The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall Cardiff
Tonight the last Friday of April the packed St David’s Hall was treated to a programme of two halves. A musical programme of two movements. The first Prog Rock modern, progressive and pertinent as Steve Hackettunveiled live numbers from his stunning album The Night Siren and dipping onto four of his many solo albums. The second helping on this musical palette of delights was a revisiting of Genesis, the majority drawn from Wind and Wuthering celebrating forty years since its release.
For two hours, reality suspended as St David’s Hall was bathed in the multi-instrumental tones and textures created by Steve Hackett and the musicians that surround him. With an array of wind instruments including flute, penny whistle and soprano sax, keys, and a mixture of electronic wizardry, Rob Townsend; behind him surround by keys Roger King; the rhythm section of Gary O’Toole behind a sparkling shield of cymbals and bassist Nick Beggs with fretless and twin-necked instruments; and joining the stage for the second half vocalist Nad Sylvan.
With a discography full of depth and interest the night started with a dip into his third solo album Spectral Mornings and Every Day with the soprano sax adding brightness and colour we knew this wasn’t going to be an everyday performance we were in for something special. Gently easing us in with the familiar we were soon hearing the new album, the dramatic instrumental El Niňo so early on a number that was going to be one of the many highlights of the evening. The music from the instruments was woven in to a sonic technicolour coat of shape and form, prog rock that enthralled, informs and takes you deep within yourself. Three other tracks from the Night Siren were incorporated into the first set, as he stepped back into the past The Steppes fitted seamlessly into the collection with its Eastern feel.
The light show throughout added a sense of drama as the swirling patterns fell across the stage then up through the tiers that form the many faceted auditorium of St David’s Hall. As we stepped into The Skeleton Gallery the music live reinforcing the power of Steve Hackett’s latest recording and then to the album’s opening track Behind The Smoke. With a political comment about Brexit, an audience divided Steve reminded us that his lineage included Polish refugees. He sang the lyrics that explore the despair of the displaced and how borders contain. Whilst the music crossed all boundaries finding a common coming together through the power of the musical note tonight in Cardiff. This emotional masterpiece should be the earworm that dictates our walk through life and how we meet and greet strangers from a different place. Last visit to the album is Serpentine, dedicated to his father and gentler times. Inspired by his father selling paintings in Hyde Park, London. Closing out the set with Rise Again and Shadow Of The Hierophant; with Nick Beggs sitting on the floor using his bass pedals creating a spellbinding atmosphere. We had been on a voyage as acolytes and the feet of superb musicians who deliver prog rock that is mesmerizing, entertaining and often beautiful music, that cascades and falls away leaving a thoughtful phrase or question.
The Second set, was much anticipated with the Cardiff crowd looking forward to old favourites and hearing Wind & Wuthering tracks live once again. Opening with Eleventh Earl of Mar we were once again introduced to the vocals of Nad Sylvan. They are a beguiling mix of Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins yet never pale imitations Nad brings his own sonic quality and vocal interpretations to every number. The cheer for One For the Vine, when announced was loud and very happy. Cardiff prog rockers were delighted. Then the atmosphere changed as we were treated to an Acoustic Noodle, Steve on stage with acoustic guitar joined by the band at the end a quiet interlude, with classical guitar playing, hints of flamenco and a moment of reflection. The quiet was broken with Blood on the Rooftops, and with Inside Out written by Phil Collins, an early lyric that was left off the final cut of Wind And Wuthering; a Cinderella song quipped Hackett, included tonight as it fits in with the rest. Closing out the set that highlighted the power of Genesis was Musical Box, a wonderful atmospheric number, Nad, using the tambourine to great effect as he added drama to the lyrics. Tonight was a great nostalgic set of Genesis classics.
St David’s Hall was resplendent in the glow of Prog Rock from Steve Hackett and his band of musicians, we had been bathed in lights of every hue and taken on a journey through the power of lyrics and the complexities of multi-instruments exploring the notes of the octaves. The sound was superb, the audience attentive and as one rose as The Musical Box faded. The encore the perfect Genesis titled number Los Endos. This must not be the end, Steve Hackett and his Progressive Rock is welcome back in town anytime. For me I enjoyed the reminiscent quality of the Genesis numbers, they are familiar and safe, BUT the new solo numbers have an edge and intimacy they are modernity looking forward not back.
The tour continues check out dates and venues HERE A musical journey to be enjoyed and definitely not missed!
The Kentucky Headhunters Invite The U.K. On Safari
Following on from last year’s performance at the Ramblin’ Man Fair, Grammy Award-winners The Kentucky Headhunters are set to return to the UK in October, for a handful of shows in support of twelfth album, ‘On Safari’. Released last November by Plowboy Records/Practice House Records, the southern rock LP tips the hat to family and the southern way of life in the USA.
