on from our announcement late last month about the UKBlues
Awards which we are putting in place, we are very excited to
tell you that the website for the Awards is now up and
running, albeit in a somewhat limited format for now.
At present there is some more detail about the Awards as
well as answers to some of the questions that have been
posed by people about the Awards.
We are also inviting people to apply to be included in the
extensive panel of people from across the blues spectrum in
the UK involved in the initial nomination stage of the
If you would like to be included in the extensive panel of
people from across the blues spectrum in the UK involved in
the initial nomination stage of the Awards process, then
e-mail us at
firstname.lastname@example.org giving us
your name, full postal address, telephone number and the
e-mail address with which you wish to register plus a brief
outline (no more than 50 words) describing why you wish to
join the panel and your background in the blues in the UK.
We do not undertake to accept every application and UKBlues’
decision will be final and we will not disclose our reasons
for accepting or not accepting applications. All
applications will be treated as confidential and all members
of the nomination panel are required to keep their
involvement in the panel confidential.
More information about the UKBlues Awards will become
available over the next few months.
Thank you for
your support of UKBlues in what it is doing. Please do your
bit by spreading the word to your friends and colleagues. If
you think they would be interested, invite them to apply to
join the nomination panel. Tell them about the benefits of
membership and see why it is a great idea to join!
(Browse the UKBlues website
www.ukblues.org for details
of membership discounts, how to join etc.)
2017 - For immediate release
ANNOUNCE AWARDS SCHEME FOR 2018
The UK Blues
Federation is pleased to announce that they are putting in
place the UKBlues Awards to commence in 2018 to give the
blues community in the UK the opportunity to recognise and
applaud those involved with the blues in the UK.
Many people have
expressed the opinion that UKBlues is the ideal body to
undertake the organising, running and overseeing of an
annual awards process given that it is an Affiliate of the
Blues Foundation and an Active Member of the European Blues
Union as well as the organiser of the annual UK Blues
Challenge. The UKBlues Awards is a natural next step for
UKBlues and furthers its stated aim to support and promote
the blues in the UK.
A new, dedicated
website is in the process of being created and voting in the
awards will take place over a four week period in February
with a high profile, high quality awards presentation
ceremony taking place later in the year.
Ashwyn Smyth, Chair, said: ‘It is evident from discussions
we have had that many people have missed there not being any
blues awards this year and, after much discussion and
thought, we have decided that UKBlues should look to fill
We have a very
clear idea of how we should proceed with these awards and
will be looking to create something that will draw support
from across the blues spectrum in the UK. Above all we want
to see an Awards process that does justice to all the
recipients and nominees and to all those involved with the
blues in the UK.
genres have high profile and successful Awards and we feel
it is high time that the blues in the UK enjoyed something
similar. It will not happen overnight and will take a great
deal of commitment.
It is clear that
building the profile of these Awards will take time but with
the support of all those involved with the blues in the UK,
we believe we can create something of which the UK blues
community can be proud.’
More information about the UKBlues Awards will become
available over the next few months.
Paul Oliver was one of the world's leading authorities and
writer on the history of the blues. From an early age he
collected blues records and books on the blues, publishing
his first article in 1951. Since that time he had published
thirteen books on the history of the blues and blues music
including The Story of the Blues, Blues Fell This
Morning, Conversation with the Blues, and Blues Off
The Record. His work also includes interviews, field
work and research in recording and printed sources tracing
the origin and development of African American music and
culture from the time of slavery through to the Twentieth
Century. This work, known as "The Paul Oliver Collection of
African American Music and Related Traditions" is one of
Paul’s legacies, held on a custodial basis at The University
of Gloucestershire, England, by agreement with the European
Blues Association and Paul Oliver. It represents an
enormously valuable resource in teaching and research and is
of international significance.
tribute to the late Paul Oliver, the world’s leading blues
25th May 1927 - 15th August 2017.)
mentor of the Blues, Paul Oliver, I learnt last night (15th.) has
died at the age of 90.
Paul, in the
latter years had become my friend and when I visited him at
his home in Oxon, on one occasion, we took a short walk in
the beautiful Oxfordshire rural surroundings. And he would
confide in me how much he missed his late beloved wife,
Valerie. This was a subject I would never have dreamed of
broaching him with. But as one of the older of his visitors
(although I am some 14 years his junior) he probably felt
we were nearly contemporaries. They were magic times, Paul,
(even the white-knuckle trips when you still had your car!)
which I will always treasure.
I feel I cannot
but repeat part of my notes to the 4-CD set ‘Meaning In The
Blues’ which I presented to him at one of his talks, some 6
years ago. This came out on JSP Records based in London,
and the company allowed an 80-page booklet to accompany the
recordings (thank you John), celebrating the 50th.
anniversary of Paul’s ‘Blues Fell This Morning’. My aim was
to give him this tribute while he was still in the land of
“In only a
slightly revised paragraph in the Introduction to the 1990
edition Paul Oliver wrote, ‘The blues did not reflect the
whole of black life in the United States, and a social study
of black problems does not explain the blues. But in order
to understand the blues singers it is necessary to explore
the background of their themes, and to enter their world
through them, distant and unapproachable though it may be.’
The last 34 words sealed my ongoing existence on this
planet.” (Max Haymes. p.3. Notes to ‘Meaning In The Blues’.
4-CD SET [JSP 77141. London] 2011).
The early blues
singers (often only semi-literate at best) would sing a
floating verse which runs:
They accuse me of forgin’ an’ I cannot even write my name
But Paul Oliver
could write their name, in his unprecedented book of the
genre, ‘Blues Fell This Morning’ and many subsequent ones on
both early blues and gospel which are all well-worth
reading, and indeed essential to the serious blues
If there is a
great juke joint in the sky, Paul, you are once more with
I learnt from
Paul’s books that the Blues is a way of life and will be
here until the last of our species dies out. The BLUES ROLL
ON! But to précis his own words, although events and social
conditions are changing, on the African American, the Blues
still fell this morning.
Max Haymes. 16th.
August 2017. Lancaster, UK.
Message from vocalist Alan Nimmo:
As you know I have had yet another set back concerning the
recovery of my vocal cords. Firstly I'd like to once again
apologise to you for not being able to carry on at the Wharf
in Tavistock on Friday 28th July and also for not being able
to perform our shows at Buckley and Steelhouse festival on
the same weekend.
Unfortunately, it is now clear, that in order for my voice
to fully recover I need to undertake an extended break from
performance. After further consultation, I plan to take a
minimum of a 3-month break to undergo a period of rest &
This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have
ever had to take in my career and fully realise King King
will be letting down an awful lot of people in the next few
months, I can only apologise most sincerely. It would be
unfair to our wonderful fans, for me to carry on as I am and
risk ruining any further King King gigs.
I'm working to get fighting fit, both vocally and physically
to perform at the top of my game when we return to the stage
towards the end of the year.
Rescheduled October Dates
We know many off you will have tickets
for our October tour, which has now been rescheduled to
January 2018. We are working on rescheduling other shows,
and a lot have been confirmed already. The full listing is
Thanks for your understanding! We look forward to seeing you
Alan, Lindsay, Wayne & Bob
Down Home Blues: Chicago
Deluxe 5 CD Set with 88 Page Book
Out 22 September 2017
> Features 41 artists who were influential in developing the
Chicago blues scene, including Muddy Waters, Howlin’
Wolf, Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers and many more
> Five CD set, packaged in a deluxe digipak with an outer
slip case, featuring 134 rare tracks, all digitally
remastered, some of which have never been previously
> Also includes an 88 page book featuring an essay on the
origins of Chicago music by renowned blues researcher and
historian Mike Rowe, complete with rare photos, tracklisting
and full sessionography.
The period from the end of World War II until the dawn of
the 1960s, the blues scene in Chicago can rightfully be
described as one of its golden ages.
Passionate, powerful and personal, blues is the spirit of
black America. It was a direct result of the Great
Migration, when thousands upon thousands of black people
left the rural south to settle in the urban areas in the
North. Many of these came from the Mississippi delta and
chose Chicago as the natural destination. Chicago was a city
of opportunities. For musicians with their roots from the
South, here was a welcoming network of clubs, radio stations
and record labels and – most importantly – a large and
5 CD set features a collection of 134 extraordinary
performances from this golden era of down home blues. Many
of these tracks were unissued at the time, others are
alternate takes of issued songs, but are equally as fine.
There are included some ultra-rare gems.
Sari Schorr & The Engine Room have been announced as support
for Walter Trout on his UK autumn tour, on the dates below:
09/10 The Brook Southampton UK
10/10 Under The Bridge London UK
11/10 Under The Bridge London UK
13/10 Central Station Wrexham UK
14/10 Warehouse 23 Wakefield UK
15/10 GuildHall Preston UK
17/10 Robin 2 Bilston UK
18/10 Public Hall Harpenden UK
20/10 Bierkeller Bristol UK
21/10 Muni Arts Centre UK
22/10 Sin City Swansea UK
Schorr and the Engine room and their 'A Force of Nature' CD have been
nominated in no less than 8 categories in the Independent Blues Awards.
vote here too
"His latest release Time and Emotion is so damn good. … Trower’s
smooth-as-buttah guitar licks, screaming solos and ethereal bluesy
vocals keep the listener hooked.”
- Classic Rock Revisited
"He’s a feel player for whom every note counts. Each song is an
emotional footprint on a landscape of vast possibilities. He explores
that terrain with a seamless flow, kick started by the clever segueing
of the opening two tracks, while the combination of his dreamy voice,
subtle musical pulses and a deep guitar tone draws us into a beautifully
- get ready to Rock!
this release, his
third album for Reference Recordings,
Doug MacLeod continues to explore the breadth and depth of the human
condition. Recorded by Reference’s Grammy-winning engineer ‘Prof.’ Keith
O. Johnson at Skywalker Sound in Marin County, California, Break The
Chain brings twelve new MacLeod originals. Each song is extremely
personal and at the same time, universal; covering subjects topical,
humorous, and soulful; from the satirical to the sublime.
title work, Break The Chain, composed and performed with his son
Jesse, focuses on breaking the cycle of family violence and abuse. A
powerful concern all too many are familiar with, Doug and Jesse confront
this pervasive issue directly and personally, bringing it out of the
shadows. Together, they share the healing, reconciliation and peace
available to all who work to prevent the cycle from repeating and to
Break The Chain.
album is co-produced by Doug MacLeod and Janice Mancuso. Bassist Denny
Croy, drummer Jimi Bott and percussionist Oliver Brown join Doug in duo,
trio and quartet settings. Like all ‘Prof.’ Johnson’s sessions, Break
The Chain was recorded live, in real- time, with no overdubs or effects.
It is being released on compact disc with HDCD, as high-resolution and
conventional downloads and later, as a premium 2-LP set.
prolific singer, songwriter, engaging storyteller, and masterful
guitarist, Doug is a perennial Blues Music Award nominee and multiple
Blues Music Award winner including Acoustic Artist Of The Year and
Acoustic Album of the Year. An active touring artist, MacLeod supports
his beloved St. Louis Cardinals during baseball season and, when at
home, enjoys cooking for wife Patti Joy.
For immediate release
Contestants for 4th UKBlues Challenge named
Blues Federation (UKBlues) is delighted to reveal the four
bands who have been selected to take part in the 4th
UKBlues Challenge which, as was revealed recently, will take
place at the world famous Cavern in Liverpool on Sunday 10th
The four bands have been chosen using the same process as
has been used in previous years and which is approved by the
Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union. This involved
a panel of some 250 people from across the UK blues spectrum
being invited to nominate three acts which they felt would
best represent the UK at the European and International
The bands/artistes are, in alphabetical order:
announced, they will be joined by the young band chosen by
representatives of Jessica Foxley Unsigned at the Great
British Rhythm and Blues Festival at Colne in late August.
Each act/band will perform at the 4th UKBlues
Challenge in front of a panel of judges drawn from across
the blues spectrum in the UK who will award them marks in
five categories as laid down by the organisers of the
International & European Challenges.
These categories are, in no particular order, blues content,
instrumental talent, vocal talent, originality and stage
Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of the UK Blues Federation commented:
‘After the success of this year with the UK winning the
European Blues Challenge with the Kaz Hawkins Band, the
successful act from the UKBlues Challenge has quite a task!
We are very pleased with the great variety represented by
the four bands selected and believe this demonstrates what a
broad church the blues in the UK is.
What is clear to me from attending the last five European
Blues Challenges, is that originality and variety counts for
a great deal and to win, bands have to have that special
something. I believe our chosen contestants all demonstrate
this in buckets. It is going to be a very interesting
UKBlues Challenge in September!'
