Trois-Rivières en Blues – 2016 – Three Rivers Blues Festival

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2016 Trois-Rivières en Blues Festival

Trois-Rivières, Quebec

18th-21st August 2016

www.3RenBlues.com

 

Bob Putignano continues with his homegrown and On-Demand Sounds of Blue Radio broadcasts http://www.soundsofblue.com/radioshowsmp3.htm He is 2016's second most pledged to radio program, continuing to celebrate 17 plus years on the air in the NYC area. He is Music Editor for the Yonkers Tribune www.YonkersTribune.com/?s=bob+putignano&submit=Search Direct email to Bob Putignano: BobP@SoundsofBlue.com

Bob Putignano continues with his homegrown and On-Demand Sounds of Blue Radio broadcasts http://www.soundsofblue.com/radioshowsmp3.htm He is 2016’s second most pledged to radio program, continuing to celebrate 17 plus years on the air in the NYC area. He is Music Editor for the Yonkers TribuneDirect email to Bob Putignano: BobP@SoundsofBlue.com

The 2016 Trois-Rivières en Blues Festival ascends to the top of the stack as one of this year’s best Blues Festivals. This is the eighth edition of the also known Three Rivers Blues Fest by non-French speaking folks like me. This marks the second-year that the two-year old Cogeco-Trois-Rivières Amphitheater facility was utilized. This impressive amphitheater is gorgeous and is held up by eight columns, a thin and elegant roof takes advantage of the natural beauty of the site, framing the majestic St. Lawrence River. Seating capacity is thirty-five hundred orchestra seats, the roof slopes upwards and out to the lawn area that can accommodate an additional fifty-five hundred outdoor patrons; it is truly a magnificent structure and a site to behold. Geographically: Trois-Rivieres is located in the Province of Quebec, about ninety minutes northeast of Montreal, and approximately seventy-five minutes from historic Quebec City. Many (but not all) of the performances are free. Like previous years this festival offers a mix of Canadian talent and USA bands. This special four day event sizzles at the amphitheater and the downtown locations for four consecutive days and nights.

Day One; Opening night at the amphitheater was the veteran Angel Forrest whose career spans twenty-seven years, with nine albums credited to her name, Forrest was also the winner of the Maple Blues Award for Female Vocalist of the Year for three consecutive years: 2013, 2014 and 2015. I’ve seen Forrest several times in the past and her Trois-Rivières set was one of her best. Exemplifying that she’s maturing like a very fine bottle of wine, and demonstrating that over her nearly three-decade career that she continues to grow and advance. Find out more at: http://angelforrest.ca/. The closing act: the Sugaray Rayford band was a first see for me, the Texas-bred vocalist proved to be a powerhouse singer and also fronted a first rate band with superb guitarist Gino Matteo. Rayford is a compelling performer who now lives in Los Angeles where his career has flourished. After witnessing Sugaray’s set it’s no wonder that he’s quickly become a seasoned worldwide traveler – singing with bands like the Igor Prado Band, “Big Pete” van der Pluijm, Sax Gordon, as lead vocalist for the well-known and popular Mannish Boys and several other musical bands. The future looks bright for Rayford, find out more at: www.sugarayblues.com.

Damon Fowler (left) and Victor Wainwright (right) performance at Trois-Rivières en Blues - 2016 - Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

Damon Fowler (left) and Victor Wainwright (right) performance at Trois-Rivières en Blues – 2016 – Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

Day Two: At the amphitheater the opener was the appropriately titled: Southern Hospitality band whose main three musicians now reside from either Florida or Tennessee. The Band is comprised of lap steel guitarist Damon Fowler, guitarist JP Soars, and keyboardist Victor Wainwright; all three sing.

JP Soars' performance at Trois-Rivières en Blues - 2016 - Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

JP Soars’ performance at Trois-Rivières en Blues – 2016 – Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

I have seen this band several times in South Florida, but on this given night JP Soars has taken a reduced role with his vocal chores, and I do feel that this will be a significant improvement for the overall future of Southern Hospitality. Even though Soars’ sang lead on one song; it was their set ender, but he only had two choruses. Interesting, but Soars is a fine guitarist, as is Fowler who is a wonderful crooner. For my ears the gem of this group is Wainwright who is a consummate entertainer who is known for his boogie piano, blending soul sounds, powerful Blues, roots rock ‘n’ roll, and a voice that (at times) evokes other famous southerners; Dr. John and Leon Russell. This fine band is rapidly budding; their Trois-Rivieres performance was a huge leap from any other time I saw them perform. Unfortunately they do not have a website but you can find out more at: https://www.facebook.com/southernhospitalitymusic.

