FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MEDIA RELEASE
New Zealand blues master Billy TK Jnr and his Groove Shakers are set to be one of the big attractions at this year’s Cairns Blues Festival on Saturday 11th May. The singer-guitarist has been on the international circuit since 1993 and brings two decades of experience in scorching live performance to the festival stage.
In New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific, Japan and the United States, Billy TK Jnr has built a deservedly strong reputation as a simply brilliant blues artist. He has worked extensively with many of the biggest names in the roots and rock music business, including George Thorogood, Jimmy Barnes, The Neville Brothers, Ian Moss and Junior Wells. In Australia, Billy really made his name in 2006 with a stand-out performance at the Narooma Blues Festival. A national tour followed, with crowds growing day by day as word got around that here was a man who could sing and play in true blues style – and melt your face into the bargain.
With his band, The Groove Shakers, Billy was invited to play the Sydney Blues Festival in 2010. The crowd went nuts – so nuts, in fact, that the festival organisers invited the band back as one of the headliners for 2012 event. Also in 2012, Billy TK Jnr and The Groove Shakers released their third album, a foot stomping affair called Blues Benediction, and they’ve been hitting big stages around Oz ever since.
In between Australian gigs the band often returns to New Zealand – where they are regarded as home-grown heroes – and tour north to south and back again. Billy TK is a high profile Kiwi and takes his responsibilities seriously. He was recently appointed as a White Ribbon Ambassador – a role which sees him regularly campaigning to halt violence against women.
Released through MGM, Blues Benediction is a great document, but it almost didn’t see the light of day. Just after recording was finished, the album’s producer Ben Stockwell passed away suddenly. Unsure what to do at first, Billy took the unusual step of setting all the recordings aside and starting again. He also dedicated one of the new recordings, Stevie’s Good Night Blues, to Ben. The album was eventually released late last year to huge acclaim. His homeland press dubbed him “New Zealand’s premier electric blues guitarist”, and the Texas Music Monthly called him “a world class kiwi rocker”.
“They say that everything is about timing and this album feels like it has 'arrived' at the right location at the right time - I have recorded two albums in the past but neither of them has ever felt or sounded as good as this,” Billy says. “It is kind of a reflection of where I am at in my life. I am very proud of this album and what I now have for the world to listen to is up there with the music of my heroes who inspired me to play.”
Now, the lucky punters at the Cairns Blues Festival will have the rare opportunity to listen to it live, and find out exactly why Billy TK Junior and The Groove Shakers are one of the hottest roots acts on the planet right now.
This year’s line-up of the Cairns Blues Festival showcases a diverse range of acts, from the return of Mason Rack Band and the unique blues sounds of Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson to the rockin’ country-esque style of Bluesville Station and the roosty blues of Blake Saban 3, and more.
Tickets for the fifth annual Cairns Blues Festival at Fitzroy Island are on sale now from www.ticketlink.com.au or 1300 855 835. Tickets inclusive of transport are $75 (adults), $70 (concession) and $24 (17-years and under). Ferry transfers are included. Booking fee not included. ID is required upon entry to the festival. NO UNDER 18S PERMITTED AFTER 8PM.
Cairns Blues Festival is held at Fitzroy Island on Saturday 11th May from 12pm. For more information, please visit www.cairnsbluesfestival.com.au