In Conversation with Jared James Nichols back on UK Tour

In Conversation with Jared James Nichols back on UK Tour

In Conversation with Jared James Nichols back on UK Tour

 

BD: Thank you for taking time to talk to Bluesdoodles again we are ready and waiting for Black Magic your new highly anticipated album to arrive on the desk from Listenable Records. In the meantime you have released the first single as a tempter “Last Chance”. The number feels heavier, what inspired you to write the number?
JJN: It is definitely heavier, the whole record is full of different shades, tones and styles. People will not be expecting it to be so heavy, decided to release Last Chance to come out with a bang from the new album to grab the ear. It is a sample of styles the album will be exciting lots of blues influences and some really great moments with even some funky stuff.

Listen to Last Chance Here

 

BD: You have talked a lot about the inspiration the Blues provides you. What do you believe spicing it up with Rock adds to the format; or what is your definition of The Blues in 21st Century?
JJN:
Playing now, it is music that when I play the masses of 2017 can relate to understand and enjoy the music. It is a fine line with the blues, honouring the blues legacy with what music people want to listen to. I try to bridge the gap with influences from the classics with modern influences. I have absorbed the music of people I have supported from Walter Trout; Zakk Wylde; UFO; Saxon they do influence with the reaction from different crowds. Underlying is always the Blues.  Sprinkling the blues through the music so my generation can re-discover the blues. With the music alive and exciting fresh and modern, that way the blues will survive and grow with new guys and girls playing and appreciating the music.

BD: You are back in the UK with a mix of shows, headlining supporting and Festivals. What excites you about playing in the UK; as your recognition grows?
JJN: Every time I return it gets better, the audiences in the UK really get the music I play.  The audiences have a respect, love and knowledge of music; you can talk to a guy at the bar and they will have a depth of knowledge and understanding. I love playing here as I have been heavily influenced by the British Blues explosion.

Starting out with two headline shows tomorrow Wednesday 21st June at the Grimsby Yardbirds and couple days later in Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms Saturday 24th June.  Then the following week starting on the 25th opening for Blue Oyster cult, which I am very excited about. Then it is back to USA to do work on finishing my forthcoming album Black Magic. Then it is back to UK for opening for UFO which will be a blast and then two great festivals Ramblin’ Man & Steelhouse.  The live shows will be such a great opportunity to play to new audiences.

Full Details of the tour can  be found on Bluesdoodles post HERE

BD: Do you make any changes to your set list depending on who you are opening for? Or is it a shorter version of your standard headline selection?
JJN: I change the set list to reflect who I am opening for to feed the crowd. With Walter I could include in the set cold slow blues whereas Zakk Wylde something heavier, like Mountain or Cream. Love to include music that adds an edge from Muddy Waters through to Grand Funk Railway cater for the artist and the audience. I just do it all when it is a headline show. We never really have a set list on the floor. We go with the flow, talk it through play two songs and build from there using the crowd’s reactions. The music flows and the live event gives it a feel that suits the occasion.

BD: You are coming to Wales to drive up the Mountain to Steelhouse,  it will be a very different venue to when you opened for Walter Trout at The Tramshed last year. Does Wales dig your form of Blues Rock?
JJN: It is great playing in Wales, love the scene the audiences love the same stuff as I do. First time I played was at a rugby club near where Steelhouse is held; the people were awesome they love to rock out. Great to play in such a fabulous new venue in Cardiff and looking forward to returning to play at a festival. Sounds a real blast and want to be part of the fun.

In Conversation with Jared James Nichols back on UK Tour BD: You are the ultimate power trio with the guitar flashing its licks & riffs. Have you played with the rhythm boys for a long time as there is an innate understanding of the direction you are taking each track.
JNN:  Met the guys in Los Angeles when I first moved from Wisconsin. Erik was the first guy I met in LA he had just moved from Sweden; I saw the bass and asked if I get any gigs would you like to play with me.  I then asked him if he would like to jam and we needed a drummer, he knew Dennis who had moved from Sweden a couple of weeks previously.  We jammed and then got gigs that was five-and-a-half, nearly six years ago. We grew organically jamming to start with now we have played over five-hundred gigs we know what we are doing. There is a special kind of vibe we know how someone is going to react. With only three guys in the band can’t hide behind anything; it is fun to push the music as far as you can. Every time we play a song live it is different; sometimes solos are longer other times more bass we bring in changes.

 BD: What other plans and excitements have you got planned for 2017 & beyond into 2018?
JJN: Touring with Saxon & UFO in the Fall across USA & Canada for 5-6 weeks. Obviously completing and releasing the album and hope to be over to the UK again end 2017/beginning 2018 to showcase the new record.

 BD: We asked you your fantasy band when we talked last year so what are you listening to at the moment; whether on the tour bus or relaxing?
JNN:  Mmm; I am making an effort to listen to new music loving the latest from Blackberry Smoke; and following on from touring with Walter Trout his stuff and off course all the usual suspects. I am loving listening to live bootlegs on You Tube. If you type into search any artist Bootleg lots of exciting music comes up including Jimi Hendrix; Cream; Eric Clapton and more. Digging back to find unknowns so much stuff is covered in dust.

BD: Once again thanks for your time and looking forward to see you at Steelhouse and having the opportunity to review the new album Black Magic

Check out Bluesdoodles Reviews –

Jared James Nichols Live – @ The Tramshed supporting Walter Trout HERE
Jared James Nichols Live – @ Robin 2 supporting Glen Hughes HERE
EP review –  Highwayman HERE
Album Review Old Glory and Wild Revival HERE

*Photo credit Rob Blackman

In Conversation with Jared James Nichols back on UK Tour

Feargal Sharkey Talking About Salute Music Makers

In conversation with Feargal Sharkey as he discusses the excitement and opportunities from new style competition – Salute Music Makers competition

BD: Huge thank you for making time to speak to Bluesdoodles about Music and your new project as the face of Salute Music Makers

 Feargal Sharkey Talking About Salute Music Makers

BD: Announcement of another competition with TV and Public vote! What is Salute Music Makers and why is it needed now?

FS: This is different, it is a very simple idea, and there is nothing clever about the concept. Not to be overly jingoistic but the fact is the UK has produced some of the best, long lasting popular music across a range of genres. I truly believe the talent continues the great music was not a blip of a generation or two. We are the second most successful nation when it comes to music outside of North America. Given our population this demonstrates the massive impact on music across the genres. Simple truth in the world there are only two teams in the premier league of music U.K. & U.S.A.

What musicians need is the opportunity to showcase their extraordinary talent I feel passionate about this. The next truly original artist is just around the corner and they need help to develop.

BD: How does Salute Music Makers differ from other music competitions like The Voice, and Britain’s Got Talent?

