19th Year for Festival that Feeds the Hungry
In a radio interview with WDVE 102.5 FM’s Sean McDowell this afternoon, the line-up for the 19th Annual Pittsburgh Blues Festival, presented by Peoples Natural Gas, was announced by Ron “Moondog” Esser, who chairs the Blues Festival Committee. The Pittsburgh Blues Festival will open on Friday, July 19, 2013 at its current home at Hartwood Acres (Hampton, PA) with the Slide Brothers, and close on Sunday night, July 21 with Tab Benoit. In between, a host of local and national acts will fill two stages. All proceeds from the Blues Festival benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
“We always try to include some classic blues bands and some new people, and different blues styles, and we certainly have done that this year,” said Esser. “There’s Louisiana bayou and New Orleans funk, Texicana roots, R&B and steel slide: something for everybody.” Friday’s admission is FREE with a bag of nonperishable groceries to donate to the Food Bank. The Slide Brothers are four of the best slide guitarists living today, a “dynamic, house-rocking blend of blues, gospel, rock and soul that respects faith and funk.” Friday gets even funkier with Big Sam’s Funky Nation, “a walking, talking, funking class in the history and myriad styles of funk…that most grooving and gritty stepchild of blues, soul and classic R & B.”
Saturday is a full day of music that starts with Gina Sicilia, the 2008 “Best New Artist” at the International Blues Challenge, with a throaty “dark-honey” powerful voice. Next is Eric Lindell, a Festival favorite who has brought his soulful New Orleans “roots” blues to the Festival before. Later on, Joe Louis Walker will take the stage. A consummate bluesman, Joe Louis Walker has been around long enough to have played with Mike Bloomfield. His gritty heavy blues-rock sound has critics calling him a “legendary blues icon.”
Saturday night’s headliner is Los Lonely Boys, currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity with their critically-acclaimed new release Rockpango. “Like previous releases, the band jumps from Latin-tinged funk to bluesy, Stevie Ray Vaughan styled guitar blowouts to sweet, acoustic melodies, while the brothers’ charismatic harmonies remain a constant selling-point throughout.”
And Sunday features J. D. McPherson, The Nighthawks with Billy Price, and Tab Benoit. McPherson is new on the blues scene, having just released his first CD in 2010, and is known for mixing and matching blues styles with a sound all his own. The Nighthawks are from the other end of the age spectrum, a quartet with decades of success still going strong with some original and some new members. Mark Stutso, a well-known Pittsburgh musician in the Norman Nardini/Glenn Pavone circle, is the latest addition to the Nighthawks. With Billy Price at the front of the stage, this act is sure to remind the audience that Pittsburgh has produced an amazing number of great musicians.
Tab Benoit closes the Festival. Benoit has also played the Blues Festival before, and won over Pittsburgh audiences with his rich Cajun sound that includes many of his own songs. Benoit is at the peak of his career, with his warm strong voice, masterful guitar playing and his versatility with different blues influences. His newest release, Medicine, “is built on a foundation of a stomping rhythm and stinging guitar leads.”
The musical menu will also be filled out by an additional six or seven local bands. Pittsburgh Blues Festival is an all-weekend music extravaganza, a family-friendly green event with food, merchandise, a kids’ activity tent, zero-waste recycling, and best of all it embraces a great cause. Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank helps provide food for more than 120,000 children, seniors and working families every month.
Admission to Saturday and Sunday of the Blues Festival is $35 each day; discount advance tickets and weekend passes can be purchased at www.pghblues.com, or by calling the Blues Hotline at 412-460-BLUE. Children under 12 enter free, and parking at Hartwood Acres is free as well. Over 18 years, the Blues Festival has raised more than $1.5 million to help the Food Bank fight hunger in our region.
The Pittsburgh Blues Festival is presented by Peoples Natural Gas, along with these sponsors: Allegheny County, Grainger, Giant Eagle, WDVE 102.5 FM, Children’s Hospital of UPMC, UPMC Health Plan, David A. Tepper Charitable Foundation, Fox 53, Greyhound, Print Management LLC, C2Hm Hill, Bay Valley Foods, Hodgins & Associates, Coors, 91.3 wyep fm, Henderson Brothers, AMCOM, Columbia Gas, WPXI-TV11, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, White Diamond Vodka, Moondog’s, Chemistry Communications and the Aspinwall Fire Department.