The Acoustic Venue
Tom Ball & Kenny Sultan – California
Tom Ball & Kenny Sultan
Tom and Kenny have been bringing their unique blend of guitar and harmonica blues, rags and good time music to widely diverse audiences for more than 25 years. Their unique combination of style and musical arrangement give a distinctive signature to the more traditional sound; what Kenny calls‘Good Time Blues’. Over the years they have shared the stage with some of the very best, including the likes of Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Johnny Otis, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Ball has the perfect gruff blues voice, plus he plays a mean harmonica; Sultan is a guitar virtuoso. Their repertoire includes hilarious blues tunes by forgotten singers, plus a number of originals. Because their music is a blend of American roots styles, they are regulars overseas, drawing rave reviews wherever they go. “There’s nothing here that’s less than jaw-dropping perfect.”
Charlie Parr – Minnesota
Charlie Parr is a folk and country blues musician who is routinely labeled “authentic” and “the real deal” by fans and critics alike. Charlie shows up with a lived-in rasp of a voice, National resonator and 12-string acoustic guitars, a banjo and a batch of his own songs and well-traveled numbers by MississippiJohn Hurt, Charley Patton and other cohorts from another time. He lays it on you, and you sense that the gamblers, the union workers, the criminals and the sinners that wander around his songs are peering right over your shoulder. Parr has sung about these folks at steady gigs in his hometown , Charlie grew up in Austin, Minnesota, in a house filled with the music that would inform his style. His late father loved the music found on collections like the field recordings by Alan Lomax released on the Folkways / Smithsonian label and Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music. The elder Parr’s first-hand accounts of growing up during the Depression, riding the freight trains and traveling to places like the Piedmont region (a North Carolina country blues mecca), made the music all the more visceral to Charlie. While his peers were immersed in what is now called “classic rock,” Charlie was soaking up the music ofFurry Lewis, Rev. Gary Davis and Mance Lipscomb. As both his parents were union workers at Austin’s Hormel plant – picket line fixtures during bitter labor strikes in the mid-1980s – Charlie himself got a first-hand view of what those old songs were talking about. Charlie’s fan base says a lot about how his music connects with people. From folk-blues purists to Goth-rock fans to 21st Century Deadheads,Parr has been welcomed into their worlds.
Kent Duchaine – Minnesota
Kent at thirteen got his first electric guitar and formed a band with his buddies in his hometown of Wayzata, Minnesota, playing mainly popular music at private parties and school functions. After reading some liner notes of an Eric Clapton album Kent started researching blues music. Kent learned to play the slide guitar and soon developed his own ferocious wild style. In 1970 he opened a show for one his hero’s, the slide guitar genius, Bukka White. In 1979 Kent met up with his beloved and ever faithfulLeadbessie. She’s a beat up 1934 National Steel Guitar that wows and astounds audiences when the equally beat up case she travels in is opened and her extra heavy strings are furiously played.
In 1989 Kent discovered and looked up a legendary blues man with the name of Johnny Shines.They traveled together for three years and performed over 200 shows together. In that time, they recorded “Back To the Country” with harmonica great Snooky Pryor and were honored with the coveted W.C. Handy Award for best country blues album but unfortunately they did not add Kents’ name onto the recording! In 1991 the Smithsonian Institute honored the king of the delta blues, Robert Johnson. Kent and Johnny were specially invited to perform and “Roots Of Rhythm And Blues: A tribute To Robert Johnson Era” was the result. This was recorded by Sony/Columbia and also, Grammy nominated. Kent and Johnny’s wonderful partnership and friendship was cut short when Johnny Shines sadly passed away in April 1992. Since going solo in 1982 and hitting the roads, riding the rails, flying the skies and sailing the seas,Kent and Leadbessie have probably by now clocked up over two million miles together including over 75 overseas tours (yup, she’s faithful old girl!).
Kent’s’ versions of “Trouble In Mind”, “St James Infirmary” have been seen to bring tears in many eyes. The London Times newspaper has named him as one of the best five concerts in the U.K. Kent and Leadbessie have dedicated fans all over the world who are asking all the time for him to add another album to the six that he has already released which include his own ingenious compositions as well as songs that he loves and keeps alive that those wonderful, old blues guys produced.
The Acoustic Venue will be held in the Market House, in the center of town.
The cost into the Market House will be €10 on Friday and €12 each on Saturday and Sunday ; your ticket can then be used as a 50% discount into the Marquee that night only. The performance times will vary from day to day, however, they will end at 10pm to facilitate those who wish to head to the Blues Trail or mosey on down to the Marquee.