Every year at the Edmonton Blues Festival we work with artists to come up with bands that are unique, one off expressions of the music we love…bands that are more than the sum of their parts, and 2019 is no exception. Saturday afternoon we present the world-wide debut of Big Pete with 13. Fronted by Dutch harp man and vocalist Big Pete, backed by 2 of the tastiest guitarists around and a rock solid, road tested, rhythm section, Big Pete with 13 will rip the roof off the Heritage Amphitheatre.
Pieter “Big Pete” van der Pluijm was handpicked for a European memorial tour honoring the music and memory of harmonica player/vocalist Lester Butler and was backed by several of Lester’s original band mates from the Red Devils and Thirteen. The project was a great success and was followed by tours with the Lester Butler Tribute Band. Pete’s first album “Choice Cuts” was released in 2011 and was selected as the #1 blues album in 2012 and nominated for a Blues Music Award as best new artist debut.
In 2017, Pete got the call to front the original Red Devils for a reunion tour as special guests for ZZ-Top. They recorded the still officially unreleased record: “Return of the Red Devils”. Since then, the Big Pete Blues Band has been performing at blues festivals, fronting the reunited Red Devils and the Kid Ramos Blues Band. Regarded as one of the premier blues harp players & singers in the world today, he appeared at the Edmonton Blues Festival with Matt Schofield in 2013. We’re pleased and proud to have him back bringing this great project together.
Guitarist Alex Schultz played 2 ½ years with Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, and has recorded on over 45 projects including Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, William Clarke Band, including the WC Handy winning “Blowin’ Like Hell”, and Chicago’s Tad Robinson, who has had multiple Blues Award nominations. He’s toured the world, playing behind Bo Diddley, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Butterfield, Jimmy Rodgers, Lowell Fulsom, Louis Myers, Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton, Earl King, Robert Ward, Albert Collins, and Snooks Eaglin amongst others. Tasty and understated with style and panache, Alex brings some serious experience and tone to the table.
Guitarist Zach Zunis, an ambassador of the blues, has spent a lifetime playing around the world. The list of bands he’s fronted and played with is extensive. Zach spent years on the road with William Clark, Rick Holmstrom, Lester Butler, Mason Casey and countless others. His signature blazing West Coast-on-steroids sound can be heard on countless blues albums. Currently, Zach is with the Janiva Magness band and has played the festival with Janiva on a couple of occasions. ‘Love Wins Again’, his sixth recording with Janiva, was recently nominated for a Grammy Award.
Drummer Johnny Morgan grew up in the Detroit suburb of Ann Arbor, Michigan in the shadow of Motown and began playing the drums at age nine. His first European tour and festival was The Montreux, Switzerland Jazz Festival in 1979 where he was on the bill with Weather Report and Willie Bobo. He’s retuned to Europe many times performing at the Bruges, Belgium Blues Festival with King Ernest, Vacha de Blues festival in France, and the Bay Car Blues Festival in Northern France. Johnny performed with Lester Butler in the nineties and recorded with Lester on the “13” LP. Johnny has also worked with Carey Bell, Little Sammy Davis, Lynwood Slim, Eddie Burns, Ron Thompson, Marcy Levy, Roy Gaines, and Wayne Kramer to name a few.
Bassist Mike Hightower brings a wealth of experience to the table as an in demand session player and member of Lester Butler’s original “13” band. He’s also a member of The 44’s, who made their way to the Edmonton Blues Festival in 2015. Real, raw, edgy, and with over a century of experience between them, Big Pete with 13 make their world-wide debut at the 21st annual Edmonton Blues Festival. Don’t miss ‘em!