Your Guide To Bluesfest's 2016 Sideshows

16 March 2016 | 2:58 pm | Staff Writer

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With this year's Byron Bay Bluesfest just around the corner, a number of the artists performing at the event have commenced their sideshows around the country and here are a few you should keep your eye out for. 

allen stone

Bluesfest welcomes back soul artist, Allen Stone. With three albums under his belt, singer/songwriter Stone draws inspiration from musical heroes including Stevie Wonder and blends everything from edgy soul-pop and earthy folk-rock to throwback R&B and Parliament-inspired funk (he has even landed a gig as the opening act for soul legend Al Green!). The Chewelah, Washington-bred 28-year-old’s 2011 album - top 10 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and Top 5 on iTunes’ R&B/Soul chart – was made in collaboration with Swedish soul singer/songwriter/phenom Magnus Tingsek, and producer Benny Cassette (Kanye West, Frank Ocean). Stone’s latest album is Radius.

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the bros landreth

Canada’s exciting new Americana/Country group make their Bluesfest debut and premiere their debut album Let it Lie. Comprising siblings David & Joey Landreth (sons of renowned Winnipeg musician Wally Landreth) & friends Ryan Voth & Alex Campbell, The Bros draws influences from the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, John Hiatt & Lyle Lovett and has drawn comparisons to The Eagles, The Allman Brothers, & Jackson Browne.  Let it Lie scored the band a 2015 Juno award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year and New/Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2014 Canadian Folk Music Awards. 


the mick fleetwood blues band

Mick Fleetwood, the iconic co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, is celebrating his Blues heritage with his Grammy nominated band, The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band featuring Rick Vito. The band is led, of course, by the legendary Mick Fleetwood, providing a backbone with his unmistakable power-house percussion and persona. At the front of the group is Rick Vito, veteran Bluesman and former Fleetwood Mac vocalist and lead guitarist, Rick adds his personal touch while staying true to the styling of early Fleetwood Mac.


nahko & medicine for the people 

Bluesfest welcomes back World/Folk/Hip-Hop/Rock music collective Nahko & Medicine For The People, who will be sharing their spiritual, socially conscious message through amazing music with their fervent ‘tribe’, as they call their fans. A multi-instrumentalist who considers himself a citizen in service to the planet, armed with stories, a guitar, and a fierce set of ideals, Nahko Bear’s music is inspired by storytellers such as Conor Oberst and Bob Dylan plus the music of Bob  Marley. Reflecting that the band members are involved in numerous charity and community initiatives. Their latest album is Dark As Night.


the residents

Performance art at its best will be on display at Bluesfest when the experimental avant-garde music group The Residents make their return to Australia for the first time in a decade.

The Residents have managed to keep their identity a secret over their 40+ year career, hiding behind giant eyeball masks among other disguises and becoming one of the most enthralling and unusual bands in the history of music. They have recently and unexpectedly morphed into a power trio and are currently going by the names of Randy, Chuck and Bob. They will be presenting their new show Shadowland (Part 3 of their trilogy) where Randy, Chuck & Bob will focus on the beginning of life - birth. As with Parts One and Two of the trilogy, Part Three will feature music from The Residents’ extensive catalogue interspersed with short videos about birth, rebirth, reincarnation and NDEs (near death experiences). With 70 albums to date, the group has also been credited with being among the originators of performance art and music video.


rhiannon giddens

Rhiannon Giddens indisputably stole the show at the T Bone Burnett–curated 2013 Another Day, Another Time concert—a celebration of the early ’60s folk revival at New York City’s Town Hall. The Grammy Award–winning lead singer of African-American folk interpreters Carolina Chocolate Drops released her debut solo debut Tomorrow Is My Turn, recorded in Los Angeles and Nashville, to great acclaim last year. Giddens delivers striking renditions of Dolly Parton’s ‘Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind’ and Hank Cochran’s ‘She’s Got You’, popularised by Patsy Cline. The album incorporates Gospel, Jazz, Blues, and Country, plus a hint of proto-Rock’n’Roll.


the selecter

One of the biggest names in Ska 2-Tone, The Selecter, are coming to Bluesfest for the first time. During the 2 Tone era they toured with The Specials and Madness and were in the vanguard of the ska movement. The original front pair of Pauline Black & Gaps Hendrickson re-launched The Selecter in 2011 and since then they’ve played at major festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury, headlined UK tours and recorded three studio albums, the latest of which, Subculture, is mixed by UK dub-master Prince Fatty. They also perform enduring popular hits like ‘Three Minute Hero,’ ‘Missing Words’ and ‘On My Radio,’ and others from the Too Much Pressure album.


st paul & the broken bones

Grit, elemental rhythm, tight-as-a-drumhead playing, and a profound depth of feeling: these are the promises of a great soul band. And St Paul & the Broken Bones deliver on those promises. Close your eyes and you will think you’re listening to Otis Redding. Open them and you will see a daring young collective representing the new generation of blue-eyed soul.

They have created a maelstrom of interest with their roof-raising live shows and compelling debut album Half the City (produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes). The album harkens back to the Alabama’s classic soul roots while extending the form with electrifying potency.

They’ve built rapid fervour in audiences around the world, playing for major festivals including Lalapalooza, Cochella, and recently opening for The Rolling Stones.

Half the City presents the same engaged, high-voltage, in-the-pocket sound that St Paul & the Broken Bones produce at their live shows, where front man Paul Janeway’s extroverted performing style enraptures his audiences.