Bluesfest, held over the 5 Day Easter Long Weekend from Thursday 2nd to Monday 6th of April 2015 adds another superb array of artists to its ever-growing festival bill. The 26th Annual Bluesfest will be held at its custom built event site at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm just outside Byron Bay.
SWITCHFOOT • HUNTER HAYES
FLY MY PRETTIES
MUSIC MAKER PRESENTS SUPER CHIKAN AND VASTI JACKSON
DIESEL • JEFF LANG
PHIL WIGGINS & DOM TURNER
WATUSSI FINAL PERFORMANCES
NIKKI HILL • THE RUMJACKS
ARTISTS ALREADY ANNOUNCED
THE BLACK KEYS
BEN HARPER & THE INNOCENT CRIMINALS
EXCLUSIVE – ONLY AUSTRALIAN PERFORMANCE
PAOLO NUTINI • DAVID GRAY
THE GIPSY KINGS
FEAT. NICOLAS REYES & TONINO BALIARDO
ZAC BROWN BAND • BEN HOWARD • COUNTING CROWS
RODRIGO Y GABRIELA • JURASSIC 5 • GARY CLARK JR
ALABAMA SHAKES • TRAIN • MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD
JIMMY CLIFF • JOHN MAYALL • KEB MO • ANGELIQUE KIDJO
GEORGE CLINTON & PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC
PAUL KELLY PRESENTS THE MERRI SOUL SESSIONS
FEAT. DAN SULTAN, KIRA PURU, VIKA & LINDA BULL, CLAIRY BROWNE
MAVIS STAPLES • TROMBONE SHORTY & ORLEANS AVENUE • XAVIER RUDD AND THE UNITED NATIONS • CHARLES BRADLEY AND HIS EXTRAORDINAIRES • SOJA • DISPATCH • CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD • BETH HART • DONAVON FRANKENREITER • FRANK TURNER AND THE SLEEPING SOULS • TONY JOE WHITE • AUGIE MARCH • JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE • MELBOURNE SKA ORCHESTRA • MARIACHI EL BRONX • BAND OF SKULLS • BLUE KING BROWN • THE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS • ASH GRUNWALD • REBELUTION • JJ GREY & MOFRO • POKEY LAFARGE • DAVE ALVIN & PHIL ALVIN WITH THE GUILTY ONES • JON CLEARY & THE MONSTER GENTLEMEN • G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE • RUTHIE FOSTER • THE BEAT • KEZIAH JONES • SHEPPARD
ALAS – NO MIDNIGHT OIL THIS YEAR
JAKE SHIMABUKURO • TREVOR HALL • SERENA RYDER • PLAYING FOR CHANGE • STEVE SMYTH • KARL S. WILLIAMS
DECLAN KELLY PRESENTS DIESEL N DUB
FEAT. EMMA DONOVAN, ALEX LLOYD, PAT POWELL, RADICAL SON, TONY HUGHES
MUSIC MAKER PRESENTS
COOL JOHN FERGUSON, GEORGE STANCELL, SUPER CHIKAN AND VASTI JACKSON
PLUS A BLUESFEST FIRST!!
MICHAEL FRANTI’S SOULSHINE – MUSIC & YOGA CONCERT
FEAT. MICHAEL FRANTI, SOJA AND TREVOR HALL.
“We have such an exciting sixth announcement in what is a watershed year for Bluesfest. A genuine new superstar of Blues & Roots music – Hozier, Celtic legends The Waterboys, New Zealand’s all-star music collective Fly My Pretties on their first ever Australian festival appearances, lots of great new Blues artists, and to top it off – Country Music’s hottest new artist, Hunter Hayes.
As I am writing, I note that Hozier’s platinum selling single ‘Take Me To Church’, is No 2. on the Australian and New Zealand charts, No. 3 in the US Billboard charts and has gone back into the Top 10 this week in the BBC singles chart. ‘Take Me To Church’ is the most viral song on Spotify in the past 12 months with over 87,000,000 streams and 47,000,000 views of the video on Youtube. ‘Take Me To Church’ is nominated for ‘Song of the Year’, at the next Grammy Awards in February. The video for ‘Take Me To Church’ portrays a homophobic backlash against a young gay couple in Russia who flee an angry mob and is a protest against President Putin signing into law a ‘discriminatory’ ban on the spread of gay ‘propaganda’. Hozier says the song is a metaphor with him, comparing his love of a fellow human being to religion and its constraints. The song is about humanity and asserting yourself through an act of love.
