We have The BARNFUL OF BLUES FESTIVAL in New Boston, NH. This year it is on Saturday August 5th!
It was a hot, sunny, beautiful day for a festival at the Barnful of Blues in New Boston, NH. I had never been to this festival before. I thought it was going to be a long way away. It turns out it was maybe 40 minutes from my “1,000 miles from nowhere” house in south western NH, that meant that I could stay until the end of the festival. It is also not far from the Massachusetts border, very convenient.
It wasn’t long before Luther showed up and I was pleased as punch to welcome him under the canopy to sit and hold court with all the people who wanted to tell him how much they love him and get an autograph or a picture with the great man. I was so happy to have him at the Blues Audience table. We got to catch up on all sorts of personal news. He was in great spirits for the show, and he looked styling in a silk shirt and white pants. A true showman and at 70 years he is looking darn good.
Down Home Cookin’ opened the show with Roxanne Young singing and Fran Calo on bass and vocals and another woman on guitar and a very homely girl in red on drums…(the drummer from Brickyard Blues took the idea of it being a “girl group” literally and put on a dress and a wig). John Mann helped out on guitar. Nice easy set. Some sweet harmonies. Then up came the Hayes Brothers, a very competent Blues band with lots of energy and a very good guitar player with a cool old Telecaster. Enter my old band mate and friend, Arthur James, with his band Northbound. He played some really heart- rending Blues on guitar and vocals. it had been many years since I had seen Arthur live and I was impressed at how bluesy he has gotten over the years.
Later Ken Clarke lugged his heavy Leslie speakers and his 1962 Hammond B-3 up onto the stage. It has a transparent back on it so you can see the tubes and all the electronics that make up the wonderful warm sound of the B-3. Ken is about as funky and cool as they come and he and Chris have a great musical relationship on stage (and off). Chris Fitz never disappoints. His live shows are full of energy. His guitar playing reflects the influences of the great masters but in his own way. He has an intense love for this music and his original songs are strong. He writes about all sorts of subjects and that day “Recession Blues” really hit home with the people.
Luther “Gtr. Jr.” Johnson and his friends Jack Ward and Otis Doncaster did an acoustic set in between when the electric stage was changing between bands. He did (among others) “You Really Give Me a Buzz” which is one of my all time favorite songs! It is amazing for the price of this festival how many bands you get to see in one day! There is no waiting for music.
I was knocked out by the Boston Horns! I had not seen many of the members of the band since the Heavy Metal Horns and it was a delight to see them in the flesh. Their guitar player, Jeff Buckridge, was outstandingly funky as the horns. What a great addition to a Blues Festival!
Luther wrapped up the show with Big Jack, Otis and the Boston Horns bass player and drummer and they jammed to Luther’s picks “It Hurts Me Too,” and “Mojo.” A south side Chicago Blues ending for a great day of music.
There was a baby born that day… The Granite State Blues Society was born out of the New Boston Blues Association. The Granite State Blues Society will represent NH by sending bands to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis while raising money for those bands and the Webster House in Manchester, NH a home for teens who need a safe place to grow.
2017 is no exception to the run of great line-ups we have had at The Barnful.
* Roomful of Blues
* The Chris Fitz Band
* The Delta Generators featuring Brian Templeton
* The Michael Vincent Band
* Erin Harpe & The Delta Swingers
And Solo Acts between the bands: * Veronica Lewis * Arthur James * Skip Philbrick!
Westford Blues and Brews, Nashoba Valley Ski Area, Westford, MA
This year the festival is on August 19 + 20th with some amazing acts you will certainly enjoy!! If you have never been to this festival let me assure you it is a great one. Easy to get around, very nice facilities, easy parking. Ski areas are set up beautifully for Blues Festivals and their staff is on hand to make sure everything goes smoothly. Try some Brews or just plunk yourself down and enjoy the amazing music.
Here is the line up check it out:
On the 19th:
NIKKI HILL is new to the Blues Festival scene, she is a rocker and a great entertainer and not too hard to look at either! see what you can expect in this video.
WILLIE J. LAWS BAND– Texas guitar slinger, songwriter and vocalist Willie J Laws creates music that is a soulful mixture of South Texas Blues/Funk, classic R&B, Country, Rock & Roll. Willie J. Laws has over 25 years of performing experience and has traveled the world making music. The influences heard in the music of the Willie J. Laws Band are many and eclectic. There are deep roots in Texas music tradition and uniquely American roots music. Raised in the Gulf Coast of Texas, Willie J. developed his “funky blues” guitar and vocal sound, influenced by Texas Blues and R&B, Tex-Mex Tejano/Conjunto, Louisiana Zydeco, and Country. Fans call him “the Real Deal”.
WHITE MOUNTAIN BOOGIE AND BLUES FESTIVAL (WMBBF)
There is a little festival in the NH mountains that has turned into a monster Blues Festival, the WMBBF! “I would have to say Blues fans are the best. The Boogie has gone further than Mike or I could have imagined it would. Every year [it] gets bigger and the crowd is always well behaved respectful and they really appreciate the hard work it takes to do this festival. We really feel we are all becoming family… the folks that have been with us for years and the new people we meet every year. This is really special and thank you all [the fans] for making it happen.”- Brad Benton, White Mountain Boogie and Blues Festival 2009.
With that said by Brad the organizer and promoter of WMBBF I can add that it is one of the most relaxed and comfortable out in the country Blues Festivals around. Up in the White mountains, it couldn’t be more picturesque and open. The festival takes place in Brad’s farm field in a natural ampitheatre.
It was a hot and beautiful weekend this summer and the entertainment was hot and beautiful too. The late, great Candye Kane made a lot of women cry with her story of her battle with pancreatic cancer and her then new album on Delta Groove Records called SUPERHERO. It is a testament in song to her realization of how we can summon the strength to fight a daunting foe like cancer. She put on a great show with her band!
Anthony Gomes, Canadian Blues Rocker guitar player and singer, really got the guys going with their rebel yell and high energy show. I don’t think the girls minded their look either, all that leather and chaps on that hot day, phew! They really threw themselves into their show and later at the autograph tent the girls lined up to have them sign their BODIES! And this was only the Saturday activities, it is a weekend affair with the MOST incredible fireworks show on Saturday night after the festival …outstanding!
Sunday starts out with a visit to “Blues Church” with some nice easy gospel and maybe a solo act. One summer they had Matt Anderson who played a Steve Earl song, “My Old Friend The Blues” that gave me chills.
The cool thing about the Boogie is that they go to Memphis for the Blues Competition and to the Blues Awards and check out new bands, unusual bands, and some are new to the crowd which is a plus because it is tiring to see the same bands all the time. They also invite local New England bands to play on Friday night which is cool, because some of the other festivals don’t include locals (The Barnful of Blues does…)
North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland, Maine
The North Atlantic Blues Festival is an annual two-day blues music festival featuring national blues performers and considered one of the most prestigious on the East Coast. The festival is held at the Public Landing in Rockland, Maine, overlooking the picturesque Rockland Harbor. Some of the top names in blues music have been featured at this prestigious East Coast festival. In addition to all day live entertainment, the festival has vendors selling a wide array of food, drinks and crafts. Saturday evening Main Street is closed to traffic for the NABF Club Crawl. Attendees of legal age, wearing their wristband from the festival are allowed free admission to the many bars and restaurants featuring many of the top regional Blues performers with free admission for festival band wearers. There are also bands performing on Main Street for all ages at no charge on the Saturday night Blues Crawl.