Friday August 17th
Saturday August 18th
13:30 - 14:30 - Hoodoo Monks (NL)
15:00 - 16:00 - The Ragtime Rumours (NL)
16:30 - 17:30 - Matthew Skoller (USA)
18:00 - 19:00 - Elles Bailey (UK)
19:30 - 20:45 - Guitar Slim Jr (USA)
21:15 - 22:30 - Guy King (USA)
23:00 - 00:30 - The Temperance Movement (UK)
Sunday August 19th
13:30 - 14:30 - Hat Fitz & Cara (AUS)
15:00 - 16:15 - Nick Dittmeyer & The Sawdusters (USA)
16:45 - 18:00 - Andy J Forest Swamp Crawlers (USA)
18:30 - 19:45 - Catfish (UK)
20:15 - 21:30 - Diunna Greenleaf and Blue Mercy (USA)
22:00 - 23:30 - Sugaray Rayford (USA)
Black Cat Biscuit
As an opener of our festival, we present to you Black Cat Biscuit, who was the revelation and the crowd’s favourite at last years’ Belgian Blues Challenge. You can expect a surprising, fresh sounding selection of songs from this five headed band, marinated in a special gumbo hot sauce. They are presenting their debut album at our festival, so we expect you at 19h sharp!
This 28 year old angel grew up in the Southside of Chicago and got her first guitar at the age of 13. It was Prince that triggered her to start making music. From there she got to Jimi Hendrix and discovered the blues. Meanwhile Melody brought out 1 album and 2 EP’s from which ‘A Woman’s Blues’ came out in the beginning of this year. Back home she’s to be seen at Rosa’s Lounge blues club weekly and is also a beloved act at Buddy Guy’s Legends. Her powerful voice, edgy guitar skills and stage presence brought this talent to Byron Bay Blues last year, one of the biggest blues festivals Down Under. Here at Swing Wespelaar, this rising star will make her European debut!
Ten Years After
As a reaction to the American blues, the British blues boom was born in the sixties. One of the most important and still active formations from that period is Ten Years After. Every blues lover grew up with this band’s music and their performance on Woodstock got them their legendary status. Their performance on our stage is part of their ‘50th Anniversary Tour’. Keyboard player Chick Churchill and drummer Ric Lee are the still active founding members and on the bass from the same generation is icon Colin Hodgkinson (ex-Spencer Davis, Peter Green and Chris Rea). Marcus Bonfanti is the successor of the late Alvin Lee on guitar and vocals. The combination of experience on one hand and the seemingly limitless energy of Marcus on the other, make Ten Years After still one of the most exciting live acts in the blues circuit after al those (more than ten) years. The fact that they can still kick it wil become physically apparent to you for sure!
Loyal visitors to our festival know that we also like to look across the north border of our country. With Hoodoo Monks we managed to get one of the hottest live acts of the Netherlands. This trio got themselves noticed as the supporting act of The Red Devils and meanwhile stood upon the biggest blues stages in the Netherlands. Typical of this energetic band is the ripping harp sound of Erik van Tilburg, the drumbeats of Peter van der Zanden and the razor sharp guitar of Benito Esteban. They bring their raw blues with so much enthusiasm that we will start our Saturday afternoon shaking to the music for sure.
The Ragtime Rumours
Our second band is also from The Netherlands. As a member of the European Blues Union, we gladly invite the winner of the European Blues Challenge. From the 21 European acts that presented themselves in Hell, Norway, The Ragtime Rumours were selected to a rightful first place. This young band created their own version of ragtime, a new sound they like to call ‘Rag ’n Roll’. Think of Pokey Lafarge and Tom Waits that visit Django Reinhardt and drink strong coffee while listening to Robert Johnson. They will make you smile.
Our first American show for Saturday is not to say the least. Matthew Skoller is one of the most respected harp players in the Chicago scene today. He played with Lurrie Bell, John Primer, The Kinsey Report and many other highlights from the Windy City. Under his own name as well, he’s an often booked artist and has brought out five albums so far. For this tour he especially invited guitarist Tom Holland who, like Matthew, is a musician that often gets invited as guest and gains popularity as lead guitar. Expect some wonderful old school Chicago blues.
‘What a great singer!’, we said when we first heard Elles Baily. When Elles was 3 years old, she got a viral and bacterial infection of the lungs. She recovered, but her voice was totally changed. The roughness in her voice makes her the newest blues sensation in the UK. Last year she was nominated ‘Best Female Vocalist’ in the European Blues Awards, alongside Beth Hart and Sari Schorr. This year, she received 4 nominations from the UK Blues Awards. Her smoky voice melts into wonderful roots blues, country and soulful rock. She’s surrounded by top musicians from the British scene.
Guitar Slim Jr.