Hozier is definitely NOT your everyday hit single musician. He hails from Bray, County Wicklow in Ireland, his father is a Blues musician and he is undoubtedly the most important Roots musician to emerge from Ireland in decades.The album Hozier is top 10 in the US, UK & Australia, and has returned Roots music styles to the top of the charts where it belongs. I am so excited to be bringing to Bluesfest an artist I believe is truly important, and who is fast becoming someone who the music world will look to, both now and in the future for truly inspiring music.
To be presenting Hozier, Paolo Nutini AND Ben Howard at Bluesfest 2015 means we will have on our stages, truly the best emerging artist from Ireland, Scotland AND the UK right now at the one festival – it’s simply breathtaking.
The Waterboys, led by the inimitable Mike Scott have produced an eclectic mix of Rock N’ Roll and Irish Folk Music now for the past 30 years and will be making their first Bluesfest appearance. Their song, ‘The Whole of the Moon’, is simply one of the greatest songs ever written, a classic which has gone to the top of the UK charts twice. The Waterboys new album released in January 2015, Modern Blues, was recorded in Nashville and contains a number of R&B tracks as well as the more usual Waterboys fare.
Are Fly My Pretties a New Zealand Supergroup? Well, they certainly are a group of Super Musicians. Led by The Black Seeds’ Barnaby Weir and formed in 2004, they are a collective, generally featuring members of The Black Seeds, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Phoenix Foundation. Their albums have gone to No 1. in New Zealand and their sell-out tour of theatres in their home country continues through the current ‘Homeland Tour’, promoting their new CD release ‘Homeland’. Fly My Pretties are a Kiwi institution and will be performing their debut festival performances in Australia…stay tuned for the announcement of who is going to be in this first ever Bluesfest edition of FMP’s.
Hunter Hayes is a phenomenon, he is the youngest artist to EVER top the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and is the youngest artist to EVER be nominated for 3 Grammy Awards at the same Grammy Awards in 2012. He won the Country Music Association award for Best New Artist of 2012, has sold well over 4 million recordings of his albums and smash single ‘Wanted’, is a genuine arena headliner in the US, plays 30 different types of instruments, is coming to Australia for the first time AND is only 23 years old. Hunter, who is from Breaux Bridge Louisiana is the real deal, a genuine Cajun prodigy AND….to top it all off, Hunter just won the People’s Choice Awards last week – Best Male Country Music Artist of 2014.
We certainly have the Blues covered in this announcement with Vasti Jackson and Super Chikan filling out our Music Maker group for 2015. Both of these players are at the top of their game. Super Chikan is Big Jack Johnson’s nephew, is the actor Morgan Freeman’s favourite Blues musician, plays that Northern Mississippi gritty hard Blues style and is the recipient of the Blues Awards ‘Best Traditional Blues album’ for 2010. Vasti Jackson may well be the best Blues performer – who is not a household name – playing today…..miss him at your peril.
We also have the Backsliders Dom Turner touring with the traditional Blues harmonica player Phil Wiggins in a Down Home duo and both Diesel & Jeff Lang rounding out the Aussie Blues performers, as well as the incendiary Nikki Hill returning, after igniting our 25th Bluesfest with her Rockabilly style – I can’t wait to hear her versions of AC/DC classics.
We are going to get to dance one last time to Watussi – Australia’s Best Latino band are about to do their last Salsa at Bluesfest – their Afro Columbian Roots Rock sound is an infectious groove…you simply cannot sit down when they play. Led by Oscar Jimenez and chosen by Santana to support him on tour in Australia, they have dominated the Latino genre over the past decade. If you have heard them before, then you know this is a don’t miss…if not, don’t miss your last chance to hear them.
We are now putting the final slatherings on the 2015 Bluesberry cake, with a few more surprises up our sleeve – this just may be our best serving yet.”
