Kicking off this musical trilogy on Tuesday April 17 is guitar icon, Ken Hamm. Photo submitted

A month of blues in the Valley

Vancouver Island MusicFest will be featuring different styles of blues with three shows at the Cumberland Hotel over the next month.

Kicking off this musical trilogy on Tuesday April 17 is guitar icon, Ken Hamm.

“Ken is perhaps the most influential Canadian acoustic guitarist for anyone who got into playing blues music and slide guitar in Canada,” says MusicFest artistic director, Doug Cox.

“People like Dave Gogo and Colin James, among many others credit Ken to this day as a major influence. I think one of the factors that makes Ken such an individualistic player is the fact that he learned on his own; before YouTube and all the instructional stuff that was available. At the same time, he always showed absolute respect for the traditions he was inspired by. He stops all the other players in their tracks when they hear him. There is only one Ken Hamm and we are lucky to get to see him again here in the Valley.”

Next up, on Saturday, May 5 is blues interpreter extraordinaire, Mary Flower along with our own super-picker, Doug Cox.

“I met Mary at a guitar camp I teach at in Alaska every summer and we immediately hit it off musically,” Cox says. “We connected again at Camps in the U.S. and agreed that we should do some West Coast shows together just so we get more time to play. Mary is an absolute treasure, I hate to say it, but if she were a man she’d likely be known as one of the top acoustic blues artists in the world, right up there with people like John Hammond and Taj Mahal. There is no one who plays like her with such tone and clarity and she’s a great writer as well. I can’t wait for the chance to do some more picking with her.”

Closing off the series on Friday May 11 is Vancouver’s most popular blues band, Brickhouse.

“This band has been around long enough that they have truly developed their own sound and features the best musicians Vancouver has to offer from the blues, all together, in one great unit,” noted Cox.

“This show will be a combo dance and concert as there will be many folks who won’t be able to sit still when Brickhouse hits the stage.”

Tickets for all three events are available online at islandmusicfest.com.

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