Bluesfest has always been a veritable smorgasbord of tasty artists, with a wide array of music to suite the palate of any punter. However there are a few homegrown, or little known, artists that we want to shine the spotlight on for a moment.
Take, for example, Aussie duo Little Georgia – a delightful pairing of Ashleigh Mannix and Justin Carter. Any GC music lover will be familiar with the name Ashleigh Mannix, who has been treating local audiences to her powerful and angelic vocals for many years. In 2016 Little Georgia released their debut album Bootleg and have been touring for the last year. A refreshing honesty infuses their folksy music, with embellished harmonies tying their compelling songs together. You can catch them on Saturday and Monday of the five-day festival and we strongly recommend you do.
Our next artist may not necessarily be flying under the radar, but he’s certainly homegrown. Nic Cester, former lead singer of Aussie band Jet, has returned with something a little left of centre as far as his previous music is concerned. Backed by an enchanting cohort of Italian session players, strings and horns Cester takes a walk on the soul side of life with his new material. Even if Jet wasn’t your cup of tea, this show will be worth catching as Cester debuts never before heard songs and showcases just why Australia fell in love with him in 2003. Make sure you swing by on Sunday or Monday to be the first to hear some of his new material.
While Max Jury hails from Iowa, USA he is definitely on our ‘to watch’ list and as soon as you lend an ear to the 21 year old’s lofty croon and heartfelt lyrics you’ll understand why. We could compare this old soul with some of the greats, call him a ‘country infused Elton John’, but his music stands on it’s own. You can see him Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday – and he’s also putting on a sideshow in Sydney Thursday night.
Busby Marou (pictured)
This duo has had a pretty impressive career so far. Over the last few years they’ve recorded a song for the Finn Brothers’ tribute album He Will Have His Way, they’ve supported James Blunt and Pete Murray in Australia and recorded at Murray’s home studio. Most recently Busby Marou have been making headlines after reaching the number one spot on the ARIA charts for their third album Postcards From the Shell House. Tom Busby and Jeremy Marou have such a strong musical connection and their voices and style blend so well together. If you’re into laid-back blues and stunning harmonies – don’t miss Busby Marou on Friday 14 at Jambalaya stage and Monday 17 April at Crossroads.
Taking home the 2016 Bluesfest Busking Competition, IVY will return to the stage this year for another hazy rock show. Hailing from the Central Coast these guys are no strangers to the big stage, having played at Sweaty Palms Festival and Mountain Sounds Festival in 2016. Together Kane Brown, Steve Pokrajac and Benny Pokrajac create a big, fuzzy rock and roll sound that I challenge you not to stomp along to. If you missed them at last years festival I implore you not to do the same this year. They’re on Sunday 16 April at Delta stage.
Where to begin? Laura Mvula is one of those magical talents that transcends genre. Mvula started out working with gospel and a Capella groups in her hometown of Birmingham, UK and has a spectacular vocal ability. She creates her own brand of neo-soul and collaborated with Nile Rodgers on Overcome, the single from her 2016 album The Dreaming Room. This goddess will not disappoint fans of Erykah Badu, Solange and Nina Simone and you have three chances to see her at Bluesfest: Saturday 15 April at Delta, Sunday 16 April at Jambalaya and Monday 17 April at Crossroads.
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Bluesfest takes place 13 – 17 April and miraculously, there are still tickets left. More at bluesfest.com.au.