Read more about the artists that make up the 6th Artist Announcement:
Irish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Hozier is set to delight audiences when he makes his Bluesfest debut on Thursday 2nd April. At only 24 years of age, he accumulated a strong underground following through Spotify, You Tube and radio success, gathering momentum and rapidly burgeoning into international stardom.
Produced by Rob Kirwan (U2, Depeche Mode, Glasvegas, Ray Lamontagne), his 2013 debut EP, ‘Take Me To Church’ released later in Australia has been nominated for Song of the Year at the 2015 Grammys®. The song is a world-wide smash hit and currently sits at No 2 on Australian and New Zealand Charts, No 3 on the US Billboard charts and has just re-entered the BBC chart at No 10.
His seemingly overnight success comes from true talent. His poetic way with words is a blessing (for us) as much as his susceptibility to romance, and romantic dreaming, sounds like a curse (for him). His live performance is raw and captivating.
“…like the Velvet Underground ransacking an Irish pub” – The Telegraph
The Waterboys are finally coming to Bluesfest in 2015! Lead by one of the great contemporary frontmen, Mike Scott, and touring a brand new album, new line-up, and 25 years of material, Bluesfest audiences are in for the rarest of treats – with surprises to boot, so Scott tells us.
“People should expect the unexpected from The Waterboys,” says Mike Scott. It’s a mission statement which has inspired three decades of compelling musical shape-shifting, and one which yields thrilling results on The Waterboys’ eleventh album, Modern Blues, released in January 2015.
The ground-breaking 1998 release ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ that housed the hit title track, was followed by a string of now classics such as ‘We will not be lovers’, ‘How long will I love you’, and ‘Whole of the moon’ (which won the Ivor Novello prize for best song in 1991), Scott and his collective pioneered a new direction in rock and paved the way for countless contemporary bands.
California alt-rockers Switchfoot are bringing a different energy to Bluesfest on Easter Friday, in their first visit to the festival. Switchfoot is a prolific, multi-platinum selling artist, with nine albums to their name. They won a Grammy® Award for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album in 2011, eleven GMA Dove Awards and twelve San Diego Music Awards. Their songs have also featured on major Hollywood film soundtracks including ‘A Walk to Remember’ and “Hawaii Five-0’.
Formed by brothers Jon and Tim Foreman and their buddy, Chad Butler in 1997, it is now a five-piece band of endorsed, surfing champions and passionate musicians, enjoying commercial success and ardent fans across rock, blues and Christian genres. They’re also highly philanthropic, having founded the Switchfoot Bro-Am Surf Contest: an annual benefit contest and concert to raise money for the homeless in the band’s hometown of San Diego, as well as supporting many other causes.
Their latest album, ‘Fading West’ is an original soundtrack to the surf documentary of the same name, released in 2014. Bluesfest audiences will love what these guys stand for as well as their knock-out repertoire and live show.
Having just released his second album at only 23 years of age, Hunter Hayes is a name creating a serious buzz in American country music, and is making his Bluesfest debut in 2015.
Enviably talented beyond his years, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist received his first guitar from actor Robert Duvall at age six, performed for the President the following year, signed with Atlantic Nashville Records at age 18, supported Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, broke the Guinness Book of World Records’ mark for most concerts in a 24-hour period, and was the youngest male act ever to top the Billboard Hot Country song chart.
From there he has racked up accolades including recent performances at the Grammys®, and alongside country superstars Lady Antebellum, Grammy nominations, won CMA New Artist of the Year award, and just won the 2015 People’s Choice Award for Favourite Male Country Artist.
FLY MY PRETTIES
“A remarkable concept … with numerous dimensions … an amazing musical achievement” – Amplifier NZ
Fly My Pretties, the multi-platinum selling, award-winning, collaborative group starring a selection of New Zealand’s finest musicians and burgeoning new talent will be making their Bluesfest debut in 2015.
Fly My Pretties musical roots are an unashamedly kiwi sound stepped in folk, roots, soul and rock. Conceptualised by The Black Seeds’ Barnaby Weir and Loop’s Mikee Tucker, this unique, mercurial collective has become a legend of NZ music that continues to reach people all over the world. Forming in 2004, they generally feature members of The Black Seeds, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Phoenix Foundation. Their albums have gone to No 1. in New Zealand, and their sell-out tour of theatres there continues through the current ‘Homeland Tour’, promoting their new CD release ‘Homeland’.
The collective’s focus is on original music and artistic visual collaboration, and will be making their performances an unforgettable experience at Bluesfest on Easter Saturday and Monday. Stay tuned for the 2015 Bluesfest Fly My Pretties line-up.
MUSIC MAKER PRESENTS Super Chikan and Vasti Jackson
2012 Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame inductee, world-renowned guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, arranger, and producer Vasti Jackson is a force to be reckoned with! He is known for sweat-drenched, soul-ripping live performances marked by some of the most stunning and innovative guitar playing today. Having collaborated with some of the biggest names in entertainment including BB King, Harry Connick Jr., and even Martin Scorsese, Vasti moves effortlessly from Blues, Soul, Jazz, Funk, Gospel, Pop, and beyond. Vasti’s firey guitar work and stellar vocals leave a lasting impression on all that are lucky enough to experience his music.
James “Super Chikan” Johnson, an award winning multi-instrumentalist, is renowned for his ability to meld the blues with a number of different musical styles, including country, funk, and rock. He is The Real Deal, playing raw, uncut Delta Blues. His lyrics offer a unique perspective, providing both humorous and serious views of life. He is Big Jack Johnson’s cousin, playing in a similar style to his cousin and RL Burnside. He even builds and hand-paints his own guitars, and other instruments. Johnson combined discarded guitar parts with old army gas cans, creating “Chikantars,” fully playable guitars that he now plays at many of his performances, adding to the unique live experience.
Said to be Morgan Freeman’s favourite Blues musician, his is the resident band at Morgan’s club in Clarksdale Mississippi, ‘Ground Zero’, and toured supporting actor and Blues musician Steven Segal’s band Thunderbox. Delta-born and strongly connected to the south, he is a recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission and has received many accolades for both his music and art including Mississippi’s Governors Award for Excellence in the Arts, Best Blues Album and Best Debut Album at the Living Blues Magazine Awards (1998), Best Traditional Blues Album Award at the Blues Music Awards (2010), he was a featured performer for the Library of Congress’s “Homegrown” series and also performed at the Kennedy Centre as part of their Millennium Stage series.
Please note: Due to ill health and visa difficulties, Little Freddie King and Guitar slim Jr. are unfortunately unable to join us this year, as we originally announced. With the addition of Super Chikan and Vasti Jackson, the complete Music Maker Blues Revue lineup for 2015 Bluesfest will be Cool John Ferguson, George Stancell, Super Chikan and Vasti Jackson, with Albert White, Nashid Abdul and Ardie Dean.
American-born, Australian music legend, Diesel is returning to Bluesfest on Easter Sunday and Monday. After bursting onto the Australian live scene in 1986 as ‘Johnny Diesel & The Injectors’ and a subsequent solo career from 1991, he is renowned as one Australia’s best and hardest working rock acts.
With a career spanning more than 25 years, over 35 singles, 13 albums, 6 ARIA awards and record sales edging 1 million, Diesel is a journeyman of music. With blues music in his DNA, Diesel has blended styles to come up with a unique sound, punctuated with his distinct guitar playing and soulful vocals.
He is a multi-instrumentalist, song writer, composer, arranger, and producer, having produced albums for Richard Clapton and Vika & Linda Bull, and even made his scoring debut in 2012 with six-part series Bikies Wars: Brothers in Arms, contributing the theme track and over 140 original score pieces.
Releasing his thirteenth studio album Let it Fly in 2013, his versatility spans contemporary ballads to Mississippi blues to country-folk to thumping pub-rock; Diesel is a true asset to Australian music, and Bluesfest is proud to welcome him back for another killer set.
Jeff Lang has earned worldwide acclaim as a virtuosic guitarist, a dynamic songwriter and a startlingly live performer. Blending rock, roots, folk, blues, ballads, instrumentals, improvisation and a devastatingly high level of musicality, Jeff Lang is a stand-out unique performer.