Bluesdoodles loved the album “On Safari, is a jukebox of sounds that never crash and burn, they all fit into the album” Why the Album title On Safari? The music is taken from the inspiration gained on their first time trip overseas. Pushed out of their comfort zone by Richard’s son John Fred Young they traveled to Europe. The result is music that sparkles with the excitement of traveling and being On Safari. Band members/brothers Richard and Fred Young poignantly lost their father just three days before heading into the studio to record the album, which they have dedicated in his memory. Read what else we said HERE
Southern Rock and Live music fans now have eight opportunities to catch The Kentucky Headhunters play their music live, loud and let you join in On Safari with a band that will always excite. With their trademark rock n roll music this Grammy winning, chart-topping band will never disappoint when you want fun.
Throughout their envious five decade career, the band have toured the USA extensively, but only ventured to Europe for the first time in 2016. The band credits Richard Young’s son, John Fred, and his Black Stone Cherryband mates for pushing them out of their comfort zone to make the trek abroad, where many of the Headhunters’ rock influences call home.
Lauded by Billboard as a “great American rock ‘n’ roll band,” don’t miss this rare chance to catch The Kentucky Headhunters live, and witness their one of a kind sound that has given them the longevity in this industry that many acts only dream of.
The Kentucky Headhunters Invite The U.K. On Safari it would rude not to catch them on one of the eight dates.
Steve Hackett Exploring The Night Siren on his latest Album
Steve Hackett Exploring The Night Siren on his latest Album, his twenty-fifth as a solo artist a silver landmark of a distinguished career. Sit back, and be taken on an extravaganza of musical experiences. The Night Siren has its own tuneful call, melding together modern rock instruments with sounds from the dawn of time as Persian Oud meets Andean Quena via the strings of the viola and bass clarinet. Incorporating tradition with contemporary sounds works as The Night Siren weaves musical tonal textures under the guidance and artistry of Steve Hackett. With the complexities of string, woodwind and percussive instrumentation building a landscape where there is no simple journey of going in a straight line to your destination. The music flows, creating eddies, swells and detours, taking your ear to places that are delightful as Progressive Rock fills the room with layers of interest. Never self-indulgent always with a purpose exploring peace, how light will stop the plunge into darkness and self-destruction.
Hackett has gathered around him a group of artists who develop the scope of the instrument that shapes the music without constraints. The album has a global vision, reflected as we travel from the cold to heat. Steve Hackett travelled around the planet working with Icelandic drummer Gunnlaugur Briem, Azerbaijan tar player Malik Mansurov, Israeli vocalist Kobi Farhi and Arabic singer Mira Awad, who represented Israel in the, Eurovision song contest.
Opening the epic musical journey we join the legendary prog-rock guitarist and vocalist as the veil is lifted and we see Behind The Smoke. Behind the smoke on this socio-political song exploring displaced refugees and leader’s own self-interest of protecting borders. This is an album of music without borders, inventive and without self-constraint. This is music that is both considered, intriguing and above all else exciting. My first experience of the stringed Persian instrument Tar; the mystical sound pulls in the guitar and the sultry Eastern vocals from Amanda. The instrumental breaks have a sense of purpose and inherent rhythm that says more than the words. The didgeridoo under Sara’s guidance is joined by her father, Ferenec Kovacs trumpet as we travel to Fifty Miles from the North Pole. The opening is quiet, the sound is cool creating a soundscape of a journey across a landscape cold, ‘’it can freeze your soul”
The dramatic opening of El Niño with drums and strings describes the power of this force of nature as the orchestra of sounds creates the soundscapes of nature’s fury. All the tracks are mesmerising, as we step to the Other Side of the Wall we enter a dream zone shaping a different hegemony one of peace, solution and tranquility refuting the way the world seems to be a head full of xenophobia, hatred and intolerance. The music is cathartic a window of hope and renewal.
Rock, rises above on Inca Terra and In Another Life. Civilizations from the past connect the two melodies and cascade through the middle of the album, revitalizing and shining light on mysteries. Instruments from previous times help in the linking of the world of the past and now as quena and Uilleann pipes are used to great effect in shaping the melodic mood.
As the album draws to its worldly conclusion West To East fate is explored as we are lead to ask why the birds have left the sky. It is a message that we need to look into the East not expect the traffic of understanding has to flow East to West. We need to find what we have in common and then Peace can be found. There is hope and this is the track that lightens the night siren with a message of renewal. Closing with The Gift the shortest track, we are under the spell of Steve Hackett’s guitar playing and the lusciousness of the strings picking up the melody. The instrumental pulls the themes together once more re-affirming the talent of Steve Hackett.
