Are you heading to Ottawa’s biggest summer music festival? Below, we lay out the day-by-day highlights of this year’s RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, including daily picks from Lynn Saxberg and I. It’s an eclectic mix, with shows from Toby Keith to July Talk to Tegan and Sara and LCD Soundsystem. Enjoy!
THURSDAY (JULY 6)
Toby Keith, City Stage, 9:15 p.m.
Country is king at the 2017 edition of Bluesfest, with a star-studded lineup of bona-fide country chart-toppers, and none bigger than Should’ve Been a Cowboy hitmaker Toby Keith. The Oklahoma-born Keith was recently inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in NYC, and named artist of the decade by the American Country Awards, Billboard and the Nashville Songwriters Association. And, of course, he was recently in Washington to perform at a certain high-profile, and somewhat contentious inauguration party.
“I’m not naming names, but there’s a bunch of people that … were committed, and they backed out due to pressure,” Keith said at the time, speaking of fellow artists who were booked to play. “Then they all texted me afterward and said, ‘Every guy would like to be you, standing up there.’”
He was most recently seen palling around with Willie Nelson in a followup to his hilariously hokey hit Weed With Willie. Nelson joins Keith in the video for Wacky Tobaccy, his latest in a long line of hits and latest since Drunk Americans (sensing a theme here) from his 2015 album 35 mph Town.
Hot tracks: Beer For My Horses, Red Solo Cup
Sam Roberts Band, Claridge Stage, 8 p.m.
Riding high off his hit single If You Want It from his sixth studio album, Terraform, Montreal-born (in a flame) Sam Roberts brings his own slice of Canadiana to a familiar spot at Bluesfest, where he’s a festival mainstay. The latest album was co-produced by Graham Walsh of Holy F*ck at the The Tragically Hip’s famed Bathouse Studio.
Said Roberts: “I think the challenge for our band is to still deliver the music with a sense of spontaneity, a sense of urgency and I think that when we go into a new record, we sort of loosen the grips of other people’s expectations and our own expectations.”
Hot tracks: Shapeshifters, Hard Road
Death From Above, Black Sheep Stage, 9:30 p.m.
The hotly anticipated return of DFA to Bluesfest stages was delayed a full year when the band was forced to cancel its entire summer tour after tourmates Awolnation went AWOL on them. “The whole tour toppled like Jenga,” the band tweeted at the time. Now Jesse Keeler and Sebastien Grainger are back with a fresh new single, Freeze Me, and they’ve dropped the “1979” they added to their name in a 2004 legal dispute.
Hot tracks: Turn it Out, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine
CRITIC’S PICK: Saxberg: Pokey Lafarge, Bluesville Stage, 9 p.m.
CRITIC’S PICK: Saxberg: Pokey Lafarge, Bluesville Stage, 9 p.m.
- Local acts that are set to rock Ottawa’s Bluesfest
- Bluesfest director talks about Tom Petty, and that ferris wheel
- 2017 Ottawa Bluesfest: Here are the Citizen’s 10 must-see shows during Week 1
FRIDAY (JULY 7)
City Stage, 9:30 p.m.
One of the rising stars of the new Nashville sound, Justin Moore broke out in 2009 with his self-titled debut, and has since gone on to chart 11 singles, with five of them reaching the Hot Country No. 1, and three straight No. 1 albums. But don’t be fooled by the title of his latest, Kinda Don’t Care.
“This is the best piece of music we’ve delivered, because it gets more fun each time,” he recently told Rolling Stone. “Naming the album Kinda Don’t Care is not meant to be nonchalant or careless. It’s meant to be a challenge to folks to live life a little more freely and be true to themselves.”
The album features a duet with Brantley Gilbert, and more of the same irreverent attitude fans have come to expect in the lead-off single, You Look Like I Need a Drink.
Moore told the magazine he thought the phrase would be “something Blake Shelton would say to someone in a bar. … I listened to it, and it was completely different than what I had anticipated. I love songs like that, where you read the title, you see the title, and you have to listen to the song. It piques your interest that much.”
