Roomful of Blues will be ‘Raisin’ A Ruckus’ as headliner for the Great Falls Balloon Festival

LEWISTON – Forget the blues’ three-chord wail and moan.

The Rhode Island-based Roomful of Blues and its upbeat mix of jump, swing and rock ‘n’ roll aims to show Lewiston festival-goers that the blues can be joyful.

The eight-piece band headlines the Great Falls Balloon Festival Sunday, taking the stage at Payne-Simard Memorial Park at 6 p.m.

Guitarist Chris Vachon and the band are scheduled for a 90-minute set of covers and originals.

Songs will likely include ones from the band’s 18th album, “Raisin’ A Ruckus.” The 18-track collection was released on Alligator Records in January.

The CD stretches from the jubilant “Every Dog has its Day” to the laid-back “Life has been Good.”

It’s familiar territory for the group that started in 1967 with a different lineup. Dozens of musicians have filled its ranks. Among the founders was Duke Robillard, who later played with The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Though none of the original musicians remain, the lineup still includes Rich Lataille, a tenor and alto sax player who joined in 1970. Other members are Bryan “Frankie” Rizzuto on upright and electric bass, Ephraim Lowell on drums, Travis Colby on piano, Doug Woolverton on trumpet and Mark Early on baritone and tenor saxophone.

The band is led by guitarist Chris Vachon. And in 2007, singer Dave Howard took over the vocal duties. Despite all the changes, the band continues to tour. Its current schedule includes stops throughout New England, New York and Ontario, Canada. Previous tours have taken them to Europe and Asia.

Roomful of Blues, whose fat, horn-heavy sound will remind nonblues fans of The Blues Brothers, has earned its share of awards. In 2003, it was nominated for a Grammy for its “That’s Right” CD. Over the years, the band has earned five Grammy nominations and seven Blues Music Awards.


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