This is the latest in our first-person view of the Tremblant International Blues Festival, happening now in the beautiful Mount Tremblant, Canada! Charlie, a good friend of the American Blues Scene and dedicated blues fan, is reporting from the trenches.
I decided to start this day with a hike to Cap 360, and every step was worth it. From the top, dozens of lakes could be seen among the rolling hills and mountains. I didn’t see one other person over 4 hours, and could’ve stayed all day, but the blues was calling. Driving to the venue, hundreds of people were on the roads biking, perhaps training for the upcoming Ironman Tremblant is hosting. This is truly an undiscovered hiking, biking and canoeing paradise.
As another perfect afternoon unfolded I first had to catch Steve Hill. Now I know why everyone was buzzing about him. Looking like a spitting image of Duane Allman, it was just him playing electric guitar and a bass drum and hi hat at his feet. Songs from his new cd Solo Recordings were featured, along with a vastly altered version of Cream’s “Politician”. The response showed politics are not only on American’s minds. A short trip down to the acoustic stage was worth the trip, as Dawn Tyler Watson and Paul Deslauriers were holding court. Finalists at this year’s IBC, and coming off 3 successful tours of Europe including Russia, they delighted the crowd with a mix of soul, funk, bluess and soul. Especially notable were a version of Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic”, Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man”, “Take Your Rest With Me” and a double entendre ode to sugar addiction “Tootsie Roll”.
Normally Mondays are devoted to acoustic music, but this year organizer Brian Slack decided to have an electic band on the big Volkswagon stage. And what a band! Royal Southern Brotherhood is a new supergroup featuring Devon Allman, Cyrille Neville and Mike Zito. Featuring songs from their self-titled Ruf debut, the crowd ate up the blend of Meter’s funk, swampy soul and southern rock. “New Horizons”, “Moonlight Over Mississipppi”, and “Sweet Jelly Donut” with Johnny Sansone playing harmonica stood out. Jerry Garcia was upstairs smiling at their version of “Fire On The Mountain” (appropriate for a ski area!). Derek Trucks’ drummer Yon Rico Scott and bassist Charlie Wooten both took hot solos and Devon’s version of his father, Gregg’s “One Way Out” brought the evening to a rousing close. With my chicken legs aching from hiking and standing on brick to watch all the music, it was time to head for some rest, as we’re not even half way through the festival. I’m sure the upper stage’s Acoustic Summit featuring most of the day’s performers was packed and amazing. The amount of Canadian and international talent this festival features is mind boggling. In 2 years of coming here, I have been turned on to dozens of artists I never knew were out there. Expand my horizons indeed. Sleep calls!