Hot tracks: Small Town USA, If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away
Melissa Etheridge: M.E. Live, City Stage, 8 p.m.
Melissa Etheridge makes her return to the Bluesfest stage for her first Ottawa festival appearance since 2002, and she and her band have something special planned. A partnership between RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, the Montreal Jazz Festival and Quebec City’s Summerfest — where Etheridge will perform on this leg of her tour — has procured a horn section and backup singers to lend the necessary muscle to the tunes on her latest album, Memphis Rock and Soul.
With the full band in place, expect the 56-year-old Etheridge to fire up the hip-shaking soul numbers of Otis Redding and Sam & Dave and the blues standards of Albert and B.B. King.
She’ll no doubt play a few of the crowd-pleasers that have endeared her to fans since her 1988 debut, and fans can also expect her to speak up about the causes she’s long championed, from LGBTQ rights since her high-profile coming-out in 1993, to her outspoken political views, and her public battle with cancer in 2004.
Hot tracks: Come to my Window, I’m the Only One
Madeline Merlo, Claridge Stage, 8:30 p.m.
The Maple Ridge, B.C.-born Madeline Merlo was discovered at age 17, signed and developed for nearly two years by a Vancouver production company, leading to her first record contract in 2013. The hard work hasn’t taken long to pay off, with her debut single Sinking Like a Stone and followup Honey Jack hitting the Canadian country charts, leading to an opening spot on the Road Trip Tour with Dean Brody and Paul Brandt.
Her debut album, Free Soul, was released in April 2016.
Hot tracks: Whatcha Wanna Do About It, War Paint
Critic’s Pick: Helmer: Matt Andersen, 9 p.m., Bluesville Stage
Helmer: Matt Andersen, 9 p.m., Bluesville Stage
SATURDAY (JULY 8)
One of the biggest names in the game, this appearance by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is a rare opportunity. The rap star has played only a handful of concerts on this side of the border, and played Ottawa just once, way back in 2004 when his Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ was making him a household name.
50 Cent was discovered by Eminem and gained fame as leader of the East Coast hip hop collective G-Unit. He famously caught nine bullets in a targeted shooting in 2000, survived and thrived. He has since delved into acting, playing the lead role in the semi-autobiographical film that shares its name with his breakthrough album, and is currently producing the crime drama Power, a show on which he also has a role.
Hot tracks: In Da Club, P.I.M.P.
Tegan and Sara
Perennial festival favourites Tegan and Sara are still finding new ways to make beautiful music together with their latest album, Love You to Death.
As Tegan Quin told Postmedia in 2016: “I feel like there’s a lot of heart and soul on the record. I think with Heartthrob that we steered the ship so towards pop. I mean we felt the emotional depth of the record, but I think maybe we smoothed it over too much. … With Love You to Death we intentionally tried to leave some of the edginess and some of the rawness there. We didn’t take every song as far as it could go, instead we just let the song speak for itself.”
Unlike previous albums, the twin sisters collaborated on each song, with some requiring a full year of rewrites.
“We’ve hit a really great point, we’re one band,” Quin said. “I think we’ve finally found a path and a voice and a sound and a set of goals that we can really get behind and appreciate.”
Hot tracks: Boyfriend, Closer
Brandi Carlile, Claridge Stage, 8 p.m.
Fast becoming a festival regular with her powerful performances and musical charm, Brandi Carlile is back 10 years after her most excellent major label debut, The Story. The album recently achieved Gold status, thanks in part to a recent compilation album, Cover Stories, of other artists covering its songs.
Or perhaps the boost in sales comes on the heels of her Grammy nomination for Best Americana album for her latest, 2015’s The Firewatcher’s Daughter.
Hot tracks: Wherever Is Your Heart, The Eye
Critic’s Pick: Saxberg: Brandi Carlile, Claridge Stage, 8 p.m.
Saxberg: Brandi Carlile, Claridge Stage, 8 p.m.
SUNDAY (July 9)
P!NK, City Stage, 9:30 p.m.