FS: Firstly and most importantly there are no strings attached to the prize money. It is entirely up to the winners how they spend the money Salute Music Makers will have no influence on this decision, as much power and control as possible will be in the hands of the artists themselves. They have the control to use the money on their terms, make several albums, set up a management company, make a film whatever they feel is the best use of the money for them. It is open to all types of music it has to be original. If you see the competition as an easy way of reaching the top leading the life of a rock star then this is not the competition for you. The competition is to find the great musicians out there – with the winners having a financial platform to develop and grow. This is for great musicianship where you can appreciate the talent. The key to great music is songwriting, it is the song that sells, and it is the song that identifies the group. We are looking for the greatest songwriter’s great melodies and powerful words this is the heartbeat and foundation of music. The focus will be on the craft of songwriting.

BD: With the opportunity for aspiring Music Makers to upload their music from 27th April when does the upload window close?

FS: The upload window closes on June 30th then the competition begins in earnest.

BD: How will the listening and judging process be conducted. Who are the Judges and what will they bring to the process?

FS:  We have a huge panel of judges at our disposal. The judges will be matched to the genre of music, so experts will listen and interpret, judge – Electronica, rock, blues etc.… The judges are experienced industry experts with a depth of knowledge in the area of music they specialize in.

Then it will be opened to public opinion for the hundred entries selected by judges. They will vote using an App they download. The public then can listen to all 100 entries or fewer as they please. The system is clever voting fifty-nine times is not going to happen IP addresses will be filtered. This is a super cool process if there is any belief that votes to an artist are suspect that an entry will be suspended; if investigation confirms they are cheating  they will be removed from the competition.

The Public vote will decide the Best Six Acts.

Two Television Programmes will then be aired in October and these finalist will receive £10,000 and the overall winner a further £40,000.

BD: Sounds a really interesting concept how did you get involved?

FS: I was introduced to three young men at the beginning of the year and thought it was a fantastic idea. BD: The brainchild of entrepreneurs of Salute Music Makers are Lars Bylehn, Michael Bylehn, Jean-Claude Charnier, Patrick Butterfield and Minesh Patel.

It took me back to the early days of The Undertones. Terri Hooley’s record shop Good Vibrations. Terri gave us £100 to use. We paid for Eight hours of studio time recorded Teenage Kicks as an Ep. This would probably not have happened if did not have this support in the early days. It was a pat on the back and practical help Salute Music Makers is a modern equivalent. With the focus on the songwriting for me an innate talent often overlooked. It is an exciting project to be involved in. With songs the heartbeat of music taking centre stage.

BD: I asked about dream band Feargal laughed said my tastes are too diverse changes with the moment. We did though get an insight into a play list on random while on a twenty-minute drive around the North Circular in London.

FS: Hard Floor – Spencer Davis Group – Little Dragon – Paul Weller  …..

BD: Thank you for your time and looking forward to the Public element of a completion focusing on the signwriting Salute Music Makers

Borderline Beckons Mollie Marriott and Debut Album

Borderline Beckons Mollie Marriott and Debut Album

In Conversation as
Borderline Beckons Mollie Marriott and Debut Album

Mollie Marriott, daughter of former Small Faces and Humble Pie singer/guitarist Steve Marriott and step-daughter to singer Joe Brown took time out to chat with Bluesdoodles. With debut album Truth Is A Wolf due out later this year Mollie is performing an intimate concert at London Borderline on Thursday 1st June 2017. Mollie took time out of a busy schedule having recently toured with Wilko Johnson & Paul Weller.

BD: Mollie thank you for taking the time to chat to Bluesdoodles
MM: Thank you as well, always good to talk about music.

BD: You are the daughter of Steve Marriott; until now your music career as a backing singer for many musicians including your step-father Joe Brown. What was the motivation to step out front taking centre stage?
MM: Stepping out on centre stage, felt right now was the right time. I was not bothered before I loved being a backing vocalist. I could turn up sing and go; not get involved with all the other stuff. I had seen the scary stuff connected with the industry. I had watched what it can do to people, it put me off. I wanted to write my own stuff, I knew that I had to live life first. I am influenced by Stevie Nicks  &  Alanis Morissette; raw and dark honest that is who I wanted to write. I now have the head space; with a few breakdowns to write about. In the family the last is called Crash 2012. Hitting Rock bottom is good as the only way is up to rebuild your life as you want it. Now I am in a good place since I hit 30; being in your thirties is great. I was a young mum at 23; when your twenties are about having fun with people in your life because they are around. Thirty, you become your own person now where you want to go and who you are so all is good.

BD: With a Debut Album Truth is A Wolf announced. How did you decide upon releasing as the first single the number Control?
MM: Previously I had a testing tie with record label; basically had no control It was a case of Beautiful women using their beauty to control and trample you. A Mother figure who then betrayed and let you down, as line in my songs says “You saved me to break me”. Taking back control of my music was important so this was the right single to start again with my career, I am in the driver’s seat going where I want to go. I co-wrote this number with Sam Tanner, lead vocalist with Brother Strut. We wrote the song together, we knew right from the beginning Control was the perfect song to release as the first single off the album Truth Is A Wolf.

BD: Tell our readers about the forthcoming album, how did you decide on the title the type of music that best describes your debut?
MM:  I went to Nashville to start writing the album. The title track Truth  Is A Wolf written by Gary Nicholson, he was going to give it to Bonnie Raitt or Susan Tedeschi who are lots of my influences. I heard the demo just wurli and vocals and thought that sums up my album it was the perfect tile song. With tracks that reflect my life Broken, ending of a relationship and the effect that had on me and my daughter. The song Truth Is A Wolf, tied it all in a bow.  So many types of music can be used in the description. It is a Rock Album. Yes, many people I have asked as I really do not know have said it is bluesy-rock. Within the Backing vocals there are elements of gospel and country. It is a Rock mix definitely NOT pop laughing. Also, grungy elements. I am a grunge girl love Chris Cornell, Pearl Jam, Jagged Little Pill a favourite album sounds a bit like that as well.

BD:  Mollie you are definitely making a statement with your next Gig coming up on the 1st June at The Borderline with guests?
MM: Yes, so exciting, this is my first proper headline gig. With support from Anna Kratz, a special friend. We met in Nashville I went to one of her shows as she sung I was completely broken, sobbing she was singing y life, Anna is a wonderful songwriter writing with Ed Sheeran and many more. Pocket dragon are a cool band, with a female lead. It is so important to me that the night is Woman led. I want people to o listen to me as Mollie, Mollie Marriott; NOT “Mollie Marriott daughter of Steve Marriott” – that was not the name on my Birth Certificate. People have said well why not Mollie Brown? Joe Brown my step-dad then there is all that baggage as well. So sticking to the name I was given at birth Mollie Marriott.

