The Activities Council of Thomson is proud to announce that The Wood Brothers will headline the 2017 lineup for the 24th Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival, Saturday, May 6th in Thomson, Georgia. The one-day roots and blues music festival is always held in honor of Thomson’s Blind Willie McTell, an early 20th Century pioneer on the 12 string guitar. McTell played in a wide variety of musical styles, including blues in the Piedmont style, ragtime, and gospel music. Born South of Thomson in McDuffie County and buried in the Happy Valley area of the county, his influence extends today over a wide variety of today’s top musicians.
In addition to The Wood Brothers, this year’s lineup also features artists from all over North America, including Mingo Fishtrap, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, the Joey Landreth Trio, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and the Marcus King Band. Tickets will be on sale February 1st at www.blindwillie.com. Prices for tickets are $30 advance and $40, the day of. There is no charge for children, ages 12 and under. Great regional food will again be featured along the food court. Gates open at 11 in the morning, with music beginning at noon.
The Wood Brothers, a dynamic trio featuring brothers Oliver Wood on guitar and bassist Chris Wood, alongside drummer Jano Rix, are one of the best roots music acts touring today.
From their debut studio album, ‘Ways Not To Lose,’ in 2006, on through to 2015’s critically acclaimed “Paradise” the band has been busy winning over a growing worldwide fan base. Chris Wood already had legions of devoted fans for his incomparable work as one-third of Medeski Martin & Wood, while his brother Oliver toured with Atlanta’s Tinsley Ellis before releasing a half-dozen albums with his band King Johnson. Mixing in drummer Jano Rix as a permanent third member and it is quite clear that The Wood Brothers have found a magical combination. 2017 kicks off with the release of “Live at The Barn”, recorded at the late Levon Helm’s Woodstock NY studio. They’ll close our show this year and after working on getting them to McTell Fest for the last couple of years, we could not be more pleased to make it happen in 2017.
From Austin Texas, Mingo Fishtrap returns to McTell Fest to deliver another blistering set of soulful music, Texas style. Festival fans tell us that Mingo is one of the strongest, most fun bands we’ve had in Thomson. Led by singer and guitarist Roger Blevins, their funky style of soul-blues is not to be missed.
From the Boston area Sugar Ray and The Bluetones, who opened the festival a few years ago, are back with their Chicago style of electric blues, led by Ray Norcia on vocals and harp. Nominated this year, both individually and as a combo, for 10 !! Blues Music Awards, the band will again feature ‘Monster’ Mike Welch on guitar. The Festival always plans to have a least one set of acoustic country blues during the day, and this year we will present Grammy-winning bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart. This is his first visit to McTell Fest.
Canadian singer, songwriter and guitarist Joey Landreth and his Trio are part of the roster in 2017. Through the years, the Festival has presented some of the world’s best guitarists, and we can honestly say that Landreth is one of the unique and talented working today. Joey formally toured as part of the Bros Landreth and this is his first trip down south with the Trio. Rounding out the lineup is the Marcus King Band. Marcus grew up a short distance from Thomson in Greenville, SC, and the guitarist is touring behind his first CD, produced by Warren Haynes.
Organizers of the festival, the Activities Council of Thomson (ACT) are a non-profit organization founded in 1974. ACT was formed to foster education, appreciation, and promotion of American arts, particularly those that draw from Southern history, culture and the American experience. To this end, its primary purpose over the past two decades has been to expose this area of Georgia to styles of music and musicians that, without our effort, would likely pass us by. For our work, we were honored with the Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities in 2014.