We could organise a medical research study, questioning if the blues is really in the genes, but last year we saw proof of this through the sons of Luther Allison and Magic Slim at our festival. Guitar Slim Jr, son of legend Guitar Slim, is amongst the living proofs of blues going from father to son. This 66 year old singer/guitarist knows all the clubs in his home town New Orleans and stood upon the biggest stages in Louisiana. He received a Grammy nomination for his debut album ‘The Story Of My Life’ and brought out 7 albums thus far. We’re proud to welcome this born entertainer makes his debut on European soil in Wespelaar! His mission is to set forth his father’s legacy, personalised with his own soulful blues, drenched in intense guitar playing.
Guy King was born and raised in Israël. When he was 16 he first came to the States to play. This made such an impression on him that he decided to move 5 years later. He first lived in Memphis, then New Orleans and eventually he moved to Chicago where he worked himself up. Originally as band leader and guitarist of Willie Kent & his Gents and from 2006 on, under his own name. Guy got his inspiration from the masters and enriched his sound with with a approach from R&B, soul and jazz. In March, he made his Belgian debut at the Banana Peel and we’re proud to introduce him to the festival circuit. He is bringing his American horn section to shine in full glory and be sure : this he will!
The Temperance Movement
The Temperance Movement is very huge in their home country England. With their new album ‘A Deeper Cut’ they came in sixth in the British album charts, passing Justin Timberlake and Eminem. Their mix of rock’n’roll, blues and southern rock reminds us of bands like The Faces, Free and The Black Crowes. Charismatic frontman Phil Campbell has a cool raspy voice and is being compared to iconic singers as Paul Rodgers, Rod Steward and Robert Plant in the British press. We will bet you this top band will be loved here on the mainland as well.
Hat Fitz & Cara
You will come to the conclusion that this is really a match made in heaven. Hat Fitz is from Queensland, Australia and the charming Cara Robinson is Irish. They both had their separate careers as musicians when they got acquainted during a festival in Ireland. They decided to tour together as a duo and eventually this lead to love. Typical Hats Fitz is his weathered voice and handsome slide guitar. Cara’s preferences are old folk and bluegrass and are translated into a great voice, excellent drumming, washboard and what nots. It’s the synergy between the two that makes them one of the best loved acts down under and we believe they will do some heart breaking here in Wespelaar as well.
Nick Dittmeier & The Sawdusters
The standout for today is Nick Dittmeier & The Sawdusters. No traditional blues, but honest Americana, brought by this band from Louisville, Kentucky. This formation was born in 2013 and they’re a real ‘roadband’ that performs almost daily in the Midwest. Get your checked shirt out of the closet, grow a beard and enjoy songs about heartbreak, Jesus and abandoned coal mining villages. They remind us of The Band and Little Feat, so that’s a good start.
Andy J Forest Swamp Crawlers
The king of Frenchmen Street, the musical heart of New Orleans, is without a doubt Andy J Forest. This harp virtuous plays daily in this neighbourhood and often in several clubs per day. New Orleans is known as the melting pot of cultures and music styles (jazz, soul, blues, zydeco, funk..) and these styles are all to be heard in Andy’s sound. The 63 year old veteran brought out 20 albums and toured Europe often in the nineties. However, it’ been 20 years since he’s played in Belgium so we are very proud to be able to present you this artist by heart on our stage.
Catfish already has an iron strong live reputation in England and became ‘Best Live Act’ at the British Blues Awards. Center stage is 22 year old Matt Long. The intensity he lays in his vocals and guitar brings goosebumps. 2018 seems to be an exceptional year for this bluesrockband because thy were nominated in no less than 4 categories of the British Blues Awards : best blues band, best young blues artist, best blues album and best regional blues act. And as a dessert they can make their Belgian debut on our festival.
Diunna Greenleaf and Blue Mercy
A blues festival is never complete without a wonderful ‘big mama’. Born and raised in Houston Texas, Diana Greenleaf absolutely matches this image. Diunna’s parents were both gospel singers en this became the ground of Diunna’s musical taste. Later, she discovered Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke and Koko Taylor en created her own ‘Diunna’s style of blues’. Apart from her own successful career as a singer, she was chairwoman of the Houston Blues Society for 3 years and today she still engages herself in projects like ‘Blues in Schools Program’. Houston is often hit by hurricanes. Well, Diunna will make you experience one right here!
The final show of our 31st edition is Sugaray Rayford. This impressive teddy bear became known here as the frontman of The Mannish Boys and is now, under his now name , a first class performer that plays the biggest festivals in the States. This year in San Diego, this California home based singer, received 4 nominations from the Blues Music Awards. The moest important to us is the BB King Entertainer prize, which goes to the best live performer. He will prove this to us with his extensive top band and beautiful soul blues.