Ruf Records Blues Caravan 2017: Blues Got Soul
Take a floor-filling London soul man. Add a golden-voiced Southern States storyteller. Throw in a fast-rising New York singer/saxophonist. Then hold on to your hats. The legendary Blues Caravan is coming to your town in 2017 – with a three-artist bill that promises fireworks.
The Blues Caravan isn’t like other tours. Hosted annually by Ruf Records since 2005, it reignites the grand tradition of the travelling revue show, putting a trio of stellar acts on the same bill for a night of high-octane rock ‘n’ roll. Backed by the seasoned Blues Caravan rhythm section – plus special guest guitarist Laura Chavez, formerly of the Candye Kane Band – each artist plays a killer set of their own songs, before joining forces for the grand finale.
You can rely on Si Cranstoun to move your feet. Inspired by the vintage soul of Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke, this charismatic British bandleader has graduated from an apprenticeship busking on the streets of London to the head of the vintage R&B scene. You can expect to hear hip-shaking original material from last year’s acclaimed Old School album – plus fan-favourite singles like “Dynamo” – delivered in a voice like sunshine. “It’s most important that I don't come off as an imitator,” Si explains, “and also that the song I’m singing has a kick-ass melody, whether it's my own or on loan. I love to play ‘Old School’, ‘Coupe De Ville’ and ‘Dynamo’, as they get the crowd going. And it’s gonna be a lot of fun to share the stage on the Blues Caravan, because you never know what’s gonna happen. I hope we can really tear the place up!”
Some say that great American bluesmen are a dying breed. They’re wrong – and Big Daddy Wilson is the proof. Born in North Carolina, his astonishing backstory includes several years of service in the US Army, followed by his discovery of the blues and relocation to Germany. In 2009, Wilson’s Ruf debut Love Is The Key showcased a voice that could stop traffic, and since then, his career highlights have included victory at the 2010 German Blues Challenge and recognition for his acoustic work with the title of Best Blues Artist at the 2014 Blues In Germany Awards. “For my Blues Caravan performance,” he says, “you can expect that I’ll be true to the BDW storytelling vibe and having a lot of fun. What’s very important to me is to be able to connect with people. Write songs that everyone can relate to and make someone smile.”
Vanessa Collier is going places. A graduate of the Berklee College Of Music, the New Yorker’s pure vocals and stinging saxophone work saw her light up stages as the support act for Joe Louis Walker, while 2014’s debut album Heart Soul & Saxophone was declared “magnificent” on Dan Aykroyd’s blues radio show. With her original songs and onstage charisma, Vanessa’s sets are sure to be a high point of the Blues Caravan, while she’s looking forward to turning up the heat alongside her fellow performers. “I think that wonderful things happen when you get more than one artist in a room,” she explains. “With Big Daddy Wilson, Si Cranstoun and me, we all have our own styles and personalities onstage that will meld well together, and I believe the collaboration will continually raise the bar every performance. I can’t wait!”
With chemistry firing and sparks flying, the Blues Caravan has given fans across the US and Europe countless performances to treasure over the years. And something tells us the 2017 lineup will make it another vintage year…