Michael Franti's Soulshine at Bluesfest. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/Northern Star
Michael Franti's Soulshine at Bluesfest. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

New acts announced for next year's Bluesfest

THE line-up for next year's Bluesfest just got a whole lot more exciting.

Sixteen world class artists will be appearing to delight music lovers from across Australia.

They are:

  • Youssou N'dour
  • Seal
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead
  • Jackson Browne
  • Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit
  • Gomez
  • Rag 'n' Bone Man
  • The Original Blues Brothers Band
  • Jimmy Cliff
  • The Wailers
  • Benjamin Booker
  • Hurray For The Riff Raff
  • Canned Heat
  • Walter Trout
  • André Cymone
  • The Teskey Brothers

In typical Bluesfest fashion it's a truly eclectic mix of heritage artists, festival favorites and exciting new comers - there's something for any true music lover.

"Our second Bluesfest artist announcement features a cross section of artists - from the greatest African artist of our time, to incredible singers (in a year we already have such incredibly great singers already announced), to the best in Americana, Reggae, Blues & Roots music and more," Bluesfest director Peter Noble said.

"When added to those already announced, and with more to come, it's going to be very special Bluesfest."

Mr Noble said legendary African artist Youssou N'Dour is coming with his 20 piece band of musicians, singers and acrobats to play Bluesfest on Good Friday in what will surely be remembered as one of the most spectacular performances ever at the festival.

With performers such as Robert Plant and Lionel Richie already announced, the latest line up is sure to get the Bluesfest excitement gathering.

"We now announce that the soulful Seal and Jamaica's greatest singer Jimmy Cliff will also play at Bluesfest 2018," Mr Noble said.

"Michael Franti and Spearhead have been playing Bluesfest for a long time now. The reason we keep bringing them back is simple: they are one of the best festival bands.

"Jackson Browne, a true renaissance man; as well as a gifted artist. He is returning with his classic songs and important message about human rights, charitable contributions and environmental activism.

"Since Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit last played Bluesfest, he has won Two Grammy Awards, and after his clean sweep at the Americana Music Awards in 2014 winning Song, Album AND Artist of the year, he has since also won Song AND Album of the year in 2016, plus had a number one album, TWICE in the Billboard Country, Folk AND Rock charts."

Contemporary music lovers will be pleased with the inclusion of Rag 'n Bone Man, coming for more amazing performances after a highly successful tour earlier this year.

Gomez fans will be pleased to hear they are getting back together for their 20th anniversary tour.

"We also have the amazing Benjamin Booker, Andre Cymone, The Teskey Brothers and Hurray for the Riff Raff a band fronted by Alynda Segarra. Comparisons are already being made to Rhiannon Giddens and Gillian Welch," Mr Noble said.

What is a true Bluesfest without those men on a mission from God?

"Yes, it's the truly incredible Original Blues Brothers Band," Mr Noble said.

"They have only played Bluesfest once before, and they are coming back to Australia by popular demand.... simply showstoppers."

The newly announced line-up joins with those artists already coming to Bluesfest which include:

  • Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters
  • Lionel Richie
  • The John Butler Trio
  • Tash Sultana
  • The New Power Generation
  • Chic Featuring Nile Rodgers
  • First Aid Kit
  • Jose Gonzalez
  • Morcheeba
  • Gov't Mule
  • Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real
  • The California Honeydrops
  • Eric Gales
  • Bobby Rush
  • Dumpstaphunk
  • Joe Louis Walker
  • Rick Estrin & The Nightcats

Full Artist Bios

 

 

Youssou N'Dour
Youssou N'Dour Contributed

Youssou N'Dour

According to Rolling Stone N'Dour "is undoubtedly one of the most beloved artists in the entire continent of Africa". Stone "N'Dour is perhaps the most famous singer alive in Senegal and much of Africa", however he is also known to Australian audiences through his work with Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel and through his smash hit 1994 single "7 Seconds" featuring Neneh Cherry.

