I woke up this morning, I was living in Devizes; oooh yeah. 2017 was the year our humble dwelling got the blues. S’ okay, I’m not here to discuss parking charges in the Market Place, oooh no mannish boy, don’t dust your broom yet, because I’m-a-talking about da summer’s successful Saddleback Blues Festival at Devizes Rugby Club, remember? Well Elwood, they’re putting the band back together for another year.
There’s no hanging about at the crossroads here, tickets are now on sale for 2018’s Saddleback Blues Festival and it looks to be a stonker. While other acts are still to be confirmed, a Saddleback All-Stars Jam, and a special guest all hush-hush, let’s have a peek at what we do know shall we?
Reckless and raw, Southern Californian rock band Well Hung Heart sound worth the ticket stub alone. Headed by fiery front-girl Greta Valenti, they’re a four-piece and, if I’ve read this right, Robin Davey plays simultaneous guitar and bass. LA’s Deli Magazine praised them thus: “Packed with youthful arrogance at a blues-laced crossroads between The Kills & early Stooges.”
Deriving from rock n roll, they promise a high-energy performance of new-rock, mashed with blistering blues and punk. They’ve played alongside Linkin Park, ZZ Top, Motley Crue, and Alice Cooper, appearing at London’s O2 Academy, the Paradiso in Amsterdam and oodles of festivals.
Then there’s Innes Sibun, who began playing guitar after hearing B.B King at age twelve. His first band the “Blues Explosion” recorded with legendary Eric Clapton producer Mike Vernon, gaining critical acclaim. By 1993 he joined Robert Plant’s band for his “Fate of Nations” world tour. Following this, Innes recorded several albums for Viceroy Records with his new band; they toured, opening for Peter Green in New York and touring Europe with Roger Chapman & Chris Farlowe.
Yorkshireman John Verity is also confirmed. John’s prolific career begins in the early sixties, with pro-band The Richard Kent Style, who prestigiously supported Jimi Hendrix (yes, I did say Jimi Hendrix) Canned Heat, and Janis Joplin. Spotted by Rod Argent in 73, John became lead vocalist for his band following the departure of Russ Ballard. Still an active artist, with a number of records to his name and busy touring schedule, his experience is sure to bring panache to the festival.
Indigenous Jon Amor, returns to the festival, last year as part of the Boom Band, this year with his own. After developing a reputation as awesome live, they were recently described as, “The Allman Bros meets Little Feat meets The Beatles,” which reflects not only their melodic approach to blues and roots music, but their abilities as songwriters too. After the Booms backed him, Van Morrison described them succinctly when he stated, “this band is great; they’re on the money!”
Prior to all the excitement, Rick and the Saddleback team have arranged two free Battle of the Bands nights in which the winners gain a spot on stage at the festival. Both at Devizes Sports Club, the first on the 17th Feb, boast local upcoming stars Jamie Hawkins, Tom & Clair, Kirsty Clinch, and my personal fav, Tamsin Quinn.
The second showdown is for bands with members under 21, and it’s on 3rd March. Both events are FREE, and I’m certain will act as a great taster for the main event. I have to say, the organisers seem to have their mojo working towards bringing Devizes something rather special, which also supports both Julia House and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
There may be a few details in need of ironing at this early stage; the organisers are looking into camping possibilities, and arranging a variety of food stands, but priced at £25 for an adult ticket and £13 for the kids, it’ll be well worth bookmarking Saturday 14th July as a day for doing nothing other than jiving hoochie coochie at the juke-joint rugby club roadhouse out on Highway 361!
Addition: It’s come to my attention there were a few errors in this preview, my apologies; it’s updated now and I hope it fits the bill better. It should also be noted that although the festival last year was titled a blues festival, this year it’s been redefined as a music festival. I’ve opted to keep the theme of this article as it’d spoil the blues jokes!
More details, if you’ve not succumbed yet, at https://www.saddlebackmusicfestival.co.uk/