There are a million ways to play blues: Grand Cannon have an e. In the current formation, Zach Prather, Pfuri Baldenweg and Kniri Knau have been performing since 2013. On September 20, they will play in the Rhine Valley, at the benefit for Rhine Valley Hospital.

The composition of the band is as unusual as its origin. Bandleader Pfuri Baldenweg (CH/AUS), equally rooted in the music of a Woody Guthrie as in that of a Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, is a creative wizard on the blues harmonica. Kniri Knaus (CH), a passionate New Orleans jazz player, is a blast on the trombone. And Zach Prather (US/CH), from Chicago, has acquired his wonderfully sonorous blues voice and his own guitar style in bands like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Willie Dixon, Mick Jagger and Etta James.

Flashback to the 1970s

There was once a band called Pfuri, Gorps & Kniri. They were pioneers in making music with everyday objects and obviously had fun with their crazy thing. “In garbage pits, we looked for things that sounded,” Pfuri Baldenweg recalls. “We loaded up the car and then spent days trying out what sounded like.” Gas cans, trash bags, scissors, garden hoses, watering cans, chains – everything had a place on the stage. Behind the concept, however, was not just fun. “It was also a statement about the throwaway society.” explains Kniri Knaus. “The audience was amazed how we put things they had thrown away into an en context.” With their creative recycling message, Pfuri, Gorps & Kniri were in no time welcome guests at festivals (Montreux Jazz Festival, Roskilde, Eurovision etc.) and popular TV shows all over Europe. But they didn’t want to degenerate into an institution. That’s why they went their separate ways in the early 1980s. Pfuri, Gorps and Kniri did not get back together, even though it was discussed several times. In addition, Gorps, aka Anthony Fischer, died unexpectedly in 2000.

The beginning of Grand Cannon

A few years passed until one fine evening Pfuri was a guest at a party where Zach Prather was on stage. Pfuri, certainly not a shy wallflower, pulled out his harmonica and joined him on stage. This resulted in an inspiring friendship. They spun together and soon invited Kniri to join the bunch. And so, in June 2013, the band Grand Cannon was born. Their debut album “Boom” is an album created with a lot of love, brimming with “joie de vivre” and is by no means an exercise in nostalgia. Not least thanks to the collaboration with the young and successful production team Great Garbo, Grand Cannon has succeeded in combining the scissors, chains and cans of yesteryear with fresh musical ideas. “˂Less is more˃ was our motto,” Zach Prather tells us. “We drew from our diverse experiences and focused on the essence of the songs.” Exactly – the one-million-and-first way to play blues.

Grand Cannon (Image: Alberto Venzago)

Film premiere and charity event

The benefit event on Saturday, September 20, in the multi-purpose hall Amtacker in Marbach, consists of two parts. They can be attended both or individually: Film premiere and benefit concert. To kick things off, at 6 p.m. (aperitif, 5 p.m.), Swissfilm GmbH will present the premiere of the documentary film “The Promise – the long breath of Stephan Holderegger”. Producer and board member Benjamin Pipa and director Lawrence Carls interviewed Stephan Holderegger’s companions and accompanied the main character to key places in his life. In fifty minutes, the film team paints a multi-layered picture of the hospital initiator. At 8 p.m. (admission 7:30 p.m.) the charity event begins. Performing will be: Enderli Chicks, Shem Thomas, Carlos Lorenzi, Nicolas Senn, Lisa Stell, Drum2Streets, Rhein Valley Line Dance Group and Grand Cannon.Victor Rohner will lead the evening.

Tickets are available at Kühnis Brillen, at the box office or via (vdl/pd)