What do you get when you mix Green with Pink? A fine record called rose ave. as it turns out, with mega-pop singer P!nk (Alecia Moore) in a fine collaboration with Dallas Green. She’ll be putting on her own headlining show to close out Bluesfest’s first leg, but that collaboration (with Green’s City and Colour, a perennial festival favourite, no less…) is only Exhibit A of P!nk’s crossover appeal.
Their 2014 album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s folk chart and No. 2 on Billboard’s digital album chart. Her latest single, Just Like Fire, from the recent Walt Disney adaptation of Alice Through the Looking Glass, spent six weeks at No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart. And that comes 15 years after she won her first of three Grammys with her name-making take on Lady Marmalade, for Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film Moulin Rouge!
And as if that’s not enough evidence already, P!nk can currently be heard as a featured guest on Kenny Chesney’s Setting The World on Fire, marking her first No. 1 foray onto the country charts.
P!nk rarely tours in Canada, and has never played Ottawa before. She uses her celebrity the right way, as a vocal supporter of Make a Wish Foundation, Autism Speaks, Human Rights Campaign and No Kid Hungry.
Hot tracks: Get the Party Started, Just Like a Pill
High Valley, Claridge Stage, 8 p.m.
The Canadian country heartthrobs of High Valley earn their name honestly, the brothers Brad and Curtis Rempel (and brother Bryan, who left in 2014) raised with their six sisters in the Mennonite ranching community of La Crete, in rugged northern Alberta.
“We never knew bonfires were supposed to be cool and sexy until we moved to Nashville,” Brad told People magazine. “We thought it was pretty much just work.”
Brad had already named the group at age 5, so the story goes, when he used to make-believe radio broadcasts with the “house band” High Valley. He recruited his brothers to form the real thing, self-releasing their debut, Broken Borders, in 2007. Their self-described “pop-grass,” a finely tuned new country sound with bluegrass roots and instruments, caught the ear of the big time, with the brothers landing a Warner/Atlantic Nashville contract in 2015, leading to their first chart breakthrough with Dear Life.
Hot tracks: Make You Mine, Back To You
Pat Travers, Black Sheep Stage, 9:30 p.m.Though six-string-slinger Pat Travers was born in Toronto, it was a formative concert here in Ottawa that set a then-teenage Travers on his path. It was a Jimi Hendrix concert at the famed old Capitol Theatre where a 14-year-old Travers decided the electric guitar he’d just learned to play would figure heavily in his future.
Ronnie Hawkins was an early fan, and soon recruited the young guitarist for his road band, much as he had done for a certain other group of Toronto upstarts a decade earlier. Like The Band before him, he struck out on his own and The Pat Travers Band was born (currently with drummer Tommy Craig and bassist David Pastorius.)
Hot tracks: Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights), Snortin’ Whiskey
Critic’s pick: Saxberg: Pat Travers, Black Sheep Stage, 9:30 p.m.
Saxberg: Pat Travers, Black Sheep Stage, 9:30 p.m.
TUESDAY (July 11)
Jake Owen, City Stage, 9:30 p.m.
Jake Owen may have cropped his trademark locks, but he hasn’t traded in his easygoing, barefoot-in-blue jeans style. And he’s sticking with the sound that made him one of the fastest-rising names in Nashville on his new record, American Love. The album, his fifth since signing to RCA Nashville in 2006, was co-written and produced by the new country hitmaking machine of Shane McAnally and Ross Copperman, and the formula is working. American Love debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart.
“I used to always worry, ‘Was I was country enough?’ Because I come from Florida. And I didn’t want to let too much of my Florida roots come through, because ‘What if it makes me lose my record deal?’” Owen told Rolling Stone last year, while driving from beach to beach in a surf-green VW bus.
“But now, I kind of don’t care. I have been lucky enough that people have played my songs and I’ve created a base where I can do what I want. And I want the record to feel like I do when I look at that bus: that this is a pretty good ride we are all on, and we can all take a trip, whether it be in that van right there, or by putting the record on and riding through funky songs, and songs that bring you down to earth with love and heartache. That’s how I want people to feel.”
