With 189 days to go until the gates to the beautiful Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm just outside Byron Bay swing open, Bluesfest has revealed their second artist announcement for the 30th Anniversary Celebration, taking place over the Easter long weekend (Thursday 18th April to Monday 22nd April 2019). Bluesfest has captured the hearts of music lovers at home and abroad and we can as always, expect some of the best musical acts in the world to touch down on Australian soil for what will definitely be, one to remember!
Needing no introduction, Bluesfest is stoked to welcome Australian musical icon, PAUL KELLY back to Bluesfest. Paul Kelly first played Bluesfest 20 years ago, back in 1999 and has been a regular visitor since then, making his seventh appearance this Easter. An ARIA Hall of Famer, Paul Kelly’s achievements in a lengthy, influential career include 23 albums, several film soundtracks and two live albums, with many of his songs being lodged deep in the Australian psyche! In 2017 he was appointed as an officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the performing arts and to the promotion of the national identity through contributions as a singer, songwriter and musician.
He continues to cross musical boundaries, publishing his first work of prose ‘How To Make Gravy’ in 2010, a feature-length documentary ‘Paul Kelly – Stories Of Me’ in 2012, the soul revue, ’The Merri Soul Sessions’ in 2014 and more. His latest certified-gold release ‘Life Is Fine’ debuted at #1 on the ARIA Charts, was the highest selling Australian album of 2017, and garnered six ARIA nominations and four ARIA awards.
With stellar reviews of his current European and North American tour dates coming in, we are excited to announce that multi-platinum, Irish singer-songwriter HOZIER is returning for his second performance at Bluesfest. The blues guitarist and uplifting soul singer recently told Billboard ‘There is absolutely no rock and roll without Blues music’ and we couldn’t agree more! Following on from the success of “Take Me To Church”, the release of his new EP “Nina Cried Power” has been met with much critical acclaim. ‘It’s not the waking, it’s the rising’ is the opening line with which Hozier opens before co-vocalist, Mavis Staples joins the socially and politically-conscious singer. Fingers crossed they will recreate this recording together at our 30th Anniversary Celebration.
With hits like ‘’Sail Away’’ and ‘’Babylon’’, DAVID GRAY will be joining us to celebrate our 30th Anniversary Celebration. During the span of David’s career thus far, he has had 12 million album sales, the bestselling album in Ireland ever with White Ladder, a BAFTA nomination for his soundtrack work on Amma Assante’s 2004 film ‘A Way Of Life’, two Ivor Novellos, a Q award, two Brit nominations, and a Grammy nomination. David Gray’s first album, ‘A Century Ends’, was released in 1993, followed by ‘Flesh’ in 1994. After touring with the likes of Radiohead and the Dave Matthews Band in support of his third album ‘Sell, Sell, Sell’, David decided to self-finance his fourth album, ‘White Ladder’, and release it on his own label, IHT Records, in 1998. David Gray is releasing new music very soon.
Australian folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, JULIA STONE is returning to Bluesfest with her band in 2019. The sister half of Angus & Julia Stone who together have won FIVE ARIAs, released her debut solo album ’The Memory Machine’ in 2010. She has since been working on her solo career. Having sung backing vocals for The Flaming Lips and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and performing for numerous years with her brother, Julia is no stranger to the stage. Each solo project Julia has embarked on has shown beautifully the breadth of Julia’s musical capability and imagination. Julia’s third studio album is currently a work in progress with New York based producer, Thomas Bartlett.
Hailed as THE Blues guitarist of our era, GARY CLARK JR. will be gracing Bluesfest with his presence for the third time this April. Weaned on John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins and T-Bone Walker in Austin, Texas, Gary Clark Jr. fuses his deep Blues influence with a love of classic Hip-Hop and Contemporary Soul. His voice weaves between a melodic lilt and a seasoned Blues howl with his guitar licks dancing and dodging between and behind the beat as if the essence of Snoop and Dre loom in his head by way of the Mississippi Delta. Gary Clark Jr. exploded onto the music scene at Eric Clapton’s 2010 Crossroads Guitar festival and has garnered millions of fans since.
