Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges (USA)

Eugene is a nomadic musician living his life on the road. His home is wherever the next performance takes him, and every year this is from America through Europe, to Australia with many other stops in between. Born in 1963 in New Orleans and raised in Amite, Louisiana, the son of Otheneil Bridges Sr, also known as blues guitarist Hideaway Slim, Eugene is the fourth child of five. His mother was from the Bullock family (the same as Anna Mae Bullock better known as Tina Turner) and Eugene claims he got his guitar skills from the Bridges side and his voice from the Bullocks. At five he was already playing with his father around Louisiana; with his brothers as The Bridges Brothers he sang gospel and was the musician of his church touring with the Pastor, Elder AA Edwards. At thirteen Eugene was entering R&B talent shows and had formed his first R&B band The Five Stars. Aged sixteen Eugene joined the Air Force, playing in the Air Force band for the next three years. On leaving the Air Force he joined The New Chosen on guitar and vocals and went on to play with The Mighty Clouds of Joy. Following a move to Houston, Texas in the 1980’s Eugene released Blues, Gospel and R&B recordings by the three bands he was running at the time. These included the first line-up of the Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges Band. They toured the USA from coast to coast. Eugene then travelled alone to Europe, where BB King Bassist, Big Joe Turner spotted him in Paris and offered him the position of guitarist and vocalist with Big Joe Turners Memphis Blues Caravan. A year later Eugene left to work under his own name again and formed The Eugene Hideaway Bridges Band. Signed to the Blueside label, Eugene recorded Born to be Blue, produced by Mike Vernon. His live performances received rave reviews and Eugene was awarded UK’s Blueprint Magazine Vocalist of the Year. He also won The Trophees France Blues 99 Chanteur De L’Annee. In 2000 Eugene signed to Armadillo Music and released his next CD, Man Without A Home, which got worldwide airplay. Eugene appeared, often headlining, at major festivals in the USA, all over Europe, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, whipping up a storm wherever he went with his distinctive southern sound. The 2003 release, Jump the Joint, reached Number 4 in the US Living Blues Charts, charting for three months. Eugene’s songs also appeared regularly in The National Association of Rhythm & Blues DeeJay charts. He was nominated for three 2003 US Cammy Music Awards. In September 2004 Eugene recorded his next CD, Coming Home, at The Zone Studio in Dripping Springs, Texas, using a full horn section on several tracks, led by Seth Kibel. Texan guitarist and friend Rocky Athas also joined him on two cuts. After four CDs recorded with a full band, Eugene’s next self titled release Eugene Hideaway Bridges was recorded with friends and fellow musicians met on the road. Lucky Oceans co-founder of the Western Swing band Asleep at the Wheel plays Pedal Steel on three tracks and Texan legend Ray Wylie Hubbard lays down some fine Slide Guitar on I Can’t Wait. This CD was nominate for two 2008 US Blues Music Awards. March 2009 saw Eugene in San Antonio to fulfil his fans wishes for a Live CD. With the line up of Bobby Baranowski on Drums, Eric King Bass, David Webb Keys, Seth Kibel Sax and Justine Miller on Trumpet, you have the real deal. Live in San Antonio was nominated for two 2011 Blues Music Awards in the Soul Blues Album and Soul Blues Artist Categories. January 2011 Eugene is back in the Zone Studio, Dripping Springs, Texas with Pat Manske as Producer. Pat has previously produced both of Eugene’s Blues Music Award nominated albums. The new CD Rock And A Hard Place is Eugene and his big band. Horns again led and arranged by long time collaborator and maestro Seth Kibel. David Webb on Keyboards, Hammond B3, Piano and Wurlitzer, Lloyd Maines on Pedal Steel, Eric Lollipop King on Bass Guitar, Calep Emphrey on Drums, Seth Kibel on Alto, Tenor, Baritone Saxophones and Flute, Shane Pitsch on Trumpet and Mark V Gonzales on Trombone. Blues, Soul, Jump, Funk, Gospel, Rock and Beach Music all make Eugene’s CD an upbeat journey through all the musical influences that have made Eugene the seasoned and versatile performer we have today. Rock And A Hard Place charted at No 4 in The Living Blues Radio Chart for July 2011 and Eugene was a triple 2012 Blues Music Award nominee in the following categories; Album of the Year for Rock And A Hard Place, Soul Blues Album for Rock And A Hard Place and Soul Blues Artist. The Blues Music Awards are universally recognized as the highest accolade afforded to musicians and songwriters within blues music. Turning fiftyin 2013, Eugene wanted to put together an eclectic, retrospective collection of thirteen of his own songs and four covers in Roots & Vines. Moving from a traditional song learnt in church as a young child, to songs about his life, travel, lost loves and a treasured 1981 Datsun 720 truck Nelly Bell! Eugene’s 2015 release Hold on a Little Bit Longer features a full horn section on several songs led by John Mills with Kevin Flatt on Trumpet and Jon Blondell Trombone. Bobby Baranowski is back on Drums, with Otto Williams, Bassist, who first played with Eugene 15 years ago. Australian Clayton Doley plays Hammond B3 & Piano. Guesting on the title song, playing slide guitar, is Micky Moody, better known for his time with Whitesnake. Hold on a Little Bit Longer charted at #6 in The Living Blues Charts for September 2015. The Blues Foundation Memphis, TN nominated Hold on a Little Bit Longer for two 2016 Blues Music Awards in the Contemporary Blues Album & Contemporary Blues Male Artist categories. In 2017 The US Jus’ Blues Music Foundation announced that Eugene Hideaway Bridges was to be their 2017 honoree for the Albert King Lifetime Award, “The Lucy