BD: With a London Gig under your belt. Are you taking Mollie and her band to be heard outside of London?
MM: Yes, definitely tour outside of London. I love getting outside of London to venues in towns and cities. Played The Tramshed in Cardiff when opening for Wilko Johnson BD: Had to miss that show to my disappointment as away in Sheffield.  
MM: What a great venue loved playing Cardiff, Nottingham was fun as was Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Playing Liverpool with Paul Weller was mad, even a little bit scary a room full of mods. My show will be exciting to watch, all my band is very visual to watch we move about.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
MM: Oh My God that is such a difficult question, will change the moment I put down the ‘phone Mollie laughs and says:-

Bass: Has to be Flea visually rocks.
Drummer: Richie Hayward – he has to have been the best drummer ever!
Guitar:  This is so difficult going to upset so many people has to be Stevie Marriott (such an under-rated guitarist)
Guitar: Joe Bonamassa
Vocals: Chris Cornell (he has such an amazing voice)

BD: Thank you for your time, looking forward to hearing the whole album and seeing your show when you take it on the road.

Borderline Beckons Mollie Marriott and Debut AlbumMOLLIE MARRIOTT LIVE AT LONDON’S BORDERLINE
THURSDAY 1 JUNE 2017

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS

POCKET DRAGON & ANNA KRANTZ

Daughter of legendary Small Faces and Humble Pie
singer/guitarist Steve Marriott, plays intimate London show

24 Hour Box Office – O8444 780 898
Book tickets from 
The Gig CartelAlt TicketsSee Tickets

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

 

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

 

Having the opportunity to interview Wilko Johnson a genuine music icon and living legend was a little daunting and so exciting. Liz at Bluesdoodles, a fan of Dr Feelgood since her younger days. Ponder what he younger self would think about her chance to speak with Wilko. As Liz dialed the number she will openly admit how nervous she felt. Was this justified? No It was Not! Wilko answered the phone I took a deep breath and introduced myself with warmth in his voice and a feeling that he had all the time in the world to chat, whilst knowing there had been people before and a long list over the rest of the day. The often laughing Wilko shared his thoughts, experiences of being Alive and surviving cancer and much more. As he approaches seventy the blues flame still burns bright and true.  With twenty minutes and the clock ticking down the first question was asked:-

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Canvey Island?
WJ:
It was the beginning of the swinging sixties of course. It was the electric guitar, I had seen one at school; liked the look of them. I was fascinated by the springs, knobs and I fancied myself playing one. Yea I wanted one, so the next Christmas I suppose I had a cheap electric guitar and started to play. I did not know much music at the time.  It was time of The Beatles and Rolling Stones through them got interested in American Rn’B that was influencing them. Johnny Kidd & The Pirates I thought the guitar sounded interesting, I want to play like Mick Green, play the blues. I was also listening to Chess Records, the likes of Chuck Berry Bo Diddley Muddy Waters hearing the blues opened a new world for me while still trying to copy Johnny Kidd. I couldn’t do it but ended up developing my style as I continued with the twanging through my teenage years.

Then university and I forgot all about the guitar. Four years went by.  and I bumped into Lee Brilleaux he said he was forming a band so Dr Feelgood was formed with me trying to play like Mick Green, playing the blues. Playing in London in the early seventies we were creating bit of a scene we had no multiple keyboards or light shows, we didn’t wear cloaks or dresses we just played good basic music. Lots of people were watching and a year later punk emerged. Dr Feelgood was influential in creating the sound that became Punk. I stumbled into music really.

BD: That leads neatly on to – The sound you make from your Fender is distinctive and instantly recognisable as Wilko. How do you achieve this on your signature Telecaster?

WJ: Yes, I do now have a signature telecaster. I am a great believer in standard and straightforward approach. There a great players who use pedals. Sometimes though, great things can interrupt the sound and you have to operate them with that tip-toe action on the pedal board. Just not for me and you have to stay on one spot too long! The signature guitar is based on the bog stand Fender Telecaster as my first guitar. Everything I do is straight forward, not technical it is skiffling. It [guitar sound] does what it does. From an early age I learnt from Chuck Berry not just about playing the guitar but as important to move about putting some action into it. The silly walk is part of the music rather than a technical 12 bar solo.

 BD: Turning 70, celebrating life and a gig at The Royal Albert Hall. Did you think you would be performing In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnsonthere when playing at venues such as The Nag’s Head in High Wycombe? Which sadly like so many venues of our youth are closed now

WJ: I never did think about playing large venues. Times change, venues close have to accept it. Playing The Royal Albert Hall the last three to four years have been so crazy. Nothing surprises me anymore. I was given ten months to live that led to a fantastic year. Mad things happen in the year you are dying. Roger Daltrey, says let’s make an album. I thought I will never see the release of this album. But the last thing that I have done is an album with Roger Daltrey has to be a good result that was consoling It was very successful, bestselling I have ever had. It was made in eight days and best of all I saw it released.

Doctors in Cambridge, said they could operate, and they did more than a year after I was certain I was going to die. The tumour was the size of a melon weighing over 3 kilos, they opened me up lifted it out of me. Few days after the operation the surgeon Mr Huguet came with the results from the Lab along with the tumour, half my stomach, gut and pancreas every trace of cancer had gone. They had cured me. It was a strange old moment. Mr Huguet is a hero, super human to me, he is such a nice guy we are on first name terms but he will always be Mr Huguet to me.

 BD: How has the experience of living through the diagnosis, farewell tour and then operation and back in the world of the living effected your approach to music, performances and life in general?

WJ: During my farewell tour the year I was dying the audience all knew what was going on and there was a real closeness with the audience. I knew that I couldn’t change anything that had happened in the past and there was no future so there was only the moment. I could play my music in the moment not worried about what people thought it was such a strong feeling and I lived to tell the tale.

I hope that I can take this into the future. You have lots of profound insights when facing death I think I learnt some wisdom’s and hopefully retained them. I will not be such a prat as I used to be. I know how to play relaxed doing it in the now. Not thinking about it. In The Dr Feelgood days, we were so considered about we got to get it right, worrying what will the papers say. Now just play Rock n’ Roll all that matters is the moment.

BD: What are your plans once celebrating 70 fades away? New Record?

Yes lots of plans, in fact been in the studio this week, looking at what we have got. New album after our summer gigs. I would like to get going straight away. I love playing again have so many ideas. After the operation it took a while to get playing again up to scratch. I had not touched a guitar for a year, few more gigs to do, Royal Albert Hall, tour of Japan it is wonderful just being able to stand up and be capable of playing the guitar again.

BD: How does it feel to have been described as the best thing to have come out of Essex since the Peasants revolt??

WJ: Wat Tyler has definitely left a footprint on history more clearly than me. When Dr Feelgood started to be got known we made a lot of being Essex boys out of Canvey Island.  Canvey Island not been that famous since the Great Floods of 1953. There is no argument that Canvey Island have lots of reasons to be proud of us. They should definitely name a road after Lee Brilleaux – Lee Brilleaux Boulevard has a nice ring to it.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
WJ: So many favourite guitarists and their playing would definitely show me up! I have to say without sounding this is a rubbish answer it has to be my guys who I am playing with at the moment. They are the business Dylan Howe on drums and Norman Watt-Roy on Bass.

