by Laura Feeney

If last night’s performances are any indication, then this year’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is going to be one of the best yet. The calm, unseasonably warm night saw Fredericton come alive as the two main tents opened their doors for the first round of performances this week.


Keith Hallett (left) and Garrett Mason (far right) [Photo: Scott Greer]

Starting off the night in the Blues Tent was Garrett Mason of Truro, NS, and Keith Hallett from Fredericton, NB. These guys are young, talented, and energetic – their guitar-focused set enlivened the already eager crowd. Mason turned up the heat during his crowd-pleasing tribute to Bo Diddly, while Hallett brought raw vocals and slide guitar prowess to the stage. They showcased an electrified and youthful take on the blues and shared the spotlight admirably.


Keb’ Mo’ [Photo: Scott Greer]

Keb’ Mo’ took the already excited crowd captive with his unique spin on the blues. The Nashville native brought guitar expertise and charisma to the stage – but stood out for his warm, rich vocals. His casual style was evident from his beige fedora all the way down to his cherry red shoes, while his beaming smile alone drew more than a few cheers from the audience. His rendition of ‘Perpetual Blues Machine’ was enlivened by the first of many soulful harmonica solos. The set featured new and old tunes from the Grammy award winner’s impressive musical career. No two songs sounded alike; the set featured blues melded with folk, rock, and soul, transitioning from one to the next without missing a beat.

For more photos, check out the slideshow: