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February 13, 2008

Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest Celebrates Blues Guitar

Written by
cindy mcleod

blues news, Canada


Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest
Feb 25 to Mar 1

Five Leading Blues Guitarists Headline Event

Launching a second major blues festival Feb. 25 to Mar. 1, the Calgary Blues Music Association will celebrate the finest in blues guitar in a range of blues workshops, concerts and special events.

Starring five of the top blues guitarists on the Canadian and International scenes today, including legendary Grammy Award-winning Chicago bluesman Hubert Sumlin; Juno Award-winning musician/composer Jack Semple (Regina); one of the nation’s top ‘classic’ blues masters, Victoria’s Bill Johnson; Canada’s first lady of slide guitar, Ellen McIlwaine (Calgary); and musician/producer Russell Broom, best known for his work with Jann Arden (Calgary), the headline artists will be backed by Calgary’s Bill Dowey & the Blues Devils and the Eh Team (Amos Garrett band) for the Acoustic Blues in the Round, Guitarmania lX and the Midwinter Bluesfest Feature Concert(s).

Three workshops for all ages & levels include the Singing the Blues Vocal Camp, a two-part workshop that includes a master class conducted by a professional voice coach prior to student performances the following night with a band before a live audience; a guitarist’s workshop with master musician/ composer Jack Semple; and an emerging blues artist workshop with Calgary Epcor Centre’s Programming Director, John Rutherford.

Another highlight of the week is the first annual induction ceremony into the newly formed CBMA Blues Hall of Fame. Celebrating local artists who’ve performed for CBMA events, winners in six categories will be selected by an online public vote as the recipients of awards for 2007-8. Four other ‘CBMA’ artists will be recognized In Memoriam: guitarist/composer Back Alley John; drummer/ bandleader Jimmy Payne; keyboard master/ composer and Order of Canada recipient, Doug Riley; and iconic singer/guitarist Long John Baldry.



Singing the Blues Vocal Camp – Workshop

Conducted by a professional voice clinician, this camp is designed for aspiring blues singers of all skill levels. Part one of two prepares students for a performance the following night.


Singing the Blues Vocal Camp – Performances

Vocal camp participants will perform their song selections backed by Bill Dowey & the Blues Devils before a live audience. A panel of industry experts will provide critiques of their performances. An audience vote will be taken to determine which singer will go on to perform on Mainstage at the 2008 Calgary International Blues Festival.


Emerging Artist Workshop

Led by John Rutherford, blues musician, former radio host, and Director of Music Programming at the Epcor Centre for Performing Arts. John will share tips on marketing and development for the emerging blues artist.

Twilight Blues Jam & CBMA Blues Hall of Fame Ceremony

Join in a red-hot jam session hosted by Bill Dowey & the Blues Devils along with some of the finest players in the city. During the evening, a special ceremony will be held to honour local musicians as they’re inducted into the newly-founded CBMA Blues Hall of Fame.


Acoustic in the Round

starring Ellen McIlwaine – Bill Johnson – Jack Semple

Three headline guitarists perform in an up-close and intimate acoustic setting, backed by Eh Team members.


Guitar Workshop

Guitarist Jack Semple Shares his expertise in guitar technique, performance tips, and music skills.

Guitarmania lX

starring Hubert Sumlin – Russell Broom – Bill Johnson – Ellen McIlwaine – Jack Semple

Five mighty guitarists in one incredible showcase, with the incredible Eh Team backing their performances.


Mid-Winter Bluesfest Headline Concert

starring Hubert Sumlin

This living blues legend was Howlin Wolfe’s guitarist for 20 years, and has played with Pinetop Perkins, Willie Dixon, The Rolling Stones, and Chuck Berry to name a few. He counts among his biggest fans Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, and John Mayer as well as Keith Richards and Eric Clapton, both of whom play on Hubert Sumlin’s latest album.

for more info visit www.calgarybluesfest.com

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