WinterJam ramblings: The artistic director’s viewpoint

First of a 2-part series

WinterJam 100 music director Doug Cox

In a two-part series, WinterJam 100 artistic director Doug Cox  – the man behind the music – gives his insight regarding the acts he has booked for WinterJam 2015. Here are his previews of the first five acts.



Last year’s WinterBites Festival was our inaugural winter event and it was a good one. We received accolades in regards to the event lightening up what was otherwise a grey January for many folks. Our valley became alive with music after the holiday celebrations and this year, it’ll be happening again!

As the guy who gets to book the music for WinterJam, I try to book a diverse lineup of world-class talent that will attract an audience from all over B.C. I dare say, you can’t even find this kind of a January celebration in cities like Victoria or Vancouver. The Valley is vibrant and alive .

Here’s the lineup for WinterJam, with a brief overview of who they are for the uninitiated.

See you on the dancefloor!




Folk Legends – Tom Paxton and Valdy – Wednesday, Jan. 14 at the Native Sons Hall

Tom Paxton is one of the fathers of great singer-songwriters, a career that spans  from the 1950s to today.

Tom wrote The Last Thing On My Mind, Bottle Of Wine, Ramblin’ Boy, The Marvelous Toy, Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound, Wasn’t That A Party,  and so many other songs that have become part of the fabric that defines the music of a generation.

And, Valdy, of course, is our own iconic Canadian folk performer.  There is no other artist in Canada more recognizable or cherished to Canadian roots music fans than this Salt Spring Island troubadour.

Paxton and Valdy are old friends; they even wrote a song together years ago, so this will be a very special evening reuniting these two great artists!

This is an all ages show so you can bring the kids. They’ll be able to tell their kids they saw this historic concert at the equally historic Native Sons Hall.




World Beat Dance – Locarno – Friday, Jan. 16 at the Best Western Westerly

Just announced as the last show to be added to the WinterJam lineup, Locarno is the Latin project of the Paperboys frontman, Tom Landa. This will be a dance! The music, like Tom, is part Mexican but with strong doses of Cuban Son, Latin soul, pop and funk.

Locarno’s approach is so genuine and so welcome for audiences who enjoy great song writing, a respect for tradition, a searching musical curiosity, and virtuoso performance skills.

They’ve been tearing it up across Canada so don’t miss their introductory gig here in Courtenay.




Guitar Galore – Rick Vito & Billy Burnette – Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Native Sons Hall

A show for fans of the electric guitar featuring two players who have contributed so much to modern music history. You have heard these guys on recordings with artists like Fleetwood Mac, Little Richard, John Prine, John Mayall, Brenda Lee, Roger McGuinn, Bonnie Raitt, Roy Orbison, John Fogerty Jackson Browne, Dolly Parton and Bob Seger just to name a few! Don’t miss a chance to come see these two fantastic players strut their stuff.



Sunday Soul – Martha Redbone & The Sojourners – Sunday, Jan. 18 at the Native Sons Hall

A double bill to die for!

Martha Redbone’s music flows equally from her own unique, award-winning blend of Native American elements with funk and her deep roots in Appalachian folk and Piedmont blues favored by the matriarchy that raised her on a rich sojourn from Clinch Mountain, Virginia to Harlan County, Kentucky and beyond to Brooklyn’s Dodge City-esque mean streets. She stole the show at MusicFest a couple of years ago and we are thrilled she’s coming back.

The Sojourners, of course, are Vancouver’s stunning Afro-Canadian gospel trio. Their core message of social justice draws from the inspiration of the quartet and jubilee groups of the 30s and 40s; and of course the ongoing themes of the civil rights movement. Any chance to see the Sojourners should not be missed!




Acoustic Blues – Corey Harris – Wednesday, Jan. 21 at Crown Isle

Corey is perhaps the most important young Afro-American champion of the acoustic blues. But his music goes way beyond that . Some of his imaginative compositions are marked by a deliberate eclecticism; other works stay true to the traditional blues formula of compelling vocals and down-home guitar. With one foot in tradition and the other in contemporary experimentation, Harris is a truly unique voice in contemporary music. His intimate show at Crown Isle will be a rare chance to see this great Artist up close on Vancouver Island.




These are only the first five shows you can see during WinterJam 100. Tickets and further information available at

Watch next week for the second preview of who will be here to perform for you at WinterJam


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