With a well-deserved long list of accolades, MAVIS STAPLES is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, a Blues Hall of Famer, a Grammy-Award winner, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree, a Kennedy Center Honoree, and holds Honorary Doctorates from Columbia College, Chicago and the Berklee College of Music, Boston. She is also the proud owner of one, of only two, Bluesfest Shining Star Awards! Given the list of artists that she has collaborated with, it’s easy to see how the status of ‘living legend’ is applied to the great Mavis Staples. A few months shy of turning 80 years old Mavis Staples returns to Bluesfest for the 7th time, filled with the hope of a future world: “Bring us all together as a people—that’s what I hope to do. You can’t stop me. You can’t break me. I’m too loving!!” When Mavis Staples hits the stage this Easter for her exclusive Australian show be sure you are front and centre to welcome this amazing woman and to show her the biggest Bluesfest love – ever!
Irish-American seven-piece Celtic punk band from California, FLOGGING MOLLY led by Irish vocalist Dave King are coming to Byron Bay to celebrate Bluesfest 30th Anniversary. The social and political awareness that drives Flogging Molly’s music is never more prominent than in their release ‘Life Is Good’ – a strikingly powerful album and it arrives at a key time. The sixth studio album by the renowned Celtic-punk rockers, now in their 20th year, is mature, well crafted, equally polished and almost aggressively topical. It is filled with rousing songs that are timeless in their sentiment, but directly related to today’s most pressing concerns: politics, the economy, unemployment, planned boomtowns gone bust, immigration policies gone awry, and much more.
American singer-songwriter, rapper and bassist, MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO is joining the Bluesfest 30th Anniversary line-up this April. Her music incorporates a wide variety of influences, including Funk, Soul, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae and Rock. With 10 Grammy Award nominations, Meshell has received significant critical acclaim in her career, she has also been credited for helping spark the Neo-Soul movement. ‘Ventriloquism’ is the latest album from Meshell Ndegeocello.
In the tightknit musical community of Austin, Texas, it’s tough to get away with posturing. You either bring it, or you don’t. If you do, word gets around. And one day, you find yourself duetting with Bonnie Raitt, or standing onstage with the Allman Brothers at New York’s Beacon Theater and trading verses with Susan Tedeschi. You might even wind up getting nominated for a Best Blues Album Grammy — three times in a row. And those nominations would be in addition to your seven Blues Music Awards, three Austin Music Awards, the Grand Prix du Disque award from the Académie Charles-Cros in France, and a Living Blues Critics’ Award for Female Blues Artist of the Year. There’s only one Austinite with that résumé: RUTHIE FOSTER, who is joining us in Byron Bay from 18-22 April 2019 for an exclusive Australian show.
Back in December 2017, SHAKEY GRAVES proclaimed on his Twitter page, “Next album. New sound. Sell your suspenders.” The tweet was tongue-in-cheek, but Alejandro Rose-Garcia, the Austin native who’s been plying his trade as Shakey Graves since 2007, was making a dead-serious point about his latest album, ‘Can’t Wake Up’. This ambitious, audacious work heralds an artistic metamorphosis for the 30-year-old veteran, whose risk-taking in painting outside the lines has been rewarded tenfold. We’re looking forward to seeing him perform this album and much more at Bluesfest’s 30th Anniversary Celebration.
ANDERSON EAST is the humble type – the sort of man who chalks up his success to loads of good fortune. But the singer-songwriter has earned his accolades: one of music’s most compelling young artists, East is an unflinching and inimitable talent. Best exemplified on his breakout 2015 debut album, ‘Delilah’, the Alabama-native wields an unwavering and potent, ever-husky voice. And as seen on standout tracks including “Satisfy Me” and “Devil In Me,” he’s able to effortlessly spin tales of tumult and triumph in equal measure. That’s of course to say nothing of the brute force with which the man performs — fiery and forceful, as much a wily preacher as a patient poet, East has become one of music’s must-see live acts and is performing an exclusive Australian show at Bluesfest’s 30th Anniversary Celebration.
No strangers to the Bluesfest stage, the cosmic country soul of LUKAS NELSON & PROMISE OF THE REAL are returning for 2019. Since forming 10 years ago, the 28-year old singer/songwriter/guitarist and his bandmates have played hundreds of shows and major festivals all over the world and built a devoted underground following. Lukas’ profile continued to rise when he contributed three songs and heavenly vocals to his dad Willie Nelson’s 2012 album, ‘Heroes’, their voices blending with potent DNA. Then two years later, life took another turn skyward when Neil Young decided to make Promise of the Real his touring and studio band. Young has guided the grateful young musicians ever since as they’ve backed the legend on tour around the world and on his two most recent albums. You might also recognise Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real from Lady Gaga’s ‘A Star Is Born’ which was released in September.