BD: The time flew by, it was a fun twenty minutes of my life.

Let the music do the talking:
Wilko Johnson en el Teatro Apolo de Barcelona – “The More I Give”

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

Dan Patlansky In Conversation Touring 2017 and Beyond

Dan Patlansky In Conversation Touring 2017 and Beyond

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.

Dan Patlansky In Conversation Touring 2017 and Beyond

 

Dan Patlansky In Conversation Touring 2017 and Beyond

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.  

FULL Review – HERE

Dan Patlansky In Conversation Touring 2017 and Beyond

Erja Lyytinen Talking about Stolen Hearts and Being On Tour

Erja Lyytinen Talking about Stolen Hearts and Being On Tour
photo credit Laurence Harvey

Erja Lyytinen Talking about
Stolen Hearts and Being On Tour

 

 

 

BD: Hi Erja hope you are well, thanks for taking time to speak to Bluesdoodles, lots happening new album Stolen Hearts  released 7th April and lots of touring including the UK from 9th April

EL:  Really well thank you it is great to catch up with you again Liz.

BD: Before we talk lyrics, songs and touring how is life back in Finland juggling being Queen of The Slide Guitar with being a Mother

EL: Basically lots of balancing. Right now the twins are in daycare. Touring needs to be planned just organising life as off on a mini tour of Germany & Holland. It is all a rollercoaster ride often rather manic but definitely fun. You just have to jump-in and hope it all goes smoothly, often it doesn’t and you just go with the flow, that way you minimise the stress.  Society and others have high expectations, which we are expected to obey. That we are all brilliant multi-taskers. Well, sometimes you have to concentrate on one thing and let the rest wait. The twins are used to me touring I have been doing it since they were two and half months old. February was a period of intense touring across Scandinavia with 24 shows in 27 days it was rather manic, we got through. Sometimes when I am in Finland the children can come on tour with me which is fun. I have a nanny to help and the twins love sitting in on the sound checks, playing with guitars we have really fun moments making lots of memories. I am a musician, a rock star but when I get home after a tour I am Mama again. The secret is to be versatile and I am definitely super happy. So glad I had the courage to have children, continue my musical journey one thing for certain is three years on I am a different person motherhood has definitely changed me.

BD: Stolen Hearts, your tenth album. Has a different shape to your Live In London and studio The Sky Is Crying. With eleven tracks that shimmer with blues that rock. Tell us about the thinking behind the album?

EL: Tenth album is definitely not a scary place to be. My expectations through life was that I would record lots of music. In fact, Number 10 does feel a good figure.  This one feels like me, it is honest and a way for me to open up on the album. Reflects my life since motherhood and my life over the last two and half years has changed the way I look at things. I now try not to stress, not to be perfect. By the same token, I do lots of things and want to be good at what I do. On the album, this new feeling of relaxedness comes out. I now really enjoy being on stage, I now can open up and share. The album is very personal, the lyrics are heartbreaking stories. It is the end of a period of my life when I had the feeling that everything was going to collapse, eventually, it did, it took time to get out of that dark place. Music became my analyst where I could analyse my thoughts and feelings. This process deepened my musical expressions, now I am not afraid of being vulnerable, not afraid of being weak through that knowledge I have found an inner strength.

Erja Lyytinen Talking about Stolen Hearts and Being On TourBD: You took the decision to record the album in two countries your homeland Finland and then U.K. Was it the lure of Chris Kempsey at the State of The Ark Studios?

 EL:  We recorded the backing tracks in Helsinki, some of the songs I had recorded one and half years ago and I needed to give myself more time as they didn’t sound right.  We used Sonic Pump studios in Helsinki it is new with energetic young guys running the studio. Perfect place to record the backing tracks with the band. I wanted to take the album to the next level to give something new. Not just go to my home studio for the vocals and guitar, thought it would be nice to go abroad. I love England, I sing in English, so be good to have a producer who could check out my lyrics and pronunciation. It is so easy to phrase words that should be beautiful but mean something else English is so complicated with sayings and double meanings.  I spoke to Alan Darby who is the songwriter I worked with in 24 Angels, which has a brilliant video. He suggested Chris, I checked out his CV and was blown away what an amazing history behind him having worked with so many Rock greats including The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton and Bad Company. I contacted him and we started emailing, sent a demo from my home studio of rough over dubs. He instantly messaged back lets do it. He was so active in the 70’s & 80’s and the album was using lots of sounds from that era.

We went through studios and State Of The Ark was available it was cool a small boutique studio, with a homely atmosphere. It was an amazing experience from the first to the last track. I would recommend that everyone explores new soul mates in music it is invigorating.


BD:
  When reviewing the album, on the first listen what struck me was the range of tones and styles across the album from Heavy, brooding Rocking Chair (a new sound for Erja) through to the acoustic feel of Broken Eyes and the prog of Black Ocean. The diversity works there is a continuity in the lyrics, the emotional journey and the heartbeat of the blues ensures they all make sense.  How did you come to create such different sounds and take the decision to record them?

EL: Yes, you are right it is the power of the lyrics they give the whole album a sense of context. I had other songs left out these were the ones that worked brilliant together. The album is about sadness, heartbreak, fear of loss, frustrations. Into the personal mix there is hope, happiness lust and sex.  I cried when I listened to the whole finished album the emotions are so close to me they are personal.  I did for a moment consider dropping Broken Eyes as it is a different tone from the rest but then I realised that it fitted perfectly lyrically. The lyrics are the link but Chris Kempsey is the genius that mixed the album. The engineer that mixes the album can either kill it or make it. Chris used a mix of Pro Tools and Analogue a mix of old and new reflecting the essence of the album.  Old rock is behind the music, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix. I decided to forget about the radio, I am not pop, so like the bands of the seventies if the track is seven minutes like Black Ocean it stays that length, I wanted the long killer guitar solos. It is my music, my album and it was a joy to work with Chris. The mastering done at Air studios started by Beatles producer George Martin; working with Ray Staff was a professional joy. What a humble, lovely guy who had mastered icons including Bowie.

BD: 24 Angels, a single from the album, how do you make the decision on which track works as a standalone track? This number Co-written with Alan Darby, certainly sounds like your vocals are flirting with the mic and blues guitar that rocks?

EL: This track was the second, the first single was the title track Stolen Hearts last autumn to boost my tour last year and highlight the forthcoming album. The album was planned to be released earlier with crowdfunding campaign but for various reason it was delayed that is the way often in the music world. 24 Angels is a story worthwhile telling to people with pictures. It is multi-dimensional with lyrics that are about morality and forgiveness; about doing something to someone or someone doing something to you and the resulting suffering.