Six years after his Bob Marley cover on the Dakar-Kingston album, N'Dour who is known as the Prince of the Medina of Dakar has been back in the recording studio. While serving as Minister of Culture and then Tourism for Senegal in the government of President Macky Sall (elected in 2012), N'dour put his artistic activities on hold, but his current status as 'Minister Advisor to the President' has given him more leeway. He says of his country:

"In Africa, there's a dynamic movement driven by culture. Africa needs a smile on its face and must show its strengths. Senegal is a strong, pacific country with deep roots. It is developing a very civic coexistence between its 95% Muslims and 5% Christians - the community of Leopold Sédar Senghor, the Christian President of a Muslim country."

In 2016 N'Dour released 'Africa Rekk' on Jive/Sony Music. The album was recorded in Dakar at the Studios Prince Arts, "which belongs to my brothers and sisters. "It's a Pan-African album," he explains "the first of its kind since Egypt in 2004, when I showed that Africa was one, from the Cape to Algiers and as far as Cairo." 'Africa Rekk' is Africa celebrated by Youssou N'Dour, with all its modern and traditional compartments. It features Mbalax, the Wolof beat, but as part of a blend: "for instance, with rumba and other rhythms. It's an umbilical cord that links all of Africa." To weave his tapestry with all its fine details of music and sound, Youssou brought in a number of young people who had created an amazing urban music - a sound of the street. They included Nigeria's Spotless, brother of the star Tekno Miles, and producer Hakim, born in California and living in The Gambia. The credits also feature Fally Ipupa, 'the Kinshasa Di Caprio', "who embodies that Africa where tradition and modernity meet," an Africa where keyboards and machines merge with tama, balafon and djembe.

N'Dour has a gift for honouring the past while looking to the future. His voice remains as powerful and relevant as ever and Bluesfest is proud to share it with their audience in 2018.

 

 

Seal
Seal Contributed

Seal

Much like the legends who originally popularized them, Seal sounds right at home singing the classics that comprise his tenth studio album and first for Republic Records, Standards-arriving November 10, 2017. At the same time, the London-born and Los Angeles-based four-time GRAMMY® Award-winning icon imbues all 14 tracks with his singular sense of soul. Undeniably, the performances stand out as show-stopping, stunning, and signature Seal.

In many ways, Standards represents destiny for Seal. It's as if his unmistakable and undeniable voice were always meant to carry these numbers as his love for the music can be traced back to childhood.

"This is the album I have always wanted to make," he affirms. "I grew up listening to music from the Rat Pack era, so recording these timeless tunes was a lifelong dream."

2017 saw the multiplatinum singer-songwriter quietly begin working on what would become Standards alongside producer Nick Patrick [Hans Zimmer] on hallowed ground at the world-renowned Capitol Records in Los Angeles. Fittingly, this spot served as the site of recordings by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, and more. To rekindle that spark, he enlisted the help of an A-list cadre of musicians notable for their work with these titans, namely Randy Waldman [pianist who toured with Sinatra and Paul Anka], Chuck Berghofer [bass player who performed with Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles], and Greg Fields [drummer who also performed with Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder].

Seal elaborates, "It was a true honor to collaborate with the same musicians who performed with Frank and so many of my favorite artists, in the very same studios where the magic was first made-it was one of the greatest days of my recording career."

As the project remained extremely close to his heart, the powerhouse vocalist also carefully chose a tracklisting that reflected his longstanding passion for everyone from Sinatra to Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, making sure to preserve the integrity of the originals as he respectfully added his own panache, power, and presence.

Fittingly, the singer introduced the record with a boisterous, bright, and brilliant take on Sinatra's "Luck Be A Lady." Over jazz-y horns and swaggering piano, his voice booms vibrantly and vividly. Elsewhere, the delicate orchestration of "It Was A Very Good Year" serves as the perfect backdrop for him to sensitively reminisce via the timeless lyrics, "When I was seventeen, it was a very good year."