Making a much anticipated Bluesfest debut is Billboard Blues Chart regular, SAMANTHA FISH. After launching her recording career in 2009, Samantha Fish quickly established herself as a rising star in the contemporary Blues world. Since then, the charismatic young singer-guitarist-songwriter has earned a reputation as a rising guitar hero and powerful live performer, while releasing a series of acclaimed albums that have shown her restless creative spirit consistently taking her in new and exciting musical directions. As far as Samantha Fish is concerned, her musical future is an open road. “I’m never gonna be a traditional Blues artist, because that’s not who I am,” she asserts. “You’ve gotta keep that kind of fire and spirit. I’m never gonna do Muddy Waters better than Muddy Waters, so I have to be who I am and find my best voice”. Her Bluesfest exclusive performance is definitely not to be missed!
As THE WAR AND TREATY, Michael and Tanya Trotter heal and steal pain with freewheeling joy on new their full-length album, ‘Healing Tide’. Produced by Buddy Miller, funky bass lines, keys, lap steel, acoustic strings, and stripped-down percussion create a swampy Southern soul bed for the couple’s transcendent vocals. Bringing their musical genius to Byron Bay Bluesfest this April, The War and Treaty want audiences to feel like they care with their exclusive Australian performance. “I want people to feel like we care,” Michael says. “When you think about artists, you don’t think about that.” He pauses and grins broadly. “But that’s the way I want the world to feel about The War and Treaty.”
Melbourne based singer, MOJO JUJU is making a welcome return to Bluesfest for the 30th Anniversary Celebration. Mojo Juju has been called many things and yet she is forever hard to define. By her own explanation, Mojo has never felt comfortable with being categorized and is increasingly deliberate in avoiding labels and defying genres. As a result, it is only in experiencing her live shows that one can begin to understand the full breadth of this dynamic artist with Aboriginal (Wiradjuri) and Filipino heritage.
Singer-songwriter and front-woman, CAITI BAKER was born into a household filled with vinyl, CDs and tapes of Blues, Soul, Gospel, Jazz and Rock & Roll. After being given an eight-track digital recorder, she learnt how to write and record songs on her own from the age of 12. Inspired by the greats like Aretha Franklin, Big Mamma Thornton and Little Walter, Caiti writes songs about what she knows and feels, sings with her soul and unashamedly performs the hell out of them. But that will all be obvious when you hear her music and watch her perform, which will have you either dancing or chilling with a grin on your face at Bluesfest 2019.
DEVA MAHAL was born with the Blues in her blood. Deva began performing with her father Taj Mahal from the age of five. Becoming the genre-defying artist, powerhouse vocalist and astute songwriter that she is today could only be achieved through living a life rich with pain, joy, loss, love, heartache and experience. A soul as singular as Deva’s can only find voice through an equally unique sound, which she’s forged by growing her Blues roots through the fertile soil of modern R&B, Indie-pop, Soul, Rock and Gospel. We’re super excited for her Bluesfest debut!
MELODY ANGEL is a self-taught guitarist/singer-songwriter from the south-side of Chicago. At age seven, Melody fell in love with guitar the moment she heard Prince play ‘Purple Rain’. Melody’s influences would grow from there including; Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Slash, Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Nina Simone, and many more. Her songs are powerful, dark and evocative. Back in 2017 Melody Angel stunned the audiences – and Bluesfest staff alike – with her ‘True Blues’ – Bluesfest is super-stoked to have her back with us next Easter.
Bluesfest Busking Competition winners from 2010, HUSSY HICKS have made a name for themselves locally and on the international stage – by playing their music and connecting with audiences one passionate performance at a time. Julz Parker is widely recognised amongst her peers as one of Australia’s finest guitar players and was recently voted number five guitarist in our Bluesfest artist poll. Leesa Gentz’s powerhouse stage presence, soaring vocals and massive smile will steal your heart, have you hanging on every note and leave a tingle dancing down your spine at Bluesfest 2019.
The 2019 playing schedule so far is available on bluesfest.com.au with many more artists to come.