For any long time readers here, you will know my favourite day of the year is always the Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival, which also coincides with my yearly birthday celebration. Well, in as much happiness as that day gives me each year, this year I am in a state of extra bluesy excitement, as the line up is just soooooo good! Seems they really know how to celebrate their 20th birthday with some seriously fantastic music.
Speed Control – 1 – 1:45 pm
Here’s a bit of the energy that we can look forward to, as Yukon band Speed Control RAWKS off the day!
These boys of Rock n’ Roll are classically trained and steeped in a jazz, but the school of RAWK is their true passion. They share this passion with young musicians and bands through RAWK Edu and their signature RAWK Camp, which I must say makes them all kinds of sexy. I mean really, here they are rugged men of the North, and they’re helping out everyone from young kids to senior citizen with a love of music, to pursue their passion. How can you not love these guys!
Southern Avenue 2:05 – 2:50 pm
Forever one of my favourite scenes for the Blues that sings to my soul are the streets of Memphis, which are not only Southern Avenues‘ home, but their name sake. Southern Avenue being the Memphis street that runs from the easternmost part of the city limits all the way to Soulsville and the original home of Stax Records. This is that strong smokey vocals and soulful chords that made me first fall in love with the Blues. With songs like, “Don’t Give Up”, “Stamina”, and “Whiskey Love”, I’ll be imagining that Southern Avenue is serenading me directly!
William Prince 3:10 – 3:55 pm
I have a feeling that Manitoba Peguis First Nation singer-songwriter William Prince will be pulling at my heart-strings and a bit of tear jerker in my day. ‘Aboriginal Artist of the Year’ at the 2016 Western Canadian Music Awards and ‘Contemporary Roots Album of the Year’ at the 2017 JUNO Awards, I can’t believe I haven’t encountered William Prince yet, but now that the Burnaby Blues and Roots is introducing me to his music, I will be making up for lost time.
The War and Treaty 4:25 – 5:10 pm
mmm … mmm … the married duo of Michael and Tanya Trotter that is The War and Treaty have some seriously powerful and soulful voices … mmm … mmm … mmm And wow is their story ever interesting too, with Michael having survived homelessness and war before he met Tanya, battle worn, but still in one piece. Is it ever such a gift to all of us that they are now together.
Dan Mangan 5:30 – 6:30 pm
I’ve always had a soft spot for Vancouver singer-songwriter Dan Mangan, ever since one of our young writers, Bronwyn Malloy, introduced us to Dan Mangan’s music back in 2010. And really how can you not love a musician who reminds us that robots want to be loved by you, and will make a young boy’s birthday wish for his mom come true!
Aside from worming his way into my heart by singing about robots with a young fellow, he’s also become a two-time JUNO award-winning and two-time Polaris Music Prize listed musician and songwriter, but really all that is secondary to singing about robots and rocking out with a little kid.
Lord Huron 7 – 8:15 pm
Lord Huron is a band after my own heart as they’ve managed to go it alone, on their own terms, unburdened by contractual obligations. This has given them the freedom and comfort to pursue their vision without compromise. The result of this is Vide Noir: a sonically bold, bravely-executed saga that pushes the band’s sound in ambitious new directions. Also like me singer, songwriter and producer Ben Schneider gets a kick out of creating immersive experiences in his storytelling to expand upon narratives and themes. Over the years this has included the use of videos, a comic book, a choose-your-own-adventure hotline and assorted Easter eggs to deepening the listener experience.
And while I am still waiting for an invite on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, they made their guest appearance there over a year ago.
Feist 8:45 – 10 pm
I am not normally in a huge state of fan girl excitement for the Burnaby Blues and Roots headliner, for me the more grassroots bluesy bands is where it is at. That is until this year, where I am in a state of fan girl bliss with Feist!!! And it is funny, for me I usually get excited for and remember musician after I’ve seen them live, but Feist is that anomaly for me. Wracking my brain to remember when I first became aware of Feist. I think I first began to remember her name and recognize her music when she hit it big on Sesame Street, cause who doesn’t love a quirky songwriter that rocks out with puppets!
I love Feist’s version of Brandy Alexander, but I am still a sucker for the Ron Sexsmith version of this song that he and Feist co-wrote.
All of this was enough for Feist to hold herodom as a musician in my heart, but then she went sealed that spot in my heart when she recorded ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ with my childhood friend Doug Paisley. Still get teary eyed whenever I hear it, as my Dad excitedly introduced me to it 5-months before his death, and then I spent a mourning drive across the country finally finding my tears for Dad, as I listened to this song and the rest of Doug’s Constant Companion CD. Wish Dad could be there listening to Feist live with me.
So really, my takeaway for 20th Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival is come early and stay all day. I shall be!