Doug MacLeod (St. Louis, Missouri)
MacLeod is known for his superb songwriting, guitar wizardry, warm soulful vocals, wit and unforgettable live performances. At the heart of a Doug MacLeod performance is his knack for storytelling, bringing characters-from the faceless to the legendary-to strikingly real life. MacLeod’s playing has landed him sideman gigs with George ‘Harmonica’ Smith, Big Joe Turner, Pee Wee Crayton, Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson, Lowell Fulson and Big Mama Thornton. Over 30 years, 21 studio albums, several live records, and compilations, his songs have been covered by many artists including Albert King, Albert Collins, Joe Louis Walker and Eva Cassidy.
Doug is a multiple Blues Music Award winner, most recently the 2017 Blues Music Award for Acoustic Artist Of The Year and the Blues Blast Music Award for Male Artist Of The Year. Like the old masters who taught him, MacLeod’s music expresses life and times through an intangible, elusive quality that may simply be a keen sense of what matters most. Doug’s music, stories, and philosophy provide a healing that has helped others overcome the hardships of their lives.
State of the Union – Boo Hewerdine (UK) & Brooks Williams (USA)
Combining the mercurial talents of English songwriting legend Boo Hewerdine and acclaimed American Blues guitarist and songwriter Brooks Williams, State of the Union create a magical, stripped back and enthralling musical atmosphere, their performances consistently brilliant, equal parts emotive and entertaining.
The original songs Hewerdine and Williams play are infused by a multitude of influences, from Willie Nelson to Johnny Cash, from the wide open Fenlands to the frenetic buzz of the city. Their recordings are made quickly, in most instances first take, live in the studio, but the sound this amazing acoustic duo capture is rich and expertly executed.
Sean Taylor (Kilburn, London)
Sean Taylor has rapidly grown to be one of the hottest new names in the UK blues/acoustic scene. His incredible passion for performance, sheer talent and songwriting of the highest calibre is a testament to his frequent comparisons with John Martyn, Chris Isaak and Tom Waits.
‘A bluesy devotional intensity that rightly draws comparisons to John Martyn’ Q
‘Sean Taylor is the king of singer songwriter styling … mesmerising’ MAVERICK
‘prodigiously talented singer songwriter … touchstones would be Tom Waits and John Martyn’ R2’formidable and skilled … pleasingly atmospheric … recalls Chris Isaak ‘ * * * * UNCUT
‘slow burn songwriting…a pleasure… positively aches… Big things await’ CLASSIC ROCK
Liam Ó Maonlaí (Dublin)
Liam Ó Maonlaí is one of the most talented, charismatic and soulful performers of music today. But his musical prowess goes beyond his own cultural roots of Irish traditional music as he blends an eclectic mix of folk, blues, gospel, soul, rock, and more with his amazing vocals and an array of instrumental mastery from piano to flute, harmonica to bodhran. Since first bursting onto the scene in the 1980’s with his band Hothouse Flowers, Liam has captured the attention of audiences, critics and musicians alike. According to “Rolling Stone Magazine” Bono noted the ensemble were the “best unsigned band on the planet.” It is no wonder that Liam remains a “musician’s musician” and no surprise he has performed alongside the best of them. As a solo performer Liam continues to wow audiences worldwide reinventing himself with each performance.
James Fraher (Chicago) & David Whittredge (Boston)
Fraher & Whittredge have been on a journey, sharing experience, stories and photographs after ‘so many years with the blues!’ Fraher can weave stories of meeting and photographing African American blues musicians along with sharing their spoken words. Joined by harmonica player David Whittredge, the duo perform some inspired acoustic blues. Beginning with a photo of Lightnin’ Hopkins in 1970 to the present day, James Fraher has pursued photographing blues musicians. A recipient of a Keeping the Blues Alive Award, Fraher’s photos have graced many music covers, Living Blues, Soul Bag, Downbeat magazines and in the stunning books, The Blues is a Feeling, Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues and Texas Zydeco. From Chicago to the Mississippi Delta, the Carolinas, to Kansas City and down to Houston, Texas it’s been so many years with the blues!
Check out David Whittredge’s website