Norbert Schneider (AT)

Norbert Schneider, born in Vienna in 1979, is one of the most accomplished blues guitarists in Austria. He has played in various bands through years; in 1998 he founded the “Vienna City Blues Band”, and in 2004 he founded the “Norbert Schneider’s R & B Caravan”. He has released several CDs and played all over Europe with these bands. He became popular with “Take it Easy” and the follow-up single “Hooked On You” during the summer of 2010. These songs were taken from the CD “Tailormade” recorded in the summer of 2010 and released in November. This year he won the Austrian Newcomer Award and again the Concerto Poll Award in the category “Pop Album of the Year” for his album “Tailormade”. He has shared the stage with many different artists such as BB King, Simply Red, Mick Taylor, Pink, Bernard Allison, One Republic, Louisiana Red, Big Jay McNeely, Christina Stürmer and Rusty Zinn. Moreover, he is an entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 (Baku).

Lightnin’ Guy & The Mighty Gators (BE)

Lightnin’ Guy, born in 1976 as Guy Verlinde near Bruges, is the hardest working performer on the Belgian blues & roots scene. He’s not only the latest top act conquering the hearts of the blues-and-roots lovers in Belgium and Holland but he is also on the brink of a breakthrough on the European stages. He plays in the “Louisiana swamp & Chicago slide and harp” -tradition. Lightnin’ Guy is not only an excellent musician and singer, but also an all-round entertainer. He performs as solo and in Berlin with the The Mighty Gators. Willy Devleeschouwer is a true master of the blues guitar. Karl Zosel, born in Germany, but moved to Belgium in the 1980’s, is the bass player, who has played in many rock, funk and blues bands. Thierry Stievenart is the seasoned drummer. Lightnin’ Guy’s latest release is the live CD: “Banana Peel feat. Guy Forsyth”, and the band’s release is the CD: “Live From the Heart”.

Vasko “The Patch” & Poduene Blues Band with Kamen “The Barrel” Doytchinow (BG)

Vasko “The Patch” Krupkata, born in Sofia in 1959 as Vasil Georgiev, is a self-taught musician, and he plays the drums, harmonica and guitar and he is also a writer and a blues singer. At the end of the communist regime he created his own band, Poduene Blues Band, which became the best post-communist Bulgarian rock and blues formation. Fame and success followed through endless tours all around Bulgaria and abroad. Rebellious and not swimming with the tide, Vasko “The Patch” has become one of the most controversial personalities in modern Bulgaria. One thing is clear: Vasko “The Patch” breaks stereotypes in music and you need to listen to it to appreciate it. Poduene Blues Band features the singer Kamen “The Barrel” Doytchinow, Vladimir Stoyanov (harmonica), Kiril Georgiev (drums), Nikola Dragnev (solo-guitar), and Veselin Ivanov (bass). Vasko “The Patch” Krupkata has recorded several albums through the years as a solo or with bands. His newest recording is titled “Emigrants”.

The Downstrokes (HR)

Nebojsa Buhin Nebo, born in Bjelovar Croatia, started playing guitar at age of 13. He has played in a variety of bands and with many Croatian artists, and he also works as studio and session musician. He has released four instrumental CDs and won the Croatian “Porin Award” for his CD “Guitar Language” (best Croatian instrumental CD in 2007). Nebo received the “4 STATUS AWARD” (Croatian musicians’ union award) as the most prominent guitarist in the category of pop and rock music (2003, 2005 – 2007.). In 2004 he received a special award from “MEGA MUZIKA”, the authorized dealer of Fender Musical Instruments for Eastern Europe. For his instrumental music Nebo received good reviews in music magazines and many web portals. His group The Downstrokes participated in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, USA, in 2010. The Downstrokes combine great musicians with the powerfull voice of Mladen Rakas, who is also a member of the EBU and has participated in 3rd EBU conference in Hondarribia 2010 as a representative of the Croatian Blues Forces. The Downstrokes band plays their own electric blues/rock style songs mixed with soulfull guitar playing and good arrangements. The band has performed as a support act for Johnny Winter, Greg Koch etc.

