After a year's hiatus, the original Deep Blues Festival will be revived this weekend by Chris Johnson, who originated the idea and put on the first four fests beginning in 2007. The 2012 event will be more compact, leaner, maybe meaner, and now will take place at Johnson's juke joint along the St. Croix, the Bayport BBQ. There'll be 26 music acts from four countries and 16 states, but numbers only begin to tell the festival's story. The concept is revolutionary, especially in these latitudes, focusing on music that would seem to have most of its roots in morth Mississippi's Hill Country and the Delta, but whose gritty essence is celebrated with cultlike fervor around the globe. For the uninitiated, deep blues refers to the raw, primal sound of guys like the late R.L. Burnside: intense, down and dirty stuff about straight-edged razors to the throat and moonshine whiskey. And that somehow connected with a punk ethos out of elemental rock 'n' roll, along with the latter's affinity for wild and woolly country, folk, and bluegrass. This year's lineup is littered with wonders to discover and behold. To cull a few off the top of the barrel: David Kimbrough Jr. (pictured), son of the late blues great Junior Kimbrough; Cincinnati's psychedelic-blues outfit the Buffalo Killers; the fiery, rabid Southern rock of Alabama's Lee Bains & the Glory Fires; gutbucket blues-rock from the Welsh duo Henry's Funeral Shoe; the grainy folk-blues of Iowa's William Elliott Whitmore.
Fri., June 29, 4 p.m.-midnight; Sat., June 30, 12-11 p.m.; Sun., July 1, 1-11 p.m., 2012