Notes for Editors: The
UK Blues Federation is a not for profit pan-UK federation
that was founded in 2015 to create a focal point for blues
in the UK by bringing together musicians, fans, venues,
festivals and many others involved with the genre in the UK. In addition, UKBlues has
created and is continually developing a UKBlues website as
the one-stop portal for comprehensive information on UK
Blues artists, venues, events, festivals, agents, magazines,
radio and record labels. UKBlues also seeks to provide
support and guidance to the blues community in their blues
projects, develop and provide support for educational
projects, particularly those aimed at the younger generation
as well as organising an annual UK Blues Challenge to ensure
that the UK is represented both at the European and
International Blues Challenges. UKBlues also works to
seek/provide financial assistance for the UK band competing
at these Challenges.
UKBlues also recently
amalgamated with the British Blues Archive to create a
one-stop comprehensive British blues history resource.
A chance for young musicians to represent the UK at the
2018 European & International Blues Challenges
Following hard on the heels of the UK’s representative, the
Kaz Hawkins Band, being declared the winners of the 7th
European Blues Challenge in Horsens, Denmark, the UK Blues
Federation is delighted to announce that the 4th
UKBlues Challenge which will take place at the iconic Cavern
in Liverpool on Sunday 10th September 2017.
This will, for the first time, see five bands participating
to win the opportunity to represent the UK at both the
International and the European Blues Challenges in 2018.
Four of the bands have been chosen using the same process as
has been used in previous years and which is approved by the
Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union and the names
of these will be announced shortly.
The fifth band will be selected from the bands who have been
invited by Jessica Foxley Unsigned to play at the Great
British Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Festival which takes place in Colne
over the August Bank Holiday weekend – These bands are,
generally, under the radar and being selected to play at
Colne is a big step up for them.
As part of its mission to bring the blues to a wider
audience and to encourage young people to be more involved
with and take a greater interest in blues based music,
UKBlues is looking to offer one of these bands the
opportunity to take part in the UKBlues Challenge and,
perhaps, to represent the UK at the International & European
The band will be chosen by a panel of representatives of the
Jessica Foxley Unsigned project and will be chosen on the
strength of their performance at Colne.
Originally called the Jessica Foxley Stage, the project was
set up by her parents and brother in 2010 in memory of their
daughter/sister, a talented singer and musician who was
tragically killed in a car crash aged just 21 in 2009.
In 2011, the name was changed to Jessica Foxley Unsigned
which perfectly reflects what the project is about; giving
high quality performance opportunities to unsigned young
blues bands and solo artists based in the UK.
Co-founder of Jessica Foxley Unsigned, Margaret Foxley,
said: "We are particularly excited about our project this
year, as the festival's new emphasis aligns exactly with
everything we have been doing for younger, unsigned Blues
musicians for the past seven years.
Our eight selected performers will be given the opportunity
to play live to a festival audience who appreciate and
expect good quality acts. As in previous years, we are sure
that our talented Jessica Foxley Unsigned musicians will
step up to the mark and really give their audience something
to talk about.
Being asked to make a nomination for the UKBlues Challenge
is definitely the icing on the cake. We are very proud that
one of our acts will be able to benefit from this wonderful
opportunity to play at the Cavern in Liverpool, where so
many famous artists have started their musical careers. That
they could even go on to represent the UK in the European
and International Blues Challenges is quite mind-boggling!"
Speaking about the Jessica Foxley Unsigned project, Jason
Elliott, the Festival Director said: ‘’The Jessica Foxley
Unsigned project, focussing as it does on nurturing young
and emerging Blues-based talent, in many ways symbolises
much of our new direction. Our mission of bringing new life
and blood, new acts and audiences into this key genre, must
span all levels of experience, technical ability and all age
groups to be truly successful. This is where Colne can truly
create its legacy."
For UKBlues, Ashwyn Smyth said ‘‘We are delighted to work
with both the new organising team at Colne and with the
Jessica Foxley Unsigned team to offer such a fantastic
opportunity to a band or artist to take part in the UKBlues
Challenge alongside four well known and popular
bands/artists selected by a panel drawn from across the UK
blues spectrum, and for them to do so at such an iconic
The UK Blues Federation is a not for profit pan-UK
federation that was founded in 2015 to create a focal point
for blues in the UK by bringing together musicians, fans,
venues, festivals and many others involved with the genre in
In addition, UKBlues has created and is continually
developing a UKBlues website as the one-stop portal for
comprehensive information on UK Blues artists,
venues, events, festivals, agents, magazines, radio and
UKBlues also seeks to provide support and guidance to the
blues community in their blues projects, develop and provide
support for educational projects, particularly those aimed
at the younger generation as well as organising an annual UK
Blues Challenge to ensure that the UK is represented both at
the European and International Blues Challenges. UKBlues
also works to seek/provide financial assistance for the UK
band competing at these Challenges.
UKBlues also recently amalgamated with the British Blues
Archive to create a one-stop comprehensive British blues
man Larry Garner's songs are delivered with a sense of irony
and passion. His lyrics are meaningful and amusing in equal
measure and he's a fine guitarist. Larry is a great
performer and very much a modern day Blues man. He won the
1988 BB King Lucille Award in Memphis, the 1995 MO Better
Blues award in Atlanta, a 2002 Louisiana Blues Hall Of Fame
inductee, The BBC Jazz FM Bluesman Of The Year award, three
time recipient of Blues Songwriter Of The Year award in
Paris, five time nominee for WC Handy award in Memphis, 2004
Slim Harpo Ambassador for the Blues award in Baton Rouge,
recipient of the coveted Muddy's Club Bluebird award, and
two time recipient of The Bluesman Of The Year award, Canada
Norman Beaker Band
One of the top
Blues bands in the North West, The Norman Beaker Band have
been at the forefront of the UK blues scene for over 3
decades working with a who's who of Blues stars such as BB
King, Buddy Guy, Alexis Korner, Jack Bruce, Van Morrison,
Chuck Berry and many more.
HARMONICA LEGEND JAMES
COTTON, JULY 1, 1935 - MARCH 16, 2017
World-renowned blues harmonica master James
Cotton, whom Rolling Stone called,
“One of the greats of all time, burning with
brilliant virtuosity,” died on March 16, 2017 of
pneumonia at St. David's Medical Center in
Austin, Texas. He was 81. His overwhelmingly
powerful harmonica playing was one of the iconic
sounds of the blues. He toured worldwide for
over 60 years.
James Henry Cotton, known as “Mr. Superharp,”
recorded nearly 30 solo albums, winning one
Grammy Award, six Living Blues Awards and
10 Blues Music Awards. He was inducted into the
Blues Hall Of Fame in 2006. The New York
Daily News called him, “The greatest blues
harmonica player of all time.” NPR Weekend
Edition said, “Conjure up a list of all-time
great blues harmonica players, and high up on it
you'll see the name James Cotton.”
Born on a cotton plantation in Tunica,
Mississippi on July 1, 1935, Cotton was a
working musician by age nine. He learned
harmonica directly from Sonny Boy Williamson II
(Rice Miller), toured with Williamson and Howlin’
Wolf, and recorded for Sun Records in 1953
before spending 12 years touring and recording
with Muddy Waters (starting at age 20). Cotton
was featured on Muddy’s famous 1960 At
Newport LP on Chess Records, including the
iconic version of Got My Mojo Working,
one of the classic recordings of Chicago Blues.
After his 1953 Sun sessions, Cotton didn’t
record under his own name again until the
mid-1960s, with tracks included in the
groundbreaking Chicago/The Blues/Today!
series of LPs on Vanguard. Along with Otis
Spann, he cut The Blues Never Die! for
In 1966 he formed The James Cotton Band, quickly
earning a reputation as one of the most
commanding and potent live blues performers in
the world—a man who could literally suck the
reeds out of his harmonica from the pure force
of his playing. He made his initial solo albums,
three for Verve and one for Vanguard, in the
late 1960s. With bands featuring outstanding
musicians including famed guitarists Luther
Tucker, Matt “Guitar” Murphy and Hubert Sumlin,
he quickly rose to the top of the blues and rock
worlds. It wasn’t long before Cotton, with his
gale-force sound and fearless boogie band, was
adopted by the burgeoning hippie audience as one
of their own. Cotton shared stages with Janis
Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, B.B.
King, Santana, Steve Miller, Freddie King and
Cotton’s blistering talent and full-throttle
energy kept him in demand at concert halls all
over the country. He played the Fillmore East in
New York, the Fillmore West in San Francisco and
every major rock and blues venue in between.
During the 1970s, he cut three albums for Buddah
and one for Capitol. He rejoined his old boss
Muddy Waters for a series of Muddy albums
produced by Johnny Winter, starting with Hard
Again in 1977. Cotton also guested on
recordings by Koko Taylor, Steve Miller, Memphis
Slim, Hubert Sumlin and many others. He was
joined on his own albums by stars like Todd
Rundgren, Steve Miller, Johnny Winter, Dr. John,
David Sanborn, Charlie Haden, Michael Bloomfield
and Cissy Houston.
Cotton signed with Alligator Records in 1984,
releasing two solo albums and the famed Harp
Attack! with Junior Wells, Carey Bell and
Billy Branch. He won a Grammy Award in 1996 for
his Verve album, Deep In The Blues and
recorded four albums for Telarc Records before
returning to Alligator in 2010. His most recent
recording was 2013’s Grammy-nominated Cotton
In June 2010, Cotton was honored by New York’s
Lincoln Center, where his friends Hubert Sumlin,
Pinetop Perkins, Taj Mahal, Shemekia Copeland
and others paid tribute to him in an all-star
concert. The Festival International de Jazz de
Montréal honored Cotton with their 2015 B.B.
King Award for his seven decades of
contributions to the blues.
Throughout his entire career, Cotton’s
blast-furnace harmonica sound and
larger-than-life personality always remained a
true force of nature, described by USA Today
as “devastating and powerful…carrying the
Chicago sound to the world.”
Cotton is survived by his wife Jacklyn Hairston
Cotton, daughters Teresa Hampton of Seattle,
Washington, and Marshall Ann Cotton of Peoria,
Illinios and son James Patrick Cotton of
Chicago, Illinois, as well as numerous
grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
2017 UKBLUES CHALLENGE TO BE HELD AT ICONIC LIVERPOOL VENUE
The UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) is thrilled to announce
that the 4th UKBlues Challenge will take place on Sunday
10th September 2017 at the world famous Cavern Club in
The selection process to choose the bands/acts that will be
taking part in this year’s Challenge is currently underway
with a panel of more than 250 people from across the UK
blues spectrum having been invited to nominate three
bands/acts who they believe would best represent UK blues at
the International and European Blues Challenges in Norway
and Memphis in 2018. This stage of the process closes on
15th March 2017 and the four bands/acts amassing the most
points will be invited to take part in this year’s
In an exciting innovation, a fifth band will also be invited
to take part in the Challenge, their selection being
completely unrelated to the process currently underway. More
details in this respect will be announced in the near
Jon Keats – Director of Music & Events at The Cavern Club
said: “We are delighted to be hosting this year’s UKBlues
Challenge here at the Cavern Club. Whilst people will always
associate the venue with The Beatles and Merseybeat era,
blues has also played a huge part in our history.
Many blues giants have played here including the likes of
Big Bill Broonzy, John Lee Hooker, Alexis Korner, Eric
Clapton, Sonny Boy Williamson, Bo Diddley…This is our 60th
Anniversary year and it’s great to welcome the blues back to
For UKBlues, Chair Ashwyn Smyth commented: ‘’ We are excited
to be bringing the UKBlues Challenge to Liverpool this year,
and especially so given that we will be staging it at such
an iconic venue. We have always made plain our desire to
ensure that the UKBlues Challenges are staged in different
parts of the UK as part of our commitment to blues
throughout the UK. We thank the management of the Cavern
for making this event possible and look forward to the 4th
UKBlues Challenge being bigger and even better than the
Foxley Unsigned are seeking outstanding, unsigned, young
talent (solo artists or bands) to complement the line-up of
main artists playing at
British Rhythm & Blues Festival 2017 in Colne,
As part of
the process, applicants are asked to submit a link to
recording, along with a link to a video of their act
performing live. The project's focus is to support musicians
up to the approximate age of 25; solo artists, or the lead
musicians in bands, should
not be a huge amount older than 25 and based in the UK,
are eight, half hour slots available as part of the festival
project. Applications are perused,
discussed by a panel of judges, who will use the submitted
sound recordings and videos to select a shortlist and the
now have the full set of judges; 6 women and 6 men, plus
Paul Foxley (from Jessica Foxley Unsigned)
the Chair. The
judges have been invited because
feel that, as well as being highly accomplished in their
individual fields, they have
all shown an openness to both innovation and the nurturing
or support of emerging talent.
We thank them for their time and support and look forward to
an exciting, rewarding project".
easy-to-use application process is available via the Jessica
Foxley Unsigned website.
