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Taken from The Billings Gazette (Apr 23, 2010)

Trucks, Tedeschi, Franti lead blues fest lineup

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band and Michael Franti and Spearhead are headlining the Magic City Blues Festival Aug. 13 and 14 in downtown Billings.

by The Billings Gazette

Michael FrantiPromoter Tim Goodridge has also added some local bands to this year’s lineup, including the S.O.B.s, which plays the Stillwater Stage both nights, and Funk In The Trunk, which will play the Main Stage on Friday night.

Now in its ninth year, Magic City Blues attracts blues fans from across the country who have been treated to shows by Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Michelle Shocked.

This year, Maria Muldaur will perform at the Magic City Blues Festival on Friday night and at St. John’s Lutheran Home on Thursday, Aug. 12 in a free preview concert on the lawn. Trucks and Tedeschi perform Friday night, and Franti and Spearhead headline Saturday night. Also on the bill for Friday night are The Soul of John Black on the main stage and Gary Small and The Coyote Brothers on the Stillwater Stage. On Saturday, the main stage will feature the Randy Oxford Band and Indigenous, and the Stillwater Stage will host Ben Prestage and Sonny Landreth.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. both nights and the music starts at 6 p.m. You must be 21 to enter. No coolers, chairs or carry-ins are permitted. Chairs are provided, and full concessions are available on-site. The festival will occupy the 2300 to 2500 blocks of Montana Avenue with the Main Stage in front of The Billings Depot facing west and the Stillwater Stage at the McCormick Cafe.

Tickets go on sale Friday, May 14. There are three ways to get tickets: online at http://www.magiccityblues.com/; by phone at 670-2329; or at Billings Holiday stores, Rimrock Mall or Cactus Records in Bozeman. Ticket prices are $40 per night if purchased in advance individually or $45 per night at the gate. A $75 ticket for both nights can be purchased in advance only. Reserved tables are available by calling 670-2329.

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band is one of the most formidable husband/wife teams in the history of southern rock and blues music.

Trucks’ slide guitar playing is top notch. He has led his own The Derek Trucks Band for over 15 years, has been the slide guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band for more than 10 years, and toured the world with Eric Clapton. Trucks’ sixth studio album release (“Already Free”) debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, and he is the youngest musician to date to make Rolling Stones list of “Top 100 Guitarists of All Time.”

Tedeschi has risen in the blues ranks, with multiple Grammy Award nominations. Her powerful singing voice and fearless stage presence have made her one of the most stirring soul and blues musicians of our time.

Michael Franti is the creator and lead singer of Michael Franti and Spearhead. Franti, who recently completed a tour with John Mayer, has long been known for his electrifying live show. His latest CD release, “All Rebel Rockers,” was the highest debut album chart position of his career, and his multi-format hit, “Say Hey (I Love You),” is the most commercially successful song of his career. The song’s video garnered nearly 5 million YouTube views.

Franti has become a modern-day troubadour spreading the word with equal passion, whether he’s playing to a packed theater somewhere in America, Australia or Europe, or simply giving an impromptu performance in some war-torn corner of the world.

“I wear the troubadour badge with great pride,” Franti explains. “I love playing music in the street more than anywhere else. It’s still a lot of fun to get on a big stage, but the rest of the time, when you just play for people anywhere you can, it’s like playing a pick up basketball game and I love that, too. I love the intimacy of it, playing without all the bells and whistles.”

Through Franti’s appreciation of Bob Marley, he got turned on to bands that had a reggae influence, like the Police and, especially, the Clash.


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