Winter Park / Live Music: Blues festival tickets on sale now
May 16, 2008
Tickets are going fast for the Grand County Blues Societys Sixth Annual Blues From the Top festival, June 28 and 29. Those who purchase tickets in advance save almost $5 on the ticket price.The two-day show spectacular is one of the biggest fundraisers for GCBS each year and may be one of the best and most diverse Colorado concert events scheduled in 2008. We got it stacked, GCBS member John Catt said of the line-up this year. The theme of the festival is about legends and legends-to-be.The festival kicks off Saturday, June 28, with musicians Johnny Winter, Jimmy Thackery, Bob Margolin, the Delta Sonics, Eden Brent, John-Alex Mason, Soulmate, and The Runaways. Sundays line-up June 29 highlights Joe Bonamassa, Jimmy Hall and Tommy Shannon and George Rains; Ronnie Fruge, Deanna Bogart, Larry Garner, Jason Ricci and Zak Harmon. Theres also a pre-fest party on Friday, June 27, at Smokin Moes with several festival artists sitting in. Saturdays lineup includes the following talents (part 2):The Delta SonicsThe Delta Sonics (Al Chesis on harmonica/vocals, Erik Boa on guitar/vocals, John Butler on bass/vocals, and Willie Panker on drums) have been entertaining Colorado audiences for more than a decade and have established themselves as one of the finest blues acts in the area with solid musicianship and energetic live performances. Their musical stylings include Chicago blues, West Coast swing, New Orleans R&B, and some early rock n roll.The band has been featured at the 1997, 1998 and 2001 Denver Blues and Bones Festivals, the Boulder/Lyons Blues Festival five times and the Westword Music Showcase in 1996 and 1997. They have opened for many nationally known blues artists, including Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, Taj Mahal, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, The Radiators, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Most recently they have opened shows for Charlie Musselwhite and Tommy Castro, and have also backed Big Bill Morganfield, Bo Diddley, and Pinetop Perkins.John-Alex MasonOne-man band John-Alex Mason has played for the Blues from the Top festival before, as well as at several Grand County and other GCBS events. He said he likes playing the smaller gigs, because I can see everyone and connect with the audience.The musician, born and raised in Colorado Springs, blends foot drums, guitar and vocals to create what the musician calls deep country blues. He spent a majority of his time growing up listening to blues records and musicians like Johnny Winter (also set to play at this years festival) and harpist James Cotton inspired him to pursue the music business.After a move to Vermont he met fellow blues artist Gerry Hundt and started performing live. Since then, he has opened for BB King, James Cotton and Jimmie Vaughan. The GCBS elected to send him as its representative in the solo/duo category at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis this yearSoulmateSoulmate consists of blues-guitar player, songwriter and singer Rudy Wallang, vocalist Tipriti Tips Kharbangar who also plays rhythm guitar, Ferdy Dkhar on bass guitar, and Sam Shullai on drums. They all come from Shillong, Meghalaya, one of the northeastern hill states of India.The sound of the band is based on the blues. Influences range from Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Albert King, B.B King, Willie Dixon, Roy Buchanan, Peter Green, Koko Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald to Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, Etta James and Johnny Guitar Watson.The band released its debut album Shillong, which was voted as the No. 1 Indian Original Album in the Blues/Rock category in 2005. The album is a tribute to love in its different forms as well as being a tip of the hat to their hometown. They have also released a music video for the song I Am which is being played on VH1. The band takes their name from one of the songs on the album called Blues is my soulmate.The RunawaysThe Runaways band is an ensemble of four local teens who just broke into the musical world in Grand County this year, under the current direction of local musician Andy Irvine, as part of the Grand County Blues Societys Blues in the Schools program. Sean Kerber, the bands bassist, has been playing guitar for about three years now. Noah Ralph is the drummer for the band. Keenan Drummond, tenor saxophone player, said hes not only in the band to go further with his sax playing, but to build up more experience in the music scene. Lead guitarist Zack Thorpe said hes in the band for the entertainment of Grand County. Its amazing what a little blues can do for a little town.