Ben Waters (UK)

Ben Waters has been paid the accolade by Jools Holland of being one of his all-time favourite pianists. Renowned for playing barnstorming sets, he rocks the house every timewith an eclectic mix from his heroes Fats Domino, Huey “Piano” Smith, Albert Ammons, Ian Stewart, Jerry Lee Lewis, Amos Milburn & Chuck Berry as well as his own writings. Rhythm & Blues to get everyone on their feet! Ben has and continues to play alongside star performers such as The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Davies, Jeff Beck, Jools Holland, PJ Harvey, Shakin’ Stevens & so many more. For some years he, along with the late, great Charlie Watts, Axel Swingenberger & Dave Green became the “A,B,C &D of Boogie Woogie”. More recently he came together with Ronnie Wood to form “Ronnie Wood & the Mad Lads”.     In his own right, Ben has sold out shows from Ronnie Scott’s to the Sydney Opera House to The Royal Albert Hall, & every kind of venue imaginable, in thousands of shows around the world. Come and see what the fuss is about! • “One of the best pianists in the UK” – The Times, London • “Key shattering boogie woogie” – The Guardian UK • “I have been a boogie fan since the 50s and seen pianists all over the world, none come close to Waters” – Blueprint Magazine • “Ben’s Solos are full of flare & bravado” – The Birmingham Post • “Probably the best pianist I have played with” – Pete Thomas (sax with Elton John, Fats Domino) • “Ben Waters show…. like a bouncy castle for grown-ups” – London Times • “Blew everyone away … so much so we have invited him back!” – Caroline Moore, Festival Director, Port Fairy Folk Festival • Ben Waters Band (Shakin’ in The Makin’) – selected as one of his ten favourite boogie woogie albums ever – Jools Holland / Mojo Magazine • “Saw these guys in Akaroa last year, 2 nights, 2 totally different acts! Ranges from honky tonk to blues & jazz, R & B then straight rock, sometimes in the same tune. Great singing voice. Fantastic…..Not to be missed!” – Anon, NZ