The Night Siren, is more than a collection of eleven tracks. The Night Siren a celebration of the depth of cultures throughout the world. The wealth of music, the wealth of tones, the wealth of what is good in humanity. The Night Siren is a call to action for a different world. Open, giving and tolerant. The Night Siren is composition that will on every listen enthrall and entrance. Prog-rock does not get better than this. Albums do not get better than this. The Night Siren is masterful and the best yet from the talented musical mind of Steve Hackett.
Second albums are always a difficult journey to take. Following on From Quick & Dirty; Blues Engine are on the right Blues Tracks with number two. Tracks definitely consolidates this London-based band Blues credential
Opening with a measured soulfully melodic Drop Dead Ugly, the reverse of what the title may have suggested, definitely gentle rather than dirty blues. As you step on board the eleven musical detours the Blues Engine are taking us on Tracks. The vocals of Katya Chernyakova are full of luscious textures that are reflected back by the considered guitar work of Alex Cooray. The juxta positioning of crisp and soft, sweet and sour are a signature of Blues Engine giving the blues a contemporary edge whilst still full of tradition. The ten originals and a single cover keeps you entertained and engaged as the Tracks widen out with Gunnysack John, harder edge faster tempo and juicy harp from guest Nick Payne. It is the rhythm section that keeps this ditty on the right track curling towards its destination with beat that is sustained and clear the combination of new drummer Hamish Burchell & bassist Alexander K Liutai. The tracks meander with a gentle flow of the blues picking up a Latino vibe on Lonely By Your Side full of warmth, the quartet are having fun exploring the tempos that mix up the blues. Opening with deep rumbling bass Boatman’s Blues takes us down the river with Alex on guitar raising the tone and Katya hitting the mid-range this is a sad song full of blues wistfulness.
Closing out with their version of Jimmy Cox’s Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out; leaving you with blues chiming as the sound fades. Having reached the end one track resonates as the star it is a Peter Green infused, British Blues number Tell Me A Riddle. Slow, thoughtful, melodies that suit the tonal range of Blues Engine.
What stops this album being outstanding is difficult to pinpoint. Every track is true to the sound Blues Engine creates. It is an album you would return to and smile and joy the sharp blues of Tracks that glint like well-cut Sapphire, reflecting out and beyond the scope of electric blues. Missing, it is a cutting edge, the dirty tones of blues and stories that really shout for attention. That said Tracks certainly never goes off the rails under the hands of Blues Engine.
The StoneCoats, young blues-rock band infused with the growing popularity of country/southern rock vibe from Brandon Mississippi debut album is definitely one to explore. The opening track Another Thought For Today, left me with only one thought I want to hear more. The quartet is vocalist who plays guitar Brandon Barnett, Guitarist Carson Bristow, bassist Ashten Frisella and Leighton Bristow combining a rhythm double as bassist and drummer.
The tempo changes with a chugging boogie that hits that tonal zone where music has a driving excitement. The influences from the past sit gentle, yes we can compare to The Doors, Allman Brothers even Grateful Dead. The reality is The StoneCoats are in the process of developing their own sound that is contemporary colliding with the music that has flown up and down Route 61. The title track fails to hit the mark as the standout track, with its gentle swaying melodic lines lacking grit and determination that the title promised. The big keyboard chord and southern guitar leads into Find You, finding the StoneCoats is a pleasure as the debut promises to be the stepping stone for the band to grow. The country vibe takes over for Cheated Heart and we are left with the blues as the album closes with When You Are Down. If there is one track that epitomizes the sound of The StoneCoats it is Cross That Bridge; with vocals that hit the mark and the guitar licks stay with you, a memorable track on a debut album initiating the listener’s memories of The StoneCoats notable musicianship.
Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats; as they blend the tones of today mixing up a recipe of musical success a pinch of Southern Rock, a soupçon of country mixed together with a shot of Blues we have a recipe for music that will be tasty.