From the captivating magic of "I Put a Spell On You" to the wistful romance of "Autumn Leaves," the artist brings the classic songbook to life like only he can. However, it doesn't stop with the "standards." Just in time for the holidays, he also recharges and reimagines a pair of Christmas classics as well: "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" and "Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)." The former hinges on jazz piano punctuated by his unmistakable cadence, while the latter warms like a crackling fireplace on a snowy Christmas eve. Gorgeous and glorious, Standards showcases the scope of his voice like never before.

Known for unforgettable live shows, these songs will undoubtedly flourish within the live arena as this world-class performer takes the record on the road in the near future on what promises to be a very special global run.

For Seal, Standards continues a tradition of storied performances that began way back in 1991 when his voice drove Adamski's 1991 club smash "Killer" followed by his own Top 10 hit "Crazy." On the heels of his stunning debut album, he went on to win the prestigious BRIT Award for "Best British Male" in 1992, while hits like "Kiss From a Rose," memorably included on the Batman Forever soundtrack, earned him multiple Grammy awards and global esteem. An established superstar, with worldwide album sales exceeding 30 million, his 2015 studio offering reunited him with longtime collaborator, producer Trevor Horn. Beyond the stage and studio, his influence permeates multiple facets of pop culture. Following three popular stints on The Voice Australia, he also returned as a coach for the 2017 season to much fan enthusiasm.

In the end, everything comes back to the music. Standards solidifies Seal's stature among history's biggest, boldest, and best voices as he leaves his mark on the songs that have defined one generation after another. It's a timeless vehicle for his timeless voice. 

 

 

Michael Franti
Michael Franti Contributed

Michael Franti

There is no doubt that Michael Franti and Spearhead are one of Bluesfest's most beloved artists, so it's a thrill to announce they're back for the first time since 2015. A Franti show is a celebration, where tears of joy are shed, new friends are made and souls are uplifted.

There'll be favorites old and new such as 'Say Hey (I love You)', 'I'm Alive', 'Everyone Deserves Music', 'The Sound of Sunshine', 'Hey Hey Hey', and 'I'll Be Waiting' plus a few Michael Franti surprises as well.

As his many Australian fans already know the Founder of the Do It For Love Foundation brings pleasure to many by gifting people who are living with advanced stages of life-threatening illnesses live concert and 'meet & greet' experiences. He is a great human being and one the festival is proud to have a long and happy association with. Don't miss his uplifting, soulful sets at Bluesfest next Easter. 

 

 

Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne Contributed

Jackson Browne

In an announcement that will make a lot of fans very happy, Bluesfest has added Jackson Browne to the 2018 festival. Jackson Browne has written and performed some of the most literate and moving songs in popular music and has defined a genre of song writing charged with honesty, emotion and personal politics. In a career spanning over 45 years, he has released nineteen albums: 11 Top 40, four platinum, three multi-platinum & two gold. 1977's 'Running on Empty' is seven times platinum.

Beyond his music, Browne is known for his advocacy on behalf of the environment, human rights, and arts education. He was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 by Bruce Springsteen, who said to Browne of The Eagles "You wrote the songs they wished they had written". Bluesfest is delighted to include this treasure of contemporary musical history in our line-up.

 

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Contributed

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Crowd favourite Jason Isbell returns to Bluesfest in 2018 with his brand new album 'The Nashville Sound'.

This album is a call, and the songs on it send sparks flying into a culture that's already running so hot the needle on the temperature gauge is bouncing erratically in the red. And while it's understandable that, in this moment, some people want their radio to help them drift away, this finely calibrated set of ten songs is aimed right between the clear eyes of people who prefer to stay present and awake. It's a call to those who won't cower no matter how erratically the world turns, and who aren't afraid of what looks back when they look in the mirror. Bruce Springsteen did that. Neil Young did that. Jason Isbell does that.

