Bluesfest Byron Bay Discovery: Part Two!


the AU review is proud to present the 25th annual Bluesfest in Byron Bay next Easter weekend. One aspect of the festival we love every year is the discovery of young and emerging artists – alongside, of course, the more established on the lineup, and the countless “legends” along the way. As we look towards the 2014 event, we’re proud to launch the new Bluesfest Discovery Page on the AU – a section that highlights artists we think you should discover yourselves, while also giving you the chance to win tickets to the festival!

Every other Tuesday over the next six weeks, we’ll be highlighting five young and emerging artists on this, the Bluesfest Discovery Page. We invite all readers to learn more about, and listen to, these fine musicians, and vote for your favourite!

Every vote serves as as entry for a MASSIVE giveaway. The grand prize winner will receive two five day tickets to the 2014 Bluesfest, with camping*! One lucky runner up will win two three day passes^ and third prize is a mystery prize involving some of the discovery artists! We will reveal more on that one as the competition progresses… Winners for the major prize will be drawn December 17th and contacted later that day.

So, without further delay, here are the second five Discovery artists… if you entered during the first fortnight, you can now double your chances and enter again!

Saidah Baba Talibah
Read our exclusive interview with Saidah Baba Talibah HERE.

Strong bloodline notwithstanding, SAIDAH is a fierce artist that isn’t afraid to combine Rock, Funk, Blues and raunchy Soul in all of her performances. Last in Australia in September for a few shows around the time of the BIGSOUND conference in Brisbane, her preternatural punk attitude, striking good looks and sartorial splendour will have you gobsmacked in no time at all.

In 2011, riding the critical acclaim of her debut album (S)cream, SAIDAH won Toronto’s inaugural Soundclash Music Award – handily defeating 300+ other city-wide independent bands, across genres, based on pure talent – pocketing $5000 in cash.

SAIDAH BABA TALIBAH is now known as a rare breed of crossover performer whose music, much like songs on your iPod playlist, could simultaneously play to alternative music lovers, across genres.

North Mississippi Allstars

Hailing from Hernando, Mississippi at a special time for modern Mississippi Country Blues, brothers Luther (guitar, vocals) and Cody Dickinson (drums, vocals) are the true NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS.

NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS have recently toured extensively with Robert Plant and The Band of Joy, headlined major festivals and toured internationally as a headliner and with Ian Siegal as part of The Mississippi Mudbloods.

The release of their debut album, Shake Hands With Shorty, in 2000 proved to be a success and earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album – helping to further build their reputation as one of the most intriguing acts to emerge from Southern Blues and Roots Rock.

Devon Allman

In addition to creating two albums and leading multiple tours across North America and Europe with his earlier band project, Honeytribe, DEVON ALLMAN has also contributed to several other musical recordings, including Vargas Blues Band and the A Song for My Father compilation album.

Although he is the son of original Allman Brother (and Bluesfest 2014 artist) Greg Allman, his family’s prestigious musical history actually had little effect on him. DEVON ALLMAN initially found his own way at age five while listening to The Beatles and Kiss, and from there started to learn guitar.

Inspired he is, sometimes playing up to 300 shows a year over three continents, and becoming firm festival favourites all over the world. Now he returns to Bluesfest leading his own DEVON ALLMAN BAND.

Beth Hart

Beth Hart is an acclaimed American singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, California. First there’s THE VOICE – when she sings, clocks stop, hearts dance, and neck-hair tingles, it’s that compelling!! Then there’s the A-list collaborations with the likes of Jeff Beck, Slash, Buddy Guy and Joe Bonamassa.

And then there’s the hits ‘LA Song (Out Of This Town)’ (#1 in New Zealand), ‘Sister Heroine’, ‘Am I The One’, ‘Good As It Gets’ . Her new album Bang Bang Boom Boom (out March 14) has been earning this superb singer critical acclaim around the world, showcasing her amazing range across Blues, R&B, Swing and more.

When she ramps up in performance jaws drop and realization dawns: this is someone very special.

Trixie Whitley

Trixie Whitley is a Belgian American multi-instrumentalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Whitley burst into public consciousness in 2011 as the lead singer of Black Dub, super-producer Daniel Lanois’ (U2, Bob Dylan) project, blowing people away with a voice and presence beyond her now-25 years.

From her early childhood experiences came her debut album,’Fourth Corner’ exploring the range of human emotion from utter love, total rage, unadulterated happiness and crippling loneliness.

With the Black Dub shows, countless solo gigs in New York and Europe, and buzz-building performances at festivals like Bonnaroo, SXSW, and Celebrate Brooklyn, Whitley has become one of the most talked about new artists of 2012-13.


Who’s your favourite Discovery artist? Let us know! Send us an e-mail at [email protected] with the subject line “BLUESFEST DISCOVERY TWO”. Include your full name, a contact number, a mailing address and make sure you contact us from the e-mail address you use most often. And then let us know the artist you want to see live at Bluesfest the most (from the five listed above) and in 25 words or less, let us know why.

Strict limit of ONE entry per discovery group – that is to say, when we change the artists soon, you’ll be able to enter again! This means you’ll be able to enter up to THREE times! Good luck!

*Transport not included. Winners must be able to get themselves to Byron Bay for the Easter weekend event, April 2014. All the details at

^No camping included in the runner up prize. You must be able to get yourself to Byron Bay. The winner of this pass, however, may choose which three consecutive days they’d like to attend (Friday/Sat/Sun, Sat/Sun/Mon etc.).


Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.