The 31st edition of the Notodden Blues Festival ended on Sunday. It has been a long weekend with music from early in the day until 2 AM, and a lot of friendly and smiling blues fans all around town. This year Ry Cooder was the biggest name together with Bonnie Raitt, and then a lot of other great artists after these two. Here are my photos from the festival. (Photo above: Ty Taylor from Vintage Trouble)
Beth Hart’s breakthrough as an artist came in 1999. In 2003 she released the platinum selling album Leave The Light On. From there her career has gone steadily upwards, culminating with a Grammy nomination for her collaboration with Joe Bonamassa and the album Seesaw in 2013. Her latest album, Fire On The Floor, was released last year. During all these years she has toured extensively, and also visited Norway several times. Last night she played at Sentrum Scene in Oslo.
The first time I saw Jonny Lang was at Antone’s in Austin during SXSW around 2000, and then at the big outdoor venue Stubb’s during the same event in 2002. By that time he had had one #1 Billboard album, one Grammy nomination and had released three albums before he turned twenty. This week he played at John Dee, fifteen years after I saw him the last time.
The Blues in Hell festival has been arranged for some twenty years and is still going strong. Situated in a congress hotell close to the Trondheim airport at the place that actually is called Hell, it is a festival that celebrated both the original blues and also newer variation of blue and blues rock. Here are my photos of the artists I saw at Hell this weekend. (Photo above: The Original Blues Brothers Band)
This year is the 30th Notodden Blues Festival, and it is good to be back. The festival has grown from a small and enthusiastic happening to become Norway’s largest blues festival, and also one of the best blues festivals in the world. This year is no exception, and here are photos of the artists from the first night. (Photo above: students from Little Steven’s Blues School)
Every year when August is fading away, I have one more festival to look forward to, The Blues in Hell Festival. It is the perfect way to end the festival season, with great blues bands and artists and in the good company of a big part of the Norwegian blues family. Blues in Hell is a intimate festival with high quality artists playing in two tents, the Magic Mirror and an acoustic tent. The first night is over, and here are the artists I saw Friday night in Hell. (Picture above: The Etta James Experience)
Vidar Busk has played blues professionally for almost two thirds of his life since he was sixteen years old. It has been a roller coaster with ups and downs during these thirty years. Musically he has always been sharp, and he has moved in and out of styles, from rockabilly and jump blues through New Orleans style music to soul, but the blues has always been there. These days he is back with his old band, His True Believers, and yesterday night they played at Rockefeller in Oslo.
Hugh Laurie should be a well known name for many who watch TV, and who doesn’t? He is Dr. House, one of the best paid actors in the TV world. But many of us remember him from the Black Adder series, where he played the airhead who was manipulated by the evil Rowan Atkinson, aka The Black Adder. What many didn’t know, is that Hugh Laurie is an accomplished blues musician and singer, and on Friday he played at Brygga, the outdoor venue at the Notodden Blues Festival.
The first time I saw Ian Moore was in 2005, and then some years later at the Continental Club. I remember his playing and his extrovert show as something special. This year he played at the Continental Club again during SXSW, at 1 AM the last day of the festival. And it was the perfect artist to close SXSW for me.
Guy Forsyth is one of my all time favorite Austin musicians. I have written about him on this blog before, and Friday night I saw him at another pre SXSW late night show at the Saxon Pub. I can’t count all the different settings I have seen and heard him in, everything from solo, with a tuba, with the Asylum Street Spankers to a pop band setting some 10 years go. This time he was reunited with his old compadre George Rarey, and he played one of the best sets I have ever heard from him.