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Third and final line-up for Bluesfest


Bluesfest NZ is proud to announce the third and final line-up.

The final line-up has now been confirmed. With the addition of five more New Zealand artists, Bluesfest NZ now completes an outstanding and musically diverse Easter weekend music festival, comprising 18 bands over two stages. From the traditional blues master himself Buddy Guy, Grammy award winning Keb Mo, and the legendary Ian Brown, the 12 hour festival programme now includes Paul Ubana Jones, Herbs (Unplugged), Darcy Perry, Kokomo and Twinset.


Buddy Guy, KT Tunstall, Keb Mo, Wilco, Ian Brown, Xavier Rudd, Newton Faulkner, Sugarland, Midge Marsden, Hollie Smith, Herbs (Unplugged), Paul Ubana Jones, Pluto, Little Bushman, Darcy Perry, Kokomo, Twinset and The Checks.

PAUL UBANA JONES - Paul Ubana Jones is more than a bluesman. He's an international troubador who has graced the stages of global festivals, supported a plethora of international acts and has released 4 studio albums (and a Best of) thru Pagan Records in New Zealand. Paul is currently on tour now, sharing his soulful voice and sprightly guitar inspiring audiences around NZ. “Trying to describe just how good Paul Ubana Jones is, is like trying to define why the Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world ¬ words pale in comparison.” -- Evening Post

HERBS (UNPLUGGED) – The one and only Herbs, iconic NZ reggae featuring Dilworth Karaka, Tama Lundon and Thom Nepia, bring to Bluesfest NZ a truly pacific interpretation of Blues and Roots music Aotearoa style. One of our most loved bands, Herbs produced a stream of hits in the 80’s – most memorably French Letter, Long Ago and Sensitive To A Smile. Others such as Slice of Heaven with Dave Dobbyn, Parihaka with Tim Finn and See What Love Can Do with Annie Crummer became hits that combined their muscial style with some of NZ’s premier artists. Herbs have also worked alongside UB40, Taj Mahal, Tina Turner, Neil Young and Stevie Wonder, and are considered pioneers of the pacific reggae sound after having paved the way for contemporary NZ reggae groups such as Fat Freddy’s Drop, Katchafire and the former Trinity Roots. Dilworth, Tama and Thom will grace Bluesfest NZ with their popular acoustic set of truly legendary NZ favourites. Not to be missed.

DARCY PERRY BAND – Darcy Perry is renowned for his live shows, performing with passion, intensity and a ferocious band that includes Norway’s finest blues piano player Simen Taylor and New Zealand harmonica master Craig Bracken. In the early 90’s Perry became part of the New Zealand blues scene as bass player for Manawatu bluesman Tura 'Bullfrog' Rata. A decade later he released his debut album as a guitarist, Blues 4 Dad, dedicated to his father Ross Perry (who died of Cancer in 2002). The rave reviews that followed its independent release saw the formation of the Darcy Perry Band. Like a bolt of lightning they established themselves on the underground blues scene as a force to be reckoned with, igniting audiences all over the country. The subsequent albums struck like wildfire too; Don’t Hold Back, Heavy Rain and Too Many Hard Miles have garnered righteous acclaim from critics and roots music fans alike. With a strong work ethic (a fifth album is due October) and a loyal following from their travels, 2008 will see them touring internationally. If you want to experience electric blues in its purest form, this band will deliver. Set after blistering set.

KOKOMO - Kokomo are renowned for their dynamic acoustic blues live shows, smart distinctive song-writing, and unique harmonica / trumpet horn section. During the last 17 years, Kokomo has toured extensively throughout New Zealand, performing at all the country’s major rock, blues, jazz and folk festivals, gaining a reputation for playing some of the finest blues in New Zealand.

Having just released their 9th album - a collection of Bob Dylan songs, Kokomo continues to play all over New Zealand with a policy of “we play anywhere” that keeps them on the road for the majority of the year. Bluesfest NZ welcomes Kokomo and their traditional blues mixed with “a little country, a bit of rock and roll, a touch of jazz and a sniff of gospel” – a perfect addition to an already outstanding line-up. “These guys are a must to see - blues at its best.” BOP Times

TWINSET – Wellington’s own soul-jazz trio Twinset, play a style of music which originated in America in the 1960s, and was pioneered by legendary Hammond organists like Jimmy Smith and Big John Patton, and the people they played with such as saxophonist Lou Donaldson and drummer Idris Muhammad. The sound is characterized by the pulsing organ bass which Christopher plays with his left hand, rich textural chords played with his right, and a driving R+B style beat provided by Paul. The music has a large improvisational component, with both Christopher and Daniel using the grooves as a vehicle for extended solo sections. This is feel good music and unlike some other types of jazz comes more from the heart than the head. Having released their latest album Flavour Country mid 2007, accompanied by a winter tour, Twinset have started 2008 with a whole bunch of new supporters.

