Telluride will be transforming from ski town to blues haven this weekend, thanks to an influx of killer blues musicians making their way to the top of the mountain for Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. You can catch dope blues acts for three days straight, and we recommend that you do. Just call in sick or something.
But, if you HAVE to choose your acts wisely, please take our suggestions for the artists you can’t miss into consideration. We know a thing or two about this blues stuff.
[image:1]Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco HellraisersFriday, Sept. 14 at 3:00 p.m. on the Campground Stage, 5:40 p.m. on the Blues Stage, 10 p.m. on The Liberty Stage; Saturday, Sept. 15 at 4:00 p.m. on the Campground StageLucky you. You’ll have lots of chances to catch Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers at Telluride Blues Fest, and you should make sure to do just that, because there ain’t nothin’ like a little down home zydeco to soothe the soul and bring out the dancin’ fool in ya. And this is the real deal. Dwayne is bred from pure zydeco stock. His father is the great Rockin’ Dopsie senior, a pioneer in zydeco music, and he began teaching his son to jam out on the washboard and accordion from a young age. These days, the younger Dopsie has become what Rolling Stone magazine calls “The Jimi Hendrix of the accordion,” and he puts on a show like you’ve never seen. You’ll be transported to a stompin’ bar in Louisiana in no time.
[image:4]Ben Harper and Charlie MusselwhiteFriday, Sept. 14 at 8:00 p.m. on the Main StageThis festival has such a killer lineup, you guys. Just catching blues boy Ben Harper alone would be fantastic, but his appearance is made EVEN BETTER by the addition of Charlie Musselwhite, a legendary musician who’s played with just about all of the greats: Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf, Tom Waits, Mick Jagger, Cyndi Lauper, and Eliades Ochoa, just to name a few. Harper has been collaborating with Musselwhite for the last five years or so, and the addition of Musselwhite’s blues harp to Harper’s storytelling vocals takes the whole thing next level.
JJ Grey and MofroFriday, Sept. 14th at 10:00 p.m. on the Blues Stage; Saturday, Sept. 15 at 6:10 p.m. on the Main StageWe were turned on to this Southern chicken-farmer-turned-blues-man by a couple of friends who saw him live a few years back, and we’ve been itching to see him ever since. If you’re not familiar with JJ Grey, get familiar, because he’s somethin’ special fo’ sho’. His vocals are soulful, warm, and intimate, and you can hear the greats he cites as inspiration: Otis Redding, Jerry Reed, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, just a’flowing through them. Add in Mofro, who brings a little funk and a little more soul to Grey’s working man’s blues, and you’ve got yourself a real winner, winner, chicken dinner.
[image:3]Pee Wee HayesSaturday, Sept. 15 at 3:00 p.m. on the Blues Stage; Sunday, Sept. 16 at 3:00 p.m. on the Campground StageYou want authentic blues? You got authentic blues…well, you got it if you head over to the stages where Thomas O. “Pee Wee” Hayes is playing this weekend, anyway. Pee Wee grew up singin’ the blues with his father, a bluesman who caused an uproar – and by uproar we mean he was nearly lynched – by bringing traveling blues musicians to play at his café. His father’s connections led to legends like B.B. King picking on the family’s front porch as he was growing up, and Pee Wee followed suit, first taking the living room stage at the age of 9 before finding his way onto stages in roadhouses and clubs across Illinois. These days, he plays with his brother Charles, and it’s a duo you won’t want to miss out on. These guys are bound for great things.
[image:2]Robert Plant and the Sensational Space ShiftersSaturday, Sept. 15 at 8:00 p.m. on the Main StageDuh. Why in the name of Zuul would you miss the former frontman of Led Zeppelin as he takes the stage in Telluride? WHY?! There is no reason to do that. Well, not unless your weekend plans exclude Telluride Blues Festival, anyway. And if they do, you should remedy the hell out of that, because again, Robert Plant. He’s been working with the fellows in Space Shifters for the past five years, and from that collaboration has come some strange, otherworldly brilliance, and two phenomenal albums: “lullaby And … The Ceaseless Roar” and last year’s “Carry Fire.” There is no way to describe exactly what the Space Shifters sound like, other than it’s a bit of a journey through time, space, and sound, with a bit of folk and blues woven in for good measure. Oh, just go see them so we can stop using so many words to describe them. You won’t regret it.
Valerie JuneSunday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. on the Main StageValerie June calls her style “organic moonshine roots music,” and, well, we won’t disagree. This Tennessee gal pulls from and entwines a little gospel, a little blues, a little folk, and a little soul, and together, it’s a potent concoction that you’ll want to indulge in. Her style is gritty, seductive, and, at times, sweet, and you’ll find yourself sinking into her storytelling quicksand before you know it.