Ray Beadle

Ray Beadle is an exhilarating guitarist, an enthralling singer-songwriter, and an extremely talented performer.  Ray was awarded Best Album, Best Song, and Best Male Artist in the Chain Blues Awards. Ray Beadle is the genuine article, his music comes deep from the heart and soul, stirring emotions in people with his guitar genius. Ray’s music is rich with a deep history of the Blues;Rich from 20 years of experiences garnered from performing Nationally and Internationally;and rich from a deep understanding of his instrument and how to make it stir something within the listener.  He knows that’s what the Blues is about. Ray’s life as a musician started when he was just 9, and for the next 20 years, Ray has played with and learnt from the best, including many years spent performing and recording with the Foreday Riders; (commonly referred to as the ‘University of the Blues’).  Ray has shared the stage with many great Australian and International artists, and has thrilled countless festival audiences.  A three month residency with the house band in BB King’s Club in Memphis, as well as several Southern Blues festivals, were all defining moments during Ray’s three tours to the USA. Ray’s guitar and vocal styles evoke numerous blues legends, whilst concocting a breathtaking style all of his own.  It is not by chance that Ray has become a favourite amongst Australian blues and music fans. Accolades include:2007 Winner of The Sydney Blues Society / Australian Blues Music Performer of the Year1998 Australian Blues Music Award Winner Best Male Artist1997 Australian Blues Music Award Winner Best New Male ArtistDiscographyMoving On (1999)The Good Life (2002)Loaded (2009)It’s Personal (April 2010) Spellbound (2012) Ray Beadle Live (2013)


Guitarist Mal Eastick is back on the road after a three-year hiatus, with his fine new band to present a powerful potpourri of successful radio chart songs and album tracks featuring his heartfelt playing, via different bands and styles in a recording & touring career spanning fifty years. Mal’s melodic solos, riffs and killer tone are on over twenty-five Australian albums, compilations and DVDs, ten of which have achieved Gold and Multi-Platinum sales status, including three charting at no.1. Then, against the trends of Australian mainstream music, and financial success, Mal had the calling to find his inner self in the Blues through his own unique life experiences. A Master’s journey, through country-rock, rock and blues…. Mal kindly shares the love by reflecting on his career through his passion, knowledge, influences, road stories and musical partnerships. The show is hit classics through to classy album tracks, starting in 1975 with Stars, then Broderick Smith’s Big Combo, Max Merritt, Jimmy Barnes, Lonnie Mack, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and Eric Burdon…. plus rarer live selections from Mal’s own two albums. The new outfit features old buddies John Makey on vocals and Rudy Miranda on drums from Mal’s Spirit Band, plus Peter Grey on bass/vocals and Bill Ferguson on Hammond organ, a combination of groove and soul, colour and spice.

19 Twenty

“ The future of Blues & Roots in Australia” – ABC One of the most exciting riff and groove based blues and roots acts emerging from the east coast of OZ!”- Tone Deaf “These guys are sick!” – Ash Grunwald “Who the hell is this guy? He definitely has the talent!” – Ian Moss “Definitely a guitarist to watch!” – Australian Guitar Magazine 19-Twenty have been whipping up a frenzy on the festival scene. They are electric. An infectious riff and groove based blue-billy-grass-rockin’- roots band. The 19-Twenty lads have been performing their high-energy sonicparty nationally, headlining sell-out shows and festivals in all states and territories. Constantly on the road or in the sky, they have toured seven times around Oz and performed gigs throughout Europe including Belgium, The Netherlands & Germany. Performing anywhere and everywhere, this straight-up 100% independent act have been blazing throughout Europe and Australia and gaining new music fans/fiends from their live shows. 19-Twenty are: Kane Dennelly – Vox and guitars Jeremy Berg – Award winning producer and percussionist – Drums, John Gwilliam – Double bass

