Harpdog Brown brings the blues to Eureka

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Harpdog Brown and his band perform Jan. 4 at the Lincoln County High School in Eureka for a fundraising concert for the Sunburst Foundation.

Harpdog Brown takes Chicago Blues down to New Orleans for a unique and vibrant sound.

Brown has earned a solid reputation as a real-deal purveyor of classic electric blues. Think of the old Chess Records and Sun Records of the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. These days he’s been touring more and more as Harpdog Brown & the Uptown Blues Band. They have a unique sound that’s piano driven and often features slide trombone, sax and clarinet and still has a vintage vibe that will move you. The band performs mostly originals, yet they often include great songs of the masters from that era — Louis Jordan, Satchmo, Sonny Boy Williamson, Wynonie Harris, even Duke Ellington.

Audiences are raving about this new show. Harpdog Brown has been called a “Blues Evangelist,” ... and that’s a very fitting moniker.

“I speak the blues like it’s the truth, and it is,” Brown said. “I do feel like I’m a servant of the people. A missionary if you will.”

Brown delivers those messages using that vintage sound, whether it be with his lowdown classic blues band the Travelin’ Blues Show or with his new Uptown Blues Band.

“Blues has a healing power. It’s a beautiful celebration of our perfectly flawed lives. We help people forget about their issues of the moment and then they realize that we all have our issues, and that’s OK.”

Vancouver-based Harpdog Brown was born in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1962, an adopted child who has felt somewhat detached his whole life.

“It’s been a lifelong battle of not feeling like I belonged. I feel like I was born for the circus, you know, born to travel. The blues tapped me on the shoulder years ago and said ‘This is where you belong, son.’ So the blues became my circus and there’s no better way to travel than with a band!”

A gifted vocalist and an imaginative harmonica player, Brown has won three consecutive Maple Blues Awards for Harmonica Player of the Year (2014/2015/2016), the Fraser Valley Music Award, has three consecutive Western Canadian Music Awards Nominations, a Juno Nomination and is the only Canadian to win the coveted Muddy Award. In 2016, he was nominated for Maple Blues Awards (Harmonica Player, Male Vocalist and Album of the Year) for his latest release Travelin’ With The Blues. Travelin’ With The Blues, which was released in 2016 is listed as no. 9 on the Roots Music Report Top Classic Blues Albums of 2017. This follows his Top 20 charting 2014 release What It Is (Roots Music Report International Blues Albums).

His new album, For Love and Money, is set for release on April 26, 2019. It features the Uptown Blues Band along with producer Steve Dawson on guitars. Get behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the album by participating in the pre-order campaign with www.pledgemusic.com/harpdogbrown.

The band recently wrapped up a three-week U.S. West Coast tour. Along with Harpdog Brown on vocals and harmonica, touring with the band are Dave Webb, piano; Billy Joe Abbott, clarinet/sax; Skye Lambourne, trombone; and Rick Jacobson, drums.

The Sunburst Community Service Foundation was established in 1995 by a group of passionate Tobacco Valley citizens with the goal of enhancing the lives of community members through three general areas: human services, arts, and education. Since it’s early days Sunburst has been active in the arts and culture in the Tobacco Valley region of north Lincoln County.

Sunburst continues to expand efforts in making the arts more central in communities throughout Northwest Montana.

Gradually, Sunburst’s human services expanded the Family Concepts program into other locations in the state. It currently operates in Flathead Valley. This program serves as a life-line between children in foster care and their birth families. Utilizing a staff of compassionate and dedicated individuals, the program provides an array of services to prevent child abuse and neglect as well as assist families in re-unification efforts and permanency planning.

Two concerts remain in the Sunburst winter concert series.

Jan 25 — Chinook Winds is the resident professional chamber ensemble within the Great Falls Symphony. Their fabulous music, energetic interpretations and amazing talent wow audiences across the U.S. and beyond. The ensemble brings everything from classical music to modern sounds to audiences.

Feb 15 — Men of Worth blend their voices with harmony and support their collection of songs with a varied selection of instruments. They have a simple approach to their presentation, and in keeping with Irish/Scottish traditions, remain true to the music and story. Their show is a unique combination of humor, exciting tunes, and soulful, heartfelt ballads. Local musicians will join the group to end this 20th season.

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