By Keith Sharp
Timmins’ Stars and Thunder Day Two, Sunday June 25th might have been considered a `chill out’ day with most the scheduled acts being of the `laid back’ variety and it was certainly chilly enough although a number of black clouds that loomed above Hollinger Park throughout the day, almost magically didn’t deposit their liquid load on the 10,000 to 12,000 spectators gathered below. Mayor Steven Black must have made a pact with some of his indigenous friends to keep the rains at bay.
Headliner David Wilcox is also the personification of Mr Cool. A legendary blues guitarist in his own right, who just belts out his hits, no muss no fuss, just pure musicianship. Tracks like “Bad Reputation”, “Downtown Came Uptown”, “Hypnotizing Boogie”” My Eyes Keep Me in Trouble”, “Laying Pipe” and “The Grind” have been played thousands of time before yet Wilcox continues to keep his material fresh and his fans wouldn’t want it any other way.
In 2015, Wilcox appeared on the `Guitar Heroes’ release with fellow blues stalwarts Amos Garrett, James Burton and Albert Lee and Wilcox has certainly earned his place in such esteemed company. Safe to say, no matter where Wilcox plays, he always attracts a rapt response.
Sass Jordan, making her Timmins debut, livened up the festival with a set that shone a focus on her vocal skills, switching from Janis Joplinesque blues to high powered rock. On the road this year celebrating the 25th anniversary of her second solo release `Racine’, Jordan chose to highlight a number of tracks off that record. Songs like “Make You a Believer”, “You Don’t Have to Remind Me” and “Who Do You Think You Are” are established hits but Jordan also hit the vocal mark with a stunning version of “I Want to Believe” that had the audience gasping in awe at her sheer power.
Add to this tracks like “Tell Somebody” and “So Hard” – the set closer, from her debut `Tell Somebody’ album and “High Road Easy” and “Sun’s Gonna Rise” from her “Rats” album and you had a solid performance, highlighted by a cover of the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty track, “Stop Draggin My Heart Around”
Timmins native Cindy Doire, who Saturday, debuted her new solo
release, “Panorama”, rejoined Scarlett Jane singing partner Andrea Ramolo after an eight-month hiatus and proved to be a big hit, performing tracks from their two album releases; the self-titled Scarlett Jane and the later `Stranger’ album while debuting a new song “Bluebird”.
Performing acoustically with no band support, the affable pair, rejoined the crowd with stories of their exploits, recording their debut in Mexico, “The tequila and taco record” and writing songs for their second album in Cuba. Stand out tracks included “Wildfire”, “Tin Can Rebel”, “I Grew Wild”, “Come Around” and a Guy Clark cover “All She Wants Is You”.
As Timmins festival organizers endeavoured to give a local talent a spotlight on the main stage, Cèleste Levis proved to be a popular addition to the lineup with the 22-year old folk singer earning a standing ovation for a number of original tracks as well as covers of Cher’s “Believe” and Ben E King’s “Stand By Me”.
Launching the day was Moose Factory Ontario’s Relic Kings’ performing tracks off their six-song EP, `Armoury’ recorded in Vancouver by ace producer Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Aerosmith). The four-some comprised of Rob Fairies, vocals, Michael Archibald (guitar), James Gunner (bass) and Jimmy McLeish (drums) have been making headway on the Ontario circuit, opening for Sam Roberts in Moose Factory and sharing the bill with Honeymoon Suite at the Phoenix in Toronto and show plenty of promise in making further headway. A surprisingly solid day’s event was crowned by an outstanding fireworks display by Team Italy.
On the bill Monday is Tom Cochrane supported by JJ Shiplett, Joel Plaskett and Beverley Mahood who has been executing a double shift as co-host of the festival. The show-ending fireworks display are supplied tonight by Team Finland.