THE PIEDMONT Bluz Acoustic Duo wife and husband twosome of Valerie and Ben Turner..
(photo credit: BIBIANA HUANG MATHEIS/PIEDMONTBLUZ.COM)
While the main, springtime, Jacob’s Ladder Festival has been pulling them in for over three decades now, its younger December-based sibling is a more intimate affair altogether. Even so, the winter version has clearly found its way into the hearts of the “Anglo” get-together by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and will take place for the 12th time on December 4-5.
The more compact program normally features just one foreign act, and this year’s import should have blues fans – particularly those who prefer their blues of a more rustic roots flavor – rubbing their hands with glee. The Piedmont Bluz Acoustic Duo wife and husband twosome of Valerie and Ben Turner hail from New York but draw their inspiration from further down the east coast of the United States where the finger-picking style of guitar playing began to take root in the 1920s. Guitarist, banjo player and vocalist Valerie and washboard and harmonica player and vocalist Ben will put in two stage performances – December 4 at 10:15 p.m. and the festival closer on the morrow, at 4 p.m., with a laidback Q&A session at 10 a.m. on the second day.
As always, there are plenty of perennial Jacob’s Ladder favorites lined up over the two days, including singalong couple Larry and Mindy, irrepressible folk-gypsy outfit La Vache Qui Rit and the Gilad Ephrat String Ensemble. The latter is led by the eponymous bass player and performs original material that feeds off jazz, classical and ethnic roots.
Elsewhere on the Winter Weekend roster you can find the insouciant sounds of the all-girl Hazelnet doo-wop trio, festival returnee folksy guitarist-vocalist Shiri Golan, singer songwriter Tal Cohen-Shalev and the ever-popular Irish Session Band.
Offstage festivalgoers will be able to shake a leg at the Irish dance workshop, catch an eyeful of some of the myriad- plus feathered friends passing through the region during the current migratory season, and get a sense of balance at a tai chi session, while there will be plenty of fun things to do for junior patrons too.
For tickets and more information: (04) 685-0403 and http://jlfestival.com.