North a blues builder

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival artistic director Peter North has received yet another accolade.

Leading the charge: Roots and Blues administrator Cindy Diotte, artistic director Peter North and festival director David Gonella finalize plans for this year’s festival, which takes place from Aug. 19 to 21.

Leading the charge: Roots and Blues administrator Cindy Diotte, artistic director Peter North and festival director David Gonella finalize plans for this year’s festival, which takes place from Aug. 19 to 21.

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival artistic director Peter North has received yet another accolade.

On May 29, he was inducted into the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame in the Builders category, which is designed “to recognize individuals and organizations who have contributed to the Edmonton blues community through their work.”

A graduate of what is now known as the Victoria School of the Arts, North’s eclectic career has included writer, journalist, radio producer, radio announcer and music promoter. As well as producing a music column for two large Edmonton newspapers, North has also had an extensive career in radio.

“As a producer and host of Dead Ends and Detours for the past 15 years, and Points North from 2010 through 2015, his shows have led to worldwide exposure,” notes a biographical sketch on the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame website.

Over the years, North has produced a number of major concerts in Edmonton.

“I think it’s for all the work I’ve done as a promoter and putting shows together for the local Edmonton talent,” North says humbly of his achievements. “And the work I’ve done in radio and television, and 23 years as a print journalist, covering concerts and doing feature stories promoting our own scene.”

This latest accolade joins an impressive list of awards including Canadian Music Industry’s Music Journalist of the year award in 1996 and a six-time recipient of the Western Music Association’s Media Person of the Year. Last year, North was awarded the prestigious Blues Booster Award from the Maple Blues Society of Toronto.

“It was very nicely put together; pretty humbling and also nice to see 300 people from the music community all in one room,” says North of his May 29 induction. “I am totally proud, it meant a lot to me. These are the people you come up with on the same trail for the past 40 years and a real reminder that Edmonton is a ridiculously strong blues community.”

North uses his extensive musical connections to craft people-pleasing Roots and Blues festival lineups.

“As festival organizers we believe this is a strong and diverse lineup of musicians, and to a player these are artists who have proven they are in the run for the long haul or artists who have shown the future is theirs,” says North.

Salmon Arm is one of only a couple of stops for Colvin & Earle who are touring in support of their first album together that will be released on June 10. Whitehorse is coming off a major Juno win and a much talked-about Juno broadcast performance, while Matt Andersen just finished selling out a string of high profile Canadian concert dates coast-to-coast before signing with the prestigious American agency Monterey Peninsula Artists.

“Along with the Celtic, Latin, old time, swing, traditional U.K., and bluegrass music this may be the strongest blues component Roots and Blues has ever assembled,” adds North.

Jarekus Singleton and Eric Bibb were up for multiple awards at the Blues Awards in Memphis, David Gogo was nominated for a Juno and is a front-runner at the Western Canadian Music Awards ,while Tim Williams, Steve Kozak, Front Porch Roots Revue, Toronto’s Sugar Brown, Crystal Shawanda, and Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne all bring diverse styles of the blues to the show. Even Whitehorse’s latest disc, The Northern South Vol. 1 is a collection of classic blues tunes from Jimmy Reed, Little Walter and Willie Dixon given the unique Whitehorse treatment, says North.

For tickets, go to www.rootsandblues.ca, or call 250-833-4096.

 

Salmon Arm Observer

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