In the video, a relationship ends in a fight with hints of him dying in a car crash. It is that mix of forgiveness and regrets. Whilst writing the lyrics I was thinking of people walking the last walk on death row would you be regretting, how much you would suffer do you understand all that when walking the path.  When I write I go to the very extremes. I have now opened that box and have for the first time explained my thinking behind my songwriting. This one I co-wrote with Alan Darby, a few years back he came up with the lyrics for the chorus ‘Bring me water, make me stronger’. He also put his emotions into the song. There were only simple chords before Alan jumped in and worked on the Erja idea. He made it rock more which really works. He is a sensitive guy with a long experience in songwriting for many including Eric Clapton & Bonnie Raitt among others.

 BD: With the album taking you on new directions where are you planning to take us on the next road in Erja’s musical journey?

 EL: Blues will always be at the heart of my music. I mainly listen to blues at home. But I like to make it modern for these times. It is more acceptable to do blues differently. There is a blues revival, with European invasion into blues music.  I will always have my own style, I do not want to go back for one thing, it is impossible to get the sound nowadays. I am involved in a Jimi Hendrix tribute in May already sold 1000 seats. The show will be a celebration of fifty years since he visited Helsinki.
In music, you meet people and we all know that Rock n Roll can kill you. You have to take care of yourself so take care of myself try and eat healthy. Returning home after 31 shows in 37 days where you have no time for sports. It is important that you take it easy and do exercise take care of your heart physically and spiritually.

Now I have opened Erja’s box I have a couple of songs in the style of Stolen Hearts and have some ideas for the next album but they are my thoughts at the moment. I feel really strong about my writing new stuff at the moment.

 BD: Having toured the new album, I believe you had a February launch date in Scandinavia.  Do you have a personal favourite that really works on stage in front of an audience?

EL: I have had positive feedback in Scandinavia, where audiences can be a bit tight on the blues. I did wonder if they would like the new songs, a different Erja, but they seemed to like my new songs the edginess. So the feedback has been amazing. Personal favourite Black Ocean.

Looking forward to being back in the UK for five shows including launch party at 100 Club, London; HRH Blues and a double-header with your own Chantel McGregor. Hoping to be back to do more later on with a longer run of shows.

BD:   Last time we finished with what your dream band would be this time – what are you listening to and what Erja Lyytinen track would you liked covered and by whom?

EL: Listening to Robert Randolph, his steel guitar sound is fabulous. Also, listening to John Mayer he is smooth, easy-going and Eric Johnson loving his new album EJ,

Who to cover my song What a question! It would have to be Stolen Hearts by Jimi Hendrix.

BD: Thank you for your time and looking forward to hearing the new numbers live at HRH in Sheffield.

 

ERJA LYYTINEN
APRIL 2017 UK TOUR DATES

Square & Compass, Ilminster
Sunday 9 April 2017
Box Office – 01823 480 467

The 100 Club
Record Release Party
Tuesday 11 April 2017
Venue Tel: 020 7636 0933
Book Online – WeGotTickets.com

Worthing Pier Southern Pavilion

Wednesday 12 April
Book Online from SeeTickets.com and Ents24
Venue Tel: 01903 366 017

Durham Gala Theatre, Durham
Co-headline with Chantel McGregor
Thursday 13 April 2017
Book Online: Durham Gala Theatre
Box Office: 03000 266 600


Hard Rock Hell – Blues Festival

Sheffield Academy
Saturday 15 April 2017
Box Office: 0203 287 4994

 

Erja Lyytinen Talking about Stolen Hearts and Being On Tour

Ash Wilson Broken Machine New Single & on Tour

Ash Wilson Broken Machine New Single & on Tour

DAsh Wilson Broken Machine New Single & on TourLincolnshire’s Ash Wilson launches the brand new music video for the single ‘Broken Machine’ taken from his critically acclaimed debut album Broken Machine.

The single is out on Friday 17th March and the album on Friday 21st April 2017.

 

 

 

 

ASH WILSON AS SPECIAL GUEST TO SARI SCHORR

London, Borderline     Monday 20th March

Tickets: HERE Box Office: 0844 847 2465

 ASH WILSON AS SPECIAL GUEST TO DAN PATLANSKY

http://www.ashwilsonmusic.com/shows

Tickets –  HERE  & HERE 

 

 

 

 

Poole, Mr. Kyps                                Saturday 15th April

London, Islington Academy 2     Tuesday 2nd May

Manchester, Deaf Institute         Wednesday 3rd May

Cardiff, The Globe                          Thursday 4th May

Bristol, The Tunnels                       Friday 5th May

Barnstaple, The Factory                Saturday 6th May

Bluesdoodles: Broken Machine Review – HERE

“The song Broken Machine came first, not a deliberate album title. Broken Machine is about relationships that do not work. The whole album is my life up to getting married. It is Ash from 15-30 nothing in the album covers the now it is set in the past. That said the track seemed the perfect words of the album title as it reflected the past.”  What else did Ash Wilson share read it  – HERE

Ash Wilson Broken Machine New Single & on Tour

Sari Schorr In Conversation about New Album

Sari Schorr In Conversation about New Album

Sari Schorr In Conversation about New Album

 

 

BD: Hi Sari hope you are well, thanks for taking the time to speak to Bluesdoodles, we spoke last year on the release of Force of Nature, and your tour now you are back in the studio and Deja Vue about to tour the UK again.

SS: Thank you for listening to me and supporting music. Everything is going so fast. I am trying to slow down and savour every moment. The reality is I am having too much fun. Last year there was so much pressure with the release of our first album. Now I am doing it all over again definitely trying to relax more and enjoy the process of making my second album. I have a good label with Manhaton and a phenomenal band so I am determined to enjoy the ride. I do believe that everything has a time and place and part of your destiny to get involved with certain projects so grabbing the pleasure of every opportunity I say “get on board, see you wherever the train goes”  BD: Sounds like lyrics of a blues song. SS: Laughing, let’s get together and write a blues song you never know where it will go.

BD: Before we talk lyrics, songs and touring let’s turn to the important dogs in your life, how are they back in Brooklyn?

SS: I will tell them that Aunty Liz in Wales sends her love. BD: Othello wags his tail in delight, sending a doodle woof to your three girls. SS: They are great, not eaten any furniture for a few months. When I get the suitcase out, they think they are going as well to the dog park or store somewhere exciting, they cannot imagine I would go anywhere without them. When they see the suitcases they look sad, Sophie sat in the suitcase shivering it was horrible. I am always really homesick until I am at the airport them I am looking forward to the adventure about to unfold.

BD: What were the highlights last year on the road with the Engine Room singing your distinctive blues-rock sound.

