Two Down, One to Go: Blues Fest Highlights

Story and Photos by Marty Mascarin

With two of three days wrapped up, the 14th annual Blues Fest has already had its share of memorable highlights. Friday night, Alan Frew of Glass Tiger fame promptly engaged the crowd, taking a moment to snap their pictures, and commenting on his genuine appreciation for living in Canada. Joking about his showbiz longevity, he declared, “Once someone’s grandmum says that I’m hot, it’ll be time to hang ’em up!”

Frew was followed by Johnny Reid who easily blew everyone away the moment he flew onto the stage. Shortly into his energetic set with his 12-piece band, he dashed into the crowd for a sustained period to do selfies, shake hands, and take hugs from fans. He further endeared himself by announcing that he had just become a Canadian citizen, noting his good fortune, having come from humble blue-collar roots. He topped the evening by bringing back his pal Alan Frew on stage for a invigorating finish.

Another special highlight came in the form of young Brandon Niederauer Saturday afternoon. Diminutive in size but massive in talent, the 12-year-old from Long Island, New York stunned everyone with his amazing, jaw-dropping virtuosity with the guitar—a young Jimi Hendrix in the making. Later in the evening, the affable Alan Doyle and his multi-faceted band of talented musicians had the crowd bouncing up and down with a rousing blend of “reels that rock.” Kenny Wayne Shepherd closed out Saturday night with his acetylene guitar, leaving traditional blues buffs happily satisfied.

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