The Valhalla Art, Music and Theatre Festival kicks off Wednesday with an American roots and blues lineup, beginning with award winning songwriter and guitar player Ray Bonneville.
Bonneville served a year in Vietnam as a Marine, struggled and overcame drug addiction, earned a pilot’s license in Colorado, then lived in Alaska, Seattle, Paris and New Orleans. But it took a close call while piloting a seaplane across the Canadian wilderness to make him decide it was time to get busy writing songs — gritty narratives set against his gritty, soulful guitar and harmonica playing.
He has since earned many accolades, including a Juno Award for his 1999 album, “Gust of Wind.” His song “I Am the Big Easy,” earned the International Folk Alliance’s 2009 Song of the Year Award, and in 2012, Bonneville won the solo category in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge.
Bonneville is featured on albums by Mary Gauthier, Gurf Morlix, Eliza Gilkyson, Ray Wylie Hubbard and other prominent artists, and shares songwriting credits with Tim O’Brien, Phil Roy and Morlix, among others. Slaid Cleaves placed Bonneville’s “Run Jolee Run” on his lauded 2009 album, “Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away.”
He is touring in support of “Easy Gone,” his fourth album for Red House Records.
Lance Canales and the Flood will open the show in the Boathouse Theatre, whose rear doors will be open to provide a view of Lake Tahoe. Lance Canales & The Flood are a roots-blues influenced Americana trio from California’s breadbasket, where Canales lived the life that so many songs have been written about since the birth of roots music — hard labor, one room shacks and taunting ghosts whispering of a better life.
Canales’ deep, raspy vocals combine with a hard-edged storytelling approach beneath a stripped down, foot-stomping, acoustic instrumentation that includes stand-up bass played by David Quinday and multi-percussionist Zak Parrish.
As a child, Canales garnered a reputation as a wild horse trainer. It wasn’t until he confiscated an older sister’s beat-up guitar and combined it with vocals, that he had discovered in church that he was able to slowly carve a way out of the hard toil life with his music.
Tickets cost $20 in advance and $22 at the door. Valhalla Tahoe members receive a 10-20 percent discount; for membership inquiries, discounts and passes, go to http://valhallatahoe.com/tahoe-tallac-association-membership/, or call 530-541-4975, or find the festival on Facebook.