Swamp fest gets the blues
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor
Monday, 20 May 2013 09:57
Guitarist Elvin Bishop, who helped give white kids the blues in the 1960s, will be one of the headliners at the Black Swamp Arts Festival in September.
The festival kicks off in downtown Bowling Green with music Sept. 6 and continues through Sept. 8. The art show and children's activities run Sept. 7 and 8.
Bishop, a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, takes the stage Sept. 7. Together they helped launch the blues rock movement.
But having a hit and a starry past is not enough to get someone booked at the festival, said Kelly Wicks, who chairs the performance committee. "Not only is he a legendary singer-songwriter, but he continues to produce new and fresh music."
Bishop also continues to front a strong band, Wicks added.
The festival will host a number of new and familiar faces this year.
The Friday show will bring back the Bright Light Social Hour for a 10 p.m. set. The band of young Austin-based rockers were booked to perform in the same slot last year, but got rained out. They did play an after-hour set at Howard's Club H.
Also back at the festival for the Friday show will be Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster. She was a hit with fans back in 2009 when she first appeared here.
Following her will be another big-voiced female vocalist, Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics. The Georgia-based band delivers a horn-ignited celebration of southern soul.
Ben Miller Band, which blends the blues with bluegrass, will take a break from touring with ZZ Top to open the festival.
Right before Bishop at Saturday's show will be The Slide Brothers, a sacred steel all-star band. Since Calvin Cooke, the patriarch of the gospel steel guitar, played here in 2006, the festival has been a welcoming atmosphere for urban gospel style.
The Slide Brothers bring together former festival acts Cooke and the Campbell Brothers with Aubrey Ghent, whose uncle is considered the founder of sacred steel.
Following Bishop will be The Aggrolites, a pop reggae band from California, which scored an unexpected hit with an unexpected demographic, the toddler set, when the band's song "Banana" was featured on "Yo Gabba Gabba."
Fittingly, the band will also play a show on the kids stage earlier in the day.
Wicks said a number of main stage acts will play additional shows on the acoustic and family stages and in clubs after hours. Those arrangements are still being finalized.
Mid-day Saturday, bluesman Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones will play a record-release set for "Ready To Play," an LP recorded at Grounds for Thought in April, 2012.
Rounding out the Saturday show will be:
• Opening set by Diana Chittester, a Cleveland singer who has scored a number of fans with recent club dates in BG.
• The Womack Family Band, a quartet of Americana singer-songwriters from Norwalk, whose booking has already generated a lot of buzz, according to Wicks.
• The Brothers Comatose, a lively string band from San Francisco, who encourage audience participation by tossing out inflatable alligators and chopsticks to be used as percussion instruments.
• The alternative calypso band Kobo Town that incorporates classic Trinidadian sounds with contemporary influences.
Another familiar face will close the festival Sept. 8. Eddie Shaw and the Wolfgang has played frequent shows at Howard's Club and more recently at Grounds for Thought, but this is his first time playing the Black Swamp Arts Festival.
Also booked for Sunday is singer-songwriter simply known as Milton, who will open the show, and Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys, who played here in 2001, return with a set of classic American sounds - western swing, country and rockabilly.
Wicks said he likes having a mix of returning favorites and fresh faces. With the festival's reputation growing, the performance committee has plenty to choose from. "We get something in the mail every day."
Last Updated on Friday, 26 July 2013 15:13