Ontario-based Lonesome Ace Stringband brings grit, skill and abandon to old-time, Appalachian folk songs to this year’s Roots & Blues Festival. (File photo)

Festival serving superlative selection of southern sounds

Fans of bluegrass, Americana, country and old-time music taken care of at Roots & Blues

Fans of bluegrass, Americana, hard-core country and old-time music are being taken care of at the 26th annual Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival.

The Greg Blake Band leads the way on the bluegrass front as this amazing vocalist brings an all-star band to the festival, running Aug. 16 to 19 on the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds.

Blake was born in the bluegrass cradle of West Virginia. A fine guitarist, Blake is also one of the lead singers with Jeff Scroggins and Colorado. For his solo Roots & Blues appearance, Blake will be surrounded by a crew that is as good as any in bluegrass. Grammy-winner Sally Van Meter will be playing dobro. Fiddle ace Blaine Sprouse started with Jimmy Martin and continued with Jim and Jesse, the Osborne Brothers, and Charlie Louvin. What more needs to be said about Blaine? Vancouver’s John Reischman brings his mandolin, and bass master Mark Shatz, who has recorded with Bela Fleck and Emmylou Harris, rounds out this formidable quintet. Watch out for the Greg Blake Band.

From Ontario come two exceptional acts with decidedly different sounds but intersecting interests.

Multiple Juno and Canadian Country Music Awards winner Russell deCarle returns to Roots & Blues with new material from his critically acclaim Alone In This Crowd recording. One of the finest vocalists and stylists to have ever called Canada home, deCarle brings an impressive repertoire of tunes from his solo and Prairie Oyster recordings, plus a considerable and broad skill set to the festival, as does his long-time sidekick, guitarist Steve Briggs.

The other Ontario-based act is the Lonesome Ace Stringband, which is currently touring behind a new release titled When The Sun Comes Up. The Lonesome Ace Stringband brings grit, skill and abandon to old-time, Appalachian folk songs and fiddle/banjo tunes. These are songs for life and all occasions: festivals, dances, wars, parties and funerals. Its themes of love, loss, hard-work and hardship, faith and everyday life speak to everyone. The members are Chris Coole on banjo, John Showman on fiddle and Max Heineman on bass.

Canadian guitar master and Nashville resident Steve Dawson is a true renaissance man. Producing albums, creating tour de force projects like the Tribute to The Mississippi Sheiks, operating the Black Hen label while orchestrating tours with his solo show and the Black Hen Roadshow and playing sessions are all part and parcel of what makes Dawson tick –loudly.

Currently touring behind his new album Lucky Hand, Dawson will hit the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues festival with a smokin’ hot band of all-star players, and Roots & Blues intends to utilize Dawson and company in a variety of musical settings as a unit and as individual artists.

Last but not least is the announcement that guitarist and songwriter Nathan Tinkham will be joining the Roots & Blues cast. Over the last 40 years, Tinkham has toured and recorded with Ian Tyson, Wilf Carter, Cindy Church, Quartette, Diamond Joe White and the Great Western Orchestra. This Gabriola Island resident also produced a tribute to Wilf Carter that morphed into a CBC special and touring show.

Information on the 26th edition of Salmon Arm Roots & Blues can be found at www.rootsandblues.ca, or by calling 250-833-4096.

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