Blues Festival returns to Blue Ocean Music Hall | Local News

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SALISBURY — With a lineup ranging from blues heroes to younger upstarts, the 11th annual New England Winter Blues Festival will give the audience a night filled with the blues and beyond Saturday.

The festival will be held at the Blue Ocean Music Hall, 4 Oceanfront North, Salisbury. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m.

Headlining the festival will be Curtis Salgado, an award-winning soul, blues and R&B vocalist whose powerful voice has impacted audiences around the world for more than 30 years.

As a young blues musician, Salgado was co-leader of the Robert Cray Band, and shared stages with many of the genre’s legends, including Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland, Albert Collins and Bonnie Raitt.

In 1977, Salgado helped inspire his friend John Belushi to create the iconic “Blues Brothers” for a “Saturday Night Live” sketch. He is the holder of several awards.

Also on the festival bill is GA-20, a Boston-based modern blues trio led by friends Pat Faherty and Matthew Stubbs.

Stubbs has spent the past 11 years as a guitarist for blues legend Charlie Musselwhite. He formed GA-20 with Faherty about two years ago during a break from his rigorous touring schedule.

Since then, GA-20 released its debut album, “Lonely Soul,” which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard blues chart in October.

During a phone interview with The Daily News, Stubbs said he is excited to return to the Winter Blues Festival stage, which he has played several times with Musselwhite and other acts.

“The Blues Festival is always great,” Stubbs said. “It’s soldout every time I’ve played it, and the fans are really hyped to be there. Plus, it’s different every year.”

Stubbs said he looks forward to bringing the festival audience a lively performance from GA-20, which like the 1950s and 1960s blues bands that inspired their electric sound, features two guitars and a drummer, but no bassist.

“At this point, it’s pretty high energy. We’re stemming from traditional blues, but we hit it pretty hard and try to put on a show for people,” Stubbs said. “There’s a common thought about blues being sad or slow from people who don’t listen to it, but we definitely build a performance that never does that.” 

The evening’s lineup also includes Gina Sicilia, a blues-country singer-songwriter whose pop hooks and sensibilities and catchy hooks have earned her a Blues Music Award nomination and great chart and radio success.

Opening the festival will be Troy Gonyea, an emerging blues guitarist and singer-songwriter who has shared the stage with high-profile acts that include Sugar Ray, Anthony Geraci, Booker T. Jones and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.  

Reserved seating and general admission tickets are available in advance for $35 per person. They will be available for $38 on the day of the show.

For more information about the 11th annual New England Winter Blues Festival, visit

Staff writer Jack Shea can be reached via email at or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.


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