As with Isbell's 2013 breakthrough, Southeastern, and his double-Grammy-winning follow up, 2015's 'Something More Than Free', 'The Nashville Sound' was produced by Dave Cobb. Isbell says that he and Cobb created a simple litmus test for the decisions they made in the two weeks they spent at RCA Studios (which was known as "The home of the Nashville Sound" back in the '60's and '70s): they only made sonic moves that their heroes from back in the day could've made, but simply never did. It's a shrewd approach-an honest way to keep the wiz-bang of modern recording technology at arm's length, while also leaving the old bag of retro rock 'n' roll tricks un-rummaged.

Jason, it seems, after years grinding the rail that separates terra firma from the brink, has put in the sweat equity it takes to hug it out with his demons and fill his life with meaning, bright and clean. If that sounds good to you, this album lights the path. Bluesfest welcomes back the wordsmith with open arms.

 

Gomez
Gomez Contributed

Gomez

Bluesfest is proud to welcome Gomez back to Bluesfest for the first time since 2007! It's also the band's first tour in over 6 years, just in time for the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough album 'Bring it On'. With so much to celebrate their festival appearance is not to be missed.

The five members of Gomez -- Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitar), Tom Gray (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Paul Blackburn (bass, guitar), Olly Peacock (drums), and Ian Ball (vocals, guitar, harmonica) -- played their first shows together in Leeds in late 1996, and soon began recording songs in Olly's dad's garage in Southport. The demos aroused considerable interest, and the group signed to the Virgin subsidiary label Hut Records in 1997. These garage demos eventually became their debut, 'Bring It On', which was praised in the rock press on both sides of the Atlantic.

The group stood apart in their attitude and demeanour from the Brit-pop groups then currently in vogue. Typical of this was the comment from the panel of judges for the Mercury Music Prize who described the album as "an intriguing blend of swamp blues, bar-room rock and eerie power." Gomez won 1998's Mercury Music Prize for Album of the Year, where they edged out such stiff competition as Massive Attack's Mezzanine, the Verve's 'Urban Hymns' and Pulp's 'This Is Hardcore'.

'Liquid Skin' followed in 1999, and the now-out-of-print rarities and B-sides compilation 'Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline' was issued a year later. A third studio album 'In Our Gun' was released in Spring 2002. Pared down tracks were released on the Tchad Blake-produced 'Split the Difference' in 2004. In 2005, they signed with ATO Records and released 'Out West', Gomez's first live album, in June. Their most successful album, 'How We Operate' was released in May 2006 in addition to a retrospective collection of singles, rarities, and unreleased tracks, Five Men in a Hut: Singles 1998-2004 later in the year.

Gomez is living proof that perseverance and consistency are qualities to be proud, of as the group have ridden out changes in fads and styles around them to maintain their popularity and critical standing around the world. 'Bring It On' has a creative buzz, the excitement and spirit of adventure that comes when any young band starts out -- and which Gomez have, with no self-aggrandised fanfare, successfully maintained to this day. Bluesfest is thrilled to welcome them back to the festival at such an important time in the bands career.  

 

 

Rag 'n' Bone Man
Rag 'n' Bone Man Contributed

Rag'n'Bone Man

Rory Graham, AKA Rag'n'Bone Man has injected an exciting new twist into the blues music he grew up with in his parental home in Eastm Sussex bringing it bang up to date using the beats and production methods of contemporary Hip-Hop. Equally he resurrects age-old themes of loss and romantic pain with a voice so immediate, raw and expressive that it transfixes anyone in earshot with its sheer size and elemental power. It is with great excitement that Bluesfest announces Rag'n'Bone Man for their 2018 festival.

Graham's many talents - versatile songwriter, powerhouse singer, conduit for and conveyor of myriad human emotions - led Columbia Records to sign him on the strength of 'Wolves' for the ensuing 'Disfigured' EP (2015). 2017 has seen the release of his first full length album 'Human' which debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart making it the fastest-selling debut album by a male artist during the 2010s.

As well as Soul and Funk, Rory has Star written all over him - an exceptionally warm and engaging guy with an astonishing natural gift. Bluesfest fans are going to love getting to know him!

