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Bluesfest: The soulful voice of Riishi Von Rex

By Apartment613 on July 16, 2015

Over the past six years, singer-songwriter Riishi Von Rex has been tearing up the Ottawa music scene with her soulful voice and impressive guitar licks.

Having played both as a solo artist and with several backing musicians, she teamed up with drummer Michel Delage in 2012 to form the current incarnation of the group, which plays a versatile sound that they dub “gypsy rock.”  The duo now brings their great songs to Bluesfest this weekend, when they perform on the Claridge Stage on Saturday, July 18 at 4 pm.

“This is our second time playing Bluesfest and I think we’re even more excited for this one!” says Von Rex in an email to Apartment613.  “In 2013 we played in the Barney Danson Theatre and it was our fourth gig together, so it was all pretty crazy.  We’re a little more established and a lot more experienced playing as a duo this time around.”

The band’s bewitching sound has been described as the love child of Janis Joplin and Tom Waits, but who was raised by the White Stripes.  This intriguing description captures the group’s innovative music, which is on full display on Shed Your Helmet, the duo’s first EP that was released this past May.  The album contains five tracks, including the really good Animal Too (see video below).


Looking past Bluesfest, the duo plans to hit the road, as well as working on a LP.

“Our dream for the next year is to get some touring done in the fall before the weather turns sour and meanwhile drum up the support we need to get working on a full-length album in 2016,” says Von Rex, when asked what the band hopes to accomplish the coming year.  “Along the way we’ll release a few videos and get our EP to more ears, since we are basically unknown on a national scale.

“If we’re dreaming really big we would love to work with someone we really admire on the next record, like Daniel Lanois or Hawksley Workman, but we’ll be pretty happy just to get a great line-up of festival dates out of town and more airplay and reviews by next summer.  Oh, and grants.  We want lots of grants.”

Riishi Von Rex play Bluesfest on Saturday, July 18 at 4 pm on the Claridge Stage.  For ticket information you can go to the online Bluesfest ticket site.