Tuesday 26th March six unsigned blues bands met at Scala, in London, for the final of the New Brunswick Battle of the Blues 2013. One of my first posts was on last years final. This was the third Battle of the Blues with a prize of an all expenses paid trip to New Brunswick, Canada to play on one of the main stages at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton. The festival is one of Canada’s and North America’s premier jazz and blues festivals and is a chance to be seen on the international stage.
Previous winners from the UK, 24 Pesos (2011) and Groove-a-Matics (2012), proved very popular with the festival goers. The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival 2013 runs from 10th – 15th September and is held in the historic downtown heart of the provincial capital, Fredericton. The town squares, the green and whole streets are taken over by the festival with large venues holding several thousands to smaller more intimate venues. Musicians play for free on the streets and there is a family event on the green to get the children involved. You can read about my visit in 2010 here.
The Battle of the Blues is sponsored by www.tourismnewbrunswick.co.uk
The Laurence Jones Band are a young band play an edgy modern blend of blues and rock.
Dove and Boweevil Band are a five peice band from Norfolk and are rapidly becoming popular in the UK blues scene
David Midgen & The Dirty Words are another five piece band based in Kent. Theirs is an exciting crossover of blues, country and rock style.
Street Corner Blues is a collaboration between two solo artists (vocalist and guitarist alongside an harmonica player. Their music is both unique and an interesting blend of traditional blues sounds. They are my personal favourite
The Boston Tea Party are a young band from Dundee all with a passion for blues and folk. Their popularity in the Scottish blues scene is growing rapidly.
Ben Smith is a solo artist but has also played in bands. He is an accomplished guitarist with a voice to match.
There was a wide range of styles throughout the evening and any one of the bands or soloists would have done the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival proud. The judges chose to send David Midgen & The Dirty Words to perform at the festival and enjoy a few days seeing what the rest of New Brunswick has to offer.
For some idea of what they might see and experience you can read my New Brunswick Experience post.