The Winnipeg BBQ & Blues Festival is pleased to announce The Fabulous Thunderbirds with special guests MonkeyJunk on Friday, August 11 at the Burton Cummings Theatre. Reserved seats start at $39.50 plus fees and go on sale, April 28 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster.
For over 30 years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The group’s distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barn burners as “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up.” Co-founder Kim Wilson, the sole original member, still spearheads the group as it evolves into the newest incarnation.
“We started as a straight blues band,” vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. “We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We’re an American music band and we’re much higher energy than we were before.”
In addition to Wilson, the current Thunderbirds line-up features Rob Stupka on drums, Johnny Moeller on guitar, Kevin Anker on keyboards and Steve Gomes on bass.
The thread throughout the T-Birds career has been the respect the group commanded for its peerless musicianship and devotion to the sound of blues, R & B and rock ‘n roll. In fact, Muddy Watters called Wilson his favourite harmonica player and vocalist.
In 1979, The Fabulous Thunderbirds released their first self-titled album. Primarily blues influenced, it became a cult classic.
In subsequent releases, the band started to incorporate more Cajun, rock ‘n roll and soul influences. The album T-Bird Rhythm marked a creative turning point for the group as it collaborated with noted producer Nick Lowe. In 1986, The Fabulous Thunderbirds reached a commercial peak with the album Tuff Enuff. The single of the same title as well as the singles “Wrap It Up” and ‘Look At That”, all went top 40. The song “Tuff Enuff” was featured in the film Gung Ho, starring Michael Keaton.
For the remainder of the 80s, the band continued to record and tour, and released the album Powerful Stuff. Jimmie Vaughn left in 1989, but Wilson kept the group going, incorporating keyboards into the guitar-driven sound. Wilson moved back to California in 1996, continuing to cultivate the T-Birds music.
As a side project, Wilson formed Kim Wilson’s Blue Revue, a traditional blues band. He also owns a blues label, Blue Collar Music, that has released three albums – one by Wilson, one by “Big AL” Blake and one by Fred Kaplan. Wilson has also recorded and written with the noted session guitarist Danny Kortchmar and drummer Steve Jordan and may tour with them at some point. However, his current focus remains The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
For over eight years, the name MonkeyJunk has been synonymous with the emergence of a new kind of blues on the Canadian and international scenes. Continually pushing boundaries and blurring genre lines, the Ottawa Ontario-based trio has added an edge to their music by incorporating swampy blues & rock with thoughtful and intelligent lyrics. Their fifth Stony Plain Records release, Time To Roll is unique in that it incorporates elements of all four of their previous recordings with added maturity in songwriting and instrumentation, cementing MonkeyJunk’s originality and sound as its own.
Reserved seats for the Friday August 11th show start at $39.50 plus fees and go on sale Friday April 28th at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster.
A two-concert package will also go on sale on Friday April 28th priced at $99.50 plus fees while supplies last and will include a top price ticket for both the Fabulous Thunderbirds show and the Saturday, August 12th Blind Boys of Alabama concert.
The 2017 Winnipeg BBQ & Blues Festival will take place on August 11th and 12th on Smith Street and the Burton Cummings Theatre