You may be wondering why you’re already seeing the word ‘Easter’ when we’re in the midst of summer Christmas festivities? Well that’s because it happens to be the time of year that the iconic Byron Bay Bluesfest is once again taking place, across the long-long weekend of 9 – 13 April.
One of the biggest drawcards on the bill is the return to the stage for the first time in three years of much-loved icons Crowded House, who’ll be performing exclusively for the event. With Neil Finn now a fully-fledged touring member of the legendary Fleetwood Mac, it might be awhile again before you get the chance to catch them. Other massive drawcards include the multi-talented, Grammy Award winning Lenny Kravitz, punk high priestess Patti Smith, the Dave Matthews Band, LP, John Prine, George Benson and The Waterboys, as well as erstwhile Aussie acts John Butler, Xavier Rudd and The Cat Empire.
In preparation for Bluesfest 2020, we thought we’d shine the spotlight on five ‘dark horses’ in the line-up, who you should definitely be checking out in addition to the big-ticket drawcards.
Jimmie Vaughan: The elder brother of sadly departed Texas blues maestro Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan is a much-revered artist in his own right. From his musical beginning in the late 60s (where his group opened for The Jimi Hendrix Experience), through to a stellar career fronting 80s blue rock act The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Vaughan’s distinctive guitar stylings (influenced by blues greats such as B.B King and Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson), are sure to unite in rapture both blues purists and rock fans in general.
The Allman Betts Band: The names alone will elicit knowing nods from classic rock-dogs all over town, with Devon Allman and Duane Betts being the respective sons of Allman Brothers Band legends Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts. Devon and Duane, together with their cracking band, including Berry Oakley Jr (son of original Allman Brothers Band bassist Berry Oakley) will light up the stage when they preform both original numbers as well as a smattering of classic Allman Brothers tunes, in honour of the 50th anniversary of their fathers’ pioneering band.
Larkin Poe: While on the subject of all things Allman, Nashville roots rock duo Larkin Poe, fronted by sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell, have been referred to as “the little sisters of The Allman Brothers.” Having been anointed as the ‘best discovery’ of the 2014 Glastonbury Festival, the sassy sisters have also achieved fame as in-demand backing musicians for a host of artists, including our own Keith Urban. If Southern harmonies and slide riffs are your thing, you won’t want to be missing out on a dose of Larkin Poe.
Joachim Cooder: the name ‘Cooder’ will most likely be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in music, on account of guitarist, record producer and film score composer Ry Cooder. And this particular Cooder is in fact Ry’s son, with Joachim Cooder making his way in the music business as both a regular collaborator with his famous father, as well as forging his own trail as a percussionist and keyboardist par excellence.
Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles (pictured): Speaking of keyboardists, if gospel infused jazzy soul jams are your thang, you’ll no doubt be bustin’ moves to renowned organ virtuoso Cory Henry and his new project, out front of the Funk Apostles. Having previously lit up Blues Fest stages with his instrumental project Snarky Puppy, this time around he’ll be finding his voice and displaying his impressive song writing chops.
Bluesfest 2020 runs from 9 – 13 April in the idyllic surrounds of Byron Bay. Their most recent lineup announcement includes Kool & the Gang, The Gipsy Kings ft. Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo, Guy Sebastian, LP, Allen Stone and more! Visit bluesfest.com.au to check out the full lineup so far.