Hot tracks: Good Company, American Country Love Song
July Talk, Claridge Stage, 8 p.m.
It’s the month they’re named after, and guys and gal of July Talk always seem to make the most of it on Bluesfest stages.
They snagged the Juno for 2015’s best alternative album, but it’s their frenetic live show, featuring the incredible interplay between vocalists Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay that keep the fans coming back for more. Their sophomore album, Touch, was largely written during a getaway in nearby Burnstown, as Dreimanis revealed in an interview with Postmedia last fall.
“We didn’t really think anyone would hear the first (2012 self-titled debut) record,” he said. “It was written after the band had only played six or seven shows. We just jumped right into it. … On this one, it was really a five-person collaboration. By the end it was this real beast that I think felt like it had come from one voice. We wanted it to feel like July Talk was a being, a real, living, breathing thing.”
Hot tracks: Push + Pull, Beck + Call
The Zombies, Bluesville Stage, 9 p.m.
Riding one of the first waves of the British Invasion, The Zombies have come a long way since landing on American shores, performing their hit, She’s Not There, on Hullabaloo. The band split when Rod Argent left to form Argent, but reformed (after a few incarnations) with original members Argent and Colin Blunstone, for the aptly named 2015 studio album, the band’s eighth, Still Got That Hunger.
Hot tracks: She’s Not There, Time of the Season
Critic’s pick: Helmer: July Talk, Claridge Stage, 8 p.m.
Helmer: July Talk, Claridge Stage, 8 p.m.
WEDNESDAY (July 12)
LCD Soundsystem, City Stage, 9:10 p.m.
A dramatic last hurrah at Madison Square Garden was supposedly curtains for LCD Soundsystem, but the NYC electronic rockers delighted fans all over again by returning with a new album.
This is Happening, the cult band’s third studio album, is probably the same phrase exclaimed by avid fans when the Brooklyn band was announced at Bluesfest. Their “farewell” concert, a nearly four-hour epic at MSG in April 2011, with guest appearances by Arcade Fire, among others, was documented in the film The Long Goodbye — though the goodbye ended up being a little shorter than the title would suggest. The band reunited last year, embarked on the road again and headlined Coachella, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Bonnaroo and Wayhome festivals in 2016. Now, a new tour behind a new album, with American Dream, due Sept. 1.
The band has offered up a few teasers already with singles American Dream and Call the Police, which they staged on their first Saturday Night Live appearance in May.
Whoever wrote the Bluesfest program is clearly a fan, describing their 2002 debut Losing My Edge: “A self-effacing spoof of the outrageous pissing contests that often occur whenever music geeks cross paths … laid over an electronic beat with the occasional bursts of ‘discoid’ staccato. … Several magazines and newspapers would eventually declare (frontman) James Murphy to be one of the coolest people on the planet.”
Hot Tracks: Daft Punk is Playing at My House, All My Friends
The Shins, Claridge Stage, 7:55 p.m.
James Mercer’s indie outfit from Albuquerque have made all the right turns, and yet somehow ended up back where they started.
Their single So Now What was written for Zach Braff’s new film Wish I Was Here. The director featured the band’s New Slang in his Garden State (2004), which massively helped their breakout. Of course, so much has happened in between, with three excellent indie rock offerings in Oh, Inverted World (2001), Chutes Too Narrow (2003) and 2007’s Wincing the Night Away.
Mercer moved on to form Broken Bells with Danger Mouse, and rumours of The Shins’ demise were only slightly exaggerated. Mercer parted with the entire original lineup and signed on with Columbia Records, returning in 2012 with Port of Morrow, and five years later the followup Heartworms, released in March.
Hot tracks: What’s in a Name, New Slang
Gary Clark Jr., Black Sheep Stage, 9:30 p.m.
An absolutely can’t-miss performance from the incendiary Gary Clark Jr., the Austin-born guitar virtuoso who’s been leaving jaws gaping at every stage he plays.
