As “travels in time” have become a “patent feature” of Viree Blues Boreale, to launch this 23rd edition and for your enjoyment, we selected the four best kept secrets on the Canadian Blues scene who will summarize nothing less than the History of The Blues ... in One Single Night! Led by a local guy with a strong reputation as a “Truly Authentic Bluesman” Al Wood, with his band, The Woodsmen, a leading band in the area; they invited, for the occasion, an almost Little Walter sound-alike harmonica player with a pretty close Muddy Waters sound-alike voice. And this super artist is Bharath Rajakumar. Dan Livingstone, one of the very top “fingerstyle” type Blues guitarists will grace Viree Blues Boreale’s stage and a master of the Traditional Blues Folk’, Michael Jerome Browne will also play a major role. A staggering and breathtaking selection of prestigious guests with just enough unpredictability to bring it to the level of: "The Blues Show" that everybody will always remember!
Composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist from Ottawa, Al Wood is known as a True Bluesman. His compositions, his singing, his guitar and harmonica playing all demonstrate a deep reverence for the Blues and for traditionally-based roots music. Born in Sault Ste-Marie (the Soo), Ontario, that’s where he cut his teeth playing in blues bands, punk and even “alternative rock” music bands. Those multiple types of experiences built a strong stage presence. This might explain how and why Al Wood throws his whole heart and soul into every performance with the same exuberance and showmanship whether for a crowd of two or two thousand. Out of this scene was born Al Wood & the Woodsmen’s ancestors, The Rhythm Rats, boys from `the Soo` with a passion for the blues. That group made up of a majority of the present Woodsmen took their energetic spin on the genre to the big city, Montreal, in the ‘90s. The five years in Montreal were something else, with unthinkable variables constantly surfacing and life lessons learned that later spilled onto blank sheets as songs. After The Rhythm Rats, they could and sometimes can still be found as Red Wood Central (RWC), a band that recorded two albums one in 1999 and another in 2002. Now, with four successful albums, Al Wood (harmonica and lyrics) is solidly supported by his Woodsmen: Marty Sobb (guitar), Mike Tureve (bass) and Simon Meilleur (drums).
With a striking and amplified “Mississipi Saxophone” style, like the Fathers of the Blues Little Walter, Big Walter Horton and Sonny Boy Williamson II used to play, our next guest is nothing short of the true traditional “Chicago Style” Blues ambassador in Canada! Founder of the Montreal Band Bharath & His Rhythm Four that has won plaudits from some of the greatest exponents of the genre, the harmonica playing of Bharath Rajakumar, often compared to Little Walter’s, and his voice close to Muddy Watter’s, his authentic and purist approach, his incomparable energy are all inspired by the great American Bluesmen who once scoured the juke joints of Chicago and of the American Midwest. Faithful disciples of Muddy Watters, of Little Walter and their cohorts, Bharath Rajakumar manages to keep the tradition alive without resorting to mere mimicry. Winner of the Toronto Blues Society’s 2007 Talent Search, this charismatic harmonicist and singer moved along with, namely, Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Junior Watson from the West Coast and called upon to perform with, among others, Steve Marriner, Kevin Mark, Slim Wood and Martin Gagnon on their respective albums. Bharath Rajakumar with his harmonica and his style inspired by the 50's Chicago and Arkansas Blues history, is solidly rooted in traditional Blues. It’s all there: the sound, the voice, the musical instruments and the awkward gait. Alternately menacing and celebratory, brooding and boastful, he gazes in the past not with nostalgia but with stunning passion. A perfect refinement:` the distillation of his forefathers, with his unfailing energy never misses to make an impression.
