MONT-TREMBLANT, QUÉBEC, CANADA: The 2018 Festival International du Blues de Tremblant was their twenty-fifth edition; it’s also my tenth consecutive year covering this top-shelf Blues festival. This year’s headliners included International performers from around the globe, as well as regional artists/performers from Québec and Ontario. This year’s edition featured Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, acoustic blues artist Eric Bibb, guitarist Jack de Keyzer as well as other world renowned musicians: like Blues rock star Beth Hart, the hard-rocking gospel sounds of Robert Randolph and his family band, and the much anticipated return of Shemekia Copeland.
For twenty-five years, Tremblant has opened its doors to so many Blues and roots related legends like: Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, Ronnie Earl, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Tower of Power, Mavis Staples, James Cotton, Larry McCray, Jimmie Vaughan, Buckwheat Zydeco, Pinetop Perkins, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Koko Taylor and so many others. You’d be hard-pressed to find another festival that relentlessly goes on for ten consecutive days that’s completely free of charge for each and every performance. Furthermore: Tremblant is tucked away in the beautiful Laurentian Mountains where all of the concerts are performed in comfortable/cool temperatures, featuring scenic outdoor surroundings as a picturesque backdrop.
After Elvin Bishop’s delightful Tremblant performance I was offered a few moments to sit with the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (Mr. Bishop was inducted as an original member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band) who told me that he feels his new Big Fun trio is going to be his regular touring band for many years forward. I also questioned him about how he’s been able to continually evolve for over fifty years? His down-home answer was: “I just keep making music that feels right to me.” He also reminisced and proudly recalled when he also performed in Montreal some fifty-one years ago during Expo ’67 at the Worlds Fair. It’s been a heck of ride for Elvin Bishop who also shows no signs of slowing down. My final question for Bishop was to ask how he got signed (during the seventies) to record at Macon, Georgia’s historic Capricorn Records? He told me that he was referred by both of the two original Allman Brothers guitarists: Dickey Bets and the late great Duane Allman. Need I say more? Nonetheless: be sure the checkout Elvin Bishop’s brand-new Big Fun Trio album titled “Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here” too.
Onto next year: I encourage you to make the trip to the Tremblant Blues Fest for their 26th edition that will take place next summer, from July 5th through 14th, 2019. You can follow Tremblant updates and announcements at: https://blues.tremblant.ca/ and: www.facebook.com/BluesTremblant
But; do not wait too long to book your room: Festival Director Brian Slack told me that on Saturday eve (July 7th) there wasn’t a vacant room to be found in Tremblant. This is outstanding news for future editions of the Tremblant Blues festival, as well as for the local hotels, restaurants and sponsors. Not to mention; for all of the wonderful artists who performed in Tremblant this year, and for supportive Blues Fans too!
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