The Blues Express (DK)

The Blues Express is a new band that comes from Midtjylland, Denmark. The members first met a year ago during a jam session in Horsens, arranged by Blueskartellet. Their music is versatile ranging from early blues of Robert Johnson to Al Green, B. B. King, Ray Charles, “the good old familiar” and newer inspirations toward soul and funk. The Blues Express is now ready to hit the stage. Jump on board folks, The Blues Express is on a roll! The players in the band are relatively young; Frederik Tygesen (b1995) is the guitar player, Rindom Nielsen (born 1993) is the drummer, Sergio Ingemann Jensen (b1992) is the pianist, Dyrlund (b1988) is the band’s vocalist and Rasmus Bruun (b1978) is on the bass. the summer of 2011 The Blues Express played several gigs, which led them into an even busier fall. In October the band won the ‘Møblomania Blues Award 2011’ hosted by B’Sharp in Silkeborg.

Ismo Haavisto Band (FI)

Ismo Haavisto Band is a blues/roots band founded in 2000. It’s repertoire consists mainly of original tunes written by the band leader Ismo Haavisto, but their live set includes also blues classics. The band’s music is straight-ahead, danceable, rocking blues. Their biggest influences are The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Lazy Lester and Jerry McCain. Ismo Haavisto Band has released three albums so far: “Too Wild For Me” (2003), “Gasoline Girl” (2009) and “Winter Blues” (2010). All songs on these albums were written by Ismo Haavisto. Ismo has also written songs for other bands and he is widely recognized as an excellent songwriter. Ismo Haavisto is known as a great harpist, guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is considered to be part of the “Finnish blues elite”. He has guested on many records by Finnish artists and played with many well-known blues musicians (Kim Wilson, Lurrie Bell, Otis Grand, Bill Sims, Steve Guyger, Delta Highway, Jessie Mae Hemphill and Sharon Lewis). Other members of the group are Jonni “Sidekick Johnny” Seppälä who is a professional guitarist and he has played in several recognized roots bands in Finland. The drummer is jazz-tinged Mikko Järvinen and the laid-back bass player is Ville Vallila.

Roland Tchakounte (FR)

Born in Cameroon, far away from the cotton fields that shaped his elders’ style, Roland Tchakounte started his musical training with the percussion followed by the guitar, piano and harmonica. He succeeds in creating a perfect fusion between his African roots, blues influences and a special talent to sing his complete repertoire in bamiléké, his native dialect. He obviously looks up to such artists as Son House, Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, but regards John Lee Hooker and Ali Farka Touré as his real masters. He has performed in almost every corner of the world, on stages in Belgium, Canada, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Lithuania, Croatia, but also in Africa (Burkina Faso, in  Mali) and in France (Cognac, Vaison-la-Romaine, etc.). He has released several albums over the years and the latest is  titled “Blues Menessen”.

Michael van Merwyk & Bluesoul (DE)

Michael van Merwyk is a singer and songwriter and a talented guitar player whether on  acoustic, electric, or on lap steel. His guitar playing is funky like Johnny Guitar Watson’s and rough like Albert King’s, and his voice growls somewhere between Dr. John and Johnny Cash. He is no newcomer on the scene, he tours regularly throughout Europe – from Finland to the Mediterranean coast, from the Atlantic coast to Moscow. The line-up for the star-studded Bluesoul band is Ollie Gee on bass (Henrik Freischlader, Blues Company, Blue Night Band, Big Daddy Wilson, Sidney Youngblood, etc.), Jochen Ben on different guitars (Eric Bibb, Big Daddy Wilson, Alexander Klaws, Mike Kruger, etc .) and Bernhardt Weichinger on drums (Candy Dulfer, Adriano Batolba Orchestra, Mess Of Blues, etc.). Michael’s latest album is titled “Catching The Rain” and a new CD “New Road” will be out in March 2012.

T.Blues Mob (GE)

T.Blues Mob, a band from Tbilisi, plays its own uncompromising version of blues based on hard-driving rock and jazz & soul. The repertoire of the band consists of both their original re-workings of standard or lesser known traditional blues songs and their own compositions driven by an improvising and energetic performance style. T.Blues Mob was formed in 1998 by Koka Tskitishvili a member of a famous Georgian band, Blues Mobile Band. The T.Blues Mob has toured extensively and performed in various festivals (Notodden, Samso Fest) and shared the stages with many international top names. Koka Tskitishvili is the band’s leader, its songwriter, arranger, bluesy vocalist and bass player with a rhythmic, aggressive and improvising playing style. Other members are: Tamaz Tkhinvaleli –  super technical lead guitarist, one of the best blues guitar players in Georgia, Roma Rtskhiladze – virtuoso boogie & blues piano and keyboard player, Davit Manizhashvili – explosive and technical, blues and jazz drummer. The band has released several albums; “Live In Denmark” (in 2003) and a studio album “Unexpected” (in 2006) and their latest CD is “Live In Denmark 2010”.