His previous album, Carried In Mind won the 2012 ARIA award for “Best Blues & Roots”, “Album of The Year” by Australia’s roots music bible, Rhythms, and the ‘National Folk Recording Award’ presented by Australia’s National Film and Sound Archives. Ever one to experiment with genres and instrumentation, Jeff’s world music project Djan Djan won the 2010 ARIA for “Best World Release”.
Lang has released two diverse records in the last year; his solo I Live In My Head A lot These Days and world music collaboration ‘Maru Tarang’ with Asin Langa & Bhungar Manganiya from Rajasthan & Bobby Singh. His live shows are much talked about, always taking the audience along for the ride, Lang has generated a word-of-mouth cult following that spans the globe.
PHIL WIGGINS AND DOM TURNER
“sounds as if they’re being recorded on a plantation in Mississippi by The Library of Congress in the ‘40s” – International Review of Music
Described as America’s foremost harmonica virtuoso, Phil Wiggins returns to Bluesfest for a special performance with Backsliders’ guitarist and vocalist Dom Turner on Easter Sunday and Monday.
Now a highly respected life-time contributor to Piedmont blues and National Council for Traditional Arts board member, Phil Wiggins achieved worldwide acclaim over three decades as one half of the premier Piedmont blues duo of Cephas & Wiggins.
Renowned for captivating live shows, Dom Turner’s achievements with ARIA nominees The Backsliders over 25 years includes itunes Australian Blues and Roots album of the year winners, Australian Blues Awards Songwriter of the Year, and Rhythms’ Magazine Readers Poll Blues Album of the Year (2002).
Doug Mulray says ‘this is the best acoustic blues band in the country’ and Rhythms Magazine calls them ‘…Australia’s top blues act”.
The duo recently performed a critically acclaimed series of East Coast USA concerts, their first formal collaboration, and included a set-list packed with Piedmont, Delta, & Hill Country blues. Their debut album ‘Owing the Devil a Day’s Work’ is due out early 2015.
WATUSSI – final performances!
Sydney afro-latin-rockers Watussi are coming back at Bluesfest for one last hurrah!
They’ve sold out countless shows with blustering horns, party-fuelled rhythms and rocking roots bass-lines, been nominated for an ARIA and had their work hailed as ‘genius’.
Hand-picked by Brian Eno to perform at the Sydney Opera House in 2009 as part of his curation for the inaugural Vivid LIVE festival, they’ve also shared the stage with Santana, Pedro Martinez and Jon Cleary to name but a few, and were the first band to perform at the celebrated, four-yearly Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro in Colombia.
Don’t miss one of your last chances to enjoy their explosive shows and new afro-latin sound.
“Hill is a magnetic, super cool front woman … smashing through rock’n’roll, blues, soul and rockabilly with aplomb” – Tone Deaf
Often coined the new queen of soul, Nikki Hill and her band are setting fire to stages around the world, including Bluesfest 2015! Nikki Hill will be returning to Bluesfest and the best news is she will be performing every day of the festival!
Hailing from North Carolina, and influenced mostly by Little Richard, Nikki comes by her Deep South soul honestly. This blues shouter and growler is a bona fide rock’n’roll diva that has audiences wrapped around her finger.
Her 2012 self-titled EP created a heavy and sudden international underground buzz that has continued to grow and build on her fan base after her first full-length release ‘Here’s Nikki Hill’ in 2013.
“few bands that do it better than the Rumjacks” – Soulshine
Five musical misfits from the cobbled streets of old Sydney town, Celtic punk-rockers The Rumjacks, are coming to Bluesfest for the first time!
The first band to be signed to ABC’s Four label, The Rumjacks are an entity rather askew, cast adrift of the mainstream and the industry as a whole this is a group unto itself and the music they’ve made is their own.
Likened to the The Pogues, Billy Bragg, and Dropkick Murphys, The Rumjacks ooze Celtic roots with the driving punk rock rhythms, cheeky lyrics and rampant, greased up bonhomie that drips from the stage.
Bluesfest playing schedule is available on www.bluesfest.com.au.
All festival and camping tickets are on sale through www.bluesfest.com.au or phone the office on 02 6685 8310.
Tickets are also available through Moshtix www.moshtix.com.au and Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.com.au.