What more can be said about Colin James who is an inductee in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. He’s won six Juno Awards including “Male Vocalist of the Year” and the “Best Producer” award for his efforts with outstanding The Little Big Band albums. He is the recipient of seventeen Maple Blues Awards having most recently been honored in 2013 with “Entertainer of the Year”. I had never seen Colin perform live and had high expectations, and he did not disappoint in Trois-Rivieres. Learn more about Colin at: www.ColinJames.com.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd (left) and Noah Hunt (right) at Trois-Rivières en Blues - 2016 - Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

Kenny Wayne Shepherd (left) and Noah Hunt (right) at Trois-Rivières en Blues – 2016 – Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

The finale on the second day was the highly entertaining and powerful Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. I’ve seen Shepherd many times over the years but this was the second time he really blew my mind. The other was when they played at the Tremblant Blues Fest, must be the Canadian air. The KWS band has been stayed with the same solid lineup for many years now with ex Stevie Ray Vaughan drummer Chris Layton (Double Trouble,) bassist Tony Franklin (the Firm,) keyboardist Riley Osbourn (Willie Nelson) and the powerful singer Noah Hunt who seriously deserves to be known by a wider audience. Salivating all over myself; this set was easily the highlight of the four day festival.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd performance at Trois-Rivières en Blues - 2016 - Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

Kenny Wayne Shepherd performance at Trois-Rivières en Blues – 2016 – Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

Shepherd was on-fire throughout and the band received (at least) six standing ovations. Brian Slack told me that the KWS band loved the venue, so when will they bring them back? Details at: www.KennyWayneShepherd.net

Southern Hospitality at Trois-Rivières en Blues - 2016 - Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

Southern Hospitality at Trois-Rivières en Blues – 2016 – Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

Day Three: Featured Mike Zito and the Wheel with Alexis P. Suter and her longtime vocal associate Vicki Bell. Good set but not very memorable. www.MikeZito.comwww.AlexisPSutter.com. Then it was bombs away with the one man band of Steve Hill who delighted the crowd and received passionate applause, he wasn’t this listeners cup of tea. www.SteveHillMusic.com. The amphitheater finale was Saturday evening with Canadian legends Steppenwolf with their original leader John Kay. Basically your greatest hits performance by a once wonderful and adventurous band from the late sixties and early seventies. Not sure how many other Steppenwolf original bandmates are still in this current configuration, but the band sounded good, and performed those walks down memory lane extremely well. The crowd loved it, and everyone seemingly had a great time. www.Steppenwolf.com.

Victor Wainwright at Trois-Rivières en Blues - 2016 - Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

Victor Wainwright at Trois-Rivières en Blues – 2016 – Three Rivers Blues Festival. Photo by and courtesy of Laura Carbone. www.DrLauraPhotography.com

Day Four: All free performances that took place in downtown Trois-Rivieres. Due to inclement weather with rain and thunder the shows were quickly shuttled and moved indoors. This was unfortunate as I was looking forward to seeing Sean Chambers www.SeanChambers.com. The always delightful Dawn Tyler Watson http://www.dawntylerwatson.com/ with the Ben Racine Band  – www.BenRacineBand.com and the Monkeyjunk www.MonkeyjunkBand.com But when the rain arrived we decided to have dinner at the Delta Hotel. After a few minutes, and a few beers; guess who sits right alongside me: Monkeyjunk’s lead guitarist Tony D. We had a delightful chat with Tony about the band, the Olympics, sports, news, his Italian roots and whatnot, a great guy. Anyway with an early morning departure – including a short detour stopover at Saratoga Race Course, (I lost money again,) we decided to not brave the heavy rains and called it a night.

So there you have it. My second Quebec (English) – Québec (French), Canada musical adventure of 2016, the Tremblant Blues Fest was the other.  Both offered high-quality and memorable moments. A lot of this has to do with the Canadian go-to promoter Brian Slack who consistently demonstrates that he knows how to assemble sophisticated Blues talent that rivals any and all Blues based festivals in the world. Slack is also connected to booking some of the Blues shows at the Montreal Jazz Fest, and the Tremblant Blues Fest, as well as Trois-Rivières.

By the way… the Tremblant International Blues Festival was rightfully honored by the Memphis-based Blues Foundation with a Keeping the Blues Alive award in the “International Festival” category in 2013. Slack deserves another Keeping the Blues Alive Award for this 2016  Trois-Rivières en Blues Festival. Last but not least, I look forward to what Slack and Trois-Rivières conceive for 2017, and seriously consider visiting Three Rivers, Quebec next August; it’s a great region worthy of exploration, embellished even more with theengrossing and entertaining performances and entertainers of the inviting Blues Festival. Until that time keep an eye out for what the Three Rivers Blues Fest has planned for next year at: www.3renblues.com.

 

Photos by Laura Carbone, and courtesy of Laura Carbone. A special thank you to you! Learn more at: www.DrLauraPhotography.com

 

For 17 years Bob Putignano has been pivotal with his Sounds of Blue radio show. Hear new Homegrown Sounds of Blue internet radio shows: http://soundsofblue.com/radioshowsmp3.htm
Sounds of Blue can also be heard every Wed. at John Sinclair’s www.RadioFreeAmsterdam.com

Previously a contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, currently the Music Editor for the Yonkers Tribune  & Making A Scene. Bob was also the 2003 recipient of the “Keeping the Blues Alive” award (given by the Blues Foundation in Memphis) for his achievements in radio broadcasting. Putignano can be contacted at: BobP@SoundsofBlue.com

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