Fiona Boyes

Fiona Boyes plays deep Blues, influenced by a myriad of traditional regional styles. She has carved an international reputation as a blues guitarist, bandleader, vocalist and songwriter. International reviewers have described her as a ‘musical anomaly’ and ‘Bonnie Raitt’s evil twin’!    A distinctive finger-picking and slide guitarist, Fiona’s soulful, authoritative style has earned her unprecedented recognition overseas as an Australian artist. Winner of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, she has toured widely, performing at acoustic, guitar, jazz, and blues festivals, clubs and cultural centers in more than 20 countries.   Fiona’s latest release is a remastered 20th Anniversary Edition of her debut solo album ‘Blues in My Heart’, a 16 track celebration of acoustic ragtime finger-style blues. Recorded live to analogue tape, it captures a unique performance moment much like the early historical blues recordings she so admires. By contrast, Fiona’s most recent studio offering ‘Voodoo in the Shadows’ (2018) extends her exploration of the musical stylings of Mississippi and Louisiana, featuring swampy electric guitar along with a collection of unique cigar-box guitars and a rare National Reso-Lectric baritione.  It follows other award-winning albums such as the audiophile acoustic album ‘Professin’ the Blues’ (2016) and ‘Box & Dice’ (2015) which was written around her growing collections of cigar-box guitars.   Fiona’s nomination for the Koko Taylor Award (Best Traditional Female Artist) at the 2019 USA Blues Music Awards in Memphis was her 8th BMA nomination over various categories since 2007.  Fiona is the only Australian ever to be nominated for these awards, which are considered to be the Grammies of the Blues.  Equally at home on acoustic or electric guitars, her mostly original repertoire is like a Blues travelogue. Listen to her play and you’ll hear Delta slide guitar, single chord Mississippi Hills grooves, intricate country blues finger picking, along with material drawn from the classic blues sounds of New Orleans, Chicago and Memphis.  As her friend and mentor, the late, great Hubert Sumlin (Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist) said. ‘She’s got it!  I’ve played with all of them – and she’s got it!’ 

Dom Turner & The Rural Blues Project

Dom Turner’s new venture The Rural Blues Project is blues beyond the 12-bar. The band takes 20th Century rural blues music from artists such as Lead Belly, Fred McDowell and Robert Johnson, hybridising and rearranging, breathing new life for 21st century audiences.     Multi award winning Australian blues artist, Dom Turner is best known as guitarist, lead vocalist, and founding member of the iconic Australian blues group, Backsliders as well as other international collaborations including R.L. Boyce with Dom Turner, The Turner Brown Band and Phil Wiggins & Dom Turner. Dom has toured the Australian festival circuit since the 1980s and regularly appears at most major, blues-related music festivals including Bluesfest, Woodford Folk Festival and Blues on Broadbeach to name but a few. He is a regular visitor to the home of the blues, the USA performing at festivals including Augusta Blues Week in West Virginia, and the RL Boyce Picnic and the Otha Turner Goat Picnic in Mississippi. Joining Dom is legendarydrummer Rosscoe Clarke (Foreday Riders, Cyril B Bunter) and master violinist George Washingmachine “Perhaps Australia’s truest of ‘true blue bluesmen’” Bluesfest 2022 “Turner is a phenomenal guitarist – slide and otherwise – and brilliant songwriter with trademark vocals” Rhythms Magazine “The man is a phenomenal blues player.” BWW Reviews