 

 

The original Blues Brothers Band
The original Blues Brothers Band Contributed

The Original Blues Brothers Band

The Original Blues Brotehrs Band is alive and well. Original members hand-picked by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd have assembled the ultimate rhythm and blues review and have emerged as a powerful entity in their own right. The Blues Brothers Band, best known for the feature films "The Blues Brothers" and "Blues Brothers 2000" and the triple-platinum album "Briefcase Full of Blues" and the soundtracks from both films. It will be a feel good, sing along, can't wipe the smile off your face kind of performances from some extraordinary musicians.

 

 

Jimmy Cliff
Jimmy Cliff Contributed

Jimmy Cliff

Reggae Legend, the honourable Jimmy Cliff is a Grammy Award Winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and has collaborated with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello and Annie Lennox. Jimmy Cliff's role in the 1972 Jamaican film, The Harder They Come, introduced reggae to the world. It is an honour for Bluesfest to host him once again.

With a legacy stretching back almost 50 years, Jimmy Cliff has remained a force to be reckoned with, his most recent album Rebirth (2012), was produced by none other than Tim Armstrong, front man of American Punk-Rock band Rancid who has cited Cliff as his most admired artist.

Then there are the hits such as 'Many Rivers To Cross', 'Wonderful World, Beautiful People', 'Sitting In Limbo','You Can Get It If You Really Want', 'The Harder They Come' that has led to his songs being performed and recorded by Willie Nelson, New Order, Bruce Springsteen and Cher (among many others). Paul Simon featured Cliff's 1970 song 'Vietnam' in his 2011 concerts and Dylan called it the greatest protest song ever written. Not one to shy away from a cover himself, Jimmy Cliff's version of Johnny Nash's 'I can See Clearly Now' in 1993 catapulted him onto the mainstream pop charts in the US once again.

His catalogue ranks among the most influential in global culture, Cliff remains a forceful voice of power and conscience, creating new music as vital and vibrant as ever. He completely blew us all away with his spectacular and energetic performances at past festivals; we can't wait for him to do it all over again!

The Wailers

Bluesfest is wrapped to present one of the most significant bands touring the world today: The Wailers. Their prodigious mission, led by legendary Aston "Family Man" Barrett is to uphold the legacy of Reggae prophet Bob Marley. This band is the only authentic version of The Wailers currently touring, featuring musicians who played with Marley on records and stages across the globe.

Together with Bob Marley, the Wailers sold in excess of 250 million albums worldwide, notching up over 20 chart hits, including 7 Top 10 entries. As the greatest living exponents of Jamaica's reggae tradition, the Wailers have performed for an estimated 24 million people worldwide & performed with other greats such as Sting, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, Peter Tosh & Jason Mraz.

This is the line-up that pioneered roots rock reggae. Under Family Man's musical leadership, they partnered with Bob Marley on the succession of hit singles and albums that made him a global icon, winner of several Lifetime Achievement awards, and Jamaica's best-loved musical superstar. Family Man Barrett was Bob Marley's right-hand man, co-writer, band leader, and responsible for finishing and releasing Marley's posthumous release 'Confrontation'.

For millions of people the heartbeat of Reggae remains the songs of Bob Marley and the Wailers. The anchor of the band is Aston "Family Man" Barrett, who in addition to being Marley's most trusted lieutenant, played on countless other classic reggae hits throughout the seventies. The authenticity and influence he brings to the Wailers' sound is indisputable. He is joined by original Wailers members Junior Marvin on guitar and vocals, and Tyrone Downie on keyboards.

The Wailers will be performing four massive, unique shows, playing a different album each night - an experience unique to Bluesfest. The crowd will be jumping when this legendary troupe take to the stage.

 

 

Benjamin Booker
Benjamin Booker Contributed

Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker is a new breed of Bluesman. Based in New Orleans he draws his influence from post-War electric Blues, and garage punk. In 2017 he released 'Witness' an album that he created in response to the racial tensions facing America in 2017. The title track features Bluesfest favourite Mavis Staples. Bluesfest welcomes this exciting, innovative artist to Byron Bay in 2018 and are sure he'll be the talk of the festival.  