The 33-year-old Texas bluesman crafts his signature sound with tasty layers of hip-hop, soul, R&B and rock over his deep-roots blues, with his soul-seeped voice and his wailing guitar. His major label breakthrough Blak and Blu and 2015 followup The Story of Sonny Boy Slim are both excellent studio efforts, but Clark’s real passion is for the stage. Two of his four albums with Warner Bros. (so far) are live records, including Live in North America, released in March. But don’t settle for the recording … see the real thing.
Hot tracks: Ain’t Messin ‘Round, When My Train Pulls In
Critic’s pick: Saxberg: Gary Clark Jr., Black Sheep Stage, 9:30 p.m.
Saxberg: Gary Clark Jr., Black Sheep Stage, 9:30 p.m.
THURSDAY (July 13)
Alan Doyle & the Beautiful Gypsies, Black Sheep Stage, 9:30 p.m.
Former lead singer of Great Big Sea, actor and best-selling author, and now on tour with his new band The Beautiful Gypsies, Alan Doyle put another feather in his cap on Canada Day with his investiture into the Order of Canada.
“If you look into the list of people who get this award, (they) are all exceptional people in their own work life and in their own artistic life or political life or business life or whatever, but then they’re almost always very community-minded people and people who have tried to give back to the place, their town, their city, their province, their country,” Doyle told The Canadian Press. “It’s humbling to be in that company, in all honesty. It’s also quite motivational. It makes me want to do more stuff because I feel like it’s important.”
Great Big Sea, with longtime bandmates Sean McCann and Bob Hallett, launched Doyle from the George Street pubs of St. John’s to Can-rock royalty status with the band’s refreshing take on traditional tunes. It was always a massive kitchen party every time the band played Bluesfest — Ottawa was one of the first cities outside their home province to embrace the band, and Doyle has said the city’s rabid fanbase made the city feel like a home away from home.
He released his second solo album, So Let’s Go, in January 2015 with its title track lead single, and has a new album, reportedly called A Week at the Warehouse after a session at the famed Bob Rock-owned Vancouver studio.
Hot tracks: Summer Summer Night, So Let’s Go
Flume, City Stage, 9:30 p.m.
His headlining set proves there’s still plenty of room for electronic music in Bluesfest’s continuing experiment with the genre, and the young’uns have the main stage all to themselves for Australian electro star Flume.
Harley Edward Streten, the record producer/DJ behind the moniker, sure keeps some good company. His full-length debut gained instant indie cred with the appearance of fellow Aussie electro-rocker Chet Faker, who also collaborated on 2013’s Lockjaw. His latest offerings have him working with the likes of Ghostface Killah, Boldy James, Killer Mike, Vic Mensa and Beck.
His particular brand has alternately been described as “atmospheric dance music inspired by house and U.K. garage,” or “future bass downtempo electro trip-hop.” Chacun a son gout.
He signed with the Future Classic imprint in 2011 for an EP before his self-titled debut, which went double platinum in his homeland.
Hot tracks: Insane, On Top
Migos, City Stage, 7 p.m.
You have Atlanta hip-hop trio Migos to thank for the “dabbing” dance craze. But the rappers — Offset, Quavo and Takeoff — sure know the value of being in the right place at the right time. They caught Drake’s ear at the 2013 Birthday Bash festival in their hometown. The Toronto-born phenom added a verse of his own to the group’s underground hit Versace and put a remix of the track on his 2013 album Nothing Was the Same, and well … nothing was. They signed on with Atlantic and released Yung Rich Nation in 2015, and this year’s CULTURE, which had its Billboard debut at No. 1.
Hot tracks: Fight Night, Versace
Critic’s pick: Helmer: Miss Lavelle White w/ The Split, Barney Danson Theatre, 9 p.m.
Helmer: Miss Lavelle White w/ The Split, Barney Danson Theatre, 9 p.m.
FRIDAY (July 14)
Anderson.Paak & the Free Nationals, Claridge Stage, 8:30 p.m.