Foreday Riders

Often cited as Sydney’s ‘university of the blues’, the Foreday Riders celebrate 50 years as a working band in 2017, and despite countless line-up changes, 2 original members from 1967 remain: the King Brothers, Ron (harmonica, vocals) and Jeff (guitar, Dobro) who continue as happy ‘backroom boys’ in the current outfit. The rhythm section is also highly durable: Rosscoe ‘Stinger’ Clark (drums) has been a Rider since 1982, and as a master shuffle player, has worked with the Cyril B Bunter band, Ray Beadle, Bridie King, Darren Jack and Alison Penney among others – he’s decidedly the go-to guy for blues drumming in Sydney; Stan ‘Sleepy’ Mobbs has been on bass with the Riders since 1990 and underpins the band with the smooth, swinging yet rock-solid feel essential to electric blues. Like Rosscoe, Stan is also much in demand by other Sydney bands, and has worked with master guitarist Mal Eastick and other notables such as Ray Beadle, Bridie King and Christina Crofts. The Riders are currently privileged to have in the crucial role of front man the highly regarded singer/guitarist Shane Pacey, widely known for his work with the Bondi Cigars, and who also leads his own blues trio. Shane’s association with the Riders goes back to the late 1980s, and he has stayed in touch ever since; his intense vocals, attacking guitar style and strong song-writing make him an asset to any band, and his presence has honed the edge on the Riders’ sound. What began in the mid-60’s as a loose association of school friends dabbling in electric blues developed over a year or sointo a 7-piece band featuring young singer Jill Drury and Swiss piano man Rolli Utzinger. Material ranged from thecountry blues of Memphis Minnie & Lightning Hopkins through to urban R & B by Willie Dixon and Ray Charles,incorporating jazz-flavoured instrumentals and jump tunes. Since then, after a brief stint as a quartet in the early 70s, theband has settled for a 5-piece line up such as the current one, often augmented at Riders gigs by guests dropping in onguitar, sax, harp, keyboards – whatever you can use for the blues. Only venturing sporadically into the recording studios, the Riders have released 10 albums, the latest being ‘Herding Cats’,launched this year 2016 and featuring the current line-up plus four guest performers. Over the past few years the Ridershave re-issued on CD the 4 long unavailable albums from 1974–1986 (‘Days of Wine and Vinyl’ series). Highlights in the band’s history include: support acts with B.B.King; Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee; Freddie King andHound Dog Taylor, Gatemouth Brown, the ‘Delta Blues Legends’ show, Chris Cain and others. The Riders have backed BoDiddley in Sydney, and were joined on stage by Junior Wells during his 1972 tour. In 1975 the Riders were part of the‘History of the Blues’ concert tour which included Dutch Tilders, Judy Bailey and Margaret Roadknight. Other namesassociated with the band are Jeannie Lewis and Broderick Smith, and former Riders have branched out into major localblues acts such as the Bondi Cigars, The Hippos, and the Ray Beadle Band. Apart from appearing at Sunbury in 1975, theRiders played at the now legendary Alice Springs Blues Festival in 1986, along with Chain, Renee Geyer, Kevin Borich,Ian Moss and others. More recent festival appearances include the East Coast Blues Festival at Byron Bay, the Lithgow,Goulburn and Thredbo Blues Festivals, and the Wangaratta, Manly and Hawksbury Jazz Festivals. In 1996 the Riders were awarded the inaugural Hall of Fame Award at the Lithgow Blues Festival and in following yearsreceived the Chain Heritage award at Goulburn (and were later inducted into the Hall of Fame), the 2MBS-FM StormyMonday Lifetime Achievement award, Sydney Blues Society ‘Services to the Blues’ Award, and the Wollongong BluesClub Hall of Fame, 2015. The Riders were also included in a series of blues concerts at the Sydney Opera House in 1999,‘Sundays round the House’, with Mal Eastick, The Mighty Reapers and Matt Walker. Throughout the band’s history, the King Brothers have been privileged to work with an imposing array of leadingAustralian blues performers, and hope to continue doing so, always aiming to see audiences have as good a time as theband.

Hatz Fitz & Cara

Classed as Convict Rhythm and Roots Fitz and Cara are among Australia’s most talented roots music artists. The husband and wife team have clocked up over 14 years of worldwide touring, festival performances and 5 album releases from their base of operations in the hinterland of South East Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.                                                                  Their festival touring circuit takes in Australia, the UK, North America and Europe where  their modern blend of old-timey-influenced sounds is equally at home in a variety of settings from folk or Americana main stages to blues and acoustic venues. While the singer/songwriters are both multi-instrumentalists, it’s Fitzy’s weathered vocals and soaring blues-soaked guitar combined with Cara’s pounding drums and soulful honey coated voice that show them at the peak of their creative power. Winners of Blues Album Of The Year at the 2013 Australian Chain Awards and UK Spiral Earth, Hat Fitz & Cara also won Best Vocal Of The Year at the 2015 Chain Awards and were finalists in the 2015 Memphis International Blues Challenge in the USA. Semi Finals of IAMA’s 2020 with two songs in for the best Duo.

Stiff Gins

Embarking on their twentieth year of performing together, Stiff Gins are now entering their most intriguing period of music making. Fresh off the stage of their epic visual theatre project entitled ‘Spirit of Things: Sound of Objects’ that toured Sydney and Melbourne, Stiff Gins a forging towards their twenty-first anniversary with a new recording and sound design project already in the works. As their music continues to strengthen, they engage new generations with their harmonies, stories and soul. Today Stiff Gins performances stretch time, invite spirit to flow and transport you through song and story to both a higher and deeper plain. Career Highlights:

Kate Lush Band Featuring Steve Edmonds

With a raft of #1 albums, festivals & major awards behind her as well as Featuring in recent sell out shows ‘Evil Gal Blues’ & ‘Blues & Soul Extravaganza, Kate has teamed up with legendary guitarist Steve Edmonds for a colossal celebration of Southern Rock, fired up Blues, some Tedeschi infused soulfulness & a twist of New Orleans.  A combined force to be reckoned with; Gritty, soulful & straight from the heart.  Steve is a highly respected artist in the Sydney Blues scene having spent years touring & recording the Steve Edmonds Band (a blues/rock institution).  He has also been sideman to the stars (Johnnie Johnson, Hippo’s, Billy Thorpe, Barnes, Renee Geyer, Doug Parkinson etc). Together they are backed by her powerhouse band Wes Harder on Hammond Keyboard, Tony Boyd on Drums & Christian Young on Bass.  Kate recently won 2020 Unsigned Only best Blues, 2020 Canada’s Blues & Roots Radio best Blues Band and was 2020 Chain Award Nominated for Best Blues Artist & Best Album & Best Single.  Her multi award winning albums have charted alongside the likes of Norah Jones, Tedeschi Trucks, Samantha Fish, Taj Mahal & Robert Cray and was awarded U.S. Blues Blast honorary mention, she is one not to be missed.

PJ O’Brien Band

O’Brien is a talent to watch!” Tom Hyslop, Blues Revue Magazine USA “An international blues star on the rise”, Rhythms magazine AUS PJ O’Brien knows how to get a Blues party started. Driven by PJ’s fat and funky guitar and accompanied by his smooth, soul-filled vocals, PJ’S music is receiving widespread acclaim. His Blues exude both a retro and modern feel, delivering award-winning songwriting and spine-tingling dynamics. Tom Hyslop of Blues Revue USA has labelled PJ ‘a talent to watch’ and Al Hensley of Rhythms Magazine Australia recently named him ‘one of the brightest talents to emerge on the Aussie Blues scene in a long while….an international blues star on the rise’. PJ’s last album, Jefferson Blues debuted at No. 1 on the Australian Blues and Roots Airplay Chart and received has received fantastic reviews in Australia, the UK and the US. PJ’s music has featured in Blues Revue (USA), Blues Blast (USA), Blues Matters (UK), Classic Rock’s ‘Blues’ (UK), Rhythms (AUS) FHM (AUS) and Australian Guitar.    PJ has won numerous music awards over the years and has twice represented the Sydney Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN, reaching the semi-finals from a field of over one hundred and twenty American and International acts at the 2017IBC. He has played multiple times at Australia’s premier Blues festivals such as Blues at Bridgetown (WA), Great Southern Blues Festival (NSW), Thredbo Blues Festival (NSW) Gympie Muster (QLD), Darling Harbour Jazz and Blues Festival (NSW), Blues on Broadbeach (QLD) Echuca Winter Blues Festival (VIC) and the Australian Blues Music Festival (NSW), as well as top Sydney music venues including the Basement, The Vanguard and the Factory Theatre.

Adam Pringle Band

Adam Pringle & friends – Declan Kelly (drums) & Rowan Lane (bass), bring you their favourite sounds of Blues/ Country/ Soul As well as leading his own projects, Adam has played with just about every blues/ roots act in town over the past 25 years, including Continental Robert Susz, Rob Woolf, Jo Fabro, Ray Beadle band, Jesse Redwing, Mitchell Anderson, John Waters, Karise Eden & many others.

Frank Sultana’s Blues Machine

Frank Sultana is an Australian modern day bluesman. Dripping with pre WW2 mojo, dark, dirty guitar tones and a voice that has the grit and soul of the characters he sings about. Frank has been writing, recording and performing his original blues songs since his 2011 debut ‘Blues from the Lost Motel’ and now has 4 EPS and 8 albums under his belt, including 3 releases in the last 2 years.  He recently won the Sydney Blues Society Challenge and will be competing at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee in Jan 2023.