Just like out of another era, our next guest, Dan Livingstone (guitar, dobro and lyrics) is often accompanied by The Griffintown Jug Addicts and their washboards, their “washtub bass” that’s a hand-made one-string bass made of a string on a stick tied to a basin, their jugs, their cigar-box guitars and their five string violin; he draws inspiration from “Jug bands” of the 30s and 40s, a Blues style that is played mixing ragtime, swing and folk. A native of Western Canada, Dan Livingstone is now living in Montreal where he regularly performs in various bars and major events accompanied by various bands. During the last decade he also could be found in Europe, performing in music halls and bars in Norway, Germany, France and Belgium. He also performed in China, Ireland, Greece, in the United States and for sure, in Canada, from the Maritimes to the West through the Prairies and Quebec. Recreating the ambience of this past musical era where simple fun prevailed in musical creations which seemed quite simple in nature and themes but carried with complex polyphony and rhythms that served as direct basis for the Swing and later for the Rock’N’Roll, Dan is contributing a major historical section to our event, proceeding from the Blues tradition of the Piedmont, then of the Delta, then of Texas.
A Master of the Traditional Folk Blues, our third guest rides through the traditions and the history of the Blues with a superior accuracy and a unique genuineness. He’s familiar with many traditional American idioms (Cajun, Blues, folk as well as Appalachian music), this world renown multi-instrumentalist and singer, nominated three times to the Junos, is a living encyclopaedia of everything Blues and related matters. Born in South Bend, Indiana in 1960, Michael Jerome Browne moved to Montreal at an early age. He is the son of English professors whose love of music and poetry inspired them to take their nine-year-old son to the many at that time great jazz, blues and folk clubs in their adopted home of Montreal. It is there that Michael Jerome Browne first heard the likes of Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and Lightnin’ Hopkins. By the age of fourteen he was performing, playing guitar, banjo, harmonica and singing with a voice already suited to such a repertoire. He kept on learning with the Stephen Barry Band which allowed him to perform on four of their albums. Then, in 1999, he moved on to a solo career. For over thirty years, he’s been touring Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, and the United States, alone or with stars like Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Taj Mahal, Eric Bibb, Stephen Barry, Harrison Kennedy and also with Guy Davis. After receiving lots of awards: Mapple Blues Awards, Real Blues Magazine Awards, Canadian Music Folk Awards and Junos, he is now considered one of our times most accomplished master of the traditional ‘Blues Roots’ music. Through his Mississippi Delta and New Orleans Blues, he tells, in a so simple fashion, but how efficiently, of life’s setbacks and of death. An outstanding musician and a master of traditional ‘Blues Roots’ music, this most eclectic artist will bring you on a trip through the various musical styles that he performs, all with an impeccable musicality.
If you think all blues sounds the same ... come out to this show to find out it does't! An unforgettable cruise through The Hisoty Of The Blues... Destination: Love, Death and ... Whisky. Al Wood & The Woodsmen, Bharath Rajakumar, Dan Livingston and Michael Jerome Browne, They all will be here to launch YES! already the 23rd edition of Viree Blues Boreale, Wednesday, February 3rd , around 8 p.m., at the so famous and easy found venue, Bar Le Petit Chicago, 50 Promenade du Portage, in the Old-Hull sector. Tickets are right now on sale at: www.vireeblues.ca and will also be available at the door, still for only 20$ even for such an whole bunch of tops of the bill super blues stars. You can also take advantage of our interesting, practical and pleasant diner and show package and enjoy the delectable charcoal grilled dishes of Galo Piri Piri Restaurant (www.galopiripiri.com), just 2 doors from Le Petit Chicago, which will also reserve your assigned places at the show. Reservations can be made at: (819)771-7474. In the meantime, you can find further information on our featured guest at: www.alwoodmusic.com, at: www.facebook.com/BharathandhisRhythmFour/ , at: www.danlivingstone.com and at: www.michaeljeromebrowne.com. You should also visit our site which will provide you with links to all our guests’ sites and lots of other interesting information at: www.vireeblues.ca. For inquiries, please do contact Alexandre Petit at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Also make sure to take part in the facebook event for this show at: www.facebook.com/events/432632693592373/ and be sure to also like us on our facebook page at: www.facebook.com/vireeblues.