kicks off its 2010 waterside celebration of American blues this weekend. The fest has also expanded to encompass three nights of After Hours parties featuring various fest performers in a more intimate setting and beginning directly after each days music has concluded.
Highlights on Friday include longtime Memphis blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Reba Russell, who performed backup for the likes of B.B. King and Johnny Cash before going solo with her powerful, sandpapery drawl and blend of rolling blues, R&B and rock; Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, which bring a party atmosphere (click here to read Eric's feature on the band); and legendary axeman Sonny Landreth, who doses his own Louisiana blues with heavy swampy Creole, and is renown for his mastery of slide guitar and a right-hand technique of tapping, slapping and picking strings.
Among Saturdays creme de la creme is UK guitarist/singer Joanne Shaw Taylor [pictured right], whose sultry, husky deep vocals and accomplished fretwork are set against slinky or lively soul blues. Ryan Shaw adds some retro R&B to the bill with his velvety croons and mighty wails emoting enough to make Otis Redding proud. And commercially successful blues rocker Kenny Wayne Shepherd (who earned his fame in the mid-90s while still a teen) is so good hes even got his own signature brand of Fender Stratocaster.