Mitch Grainger Band

Mitch Grainger is a perfect paradox. A white guy from Australia, that infuses the blues genre’s traditional styling’s with a confidence, and depth of spirit, that has him being compared to the likes of Robert Johnson* by American music critics. Since stepping into the light with his 2015 breakout solo acoustic release ‘The Blues’, Mitch Grainger and his high-energy stage show have burst onto the blues & roots scene, like a field holler echoing from the deep dark south through a dusty 50’s tube amplifier. He’s packed houses in the US, Australia and Scandinavia, performed at prestigious festivals, such as the American Folk Alliance in Kansas City, and earned standing ovations while opening for Tommy Emmanuel across the North East of the USA. His sound, built on a talented configuration of vocals, harmonica and guitar, has come of age**. It’s been likened to a fine single malt whiskey by Steve Creedy of the Australian Newspaper, and the comparison is apt, as Mitch Grainger has quietly been maturing as an artist for over 25 years, while performing and recording along side some of Australia and the world’s greatest artists, such as Malcolm Young (AC/DC) and Harry Vanda to name but two. Now with a growing global fan base that includes over 100,000 subscribers on YouTube, Mitch Grainger is in the studio recording an album with the working title of ‘Plug It In’ that promises to take his raw emotional form of Blues & Roots music up the metaphorical Mississippi river, out of the acoustic domain, and into the voltaic. — *“Grainger plays pure acoustic blues with the heart and soul of Robert Johnson. His light-fingered guitar and mournful harp perfectly play up Grainger’s modern lyrics and traditional-sounding melodies; close your eyes, and you can feel the heat and smell the dust of Mississippi” Suzanne Cadgène, Elmore Magazine. “I’ve watched him search within himself for his true identity as an artist…have a listen to his music…Mitch has come of age” Harry Vanda.

The New South Trio

Fronted by Harry Tompsett and Aidan Glover and powered by the force that is Ed Rodrigues, The New South Trio have built a unique sound reminiscent of Corby, Mayer, Gary Clark Jr, Clapton and John Butler. Incredible musicians with eight years of performing live together, The New South Trio have showcased their original music with two singles. Highlights:

Nathan Beretta Band

Nathan Beretta has made his mark in the Australian blues scene with multiple award winning blues band Blue Eyes Cry. Touring and playing just about every Blues festival and venue in the country Nathan has earned respect from blues lover’s all over. Nathan has shared the stage with many Australian Legends such as Robert Susz ( Mighty Reapers) Shane Pacey ( Bondi Cigars), Geoff Achison , Lloyd Spiegel , and Chris Wilson just to name a few. When it comes to festivals Nathan has performed though out Australia opening up for international acts such as, Anne Popovich, Jon Cleary, and Joe Louis Walker. Growing up with Blues jazz and soul in the household, Nathan has brought his own unique style to the table. Influenced by artist such as Ronnie Earl, Albert Collins, Guy King and Jimmie Vaughn Nathan plays from the soul with an “all killer no filler” approach. Nathans first band Blue Eyes cry was signed to Australia’s premier record company Black Market Music , Nathan manage to hit no 1 on the Australian Blues and Roots Charts in the year of 2015, also winning best new Talent at the Chain awards the same year. In 2019 Nathan topped the charts again with his debut release “Where I Belong”.

The Bad Dad Orchestra

Big grooves, stabbing horn lines and catchy as hell vocals, THE BAD DAD ORCHESTRA bring the classic sounds of Australian pub-rock with a modern twist, and their unique brand of soul. Formed in 2015, THE BAD DAD ORCHESTRA presents a nine-piece partnership of fatherhood and friendship.  Their driving rhythm section, guitars, keys and a three-piece horn-section deliver a unique yet familiar sound behind the front-man Jimi Steele. Their energising sounds and live shows have seen THE BAD DAD ORCHESTRA appear at numerous state and National festivals, including the 2021 Caloundra Music Festival, Blues on Broadbeach, Queenscliff Music Festival (2022) and tours throughout eastern Australia.  All good things come from Tasmania.  With SOLD OUT shows and more festival bookings ahead, these nine DADS show no signs of slowing anytime soon.  It’s big, it’s bad and it’s DAD!!

