Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

 

 

BD: Hi JD delighted to have the opportunity to chat with you once again for Bluesdoodles. A year has passed and we have a new album to explore and enjoy Rise and Shine. The follow-up to the acclaimed Let Love Show You The Way. You have certainly gone off on a different journey as we Rise and Shine with SIMO.

JD Simo:  It is always a pleasure to talk with you. On our way to Nashville to Rise & Shine Record release show.

BD: Tell us about the making of Rise and Shine and how the eleven tracks were weaved together as a tour de force?

JD Simo:  Started the concept last year during that ridiculous touring schedule. There was a hint of the direction at the live shows on our last tour especially in the UK. We had so much material and not had time to work on so many songs. The concept came out as we got bored creatively with what we were putting out material wise. We wanted to push the sound by how we view this and push that so we could find a place that felt unfamiliar. That coupled with the determination to be the best we could be through writing and the music. We could have easily gone in and made an album that was familiar. We wanted to craft and make music with a purpose and with a refinement. Using a methodical approach to be the best possible. This takes time and effort and is a bit scary. It is easy to be lazy being tricked by praise and believing what you are telling yourself. That stops creativity.

The nucleus was when we finally got home in January. No shows and a month studio time already blocked off. So we bared down onto the album. It was a lot of hard work. Lots of time spent it was serious and fun definitely not stressful. It was like a good work out working through and feeling good at the end. Every day was a stretch, it took a long time to arrange and work out the songs. How we were going to do it, what the concept was how the track would sound and fit into the album.

Studio time we were there every day with long hours of crafting our music it was good not to have to rush. We had the time to capture a good performance. Sometimes a track took a long time others a lot shorter. It then took two months to mix. Making the album was a marathon rather than a sprint.

Rise and Shine is a piece of work that represents the best of what we are capable of. It feels like our first record.  If it reminds you of other works that is not intentional. In the past it was intentional. Here we said lets deconstruct I am really proud of the result.

 

BD: You have described the sound as Psychedelic Blues, many have fused soul and funk onto the blues base but you have gone one step further for me this is progressive blues, experimental. Why do you describe your music as Psychedelic ?

JD Simo:  What my music ends up being called is terms is meaning less and less to me. It has to be done in the world we live in. It is fun to hear everyone’s take on the music. Everyone has a different take, it is good that they are finding something that resonant.

Psychedelic is another way to say experimental not taking the norm. A lot of elements makes this experimental with different textures and sounds. The record is still Rock n Roll. Trying to push finding inspiring sounds is cool.

 

BD: How did you come up with the jaunty title Rise & Shine almost a pop feel?

JD Simo:  There is a pun in that behind the name is a concept of growth and your inner light/beauty and the ability to convey that. There are miracle themes, spiritual elements. Rising out of whatever you are dealing with. Shine the message is don’t hold it in, it is okay to let your inner self be seen. There were other names considered. In the end we all liked the title it is kind of funny and suited the album..

 

BD: You made the decision to take a month out and producing the album yourself. Did this give you more control combine the feeling of a live show, energy of a jam and the experimental sonic tones all into the same album that makes sense and is never disjointed?

JD Simo:  We had complete control it was incredible. I was astounded that I was given the opportunity, they had faith in me. So I was given the opportunity to see the vision through. We wanted the live energy on each song. They were treated singularly. There were lots of songs that didn’t make it and others were torn apart during pre-production. The aim was that on each song we nailed it, sonically what suited the track. Some link Meditate were laid back, with intense parts felt the track was laid back, not always easy to capture. It was great to have complete control. We took it really seriously there was no messing around.

 

BD: The opening track Return is a sonic assault as you tune in you realise that Return is not return to the same you have gone in a different direction as the band moulds influences from Beck to Prince with deep bass lines, vocals that are beguiling an opening track opening the doors on the new shape of SIMO?

JD Simo:   Once we got to the mixing stage we were fairly methodical as we considered how the album would flow. The choice of opening with Return was to knock you of your balance, a track you would not expect us to do. In the end it felt the best, felt right to start that way.

A lot of thought went into how to sequence the record. We really loved the opening of the record and the rest made sense. Return, was lyrically a good place to start. The songs get more and more persona. They are what JD personally gone through.  Light The Candle starts to gets heavier subject more about the world outside of me and more intense. It was just the way it worked out in the end.

