The Daily Brewsletter - Day 2 Recap
Day two of the 23rd Telluride Blues & Brews Festival aimed to showcase an array of lead guitarists with signature styles in blues and blues-adjacent music, but for the many that arrived when the gates opened, it was the sound of bagpipes that greeted them. The annual tradition signified the start of the Grand Tasting, a three hour offering of over 170 world class craft beers from 56 hand selected breweries from across the country.
While some of the best beer makers in the country competed for the "Best Of Fest" title, winners of the International Blues Challenge The Delgado Brothers kicked off the music and proved why they deserved to be on the Fred Shellman Memorial Stage.
Next Tommy Castro and the Painkillers came out hot with funky organs and active guitars to an increasingly eager crowd feeling no pain as the desirable effects of the Grand Tasting took form. Castro demanded "dance party time," and got it as he took the crowd on a trip through bouncy, traditional blues done right.
Hailing from San Francisco, where they honed their chops busking in the stations of the BART train, The California Honeydrops were lead by charismatic vocalist and trumpet player Lech Wierzynkski. The Polish-born frontman learned his vocal stylings from contraband American recordings of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong, and displayed his range in Telluride on a stunning tribute to the late Allen Toussaint with "Yes We Can Can." With Big Easy swing influencing their West Coast tone, the Honeydrops were an instant crowd favorite.
For his return to Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, it seemed Luther Dickson came to do one thing, and with the North Mississippi Allstars, that was to put on a clinic of how to play his six string. Joined by his equally gifted brother Cody on drums, Dickinson played powerful and fast, and leapt into any chance to take a solo better than the last. Having first appeared at the festival in 2000, the North Mississippi Allstars continue to be a staple of blues-infused rock that only get better with each appearance.
Before the gates opened and the kegs were tapped, six finalist competed in the Telluride Blues Challenge during the annual Blues For Breakfast event. While all the artists were fantastic indicators that the future of blues music is in good hands, a winner emerged - Steve Itterly. In partnership with the Telluride Music Company and the Colorado Blues Society, the Telluride Blues Society awarded Itterly with a premium Martin D-1GT guitar and two performances at this year's and next year's Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. The first of those performances placed him on the main stage where he delivered heartfelt songs recalling experiences of surviving two natural disasters while living in Boulder, CO.
Telluride favorite Anders Osborne has been invited to perform at more Telluride Blues & Brews Festivals than any other artist for good reason. For his 2016 appearance Osborne was joined by special guest guitarist Eric McFadden, and a newfound chemistry between the two players was palpable as they rolled through classics from the catalog of the New Orleans resident.
Rising star Gary Clark Jr. first made a magnetic first impression at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in 2013 just as his career was taking off. Now just three years later, the virtuosic guitarist from Austin garnered a well deserved headlining slot, and used the lyrics of "Bright Lights" to let the crowd know "you gonna know my name by the end of the night" during his opening song.
Clark, Jr. has maintained the same lineup of accompanying artists throughout his meteoric career, and the advantages of that cohesion were on display as their setlist weaved through flawlessly executed classic blues, heavy rock and even R&B. The diversified sound allowed for Clark, Jr. to not only take liberty with stepping out to execute monstrous solos, but also showcased a range of vocal ability to close out day 2 of the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival.
The results are here! All of the votes have been counted and the people have spoken, let's hear it for the new champions of Best of Fest: Avalanche Brewing Company. Founded in 2011 by brewmaster Austin Lashley in the landmark Avalanche cafe and bakery in Silverton, Colorado, the award winning craft brewery specializes in bold flavors that match the aesthetic of their home.
Want to know more about your favorite brewery or the name of that perfect beer you discovered during the Grand Tasting? Click here for the full list of breweries!
Don't forget to stop by the House of Brews today to grab you commemorative glass and try beers from Sierra Nevada, Big B's Hard Cider, Bonfire Brewing, Durango Brewing Company, Ska Brewing and Telluride Brewing Company.
Sunday Passes are still available online or at the box office. Grab yours here before the sell out and join us for the last day of the 23rd Telluride Blues & Brews Festival!
Tickets for the Fais Do-Do closing party at the Sheridan Opera House are sold out! Follow our social media for live updates and photos of the intimate performance by Anders Osborne!
Don’t forget to stop by the official Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Art Gallery featuring paintings by Scramble Campbell and photos by festival photographers Barry Brecheisen, Dino Perrucci and Jason Squires at the Arroyo Gallery & Wine Bar located right on Main Street in Telluride.