Darby Mills Project performs the TD Kitchener Blues Festival Aug. 10, 2019.
“It’s a Canadiana theme this year!” pronounces artistic director Claude Cloutier, who announced this year’s homegrown-heavy lineup for “the biggest free admission blues festival in Canada.” The 19th Annual TD Kitchener Blues Festival, drew in crowds of upwards of 140,000 in just over four days, hosting 43 bands on four stages in downtown Kitchener, that had increased the economy with almost $4 million. TD Kitchener Blues Festival is THE signature arts/music festival within the Waterloo Region and the largest event of the summer and they feature two stages of which are protected by large tents – bringing great live Blues until 11:00 p.m. This is followed up by their 12 Bar Blues program, presenting the best entertainers in a variety of clubs throughout the downtown core, an eclectic mix of old and new blues, local and international acts. The admission was free except the Thursday fundraiser show with Red Rider. The
DMP – Darby Mills Project was a natural fit, the perfect addition amongst the stellar A-list of outstanding acts. All the way from Vernon BC, Darby Mills Project lit the YNC stage ablaze with their cerebral melodies of complexity and tranquillity, that easily sank into your brain. Guitarist Randy Gabel, bassist Dave Hopia, drummer Chris Murray Driver and keyboardist Doug Rasmussen, alongside Darby, dove deep into her extensive catalogue as they nailed hit after hit from her FLYIN SOLO album with Want it, Run, Hot Water, Cry To Me, Monkey, Bad Bay Boy, as well, blending in the fuel-injected Feel My Body from her LIVE album. Engaging the audience with a little nostalgia with the Headpins vibrant hard rock classic hits Staying All Night, Just One More Time, Don’t It Make You Feel, projecting a smooth cover version of Stories’ Brother Louie and perfecting covers by 3 pioneering women in music history that she admires and were instrumental in creating her voice like Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart; Kiki Dee’s I Got The Music In Me and Carol King’s song that Aretha Franklin made famous (You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman thus proving Darby, to be an extremely versatile performer that has different arrows within her quiver to work with.
These last 2 years, proves you can teach your spirit new tricks no matter the age, when music is in your heart the results are endless, the skies the limit. Darby Mills Project has embarked and carved a groove once again into the Canadian music scene with the released remastered solo album as well as her live CD, to which she tours extensively today in support of these releases. With a message to her fans, Darby ended her set with “Don’t Stop Keeping On.” The downtown crowd swelled as they gave the fan’s what they wanted, something meaty, juicy and hearty like prime rib. These seasoned musicians added deep, rich and savoury flavours to her hits, letting the 1000’s in the audience roar with anticipation and their love for her encore return to the stage and she proudly accommodated. Nailing, Head Pins Turn It Loud and the impressive version of Nazareth’s Hair of The Dog into a crowd-pleasing version of Allman Brothers Whippin Post to close out their one of a kind outdoor, rain-free showcase.
Lusting forward passionately in her 41st year in the music industry and soon will be turning 60, she, still possesses that raspy lyrical mezzo/contralto combination, that ramps from mid-low range to those beautifully strong and mighty powerful high notes, that reach stratospheric proportions as they sport both her traditional hard rock into the spicy blues-
infused sounds with her heavy rhythmic thrust!