1. L'IMPÉRIAL DE QUÉBEC 2. FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DU BLUES DE TREMBLANT 3. THE NORTH ATLANTIC BLUES FESTIVAL
NEW SHOW REVIEW "Translated"; Quebec City. Written by Celine Lajoie Tatieblues
I was already in love with Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots since their first visit to Quebec in 2012. Well, I renewed my vows on July 8 at Petit Imperial, and I'm not the only one. The Imperial was a full house and I believe that every person was left with love for this group in their hearts. We enjoyed the happy, healing, therapeutic blues. Victor Wainwright is originally from Savannah, Georgia, he now lives in Memphis, TN. He is also the winner of the 2013 and 2014 Pinetop Perkins Blues Music Award. He is a talented pianist and offers blues music with a generous fervor.
The WildRoots are an incredible team of energy on stage. Nick Black, 25, is on guitar. He has won 2 Memphis Juneteenth Urban Music Awards with his band and his album, The Soul Diaries. Excellent guitarist; He has a beautiful voice and gives us inspired solos. It is he who opens the show with a song where he presents each musician. Victor Wainwright then enters the scene where he takes up all the space in the proper sense of the term, with his imposing stature and his showmanship. I was fully enthralled with the stage performance of each musician, particularly Wainwright who made us laugh with his facial expressions and his histrionics on the piano while offering an incredible performance. Each song is like a sketch, a little comedy in itself… musical theater. It was lovely and as Victor said, “The blues piano has many variations, and he offered us his show, hoping that the next day we get up, we take life 5% less seriously.”
He played a superb boogie explaining precisely the variations of piano blues, among others, at a time when there were pianists in the train yards and lumber mills, the pianist would play fast because it often lacked tuning or piano hammers and it took playing a lot of notes quickly as to fly over the broken ones. There was also strong playing to bury the train and work noise. Victor also sang Same Old Blues. What a magical moment! Little piano, a hot solo by Nick Black and Victor who went into the room to sing a cappella. We were in love, conquered, if it is possible to be more than we were already.
After such a frenzied first part, do not think for a second that these musicians showed any sign of fatigue. They returned with redoubled energy to present their latest album, Family Roots. Magnificent! Inspired roots, New Orleans rhythms. Again, we enjoyed ourselves but we had moments of intense emotion that I again felt while listening to the album that has not finished being my favorite. In total silence from the crowd, as we rarely see, Victor sang with his beautiful and powerful voice, it was delightful. Other songs like Get Behind the Mule and Rubies & Diamonds have beats that I love, as well as Minnie The Moocher and St. James Infirmary Blues. His version of Same Old Blues also captured the Blues Music Awards in 2013, which is on the album which makes it all the more precious.
In closing I want to also talk about the other musicians, the cohesion of the group is beautiful. At times, when we think the blues energy is at its peak, the musicians still come with more. William Hanlon is the young bassist with the band for 2 years, and he is a blast of energy, exploding on stage. Billy Dean on drums is seamless efficiency, whether in explosions of musical power or just the way he lightly touches the cymbals.
For their encore we sang in choir I'll Fly Away, written in 1929, and now with Victor. The gospel sang us a room of joy where he still put his heart with long moments of a cappella… very emotional. A rapid instrumental closed the show to get us out of the trance, and happy where he plunged us to begin with.