Anderson.Paak gets people moving with his infectious blend of neo-soul, hip hop and R&B, with his gritty voice and his funky drumming.
After his full-length debut Venice, the California-born genre-bender collaborated with the likes of Dr. Dre and The Game, and invited MCs SchoolBoy Q and Talib Kweli to trade rhymes with him on his acclaimed followup, Malibu. But as the 31-year-old recently told Interview magazine, he’s still thinking big: “At some point, I was so caught up in the Anderson.Paak artistry and finally getting ready to shine and wanting to make it happen, and going for gold and all this stuff. But what I’m thinking about now is like, ‘What’s beyond this? What do you want to do beyond you …’ which I’ve never been really in the position to do before. But now I’m always thinking about that with my band the Free Nationals; I’ve been getting their album together and seeing their potential, what they can do as a group, and making sure they’re all straight. … You know, I’ve never been one for sports, but with this music thing, I feel like I have the same kind of work ethic that athletes put into their professions.”
Hot tracks: Come Down, Room in Here
LiVE, City Stage, 9:30 p.m.
It’s been 25 years since Pennsylvania rockers LiVE released their debut album, Mental Jewelry, and to celebrate the occasion, the boys are getting the band back together for a worldwide tour. Frontman Ed Kowalczyk left the group in 2009 to pursue a solo project (the album was called Alive), while the remaining members, Patrick Dahlheimer and Chad Taylor and Gracey carried on with a new singer following a three-year hiatus, leading to lawsuits and legal battles.
Those days are behind them now, Kowalczyk said to Rolling Stone: “You could say we took the long road home, but it feels good to be back,” he said, while dropping a few hints about a possible new album.
“We have mutually decided not to rush the next project. We didn’t want the pressure of completing an entire album hanging over us before we got out and played some shows. I think the idea at the moment is to just go with flow, get onstage together and see where all of this new energy takes us creatively. We might release something new in the form of a shorter release in 2017, in anticipation of larger project in 2018 … stay tuned.”
Hot tracks: Lightning Crashes, All Over You
Headstones, City Stage, 7:30 p.m.
The story of the Headstones’ reunion played out like a scene from Hard Core Logo — the 1990s cult Canadian film about a fictional punk band, with Headstones frontman Hugh Dillon playing a version of himself named Joe Dick. Fast forward 15 years to 2010, when Dillon got a call from an old friend who had fallen ill, and he set out to reform the lineup for a benefit concert and mini tour. Except unlike the movie, this time the band rekindled their old magic and started making great music together again. Dillon said the band’s fourth post-reunion album, Little Army, stokes memories of the band’s riveting 1993 debut, Picture of Health.
Hot tracks: When Something Stands for Nothing, Devil’s on Fire
Helmer: Anderson.Paak & the Free Nationals, Claridge Stage, 8:30 p.m.
SATURDAY (July 15)
Muse, City Stage, 9:30 p.m.
High concept art-rock rarely rocks so hard, but British rockers Muse have found a way to push boundaries while still finding success with the charts, the critics and the fans.
Their seventh album, Drones, an Orwellian concept album, debuted at No. 1 in 21 countries and scored their first No. 1 in the United States with their single, Dead Inside.
Their 2009 effort, The Resistance, could well have predicted the current political state of affairs, with the grim tale of uprising in the face of oppression lifted directly from the pages of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
It was 1994 that singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard formed Muse, and have since released seven studio albums with upwards of 18 million album sales worldwide. Both The Resistance and Drones won Grammy awards for Best Rock Album.
The band honed a reputation for its fierce live show, with a repertoire unbound by hit singles. So beloved is the entirety of the trio’s catalogue, Muse recently announced a hometown show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire where the fans will get to pick the setlist.
Hot tracks: Dig Down, Plug in Baby
Wide Mouth Mason, City Stage, 5 p.m.