Applications will be judged on the following criteria
compatibility (with a broadly based, contemporary Blues
Foxley Unsigned (formerly The Jessica Foxley Stage) was set
up in 2010 in Jessica's memory, to provide high profile
performance opportunities for young musicians. Now in its
8th year, the
project has gone from strength to strength and
attracts young musicians of a very high standard from across
invite eight outstanding, but as yet unsigned, young acts to
play sets on the two main festival stages
on Saturday and Sunday. The
cream of emerging young talent will rub shoulders with the
superb line-up of professional acts,
in a truly exciting musical melting pot.
"Ten of the twelve
tracks are written by John Cee. The other two include John Coo's
interpretation of the Jelly Roll Morton classic "Winin Boy Blues" and a
completely new and original re-working of the traditional "House of the
Rising Sun", which owes more to Woody Guthrie than the Animals, and is
delivered with an energy and intensity which is very much of today". Two
of John Cee's tracks include the Farnham Voices Community Choir adding
to the gospel feel the tracks already have.
Blues Federation (UKBlues) is delighted to announce that
with immediate effect the British Blues Archive (BBA) is to
amalgamate with UKBlues and come under the organisation’s
‘umbrella’ with BBA’s online archive material being
incorporated into the Education section of the UKBlues’
In addition UKBlues and the British Blues Archive are
working with the British Blues Exhibition (www.britishbluesexhibition.co.uk)
and Early Blues.com (www.earlyblues.com)
who have agreed to migrate some of their relevant online
content to further enhance the brand new and comprehensive
resource afforded by this new venture.
This unique partnership will create an unparalleled central
resource and reference point for historical material
relating to blues in the UK online and forms part of
UKBlues’ stated aim to seek to provide educational material
and facilities to widen knowledge of the blues in the UK and
to assist those also seeking to do the same.
Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of UKBlues said: ‘We were thrilled and
honoured when Peter Harvie, joint founder of the BBA,
approached us to suggest an amalgamation. The BBA has a
wealth of material of all sorts and Peter’s approach came as
our webmaster, Alan White, was in the process of setting up
an Education section of our website following our decision
to seek to develop this aspect of our activities. So this
was a great idea that arose at the perfect time.
To then have the British Blues Exhibition and Early Blues
offer to work with us to further enhance this was the icing
on the cake and we thank board members Darren Weale and Alan
White for their generous co-operation.
The Board of UKBlues is hugely excited about the
possibilities that these new partnerships and co-operations
afford us as an organisation but, more importantly, the
blues as a whole in the UK. They also serve to reinforce our
mission to become a focal point for the blues in the UK.’
Peter Harvie of the British Blues Archive said; 'We at the
British Blues Archive are delighted to be joining UK Blues.
The work being done by the British Blues Archive and UK
Blues complement each other and the bringing together of our
strengths has created in one place a tremendous resource,
the place to go to for information, history, interviews and
insights on British Blues. We at the British Blues Archive
are tremendously excited about the amalgamation and are
looking forward to new projects ahead with UK Blues'.
The Robin 2, Bilston, West Midlands
played host to the 3rd UK Blues Challenge on Saturday 12th
November 2016, organized by the UK Blues Federation
(UKBlues) and sponsored by Upton Blues Festival.
At stake for the four contestants was the
opportunity to represent the UK at the 33rd International
Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis in the USA at the end of
January/early February 2017 and at the 7th European Blues
Challenge (EBC) in Horsens, Denmark in April 2017. This will
be the first time that the UK has been represented at the
The four bands participating in the
Challenge were selected by a panel of more than 250 people
involved in and with the blues in the UK and came from
across the UK exhibiting the breadth, quality and
individuality that exists in the blues in the UK.
From Cornwall, Wille & the
Bandits, a trio whose reputation is being
reinforced by their most recent CD release.
Photo courtesy Graham Munn
from Norfolk the individual and combined
talents that are the Dove & Boweevil Band
Photo courtesy Graham Munn
from Northern Ireland the powerhouse that
is the Kaz Hawkins Band
Photo courtesy Graham Munn
and from Birmingham, multiple British
Blues Award winner, Rebecca Downes
Photo courtesy Graham Munn
Each of the bands delivered an exciting
and varied thirty minute set featuring mainly original music
which demonstrated how broad a church the blues is in the
UK, much to the delight of the large audience at the event.
Photo courtesy Ashwyn Smyth
Deciding upon a winner was a tough job
for the panel of seven judges, drawn from across the blues
Alex Butler of Red Butler who represented the UK at the 2015
Oliver Carpenter - Trustee - and Ruth Etheridge - Secretary
- Upton Blues Festival,
Mark Horsley, the Promoter and Director of the Scarborough
Secret Blues Festival,
Peter Noble, boss of Noble PR,
Becky Tate* of Babajack, EBC contestants in 2013.
*Honorary Members of UKBlues
After much deliberation and in a tight
contest, the Kaz Hawkins Band were declared
very popular winners and were presented with the UKBlues
Challenge trophy and Winner's certificate.
Kaz said after the announcement: ‘My band
and I are so humbled to be chosen to represent the UK Blues
Federation in the USA & Europe. It's exciting to be pushing
our own boundaries in the blues genre. We would like to
thank the UK Blues Federation for giving us this opportunity
to showcase our music on behalf of the UK. ‘
In addition to representing the UK at the
International and European Blues Challenges and the massive
exposure this will offer, the band will also be offered the
opportunity to play at four top blues festivals/events
during 2017 and they were presented with a trophy on the
Previous UK representatives at the EBC
have included Red Butler, Laurence Jones, Babajack and Ben
Poole. Becky Tate of Babajack, said of their participation
in the EBC:
‘For us it was immensely important. We
got to go to Europe, it was our window into Europe and we
met an enormous number of people. We had a whole year’s
worth of festival work offered us from that one twenty
minute slot we played.
We didn’t win, we came close, but you
know what, what we won was an amazing opportunity for us as
musicians and I can honestly say that our European work is
what has kept us on the road.
It’s an amazing thing to do for that individual band but it
is also an amazing thing to do for British blues. That’s why
what these guys (UKBlues) are doing is so important‘
Another of the judges, Peter Noble of
Noble PR commented:
’The UK Blues Challenge was wonderful.
It gave me the opportunity to see Wille & The Bandits live
who I felt were the most original artist of the night. I
particularly loved the pedal steel guitar and Wille’s
harrowing vocals. Kaz Hawkins touched a nerve with the
judges and after her performance you felt a definite
emotional connection. The biggest reaction of the night
went to Rebecca Downes who really impressed everyone with
her incredible powerhouse vocals and dynamic stage
presence. Dove & Boweevil were also impressive with their
entertaining blues repertoire. All in all a great evening.'
Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of UKBlues said:
‘ This was an excellent evening and our
thanks go to everyone involved, the bands, the judges, the
sponsors and all the team at the Robin 2 who made us so
welcome and worked so hard to make the event such a success.
The feedback we have received has been great and it is clear
that those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the very fine
musicians who played for them. I hope that we have laid the
foundations for future UK Blues Challenges and that it will
become one of the must attend events of the blues year.
This was a night that celebrated the best
in UK blues and demonstrated only too clearly the quality
and range of the talent that is all too often unsung in this
too frequently ignored musical genre. The event also raised
funds which we, UKBlues, can use to further our aims and to
make a contribution towards the Kaz Hawkins Band’s costs
attending the two Challenges.’
UKBlues will be setting up a crowd
funding page soon to raise additional funds to help the UK’s
representative attend both the European and International
Blues Challenges. Details will be announced shortly.
REMINDER TO MEMBERS
Don't forget that,
as a Member of UKBlues you can post details of your gigs
and/or those gigs with which you are involved on the Events
page of the UKBlues website. There are already a few gigs
posted here and
we hope that over the next few months this page will become
ever more populated.
If you are already a Member or Friend of
UKBlues and want to avail yourself of this facility, please
contact our Webmaster who will sort out access and log ins
for you - email@example.com.
By doing so you will be able to help us
support & promote the blues in the UK and you will enjoy a
range of benefits including being on the panel of those
invited to nominate artists for the annual UK Blues
New Album Released Friday 7th October 2016
on CD and iTunes & Standard Digital Download
UK & EUROPEAN TOUR - 41 DATES, 7 COUNTRIES,
is a great little crop of blues musicians out there over
in the UK right now. There is an Irish kid called Simon
who is very good, Joanne Shaw Taylor is a superstar in
I think and Aynsley Lister is also very good." -
Joe Bonamassa, Nottingham Post
aficionado Aynsley Lister released his eighth studio album
Eyes Wide Open on Friday 7th October 2016 on Straight Talkin’
Eyes Wide Open is Aynsley’s
magnum opus, which sees him confidently pursuing his own
musical path. Self-assured, inventive and richly-textured,
Aynsley brings his 18 years of hard touring, 11 album
releases (eight studio and three live) and all his
experience as a musician to fruition on Eyes Wide Open.
Aynsley’s previous opus,
2013’s Home garnered the guitar ace both Songwriter of the
Year and Song of the Year at the British Blues Awards. Eyes
Wide Open is a bold, confident and accessible slice of
contemporary blues-rock that promises to bring Aynsley yet
more accolades as well as introduce his genre-blending sound
to a new audience, building on the 100,000 albums he’s
already sold worldwide.
the kind of album you hope someone will release but never
does. It’s one of those rare works of art that will never
leave your stack of favourites."
Wide Open is over an hour of exceptional song-writing,
guitar playing, vocals and musicianship that will want you
to listen over and over again. Aynsley is a quite simply a
The 39-year-old British
guitarist says that this raw, energetic album is a return to
his roots; a record that at its heart boasts all the grit of
traditional blues. “I wanted to keep the raw edginess and
energy of a band,” says Aynsley. “So that meant minimal
takes and going with the ones that had the most spirit and
passion over those with technical perfection. To me, music
isn’t supposed to be perfect. It’s supposed to grab you and
move you both emotionally and physically; it’s supposed to
connect with you.”
Open seals Aynsley’s reputation for adroitly
blending blues and rock, pop and even a smattering of soul.
Hooky melodies dovetail seamlessly with blazing blues solos
that are as passionate as they are tasteful. Like every
musician of weight, this album also reveals Aynsley’s
ability to tell a story. Each track paints a picture,
exposing an emotional landscape with the insight of a fine
artist: “The world never stops and so much happens around us
- some of it resonates with you, some of it doesn’t. This
album is written about the world as I see it, through eyes
Peter Green, Albert King
and Eric Clapton were the musical giants influencing
the young ears of Aynsley Lister while he was growing up.
Building on this foundation, Aynsley has crafted his own
unique perspective on contemporary blues since he first
formed a band aged 13 and released his self-titled debut in
1998 on Ruf Records. It’s been a fantastic journey so far
that has seen Aynsley play with, amongst others, Buddy
Guy, John Mayall and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He’s won
multiple awards including Guitarist of the Year at
the 2015 British Blues Awards and he has been
nominated in the Guitarist and Male Vocal
categories in the 2016 British Blues Awards.
Produced by Aynsley Lister
Recorded at Superfly Studios (UK)
Engineered by Andrew Banfield
Mixed by Adam Ellis and Aynsley Lister at Deadline Studios
Mastered by John Webber at Air Mastering (UK)
limited edition box set comprising 38 of Ian’s most popular songs (on 3
CDs) together with a 72-page illustrated book of lyrics and a vinyl
“Siegal possesses that priceless gift, a true
blues voice. But that’s only half the story. The extra six-pack he
brings to the party is his songwriting.” - Tony Russell, Mojo contributor and editor of the Penguin Book
of Blues Recordings.
A unique fusion of blues
slide guitar, Hindustani classical slide guitar and tabla rhythms.
Messer's Mitra is a trio comprising British blues innovator and slide
guitarist, Michael Messer, Hindustani slide guitar maestro from Mumbai
India, Manish Pingle , and London-based tabla player, Gurdain Singh
This is more than another meeting of musicians from different cultures,
this is a band with its own unique sound, an exhilarating and highly
accessible fusion of blues and Hindustani classical music. With vocals,
slide guitars and tabla, these three musicians from opposite sides of
the globe create a fascinating musical journey, running from the banks
of the Mississippi, via London, to Mumbai and the Ganges Delta.
recorded and mixed, this album just sounds great. Songs like Can We
Fall In Love Again, Do You Believe, and You’re My Girl simply are hook
deep, ear pleasing tracks where the band and the players mesh into a
natural vibe. Elsewhere there is a funky Lenny Kravitz vibe to Living
Without Your Love, Favourite Boy has a Charlie Musselwhite on steroids
kick and Play My Song rips a snaky riff to the ceiling and back. Not
enough can be said how good the band vibe on this album is… Crank this
up and just watch people say “wow’"
- John Emms Reviews, 2016
Steve Summers Band
Casket Records CSK388
"He's a master
guitarist with a delicate touch, a full range of tones and an ability to
express a full gamut of moods and emotions at the touch of his fingers"
- Pete Feenstra
Stumble are a powerful six piece band based in and around
Preston in the North-West and what you get is a classic
valve driven back line driven with shuffle and roll. Their
music is heavily based on the rapturous electric blues
guitar sound that emanated from Chicago in the ’50s and
’60s. Influences range from B.B. King, Freddy King, Muddy
Waters, Maceo Parker, Peter Green, Booker T, King Curtis
etc. Basically, if music has that screwed down ambient live
feel expressed by some of these guys, then it'll be on the
Paul Melville vocals, Colin Black guitar and harmonica, Boyd
Tonner drums and vocals, Simon Anthony Dixon on sax’s,
Cameron Sweetnam on bass, with newcomer Ant Scapens lead
guitar making up the formidable six.
Seeing the band is an experience not easily forgotten as
they are all about the exciting, live Chicago style Rhythm &
Blues. What better reference could any band have than this -
'Man this band’s so good I wanna take ‘em over to America
- Lazy Lester.
"The vision of a solid and uncompromising Blues/Rock Band remains
uncompromised and is wonderfully intact"Blues Matters
"They play loud and they play well, the soloing is ferocious and the
commitment is total"R2
Having built a
solid reputation for producing quality Americana/blues/rock, the core of
CITY OF DECAY is based around the decaying infrastructure of Detroit due
to the evacuation of the car industry. Their previous album focused on
New Orleans and the highways and reservations of the West. This is a
more 'blue collar' piece of work, but like 'Gods & Highways & Old
Guitars' still works as a largely cohesive concept. There is a focus on
the industrial and social wastelands of the US, as well as taking a
detour down Highway 61, South of Chicago. Once more Roadhouse features
their famous vocal ensemble, but CITY OF DECAY displays even more
reliance on the stunning vocals of Mandie.G and Sarah Harvey-Smart. The
twin lead guitar attack of Danny Gwilym and Gary Boner is still present
along with the rock solid rhythm section provided by Bill Hobley on Bass
and Roger Hunt on drums. There are more distinct musical and vocal
sections to these songs making them more complex and ambitious than past
Roadhouse CD's. This CD features eight songs written by Gary Boner
including several co-writes with Danny and Mandie.G, in fact nine tracks
in total if you include the radio mix of Blues Highway. However,
due to the epic nature of some of the songs it clocks in at well over an
choice, highlights include Blues Highway which was inspired
loosely by the book by Richard Night. An original blues song it features
a great duet from Mandie.G and Sarah and with full on solos from both
Danny and Gary, occupies more than eleven minutes playing time. Title
track City Of Decay is a look at the downfall of Detroit after
the 'Big six' car manufacturers pulled out. This epic song has a number
of different distinct sections and is probably the most ambitious
Roadhouse song to date and The Night Of The Gun takes the
listener back on to the mean streets of Detroit where a stranger ends up
in the wrong part of town, the song a pure riff driven rocker.
Roadhouse have so far achieved
airplay on over a hundred radio stations in more than twenty countries,
a highlight being performing three tracks live on the Paul Jones BBC
Radio 2 blues show. Live, they have shared the stage with a veritable
who’s who of international artists including
Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa, The Animals, The Yardbirds, Dr Feelgood,
Nine Below Zero, Wilco Johnson, Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones), Pat
Travers and many more. A true festival band, they have played at many
festivals all over Europe including Glastonbury in 2010 and eight
performances over the years at the National Festival of R&B in Colne.
They play regularly at the
UK Festival of Rock & Blues held every year in Skegness. Their last CD
Gods & Highways & Old Guitars achieved critical acclaim and considerable
airplay across both Europe and the US.
"Britain's finest Roots Rockers, a dark coming together of Country, Rock
"Drilling deep into Americana with their driving sound and harmony
"A combination of classic Blues/Rock & Americana you would swear that
they were American"Rock Society
"Deep, eerie and hypnotic"Guitar and Bass
is a multi layered album full of rich imagery, intricate rhythms,
soaring harmonies, delicate guitar textures, and lush melodies that
finds its equilibrium somewhere between Americana and kick ass rock
blues. ‘Gods & Highways & Old Guitars’ is an album of real substance
that deserves to be heard at the highest table"Get Ready To Rock
many years, Francis Wilford-Smith led a parallel existence as an
internationally respected cartoonist/illustrator ('Selby'), and also as
one of the world's foremost collectors of blues records and an
acknowledged expert on blues piano. Whilst both sides of his life are
celebrated in this memoir, it focuses mainly on the latter.
Motivated by a desire to
preserve as much as possible of the music that he loved, Francis
privately recorded several visiting blues pianists at his home, Trumpets
Farm, in 1960 and 1961. Unfettered by commercial or time constraints,
his guests had free reign to play whatever they wished and produced some
truly unique and outstanding performances. The intriguing stories behind
these groundbreaking recordings is to be found within these pages.
To accompany this book,
vintage jazz and blues reissue label Frog Records have released a
special 27-track companion CD, Trumpets Farm Blues, containing
previously unissued material from these legendary sessions. Check out Frog Records:
"A truly fascinating
book, a must for any lover of blues piano".
Alan White, Earlyblues.com
The Red Wine
Serenaders, there are no better words that define them!
This is a musical
project born about three years ago featuring a talented
combo of musicians who passionately play country blues and
ragtime, hokum, jug band and rural music from the 20s and
30s. Veronica Sbergia and Max De Bernardi, originators of
the project, like to keep this precious musical heritage
alive faithfully reproducing its original sound whilst
playing it a modern twist.
Using strictly acoustic instruments such ukulele, washboard,
kazoo, resophonic guitars and doublebass their passion for
this music is perfectly represented on their last CD "OLD
STORIES FOR MODERN TIMES", that also sees contributions by
other leading musicians and friends, Sugar Blue (a legendary
harmonica player in the past with the Rolling Stones, Bob
Dylan, Willie Dixon and Frank Zappa) and the world master of
resophonic guitar, Bob Brozman.
The album is an overview of the American popular music from
the early years of the last century with the Red Wine
Serenaders reinterpreting great songs by artists like Big
Bill Broonzy, Memphis Minnie, Jimmie Rodgers, Sidney Bechet,
Lucille Bogan, Bo Carter, Delmore Brothers in their own
Veronica & The
Red Wine Serenaders are the winners of the European Blues
Challenge 2013, an important international contest held
in Toulouse in March.
Thanks to this
result they performed at the prestigious Notodden Blues
Festival in Norway and will take part in Lucerne Blues
Festival in November.
Veronica & The Red Wine Serenaders performed in USA, France,
Switzerland, Hungary, Norway, Spain, England, Germany, Italy
Veronica is also the first Italian artist ever invited to
the Mustique Blues Festival (2012 and 2013), in the
Carpenter, Chris Lomas and Phil Bond - aka Mumbo-Jumbo – deliver
eclectic, acoustic close harmony, piano based music, intimate and
entertaining interaction with audiences and bring the fun back into live
“The musicianship is unsurpassable, and the songwriting is excellent.”
- Blues in Britain magazine
Release Date: 4th March 2016
on Nugene Records NUG1602
Album Precedes 40-Date European Tour
Ian Siegal nominated for Acoustic Artist in the 2016 Blues Music Awards
(the Blues Foundation, Memphis)
"One night. Two troubadours. In the autumn of 2014 on their first tour
together, Ian Siegal and Jimbo Mathus rolled into the sleepy Dutch town
of Hoogland. They pitched camp at Caf6 De Noot, which despite its
parochial name has been hosting international touring artistes for more
than 20 years. What followed was a special night of dry banter, salty
tales and classic songs performed with industrial-strength charisma. The
set might so easily have been lost into folklore, kept alive only in the
memories of the fans who packed the venue. Thankfully, somebody thought
to hit 'record.'
Wayward Sons is an evocative snapshot of that intimate show.
Regardless of the geographical location of your stereo, this atmospheric
album places the listener squarely in the midst of the crowd as they
cheer the Anglo-American roots duo to the stage.
Let's have some introductions. Ian Siegal is the much-decorated British
national treasure whose album catalogue and firecracker shows have
earned him eight British Blues Awards, three European Blues Awards and
three US Blues Music Awards nominations, most recently in the 2016 BMAs
for Acoustic artist of the year. Add to that haul, two Best Blues Album
awards from Mojo - the best-selling British music magazine adding
that his work is "awash with wit, lust and distraction" - and you'll
understand the crackle of anticipation in the Caf6 De Noot.
In the opening words of Siegal himself, Jimbo Mathus is "a very talented
man". Or, as the Briton adds later: "That's a superstar you're looking
at right there". Both descriptions of the Mississippi songwriter and
multi-instrumentalist are right on the money. Mathus broke out with the
genre-blurring Squirrel Nut Zippers, whose iconic album 1996's Hot
led to a set at the second inauguration of President Clinton in
1997. Since the millennium, limbo tracked with Buddy Guy, led The
Tri-State Coalition and forged a solo career that hit new heights with
the hard-hitting psych-soul of 2014's Blue Healer.
Even in the age of auto-tune and Pro Tools, you cant's fake chemistry -
and Wayward Sons proves the Siegal/Mathus partnership has it in spades.
The pair's friendship goes back to 2013, when Mathus contributed banjo
and mandolin to Siegal's acclaimed album, The Picnic Sessions,
recorded in Mississippi. Despite hailing from opposite sides of the
Atlantic, the two men found they shared cultural touchstones, not to
mention a rare musical understanding that bleeds into Wayward Sons.
Siegal's acoustic and slide guitar dovetails with Mathus' mandolin,
harmonica and kazoo. Vocal harmonies lock horns then curl up in harmony.
"You can tell we're ragged," notes Mathus, after a stunning run through
of I'll Fly Away, " but we're right."
This standout show from their first tour together also finds the duo's
banter on whip-cracking form, whether that's Siegal claiming to be the
mayor of Hoogland, or Mathus wryly reminding us that he's still very
much alive. "I'm sorry that the people at the back can't see our
beautiful faces," drawls Siegal in one memorable aside. "You're missing
out on a treat, I can tell you. Because we are two very handsome men,
Whether or not that's true, Siegal and Mathus are undeniably stellar
live musicians, racing through a setlist that airs a fistful of classics
from their respective catalogues, as well as some rip-it-up reboots of
Mathus kicks off with his Dylan-worthy strum In The Garden ("If
you see something wicked, don't look in its eye"), and after the
set-break, we're treated to gems including Tallahatchie, Old Earl
("a song about a lazy man") and the sad-eyed stunner Milltown.
Not to be outdone, Siegal revisits his raucous Talkin' Overseas
Pirate Blues from The Picnic Sessions, a song inspired by the
inability of Americans to pronounce his first name.
The track listing takes in some exceptional covers, too: consider the
lazy strum and close harmonies of Townes Van Zandt's Heavenly
Houseboat Blues, or the smoke-blackened romance of Ewan MacColl's
Dirty Old Town. And in the hands of these two heavyweights, even
well-worn traditional numbers find fresh impetus, whether that's the
tale of the courageous engine-driver Casey Jones or the Missouri
outlaw Jesse James ("Many people have sung this song, and I'm
about to sing it again...").
One time around could never be enough. Due to popular demand - as well
as their own pleasure - Ian Siegal and Jimbo Mathus tour together again
in Spring 2016, playing 40-plus shows across mainland Europe (April
22nd-May 15th) and the UK (May 17th-June 3rd).
Until they roll into your town, Wayward Sons is the next best
thing, catching the sparks, bottling the bonhomie and making your front
room feel like the front row. These 21 tracks might stretch the
of a CD to its limits - but even after the encore, you'll be calling out
IAN SIEGAL TO
TOUR AGAIN WITH JIMBO MATHUS.
MORE COUNTRIES, MORE SHOWS.
Ian Siegal and
Jimbo Mathus will play some 40 shows across Europe in the
period 22 April to 4 June 2016. This follows their
successful first tour together in 2014. Ahead of touring the
duo are releasing a 21-track album recorded during the debut
If your musical
preference is a combination of rootsy blues and folk
Americana, delivered with irreverent humour and nuggets of
folklore, then look no further. This transatlantic duo of
multi-award winners ticks all the boxes, combining the
talents of Europe’s leading contemporary Bluesman with the
Grammy-nominated songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from
For devotees of
blues and Americana on this side of the Atlantic, Ian Siegal
needs no introduction. He’s the eight-times British Blues
Awards winner, three-times European Blues Awards winner, and
two-times US Blues Music Awards nominee. He’s sung with the
prestigious Orchestre National de Jazz in Paris, played in
more than 40 countries, and among his latest albums is a BBC
recording made at London’s Royal Albert Hall. His accolades
include two from MOJO magazine for Best Blues Album of the
Year. Ian is the only non-American to achieve this
He first met
Jimbo in 2013 when the latter contributed some banjo and
mandolin parts to an album Ian was recording in Mississippi
(The Picnic Sessions). The two discovered a shared passion
for many of the same musical influences.