SS: Highlights, for me it is just the feeling of being on the road with this band working hard. The band are always enthusiastic, positive and ready giving one-hundred percent. We all care about each other, we are like a string family. The highlight is sharing our music, it is brilliant to be part of making the music live it can be a challenge but I know they have got my back. When I need a boost they understand, when I am exhausted they build me up. Travelling all over the world singing along to our songs brings tremendous rewards.  Innes and I smile at each other as we see people singing along. It is so fantastic and humbling to see people embracing the album it is a sign that the music has touched them. There is a video of Trish singing in her car, Black Betty connected with this through the power of social media and felt so honoured.

BD: Having performed the songs from Force Of Nature live do you have a personal favourite and why?

SS: Favourite, I love singing every track on the set list, with the exception of Black Betty that still scares the life out of me. The look of the set list varies depending on my mood, kick up the tempo with Demolition Man or cooling down the pace with Ordinary Lives. It is the diversity of the tracks that makes them so much fun to play live, they never get boring for the band to play we love them every time. BD: Why does Black Betty Scare You? SS: To do it right there is a lot of emotion, have to sing by taking it on, it is a painful song. I feel that pain when I sing my version of Black Betty. You have to go deep, I feel exhausted by the end of the performance.  Innes has written a middle section, a magnificent piece of music makes me cry, for me it’s the highlight of the song. Some nights I feel that I have not got the strength to sing Black Betty, Innes says okay, then I know I can just to hear his guitar. The melody is bright, the words dark they don’t quite match that is what makes Leadbelly great. The music is accessible to people and then if they wish can delve deeper into the lyrical content. It does not require you to do that, but if you intellectually want to the lyrics take you on an emotional journey.

BD:  Back in The Studio with Mike Vernon producing the sequel what is exciting you about the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Force of Nature? What does Mike as your producer add to the sound and shape of the album?

SS:  This time we are in the UK recording at The Riverside studio, it is awesome, with lots of the vocals being recorded in the same booth as Robert Plant, inspirational. Logistically it was easier to bring Mike from Spain. Majority has been recorded. The sound is a continuation, development from Force of Nature. It has been awesome recording as a live album in the studio true Engine Room sound. I am off to Germany to write a couple of songs. We have no working title it is just The Album, we keep listening to the eight tracks already done and cannot decide which one it should be the title track! Every time we listen we say this one, no this one we will get there.  We wrote the majority of the songs together when we spent time together in Spain the sound is more representative of The Engine Room sound, showing what the band is capable off. Those boys are fierce.

BD: What does Mike bring, is he part of the band or more of an overseer knitting the sound together? SS: Both he can step back, and be an integral part of the band. When searching how to treat a certain section of a song, example the keyboard groove, Mike will conduct, singing the part shaping the groove as a member of the band. On other occasions he will give an overview. He is the kindest most patient man, he never gets rattled he gives us plenty of room always. Then when we are struggling he will throw in an idea, what if you approached it this way. Mike has no ego, which is amazing when you consider what he has done and who he has worked with over the decades. He could have a big ego, be really demanding but no he is the most giving, generous of producers creating an open creative environment everyone can relax in. I always feel I am in the best hands, allowing us to experiment, push the boundaries. Mike is quick to tell us when we go too far bringing us back and preventing us from doing anything too obvious.

BD: Will you be showcasing songs from the new album as part of the 2017 set list. Are they different from Force of Nature if so how?

SS: Sadly, not yet, may do one in the sound check of this tour. The problem is someone will record and put up on You Tube before the record comes out.

BD:   Last time we finished with what your dream band would be this time – what are you listening to and what Sari Schorr track would you liked covered and by whom?

SS: It has to be Robert Plant, which track after some consideration Ain’t Got No Money. I would so love to do a duet with him as well.  At the moment I am loving my label mates King King, the music is so uplifting, it inspires me and I adore Alan he is such a great talent.

BD: Thank you for your time and looking forward to Bristol with the mighty Northsyde at The Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival.

 Sari Schorr is back in the UK 

Sari Schorr In Conversation about New Album

Sari Schorr In Conversation about New Album

Kaz Hawkins Rising to The Challenge, Memphis and More

Kaz Hawkins Rising to The Challenge, Memphis and More
Photo Credit Graham Whittington

Kaz Hawkins Rising to The Challenge,
Memphis and More

 

 

 

Kaz Hawkins Rising to The Challenge, Memphis and More
Photo Credit Graham Whittington

BD: Hi Kaz, the last time we chatted it was after the release of your last album….So much has happened in the Kaz world since then. Festivals, airplay and winning the UKBlues challenge

The rise of Kaz Hawkins Band continues since the launch of Feelin’ Good, the title reflecting the atmosphere that you create whenever and wherever you stamp your boots. Let’s rewind to the night of UKBlues Challenge run by UKBlues Federation.  Describe what it was like to be announced the winner.

KAZ: We didn’t expect to win because as much as I am bluesy the songs aren’t 12 bar blues. We went in not realising what was wanted, that was the frightening part. Then there were all the judges some I knew others I didn’t and no one was giving anything away. It was pretty daunting, it was run strict and I didn’t dare put a foot out of place so that added to the tension because everyone knew their place and what to do. We done the performance, I kinda burnt myself out with nerves, I am not a good one for these kind of things so I came out fighting fire and pretty much exhausted myself by the third song. So when I did the ballad I had to pretty much kick myself up the arse and say get a grip you have two songs to go calm down if you want this you have got to fight for this.  We went into the ballad there was so many things happening, I remember afterwards Nick saying, not experienced anything like it his hands started to sweat up and couldn’t play the guitar, well he did obviously. I had never sweated as much. So when it was announced we had scattered out for a smoke, hanging round the merch table, the bathroom really pretty much decided we weren’t winning. When Ashwyn, called out Kaz Hawkins I physically punched Janny, on the back of his neck just a reaction of disbelief (Kaz laughing as she recollects the night). I honestly didn’t think we would get through. The competition was tough, I really thought Wille and The Bandits were going to win they had put up such an outstanding set. As were Rebecca and Lauren we were all so nervous. So when it was announced I really couldn’t think anything at all other than except I haven’t got my belt on and I was being called to the stage. I run up as you know I depend on looking my best off stage with my hourglass figure chuckling and there I was just after a smoke lippy hanging off me. Then next minute had to make my way to the stage it was a surreal moment. Then trying to get from the merch stall to the stage when my name was called out, people just launched on me, pulling me and it was just crazy. Then we got on stage and we had to do all the procedures, me and the boys kept looking at each other in disbelief.  Once I started singing it dawned on me what had just happened we opened up with Feelin’ Good that just set it off. I could let it rip, let go of all the tension and just perform. We had already got through, I can remember dropping down at one point I was still scabbed on one knee two months later because I had dropped that hard, I think it was just exhaustion.

Don’t forget we were mid-tour when the challenge this was happening, so we had been on the bus for week/two weeks before we were exhausted but match fit.

