The Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival has announced a 2014 lineup that will grace it’s stage in beautiful Cassidy Park, Bogalusa, Louisiana — a short drive from New Orleans. The festival will feature the best in live blues music all day Saturday, Sept. 27, as well as an expansion to a Friday night lineup.
In its third year, Bogalusa has assembled a slate of powerful, soulful performers that will give voice to a wide, and deep, range of blues styles. From 5:00 p.m. on Friday to roughly 10 p.m. Saturday, spotlight on nine acts, many multiple award winners, who range from noted grand masters to youthful musicians with the blues in their blood.
The Bogalusa headliner, JJ Grey & Mofro, will take the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday and close the fest in a powerful, passionate fury of down-home Southern funk. Known for a grimy blend of front porch soul, roots-deep story telling and laying-it-on-the-line shows that move audiences to dance and, sometimes, to tears, the band is at the height of its acclaim.
Ruthie Foster will take the stage before Grey, with her combustible blend of blues, soul, rock, folk and gospel. She testifies powerfully with a dripping, soulful voice, through passionate song writing and with bold, transformational takes on some of music’s finest classics.
Devon Allman, son of Gregg and nephew of Duane, will play Saturday night. Gaining growing acclaim as a singer, songwriter and guitar master with the blues/rock super group Royal Southern Brotherhood, Allman is also renoun as a solo artist for his powerful voice and experimental blues stylings.
Another member of the Brotherhood, Mike Zito, will bring his stinging electric slide guitar and blistering, raspy vocals to Bogalusa in the 2:45 p.m. time slot. Zito combines Texas blues roots with the signature flavor of New Orleans.
Before that, Johnny Sansone, a New Orleans roots music pioneer and member of the all-star Voice of the Wetlands group who is known for incendiary harmonica and accordion work, will fill Cassidy Park with his energetic, larger than life musical presence. And he’ll sweeten the experience by bringing along Mardi Gras Indians Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Honey Banister and Kerry Vessel as his guests.
The performances Saturday will begin at noon with 81-year-old blues legend Big George Brock, who will root the scene and set the pace in traditional style with his gritty, wailing harmonica and raw, passionate voice. The longtime music man who was born in the Mississippi Delta before heading to St. Louis specializes in what he calls “true blues.”
And this year, by popular demand, the BBHF will expand to include Friday evening when headliner Paul Thorn, an audience favorite from last year, will bring his engaging saint and sinner mix back to Bogalusa. Thorn is the son of a Pentecostal minister and nephew of a pimp, a former pro boxer and an acclaimed singer/songwriter who brings his musical stories to life in a muscular brand of rocking roots Blues.
New Orleans music icon Walter “Wolfman” Washington, widely acclaimed for soulful vocals and searing guitar work that are credited with helping to define the Crescent City’s unique musical hybrid, is sure to have everybody howling at the moon. Big Daddy O, aka Owen Tufts, will begin Friday’s festivities.
The festival’s Heritage Stage lineup will be announced in the coming weeks.