Now, when someone
has found fame with a band called Squirrel Nut Zippers (as
Jimbo Mathus did when he formed this alt-Americana outfit),
you know you’re in for something different! An almost
overnight sensation, The Zippers played at the second
inauguration of President Bill Clinton and the 1996 Summer
Olympics in Atlanta. Later Mathus went on to pursue a
variety of musical projects. Among these he toured and
recorded with Buddy Guy (catalyzing the distinct approach of
Guy’s “Sweet Tea” album) and he is a founding member of the
South Memphis String Band. Jimbo has a new album “Blue
Healer” on the Fat Possum record label.
UK DATES: May 17 Worthing – Southern Pavilion
May 18 Havant – Spring Arts Centre
May 19 Leicester – The Musician
May 20 Lowdham – Village Hall
May 21 Selby – Town hall
May 22 Newcastle – The Cluny
May 25 Bristol – The Tunnels
May 26 Stroud – The Convent
May 27 Ottley – Courthouse
May 28 Sheffield – Greystones
May 29 London – The Green Note (two shows)
May 31 Bilston – Robin2
June 01 Cheltenham – Vonnies Blues Club
June 02 Aldershot – West End Arts Centre
June 03 Whitstable –The Duke
The UK Blues Federation is pleased to announce
that the band representing the UK at the 6th European Blues
Challenge (EBC), organised by the European Blues Union (EBU) will be
after they were announced as the winners of the 2nd UK Blues
Challenge on Saturday 24th October 2015 at the Boom Boom Club
in Sutton, Surrey, an event jointly promoted and organised by Pete
Feenstra Real Music Live and the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues).
A panel of five judges chosen
from across the UK blues community awarded each contestant in the
Challenge points for each of the four criteria laid down by the EBU –
originality, instrumental talent, vocal talent and stage presence.
Up against Malaya Blue, The
Brothers Groove, and The Katie Bradley Band, Red Butler were a popular
winner, acclaimed by a large and enthusiastic audience.
The 6th European
Blues Challenge will take place on 8th and 9th
April 2016 in Torrita di Siena in Tuscany, Italy and will see 20 bands
from around Europe competing. Previous UK representatives at the EBC
have been Ben Poole, 24 Pesos, Babajack, David Migden & the Twisted
Roots and Laurence Jones.
The recently created UK Blues
Federation is honoured to have been appointed by the EBU to run the
Challenge and is in the process of setting up a crowd funding campaign
to assist with Red Butler’s costs in connection with travelling to and
appearing at the EBC. Full details will be available very shortly on the
UKBlues website – www.ukblues.org
Ashwyn Smyth – Chair of UKBlues
said: ‘ It has been a lot of hard work to pull both the selection
process and the UK Challenge together but it was all worth it! I am sure
that Red Butler are going to do us proud in Italy next year. Our thanks
go to Pete Feenstra for all he has done to make the Challenge happen and
to the five judges who were faced with making some difficult choices.
This has also been a great way to introduce the newly formed UK Blues
Federation to the blues community in the UK and we have many plans for
the future including, we hope, seeing a UK representative at the 2017
International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
“We hope that many people will
want to join UKBlues and help to support us in what we are doing and
they can do so by going to our website where there are details of
membership types and how you can join.”
Alex Butler of Red Butler -
said: ’There is huge exhilaration amongst the band at winning the UK
Blues Challenge. We put our hearts and souls into the gig against stiff
opposition. The immediate reaction from the crowd told us this was
something special from the word go.”
UKBlues Chair Ashwyn Smyth via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or Darren Weale (Media Group) on 07708 712011.
The Back To Front Band area
musical collective based Cheshire, with Phil Wright
[piano/keyboard/vocals] and Adrian Hough [bottleneck guitar] at its
core. Sparse piano and plaintive bottleneck create the canvas for
Phil's understated and soulful vocal delivery. The songs are stripped
down to the narratives in which the character tells the story through
stunning new CD "Transition" is available from their website and
individual tracks can be downloaded from the usual online stores.
DELUXE is that perfect gumbo of dirty blues, classic rock & roll, and
New Orleans piano pyrotechnics. It's where Bob Malone stomps his foot on
a miked-up cigar box, rips on a funky old upright piano and a vintage
Wurlitzer, and sings fearlessly of life at the halfway point. It is deep
grooves, swamp rock, gospel-drenched ballads, and plenty of nasty slide
guitar. The all-star band features Stan Behrens (WAR), Tim Lefebvre (Tedeschi
Trucks Band), Mike Baird (Journey, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker),
producer/guitarist Bob DeMarco, and Bob's John Fogerty bandmate Kenny
Aronoff. This is Bob Malone's 8th album."
All photographs used
"Los Angeles based
Bob Malone plays keyboards with rock-n-roll Hall of Fame legend John
Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival & more), and continues a long
running and very successful solo career. His sound is a one-of-a-kind
hybrid of blues, rock and New Orleans R&B, delivered with high-energy
piano virtuosity and unique soulful vocals.
Bob headlines over 100 shows a year in the UK, Europe, Australia and the
USA, and has played with (or opened for) Bruce Springsteen, Jackson
Browne, Jimmy Buffet, Rickie Lee Jones, The Neville Brothers, Rev. Al
Green, Dr. John, Leon Russell and many others.
Bob completed a very successful month-long UK tour during Aug/Sept of
2014 where he received high accolades for his festival & venue
performances. In 2013 Bob performed at the Glastonbury Festival, along
with a month long July tour of Italy. Bob is also a regular at the
prestigious WWOZ Piano Night at House of Blues in New Orleans, featured
alongside piano legends Marcia Ball, Henry Butler and more.
Bob Malone's six CDs have earned Top-20 spots on many blues radio
charts, and are played on stations worldwide. On Monday 21st September
Bob releases his new album 'Mojo Deluxe' and tours the UK in support of
his new album as a 4 piece band.
A few recent comments regarding Bob Malone's music & performances:
"A keyboard wizard” The New Yorker
"John Fogerty's five-man backup band was slouch-free, too — with the
show-stealer trophy going to a shaggy-haired Bob Malone" Edmonton
"A new peak in what’s been a rather mountainous career, Malone’s latest
shows off everything that makes him great... and more. Great songs,
amazing production and playing, it doesn’t get much better than this.”
"The presence of first-call players like Leland Sklar, Chris Trujillo,
and Marty Rifkin alongside the artist’s New Orleans drenched piano,
raises the bar for this troubadour. On his 6th CD, Bob Malone is clearly
in the big leagues" Music Connection
"Bob Malone doesn't just accompany himself on piano. He supports his
singing with pulsating, roaring keyboard work that grabs you and shakes
you until you cry for mercy" Keyboard Magazine
the Joshua Tree desert of California,
Stephen Dale Petit's musical journey began young. Given a
Special at the age of 12, he soon focused on blues music.
By his mid-teens
commandeering the Californian club circuit five nights a week. Cutting
his musical teeth with
musicians ten years his senior, jamming with the likes of BB and Albert King as they passed through
his native stomping
ground. Relocating to London in the 1990s, Petit worked alongside the best
in the business, collaborating with The Clash's
Mick Jones, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, The Pretty Things and also Keith Richards
The Rolling Stones.
An ill-fated major-label recording
contract and subsequent descent into addiction left Petit adrift and homeless.
salvation in busking, as so many of his blues heroes had before him, the
blues was truly the healer as he recorded the self‑ financed debut
Sending shockwaves through the blues community, self-released "
Guitararama 'also saw critical acclaim in 2008, resulting
in Petit securing a distribution
deal with Universal Music
for all of his
were quick to jump onboard the SDP
campaign for a 'New Blues Revolution'.
2010's follow-up album "The Crave" brought
breakthrough commercial success, earning Petit a place in Classic Rock magazine's' Top
50 Albums of the Year' ahead of childhood hero, Eric Clapton.
leading blues authority
Blues Matters Magazine, heralded""TheCrave" as
'one of the most important albums of the year'. Later
that year, Petit cemented his status as a
UK Blues legend in his own right. Assembling a musical cast of Chris
Barber, Rolling Stones Ronnie Wood, Mick Taylor and Dick Taylor, SDP
captained his successful campaign to 'Save the 100 Club', earning himself a
deserved place within 100 Club and British Blues history. 2011 saw
"Stephen Dale Petit
The BBC Sessions" - a compilation of the
SDP appearances on
BBC Radio 2's Paul Jones and
shows, which included a guest appearance by
Stephen Dale Petit live shows have become
the stuff of legend - none more so than his appearance at London's High
Voltage festival in 2010. Riled by the local council's attempts to close
the show down due to noise restrictions, a defiant Petit delivered a 'show-stopping
set' (Classic Rock)
immortalised by the Ronnie Lane Mobile
Recording Unit. The result was
2012's vinyl-only release
"Live at High Voltage" which was eagerly
devoured by both critics and fans alike.
was during recording sessions for 2013's
"Cracking The Code"that
Petit achieved perhaps the
ultimate accolade to any guitarist worth his
salt - receiving the seal of approval from Howlin' Wolf's
venerated axeman, Hubert Sumlin.
"Cracking The Code" reads like a who's who of blues
royalty - featuring guest appearances from the likes of Dr.
John, Hubert Sumlin, The Black Keys' Patrick Carney,
Mick Taylor, Chris Barber and hot-ticket producer Vance Powell.
2015 sees the highly-anticipated digital re-release of
"Live at High Voltage", plus new material and
live shows later in the year. Stephen Dale Petit's blues-odyssey
continues and, as Mick Taylor
assures, 'the future of the blues is in good hands
John Cee Stannard & Blues Horizon
Label: Cast Iron Recordings
Release Date: August 3rd
"Within a year
of the band's last album, BUS DEPOT BLUES comes this; STONE COLD SOBER
the third blues based CD from JohnCee. As with 'Bus Depot' the new album
is based around the working trio of JohnCee, Mike Baker and Howard
Birchmore. The rhythm section of Andy Crowdy
and Julian Bown provided a fantastic
basis for the last album, so they were the obvious starting point
for this one. Although trio based, JohnCee again invited a small number
of guest musicians to bring their skills to the project. Nicole Johnson
(backing vocals) and Roger Cotton (Hammond C3) had both appeared on John
Cee Stannard's THE DOOR DOO ALBUM in 2013. Simon Mayor added his
formidable mandolin playing to one track, and violin to three others.
Matt Empson, eminent Reading session musician, added his piano skills to
On STONE COLD
SOBER there are eleven originals by JohnCee and one cover – Blind
Blake's Lead Hearted Blues which JohnCee originally learned from the
singing of Mike Cooper back in the early 1970's. JohnCee explains:
"Although this sounds nothing like Mike's version, I still hear his
rendition in my head when I perform it The other songs are
largely pure fiction. Just one track Poverty Blues was
inspired by a BBC documentary about middle Americans who had lost their
good jobs and houses as a result of the recession and found themselves
living in 'tent cities' in places like Detroit Another three songs go
back to my first year of writing this new material. Rum Ol' Do
was written shortly after Bus Depot, and as there was no room for it on
the last album, I saved it for this one. The Story really
does tell a story, but it wrote itself as I worked through the verses.
It's a song about a guy who's down on his luck, but he tells the story
as though he is talking about someone else – until the last line of the
last verse – then he comes clean. It's not about anyone I know. Same
goes for So Long and I guess the inspiration for this came from my
appreciation of Jimmy Witherspoon.
Although this song just didn't fit for the last album, it seems to
sit very well here.
"The newest song is Worse Off Than
You and is really a look at the glass half full kind of tune.
This one was written during the six months of recording the album, as
was Stone Cold Sober which came about after I'd been listening to
Saffire the Uppity Blues Women – particularly their track Sloppy Drunk
by Leroy Carr. I borrowed their take on the song as a basis, then gave
Leroy Carr his deserved nod in the lyric. It's just a fun song. Most
songs grow from doodles, but Right Back At The Start was more of a
self-imposed challenge. I wanted to write a song with a particular feel
to it With the help of the great musicians working with me, I think we
got what I was after. My main goal on
this album was to keep the good-time foot-tapping feel we had in Bus
Depot and at the same time, make sure the slower numbers were
interesting. It's been great fun producing
STONE COLD SOBER, and I am so
grateful, both to my Blues Horizon buddies Mike and Howard, and
also the fantastic guest musicians who joined me and added so much.-
Simon Mayor, Matt Empson and Roger Cotton.
