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Wednesday, 27 February 2013 11:41

Blenders/Blues Festival graced by Juno nominees

Written by  Jessi Gowan
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Royal Wood Royal Wood

Local music lovers have a unique opportunity to see four Juno nominated acts who will perform in Swift Current over the next two weeks.

Juno nominees were released on Feb. 19 and include Stir Crazy Blues performers Steve Strongman and Shakura S’Aida, Grand Piano Sessions opener Royal Wood, and Blenders performer Alex Cuba, who recently received a Grammy award, as well.
“I’m just thrilled that we have this calibre of music coming, to Swift Current, it’s not often that we get to see performers like that,” explained Shann Gowan, event organizer. “I’m also thrilled for the artists, because they are all really amazing performers and I can’t wait to bring them
to Swift Current.”
Gowan explained while each artist is  different, all are well-deserving of the nominations and will put on excellent shows in Swift Current. While Stir Crazy Blues and the Blenders series are long-running in the community, March 8 will kick off the very first in a new series called the Grand Piano Sessions.
“We will only be doing two or three a year, but we have a beautiful grand piano at the art gallery and it will be great to use it for intimate concerts like these,” she noted. “Royal Wood has been a favourite for
a long time, he writes beautiful songs with a piano melody,
and he’s a really perfect first choice. He’s truly one of Canada’s best.”
The Stir Crazy Blues festival this year will feature a variety of blues styles, starting with Steve Strongman Feb. 28.
Strongman has consistently won the Maple Blues Award
for Guitarist of the Year for the past several years, and is
one of the best guitarists in the world. The Harpoonist and
the Axe Murderer will bring a grittier, White Stripes-comparable of blues/rock to the stage March 1, and Juno-nominee Shakura S’Aida will take the stage March 2 as the final performance in the festival.
“She is an amazing performer with a voice second to none, and she does more R&B and gospel blues,” explained Gowan. “We’ve got three very different style of blues happening
over the weekend, so there will definitely be something for everyone.”
Finally, Juno-nominee and Grammy-winning Alex Cuba will return to Swift Current March 14, bringing his band for a night of great rock ‘n’ roll-tinged Cuban music. Gowan looks forward to seeing Cuba with the rest of his trio.
“Each performer is totally different, but they are all definitely worth seeing,” she noted. “To have all of these artists coming to Swift Current is extraordinary, especially within such a short time period. These are all must-attend concerts.”
Gowan is currently attending the International Folk Alliance Conference and Showcase in Toronto, where she will spend
five days enjoying music by performers of all genres doing
20 minute showcases from 10 a.m.-3 a.m. It also gives her the chance to network with other industry professionals.
“It’s important for me to stay on top of Canada’s music scene, so that I can find more up-and-coming, future Juno nominees to bring to Swift Current,” she said. “This will be a long week full of music.”

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