Dago Red (IT)

They love what they do and they do it damn well. They’re one of the best band I’ve heard in a long, long time
FRANK HENNESSY (Celtic Heartbeat, BBC Radio)

Dago Red is a blues and roots band. Their repertoire includes originals, work songs and reworked blues and folk standards. The band features the vocals and the acoustic guitar of Giuseppe Mascitelli, the vocals of Paola Ceroli, drummer Fausto Troilo, bass player Angelo Tracanna and the guitars of Nicola Palanza. Dago Red have the ability to make familiar songs sound both fresh and dynamic. They started playing in 1998 and have released three CDs, “Folk ‘n’ Blues Memories and Other tales”, “Feel Like Going On”, their latest “Dago Red”, as well as compilations. They wrote songs for artists from the prestigious Crosscut Records label. They have also performed at major blues festivals in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

Chehols (LV)

The band “Chehols” aka “The Gypsy Cowboys” started out as nothing more than a bunch of friends having fun playing on the streets for pocket money. As they played the streets, offers from different bars began to flow in and after a season of regular bar gigs, the guys began to realise that playing was not “just for fun”, but that it could also be a real and exciting line of work. Right now the band has earned a reputation for being a fine and reliable “bar band” that mixes elements of rockabilly, rhythm ‘n’ blues and blues and fuels it all up with an intense rock energy. Audiences love their live shows and the energy they produce on stage. The current line-up of the band consists of Ilja Krumins on guitar and vocals, Matiss Tazans on drums, Kristians Priekulis on double bass and Karlis Vitols on harmonica. Chehols have played countless top venues all across Latvia and have played abroad as well – in Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Russia. They have recently released an album titled “Songs Of The Gypsy Cowboys”.

John F. Klaver Band (NL)

John F. Klaver is a guitarist and a singer, who has played the guitar since the age of eleven. When he was seventeen, he decided to go to the Unites States. John took guitar and music theory classes as a private student at The University of the Pacific until he came back to his country. After that he entered the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he continued his guitar studies and after graduation started his own band. John plays blues, funk and soul in a very grooving style, making it contemporary without losing its authentic feel. John F. Klaver has a lot of experience in hosting jam sessions, doing session work and he has played in many groups and performed at many festivals with his band. John F. Klaver Band features Iris Sigtermans on bass, Martijn Klaver on drums and Bob Fridzema on Hammond, the latest addition to the band, which was formerly a trio.  Their first CD,  “Jetpepper”, was released in 2008, and their second album “Coming Back For More” was released in April 2011.

Rita Engedalen & Backbone (NO)

Rita Engedalen is an amazing blues artist and she is often referred to as “Norway’s Queen of the Blues”. She has released four CDs so far; “Here My Song”, “Heaven Ain’t Ready For Me Yet” , “The Tree Still Standing” and her latest “Chapels And Bars”. All are superb albums which demonstrate Rita’s unique talent. She’s not what you would call a mainstream blues performer – she’s a truly original artist. Rita’s influences are mostly American folk music from districts and areas not very familiar to the mainstream audiences. Dusty roads, back and forth from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi Delta are areas she travels musically. Her intense personality, and her strong and rich voice mixed with deeply rooted soul form her personal musical expression. Rita’s backing band is Backbone and it consists of guitarist Morten Omlid, bassist Jens Haugen and drummer Eskil Aasland.

Slavek Wierzcholski I Nocna Zmiana Bluesa (PL)

Nocna Zmiana Bluesa – The Blues Nightshift – is the most popular blues band in Poland. Established in 1982 by its leader Slawek Wierzcholski – a harmonica virtuoso, singer and songwriter. The band have played thousands of gigs throughout the years in Poland and all over Europe in countries such as Russia, France, Greece, the Nederlands, Sweden and even in Zimbabwe. They opened for The Blues Brothers Band (Nürnberg 1989) and B.B.King (Warsaw 1996). Slawek Wierzcholski & Nocna Zmiana Bluesa have issued total of 20 albums (3 LPs, 2 DVDs and 15 CDs), having recorded with such distinguished blues men as Charlie Musselwhite, Junior Wells or Louisiana Red. The band Nocna Zmiana Bluesa is formed of these seasoned musicians: Marek Dabrowski (guitar), Witek Jakalski (guitar) Piotr Dabrowski (bass guitar), Grzegorz Minicz (drums). And it is a band of the highest world standards with nothing to be ashamed of when compared with their beloved American roots that inspired them to develop their own unique sound. Having started as an orthodox blues act a quarter-century ago, Slawek and his team have created their own unique style which is a fusion of blues, folk, jazz and played on acoustic instruments. Slawek is the writer of the band’s entire repertoire and some of them have become real hits.

Lubos Beña (SV)

Lubos Bena comes from Slovakia, and he plays the resonator guitar, known as the Dobro, (the American invention, by Slovak emigrants, the Dopyera family in 1927), and in Bena’s hands it becomes, a rhythmic, refined and expressional instrument. Bena has travelled to discover authentic blues inside the American states of Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. From these expeditions, you can feel Bena’s experiences of the folklore, tradition and humble expression of this music form.

Mingo & The Blues Intruders (ES)

Mingo Balaguer, born in 1957, began playing the harmonica at about eleven. He played with several amateur bands during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  In 2003, after playing with bands like Caledonia Blues Band, Blues Machine and Blues Blasters, Mingo Balaguer craved to experiment as a vocalist. He had always missed playing with a quartet in which he played harp and sang. He eventually took the decision to lead a four-piece band and realised that to carry out this project it was essential to have companions with whom musical secrets did not exist and who were familiar with the style. These companions are Quique Bonal (guitar), Fernando Torres (bass) and Juan de la Oliva (drums). They try to include a great variety within the field of the blues and they have decided to form a repertoire influenced by styles ranging from the pure electric Chicago blues to the Texan style, the West Coast blues or the jump blues. In 2008 the band released their first vinyl and CD titled  “Going West”, and in 2010 the second CD titled “Fun To Visit” came out, and it was produced by the legendary British producer Mike Vernon.

Slidin’ Slim (SE)

Slidin’ Slim, born Anders Landelius, developed a love of American blues at an early age. After many years playing in punk and rock bands, he rediscovered his first love and adapted it to his punk ethos. In the past 16 years, Slim has become one of the pre-eminent blues artists in Scandinavia. He has played all the major blues festivals and has toured extensively in Scandinavia, Europe and USA. At first hearing, Slidin’ Slim appears to be the real deal: the deep voice, the dexterous resonator guitar picking, and the road-worn lyrics all add up to an impressive, raw Delta blues sound reminiscent of John Hammond. However, once you dig a little deeper, a real interesting fact emerges: Slim is from the South – the South of Sweden, that is. He has released several records that have received great reviews from all over the world. His latest studio CD “One Man Riot” was originally released by the   American label Nine Mile Records in 2007 but was re-released in 2011 by Swedish label Transubstans Records and has become one of the best selling Swedish blues records of all time.

Marco Marchi and The Mojo Workers (CH)

Marco Marchi & The Mojo Workers are an acoustic blues band formed by musicians with decades of experience in a vast range of musical genres (blues, jazz, folk, traditional, pop). After starting the band in October 2009 the experienced musicians have managed to carve out a niche in the European blues scene in a short period of time, performing a repertoire of blues from the 1920’s to the 1950’s, from ragtime to piedmont style, from Delta blues to country blues and the early hours of the Chicago blues. Marco Marchi & The Mojo Worker’s sound is designed with a completely personal style, and with instrumentation of a resonator guitar, a pre-war tuba, a  rub board and a harmonica. Their songs are interpreted by assimilating the original energy and playing with passion and authenticity. The result: an absorbing blend of sounds filled with a pathos from the past. The band’s latest album is “Listenin’ To My Soul”, and they are working on their new CD, which will be out early 2012.

Ben Poole (UK)

Inspired by the Blues, infused with a hard hitting, “in-yer-face” rock approach and topped-off by virtuoso musicianship, Ben Poole is being talked of as “the” new up-and-coming UK Blues guitarist, one of the finest to have emerged in Europe for years. Having already played with and received critical acclaim from some of his heroes such as legendary blues artists Jeff Beck, Gary Moore and John Mayall. At just 22 years of age it appears that there is no stopping this young and incredibly gifted musician. His latest recordings make it blatantly clear that Ben is destined for a great future on the European Blues/Rock scene. Ben Poole has released the 5-track mini album/EP titled “Everything I Want”.