Wide Mouth Mason have come a long way since the fresh-faced power trio rocketed out of Saskatoon in the late 1990s with a string of Can-con radio hits. After their big label contract expired, frontman and guitarist Shaun Verreault recorded a pair of solo albums, and original bassist Earl Perreira left to front his own band. But WMM — everyone’s favourite band named for a jar — found new life when they played a gig opening for ZZ Top with new bassist Gordie Johnson, of Big Sugar fame, now firmly in the fold.
Johnson lent his deft production skills to 2011’a No Bad Days, the band’s first after a six-year break.
“We called the record No Bad Days because it perfectly describes the experience we had making it,” Verreault said, saying they knew Johnson was “that guy” since working together on their record Stew.
“The band’s collective influences really came together on No Bad Days,” Johnson said. “You can hear everything from the Allman Brothers to the Isley Brothers.”
Hot tracks: Shut Up & Kiss Me, Go Tell It To The Waterfall
Xavier Rudd, Bluesville Stage, 9 p.m.
Xavier Rudd has left audiences astonished across the world, establishing an uncanny connection with his crowd while wielding guitars, didgeridoos, percussion, blues harp and various effects under his inspirational vocals. His eighth studio album, Nanna, recruits his aptly named band, United Nations, inspired by his worldly travels.
Hot tracks: Let Me Be, Follow the Sun
Critic’s Pick: Helmer: Bob Moses, Black Sheep Stage, 9:30 p.m.
Helmer: Bob Moses, Black Sheep Stage, 9:30 p.m.
SUNDAY (July 16)
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, City Stage, 9 p.m.
By far the biggest name on the marquee, Bluesfest’s side stages will end the evening early for Sunday’s grand finale to allow icons Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers to close out the 2017 festival in style.
Petty’s has long been a name at the top of festival director Mark Monahan’s bucket list, and it’s a good thing he managed to snag the American heartland rock icon on this 40th anniversary tour, perhaps his final large-scale tour. After all, last time Petty played Ottawa was at the Civic Centre, nearly 36 years to the day on July 20, 1981.
“I’m thinking it may be the last trip around the country,” Petty told Rolling Stone in a recent cover story. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one. We’re all on the backside of our sixties. I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road.”
The Florida-born Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr. plans on hitting up tunes from each of his 13 studio albums, plus Petty’s three solo offerings, and judging by the glowing reviews of his tour so far, the greatest hits package is hitting the mark.
“If I was a fan and they didn’t play American Girl or Free Fallin’ I’d be disappointed,” Petty told Rolling Stone, while promising his longtime fans — and there are very, very many of them — “some really deep stuff” as well.
Hot tracks: Refugee, Yer So Bad, Learning to Fly, Wildflowers
Midnight Shine, City Stage, 5 p.m.
“It’s certainly been an interesting journey, and it hasn’t been an easy one,” said Midnight Shine frontman Adrian Sutherland in March of his journey from his Attawapiskat home to Ottawa for Juno Week.
The Northern Ontario band embarks on its first-ever coast-to-coast tour with a new single, Sister Love, which follows their 2014 album, Northern Man.
The band is carrying a mighty torch at an important time for the country.
“We do see ourselves as artists who are trying to be a part of that process of reconciliation,” Sutherland told the Sun. “As an artist and a First Nations artist, I feel obligated to go out there and speak about what’s going on. And we’re seeing a political shift in how people see this whole process of reconciliation and what it really means.”
Hot tracks: Northern Man, Sister Love
Tim Hicks, Claridge Stage, 8 p.m.
The Niagara Falls-born Tim Hicks is fast earning a reputation on the Canadian country scene for his energetic live shows, and returns to Bluesfest with ample evidence in a new live album. The platinum-selling, two-time Juno nominee brings his new show to Bluesfest as part of his second major cross-country tour.
Hot tracks: Stompin Ground, Stronger Beer
Critic’s Pick: Saxberg: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, City Stage, 9 p.m
Critic’s Pick: Saxberg: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, City Stage, 9 p.m.
Source : https://ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/local-arts/rbc-bluesfest-2017-everything-you-need-to-know-for-ottawas-summer-music-blowout