Pete Cornelius Band

It’s three years since Pete Cornelius graced the stage at a Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival, but he’s back this weekend.

The talented young Tasmanian bluesman will be making up for lost time with five shows.

“It’s been awhile but doesn’t absence make the heart grow stronger? We always have a ball in Bendigo. Be it performing, listening or generally hanging out,” he said.

Cornelius who has several albums under his belt, including Groundswell and Tumbleweed, has been working on some new songs.

“We’re at the final stages of recording a full-length album, so plenty of new material for listeners to chew on.”

The Pete Cornelius Band play a late set at the Tap House tonight and other gigs over the weekend.

Serbian-born, Melbourne-based Maja brings her distinctive sound to the Festival for the first time. Maja will play three shows, including at GPO tonight, Friday, and the Basement Bar on Saturday.

The phrase ‘high energy’ understates an Electric Blues Collective gig. The Melbourne-based four-piece dazzled a Rifle Brigade audience earlier this year.

They play what has been described as a “ferocious Chicago blues” style.

Electric Blues Collective play at the Bendigo Club tonight, at the Metro tomorrow and will round things off at the Bridge Hotel late on Sunday afternoon.

Jess Parker and The Troubled Waters are also festival debutants.

The two-piece delivers a moody yet soulful interpretation of hard blues.

Expect to hear tracks from their excellent recent EP, Goin Swimmin.

They will play three shows at the festival, including at Handle Bar this afternoon, Friday, and Groove Train on Sunday.

White Lightning, a hard-hitting two-piece, are festival veterans. Drawing from a range of influences including The White Stripes and Son House, Sean McConnell and Ben Gerrard put on a tight, polished show.

With two acclaimed albums already, Gone To Your Head and Mongrel Blood, White Lightning are establishing themselves as a top outfit on the Australian blues scene.

White Lightning play at Flight Bar on Friday evening and three other shows over the weekend, including a Sunday lunchtime set at the Rifle.

– Simon Wooldridge