Blues In 2018 & Beyond
HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2018 is already upon us, and for a lot of people, seeing 2017 fading off in the rearview is a welcoming feeling. However, this was a great year for blues music and Joe Bonamassa. He released the special live concert Carnegie Hall: An Acoustic Evening earlier in the year and his bands Black Country Communion and Rock Candy Funk Party both released fantastic chart-topping albums in 2017. Bonamassa, like always, stayed true to his slogan “Always on the road” by playing many venues throughout the United States and Europe.
Bonamassa aims to maintain this momentum by releasing a hot new album, Black Coffee with the queen of soul and blues rock Beth Hart and is hard at work on a new solo album as well. As always, he will be on the road again keeping his title as the hardest working man in the blues.
As I always say, the music world has been disappointing, to say the least, as of late. However, there are a bunch of hidden gems out there, especially in the blues realm. Unfortunately, a lot of superbly talented musicians get overlooked and never get the credit they deserve.
Today, we’ll attempt to remedy this situation as we explore some of the best blues musicians you should discover in 2018. These are artists who are either just getting started in their career or those we feel are reaching steady popularity in recent years. Either way, these individuals garner everyone’s attention and could help turn the tides (slightly) of the music industry in 2018.
Greta Van Fleet
We have mentioned this unexpectedly incredible band a few times, but they deserve as much attention as possible. This group of brothers with a family friend on drums, aim to “make 2018 the age of rock n roll” by dousing strong original tunes with 70’s classic rock elements. Their EP Black Smoke Rising instantly appeared on the Billboard 200 and their full-length album Into The Fire dropped in October to high praise from critics and fans. By pleasing those who yearn for great classic rock music and exposing the newer generation to sounds of the past, this band could be exactly what we need!
This guy takes busking on the streets to major stages, and makes it work really well. Jack Broadbent got his start in London, playing guitar and singing blues tunes wherever he was allowed to. With a unique slide playing style, Broadbent has recently appeared alongside major artists such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Robben Ford and is steadily becoming a known figure in the roots blues scene. He was even referred to as “the new master of the slide guitar” by bassist Bootsy Collins. Check him out this year on Bonamassa’s Alive at Sea Blues Cruise.
Katy Guillen & The Girls
This venture began back in 2012 when the experienced vocalist and fabulous guitarist Katy Guillen gained attention and needed a few talented backing musicians. She never expected to find not only powerful musicians, but also two girls that would become some of her best friends. The trio quickly found their sound and clicked both musically and personally. For nearly six years, the trio has “shaped a musical identity rooted in blues and taking cues from Hendrix riffs” and soulful songwriting. These girls are proving that rock and blues have no rules or limits.
A strong an entertaining blues soul group from Memphis Tennessee who are making themselves known on the scene. Their only album, which dropped in 2017, struck a noticeable chord with blues fans and critics as hit entered the Billboard Blues charts at number six. With powerful and passionate lyrics from Tierinni Jackson and burning blues solos from Ori Naftaly, this band is primed and ready to take on the music scene and show us what they’re made of. Expect great things from this band in 2018 and beyond!
With a sound appealing to many musical tastes, Heather Gillis and her band are the whole package. She is not only an accomplished guitarist, but is also a lap steel player, singer songwriter, and arranger. She exploded into the spotlight after being a member of Butch Truck’s touring band from 2015-2017. We can expect many great things from this young rising star. Check her out as she sets sail with Joe Bonamassa on his blues cruise in February!
JD McPherson is a pleasant blend of retro sounds that encompasses everything from rockabilly and blues to RNB and strait rock and roll. After he was marked by Rolling Stone as an “Artist to Watch” in 2012, McPherson began to fade from view. However, with his release of Undivided Heart & Soul, he has made a bold statement and has delivered a piece of music that literally has something for everyone to enjoy.
Starting off by “blowing the speakers out” at music festivals in Europe, Finland-born Ina Forsman is now making a promising rise in the soul and blues worlds. With Joss Stone style sass and crystal-clear vocals, Forsman is on the path to become a blueswoman to look out for.
Mollie Marriott is the daughter of the talented singer and guitarist Steve Marriott of the band Small Faces and Humble Pie. Not worried about filling her father’s shoes and proving that she can rock in her own right, Mollie was already recording tracks for bans like Oasis at the age of 15. As her album Truth is a Wolf dropped in 2017, Marriott is unleashing her blend of rock and melodious vocals, and it is good!
This Atlanta based four-piece is bringing hard crunchy guitar riffs and catchy hooks to the forefront as they aim to garner attention. These guys are a perfect mix of talented musicians and fun-loving entertainers. Look out for them to make a splash this year.
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram was always exposed to rich music, growing up in the church and around Gospel music. He is now playing the music that has always inspired him, Delta Blues. At only 18 years old, he is already a very promising guitarist and has even appeared on an album with Eric Gales!