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Wednesday, 13 March 2013 14:15

Another great year for Stir Crazy Blues

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This year's Stir Crazy Blues festival offered audiences a full three nights of fantastic music from some of the best blues artists Canada has to offer.


“It was really excellent, with a wide variety of music,” explained organizer Shann Gowan. “We had smooth, beautiful electric and acoustic guitar blues, grungier rock blues, and then R&B. I try every year to bring in three very different performers, and two out of the three were Juno nominees this year. We were so thrilled about that.”


The festival kicked off on Feb. 28 with a performance by Steve Strongman, who was recently nominated for a Juno for Blues Recording of the Year. His live show was a great start to the festival, showcasing Strongman's talent as a songwriter, guitarist, and frontman.


Next up was an energetic show from The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer, whose brand of blues is more similar to acts like The White Stripes or The Black Keys than traditional blues style. The duo put on an impressive performance, creating music with their hands, feet, and mouths without using any pre-recordings or looping.


The final performance of the festival was arguably one of the best Blenders performances so far – Juno nominee Shakura S'Aida. Her powerful and soulful voice is reminiscent of classic jazz, blues, and R&B vocalists, and her dynamic engagement with the audience added an additional element of excitement to the live show.


“Everyone seemed really happy every night, there was definitely something for everyone,” added Gowan. “If you like blues at all, there was a genre there that you would really enjoy.”


The festival is a partnership with blues festivals in both Regina and Saskatoon, and performers are shuttled back and forth between the three cities – meeting in Rosetown and Caronport to swap bands. It has been a very successful partnership for all three venues, and Gowan plans to continue offering the festival for years to come.


“There is obviously a market for it, and I try not to bring in a lot of blues for any of my other shows, so it's nice to have a chance to focus on that this time of year,” she noted. “I've gotten away from the solo, stereotypical blues performers and kind of go all over the map now. I think it really makes for a better festival.”


Currently, Gowan is getting ready for her next music festival – June's Long Day's Night. She noted that the lineup is almost confirmed, and there are still four more Blenders shows before the season ends for another year.


“I really think that live music is so important for our quality of life here, and gets people interacting in the community in such a fun way,” explained Gowan. “It's a great way to highlight our own Canadian music performers, who really are among the best in the world. There is amazing music coming out of Canada right now, and we should all be proud of it. It's wonderful that we can give them a great place to perform right here in Swift Current.”

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Jessi Gowan