The Blues at Bumbershoot

Bumbershoot 2014 displayed its wide ranging musical tastes again this year by bringing in a few legendary blues/soul acts as well as some of the up and comers. Here’s a little of what we saw on the Starbucks stage, which held down the bulk of the roots/blues/soul portion of the three day festival on the sprawling grounds on Seattle Center.

Charlie Musselwhite
– This blues legend came to Bumbershoot on a mission to deliver his trademark smooth harmonica stylings to the masses. In front of a packed crowd he gave them what they wanted. The 2014 Grammy award winner left it all on stage had the audience movin’ and groovin’ for the whole set.



The 44’s w/Kid Ramos
– This band was a bit unknown to the Bumbershoot crowd but after the first song they(the crowd) knew they were in for a treat. SoCal guitar badass Kid Ramos delivered monster blues licks one after another much to the delight of the cheering attendees. Mix in a sun-drenched stage with some great fretboard work like that and it’s a “can’t-miss” recipe for a good time. The rest of the band was extremely tight as well and they got the job done in a big way.



Valerie June
– This was my first time of seeing Valerie June live and I really doubt it will be my last. She does a fantastic job of combining instruments to create a very intriguing texture of sounds. A fine banjo player as well as guitar, this southern belle sure ain’t afraid to jam and she also connected well with the crowd, interjecting humor and personal stories.  Vocal wise, she is definitely in the upper tier of vocalists coming out blues/roots/soul music world. She’s from Memphis and she does that storied city proud.



Mavis Staples
– One thing you can always be sure of when seeing Mavis Staples is that you will feel the love coming from every part of her heart and soul. She transmits a feeling of absolute beauty to all those in her presence when she is on stage. And that’s before she starts singing. She might be 75 but her voice is still lovely and very powerful as she hits all the notes she is famous for. The Bumbershoot crowd loved her and they showed her how much with their deafening applause and cheers.

Bootsy Collins – Not really a blues guy but who cares, he’s so funky and cool that he gets to make the rules. His entourage showed up, quite fittingly I might add, in space suits to transport those in that congregated in front of the stage to some other-worldly place. By the time Collins made his entrance, the crowd was already in a frenzy. I saw people from the ages of 7 to 70 screaming and yelling for this legendary funk wizard and he laid all the funk on them that they could handle. He not only won over the city but maybe the whole damn west coast.