Some top names in North American blues will add star-power to Life, Death and the Blues, the historic musical theatre partnership between the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival and Theatre New Brunswick this September during the Festival’s 25th anniversary.
The Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival and Theatre New Brunswick today announced that Grammy-nominated Chicago blues master Billy Branch, Cape Breton blues legend Matt Minglewood, and Blues Music Award winning, boogie-woogie/blues pianist Eden Brent will be the special guests for innovative concert/theatre hybrid Life, Death & The Blues.
“Being able to add these 3 iconic blues musicians – each a unique talent in their own right – will help make this very special musical theatre production distinctly Harvest” said Brent Staeben, Harvest music programmer. “Each will bring their own story of the blues to the show, and share their love of the blues with our audiences
“What an extraordinary honour to welcome these incredible musicians to the stage as part of Life, Death, and the Blues.” Says Theatre New Brunswick Artistic Director Thomas Morgan Jones.” Their presence is a testament to the incredible home that this production has made for audiences and artists alike to celebrate the blues.”
Created by Gemini nominated actor and Maple Blues Award winner Raoul Bhaneja, and featuring Juno winning songstress Divine Brown and Bhaneja’s knockout backing band, The Big Time, Life, Death & The Blues combines autobiography, interview, music and multi-media to explore the power, passion and meaning of The Blues. Following its Toronto premiere last fall, Life, Death and The Blues has been touring across Canada to rave review, including The Globe & Mail, who wrote: “Bhaneja and his backing band…are committed and talented bluesmen, while the charming Brown brings down the house. There will be three performances of Life, Death and The Blues, with each featuring a special guest.
Sitting in for the Thursday night show is “the father of modern Chicago Blues”, Billy Branch. Discovered way back in his college years by Willie Dixon, he has since played on over 150 recordings, including 12 under his own name. Branch has recorded with Dixon, Johnny Winter, Lou Rawls and Taj Mahal, to name a few. He’s been nominated for 3 Grammy Awards, served two consecutive terms on the Grammy Board of Governors, and runs the internationally recognized Blues in the Schools Program, teaching both young and old about the Blues.
With one foot steeped in the musical roots of blues and country and the other knee-deep in rock, Matt Minglewood’s constant touring and high octane live shows have earned him the well-deserved reputation of ‘down-to-earth bearers of good will and good times.’ Masters of improvisation and genre bending, their diversity and broad audience appeal has made them a true favorite on the Canadian touring circuit. In a climate ripe with ever-changing musical styles, Matt’s artistic character has been defined by remaining true to himself. Minglewood will be the special guest for the Friday morning performance of Life, Death & The Blues.
Born into a family of riverboat captains and guitar pickers in the Mississippi River port of Greenville, Eden Brent’s story reads something like a Mark Twain novel. Nicknamed “Little Boogaloo” by her Mississippi Delta mentor Boogaloo Ames, Brent is much more than her signature boogie and blues piano riffs. She has proven to be a celebrated songwriter and dynamic performer, earning eleven Blues Music Award nominations since 2009 and winning three. Brent will be the guest for the Friday evening performance.
The Fredericton Playhouse, www.theplayhouse.ca, or 1.866.884.5800
Harvest Central, 81 Regent St, www.harvestjazzandblues.com or 1-888-311-9090