(guitar), and Howard (Harmonica) have all been playing and working as
musicians for around 50 years. JohnCee's history is mainly in the folk
world having formed the folk band Tudor Lodge in 1968 which continues as
a duo to this day. A sudden burst of song writing in 2011 lead to his
first blues based release in 2013 – THE DOOR DOO ALBUM. With so much
encouragement from friends and other musicians, JohnCee formed Blues
Horizon to take the songs to a wider audience. Mike and Howard had both
appeared on 'Doob' alongside a dozen or so other great session
musicians, and after a short space of time, and with so much new
material, it was clear they had to record an album as a trio. This
resulted in BUS DEPOT BLUES and the response to the album was so
positive, that within six months they had started work on this new album
STONE COLD SOBER"
Question: What do
Alexis Korner, John Mayan's Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton, Stevie Winwood,
Spencer Davies, Jack Bruce, Rod Stewart, Ginger Baker, The Artwoods,
Muddy Waters, Savoy Brown, Otis Spann, Johnny 'Guitar' Watson, Larry
Williams, Graham Bond, Ten Years After, Stan Webb, Peter Green's
Fleetwood Mac, Champion Jack Dupree, Christine McVie, Mick Taylor, Eddie
Boyd, Dr.Feelgood, Freddie King, Climax Blues Band, Roger Chapman, Cleo
Laine, Jimmy Witherspoon, Level 42, Roachford, Sherman Robertson, The
Hoax, Oli Brown, Keith Richards, Ron Wood and Bo Diddley all have in
Answer: All have, at
one time or another, been involved in the making of records that have
been produced by Mike Vernon. So after 50 years in the business Mike has
decided to make his own studio album!
So to Mike Vernon - the Rhythm & Blues
singer! Let the man speak for himself: "I have always loved singing - I
was in the local Church Choir when a teenager and then as a vocalist
with The Mojo Men - an early blues band of doubtful talent! Then I took
two opportunities during the Blue Horizon years to have a go at making
solo outings - with mixed success I would have to say. Then came The
Olympic Runners - I produced, wrote and performed alongside George
Chandler, Pete Wingfield and Joe Jammer. Then in the late 1970s and
early 1980s I took on the task of singing the baritone parts with Rocky
Sharpe & The Replays. I really miss the 'buzz' of working in front of an
audience - so here I am, a born again Rhythm & Blues vocalist. I've been
doing a lot, of gigs in Spain
and getting tremendous reaction - I'm heading into the studio soon to
cut a 'homage to the R&B Greats of the '40s1'50s' CD and I am ready to
rock'n'roll! Now is the time - and if I don't do it now - it will not
get done at all!"
Mike Vernon has handpicked
the musicians he will be working with - The Mighty Combo - featuring
West Weston (vocal/ harmonica); Martin Winning (tenor sax); Geraint
Watkins (vocal/piano); Paul Garner (guitar); Ian Jennings (upright
bass); Mike Hellier (drums)
Mike Vernon is probably best
known as the founder of Britain's #1 blues record label, Blue Horizon.
During the four year period that Blue Horizon was distributed by CBS and
Polydor, the label issued around 60 singles and more than 100 albums -
most of them featuring blues artists. Although Mike Vernon is primarily
associated with the blues, he also produced significant acts outside of
that field during those early years - David Bowie; Dutch rock band Focus
and a five-piece soul group from California, Bloodstone. His first
single production for Bloodstone - 'Natural High' - hit the #1 spot on
the US charts earning the Producer a Gold record. But there were other
such Awards already on the wall -Bowie's 'Laughing Gnome'; Fleetwood
Mac's 'Albatross' and a number from his work with Focus. In future
decades, whilst continuing his crusade to record blues acts Mike Vernon
worked with Level 42 and, in so doing, collected two further Silver
discs. He also produced Andrew Roachford's debut album - another Gold
platter. Mike worked both as a Producer and Engineer throughout the
1980s and early 1990s with some further significant successes -
especially in Europe. Albums by Spanish bands Danza Invisible and Los
Secretos saw major chart success as did a Renaud Hansen release in
France. During the late 1990s Mike Vernon launched three new blues
orientated labels - Indigo, Code Blue and Blueside. With Code Blue he
produced Sherman Robertson, Jay Owens, Eric Bibb, John Primer and Bo
Diddley (his album was nominated for a Grammy) whilst Eugene Bridges and
Angela Brown were to appear on Blueside. In 2000 Mike retired and moved
to Spain. But in 2010 Mike Vernon came out of retirement to produce both
Dani Wilde and Oli Brown for Ruf Records and a 'live' set with Louisiana
legend, Lazy Lester. He is currently working on a debut CD with an
exciting new Spanish band from Sevilla - Q Et The Moonstones.
Check out the latest
Earlyblues interview with film director
Lisa leads an
Australian film team working on promoting an upcoming documentary film
called Women in Blues, directed by Lisa Eismen and shot by award-winning
cinematographer Pieter De Vries, ACS.
The film celebrates women who sing or play the blues and explores the
struggles that these artists have experienced as women in the world of
In order to help source the remaining funds necessary for
completion of the project, a fund raising campaign including film
trailer has been launched on Indiegogo.
You can see the film
trailer and details of how to donate by clicking here:
Wow, a 'must have' for 2015!
- Alan White, Earlyblues.com
sound is based on all styles of Blues music including 70s Blues Rock and
Southern Rock sounds. First established in 1994 out of South Florida
Midnite Johnny Band released 2 CD's "Lyin' Eyes" (1998) and "Blues and
Boogie" (2008). For the past 6 years Midnite Johnny (John Morava) has
been based in the UK and with the current band line up has released
their latest CD
Mosher St Records "So Complicated"
Johnny has worked extensively throughout his native USA and has
established a reputation as one of South Florida's most powerful Blues
influenced guitarists. His resume includes working with Harvey Mandel;
Thom Doucette and Warren Caesar. Johnny also worked with James Cotton as
stand in guitarist as well as with Bo Diddley on several gigs during
1989 and 1990. Now based in the UK he is fast building a dedicated
following throughout the UK appearing at the Warrington and Nantwich
Blues Festivals; and the Colne R & B Festival to name a few, the Colne
performance being transmitted live on BBC Radio Lancashire.
"Dutch blues-rockers and
winners of the 2012 Dutch Blues Foundation Award for Best Dutch Blues
Band have been setting fire to international stages for no fewer than
32(!) years. This year alone has seen them firing away in, amongst
others, Spain, Norway, Switzerland and at the legendary Harvest Time
Blues Festival in Ireland. That is why the title of their new studio
album has been so aptly chosen: 'Heart on Fire', which is exactly what
they have been doing all these years, setting hearts on fire.
their 9th studio album the Masters of Rock Rollin Blues have like never
before succeeded in translating the steamingly hot energy of their live
shows into a brilliant studio sound.
'Heart on Fire' contains 10 infectious Juke Joints originals. The rhythm
section, consisting of drummer and vocalist Peter Kempe and bass player
Derk Korpershoek, provides their customary fireproof foundation,
Michel Staat steers his guitar increasingly outside oft-trodden paths
and Sonnyboy van den Broek continuously pokes up the fire with his
tighter than tight harmonica prowess. The Dr Ross classic Cat's Squirrel
and crowd favourite-to-be Funny Little Valentine, penned by Australian
rockabilly singer/guitarist Louis King, receive the passionate, greasy
Juke Joints treatment and seamlessly fit in the coherence of the album."
album was recorded in the Westmaas Studios in Holland and was produced
by René van Broekhoven and The Juke Joints. It includes guest
appearances by Roland Bakker (Julian Sas Band) on piano & keyboards and
Ben van den Dungen on saxophone. It will be released in all of Europe by
Speaking as an early blues
and gospel collector, for the last 45 years or so, and as what people
would deem me being a ‘purist’, I have to say that the 6 tracks
presented on this CD are a beautiful group of blues which are a tribute
to the great Memphis bluesman Furry Lewis who initially started
recording in the late 1920s and became a blues hero in the 1960s and for
the next couple of decades. As blues writer Chris Smith said after
disclosing the official take on his birth year as 1899: “In 1959,
Lewis resumed recording and began performing for the new white audience;
in the ‘60s he became something of a mascot for the Memphis alternative
music scene. He kept working until his death  and, although age
and alcohol undermined his musicianship, he was venerated as a loveable
old geezer from America’s past; his cameo as ‘Uncle Furry’ in the film
W.W. And The Dixie Dancekings exemplifies the process.”
(p.p.387-388. ‘The Penguin Guide To Blues Recordings’. Chris Smith.
[Penguin Books. London] 2006.)
earliest songs are vibrant, subtle, deeply felt examples of the rural
style that became so popular with the working class black audience in
the South from the 1920s onwards. Furry Lewis fans will welcome the
blues on this CD by Mike Atack.
nothing short of total commitment in his obvious love and dedication to
the Blues. What many latter-day blues singers often forget is the
awesome sensitivity which the early, pre-war genre consistently featured
on their recordings. As they say, it is often the notes that are NOT
played which intensify this atmosphere which transforms the best of
rural blues, cut before 1944, into art; working class art in comparable
statements of poetic beauty. I can count on the fingers of one hand,
blues artists who regularly play and sing in this early style in 2014.
is Mike Atack. Originally from Lancaster he is now based in
Southampton. I can best sum up these 6 blues as being outstanding in
delivery and most important of all - FEEL! For these ears ‘Cannon Ball
Blues’ and ‘Dry Land Blues’ are the leading performances with the latter
including the surreal lines ‘I can look through muddy water and see/spy
dry land’ which Furry first put on a recording. And the remainder
maintain a very high standard, rare in modern times as far as
rural/country/downhome blues is concerned.
excellent debut and I do look forward to his next outing which will
probably include, among other artists, the great version of ‘Yellow Dog
Blues’ by Crying Sam Collins. Rest assured, good people that the early
blues is safe in the very capable hands of Mike Atack. Have mercy,
‘Mississippi’ Max Haymes
[Author of ‘Railroadin’ Some (railroads in the early blues)’. Music
Mentor Books. 2006.
"Red Butler are a blues/rock band from Sussex that
formed in 2012 Alex Butler (guitar and backing vocals) had already
caught people's attention including some within the music industry for
his playing ability, passion and touch. Having performed for several
years Alex decided to form a new and dedicated band to fulfill his
musical aspirations. The current lineup emerged in April 2012 and by
August that year they had won an opportunity to perform at Hyde Park
during the Olympics. The current lineup includes Jane Pearce (vocals),
Charlie Simpson (drums) and Steve Eveleigh (bass and backing vocals)
although Mike Topp will take over the bass role from Steve later in
2014. Freedom Bound also includes session musicians Darren Vassie on
trumpet and Maik Pehrsson on keys.
Red Butler has built upon their early successes,
which have included festival appearances and high profile support slots.
Within 12 months of being together a track was played by Paul Jones on
Radio 2 and Alex and Jane have since had the opportunity to support Paul
Jones & Dave Kelly. Paul recalled the track and said he was looking
forward to hearing the debut album. Later in 2014 they will return to
The Great British R&B Festival in Colne, this time appearing on The
British Stage and also The Acoustic Stage. Shortly afterwards
they will appear at The 100 Club in London and January 2015 will see
them perform at The Rock and Blues Festival at Skegness".
Keepin' It Together
Bob Stroger & Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith
Release Date: 1st June 2014
Fabulous Bob Stroger and Blues drummer extraordinaire Kenny "Beedy Eyes"
Smith are proud and thrilled to announce the June 1, 2014 release of
their new CD, Keepin' It Together, which they co-wrote and
produced on the Big Eye Records label.
Keepin' It Together includes twelve original songs and in addition
to Kenny Smith on drums/vocals and Bob Stroger on bass/vocals, the album
features eight other talented blues artists including Barrelhouse Chuck,
Jerry Portnoy, Joe Filisko, Billy Flynn, Little Frank and others.
Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus in “Roots To The Core”
Nov. 7-29, 2014
In November, Ian Siegal will tour as a duo with
Jimbo Mathus, the Grammy-nominated songwriter
and multi-instrumentalist from Mississippi. They
will perform 21 shows in England, N. Ireland,
Scotland, Belgium and Holland.
For devotees on this side of the Atlantic of
blues and Americana, Ian Siegal needs no
introduction. He’s the seven-times British Blues
Awards winner, the European Blues Awards winner,
and US Blues Music Awards nominee. He’s sung
with the prestigious ONJ orchestra in Paris,
toured in 25 countries, and his latest CD is a
BBC recording made at the Royal Albert Hall.
