2018 MEMPHIS BOUND BLUES CHALLENGE FINALISTS:
Samantha King & The YEG Trio
Edmontonian Samantha King was born to sing the blues, with her fiery, yet emotional delivery of every song she sings. Over her 20 year career she has been nominated for a Juno and three Canadian Country Music Awards, as well as being the grand prize winner of the 2006 John Lennon Song Writing Competition (Country Music Category). Samantha has put together a dynamic trio consisting of drummer Sandro Dominelli who was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award and a Juno; Marc Beaudin whose compositions and arrangements have been recorded by many great artists; and Jimmy Guiboche who has spent almost two decades earning a reputation as one of Canada’s premier blues figures.
Lynne Chwyl Band
For 25 years this powerhouse was a closet singer, singing secretly and alone until she won a vocal contest earning her a spot on the Calgary International Blues Festival stage. Since then, she has performed at festivals, fundraisers, and most recently, recorded background vocals on Kenny Blues Boss Wayne’s current CD. Lynne’s voice is dynamic, rich with grit and power. The musicians who back her are guitar player Percy Marshall who has played in over 30 bands and is an Edmonton Legends of Music Hall of Famer; piano player Dennis Meneely who has played and recorded the blues for over 40 years; Jeff Bartlett who has been playing his smoky grooves and touring professionally for years; and drummer Dean Pierno who is a huge fan of every genre including big band, swing, blues, dixie land, rock n’ roll, jazz, funk, and R&B.
The Rooster Davis Band
Using only piano, drums, trombone, saxophone, and vocals, The Rooster Davis Band achieves a unique, full-band sound and an exciting blues experience each time they perform. Steeped in the blues and funk tradition of the New Orleans piano greats, the band is anchored by Rooster Davis' driving, rhythmic piano style. The horn section is comprised of two of Canada's finest players, trombonist Audrey Ochoa and saxophonist Dave Babcock. Peter Hendrickson, a second line snare specialist, rounds off the band on drums.
Rott'n Dan and Lightnin' Willy
This acoustic duo focuses on Pre-war, Piedmont and Country Blues. In doing so they are paying homage to many the great blues men such as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Robert Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller and Mississippi John Hurt. If you have a hankering for some old time blues roots music that'll take you out onto the front porch and caress you like a warm southern breeze, this is for you.
AV (Ann Vriend and Arun Bhaumik)
Ann Vriend (a.k.a. “A.V.") is known most for her soaring, evocative, Aretha-eque vocals, and not far behind that for her abilities as a songwriter and piano player. With a compelling combination of defiant resilience and heartfelt vulnerability she delivers her unique brand of gritty, inner-city soul. As an award-winning performer and songwriter, she contributes her own Canadian brand of RnB in stunning recordings and performances. Ann is a winner of the Canadian Cobalt Contemporary Blues Composition Award. A consistently critically acclaimed artist, she is also known for assembling a live band that is the admiration of all "musician's musicians". Joining AV on stage is esteemed Edmonton guitarist Arun Bhaumik, who regularly performs at live venues, such as Blues On Whyte, with many local bands and is also the lead guitarist for the Calgary-based soul band, the Mocking Shadows.
Miss Rae and Zander
Miss Rae (Cheyenne Rae Bruneau) belts out blues songs with sass and sensitivity. Following two-years singing in Paris, she returned to Edmonton she reprised The Midnight Ramblers and released her sophomore album, Wild Rose in 2018. Her throwback sound embodies her Métis/African spirit. While riding the freight train lines, guitarist Zander fell off the top of a tank car in an attempt to evade railroad police. Falling onto the tracks claimed four fingers but not his life. Zander's taste for Roots and Rockabilly developed from dive bar Blues jams and now fronts The Van Dangos.