Live Albums capture a moment, freezing the live sound into the grooves that you can take home and play. Tedeschi Trucks Band Music Live From Fox Oakland comprises fifteen impeccable tracks across two CDs and does more that capture you in the moment. The album is a total immersion into a world where the blues based Tedeschi Trucks Band takes you to sonic places that enthrall and leave you breathless with joy. The lengths of the tracks vary from short and sweet Within You, Without You, full of Eastern mysticism and crowds whoops as the Beatles number is delivered with a delicacy and passion; through to the other end of the spectrum of nearly fifteen minutes of Tedeschi magic on I Want More complete with a Soul Sacrifice outro; could be self-indulgent time filling. Not under the hands of the jamming, improvisation virtuosity led by Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi every track is full of stylish twists and turns a music fairy dust of those special wow moments. The twelve-piece band gives Trucks and Tedeschi the choice of the sound they want to create as the instruments are at times maximized to full tonal depth and volume; or diminished into the powerful simplicity of vocals and keys. Every combination is used as the music played by Tedeschi Trucks Band Music Live From Fox Oakland creates a sonic mural of deep tonal pleasure. The colouring from the broad spectrum palette of jazz, the power hammer of rock, the hit of funk and the roots of the Blues that holds the Tedeschi sound together.
Picking out a few numbers from this magnum opus, is a real challenge. Leonard Cohen’s Bird On The Wire must be one, the combination of Susan Tedeschi’s vocals and Kofi Burbridge keys are a combination that is full of sensitivity, passion and music that sears straight to the heart. Then there is the re-working of I Pity The Fool, dominated by the vocals on this Bobby Blue Bland’s classic; the horns section pulling you deep into the vibe created. We all love a stomp, Sleepy John Estes’ Leavin’ Trunk provides this in buckets changing the tempo and providing a cascade of tones, and textures as horns guitar and vocals deliver a sound that is uncomplicated but full of interest as they explore the depths of the blues.
Into the mix of clever covers add the growing discography of Tedeschi Trucks numbers where they have input into the writing we have a selection of numbers that explores the musical journey that has been the sound track of the last hundred years. As ever Dereck Trucks guitar is majestic. Full of licks and riffs adding a luscious tone to every track as the interplay between the other instruments and Susan’s vocals create a sound board full of delights.
You may ask, do you want another live album with its mix of originals and re-working of classics that you already have numerous variations of and the original? Do you want another Tedeschi Trucks Band Album where half a dozen tracks are from last year’s album Let Me Get By? For me the answer is a resounding YES! Tedeschi Trucks Band Music Live From Fox Oakland, is full of fresh vitality and a pure hedonistic pleasure to sit and listen to from beginning to end time and time again.
Led Zeppelin Classics Mastered by Violins and more
Tonight, was the juxtaposition of classic rock courtesy of Led Zeppelin favourites with the Heart of England Orchestra, renamed for the UK Tour with Zep Boys Black Dog Orchestra. Tonight the Colston Hall stage had the unusual combination of Marshall Stacks with music stands for strings and brass; with the drummer front and left of stage held within a Perspex cage.
Australian Zep Boys have a passion for Zep’s music and have created something more than a tribute band. Does it work for me a mix of yes and maybe? The Colston Hall audience was definitely won over as they got up and danced and cheered the boys from down under. The lightshow was spectacular and the musicianship superb. For me though there was something missing, the orchestration by Nick Buck was good, but something was missing. What was it? Then it dawned on me it was the freedom of improvisation that a live rock show has that makes live music have that element of danger and interest as the rock on stage goes off-piste.
The thirty-Five piece Black Dog Orchestra added a new dimension of strings, brass and woodwind. The trombones overpowered at times, and more cellos would have given a deeper tonal texture. Upfront was the Zep Boys who knew how to rock with Vince Contario leading with vocals that capture the essence of Robert Plant. Joining Vince were Tzan Niko with a phalanx of guitars including the trademark double neck; bassist Warwick Cheatle and in his cage drummer Bradley Polain, who in 2017, thrity-Seven years after the untimely death of John Bonham found the inner Bonzo in the delivery of Moby Dick. The set list was divided in two halves and there is no doubt that some worked better than others in this experimental format.
The opening of the evening with Black Dog Orchestra, was an intriguing overture and insight into the evening as Black Dog, Stairway to Heaven Kashmir and other snippets flowed out over the auditorium.
The first set highlight was The Rain Song, though it did lose the balladic form with the addition of the orchestra. Ending with Rock n’ Roll the audience were left wanting more; there were a lot of happy Zep fans in the house tonight.
Opening the second set with Kashmir, the combination really worked the sound was balanced and the ethereal sound of the orchestra exploded with a wall of lush strings cascading over the guitar. In the set was Stairway to Heaven another outing for the twin-neck from Nico as was Song Remains The Same. Closing the night with Whole Lotta Love, the audience went wild and there was a lot of love on the room for Zep Boys and Black Dog Orchestra.
The combination was a crowd pleasing winner, proving once again the power of Zeppelin’s songs. Rock is a flexible beast and Led Zeppelin discography certainly met the world of classic instruments front on and came out on top. Yes, the combination of Marshalls and violin stands worked most of the time and certainly the first tour to the UK of Zep Boys combining with Black Dog Orchestra is a success in the eyes of the audience last night in Colston Hall.
