The dynamic songwriting, deeply poetic lyrics, thoughtful romantic and spiritual themes and eclectic blend of styles on the 11 track collection has resulted in an American saga in the rich literary tradition of legendary authors John Steinbeck and William Faulkner. Yet true to form, these typically humble musical wolves started in on the project without any grand vision or musical roadmap. Over 30 years after Los Lobos’ major label breakthrough How Will The Wolf Survive? – their 1984 album that ranks #30 on Rolling Stones list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s – their main challenge when they get off the road and head back into the studio is, as Berlin says, “trying not to do stuff we’ve already done. To a certain extent, we are always drawing from the same multi-faceted paint box, and we sound like what we sound like. We’re proud of what we feel is an honest body of work. We just want to keep finding new ways to say things.”
In the band’s early recording days – those years just before and after “La Bamba,” their worldwide crossover hit from the 1987 film which reached #1 on the U.S. and UK singles chart – they prepared for album recording sessions with top producers like T-Bone Burnett with pre- production that included multiple rehearsals and “outlining” what the project was going to be.
Walter Trout is the beating heart of the modern blues rock scene – respected by the old guard, revered by the young guns, and adored by the fans who shake his hand after the show each night.
After five decades in the game, Trout is a talismanic figure and the glue that bonds the blues community together, at a time when the wider world has never been so divided.
They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. If that’s the case, then hist latest album, We’re All In This Together, is further proof of Trout’s position at the hub of the blues scene. This is the sound of an artist not just getting by with a little help from his friends, but positively thriving on an album that is sure to light another rocket under his late blooming career.
“I’m 66 years old,” considers Trout, “but I feel like I’m in the best years of my life right now. I feel better than I have in years physically. I have more energy. I have a whole different appreciation of being alive, of the world, of my family, of my career. I want life to be exciting and celebratory. I want to dig in. I want to grab life by the balls and not let go, y’know…?”
Like many, many young aspiring artists, Tommy Castro fell under the spell of blues-rockers Eric Clapton, Elvin Bishop, Taj Mahal, and Mike Bloomfield. As he got older, he discovered the bedrock blues of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James, and the deep-rooted soul singers like Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, and James Brown.
Together, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, bassist Randy McDonald, keyboardist Michael Emerson, and drummer Bowen Brown, are a lean, mean lineup who deliver soul-shaking, muscular music. On record and on stage, their road-hardened, seemingly telepathic musicianship brings an unmatched passion to Castro’s blue-eyed California soul and hard-rocking, good-time songs.
Castro has won four Blues Music Awards including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of The Year Award, the highest award a blues performer can receive.
With a voice that is alternately sultry, assertive, and roaring, Shemekia’s wide-open vision of contemporary blues, roots, and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with a modern musical and lyrical approach. She’s earned eight Blues Music Awards, a host of Living Blues Awards (including the prestigious 2010 Blues Artist of The Year), and more accolades from fans, critics, and fellow musicians.
She’s sung with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, James Cotton, and many others. She opened for The Rolling Stones and entertained U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait. Jeff Beck calls her “f*cking amazing.” Santana says, “She’s incandescent…a diamond.”
At the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois officially declared Copeland “The New Queen Of The Blues.” In 2012, she performed with Mick Jagger at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. Afterward, Jagger sent her a bottle of champagne.
Nikki Hill is a spitfire with the soul-drenched voice of Etta James and the tattooed, beehived-hair aura of Cramps’ guitarist Poison Ivy. Buoyed by her band’s roaring boogie that’s equal parts Staple Singers and AC/DC, Nikki exudes a self-assured swagger as her fiery rasp preaches the rock & roll gospel: late nights, hot licks, and intoxicating love.
Just a couple years ago, Nikki Hill was a bartender with an affinity for punk and a deep love for classic R&B. At her husband (and now guitar-player) Matt Hill’s behest, she stepped out from behind the bar and onto the stage. The response has been ecstatic, stunning audiences with their muscular sound, Matt’s volcanic leads, and, of course, Nikki’s inimitable charisma.
The Cedric Burnside Project keeps Mississippi Hill Country Blues alive by honoring the past while blazing a path towards the future. The grandson of legendary R.L. Burnside and son of drummer Calvin Jackson, Cedric Burnside has developed a relentless, highly rhythmic charged style that takes the blues to another level.
This four-time winner of the prestigious Blues Music Award’s Drummer of the Year (2010-2014) is widely regarded as one of the best drummers in the world and has begun to make a name for himself as a traditional blues guitarist as well.
