Don Baker & Rob Strong Band (Ireland)
Don Baker and Rob Strong, are two of Ireland’s best known rock/blues musicians …Irish Blues legends fits the description! Put them together with a fabulous keyboard player and drummer, and you get a formidable outfit. Dublin’s Don Baker, is known as a prolific singer/songwriter/musician for over 50 years and has had two number one singles ‘Winner in You’ on the RTE label and ‘Inner City’. Other artists to record Don’s songs include Sinéad O’ Connor, Finbar Furey, Declan O’ Rourke and Liam Ó Maonlaoi ,with Bono from U2 describing Don as ‘The best harmonica player in the world’. He has also released a total of 15 albums during his career.
Rob Strong, from Derry, on bass guitar and lead vocals, is another of Ireland’s Living Legends, who also has been performing for more than five decades! Rob still has that unique and sensational voice that saw him pull in huge crowds with one of the top showbands in the ‘60s ‘ The Plattermen’, and his own band The Rockets in the 1970s. Indeed Rob once turned down the opportunity to join the world famous ‘Deep Purple. Rob also plays bass and sings, with his son, Andrew Strong, lead singer of ‘The Commitments. The band also features one of Ireland’s best keyboard players, Salvatore Urbano from Naples and on drums we have another of Ireland’s finest, Hugh O’ Neill. In all, Don, Rob and the boys, guarantee a great night of blues and rock n’ roll.
The Paul DesLauriers Band (Montreal, Canada)
The Paul DesLauriers Band combine the gifts of three award winning musicians who churn out a blues-rock style that Rudolfs Music calls, “raw, pure and sincere. The musicians are all virtuosos and the sum of their qualities makes for an incredible band.”
Guitarist and singer Paul DesLauriers and the rhythm section of Greg Morency on bass and Sam Harrisson on drums, having worked together for nearly 20 years, is bound by friendship and an unshakeable mutual respect. In 2013 they decided to focus all their energy and talents to develop their distinctive power trio.
This Montreal-based, Canadian Blues band, blend rock with straight-ahead blues in a way that echoes the vibe of the great power trios from the 60’s and 70’s, ranging from guitar-driven pyrotechnic blazing to a milder blues boogie wondrously peppered with pleasing funky bass lines and a swamp-blues backbeat.
The band are multiple award winners, most recently crowned Entertainer of the Year for the second year in a row at the 21st annual Maple Blues Awards held on January 15th, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. In 2017, along with Entertainer of the Year, they also won the Maple Blues Awards for Electric Act of the Year, Bassist of the Year and Drummer of the Year. In January 2016, in Memphis, the band were runners-up at the prestigious 32nd International Blues Challenge (IBC) the world’s largest gathering of blues acts. Recent album release, Relentless (June 2016), received international critical acclaim, climbing to the #2 position on the Roots Music Report radio chart in Canada and to #10 in the US.
The Grainne Duffy Band (Monaghan)
Described by The Sunday Times as ‘a blues singer of real integrity’, Grainne Duffy is a pioneer of her own style while also paying sincere homage to her roots, soul, blues, country and rock traditions. She is a seasoned artist and has been spending the last number of years touring in Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and Canada. Some highlights thus far have included international leading festivals including three performances at Glastonbury. In 2015 Grainne was awarded winner in BM Writers Poll in the categories ‘Best Vocalist’ and ‘Best Solo Artist’ in the UK. Grainne embarked on her 1st ever tour in Australia which included performances on the blues stage at Woodford Folk Festival, Queensland. She was also invited to Mahindra Blues Festival, India and joined Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) and Shemika Copeland onstage for the festival encore. 2016 and 2017 saw her back in the US recording with producer Justin Stanley and released her eagerly awaited third album, ‘Where I Belong’.