Back in the O2 Sheffield for the second year HRH Blues III promised with a deep blues infused line-up to be an Easter full of music. They certainly delivered across the two stages, as ever clashes were at times frustrating, demonstrating the wealth of blues in town this weekend.
HRH Blues once again created an ambience, professional on the outside, inside pure unadulterated fun of listening to live music. The two days had a mix of blues from heavy and raw through to delicate and everything in-between. More people this year stepping on the bright blue HRH Blues Train crammed with live music in Sheffield.
With two stages, we heard a total of twenty-two bands and for some Royalty Passes & Media an extra five acoustic acts early on Sunday morning. The one disappointment for many was the missing act. King King had to pull out at the last-minute – now we know it was due to Alan Nimmo having acute Laryngitis. With the number of King King T-shirts in the audience you could have expected annoyance, but all you heard and saw on social media was empathy, love and get well. The bands that did play filled the gap with extended sets from Simon McBride and Ten Years After and a slightly early Saturday.
Getting the Easter music fest started was Dani Wilde who set the scene with quality opening act it was going to be high quality blues form the first to last note. Highlights in the main stage on Saturday were…
For the vast majority that I spoke to the stand out band of the first day and the festival were Billy Walton Band, they bought fun, blues and music that just gets every one excited. Following on from the band that wowed the audience and were still being talked about as the festival closed. Why? A full on band who really get that good-time vibe flowing the boys from New Jersey bring that East Coast joie-de-vie. Billy and the band want you want to party all night. With a horn section adding texture and tone they are just very entertaining and totally enjoyable. They were ready to party with the festival a fan supplied an array of hats and they were delighted to play with the donated headgear. The atmosphere was now loud, electric with blues flowing through the O2.
Follow that, well this is HRH nothing safe, nothing out-of-bounds as The Graveltones, a duo took to the stage. Heavy, raucous, energetic and loud they divided the room just as Marmite on toast would! The guitar was raw and the drumming hard with splinters of wood being torn from the sticks. Heavy, hard with complex rhythms and bucket loads of feel, delivering a punchy set that re-defines duos and the blues.
All aboard the next station on the blues train journey to Finnish Blues with Erja Lyytinen and her band. For many of her fans the first time we have had the opportunity to listen to the music from her acclaimed album Stolen Hearts. I was definitely excited having given her the full 10-doodle paws. High class set from the renowned queen of the blues slide guitar. In the set is Black Ocean for me a highlight and favourite on the album now a live favourite as prog meets blues under the charms and skills of Erja. We joined her on the rocking Chair, sang along with Stolen hearts. Then the trained steamed up the hill with her interpretation of Tina Turner’s Steamy windows. This was blues that sparkled as Erja smiled, played and won our hearts.
This year with the addition of food stalls and coffee there was no need to leave the arena and miss a single note of blues that was weaving their magic over the audience. Now we had two stages running parallel always a conundrum what to stay and listen too. Quick run upstairs to catch some of Will Wilde, this was the decision of many as the second stage was rammed and Will’s harmonica playing won him many new fans. For some the band of the weekend having never heard him play before. Will delivers more ‘authentic’ blues almost a match for Erja, a shame about the clash of blues titans. Will is one of the best blues-harp players on the UK circuit. Now we had a festival exploding under the glories of blues in full flight.
Back downstairs for Pig Iron returning for the second year. Describing themselves as Blues Metal this was pounding heavy blues that incorporates some delicate harp playing. Upstairs was Troy Redfern, the Welsh slide guitar troubadour. With tracks from his current album Backdoor Hoodoo. His rendition of John The Revelator is always a crowd-pleasing winner as it was tonight in Sheffield. The HRH Blues train was now gathering speed and pulling in a wide variety of acts.
Now back to the main stage for Simon McBride and the headliners returning for the second year Ten Year After. First, a stunning blues rock guitarist Simon McBride. The set saturated with scintillating riffs and licks making Simon’s PRS guitar sing and squeal. An accomplished set strewn with covers to extend the time on stage and numbers from his last two albums. What a set it was a tone the festival wanted to hear that mix of SRV, Hendrix woven together with McBride magic. The dueling between bass and guitar was magnificent. As he played Good Times Roll, following a McBride favourite Down To The Wire we were definitely having a great Easter Saturday as he closed with Deadman Walking we were all alive with festival fever.