Hurray for the Riff Raff

With musical influences as diverse as New Orleans, The Bronx and Puerto Rico, Hurray for the Riff Raff's sound is all their own, and it's sure to delight Bluesfest audiences when they take the stage at Bluesfest 2018.

The band is fronted by Alynda Segarra who after many years in New Orleans found herself getting antsy. Hurray for the Riff Raff had four albums under its belt, with the last one, Small Town Heroes, featuring "The Body Electric," a song that NPR's Ann Powers called "The Political Song of the Year" in 2014. Yet even though her musical career had begun by running away from home at 17, busking for survival and honing her craft through dreams of Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Memphis Minnie, and Woody Guthrie, Segarra realized she is a Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx with a different story to tell.

To find her way back home, Segarra became the willing vessel for a character she calls "The Navigator," from which her new album takes its name. She describes The Navigator, a/k/a Navita Milagros Negrón, as "this girl who grows up in a city that's like New York, who's a street kid, like me when I was little, that has a special place in the history of her people." Through The Navigator, the listener hears an ambitiously interwoven, cinematic story of a wandering soul that finally realized she needed to connect with and honor her ancestors.

For The Navigator, Segarra quickly went to work with producer Paul Butler, whose work with British soul singer and former Bluesfest allum Michael Kiwanuka she deeply admired. Segarra also drew early inspiration from another Bluesfest favourite, Rodriguez, a Mexican-American who translated working-class stories from Detroit into powerful rock ballads, and the Ghetto Brothers, an underground band from the 1970s South Bronx who stitched Puerto Rican nationalist messages into a rough-hewn fabric of Santana and Sly and the Family Stone Afro-Caribbean funk.

The rich sounds, potent lyrics and danceable beats will enrich Bluesfest 2018, and undoubtedly win the band many new fans.

Canned Heat

Blues n Boogie .. Boogie n Blues , no matter which way you phrase it only one name rises to the top: Canned Heat. Some say they invented the genre that made them a global phenomenon 40+ years ago ... for sure ...not many argue against that. This legendary band will bring their unique blend of roadhouse electric blues, rock and boogie back to the Bluesfest stage in 2018.

Canned Heat gained international attention and secured their niche in the pages of rock 'n roll history with their performances at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival (along with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who) and the headlining slot at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969.

Their unique blend of modern electric blues, rock and boogie has earned them a loyal following and influenced many aspiring guitarists and bands during the past four decades. Their Top-40 country-blues-rock songs, "On The Road Again," "Let's Work Together," and "Going Up The Country," became rock anthems throughout the world with the latter being adopted as the unofficial theme song for the film Woodstock. Their cover version of Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Work Together" was actually their biggest hit as it rose to #1 in 31 different countries around the world.

Much of Canned Heat's legacy stems from these three, classic, early recordings, which featured two unique talents, both of whom died young: Alan Wilson (in 1970), a gifted slide guitarist, harmonica player, songwriter and vocalist with a high tenor reminiscent of blues great Skip James; and Bob Hite (in 1981) , a blues shouter whose massive physique earned him the nickname "The Bear." His size was matched only by his equally massive knowledge of blues music.

Despite losing these two founder members - and then later, that of long-time guitarist Henry Vestine in 1997, Canned Heat has survived under the leadership of Fito de la Parra since the late 70's. Since 1967, the band has toured extensively all over the world, performing at numerous festivals including Monterey Pop, Newport Pop, the Sturgis Motorcycle Run U.S.A., and the original Woodstock.

The band can boast of collaborations with John Mayall, Little Richard and blues icon, John Lee Hooker. This union first produced the spirited and revered album, "Hooker 'n Heat" and then Hooker's 1990 Grammy Award-winning classic, "The Healer." The band is also credited with bringing a number of other forgotten bluesmen to the forefront of modern music including Skip James, Johnny Shines, Robert Johnson, and Robert Pete Williams.