Siegal first met Jimbo Mathus in 2013 when
Mathus dropped by the Zebra Ranch studio in
Coldwater Mississippi to contribute some banjo
and mandolin parts to a Siegal recording. The
two discovered a shared passion for many of the
same musical influences.
Now, when someone has found fame with a band
called Squirrel Nut Zippers (as Mathus did when
he formed this alt-Americana outfit), you know
you’re in for something different! An almost
overnight sensation, The Zippers played at the
Second inauguration of President Bill Clinton
and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Their
albums achieved gold and platinum sales. Then,
at their peak and in classic music industry
style amid disastrous lawsuits, the Squirrel Nut
Zippers were no more.
Mathus went on to pursue a variety of musical
projects. Among these, he toured and recorded
with Buddy Guy (catalyzing the distinct approach
of Guy’s “Sweet tea” album) and is a founding
member of the South Memphis String Band with
long-time collaborators Luther Dickinson and
Alvin Youngblood Hart.
It is 16 years since Jimbo Mathus last toured in
Europe. With the resurgence of blues and
Americana on this side of the Atlantic he has
timed his return just right. Welcome back Jimbo!
Fri, 7/11 Keighly/Bronte Blues
Sat, 8/11 Matlock Bath/Fishpond
Sun, 9/11 Carlisle Festival
Mon, 10/11 Edinburgh/Voodoo Rooms
Tue, 11/11 Worthing/Connaught Theatre
Wed, 12/11 London/Borderline
Thu, 13/11 Southampton/The Brook
Fri, 14/11 Wrexham/Hooker Blues
Sat, 15/11 Whitstable/Duke of Cumberland
Sun, 16/11 Olen BE/Crossroads
Tue, 18/11 Oss NL/Groene Engel
Wed, 19/11 Leiden NL/Qbus
Thu, 20/11 Alkmaar NL/Victoire
Fri, 21/11 Terneuzen NL/Porgy & Bess
Sat, 22/11 Hoogevaan NL/Blues festival
Sun, 23/11 Hoogland NL/Café de Noot
Tue, 25/11 Sheffield/Greystones
Wed, 26/11 Newcastle/The Cluny
Thu, 27/11 Derby/Flowerpot
Fri, 28/11 Darvel Festival
Sat, 29/11 Belfast/Empire
... At Last
Release Date: 14th February 2014
"Is Kyla Brox
the greatest soul singer the UK has produced? It’s self-evident that the
voice is a marvel: husky in the mid-register, increasing in intensity as
it gains altitude, and turning on a pin from brooding dissatisfaction to
searching desire and need. In short, it’s sheer soul perfection.
obvious in live performance. But a document of a live event can be
useful, if only to test those first euphoric impressions against the
hard evidence. Kyla Brox Live At Last is a 2 CD set that faithfully
captures the live Brox experience. This is the real deal".
back. The debut that dazzled the blues scene. The songs that became the
soundtrack to our lives. The thrilling opening
gambit that turned Eric Bibb from nonentity to superstar. Of all the
statistics surrounding 1997's Me To You - an album that took in 11
studios and 44 different musicians - the most
staggering is surely that this
classic record has been out of print for 12 years.
Until now. In February
2014, Manhaton Records is raising this sunken treasure from oblivion,
restoring the original 14 tracks to CD, alongside fresh sleevenotes from the
legendary producer who helmed them, Mike Vernon. "Me To You must rate as
one of Eric's best albums," writes Mike. "If this is your first time with it, enjoy. If you've heard it
before - enjoy again."
"from Cliff's rasping voice, to the
impressively powerful rhythm section and exceptional guitarists, the
seasoned and passionate musicianship of Slack Alice never fails to
deliver the blues, with feeling!"
- Alan White, earlyblues.com
- - - - "that
was Cliff Stocker and the Legendary Slack Alice and friends"
- - - - the album is called "never, never, ever give up!" that's
why that song is called "still singing the blues." Excellent album. What
a band and what friends they have! Talk about all star friends! You have
that wonderful) sax playing by "Snake
Davis," Cliff Stocker himself on
vocals, Jerry Donahue on guitars, Zoot Money and Paul Nuttall on pianos,
Gerry Conway on drums and Scott Whitley on bass. Lovely stuff!
And as I said the album is called " - - - - never, never, ever give up!
- - - -" What good advice!!!
- Paul Jones, BBC Radio 2 Nov 4th 2013
Stocker is a legend in himself, having gloried in the "fame" in the 70's
with the original Slack Alice.Cliff
on vocals, harmonica and acoustic guitar, the highly talented guitarists
of Chris Preston on lead and slide guitars, dobro, mandolin, etc. Colin
Redmond also on lead guitar, banjo, acoustic, etc. Alan Sagar with his
unique style on bass and fretless bass guitars and the hard hitting Liam
Barber on drums. With plenty of "guest" input,
this album has great presence. - - a great album with a variety of
tracks to keep everyone interested,
an eclectic mix and variety is the spice of life - -
- Rosy Greer (Lancashire Blues Archives.)
Rosy Greer (Lancashire Blues Archives.)
Wait ages for one and surprise,
surprise, like buses, two come along at the same time!
Available now from Amazon, iTunes and all other reputable online outlets.
The Gary Fletcher Bands'
`Giant From the Blue' album(a Roald Dahl inspired title!?) was recorded in 2011 but
has only now been properly released, though 100 pre-release
copies were sold at a couple of festivals that year. It
features 12 GF originals played by the GFB's line-up of ex
Pick Withers, ace
young guitar player Steve Ling and
Fletcher on bass with additional
contributions from Nine Below Zero's
Mark Feltham on
harmonica, jazz giant
Guy Barker on trumpet
with backing vocals from Kokomo. Gary:"By the time the sessions for the album took place the
material had been 'played in' by the band via numerous gigs
in the UK and Scandinavia and I think it shows. Often when
recording songs come
together for the first time in the studio - certainly that's
invariably the case when I record with The Blues Band - and
whilst that can produce great results the feel and
assurance of the performances on the album confirms to me
the benefit of 'running in' the tunes on the road".
'In Solitary'album was recorded in early 2013
and is a pure solo recording. No overdubs or recording
tricks - just GF voice and guitar recorded 'live in the
studio'. Gary: "I'd been playing
solo shows and written a number of songs and instrumental
guitar pieces that seem to work best in the solo format.
When selling CDs at these shows I'd started to get asked for
CDs that reflected what audience members had just seen so I
headed for the studio with my long suffering and very gifted
Bill Gautier and really enjoyed the
challenge of, effectively, one take recording! As ever Bill
worked his magic and I'm very pleased with the immediacy and
warmth of the recordings". In something of a departure for Gary he
also covers 3 songs by some of his favourite writers -Willie Dixon, Blind
Willie Johnson and Chuck Berry – and explores various
different tunings and guitars including the resonator
guitar. Amongst the 12 tracks 3 guitar instrumental tunes
best known as the charismatic front-man of Hokie Joint, has
recently launched the Help Roxi Walk appeal through Facebook
on behalf of his lovely daughter Roxanne who has been
diagnosed with spastic-diplegia cerebral-palsy in her legs
and may never walk because of it. Since learning of Roxi's
disability the family have discovered a revolutionary
treatment known as SDR, which is a treatment that cuts
select nerves and releases the spasticity (tightness) in the
legs, making moving movement much easier.
family are hoping to raise £50,000 by Roxi’s 3rd birthday
(8th August 2014) to allow Roxi to go for treatment at St.
Louis Children’s Hospital – the world-leaders in this
JoJo has had a
great response from the Blues World already, with notable
artists including Ian Siegal, Dave Arcari, Dale Storr, Giles
Robson, Matt Taylor, Todd Sharpville, Jon Amor and JoJo’s
Hokie bandmate’s all offering their services to record a
charity single cover of the iconic 'Meet Me in St. Louis'
made famous by Judy Garland. To make a donation, simply
and for regular updates on the fundraising process go to
To get involved or to contact the
family about anything simply email
Creep / Noonday Stomp
Swampcandy are an
excellent delta blues inspired band from Annapolis, Maryland, USA,
Ruben Dobbs - Guitar, Slide Guitar and Vocals Joey Mitchell - Upright Bass, Kick Drum
"Over the past decade Derrin Nauendorf has
solidified his reputation as a singer-songwriter and acoustic guitar
player of the highest order. Derrin has forged a unique sound,
comprising incredible guitar skills, soulful vocals along with
powerful songs which have won him high praise and many fans. As a
testament to this, Derrin is endorsed by Yamaha guitars and the lyrics
to his song 'Shipwrecked' were published in a textbook for English
literature released by Cambridge University Press."
RIP Magic Slim Magic Slim, a revered and
towering figure in the field of traditional Chicago blues,
died 21st February in a Philadelphia hospital at the age of 75.
Magic Slim at the Great British R&B Festival, Colne, 2010
Press Releases from
Blind Pig Records:
a revered and towering figure in the field of traditional Chicago blues,
died today in a Philadelphia hospital at the age of 75. Born Morris Holt
in Torrance, Mississippi in 1937, the guitarist performer, bandleader,
and recording artist went on to enjoy a career that launched him to
national and international recognition and acclaim.
Slim was one of
the foremost practitioners of the raw, gut-bucket, back alley blues
associated with the postwar Chicago blues sound. He and his band, the
Teardrops, were known as "the last real Chicago blues band" for their
authentic, no-frills, straight-no-chaser performance of the music.
Slim's slash and
burn guitar technique and booming vocals made for a commanding stage
presence. His intense style was the blueprint that spawned much of the
music played by modern blues artists and rockers. After catching one of
Slim's electrifying live shows at a local nightclub Eddie Vetter invited
Slim to open Pearl Jam's concert in Chicago. Magic Slim also had an
encyclopedic repertoire of hundreds of blues songs in his head, giving
his live shows a charming impromptu quality.
Growing up in
Grenada, Mississippi, Slim took an early interest in music, singing in
the church choir, and fashioning a guitar for himself with baling wire
from a broom, which he nailed to the wall. "Mama whooped me for that,"
recalled Slim. His first love was the piano, but having lost the little
finger on his right hand in a cotton gin accident, he found it difficult
to play properly. Undaunted, he simply switched to guitar, working in
the cotton fields during the week and playing the blues at house parties
on weekends. In 2011 the state of Mississippi erected a Blues Trail
Marker in Slim's honor in front of a building in Grenada where his
mother operated a restaurant.
In 1955, like
many musicians from the Deep South, Slim migrated to Chicago, where he
was mentored by his friend Magic Sam, who gave the lanky Morris his
lifelong stage moniker. Initially discouraged by the highly competitive
local music scene, Slim went back to Mississippi and spent the next five
years woodshedding and perfecting his craft. He confidently returned to
Chicago and became a formidable player on the scene, eventually putting
together the Teardrops, who would become one of the busiest and
best-loved blues bands around, and one of the most sought-after
headliners for festivals in Europe, Japan, and South America. Slim and
his group won the coveted Blues Music Award in 2003 as "Blues Band of
the Year," one of six times Slim won a BMA, considered the highest honor
in the blues. Living Blues magazine called Slim and the Teardrops
"a national treasure."
career began with a series of singles in 1966, and he recorded his first
album for a French label in 1977. With the release of
in 1990, he began a twenty-two year association with Blind Pig Records,
who issued ten albums and a live DVD over that span. His last release,
2012's Bay Boy, proved that Slim could still deliver the goods.
As No Depression said, "Magic Slim doesn't just play the blues,
he body slams his audiences with a vicious guitar attack that pins them
to the floor. His blues are the in-your-face variety."
added, "Magic Slim turned 75 in 2012, but his growling vocals have the
fire and brimstone of a Young Lion and his guitar playing is still as
razor-sharp as it was when he turned pro in the '50s."
Blind Pig Records owner Jerry Del Giudice said, "Magic Slim embodied the
heart and soul of this label. It was Magic Slim, and the guys like him,
and their music, that inspired us to start the label in the first
once remarked, "Whoever the house band in blues heaven may be, even
money says they're wearing out Magic Slim albums trying to get that
Teardrops sound down cold." Now Slim can assume his rightful place as
the leader of that band.
For a complete biography,
To see a video of Slim recording "Goin' To Mississippi" in the Blind Pig
Chicago warehouse in April of 2002, please click
"If there is such a thing as a
British 'blues pedigree', then Dave Kelly's sets the standard. Kelly is
a blues craftsman - a journeyman who has served his time with the best.
