Tremblant International Blues Festival- 19th Edition July 6 2012-July 15 2012
Possibly one of the best kept secret in music, this annual FREE festival attracts an average of 12,000 visitors a day to the cobbled streets of Tremblant village. It is an international crowd, befitting the spectacular programming ranging from unknown newcomers to seasoned veterans to internationally acclaimed acts. When you get a chance to speak to the artists, the recurring themes are “Wow I had no idea this thing was so huge, the venue so beautiful, the crowds so appreciative, I/we will be back for sure.”
It appeared that Loud was going to miss the tail end of the festival in order to attend summer NAMM in Nashville, but at the last minute it was decided to pay full attention to this amazing Bluesfest. It was the right choice. Again, sincere thanks to Brian Slack and Mess’rs Guy Primeau and Gary Quadros (G2 Productions) for granting Loud unlimited access to photograph and interview the artists. This year, the organization even established a media room for performing interviews, a great idea. As always, much of the fun this year was after hours in the bars where impromptu jams occur and the artists get to let their hair down. Loud was there for all of this.
The spectacular Tremblant venue was bathed in sunlight for the whole 10 days. A couple of those days were searingly hot but no one was complaining.
• Layla Zoe whipping the crowd into a frenzy with her emotional gut wrenching performances. The “Fire Girl’s” latest CD “Sleep Little Girl” is a must by if you enjoy Joplinesque rock blues with an emphasis on ROCK.
• Enrico Crivellaro with his smooth combination of blues, jazz and be-bop chops. His stinging tone and superb vibrato on his ES335 are a joy to behold. Enrico and country mate Alberto Columbo also ably backed up David Rotundo, the perennial crowd pleasing harp master, Alberto’s sizzling Telecaster snarl in contract to Enrico’s smooth lines, excellent.
• Anthony Gomes superb electric set, reminiscent of the SRV style of rock blues, and even better his acoustic blues workshop where Anthony displayed an uncanny ability to interact with and please the crowd.
• Dawn Tyler Watson and Paul Deslauriers wowing the crowd with an eclectic acoustic set including several songs from their recent EP and upcoming album release. Dawn’s rendition of the French standard “Ne Me Quitte Pas” had many in the stands weeping.
• Paul Deslauriers band in full club mode, starting at 10:45PM and continuing without break until 3 AM. Guests joining Paul’s band on stage over the course of the night: Angel Forrest, Steve Marriner, Anthony Gomes and Steve Hill. It was Paul’s 3rd gig of the day, energy to burn and tone to the bone on some beautiful guitars.
• MonkeyJunk, doing their quirky and unique baritone guitar, guitar and drum thing. These guys truly deserve their critical success and never fail to impress.
• Popa Chubby, simply sizzling and powerful. The big man squeezes notes out of his well worn Strat and had the crowd enrapt, dancing or applauding. Blues rock of the highest calibre.
• Jamiah on Fire. These three youngsters so impressed the crowds and pundits last year that they were invited back and given several opportunities to display their youthful take on Hendrix classics, excellent.
• Steve Strongman, three supercharged electric club gigs and an intimate Deslauriers stage acoustic show as well as a workshop highlighting his superb new CD “A Natural Fact”. When all was said and done, Steve set several new festival records for daily and overall CD sales. Well deserved success indeed from this hard working smooth playing Hamiltonian.
• Otis Taylor….wow, his unique rhythmic trance blues totally captured the audience with full on tribal rythmns, delicate violin driven melody to full bore electric roots blues. Backed by a superb band, Otis kept the crowd totally focussed because no one knew what was coming next, spectacular. The following is an interview I managed to grab with Otis Taylor himself.
LG:Tonight on stage you referenced growing up in Chicago and taking music lessons, were those on harmonica at that time?
OT : I learned harmonica as a child from my uncle, then moved over to banjo, I was born in Chicago but raised in Denver.
LG : Tell people what you did before you started your music career, you had a store didn’t you?
OT : No, I bought and sold furniture then I got into selling antiques later in the 70’s
LG : So when did you get the idea for “trance blues”? I know you have made ten albums in the past ten years.
OT: The idea came from listening to Howling Wolf when I was 16.
LG: I first saw you in 2007 on a UK tour with Gary Moore, you were as close to him as anyone in the last years of his life, what do you remember the most about Gary?
OT: He could play anything. People don’t know that’ but he could play Irish music, blues , jazz, rock. We were always talking about doing an acoustic album but it never came to pass unfortunately. We would jam every night and we learned a lot from each other. We played so often together and we would always watch what the other was doing, that is a sign of respect between musicians. He was amazing at exciting the crowd, so fiery and intense.
LG: I remember Gary’s son Jack coming on stage and jamming with you guys, I understand you two worked together again recently?
OT: In terms of that, Gary was close to his boy and tried to involve him as much as possible in music, teach him, that’s what I saw. He was on stage with me at some recent UK shows.
LG: Gary also worked with your daughter (Cassie)
OT: She sang on his last album, she was actually more on that last one than I was. She sang on at least two songs as I recall.
LG: Your first time in Tremblant, what do you think of the whole vibe of this festival?
OT: I hate walking up that hill, that was ridiculous! It was great, crowd was fantastic.
LG: I understand you have to leave town early in the morning, where are you headed next?
OT: Home, back to Denver. Then in a couple of days we go to Portugal. I am working on a new album but cant talk about it lol, top secret.
LG: Will it be out in 2013?
OT: We are trying to get it done, everyone gets mad when we talk deadlines. I don’t know, I am getting older so we will see you know?
LG: You must be very pleased with the way the critics have taken to your particular style of blues, matter of fact, again blues record of the year, it doesn’t get much better than that.
OT: I won that four times before, my latest record is the 5th time I’ve won that award. It’s good, I’ll take it every time if they want! Thank you and check out otistaylor.com.
• The Lowrider band, with Lee Oscar got the crowd boogying with their catalogue of hits, crowd pleasers.
Other acts we saw included Tower of Power, April Wine, Nanette Workman, Debbie Davies and Gaetano Pellino (possibly the Italian Jimmy James???), Steve Hill and Bettye Lavette.
So sit back and enjoy the sights, sounds and interviews from this magnificent 19th Edition. And, plan to attend the 20th Edition in 2013, which is already being touted as the best yet, a special anniversary. I can hardly wait! See you there!