 

Kaz Hawkins Rising to The Challenge, Memphis and More
Photo Credit Graham Whittington

BD: What were the challenges following the win, Crowdfunding and organising the band to play first in Memphis with all the added expectation of the first British Band to play at The Blues foundation International Blues Challenge (IBC) with all that expectation and the forthcoming European Blues Challenge (EBC)  in Horsen Denmark. Getting the band into competition rather than touring mode etc.

KAZ: Having already done the UK Blues challenge we were in that competition mindset. It was only then we realised that there would be different timings. We thought we would do in Memphis exactly the same as in Wolverhampton but found out the quarter finals were only Twenty-five minutes then if you got through the semi-finals were thirty minutes and if made it to finals it was a twenty-minute set. When we got home it was rehearsals and plan three different sets so that was the hard thing trying to give our best in that space of time. Thirty minutes is a great time it’s perfect don’t need anymore but any less and you have to start to sacrifice your great songs. The crowdfunding was running alongside the rehearsals and we were constantly thinking about it. We were in the zone for it. We were all raising money as well, begging the fans. The problem with the crowdfund was that it became, I felt I like I was begging I came up against a few rows on Facebook about bands should pay for themselves and do stuff like this. I don’t think people understood the gravity of what we were about to do, the pressure that was upon our shoulders. When you go somewhere like that, we had no idea what we were walking into in Memphis no one had been before.  What I did was contact a load of people that I already knew had performed. I went into obsessive research mode, which is what I do on any challenge.  So I chased up people who I had known over the years which came in handy, lots of contacts that I had, lots of blues sisters who had performed gave me great insights from Lucy Hammond to Hatz Ftiz & Cara Robinson and everybody who were giving me tidbits of information.  Then I went into radio mode and sourced out lots of radio shows that were promoting the IBC’s around the world. I ended up listening to Vinny on The Couch who runs his radio show from Rum Boogie Café on Beale Street. What was freaky, about three weeks before we were due to go he bought on about four/five of the IBC judges on this two hour show I am sat listening to it over and over again and I hooked up on Beale Street when this woman said Dave Raven said to get in touch with you, I am Suzanne Swanson. I just screamed in the middle of Beale Street and just said oh my God! You saved my life because you are the reason I could plan this trip. Everything she had said on the radio interview, because she has been a judge and has just got a blues award from the foundation for her photography.  I had no idea who she was, how well known she was how much she contributed to the Blues Foundation, in the end me and her became best friends during the IBC. When I told her how I had listened to the interview she started crying in the middle of the street. I can’t believe it, I am just so glad I put it out there and someone took heed. This was what it was constantly about, the after effect of all my research. For whoever wins next UKBlues challenge, the advice I would give them is hunt down anything and anybody who knows about the IBC. You can get it from the most unlikely places. Because when we landed there I realised that there were a lot of bands that didn’t have that information. We were streets ahead with knowledge, we hit the ground running. It was thanks to all that research I had done. BD: You will have to write a book Kaz: Ha Ha Jesus Christ Liz, A friend wants to do a documentary I say to her if you got a ten hour day.

 

Kaz Hawkins Rising to The Challenge, Memphis and More
Photo Credit Graham Whittington

BD: Tell us about the Memphis experience and reaching the Semi-finals. Was the Blues different in Memphis and how many other Europeans were competing in the heart of the roots of Blues.

KAZ: I think we are full on ready, if anything it has prepared us definitely. I wasn’t really nervous, not even nervous  I was apprehensive about Memphis because everywhere we went we could hear twelve-bar blues and I was kinda worried Oh! I was kind of worried, my god we are not going to go down here you’re not Blues. But I had a good talk with David, he is my rock, for the first time felt a little bit inadequate, as we artists do, these are my songs and about to go into a competition. I never wrote these songs to compete with David said to me “Kaz you just have to keep the end in sight, and the end is exposure to further your career. If you don’t win it doesn’t matter”. We did go over there to fight for it, but we didn’t think we had a hope in hell of winning and to make it through to the semi’s was unreal. The talent was just off the scale but I think it prepared us, a lot of it was a shock of what happened. So we are definitely given us heads up for the European Blues Challenge.

 

BD: Is the Blues scene over there stronger and deeper than here, you were saying the people playing were stupendous

KAZ: We have it too but there on a much bigger stage it is much larger it is just so daunting over there with 288 acts from around the world. It is not just up and down England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland. This is the Best of the Best of Blues around the world. What we did realise was so many societies say California had maybe twenty Blues Societies sending acts there were so many. In one of those interviews, I listened to one of the judges said some societies will send a band that is not of the calibre of touring bands. We knew going in there were different levels, the local band that jams for the sake of blues, then you have a proper gigging circuit bands, then you would have the professional bands who are touring like us. We were confident we knew our stuff. How it worked it was about the music, the blues not about talking. I heard a great quote “If you want to be a favourite on the next Justin Bieber jump into the audience with your guitar. If you want to impress the Judges stay on the stage”. So I stayed on Stage!

Kaz Hawkins Rising to The Challenge, Memphis and More
Photo Credit Graham Whittington

BD: Kaz Hawkins and your Band did do Well taking UKBlues Federation Challenge winner to Memphis and leaving a semi-finalist

KAZ: The start was with two-hundred & eighty-eight bands at the beginning. With Forty-Four making it through to the Semi-finals. With twelve competing in the challenge final. So reaching the semi’s was massive I am so proud of us. People got what we were about. There were two quarter-finals, on the second night how many in for us. On the first night we were one of the bands from about one-hundred miles away filled the room with their fans they were loud and rooting for them So when we came on afterwards I was sort of oh hell and just did our stuff. On the second night, I didn’t even realise until I got off stage and went outside for a smoke apparently they had been queueing down the frigging street to get in. The doorman went to me didn’t you see the queue I said no I told you last night people would want to come back and see you so word had spread really really fast.  We were branded we had our coats on, we were giving out badges and business cards, CD’s to everybody we met. That is what each society was doing handing out freebies. People got to know and recognise us by what we were wearing.

BD: How Many European societies were over in Memphis, if you know?

 KAZ: Not sure I know there was bands from, France, Norway, Germany, Sweden Met bands from Switzerland and Germany who we will be up against at the European Blues Challenge so have an insight. We are now going to the Europeans as Semi-finalists having met the Challenge in Memphis

 

Kaz Hawkins Rising to The Challenge, Memphis and More
Photo Credit Graham Whittington

BD: Memphis itself as an experience must have been amazing

KAZ: I cried Liz.  We went to Hard Rock Café, you know it takes a moment to get your bearings. We were heading down to Beale Street Hard Rock is first. I didn’t realise it was Beale Street that I was looking at. We went into the Café sat down it was empty except for another man and his wife who was in the Challenge. You must say challenge not competition I was corrected when I said Competition. I am going for a smoke, went out the other door, and there was a horse and carriage I looked to my left and saw Beale Street I was wow actually here. I ran back in and said come on guys we can’t just sit here, Beale Street is right there. They laughed and said we know Kaz. Why didn’t no one tell me, it was one of those stupid blonde moments. We then walked out crossed at the lights and hit Blueside Café first one on the left as you know I had written Hallelujah, Happy People about Memphis so for me to hit that street. I had been singing about happy people who sing the blues It was just surreal to actually to be there. We arrived there two days early and it was empty there really wasn’t many people no really anybody from the IBC. They had blocked the street off in preparation for the IBC. ‘Cos they open it in the week but close it at weekends, so it was all closed down street was empty you could walk down the middle of the road. It was surreal everywhere you looked it was merchandise and tourist stuff it was early afternoon and music was blasting out onto the street so you instantly knew you are in Blues Mecca.