In New York he jammed with Muddy
Waters. He became a friend to Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker, who both
felt the benefit of Dave's playing in their touring bands. It was Dave's
big sister, the late Jo-Ann Kelly, who first opened his ears to the
blues, although his passion for rock and roll - and especially the work
of Buddy Holly - remains intact. In 1967 he joined The John Dummer Blues
Band. After three albums and a solo project he continued to polish his
style and technique throughout an adventurous career with some of
Britain's finest players. When The Blues Band was formed in 1979, the
post of slide guitarist and joint vocalist was a foregone conclusion -
and bringing his friend, the bassist Gary Fletcher, along to that first
rehearsal, was a bonus. Dave Kelly's guitar and vocals form the very
backbone of The Blues Band's distinctive sound. The Blues Band is still one of
Britain's best Blues Band and set up high standards.
Today, after 35 years 'treading the
boards' with the band, with his solo albums, duo tours with Paul Jones,
and soundtrack work (for commercials and such projects as BBC TV's' King
of the Ghetto' and the Comic Strip's 'Strike!') Dave Kelly is firmly
established as Europe's premier blues performer.
DAVE KELLY – Family & Friends "We
Had It All" are 18 unreleased tracks from his musical journey covers
over 35 years in the business and feat. Names like ERIC BIBB, CHRIS
BARBER, MAGGIE BELL, LONG JOHN BALDRY, CHRISTINE COLLISTER and many
Trower, one of the most
justly-acclaimed of British Rock music's elder statesmen, will release
his new album ROOTS AND BRANCHES on MANHATON RECORDS on February 4th
On the new album
& Branches Robin has produced unique cover versions of some
classic blues and R'nB tracks such as Hound Dog, The Thrill Has Gone &
Little Red Rooster. Of the new album Robin says "I started off thinking
I would do a complete album of covers, I wanted to get as far away from
the originals as possible. I came up with half a dozen arrangements,
which felt different enough, so I ended up writing some new songs as
well. I have tried to make the new songs be influenced by what I have
done with the classics, so the album blends together"
The unassuming Robin
Trower has, over the forty-odd years since his departure from
Harum, assembled an incredible body of work, from his commercial
high water mark with the epochal Bridge of Sighs album in 1974,
through to the brand new Roots &
Branches. His music has
never attempted to make concessions to commercial demands, and his
improvisational skills have consistently re-set the bar in terms of
blues-soaked inspiration and intensity. Never abashed about crediting
the late Jimi Hendrix as one of his main influences, Trower
remains one of the most talented musicians that the UK has ever
Branches comes hard on the heels of recent
Trower releases such as What Lies Beneath, and
his 2008 collaboration with Jack Bruce, and offers yet more
proof that his inspirational wellspring has far from run dry".
"Wow, an excellent album,
covers of originals and Robin's new songs certainly do blend together
beautifully" - Alan White, Earlyblues.com
The Stumble are:
Paul Melville - Lead Vocals
Colin Black - Guitars
Rob Livesey - Guitars
Cameron Sweetnam - Bass
Simon Anthony - Saxophones
Boyd Toner - Drums
Michael "Iron Man" Burks,
July 30th, 1957 - May 6, 2012
songwriter Michael "Iron Man" Burks died in Atlanta on Sunday, May 6,
2012. He was 54 years old. He was returning from a tour of Europe and
collapsed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He was
rushed to South Fulton Medical Center where he could not be revived.
"Arkansas-based blues guitarist/vocalist
Michael “Iron Man” Burks toured Europe and the UK in November 2010. performing songs from his
Alligator Records CDs, "Iron Man", "I Smell Smoke" and "Make It Rain".
Boasting remarkable natural talent and deep-rooted soulfulness, Burks’
music is driven by an intense, blue collar work ethic that has earned
him well-deserved national recognition, making him one of the blues
world’s fastest-rising stars. Burks’ powerful presence, inventive and
riveting guitar work and soul-shaking vocals make him the torchbearer of
electric blues guitar heroes. His instantly identifiable guitar sound
and his live charisma have already earned him four Blues Music Award
nominations. Burks’ first Alligator release, MAKE IT RAIN, was named as
one of the Top 200 greatest guitar recordings by GuitarOne magazine. In
2006, the Delta Cultural Center awarded Burks the prestigious Sonny
Payne Award for Blues Excellence, presented each year to an individual
or individuals who have strongly influenced blues music in Arkansas".
- Alligator Records
AND MUSICAL CELEBRATION FOR MICHAEL "IRON MAN" BURKS
The family of late blues legend Michael
"Iron Man" Burks has announced plans for a memorial and musical
celebration on Sunday, May 20, 2012. The event, open to the public, will
take place rain or shine at 3:00pm CST at Riverwoods On The Ouachita,
Bradley Ferry Road, in Burks' hometown of Camden, Arkansas.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that
donations in Burks' name be made to the HART Fund of The Blues
Foundation, which aids musicians with health care needs:
Louisiana Red lived the Blues. He not only
played the Blues, he lived it through his guitar and his singing.
Strongly influenced by Muddy Waters, Lightnin‘ Hopkins and Arthur
Crudup, he long ago found his own voice, his own style, his own form
of expression. In a career spanning over half a century, Red played
with just about every major bluesman you can name, some of the most
memorable encounters being his jams with B.B.King and Muddy Waters. His
albums have been called masterpieces by critics, and in 1983 he won a
W.C. Handy Award as best traditional blues artist.
Red recently toured the UK with Michael Messer
and I had the privilege of interviewing Red at Southport Arts Centre in
conjunction with Spencer Leigh, BBC Radio Merseyside.
You can read the interview here.
Guitarist Magazine Presents:
The Exclusive BB King DVD Fanpack
"Guitarist Magazine, is soon to release a 132 page magazine
special edition fanpack on the Mississippi Delta Blues legend that
is Mr B.B. King, featuring an exclusive one-hour documentary DVD by
renowned director and ‘Mr Rock & Roll’ himself John Brewer a prelude
to his forthcoming feature film on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
With special inside access to B.B. himself, the DVD includes in
depth interview extracts, video footage from his sell-out concert at
the Royal Albert Hall last year plus additional film and images from
the archives, highlighting his career from the 1950’s through to the
Featuring exclusive guest contributions from the world of music
including Carlos Santana, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robert Cray, Slash and
many more, plus record producer Bill Szymczyk (BB King/The Eagles) and
the record company legend that is Joe Bihari the fanpack gives a truly
informative and inspiring insight into B.B. the man, the legend, the
influence upon successive generations of guitar players across all music
Under the Guitarist
Presents banner, BB King: King of the Blues, the magazine and DVD pack
focus on King’s life and career to date and will be released on 2nd
February at the retail price of £14.99 and is available to pre-order now
in UK and US editions via MyFavouriteMagazines
Guitarist Presents BB King: King of the Blues."
RIP Etta James Three-time Grammy winner singer Etta James, a pioneer
of 1950s rhythm and blues and rock music, died from complications of
leukaemia on Friday, 20th January 2012, aged 73. Etta died at a hospital
in Riverside, California. She would have turned 74 on Wednesday.
Chris James - acoustic guitars,
also featuring ... Laurence Blackadder - double bass Steve Brookfield - hammond organ, piano, percussion, drums, bass
"Chris has played music for the last 30 years
in and around Carlisle. On the way, he has supported many of the finest
live acts around from John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Earl Thomas,
Nine Below Zero, The Hoax and The Nimmo Brothers to acoustic acts such
as Clive Gregson, Boo Hewardine, Kristina Olsen and Paul Jones. Chris
won through to the Final of the New Brunswick battle of the Blues in
April 2011 at the 100 Club in London. He is now becoming a regular
performer around the country".
Drawing inspiration from the great bluesmen of
the past such as Robert Johnston, Reverend Gary Davis and Big Bill
Broonzy, together with his warm, charismatic personality and laid back
manner, Chris delivers authentic, raw, acoustic instrumentals and songs
- an authentic Mississippi Delta sound with the voice to match.
BOB DYLAN ENCYCLOPEDIA GREATEST HITS is an audio-book, featuring a broad
selection of entries chosen and read by Michael Gray from among the 850
entries in his vast & authoritative The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia,
published in paperback by Continuum International in London & New York
in 2008 (ISBN 978-0-8264-2974-2).
Michael Gray is a critic, writer & broadcaster recognised as a world
authority on the work of Bob Dylan.
His pioneering study Song & Dance Man, published in the 1972, was the
first full length critical study of Dylan’s work. A second, updated
edition was published in 1981. The massive third edition Song & Dance
Man III - including a 112-page study of Dylan’s use of the blues - was
published a fortnight before the end of the 20th Century (2000 in the
US). A seventh reprint was issued in 2008.
The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, won the International Association of Music
Libraries’ C.B. Oldman Prize for an outstanding work of reference and
research. Now Gray has hand picked and read a selection of entries to
create BOB DYLAN ENCYCLOPEDIA GREATEST HITS.
The readings on this new album span a wide range of Dylan topics, from
his birthplace in Minnesota to his great 21st Century work "Love and
BOB DYLAN ENCYCLOPEDIA GREATEST HITS will be released by look at me
dance on CD on the 27th of April 2011 and as a digital download from
reputable retailers from the 7th April 2011 onwards.
'look at me dance' is an independent record label and publisher based in
North Yorkshire, UK.
"Reverend John Wilkins played guitar with O.V. Wright in the ’60s, as
well as performing in local churches, parties and clubs, very much in
the North Mississippi Hill Country country-blues style of his father
Reverend Robert Wilkins, whose 1930s version of “That’s No Way To Get
Along,” entitled “Prodigal Son,” was later covered by the Rolling
Stones. Since the early ’80s, Reverend John Wilkins has been pastor at
Hunter’s Chapel Church in Tate County, Mississippi. Past members of this
congregation include Fred McDowell and his wife Annie Mae, Other Turner
and Napolian Strickland".
Can’t Hurry God
sports a full bass-drums-guitar-Hammond lineup, with Reverend Wilkins’
daughters on backing vocals. Wonderful stuff. Available now from
Mississippi’s Big Legal Mess Records, an offshoot of Fat Possum Records.
Check it out here:
Like Robert Johnson Vol. 1
"Rather than try to
slavishly recreate the originals, aping Robert Johnson's playing and
singing, Hughes instead adheres to the feel of the music, while singing
in his own natural voice. It all works rather well too ....
Hughes is a gifted singer and guitarist in his own right, and has neatly
encapsulated the spirit of Robert Johnson, without ... selling his soul
to the devil in the process"
Gordon Baxter, Blues in Britain
The legendary Willie Dixon, master of the bass
film producer Bob Hewitt and his cameras are at it again with the new
DVD release of Leo Fender’s Telecaster: The Original Twang,
which documents the 60-year history of Fender’s first successful
electric guitar model.
Hewitt, a former Guitarist magazine contributor, and
director Michael Bayley Hughes continue the collaboration that created
acclaimed 2007 documentary Strat Masters, assembling a
stellar cast of Telecaster players and experts and filming on both sides
of the Atlantic. The film presents an all-encompassing look at the
guitar that has endured relatively unchanged for six decades, from
inauspicious late-1940s beginnings amid the orange groves of Fullerton,
Calif., to worldwide reverence as an indispensible stage and studio
The film’s interview subjects are certainly qualified to comment. Hewitt
and Hughes trained their cameras on a galaxy of Telecaster stars,
including Keith Richards, James Burton, Albert Lee, Jeff Beck, Steve
Cropper, Redd Volkaert, G.E. Smith, Jerry Donahue, Wilko Johnson, Buddy
Whittington, Richie Kotzen, Greg Koch, John 5 and others. The film
includes the last interview given by Knack leader Doug Fieger, who lost
his battle with cancer in February 2010, shortly after his interview
segment was filmed.
Original Twang also aims the spotlight at female
Telecaster aces. “This is the first guitar film to feature women
players,” Hughes said. “We’re thrilled to have Sue Foley, Deborah
Coleman, Viv Albertine and Chantel McGregor among our pantheon of rock
giants.” Other Telecaster experts appearing in Original
Twang include Seymour Duncan, guitar author/historians Tom
Wheeler and Richard Smith, and Norm Harris of Norm’s Rare Guitars in Los
Angeles. From the Fender corporation itself, interviews include senior
marketing vice president Richard McDonald and Abigail Ybarra, who has
worked for Fender since 1956 and is world famous for winding pickups.
“The making of this important documentary has been a real labor of love
over the past two years” Hewitt said. “It was great to talk with the
likes of Telecaster legends Steve Cropper, Keith Richards and Jeff
Beck—but really exciting to hear from the ‘new guys’ like John 5 and
Chantel McGregor. We listened to the people who bought Strat
Masters, and we have included more live performance in this
film. Anyone who loves the Fender brand like we do will certainly enjoy
Hewitt and Hughes were given access to film in Fender’s Corona, Calif.,
factory and Custom Shop. They’ve also uncovered rarely seen footage of
the factory in the 1950s that was shot by Fender’s first plant manager,
For a glimpse of 'Leo Fender’s Telecaster: The Original Twang',
watch this clip: