Festival International du Blues de Tremblant “24th Edition”
By BOB PUTIGNANO

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July 7 – 16, 2017 in Mont-Tremblant, Québec, Canada”
www.TremblantBlues.com

Bob Putignano is Music Editor of the Yonkers Tribune.

MONT-TREMBLANT, QUÉBEC, CANADA — July 29, 2017 — The 2017 Festival International du Blues de Tremblant is their twenty-fourth edition; it’s also my ninth consecutive year covering this top-shelf Blues festival. This year’s headliners featured international performers from throughout the world, as well as regional artists/performers from Québec and Ontario.

My first day of a two-day adventure got underway by taking-in Alligator performing artist Toronzo Cannon who hails from the windy city of Chicago, a city well-known for their historic legacy of Blues music.  Mr. Cannon’s performance was convincing especially in recalling his forefathers of Chi-Town, along with his own updated signature rendering of the Blues, which included pyro hijinks from his howling guitar.

Toronzo Cannon

 

Anthony Paule

The later show that evening was The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra featuring Terrie Odabi and Frank Bey.  Their performance had to have been my Tremblant Blues favorite for 2017. First off, the band instrumentally displayed their prowess with two opening instrumentals that had the audience paying close attention engaged in enjoying solos from most of the musicians in the band, including fine guitar solos from bandleader Paule. Following the opening instrumentals Terrie Odabi was brought back center stage on the strength of her vocals dexterity. She knocked the outdoors concert goers and my own socks off with her energy, audience command, and nuanced, vocal capacity leading the band through Soul and Blues covers and originals. *Odabi is a 2017 Blues Music Award nominee in two categories: Best Soul Blues Female Artist, and Best Emerging Artist album “My Blue Soul.” This very album was also ranked as one of the top fifty Blues albums for 2016 by Living Blues Magazine. For music samples and more go to: www.artistcard.com/Terrie.

Vocalist Terrie Odabi.

Vocalist Frank Bey.

Following Odabi was a second vocal segment augmented by Paule’s superb Soul Orchestra with vocalist Frank Bey. Mr. Bey is a sincere professional who worked the crowd with his silky vocal inflections and captivating smile. Even with health setbacks, the seventy-one year old Bey continues to work with his Philadelphia based “East Coast Band,” as well with Anthony Paule’s Soul Orchestra from the juxtaposed West Coast Band. Bey has also traveled several times with Paule’s band to Europe. Find out more at: www.FrankBeyMusic.com

I’ve known Anthony Paule and his music for nearly two decades, particularly so because of Paule’s wife, Christine Vitale, who is a top-shelf publicist. Vitale contacted me at the radio station I worked at and set up a radio interview for her husband and I to speak about his then current 2001 recording. After Paul’s Tremblant performance, Paula and I engaged in an amiable, comforting, reacquaintance. It was as engaging, as it was sublime.  Needless to say a lot has positively transpired for Paule since we last spoke. Paule has most significantly transformed by evolving his career from solo artist to band leader specializing in Soul music. In doing so he has emerged like a chrysalis that has taken flight that showcases his immensely talented Soul singers like the previously mentioned Odabi and Bey.

Paule has also partnered with multiple award winning vocalist Wee Willie Walker whose roots go back to Chicago and Checker Records. Willie won Living Blues Magazine Best Comeback album for 2016 as well as Soul Blues album of the year. Paule told me that he had just completed a new recording with his orchestra backing Willie that will be released during the late summer or early fall of this year. Paule also shared how very proud he is about their collaboration and how he looks forward to a successful album release.  The evening after the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra’s Tremblant Blues performance, this was Paule’s Soul Orchestra’s second Tremblant appearance, the band would be making their way back to Italy, among other destinations in Europe. The Soul Orchestra has been popular in Europe, so much so that this will be Paule’s third consecutive/annual excursion to Italy’s Porretta Soul Festival.  Kudos to Paule and his handpicked musicians. I am consistently impressed with how some, though not all musicians have a propensity to reinvent themselves as they focus their attention to the subtle changes and exploration they undertake to meet or lead their fans to new experiences within the Blues genre and its sound. Each is an explorer among The Blues, Soul, and music business. As difficult as the arena is to traverse, they continue onward from one success to the next. That said, by heart shouts bravo and continued success to Mr. Anthony Paule and his band. Additional information, concert updates, album releases, videos and even more can be found at: www.AnthonyPaule.com

Coco Montoya

Coco Montoya

Day Two:  Coco Montoya’s performance had to have been one of the largest crowds I had ever seen assembled at Tremblant. Lord knows Coco has paid his dues by consistently touring; Montoya sings powerfully and wails mightily on his guitar at the age of sixty-five. I have been following Montoya for years and always enjoyed his live performances and his studio albums.  Montoya has never performed a mediocre set. On that cool mountain-air Tremblant evening when Montoya took to the stage, he demonstrated why he is one of the finest guitarists on the Blues circuit. For additional info about Montoya go to:  www.CocoMontoyaBand.com  Also check out his latest 2017 album release “Hard Truth”; it is another fine addition to Montoya’s extensive discography.

Boogie-woogie piano specialist Mitch Woods.

 

My final Tremblant Blues stop was witnessing boogie-woogie piano specialist Mitch Woods’ performance.  Like Montoya, Woods has been around for decades. They were in fact label mates at Blind Pig Records. Mitch also knows how to woo a crowd and always puts on a great show.  For that special night Woods was backed by Mike Goudreau’s Boppin’ Blues Band (www.MikeGoudreau.com).  Goudreau proved to be the perfect backup band for Mitch. Regular readers of this column might recall how much I thoroughly enjoyed Goudreau’s band concert last year at Tremblant Blues, and my opining about Goudreau’s broad and studied knowledge of the genre, as well as the divergent of music he delves into, including covering Louis Jordan swing tunes, are right at the heart of what Mitch Woods brings to the table. Kudos to Goudreau, his superb three-piece horn section, as they are a very well-rounded and rehearsed band. Pairing Goudreau’s Boppin’ Blues Band with Mitch Woods was probably the brainchild of Brian Slack, so kudos to Mr. Slack as well. Godreau’s high-level professionalism in backing the internationally known and savvy Mitch Woods meshed like a charm; they thoroughly delighted the audience and kept the crowd on their toes dancing throughout their memorable performance. To find out more about Mitch Woods, check out: www.MitchWoods.com

The Festival International du Blues de Tremblant is located in Québec’s Laurentian Mountains, less-than ninety-minutes northwest of Montréal in the gorgeous resort town of Mont-Tremblant, which is reminiscent of or akin to a miniaturized version of Québec City with cobblestone streets, old world architecture, and gondola rides for all! Yet for almost two intense weeks; the Blues rule in the cool and fresh mountain air. Southern New York and northern New Jersey residents get to enjoy a break from the heat with the cool mountain breezes of Tremblant. There is plenty of fine dining, first-class hotels, and yes, <free> Blues music. Tremblant (depending on where you live) is about a seven to eight-hour drive away from the southern regions of New York State.

In summary: If you are looking for traditional Blues music, and its musical cousins of original Rhythm & Blues, funk, country, folk and Blues/rock; this Fest offers concerts for all musical tastes. Additionally, there’s a deep lineup of more than one-hundred live performances – and remember all of the performances are totally free!

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Music Editor for the Yonkers Tribune

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eHeziFestival International du Blues de Tremblant “24th Edition”
By BOB PUTIGNANO

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