BD: Denmark is round the corner the last of the three challenges that started back in Wolverhampton last November.

KAZ: We are ready, the fans have been so on board that pushes us forward. I am comfortable I sort of got the nod from Blues Foundation you did all right.  That gives you so much. Flights and hotel are all booked so organised for Denmark. Have a nice hotel directly facing the venue. The only thing in Memphis we were about twenty minutes outside so we had to hire a car etc. all eats into the cost. In fact takes us longer to get to Denmark we have an eighteen hour layover! All crazy but will be fine.  We have a great slot and feeling very positive playing on the Saturday line-up half way through the evening. We do feel that we are going over with a real chance to bring the trophy home for UKBlues Federation and blues fans across the UK & Northern Ireland.

Kaz Hawkins Rising to The Challenge, Memphis and More
Photo Credit Graham Whittington

BD: So once you have finished the trio of Challenges, what is planned for the rest of 2017 for Kaz Hawkins.

KAZ: New solo album away from the band. It is just because things have been so hectic I can get kinda manic with it all so taking time out for me and my music. I am doing couple of dates here in Northern Ireland in July, one massive one, a dream come true for me, singing in Belfast Cathedral. Release date for solo album is 22nd July.  Will be performing with Sam York and the band is off the road July.  We hit the road with a big European Festival still a secret and Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival which look so exciting the new look for the festival. Then UK and European tour with the band. I am off to Nashville next month to play the Bluebird Café then back for weekend touring in England then back and the next day off to Boston lecturing at Boston Uni, as I am still doing my own stuff.

 BD: So glad you had a good and successful time in Memphis and now off to Horsen, Denmark good luck and be wonderful if Kaz Hawkins can bring the trophy home.

Bluesdoodles, thanks, Graham Whittington of Lens Art Photography for sending a selection of the superb photo diary of Kaz and the band in Memphis.

Dan Reed Talking about Networks and Live Music

Dan Reed Talking about Networks and Live Music

Dan Reed Talking about Networks and Live Music

 

 

BD: Hi Dan hope you are well, thanks for taking time to speak to Bluesdoodles, we spoke last year on the release of Fight Another Day, now as you embark on a European tour we have a chance to revisit and explore the world of Dan Reed Network.

DR: Good thanks, we are in Norway and it is as cold as hell. That is a silly thing to say it is beautiful and snowy.

BD: How has your perspective changed since taking the time out travelling, studying and having a son?

DR: Biggest change was the birth of my son.  He is so very cute, often mistaken for a girl with his long hair, people often still don’t connect when I say his name is Joshua. Having a child is all encompassing. It is so hard to describe the feeling the first time you hold the baby. There is a deepening of awareness, deepening of compassion, a child engulfs you with emotions of love and responsibility. My first responsibility is to raise them safely and then as they grow imparting lessons of gratitude, how to lead a good life, planting the seeds of who the child will grow into. It has made me a better human being. This runs through my lyrics as they reflect the path that you have left behind is so much more defined.

BD: Back touring Europe and hitting the U.K. in March. Before we talk about the 2017 tour with Fight Another Day. What were the highlights last year back on the road with the Network,

DR: Festivals are always fun and at Sweden Rock Festival, we were the first act on the stage on the second or third day after lots of partying. In an arena that holds twenty-thousand there were 300 in the rain. As the first song started the rain stopped and by the end of the set there were over 8,000 watching and it was exciting, energetic from the rain and gloomy skies we had music it was the best show. The coolest was playing back in our home town of Portland seeing so many familiar faces, lots of folks who have seen us play from the beginning from the making of the video for Ritual. It felt so good being back. Yes our knees hurt a bit with a few more aches and pains now after a performance but this is part of the challenge of a live performance and is definitely an excellent workout both mentally & physically.  Funky rock is hard and needs the energy of the song; we achieved this at a live rehearsal at the Hard Rock Café rehearsing in front of an audience the energy of the audience feeds the performance you trade off the energy of each other it is a symbiotic relationship. It is hard being away from family and home when on the road the positive trade-off is you get rid of the tensions by playing the music, talking to the audience and the feeling that we are so lucky to be doing this.

BD: What’s your favourite track from your extensive back catalogue to perform live??

DR: Favourite track, the solo stuff I love playing it live acoustic can be harder with a need to put your energy into the meaning of the lyrics. From the album The Heat Salt of Joy and when the band sings A Capella Long Way To Go, it is magical honest lyrics, written with visions in the head. Writing lyrics need to go into a daydream and explore thoughts and emotions. Kurt Cobain was a tortured soul but wrote honest lyrics the most honest rock songs ever written.

BD: Now you are performing tracks from Fight Another Day live, how do you select tracks from the extensive back catalogue to meld the past with the now.

DR: It can be difficult singing the same songs over and over again. The key to not sounding mechanical, just going through the motions is twofold having a good time and play the music as if it is for the first time. Play your arses out never let it become a slog, enjoy the music build up the audience.

Mixing things up more and more. Including a Bruce Springstein style request. It is fun, surprising challenging the request could be for a ballad, like Stronger Than Steel in a part of a set we would never plan a ballad. We now have no set list we play the songs we want to play trying to vary the groove what feels best changing the tempo and topics covered from politics to sex!

The Set is like climbing a mountain range. With summits and valleys can build and build through the show with a high point in the set climaxing the show. Or can sing a mellow song reached the top now meditating and chilling.

BD:  Last time we finished with what your dream band would be this time – what are you listening to and what Dan Reed Network track would you liked covered and by whom?

DR: Music that listening to at the moment D-A-D Danish rock originally named Disneyland After Dark but had to be renamed after The Walt Company threatened a lawsuit.  D-A-D & DRN all the letters would just so love to open for them would be so inspirational. The poppy melodies and funky tone of   Foster The People love the music they do not use any sequences and the evergreen band for me is  Jamiroquai

BD: Thank you for your time and looking forward to Cardiff at  The Globe on  5th March and hearing DNR live.

 Dan Reed Network is back in the UK with his tour Get Your Tickets HERE.

 

Dan Reed Talking about Networks and Live Music