BUDDY GUY – Blues legend Buddy Guy has a colossal musical resume as well as many hard-earned accolades. He’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a chief guitar influence to rock titans such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, a pioneer of Chicago’s West Side sound, and a living link to that city’s halcyon days of electric blues. Guy’s club remains the most successful blues joint in Chicago, and he is without a doubt the Windy City’s reigning blues artist. Clapton unabashedly calls Guy his favourite blues axeman, and so do a great many adoring fans worldwide. High-energy guitar histrionics and boundless on-stage energy have always been Guy’s trademarks, along with a tortured vocal style that’s nearly as distinctive as his incendiary rapid-fire fretwork. In 2007 Guy released Can’t Quit The Blues – the first-ever career-spanning box set of this electrifying guitar pioneer’s 50 years in music.

KT TUNSTALL – Three years ago, KT Tunstall stepped out the front door of her flat in Harlesden, London. She was off to work, and to play. She didn’t go home again until she’d recorded her debut album Eye To The Telescope; wowed the music world with her one-woman blues-stomp “Black Horse And The Cherry Tree”; toured the world a few times; become a festival favourite from Glastonbury to T in the Park; outsold every other female artist in the UK in 2005; won a Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist; landed a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance; lent her hit tune “Suddenly I See” to the soundtrack of the film The Devil Wears Prada and the TV show Ugly Betty; watched her songs become staple audition material for contestants on American Idol; recorded and filmed her lo-fi album Acoustic Extravaganza; and sell almost four million copies of Eye To The Telescope. After all of that, Tunstall got to go home and put her feet up. For five minutes. Soon it was time to work on her recently released second album, a collection of thumping pop songs and intimate, often mysterious ballads called Drastic Fantastic.

KEB’ MO’ – An East Coast Blues & Roots festival favourite, Keb’ Mo’ (born Kevin Moore) draws heavily on the old-fashioned country blues style of Robert Johnson, but fuses it with contemporary touches of soul and folk-styled acoustic playing. Before making his own albums since 1994, Mo’ applied his acoustic, electric, and slide guitar skills to jazz and rock-oriented bands. Since then, it’s been the smooth acquisition of Grammys and a large and enthusiastic global fan base. The 2004 album Keep It Simple garnered Mo’ another Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Of his latest album, Suitcase (2006), Mo’ says: “The creative process involved in the making has been a deeply rewarding experience… The music on this record represents life happening in all of its shades and shapes. I hope that spirit is conveyed to the listener.” It is certain to be conveyed to the crowds as they gather to watch Mo’ live in concert in Whitianga.

IAN BROWN – It’s been over 10 years since legendary band the Stone Roses broke up, and former lead singer Ian Brown has bounced back with a solo career that has proved the doubters wrong. In September 2007, Brown released what is regarded as his best solo album to date. The World Is Yours is a lush orchestral work-out that comes armed with politicised lyrics and some very special guests such as ex-Sex Pistols Paul Cook and Steve Jones, Paul Ryder, and ex-Smiths bassist Andy Rourke. While every British band went off and copied the Roses, he set off in the opposite direction and invented his own multi-cultural polyglot mix of music that has a cutting-edge cool to it. This is a multi-racial, multi-styled modern music that over the years and five solo albums has been honed to perfection.

WILCO – It’s been more than 12 years since guitarist and songwriter Jeff Tweedy formed the Chicago-based Wilco, but Tweedy has never felt better about it. “I think that everyone was a little more relaxed going into this record,” he says, referring to the band’s sixth proper studio album, 2007’s Sky Blue Sky. In the spring of 2004 – just before the release A ghost is born (a two-time Grammy winner) – experimental rock and jazz guitarist Nels Cline and guitarist and keyboardist Pat Sansone joined Wilco full time, adding to the existing quartet of Tweedy, longtime bassist John Stirratt, percussionist Glenn Kotche and keyboard player Mikael Jorgensen. The boys are coming down under following an extensive tour including the States, the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Spain.

NEWTON FAULKNER - Newton Faulkner is a 22 year old English singer-songwriter with a wistful smile and phenomenal dreadlocks. One of 2007’s most striking musical arrivals, clocking up a Number One platinum album, sell-out UK tours and a growing legion of passionate fans. This is an old fashioned word-of-mouth success story from an artist with simply stunning songs and an astonishing virtuoso guitar technique. So just what is that Faulkner sound? It’s acoustic guitar like we’ve never heard it before. It’s things done to six strings that will boggle the ears and eyes. It’s a throaty but gentle blues croon that speaks of backwoods and beaches.