After fifty years of touring with Ten Years After Chick Churchill & Ric Lee are now joined by bassist Colin Hodgkinson and the charismatic Marcus Bonfanti. Marcus’ vocals are full of power, tonal texture, his guitar playing sharp and the harp adds another dimension to the Ten Year After sound of 2017. No Ten Year After set is complete without The Hobbit, Ric Lee and his drumming acrobatics. A wonderful set blending old stalwarts and new numbers from the forthcoming album A Sting In The Tale out later this year. The whole set is a perfect platform for showcasing what a great and oft underrated guitarist Marcus is. Wow moments of the festival with Love Like A Man and Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. Ten Years After strong after Fifty-years and the thrill of a new album. What a Saturday now for Sunday’s delights.
Sunday, started with a Smörgåsbord of acoustic showcases, including Chantel McGregor; Big Boy Bloater, Crow Black Chicken and Dan Patlansky who we would be hearing in full amplified glory during the day. The sets were chilled whilst also demonstrating the varied sounds achievable from the acoustic. This was personified by the difference between Big Boy Bloater and Dan Patlansky, same guitar totally different tone and approach. We heard hollers, blues and songs given new shapes a perfect slow wake up call to join the main blues train downstairs on stage one. Into the mix the wonderful vocals and charm of Jack Hutchinson a welcomed addition to any blues gathering, with a new band album, Set Your Heart For The Sun, let’s hope he is back electric in 2018.
What a stunning set once again from the mighty Sean Webster with his new band The Deadlines. Having heard Sean many times he never disappoints, unsurprisingly he was the find of the weekend for many. His rendition of I’d Rather Go Blind moved many to tears with the raw, intense emotion he puts into every word sung and note played. Sean has the winning combination of a superb blues voice and plays the guitar with lightning blue touch. Now living in Netherlands, Sean is the enigma of the British Blues scene never reaching the heights his playing should be taking him. Let’s hope the station stop on HRH Blues Train will be the launch pad for a renaissance of Sean the bluesman. Following on from Sean, in a bright red dress is Chantel McGregor always a firm favourite with her many fans. The set was a mix of favourites and her latest album. Anyone hoping for some new material would be disappointed, though there was a new drummer in the band. The set was safe, definitely rockier than the early days of Chantel. She still smiles with warmth and affection and Freefalling was a guitar blazing delight as were the other guitar improvisations. Her rhythm section gives her a solid platform, bassist Colin Sutton and Ollie Goss on Drums. The mischievous Chantel was ever present with ‘Aving A Giraffe a fun out take celebrating the April the Giraffe giving birth the story that Chantel has been following on Social media. The set overall felt a little flat, come on Chantel lets have some new McGregor gems soon. This is the nuances that makes live music fun a have to be there moment. British Blues celebration continues with Laurence Jones with his new band. Laurence is maturing the new band seems to fit his style and the addition of Bennet Holland on keys certainly adds some textures to the music complementing Laurence’s stinging guitar. We are enjoying this stop on the train. Yes, this is British blues-rock personified; what is great to see Laurence continuing to grow in stature, developing his sound and staying fresh. The longer lead breaks played with growing confidence adds interest and variance in the live sound. Fantastic audience participation during JJ Cale’s Cocaine, conducted with vigour and winning smile from Laurence more Cream and Clapton than Cale. That is no bad thing in a stalwart of the blues circuit who wins fans whenever he picks up his guitar and plays. .
Quick sojourn to Stage 2 for StoneWire a band from the South coast that I had heard about. This is a five-piece led by a big voice. Another great female vocalist out front shaping the StoneWire sound. Whilst on stage one, young gun Aaron Keylock, was completing the very British Blues opening to the day. Solid set as this man’s stage presence grows. He is full of potential and the setlist was a perfect showcasing opportunity for Across The Grain his debut album. The slide guitar was over loud and the vocals slurred but every time you hear him there is improvement, Spin The Bottle a set residence that suits this young man who is truly motivated and shaped by the blues. Not to be missed, if you get the opportunity another HRH Blues festival favourites are definitely Black Crow Chicken. The sound is earthy, dirty blues. Every song has a colourful story as they take the blues train down an Irish lane as roots blues collide with Irish Tradition through the amplifier. The humour is dry and all-encompassing that follows through into the strong lyrics. With Jonestown and a tribute to Pat McManus from Pariah Brothers, the latest album. This is a band I could have listened to for longer. A definite bring back next year request. With Big Boy Bloater following, his acoustic set was superb so we were looking forward to electric Luxury Hobo. The sound was too loud for the small stage area and that meant the music lost its edge. That said what a rendition of bloater blues pushing them to the limits and he knows how to entertain the crowds vital for any set and sometimes missing. The superb track from his album Luxury Hobo, It Came From The Swamp won him many fans another strong contender for stage one 2018.
