Over the last several years we have enjoyed several games with the Ottawa Bluesfest. First we start by scouring the web to find the rumours of who will be playing this year and then once the list comes out we then say how disappointed we are with who is coming. So today as the Bluesfest gets ready to start lets pick from the artists who are alive and decide who should be at the Bluesfest. We won't worry too much about having Blues acts at Bluesfest and we won't worry about Government funding for Canadian Artists, scheduling conflicts, budget or just about anything else that the organizers of the real Bluesfest need to consider. So there are 13 days for the Festival let's pick 5 artists per day for a total of 65 artists. The real Bluesfest has many more acts than that. Who would you pick if you could have anyone?
Here is my suggestions, please feel free to make yours of rip into these.
Tuesday July 5 - A New Orleans Day to kick things off
1) Allen Toussaint - there is nothing this guy can't do. Producer, songwriter, arranger, session pianist, solo artist, he is a one man festival
2) The Neville Brothers - some of the members are actually here at this year's festival. Soul, funk, R&B, just an amazing group who still sound great.
3) Dirty Dozen Boss Brass - R&B meets New Orleans Brass, a great party band
4) Maceo Parker - he is actually from North Carolina but he is of course about as close a connection to James Brown as possible and he just flat out grooves.
5) Dr. John - The Voodoo music is still swinging and Ottawa could use a little tribal communion.
Wednesday July 6: a little rock in a world where rock is almost gone
1) Japandroids - loud, fast and out of control, says good times at the fest
2) Crystal Antlers - from California, maybe not quite as loud but should be great live
3) The Twilight Singers - Dulli seems to have his act together, it's a good time to see him
4) The National - great pop band, the sort you may have thought were extinct
5) Arcade Fire - did you know the drummer of the band, Jeremy Gara was a co-op student at CKCU, hired as a summer student to sort LP's and was a tuesday afternoon host on CKCU?
Thursday July 7: aging singer/songwriter night or Hardly Strictly Bluegrass East
1) John Prine - despite years of hard living and fighting off cancer, he still puts on a great show
2) Guy Clark - why is not more popular? one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time
3)Emmylou Harris - still amazing. she could sing the phonebook and make it work. was later in her career when she started to write most of her own material. A national treasure.
4) Nick Lowe - is he really older? seems like yesterday he was in Rockpile? Well it wasn't but he has gracefully made the transition from "Heart of the City" to fit on this bill
5) Ry Cooder - songwriting may not be his best quality but he almost never performs and his rare shows are out of this world. as is his body of work
Friday July 8 - TGIF!
1) Aloe Blacc - one of the best singles in years, and it turns out he has other great songs also
2)Talib Kweli - loads of talent
3)Cee Lo Green - parental warnings aside, should be worth seeing
4)Janelle Monae - drama and music
5) Kanye West - topping off a topper of a show
Saturday July 9: Dinosaur Night # 1 - hey need to sleep in on Sunday
1)Ray Davies - played one of the best Bluesfest shows ever, please make up and bring back the Kinks. Or at least a band that can play like the Kinks.
2)Patti Smith - you don't want to come on the stage after her
3) Tom Waits - has never stopped being relevant
4) Lou Reed - aging with the anger and ferocity still intact. Maybe we will even get some Velvet Underground.
5) John Fogerty - the best Dino show in an arena I have ever seen and look at that he is here at the real Bluesfest
Sunday July 10: Country night for those who remember country music used to be about story telling
1) Ryan Bingham - sweet sweet country music. one to keep an eye on
2) Robert Earl Keen Jr. - despite his best efforts he is still going strong
3) Vince Gill - you may need to take my word because the recordings don't show much but he has a great live show and can pull it off on a big stage
4) Allison Krauss - has it all including a lights out band
5) Avett Brothers - not really country, but they can write, sing and need to be at the festival
Monday July 11: let's call this critics and cool kids day. no day off at this fest
1) Animal Collective - freak folk? melodic psych? something like that
2) Fleet Foxes - baroque pop? i think you get the idea. one hot band
3) Sufjan Stevens - critic fave who can back up all the claims
4) Joanna Newsom - ok if you don't know go get the music. better yet get a turntable, buy the LP's, drop the needle and then get to her show
5) TV on the Radio - another critic fave that will deliver good times
Tuesday July 12: the return of Lilith Fair
1) Cat Power - seeing her at the Black Sheep Inn was one of the most unusual and best shows ever
2) The Submarines - they are pretty catchy eh!
3) Joan as Police Woman - music sounds good on the recordings could the live show be strong as well?
4) Adele - who knew you can be popular and have some talent?
5) Laura Marling - yet another person with talent who can sell records. What is the world coming to?
Wednesday July 13: Atmospheric night. Let's hope there is a pink sunset and then a lightning storm in the distance
1) Julianna Barwick - ethereal sound scapes will send you to another place.
2) A Silver Mount Zion - chamber rock from Montreal, will mix well with the sounds of the transitway
3) Godspeed You Black Emperor - sharing some of the same members as Mount Zion, they will complete the interplanetary travel
4) The Sea and Cake - cerebral music at a festival? why not
5) Tortoise - still going and showing no signs of slowing down
Thursday July 14: Words Night
1) Garland Jeffreys - one of the best live shows you will see. oh yeah he writes amazing songs too
2)Michael Franti - is it possible to keep getting better and better?
3)Saul Williams - back doing his thing, and what a thing it is
4) Mike Ladd - amazing live performer, spoken work at its finest
5) The Roots - been here before, I think it is time to see them again.
Friday July 15: Afrobeat Night
1) Tinariwen - been here at least twice before, can't come often enough
2)Souljazz Orchestra - more than deserve to play this day!
3)Antibalas - killer live show
4)Tony Allen - what a show he did in Ottawa!
5)Seun Kuti - not his father but he puts on a great party
Saturday July 16 - Dino Night # 2 - somebody has to buy a ticket
1) Mark Knopfler - please suck it up and bring back Dire Straits
2) Jeff Lynne - do what you can to re-live the Move and ELO and the Wilbury's and...
3) Tom Petty - wow a dino who still has new music we might like
4)Neil Young - maybe he can try an outdoor festival show again and bring back Crazy Horse. they may not have been as bad as we thought
5) Bob Dylan - still clinging to the hope he can pick up a guitar again, regain his voice and play with the Hawks. Oh well let's instead count on a good beer sponsor to aid with appreciating what little he has left in the tank
Sunday July 17: I guess there should be some blues
1) Eric Bibb - despite his handsome looks he can pull off hurtin' like few others
2) Corey Harris - sit back and drink this in, has bite but worth it
3) King Clarentz - would love to see him
4) T Model Ford - is he still alive and performing? if so he is a must
5) Mavis Staples - not just blues but she has heard them and she is fabulous live
Well there it is. Flame away.