Anchored throughout by the steady hand of drummer/band leader Adolfo "Fito" de la Parra (a member since 1967) and reunited with longtime manager/producer, Skip Taylor, Canned Heat is well on track to carry the boogie-blues it made famous, well into the 21st century with reunion concerts throughout the world again featuring original Woodstock era members Larry Taylor and Harvey Mandel.

Bluesfest is proud to welcome them back to grace our 'field of blues'.

Walter Trout

Walter Trout is the beating heart of the modern blues rock scene, respected by the old guard, revered by the young guns, and adored by the fans who shake his hand after the show each night. Trout is a consummate musician, loved by many Bluesfest attendees.

After five decades in the game, Trout is a talismanic figure and part of the glue that bonds the blues community together, at a time when the wider world has never been so divided. He's also the only artist with the vision, talent and star-studded address book to pull off a project on the scale of We're All In This Together, his latest album released just a month ago in September 2017. "It was quite a piece of work to get this record together," he admits. "But I guess I have a lot of friends, y'know...?"

Before you even hear a note, 'We're All In This Together' has your attention. Drafting fourteen A-list stars - including Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayall and Randy Bachman- and writing an original song for each, Trout has made the most tantalizing album of the year, and found solace after a run of solo albums that chronicled his near-fatal liver disease of 2014. "Now was the right time for this record," he says. "Battle Scars [2016] was such an intense piece of work, written with tears coming down my face. I needed a break from that, to do something fun and light-hearted. This album was joyous for me."

His return to Bluesfest will be something to bear witness to for those who love their music rich, deep and real.

André Cymone

It is with great excitement that Bluesfest can announce that in addition to his spots as special guest vocalist with The New Power Generation, André Cymone will also wow audiences with his own performances at the 2018 festival.

André Cymone is an American bass player, songwriter and record producer.

Raised in Minneapolis, Cymone and schoolmate Prince laid the groundwork for the revolutionary "Minneapolis sound". Cymone was a bass player in The Revolution from 1979 to 1981. After leaving Prince's band he began a solo career releasing three albums including A.C. which featured The Dance Electric, a Prince-penned song. The single reached number 10 on the Billboards R&B charts. In the 80s and 90s Cymone also co-wrote and produced songs for artists, such as Pebbles, Lalah Hathaway, Jermaine Stewart, Jody Watley and Adam Ant. In 2014, Cymone ended a self-imposed 27-year recording hiatus with the album "The Stone", that saw him emerge with some of the most accomplished and personal music he's ever made. In 2016 Cymone performed as special guest with the reunited "New Power Generation" during their European festival tour.

Andre Cymone's new album titled 1969 marks a creative landmark in a long and colorful career that's encompassed wide range of creative pursuits, from Cymone's early collaborations with Prince through his solo successes in the eighties and his work as hit-maker for an assortment of notable pop and R&B acts. Bluesfest audiences won't be able to resist dancing when this smooth hit-maker takes the stage in 2018.

The Teskey Brothers

Bluesfest is delighted to announce The Teskey Brothers for the 2018 festival. Honouring that old school Motown sound and working it into something of their very own, Australian four piece The Teskey Brothers stunned many in 2017 with their gorgeous debut album 'Half Mile Harvest'. A raw combination of soul and blues, the record has warmed the hearts of listeners all around the world. After a string of sold out shows across Australia, USA and UK in 2017 the future is looking very bright for these four friends from Warrandyte.

Written by all four band members, the album was recorded in their home studio, self-produced and released independently. Listening to the record you'd be forgiven for thinking it was the work of Stax Records alumni in Memphis circa '67 rather than a group of twenty-somethings from the Yarra Valley just outside Melbourne. Onstage singer Josh Teskey's smoked whiskey voice defies expectation, flooring audiences. The band around him is in dynamite form building an irresistibly tight groove around heartfelt soulful melodies. This is an act on the rise and not to be missed at Bluesfest 2018!     



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