By Lachman Balani
KITCHNER: It was a packed house at the Wax Club in Kitchener, Ontario, about an hour’s drive from Toronto, as hundreds of people gathered this past weekend to see Juno Blues Album of the Year Award winner Paul Reddick and his band sock it to the crowd!
The merry folks came in droves to groove to blues and dance away to the amazing music of Paul Reddick, Sean Pinchin, Steve Marriner and more effusing long extended delightful magical tunes and bluesy vocals into the air.
Kitchener Blues Festival has been around for many years and has hosted some big names and sounds in the past such as Randy Bachman (The Guess Who), Burton Cummings (The Guess Who), Eric Burdon(the Animals), Edgar Winter, Foghat, Chilliwack and many, many more!
After the opening set, the hosts came on stage and announced the line-up for this year which included tons of artists who will perform over a four-day period from Aug 10 to Aug 13. There were audible gasps of approval from the attending public who were having a gala time.
The festival named “Blues North Strong and Free” to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary will feature some superlative blues and rock bands like The Sheepdogs, David Wilcox, The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer, Matt Weidinger and Mike Todd, Bobby Rush, Lurrie Bell, Lucky Peterson, Michel Pagliaro, CATL, The Paul Reddick Band, Sean Pichin, Ginger St. James, Plants and Animals and tons more!
Besides all these talented musicians, there will be a celebration of the music of Canada’s ultimate group of musicians known simply as “The Band”, who have been extremely influential in the world of classic rock and blues since the 60s and have mentored some magnificent musicians. The Band has played with Bob Dylan and was one of the big three groups at the Summer Jam in 1973.It is still alive under a new avatar and still led by the inimitable Ronnie Hawkins.
There will also be a tribute to Etta James, storied American blues singer. Etta has won 6 Grammy awards and 17 blues awards. She is considered to be one of the top female singers in the world across all genres.
With the scheduled line-up and the odes to musical greats, this year’s blues festival in Kitchener promises to raise the bar and also raise the attendees to sweet Nirvana!