‘Newton ripples with sunshine...his croon stretches out of brilliantly picked cascading guitar… definitely on its way to a radio near you.’ Observer Music Monthly April

XAVIER RUDD – Xavier Rudd’s performances are captivating and his talent unmistakable. His sincerity and frankness are clearly reflected in his music, which explains the huge level of support that his rhythmic and rootsy sounds have been met with wherever he tours. Hailing from Torquay on the southern Victorian coast in Australia, Xavier has a strong affinity for the beauty of his surroundings. A multi-instrumentalist – including a breathtaking proficiency on didgeridoo – Xavier applies rhythms on the stomp box with his bare feet as he glides his Weissenborn guitar through fluid melodies on songs like “Let Me Be”. A must-see live experience, Xavier was honoured at the 2006 ARIA Awards with a nomination for Best Blues And Roots Album for his 2005 release Food In The Belly. His latest offering White Moth harnesses the live spirit Rudd is famous for, thus realising a goal of combining the
acoustic warmth offered by a studio with the adrenalin of the stage.

SUGARLAND - The debut album from Sugarland, the chart-topping singer-songwriting duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, Twice the Speed of Life, was certified double platinum soon after its release in 2004. They received the award for Breakthrough Favorite New Artist at the American Music Awards and radio and fans alike embraced the record’s hit singles “Baby Girl”, “Something More”, “Just Might (Make Me Believe)” and “Down in Mississippi (Up To No Good)”. In a major career coup, Sugarland landed a highly prized Best New Artist nomination at the 2006 Grammy Awards, a category that includes all genres of popular music. Their much-anticipated second album, Enjoy the Ride, released in 2006, also went double platinum, and in 2007 Sugarland took home the trophy for the prestigious CMA Vocal Duo of the Year. First there’s Nettles, the blond powerhouse who belted it out in Baptist church as a kid before spending a decade ruling the Atlanta club circuit. Then there’s the charismatic Bush, the former alternative folk-rocker who grew up listening to college radio favourites The Replacements and R.E.M. Together, the two singular performers of Sugarland create an artistic partnership that is as unique as it is compelling.

MIDGE MARSDEN – Midge Marsden is virtually without equal. His career spans four decades, he has played thousands of concerts to countless people and he has performed with a list of artists that reads like a definitive Who’s Who of New Zealand Rock. In 1990 he was voted New Zealand Entertainer of the Year and later his critically acclaimed album ‘Burning Rain’ went gold.

Midge has toured the USA four times now, focussing mainly on California, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Each time he has met up with some exciting musicians including ‘Mississippi’ Willie Foster, Bobby Mack, Ronnie Taylor, ‘Aussie’ Dave Boyle and JulieAnne Banks, all of whom have toured New Zealand with Midge.

It was during one of these tours that Midge was a student at the University of Mississippi in 1996 where he graduated with a Diploma in Southern Studies. Recently named an O.B.C, (Old Blues Cat) Midge fills in the gaps of his busy touring schedule as a tutor at the Waikato Polytechnic where his specialist subject is ... Bluesology, what else??

Midge is a household name and icon in New Zealand. In 2006 this was recognised with a New Zealand Order Of Merit for his services to music. Midge Marsden remains the number one Rhythm and Blues artist in NZ today. A combination of red-hot musician and unbridled energy combine to guarantee a rage every show.

HOLLIE SMITH - Some songwriters write in lists of random thoughts. Hollie Smith has recorded songs of intense sentiment and passionate belief as subtle reminders. Smith says she doesn’t deal in the traditional material of your average chart topper. “I don’t really write love songs - mainly because I need to feel passion for what I’m singing,” she explains. “And if I’m singing a love song for a person who’s not around any more, the passion isn’t really there. So really,” she concludes, “I like to write reminders to myself, reminders of where I really draw my inspiration from.” And that is from within herown personal philosophy. “It’s not something I’d really preach about, it’s more subtle than that,” Smith says. “It’s more a reminder to myself about the way I’d like to live my life. Because we do it all the time - we look around at a lot of things that go on in the world and we all know they’re happening and occasionally we do something. But most of the time we feel helpless or we don’t think about it too much. So a lot of these songs are reminders that I took a vow to try and make a difference and to live more consciously”.

