From Zero To Bluesfest 2013

Shirley Jackson & Her Good Rockin Daddys

I have to confess, before heading up to Bluesfest 2013 at Fox Mountain in Aylesford, I didn’t know a whole lot about blues rock music. I did “know of” blues rock, and some artists/bands that have adopted the style, but it really hasn’t been my scene. I’ve always been attracted to music that has been glossy (if not over-produced) which has managed to find a way to grab my attention. Blues rock has grabbed my attention in the past, but for songs that run longer than the 8 minute mark I would usually find myself reaching for the next button and continue on my regular listening routine.

I wasn’t always a consumer of music, where I’d listen to 3 minutes of something and be satisfied with what I was listening to and then move on to the next disposable single. In my early days as a fan of music, I was a fan of a number of different albums which were inspired by popular blues artists. One of the first albums I picked up during the 90’s was The Tea Party‘s “Edges Of Twilight”.  It was really one of the first albums where I didn’t find myself reaching for the skip button, and just let the entire album wash over me. I remember laying there in bed and just zoning out while enjoying the amazing musicianship that was contained within the album. There was a real emphasis on the musicianship and a wide swath of instruments (including: the guitar, bass, drums, sitar, moroccan shakers, even including the vocals as an instrument). I only found out later that The Tea Party was greatly inspired by a little known band who roamed the earth a couple of decades ago known as Led Zeppelin.  Other bands I listened to such as I Mother Earth were inspired by blues legend Santana and Stone Temple Pilots were clearly inspired by ’70’s era blues rock.
The Tea Party – “Turn the Lamp Down Low”

During the ’90s, I exclusively stuck with the alternative rock genre to the point of ignoring the artists (Jimmy Hendrix and Eric Clapton) who established the foundation for the genre and those who also directly inspired that generation of music. To me, anything earlier than the 90’s was outdated and anything associated with the “Blues Rock” tag didn’t appeal to me back then.

Eventually, alternative rock music after the 90’s became very shallow (nu metal comes to mind), and I kinda lost myself into an assortment of newer music, much of which had lost it’s blues roots. It sure wasn’t about how thoughtful buddy played his guitar, but how much harder/heavier they could out due each other. Eventually I was getting pretty sick of it, and would later dig deep into the classics. I couldn’t tell you the number of hours I spent running through Jimmy Hendrix‘s, Are You Experienced with amazement.

Artistically I think we’ve seen quite a bit of change in the music landscape over the past decade. There’s been a myriad of different sounds, coming from here there and everywhere. And I think the diversity of music has really given Blues Rock another kick at the can,  just look at bands like the Black Keys, and pretty much every band that Jack White has been in. Blues Rock is here and it’s alive!  You just have to get out there and experience it.

The entirety of this journey a large portion of which you’ve been able to read on HAFILAX, has led me to Bluesfest 2013. It’s not all that fresh in my mind as it was a little over a week ago. And like my earlier years, I was probably stoned face while watching the entire event.

I present to you some of my highlights in photographic format to give you an idea of what I was able to see (and hear).

Green Reflectors

Day 2 of the festival:

I was hanging out in a little cabin which had been attached to the front stage. And I started to hear this loud wall of sound comprised of a guitar and drum set. I thought to myself “Holy Fuck!” these guys sound amazing, so I grabbed my camera and raced around to the front of the stage to see what was going on. When I arrived, It felt like I was watching Danko Jones jacked up on pixie sticks! The guitarist was jumping around playing his heart out, while the drummer was just letting it loose. I was blown away by the music, and the level of charisma beaming from the stage would make Danko Jones seem shy and akward in comparison. THIS this was Blues Rock. Yes… BLUES!

Dublin Vinyl

Dublin Vinyl came on next, and it thought to myself “OK, I fold, you have a royal flush, I’ll stop doing what I’m doing, and let you guys play”, and play they did! I could hear a lot of inspiration from earlier artists in this band’s sound. Two that spring to mind are Jeff Healey and Stevie Ray Vaughan, in my spare time I don’t usually listen to this style of music but I was enjoying every bit of their set.

Bluesfest 2013 was great event, there’s quite a bit of music to cover to create an entire review, so I’m just pulling out my highlights. There was a lot to see & hear, including the 20 bands that played over the 2 days/2 nights at Fox Mountain that weekend, and not to mention the belly dancing, hoola hooping, and there was this one guy who took stage, and rocked on what appeared to be a guitar that was in the shape of a shoebox. There was a lot to offer, and for me, to connect to what appears to be my musical roots.

All in all the weekend was really well put together. Jay has started a Blues Fest that has only continued to grow since its inception three years ago.  It’s not hard to see why, a large part of that can be attributed to the talent gracing the stage over the weekend.

About the author


Me, I'm an avid music goer, documenting/photographing Halifax's music scene. I like loud shows, and long walks on the beach.