicago blues.  Again, what amazing scheduling by the festival organizers to ensure a sparkling close to Saturday’s festivities.



Sunday was of to a roaring start with over 500 motorcycles on display for Blues & Bikes.  As the  bikers gradually come into town, the excitement of the final day took hold.  Even a dog got into the act!



To open up the main stage the Toronto Mass Choir of more than 50 vocalists and musicians presented their special brand of gospel music with Caribbean music influences.  They rocked the stage and had folks singing along with them.  A great time!


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

 

Next I headed over to catch the Travelling Wannabes.  This duo features great tunes by Norm Trudeau, head of volunteers for the festival, and Josh Leitch, President of the Board of Directors.  Their music was inspired by their love of the Travelling Willburys and their acoustic set was top-notch.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

Then it was time for Campbell And Johnston.  They’re an award-winning duo that are known for their vintage blues-rock, roots & folk music.  Christine Campbell and Blake Johnston blend their vocals together seamlessly and the Opera House was packed with appreciative fans.


The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

Spencer MacKenzie is proof the blues doesn’t belong only to the old-timers.  I used to say he was young but he plays like a veteran.  He’s now grown into a solid performer and I finally caught one of his classic stage jumps!





Then it was time to rock to Harps Of Gold, a gathering of four of the top harmonica players in Canada.  The rousing set featured Steve Marriner, Paul Reddick, Jermome Godboo, and Larry Kurtz.  It simply took our breath away.



To wrap up the festival, Dawn Tyler Watson 2ith the Ben Racine Band closed out the night.  Dawn is a huge talent with multiple awards, and you can tell she and Ben like playing together.  Their set was the perfect close to the festival!



What a weekend!  What talented musicians!  What great music!  The 20th anniversary of the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival was everything a music fan could hope for.  And it won’t stop at the 20th. Make sure you go next year!



FOLLOW ORANGEVILLE BLUES & JAZZ FESTIVAL



The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival

Σχόλια


bottom of page