Now back to Stage 1 for South African, Dan Patlansky who always delivers fireworks from his Strat. Tonight, with a band of session players from Germany we were treated to a stand out set of guitar acrobatics. Old Red is the signatures Strat of Dan, and is off for a refurb after this UK tour. With his latest single from Introvertigo, Sonova Faith given a live airing we hear the clever improvisation that is part of the live show. Never expect to hear the songs the same, chords and lyrics are a constant but the interpretation every time is a certainty. Dan can rock his blues, and then with an application of the blues breaks will slow it right down. Then you listen with care as it is as good as it gets. Dan Patlansky is a showman. He brings Laurence Jones back to play Bright Lights, Big City that sees a guitar dueling that sparked with jaw dropping intensity. Closing the set, instrumental My Chana is a majestic exploration of the every sound a strat can make. As he experiments with feedback, ringing single notes. The audience are spellbound, a collective holding of breath with wonderment. No one wanted the moment to end. Sadly, it did one more act Stan Webbs Chicken Shack and 2017 HRH Blues fell silent.
Easter Sunday, this year more music that chocolate. What a tasty day once again HRH train ride was full of blues hooks, licks and riffs, laughs and friends the perfect festival journey.
HRH Blues III blues train was full of exciting stops along the complex musical map that incorporates The Blues. The festival does not rely on have the same favourite acts returning each year. Weaving into the acts surprises and variance in the sound of blues.
With such an array of blues it is unsurprising, with not a single act announced HRH Blues IV; 14-15th April 2018is already over eighty percent sold. People want to come back, reserving there spot for when the HRH Blues train leaves the station once again in Sheffield 2018. HRH Blues a definite for Blues lovers diaries.
Joe Bonamassa Live At Carnegie Hall – An Acoustic Evening Out June 2017 – On January 21st and 22nd 2016 world-renowned platinum-selling and Grammy-nominated blues-rock, singer-songwriter and guitarist Joe Bonamassa performed two unique all-acoustic shows at the iconic Carnegie Hall in New York City. Both performances were filmed and made into “Joe Bonamassa Live At Carnegie Hall – An Acoustic Evening”.
“Joe Bonamassa Live At Carnegie Hall – An Acoustic Evening” is an evening of extraordinary music with new arrangements of favourite songs as well as brand new, never-before-heard songs.
The line-up is completed with Reese Wynans (piano), Anton Fig (Drums) Eric Bazilian (mandolin, hurdy-gurdy, saxophone, acoustic guitar, vocals), and three Australian backing vocalists, Mahalia Barnes, Juanita Tippins and Gary Pinto.
Bonamassa comments: “Despite being among the most ambitious things I’ve done – I played with a 9 piece acoustic band – It came out great. It was a typical Joe freak show.”
Everyone knows the old saying about how to get to Carnegie Hall, but Bonamassa has truly lived that advice. His entire life and musical career had been practice for this moment, and a young blues-boy finally made good on a childhood dream of playing one of the most hallowed stages in the world.
This stripped-down, all-acoustic show allowed his fans a glimpse into his soul and presented a thrilling and musically dangerous spectacle akin to walking a tightrope without a net.
“JOE BONAMASSA LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL – AN ACOUSTIC EVENING” – TRACKLISTING
The Valley Runs
Driving Towards The Daylight
Black Lung Heartache
Blue And Evil
Get Back My Tomorrow
How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live
Song Of Yesterday
Woke Up Dreaming
Joe Bonamassa Live At Carnegie Hall – An Acoustic Evening Out June 2017
Joe Bonamassa is the winner of the Sena Performers European Guitar Award 2017 (SEGA). He will receive the award at a special ceremony on 21st May in the Dutch city of Bergen op Zoom. Last year Steve Vai won and accepted the award in person in the same town. An impressive list of former winners of the Sena Performers European Guitar Award led the way for him: Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Brian May from Queen, Walter Trout and Steve Lukather from the band Toto.
Joe says: “This is really a big thing for me, looking at the people who won it before me. Guitar players like Brian May, Steve Vai, Steve Lukather and Walter Trout are such an inspiration. I’m honoured by this.”
Dan Patlansky In Conversation
Touring 2017 and Beyond
BD: Morning Dan, great to see and catch up with you in Sheffield at HRH Blues and the opportunity to talk this morning
BD: Dan Patlansky,Back in UK and Europe for an exciting tour. Latest single Sonova Faith from the award-winning and acclaimed album Introvertigo.Returning to venues new and old favourites? With a new band tell us about your touring plan. Starting off at Mr Kyps with Ash Wilson opening and HRH festival you have hit the ground running
DP: Yes, back in UK and Europe with second round touring with Introvertigo. Following the achievement of Introvertigo being number 1 Blues Rock Album of 2016 by the influential American website Blues Rock Review. So we are back with a new band of session musicians from Germany bringing a different feel from my South African band. Part tour back at The Globe in Cardiff which will be such fun with Ash Wilson opening a great band, great songs the combination will be a good night of live music following on from Mr Kyps. HRH Blues was amazing great crowd and some amazing bands the atmosphere was really positive.
