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Published November 4, 2011 in Loose Blues News, News

November 2011 – Vol. 27, No. 11

Sleepwalk Guitar Festival Update: Six Shooter Records presents the inaugural Sleepwalk Guitar Festival, an education and celebration of all things guitar. Curated by Luke Doucet, Sleepwalk Guitar Festival brings together trailblazers and standard-bearers of excellence from across genres and across North America. Sleepwalk’s namesake is the instantly familiar (and Billboard chart topper) instrumental composed by Santo and Johnny Farina. They have just confirmed the lineup for The Side and Centre Workshop (Saturday, November 5, 5:00pm). This Saturday afternoon workshop features songwriters Andy Maize, Danny Michel, Justin Rutledge and Melissa McClelland. Guitarists are Afie Jurvanen, Christine Bougie, James Robertson and Kurt Swinghammer.

The Side and Centre Workshop will showcase the creativity and versatility of these talented six-string sidemen and women. Acoustic demos will be provided in advance by the songwriters, and the guitarists will perform different arrangements of the songs, highlighting the importance of instrumental interpretation.

There will also be two exciting Sunday afternoon Jam Sessions, The Sleepwalk Country Jam features Telecaster masters Brent Mason (Nashville, TN) and Redd Volkaert (Austin, TX) alongside Hurtin’ Albertan Grant Siemens and The Blues Jam welcomes Les Paul player Duke Robillard, Stony Plain stalwart Amos Garrett, Winnipeg Perpetrator J Nowicki and Multi-Platinum Juno Award winning Colin James.  Both jams will be backed by the Sleepwalk rhythm section, John Dymond on bass and Derek Downham of The Beauties on drums. Sleepwalk’s Sunday programming also includes a clinic (guitars welcome) by Amos Garett on how to play the iconic Billboard-topping “Sleep Walk” instrumental guitar composition. Tickets are available at Day passes for Sunday are available for $40. Full weekend passes are $75.

This year, Sleepwalk Guitar Festival welcomes Afie Jurvanen, Amos Garrett, Andrew Dickson, Brent Mason, Christine Bougie, Colin James, Danny Michel, Duke Robillard, Gordon Lewis, Grant Siemens, Ian Blurton, J Mascis, James Robertson, Jay Nowicki, Kurt Swinghammer, Luke Doucet & The White Falcon, Melissa McClelland, Redd Volkaert, Richard Lloyd Trio and The Sadies, with more to come. Sleepwalk Guitar Festival will include full concerts, workshops, clinics and interviews.

Luke Doucet is a renowned guitarist who has evolved from sideman to leading slinger. Recognized as one of Canada’s premiere guitarists, Doucet’s reputation has brought praise from both fellow musicians and critics worldwide: “Whenever and wherever Luke Doucet hits the stage, he wrestles every last ounce of Neil Young-battles-Brian Setzer twang out of his gleaming cream-and-gold companion” (Guitar Player Magazine).

The Sleepwalk Guitar Festival will be held at Toronto’s Great Hall from November 4-6, 2011.

“Doctor of the Blues” in the Studio: Marshall Lawrence, aka “Doctor of the Blues,” is making a “House Call”.  House Call is another all-acoustic Neo-Delta Blues & Roots offering featuring more original material and a few select classic blues covers done Marshall Lawrence style. Russell Jackson (former B.B. King bassist) is on stand-up acoustic bass and David “Hurricane” Hoerl blowing harp. Marshall says, “That session was a dream come true and a career highlight for me! House Call is my “BEST” and bluesy-est project yet. I’m very excited about House Call. I am pulling out all the stops to raise the cash to get my new CD released. House Call will be released Spring/Summer 2012.”

Anthony Gomes comes home: Anthony Gomes, now an internationally renowned recording artist will be playing to an intimate crowd at the Black Angus in St. Marys on November 4th.  Mr. Gomes plays to sold-out audiences in much larger venues in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.  This is a rare opportunity to see him live in a very small venue

Being a Nashville resident for several years has no doubt been inspirational to Anthony. Gomes has no problems in playing the guitar god to the hilt.  He can throw in a dash of Eddie Van Halen and play a whirlwind of notes while laying a hot slab of funk on the platter but he’s still a bluesman at heart.

Slim Harpo recognized: The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame has inductd Baton Rouge blues greats Slim Harpo (posthumously), Henry Gray and Tabby Thomas at the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Blues Bash last month at the RaXX Bar and Grill in Erwinville, Louisiana. Entertainment was provide by the Neal Family, Kenny Neal, Larry Garner and more.

RIP Mojo Buford: Blues harpist George “Mojo” Buford, best known for his work as part of the great Muddy Waters’ band, passed away on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 in a Minneapolis hospital after suffering from various health issues since the summer. Buford was 81 years old.

Born in Hernando, Mississippi in 1929, Buford moved to Memphis as a child and became enamored of the blues. He would later re-locate to Chicago in 1952, forming the Savage Boys band. Buford first played with Waters in 1959 as a replacement for the departing Little Walter. A few years later, however, the talented blues harpist moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to form his own band. He would re-join Waters’ band in 1967 after James Cotton left, and played with the Chicago blues legend during the early 1970s.

Buford also enjoyed a modicum of success as a solo performer, recording albums like Mojo Buford’s Blues Summit and Harpslinger for labels like Fedora Records, JSP Records, Rooster Blues, P-Vine, and Mr. Blues. Blues harpist Bob Corritore shares a funny story in his great newsletter about an alleged Ray Charles album on the Vernon label titled On Stage At The Palladium which featured Charles on only two tracks, the rest by Buford’s band Mo Jo & The Mo Jo Chi Fours. Since Mojo’s performances were so strong, few collectors complained!

Aside from Waters, Buford’s gorgeous chromatic harp tones graces recordings from blues artists like Otis Spann, Luther “Snake Boy” Johnson, the Reunion Blues Band and others. He will always be remembered for the spirit and energy he brought to his work with Muddy Waters.

John-Alex Mason Passes: The Gazette newspaper, out of Colorado Springs, Colorado is reporting on the tragic death of blues guitarist John-Alex Mason at the young age of 35 years old. Mason had gone into the hospital for an out-patient procedure to remove cancerous tissue, and passed away from complications after the surgery.

Born in 1975 in Colorado Springs, Mason began singing in the church while a child, and later taught himself the guitar at the age of 13 years old. Influenced by Robert Johnson and the Delta blues, Mason first made a name for himself a decade ago when he won the 2001 Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition. He spent time in Memphis working street corners as a one man band.


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