Steve's Blog
Tuesday August 14, 2012

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Hi everyone

We just got back from the incredible experience of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival - far and away the best festival I have ever attended. This spectacular event had so many highlights I wouldn't know how to begin to describe it all (but I'll try over the next few days and will add a review to the website when I can!) For now I'll just say that Dr. John and the Mardi Gras Indians, Martin Simpson, Hills To Hollers (Linda Tillery, Laurie Lewis, Barbara Higbie), Martyn Joseph, Rory Block, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Mairtin O'Connor with Cathal Hayden & Seamie O'Dowd, Joanne Shenandoah, The Hawaiian Guitar Masters, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Sidi Toure, Arlo Guthrie, Jim Lauderdale, New Country Rehab, David Bromberg, David Wax Museum, Rose Cousins, Ricky Skaggs and Mavis Staples provided just a few of the highest musical moments of this and any other Summer I can recall in the past 25 years or so. The weather and the festival food were equally spectacular. Which reminds me, Bonnie Raitt called Rory Block the greatest Blues guitarist and singer I've ever known from main stage on Sunday night - and Rory wasn't even there at the time!

So, tomorrow, Wednesday August 15th at 8pm, The Rogue presents the aforementioned Rory Block at St. James Hall. There are still tickets available online and at the outlets (Rufus' Guitar Shop and Highlife Records) and also at the door (doors open at 7pm). Now you may have noticed that it's pretty warm this evening, and it will probably be at least as warm tomorrow. With this in mind we are taking steps to cool the venue as much as possible. We'll also have ice cold drinks and Ziploc bags of ice cubes, and fans (electric and also manual, hand-held ones!) We'd love to have a full house for Rory's show; she is such an exceptional talent and her appearances in this town are as rare as hens' teeth!

Rory Block, Wednesday August 15th, 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Rory Block (USA) is widely regarded as a top interpreter and authority on traditional country blues. Rory has been an inspiration to me since we started out years ago. (Bonnie Raitt)

Heralded as a living landmark (Berkeley Express), a national treasure (Guitar Extra), and one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists (Blues Revue), Rory Block has committed her life and her career to preserving the Delta blues tradition and bringing it to life for 21st century audiences around the world. A traditionalist and an innovator at the same time, she wields a fiery and haunting guitar and vocal style that redefines the boundaries of acoustic blues and folk. The New York Times declared: Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.

Born in Princeton, NJ, Aurora "Rory" Block grew up in Manhattan a family with Bohemian leanings. Her father owned a Greenwich Village sandal shop, where musicians like Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur and John Sebastian all made occasional appearances. The rich and diverse Village scene was a constant influence on her cultural sensibilities. She was playing guitar by age ten, and by her early teens she was sitting in on the Sunday jam sessions in Washington Square Park.

During these years, her life was touched - and profoundly changed - by personal encounters with some of the earliest and most influential Delta blues masters of the 20th century. She made frequent visits to the Bronx, where she learned her first lessons in blues and gospel music from the Reverend Gary Davis. She swapped stories and guitar licks with seminal bluesman Son House, Robert Johnson's mentor ("He kept asking, 'Where did she learn to play like this?'"). She visited Skip James in the hospital after his cancer surgery. She traveled to Washington, DC, to visit with Mississippi John Hurt and absorb first-hand his technique and his creativity.

This period seemed to last forever, Block Recalls nearly forty years later. I now realize how lucky I was to be there, in the right place at the right time. I thought everyone knew these incredible men, these blues geniuses who wrote the book. I later realized how fleeting it was, and how even more precious.

For more information on this incredible artist visit

Hope to see you tomorrow!