The Defenders

After almost 25 years on the road with Wards Xpress, and the endless solo gigs all over the country, it was time in 2018 for singer/songwriter/guitarist Ross Ward to take a break, but not for long. Enter ‘The Defenders’. Principally a four piece with an emphasis on ‘groove’…with a capital G. Not just your average blues band either, although the blues is there….the band covers a wide range of styles and influences. There’s also elements of Rock, Jazz, Latin, Funk & Soul with a strong focus on their original tunes. In January 2019, Ross descended on Peter Northcote’s inner-Sydney studio. The one-day session yielded a version of JJ Cale’s ‘Tijuana’, although it was Harry Manx’ version of the same tune that inspired Ross to record it. RW had also road-tested the tune many times. The single was released via direct-marketing and digital download. The track will be available on hard copy as part of an upcoming EP that the band is working on now. The Defenders live Sydney debut was at the Manly Fig, Fri 28th June, 2019. The band features some of this country’s most in-demand session players, with Rudy Miranda ( drums ) and Ian Lees ( bass ) ​ “What a joy to hear Ross Wards new band, The Defenders, play their first gig at the Manly Fig. Ross is sounding strong and clear on both voice and guitar and seems to be loving the new challenge. May one of Australia’s finest blues guitarists please be around for many years to come. What a joy to hear great live music in a supportive environment, long live live music, long live The Defenders.” Simon Rawson. Manly Fig, June 2019.                                                              “How good is it to see new formations of talent arising from accomplished Australian musicians, getting together in a new line-up. The Defenders have released their debut single with a song titled “Tijuana”, encompassing what is now a highly political issue of critical importance and relevance…an original song by J.J. Cale and captured in a superb new single release by The Defenders – – Colin Briscoe 2RRR-88.5FM” ” The Defenders – TijuanaRoss Ward ( Wards Xpress ), Rudy Miranda ( Dave Hole/Mal Eastick ) & Ian Lees ( Moving Pictures/Chasin’ The Train )  are The Defenders…the project’s debut recording is probably better known from the Harry Manx version of this slightly under the radar JJ Cale tune, Tijuana. Borrowing from the slide guitar versions of David Lindley and Harry Manx but using the quite topical lyrics of JJ Cale, The Defenders have put their own skilled touch to this track. A fitting introduction to The Defenders…The Defenders of good musical taste! “Anthony Moulay – Presenter “Blues from The Bay” – BayFM Byron Bay, Co-ordinator of the Australian Blues & Roots Airplay Charts.” “ On Friday 28 June 2019, we checked into the once per month ( Manly Fig) gig in Balgowlah. ……..The Defenders were second on the bill, and from the get-go….they had the crowd rocking. …. with an attentive crowd, blazing tunes and great sound, the set was second to none. …Blues/rock band The Defenders have nothing to defend as their musical honour cannot be compromised!”….Georgina Reed. ‘Soulscope’, Northside Radio. 99.3FM. “I’ve been following Ross Wards career in music for the past ten years. The live show at Frankies Pizza I witnessed in October is the best I’ve ever heard him sound. The Defenders kicked arse!’’ Phil Norton, Oct 2019.


They say music is the language of the soul. It’s certainly true for LilG. Since taking up guitar in 2019 LilG has earned a notable reputation as a unique Musician. LilG grew up listening to a variety of musicians and genres that have played an influential role in shaping her signature sound. Although tender in years it is said that LilG has an ‘old soul’ and that is reflected in the music that she plays. ​ For some, music is just a way to let out a little bit of energy, but for LilG it’s so much more than that– it’s a way of life. 

Stephanie Marchant Band

Stephanie started singing at open mic nights around Surry Hills in 1999 and has been performing live since. She became a prominent name in the Sydney blues scene when she joined Bridie and the Boogie Kings, performing their legendary weekly residency gigs at the Bridge Hotel in Rozelle. In 2013 she and Vito Portolesi (Mighty Reapers) formed Stephanie Marchant and the Monster Band with Illya Szwek (Continental Blues Party, Pat Powell, Ire Man) on Guitar and George Brugman (Ray Beadle Band) on Drums. Mike Rix (Steve ‘West’ Western, Tomcat Playground, Bridie King) has joined the Monsters on bass and they play regularly at Sydney blues venues.

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Why not have the schedule in your pocket and download the official Girrakool Blues app 

Official Girrakool Schedule Mobile app

offical mobile app

The official Girrakool schedule and guide, is now available via our very own festival mobile app. Easily view the full line-up, schedules, get playing time reminders, or get notified of any event changes.