Do you hear that sound? That’s Bluesfest organizers knocking on wood as we finally head into a day with no cancellations—but an ominous forecast could throw another wrench into the festival machine.
Thursday ramps up from the last two days with a slate of acts scheduled in the Barney Danson Theatre in addition to the standard sets on the City, Videotron, and Bluesville stages.
City Stage: Brea Lawrenson (6pm), Gone West feat. Colbie Caillat (7:30pm), Kane Brown (9:30pm)
Videotron Stage: Leikeli47 (6:30pm), Murda Beatz (8pm), DJ Pauly D (9:30pm)
Bluesville Stage: Gavin McLeod (6pm), Brandon “Taz” Niederauer (7:30pm), Shakey Graves (9pm)
Barney Danson Theatre: Abby Stewart (6pm), David Vest (7:30pm), All-Star Blues Revue with MonkeyJunk (9pm)
Spin Stage: Marquez The DJ (6:30pm)
Carleton Place’s Brea Lawrenson will kick off a country night on the City Stage armed with brand-new music to debut, starting with her new single “The Radio,” released just last week. She continues to build up her fanbase and collect nominations and awards with each new release, and in 2019 continues that trend by opening for some of the biggest names in country (including tonight with Kane Brown). With her new album set to drop next week, get a taste of what’s to come as well as some fan favourites tonight.
The All-Star Blues Revue is back today, with MonkeyJunk making their return to the festival. Guests include David Vest and Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, so if you miss their solo sets, don’t make the same mistake twice. Marquez the DJ will take over the Spin Stage and keep the Big Chill zone moving.
It’s fairly rare to have a successful solo artist transition into a group, but that’s exactly what Colbie Caillat has done with her new venture Gone West. Joining Caillat in the group are her husband Justin Young, co-writer Jason Reeves, and his songwriting wife Nelly Joy, who’ve all been collaborating for over a decade. The band leans more toward traditional country and adds impeccable harmonies founded on the group’s established chemistry to build a more lush, complete sound than Caillat’s sparser solo songs. They may only have an EP and a single out to date, but there’s potential for their debut album to skyrocket them into headliner status.
Austin’s Shakey Graves has been a staple of the indie folk and Americana scene for the past decade, touring with Mumford & Sons and Edward Sharpe and collaborating with Shovels & Rope among others. His 2018 album Can’t Wake Up takes his music in a different direction, adding more indie-rock flavour as well as some synths. The change injects some freshness into his music without being disjointed from his previous material. Listening to 2014’s “Dearly Departed” and then 2018’s “Mansion Door,” there’s a definite transition, but both can fit together on the same setlist without a major mood change. Considering his last appearance in Ottawa was Bluesfest 2015, make sure you take the opportunity to see his progression firsthand.
RBC Bluesfest is at LeBreton Flats (Canadian War Museum) from July 4–14, 2019. Visit ottawabluesfest.ca for tickets, the complete schedule and lineup. Check back for more on Bluesfest 2019, including our Day 8 preview Friday, and an interview with Matt Andersen as part of our Day 9 preview Saturday.