In 2006, he was featured in Craig Brewer’s critically acclaimed feature film Black Snake Moan, playing drums alongside Samuel L. Jackson.
Salgado started out in Eugene’s bar scene with his band The Nighthawks. He quickly developed into a player and singer of remarkable depth, with vocal and musical influences including Otis Redding, O.V. Wright, Johnnie Taylor, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson I and II, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Otis Spann, and Magic Sam.
Once Salgado joined forces with his friend Robert Cray and began playing together as The Robert Cray Band, he found himself sharing stages with many of his heroes, including Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland, Albert Collins, and Bonnie Raitt. He’s also toured with Santana.
Castro Coleman AKA Mr. Sipp, “The Mississippi Blues Child”, spent 22 years in the Gospel Music Business as a recording artist and producer. Recognized for his amazing vocals, songwriting ability, musicianship, ability to produce records, and entertain fans with an upbeat, outlandish show all make Mr. Sipp “The Total Package.”
With more than 125 recording credits to his name, Mr. Sipp has played on more than 50 national recordings with several Grammy nominated projects. He also won The 2014 International Blues Challenge Winner, The 2014 Gibson Best Guitarist Award Winner, and 2014 Jus’ Blues Bobby Rush Entertainers Award.
Mr. Sipp was also cast in the recently released James Brown movie, “Get on Up”. Mr. Sipp’s favorite quote: “I’m living to love the life that I live, Music!!!!”
The polished, big-band sound of Shanda and The Howlers commands listeners to get up and dance. A rhythm & blues revivalist band out of Las Vegas, NV, the band consists of vocalist Shanda Cisneros, Trevor Johnson on guitar, Micah Lapping-Carr on saxophone, Luke Metz on bass, and Keith Alcantara on drums. Their original songs have been influenced by Big Maybelle, Ruth Brown, Otis Redding, The Crystals, The Marvelettes, Gino Parks, LaVern Baker, and James Brown.
Perhaps the newest outfit to grace our stage, Shanda and The Howlers are already making waves playing on illustrious bills with The Blasters and Wanda Jackson, and performing at The Rhythm Collision Weekend (Riverside, CA) and the massive Viva Las Vegas rockabilly festival (Las Vegas, NV).
Together, Hurricane Henry, aka The Waterslide Kid, and Lord Johnny Buckets, The Bucket and Can Champion of the World, create Hillstomp.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, this junkbox blues duo is illustrious for rummaging through the dumps and forgotten backwoods of American music, recycling traditional elements into a fresh and distinctive brand of do-it-yourself hill country blues stomp. The clanging and tumbling from assorted buckets, cans, and BBQ lids, paired with a rambunctious slide guitar creates a bit of North Mississippi trance blues, a bit of Appalachia, and a dash of punkabilly.
Hillstomp’s unforgettable live performances tap into a magic that cannot be rehearsed, converting outlaws and traditionalists alike from skeptics into preachers.
Lead vocalist and dancer Anthony “Renegade” Briscoe proudly steals the spotlight with his ballet-trained dancing and emotional vocal-impact reminiscent of Prince.
Bassist Brandon Storms blends slap/pop bass lines with deep synth and pitch bent solos that parallel guitar leads.
Psychedelic-jazz guitarist Nick Quiller dominates the fretboard with unbound imagination, shredding into another dimension, exploring the soundscape from high to low.
Finally, drummer Conrad Real’s finesse and intensity, evocative of Chris Coleman or John Blackwell, serves as Down North’s foundation, through impeccable groove and powerful chops.
A song poet and fierce slide guitar player, this Oregon native is known for his virtuosity and spirit of emotional abandon. His music speaks of open roads, longing hearts, and flashbacks of Oregon– emotions big and small, and lyrics that turn quickly from literal to figurative.
His live shows transition from humorous, subversive blues to delicate balladry, swinging back to swampy rock and roll. It’s a range that ties Jacobs-Strain to his own generation and to guitar-slinger troubadours like Robert Johnson and Jackson Browne.
Jacobs-Strain has appeared at festivals from British Columbia to Australia including Telluride Blues Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Bumbershoot, and Blues to Bop in Switzerland.
He’s shared the stage with Lucinda Williams, Boz Scaggs (more than 60 shows), Etta James, The Doobie Brothers, George Thorogood, Robert Earle Keen, Todd Snider, Taj Mahal, Janis Ian, Tommy Emmanuel, Bob Weir, T-Bone Burnett, Del McCoury, and so many more.
We created a sample playlist of the most listened to songs by the artists playing at Sisters Rhythm & Brews Festival. Just hit play!