A defining moment of recognition arrived on the eve of the release of her much anticipated debut solo album “Long Player” on EMI, when soulful Hollie Smith signed to the prestigious Manhattan Records, New York, a boutique pop label within the legendary Blue Note group, home to Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, Cassandra Wilson and Norah Jones. “You can hear that voice and you can hear the songs and you know right away- this is somebody very special.”– Bruce Lundvall, President, Blue Note Records.

PLUTO - Inspired by everything from the morning, to dusk, to love, to strangers they have met on their travels - Pluto combine elements of modern Sci-fi-delic, rock’n’roll power, pop sensibilities and gliding vocal melodies, to create music that evokes feelings from all parts of the atmosphere. The Auckland five-piece have carved their name across the New Zealand music landscape with a highly reputed live show, two critically acclaimed albums and an aura of mystique & intrigue. Since releasing their debut album Red Light Syndrome in 2001 and the double platinum-selling Pipeline Under The Ocean (2005), they have become a band known for consistently writing thoughtful, intelligent and memorable songs, including the sonic anthem Long White Cross (NZ Music Awards - Single Of The Year 2006).

In October 2007, they return with their eagerly anticipated third offering Sunken Water - the musical evolution and diversity of Pluto, shows them now as a band who can transcend between introspective acoustic pop, to writhing rock’n’roll power with grunge elements, to progressive pop psychedelia and atmospheric mood music. Firmly established as one of the country’s favourite live bands, Pluto will not disappoint.

LITTLE BUSHMAN - In 2004, Warren Maxwell, then front man for Trinity Roots, asked drummer Rick Cranson and bassist Tom Callwood for a jam, which eventually became a recording session at Wellington studio The Surgery. The focus was on getting a 60s psychedelic feel to the music. Another recording followed, and during these sessions, the band realised they needed a guitarist. Warren suggested Joe, and Little Bushman was born. Both these sessions were to be demos for Little Bushman’s incredible debut album The Onus of Sand, recorded in 2006. A nationwide tour supporting Dave Dobbyn came first though, where the band refined their sound in a live setting. This organic pre-production process also became the formula for their second album, Pendulum.

The four performers in Little Bushman are alumni of the Wellington Jazz School, where they studied during the 1990s before joining and forming various bands. For Warren Maxwell (vocals/keys) those bands were Fat Freddy’s Drop, where he played saxophone, and Trinity Roots, where his soulful vocals and guitar won the hearts and minds of listeners throughout Aotearoa. Drummer Rick Cranson, bassist Tom Callwood and guitarist Joe Callwood have all played in many other forms; rock bands, jazz experimental groups, at Wellington’s Jazz Festivals – too many to mention. Little Bushman are a well respected democracy that collectively agrees on themes and topics to write about and the underlying theme of Pendulum is the global imbalance between economy and nature. Little Bushman firmly believes that music has the power to awaken and unite people. A fitting addition to the Inaugural Bluesfest NZ.

THE CHECKS - The road from the squeaky-clean world of the Barbershop quartet to the gravel-throated, primal howl of the blues is perhaps one less travelled, but it’s what’s led scarily-young Auckland, NZ five-piece The Checks to the precipice of success in 2007. Since forming at the grand age of fifteen (they all hover between nineteen and twenty now), the band have had a meteoric rise in their native New Zealand, their bluesy, age-defying garage rock racket winning them fans as illustrious as REM’s Michael Stipe and bagging them a 2005 New Zealand Music Award after just one 7” single.

A move to London and the band set about writing and recording their debut album. Produced by Ian Broudie (The Coral, The Zutons, Echo & The Bunnymen), ‘Hunting Whales’ is one of the great debut records of the year, a spit n’ sawdust rock n’ roll record that’s bursting at the seams with songs to send you bare-chested and wild. The swampy, beer-sodden stomp of ‘What You Heard’ follows a raucous, downright-filthy slice of Delta-rock chaos that the band likens to “A clean five in the guts”. This is perfect Bluesfest NZ material. The Checks are one of the hottest live bands around and right now, you’d do well to catch The Checks’ swirling, swamp-blues howl from the belly of the beast before the rest of the world latches on.


The Coromandel Peninsula Blues & Roots Music Festival

Saturday 22nd, March, 2008

Dakota Fields, Whitianga

Gates Open from midday. Plenty of on site parking available. Campsites available from Fri 21 March

Tickets on sale now

Tickets from 0800 Ticketek (0800 84253835) ,

or Real Groovy Records, CD’s4Nix, Golddiggers, Blackjack Surf Shop, Funktion and the Whitianga Information Centre

For full festival information -

PLEASE NOTE: BluesfestNZ is an R18 event. We are family friendly and we encourage family groupings, but under 18’s need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to restricted bar areas.


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