BD: Having heard your acoustic set at HRH which was wonderful, elegant, beautiful with lingering notes that I wanted to last forever; have you thought about doing more acoustic in the UK?
DP: Yes, it was fun. Acoustic is a different beast to playing electric. In some ways limiting with the change of guitar style. It is a challenge in the way you play and think about the music. As for playing acoustic in the UK; back in South Africa we often do the combination acting as our own support act. Yet to do that in the UK. Perhaps for the future; the logistic of travelling with an Acoustic rig as well as electric will be another travelling challenge. For acoustic at HRH I borrowed Big Boy Bloaters guitar, it was great to play and a big thank you to Big Boy Bloater’s loan of his lovely acoustic guitar. It was a different vibe when I played the guitar showing the power of acoustic.
BD: We all love to hear you get that special sound out of your Strat Old Red and is certainly how you continue to build your fan base. Tell us about strings, pickups and I believe you are retiring the beautiful guitar. How will you find a replacement?
DP: I play with twelve gauge strings, they are considered heavy, but I have always used them. I don’t just use them for the showmanship of the last number. I like the sound they produce. I use standard Fender pickup. For the last number, I turn my amp up to achieve sonic textures, feedback making it as musical as possible. I always have the amp fairly high, I play loud which is why I have speakers facing the wings and turn them up which can surprise front of house guys.
Old Red not being retired just refining parts of her. Just the neck is being overhauled. The neck has become a liability, 1960’s Fenders used Brazilian Rosewood, this is now a restricted wood and can cause a problem at customs in some countries. In addition, the neck is getting tired and twisted. When I get back home from this tour I’ll be getting a new neck for the guitar. A face-lift, not retirement.
BD: How do you keep the tracks we love to hear you play the sound is so fresh and vibrant when playing live? It is as if we are hearing the tracks for the first time as you add interest and surprises.
DP: This tour there is a new dynamic with the German musicians. It is though the nature of the music improvising. I may be playing the same song every night on tour, yes the melody, lyrics and chords stay the same but I go in different directions. Not always the way I expect, I grew up playing Jazz music the king of improvisation so every night has its own journey. Can be good or not that is the nature of the beast. It keeps the music exciting for us as musicians and puts a fresh breath into every night’s performance. We are definitely not playing by numbers, traditional blues is steeped in improvisation. I am just keeping that tradition alive and flourishing through my music.
BD: With a hectic touring schedule here, Europe and South Africa what are your plans for 2017 and beyond?
DP: Yes touring is hectic but always great to catch up with friends and fans we make on the tour. This will be the last UK tour focused on Introvertigo. I have dates in South Africa when I return. Then in June we go back in the studio with new songs, new ideas for my next album which will be released Spring 2018. Then back touring South Africa. We are also possibly back in the UK November 2017; where we could be previewing new tracks from the forthcoming album. So watch this space once dates finalized we will be letting the fans know.
BD: You are back in Cardiff at The Globe, what makes venues fun to return to? Is it building the fan base?
DP: Yes, excited to be playing back in Cardiff. I love the vibe of the venue. Why return to venues, it is a bit of both the venue and the audience is a big part of the show. The Globe is a great little venue, great audience who have such a positive response. I love the sound of the venue, the guitar always sounds good to me on stage which is really satisfying. The Globe is a loud room, lots hard surfaces. It is a venue I will always look forward to playing. The Cardiff crowd are always up for loud music and to enjoy the blues.
BD: Thank you for sharing with your growing group of fans. We have asked you your fantasy band, what you are listening to in previous interviews. So today who would you invite to play with Dan Patlansky band?
DP: Dream scenario would be David Gilmore from Pink Floyd. Gilmore got me into music generally and in particular the guitar.
BD: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule and looking forward to seeing you play live in Cardiff on 4th May.
READ what Bluesdoodles said about the TEN Doodle paw album Introvertigo – We voted the album as the best Overseas album heard over at Bluesdoodles HQ.
Introvertigo with its carefully crafted lyrics that blend urbane wit and honest observation, this is blues pertinent to today’s lifestyles, not so much whisky and women more the corruption of power and social interaction. Ten tracks there are no fillers every number is full of strength and tonal power but there is not an off note or lyric.