BD: SIMO have been describe your sound as retro but that is for me too easy. Your sound is modern cutting edge how do you manage that?

JD Simo:  Retro is a fair assessment of what we were creating before Rise & Shine. Not indicative of where we are now. We have turned away from retro it is a natural evolution. Where we are getting more genuine and comfortable. It is like not putting on someone else’s cloths. This is what we were doing with the best of intentions before. It is like growing up, at High School you dress like everyone else. You think man I don’t like this shirt I am not going to wear that anymore. Musically it is like that. Retro was a way of exploring a range of influence. Yet we have as many influences that are contemporary, including Alabama Shakes and Wilco we needed to re-group.

BD: Following on from moving on from being Retro, did you use different equipment on Rise and Shine?

JD Simo: Great question. Yes we did use different equipment. Didn’t use anything used on previous albums. It was all stuff I had found myself it was my own equipment. In the past I had used equipment used by people I admire and love used trying to be authentic.

Now I have collected equipment that suits me in fact none of the equipment was used before it was fresh start on Rise & Shine.

BD: The lyrics are often deep, very personal how much have you been influenced by your extensive travels in 2016 and the election of President Trump last November?

JD Simo:  Majority a lot is about me. This is obvious the emotions I have been through and very observational. I was trying to work through stuff I had to deal with myself. I had to face myself.  It is more honest not alluding but very stark, uncomfortable at times to listen to. This was a conscious choice on my part. I know I am a decent musician as a writer I have never forced myself to write as good as I can. It is important to work on writing. It is absolutely the most important thing is the writing. I love writing it helped me to have the confidence to work to be better and better. Focusing as much on writing as being a good musician that is not being neglected though. Just working harder to be as good a writer as I am a good musician. It feels really good.

We had a listening party. A bunch of people came round I felt really uncomfortable, sick to the stomach. It was hard for me to do, listening to the songs. Bringing stuff up not expressed before in front of a group of people. Once I recovered it felt fine through this journey I have become a decent writer I have revealed everything I needed to. Writers like Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan and Neil Young they do that all the time. I am not comparing myself to them but is sets the bar high to aim for that a better job than I have ever done before.

 BD: Will you be touring Europe with this new exciting album?

JD Simo:  Yes, have a three-week tour of Europe mainly Germany, one night Holland, Belgium and London. Just doing shorter tours, can’t do the 5-6 weeks just too draining for us. Early 2018 will be back in Europe more dates UK and some of the other countries missed including France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. 2-3 week tours are so much more enjoyable and we are really looking forward to doing them. In fact some of the best gigs we have played have been in London so looking forward to 26th September at the Borderline.

 

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

JD Simo:  Without hesitation JD said – D’Angelo to cover I Want Love. That would be pretty sick, pretty incredible and a huge honour. Mind you it would make me never want to do the song every again.

I am a Spotify junkie, I have playlists of all types of stuff. I really am really love Jeff Tweedy solo record with its Meters influence. Also really digging Lily Mae from Nashville, who is on Jack Whites label Third Man. It is folk/country like Gordon Lightfoot. Classic country she is an incredible musician playing fiddle and guitar. Her vocals are unique at times frail sounding like she is crying.

BD: Thank you for your time and looking forward to hearing the new numbers live very soon.

 

Rise and Shine out on Mascot Label Group – out 15th September 2017 

 

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

Q&A with Erja Lytinnen Stolen Hearts Guitars and Touring

Q&A with Erja Lytinnen Stolen Hearts Guitars and Touring

Q&A with Erja Lytinnen Stolen Hearts Guitars and Touring

 

 

BD: Hi Erja hope you are well, thanks for taking time to speak to Bluesdoodles, for the second time this year as you embark on a UK tour.  

EL:  Yes, really well and looking forward to talking again as I am about to hit the road across the UK at the end of the month.

BD: Let’s start off with the tour seven nights in the UK starting in Sheffield at Greystones on the 20th   How do you prepare and plan for a tour?

EL: It is nice to be back touring, it is an extension of the tour that started back in April to promote Stolen Hearts. Always wonderful when new people come to a show as well as meeting old friends.  It is fun playing the music live. The twins see this as part of life, it is normal for them for Mum to go off playing her music. They go and stay with their father it is no different for them. They have grown so much they are now three and a half, they understand more and can talk about it. They love to help to load and acting as roadies. One is really good on the drums playing with two sticks and playing bass drum at the same time. (Laughing)  just need the other to play bass be the perfect band. Seriously they can do what they want to do. It is though important I think for everyone to enjoy music. Everyone can be creative and involvement in the arts is so good for the soul; it lets all the stress out.  I have been in rehearsals today preparing for the shows, and they went really well. I have new songs and a new pedal. One of the new songs gives me the chance to create a bit of chaos and develop the guitar sound. Chaos is a good thing and then take the music back to simplicity.

BD: For people seeing you for the first time how do you describe your special blues. Full of slide and magic and weaving in tones from across the modern music spectrum from Rock to Prog?

EL: I listen to lots of different music, guitar based and mostly bluesy.  I love mixing and matching the various elements I have learnt from my many and varied guitar teachers.  From my teachers, I learn different approaches and take what is good for me. I master as much as I can and add these skills into the mix. Blues always is the heaviest essence within my music; I like to go crazy with the music, playing free. Traditional blues are hard to play. Can be seen as boring by some. To take the best out of those three chords you need to be the master of the blues.

I have always been a bit of a rebel, wanting to deliver the unexpected, being unique. You cannot just copy you have to make your own stuff. Right now what is happening is a new thing and a new sound coming out of the guitar which is exciting.

BD: To sum up then your music is the blues with a twist of craziness and a lot of Erja uniqueness.

BD: Will the set list be heavy with tracks from your acclaimed album Stolen Hearts and do you have favourites from your whole back catalogue?

 EL: The set list will be 100% Erja Lyytinen. The set list will include tracks from Stolen Hearts. The songs will be different playing live they get their own shape and energy. Into the mix will be songs going back to Grip Of The Blues with Everything’s Fine released in 2008.  Wow, that is nearly ten years ago! Laughing.  You can hear the development over the decade now maybe when in a set can be eight minutes of heavy shuffle blues, with loud guitar, in the solo using delay and Whaing.  The cover song we love having in the set list and is pleasing for audiences is Steamy Windows; the Tony Joe White song a lot of fun, about sex and I can have a good time with the bass player.

BD:  Having performed the songs from Stolen Hearts live do you have a favourite and why?

EL: Rocking Chair, from Stolen Hearts, goes in, it is always a challenge to play live and is becoming its own number little by little as it develops when played on stage if you allow the music the change. Having played the number at around one hundred shows songs are taken in another direction from when recorded in the studio of first played live. It would be boring if played the same way every time. In the blues genre changing and developing is typical and expected.

BD: As you will be only too aware of the debate about what is the blues. What are the Blues to Erja Lyytinen? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?

EL: Europe definitely has different Blues from U.S.A. The U.K. definitely trades in the whole blues revival of the sixties as the great rock bands emerged Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and so many more. A Blues band of every country has roots reaching back to the sixties. British Blues is stable with a clear identity.

American Blues is more conventional more towards the traditional roots. European bands are not afraid to mixing and making new sound being experimental. Without a doubt, rockier blues is trending at the moment after the phenomenon of Bonamassa and others have developed a great space a new thing and vibe.

We already have a great catalogue of blues from the past recordings of the 1940’s. We cannot go back.  Fortunately traditional and new are being combined as players take elements from the past to where we are now.

BD: During your travels, how often (if ever) have you experienced sexism, and if so where is it worst/most rife?

EL: Sexism, chuckling, it is in the fabric of the blues. Women and the blues have always been present. Blues is a man’s world.  It has been around since the days of Bessie Smith through to Rosetta Thorpe. They were all amazing musicians and women with an attitude to stride forward.  They all had so much talent that the sexism within the business could never overshadow.  It has changed so much over the last five years there are now more women in the blues. The change is thanks to many women including singer & guitarist Bonnie Raitt, who has been on the circuit for 40 plus years, Susan Tedeschi and Sue Foley and so many more. Women needed these idols. I was lucky my father played the guitar and my mother bass so there were no gender stereotypes of sexism what I was growing up.

BD: What projects have you in the pipeline for the rest of 2017 and into 2018 once the tour finishes in Bristol at The Tunnels on the 26th September?

EL: After the UK tour in September I am involved in a TV programme, Stars Stars (Tähdet Tähdet). It is a nationwide programme where ten singers who sing different genres each week. With over a million viewers every week. The viewers vote and it will stretch me singing Rap/Hip Hop/musicals and other genres each week, I hope the viewer’s votes mean I get through to the finals.

I have a big tour before Christmas in Finland at twelve big venues Erja Lyttinen & Friends: Blue Christmas with Sami Saari and Maria going to be fun. Then into 2018 still touring Stolen Hearts Europe in February and back in the U.K. in March.

We are already doing new songs so cool a shift in direction for the future. My music has been used in a documentary being premiered today. The programme is a big criminal case involving drug Police. So interesting to do different things

No album is being planned for 2018 as still touring Stolen Hearts. But I am writing lots. I noticed that Stolen Hearts full of emotions and my personal life. My writing has moved more base on the guitar a different sound more psychedelic. The stories are not ready yet, lots of guitar riffs and mood feels very different. So lots happening.

BD: Thank you for your time and looking forward to see you live on tour and reviewing the show on 26th September at The Tunnels, Bristol.

Bluesdoodles Stolen Hearts Album Review:  The only answer as the last notes fade is listen and explore Stolen Hearts again. Why? Stolen Hearts is an album of musical maturity that will remain a firm favourite for years to come in collections of lovers of contemporary blues without boundaries. Read more…

Erja Lyytinen is touring the U.K. in September Select the gig – BOOK HERE

 

SQ&A with Erja Lytinnen Stolen Hearts Guitars and Touring

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

 

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge. Who are the five excited bands talking about 4th UK Blues Challenge? They are Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion; LaVendore Rogue, The Rainbreakers ; Elles Bailey  and Robert J. Hunter. The fifth band added to the list rose to the Jessica Foxley unsigned challenge having played on the main stage at  Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival.   

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeFive Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeTell us what it means to Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

 ZSBC: Firstly, the fact that the number of our peers nominating is so large gives real credibility to the artists involved, so we are also proud about that.    We are also proud to be nominated as we see it as a recognition of our original music, concept and style.  We don’t write the songs to any kind of formula or to fit in with any cliche or pre-conceived ideas of what defines blues in 2017. Read more…..

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeFive Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to LaVendore Rogue to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

LVR: We’ve been to hell and back a few times over the years, and playing in the states has to be a dream of any UK musician, so it’s an honour to be considered for the UK British Blues Challenge – we’ve been working hard over the last few years, and it’s great to see its been recognised by the UK Blues Federation. Read More …

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeFive Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to The Rainbreakers to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

RB: We were overwhelmed to have been nominated, especially when we don’t really consider ourselves to be a blues band as such. We think it shows willingness from the scene to accept the new approach to the blues that some of the younger bands of today are displaying. Obviously we would be thrilled to go through to the European and American challenges especially as we are hugely influenced by a plethora of bands from the states! Read More….

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to Elles Bailey to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

EB: Love the fact that European Challenge at Hell – didn’t know it existed on Earth. I am chuffed to bits to be performing in the Challenge this year. I am a newbie on the scene over the last twelve to eighteen months I have been quickly accepted in the Blues community. It has just exceed my expectations, definitely delighted to be performing in Liverpool and looking forward to seeing the other acts. It is definitely going to be a great night. Read More…

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to Robert J. Hunter Band to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

RHB: We are a struggling band on the blues scene, if we are even on the blues scene is up for debate. We work very hard and we are playing the long game, enjoying every step of the way. But to have an opportunity like this is an absolute honour, we have been given a chance and we promise we won’t disappoint. Thank you to JFU and UKBlues Federation for believing in us.. the opportunity to be able to play somewhere called Hell is exciting on it’s own. Read More…

More about The UK Blues Challenge

What is the UK Blues Challenge (UKBC)?

An annual event organised by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) at a different location in the UK at which a number of bands/acts compete in front of a panel of judges drawn from across the blues spectrum. The winning band/act is invited to represent the UK at the following year’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis and European Blues Challenge (EBC) which is held in a different European country each year.

The International and European Blues Challenges are organised by, respectively, the Blues Foundation  and the European Blues Union (EBU)

We are very pleased that this year’s event will take place at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool on Sunday 10th September 2017 starting at 16.00. More details can be found  and how to buy a ticket for the event HERE. UKBlues is excited to be bringing the blues back to the Cavern sixty years on!

How are the contestants in the UKBC chosen?

As an Active Member of the EBU meeting the EBU’s laid down criteria (see EBC rules here) and the sole UK Affiliate of the Blues Foundation, UKBlues are honoured to be invited to create and manage the selection process to choose the band or artist who will represent the UK at these prestigious events each year.
The first stage of the process this year saw a panel of more than 250 people from across the blues spectrum in the UK which included members of UKBlues, all UK based Active Members of the EBU, members of the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association, festival and gig promoters, writers (both online and print media), musicians, fans and blues supporters etc. being invited to submit the three UK acts that they felt would best represent the UK at the EBC and IBC.

Members of this panel were asked to place their choices in order (first, second, third) and points were awarded according to the position in which the acts are placed by you.

The 4 top scoring available acts after this process was complete were invited to participate in the UKBC where the contestants will perform in front of a panel of judges who will use the same criteria to award points to the contestants as are used at the EBC and IBC.
In a new departure this year, a fifth band will be invited to participate which will be selected from the bands who have been invited by Jessica Foxley Unsigned to play at the Great British Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Festival which takes place in Colne over the August Bank Holiday weekend –  These bands are, generally, under the radar and being selected to play at Colne is a big step up for them.

The band will be chosen by a panel of representatives of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned project and will be chosen on the strength of their performance at Colne.

The winner of the UKBC will be invited to represent the UK at both the 2018 EBC and IBC.

What are the selection and judging criteria?

When making their selections, the members of the panel are asked to bear in mind the following EBC rules which apply:

  • The leader of the band must have the nationality of the country he/she represents.
  • At least 50% of the members of the contestant bands must reside in the country they represent.
  • Acts who participated in a previous edition of the EBC, but did not win, may compete again after a period of 3 years.
  • Bands of which half or more of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 3 years.
  • Bands of which less than half of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 2 years.

Contestants at the UKBC, EBC and IBC are expected to perform at least 50% original music in their set and they are awarded points using the following criteria as laid down by the EBU:

  • Originality
  • Instrumental talent
  • Vocal talent
  • Stage presence
  • Blues content

You can read the full EBC rules here

This process is the same as that which has been used in previous years and is approved by the Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Alan Nimmo from King King Talking about Album & Tours

Alan Nimmo from King King Talking about Album & Tours

Alan Nimmo from King King Talking about Album & Tours

BD: Hi Alan, thanks for taking the time to chat about Exile & Grace King King’s new album and tour dates brightening 2018.

Exile and Grace the much-anticipated album is released by Manhaton Records on 6th October 2017.

Their UK tour kicks off at London Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Wednesday 17th January 2018.

Tickets: www.kingking.co.uk/tour

 

Alan Nimmo from King King Talking about Album & ToursBD: Let’s start with Exile and Grace out 6th October on Manhaton Records. The album title feels different from previous titles. What inspired the title Exile & Grace?

AN:  The inspiration behind the album title came from a number of things really but all rolled into one! There is a huge concern that the future of our world and our species is very uncertain! There is so much conflict in the world and the way we treat the planet is a real worry for future generations. So it’s almost like “Exile” and “Grace” are like a yin and yang. We seem to exile the willingness and power to be graceful and live in harmony with one and other.

BD: Having listened to the album a number of times it is definitely rockier and has a cohesive sound. Is this the trajectory that you and King King plan to take the group in the future.

 AN:  It’s never a plan to take the musical style in any direction… it’s simply just how the songs turn out when we write them. I feel as the main songwriter that the more experience I gain from writing, the more relaxed I become and with that relaxation comes the early influences that I was listening to as a young kid.

BD: No title track as such – do you see any particular track as the number that defines the album.

AN: If I had to pick a tune that defined this album I’d probably say it was “Broken” It talks about the things I mentioned earlier about my concerns for our future as a human race.

 BD: Do the tracks have personal meaning and have you a favourite Track?

 AN: Everything I write has personal meaning as I tend to write about things and events that have gone on in my life or they can be subjects that matter to me too. They’re all my favourites!

BD: The first single of the album, (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’ has had plenty of radio play and excited the fans. Keeping King King’s profile high while you are off the road. How did you decide on this track to launch the album with its Thunder overtones.

 AN:  It’s great to add depth and real meaning to certain songs throughout an album but just sometimes it’s simply ok to write a quirky tune that still tells a story but doesn’t need to tax the brain too much! We just wanted to have a first single that had an immediate impact on the ears and made you tap your feet! Simple as that!

BD: Before we talk about the 2018 tour dates and beyond.  You must have been heartened by the support and loyalty of your fans who have joined at various points on the King King Musical journey. The fans want to know how your vocal chords are progressing and are you doing what has been ordered staying quiet and resting your voice.

AN: First of all I would just like to thank all of our fabulous fans for the staggering amount of support and love they have shown not only me but to everyone in the band! As you can imagine…this is a very difficult time for me and indeed the boys and I’m glad that we decided to take this time out to get a full recovery and I want everyone to know that I’m working my backside off to get into good health vocally and in every other way!

BD: Let’s talk 2018. UK tour dates kick off at London Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Wednesday 17th January 2018; then four further dates around the U.K. This will certainly start the gigging year on a high for your growing phalanx of loyal King King fans.  This will be the start of Exile & Grace Tour and hearing the tracks we will have time to have learned. Which tracks work particularly well on a live King King set?

AN:  Yes, we’re really looking forward to getting back on the road and playing our UK tour! We’ll be rehearsing for the tour pretty soon and we’ll find out which songs work best live but you can never tell which ones will go down well on a live show until you try them! We will try to choose wisely!

BD: What plans do you and King King have for 2018 and beyond whether playing Rock or blues?

AN: There is a very busy 2018 already shaping up so we just want to keep doing what we do and hope that our fans stay by our side and enjoy the journey with us. There is plenty more for King King to achieve so don’t worry… you’ll be seeing lots of us!

BD: Finally, while you are off the road relaxing! What music are you listening to and giving you inspiration? 

AN: When I’m in the gym or walking in the hills or even out on the motorbike then I tend to listen to everything in my music library… it’s basically on random shuffle all the time so it’s anything from Thunder to Prince to Chris Stapleton to Black Crows to Eric Clapton, Free, Whitesnake, Steve Vai… I could go on all day! I even listen to King King and I also love the “Sky Won’t Fall” album from my big bro!

Alan Nimmo from King King Talking about Album & Tours

 

 

 

Robert J. Hunter Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

Robert J. Hunter Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

Robert J. Hunter Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

Robert J. Hunter Talks about
2017 Blues Challenge

 

BD: Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 4th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.

RHB: Our pleasure, this is an incredible opportunity for us.

BD: Before we start, tell us about performing at The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival in Colne over Bank Holiday Weekend as part of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned bands.

RHB: We were lucky to have been chosen by JFU to perform and it was an amazing experience. A festival we had been trying to get onto for a long time, and it did not disappoint. We were worried that our blend of original dirty blues may not have suited, but we had the best time and received amazing feedback. So thanks to JFU again for giving us a chance.

BD: 2017, sees the fourth UK British Blues Challenge.  This year the UKBlues Federation are “Bringing The Blues back to The cavern 60 years on..” Tell us what it means to Robert J. Hunter Band to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

RHB: We are a struggling band on the blues scene, if we are even on the blues scene is up for debate. We work very hard and we are playing the long game, enjoying every step of the way. But to have an opportunity like this is an absolute honour, we have been given a chance and we promise we won’t disappoint. Thank you to JFU and UKBlues Federation for believing in us.. the opportunity to be able to play somewhere called Hell is exciting on it’s own.

BD: What are the Blues to Robert J. Hunter Band? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?

RHB: Our sound is rooted in British blues and RnB, but sonically is in the direction of more American southern blues. America is where it all began after all and I think it is any musicians dream to have the opportunity to play in the States. Blues-rock seems to be the chosen weapon of lots of new bands across Britain, Europe and the US, including us, it is interesting seeing how bands are taking the blues in its rawest form and creating something truly original with the pallet they have to work from.

BD: Your current album is Where I’m From; tell us a bit about the album and have you plans to return to the studio?

RHB: That album was a way for me to showcase the variety of my writing, aside from the band. Solo, just me and a guitar for a day of recording.

We are working on new material and spent a weekend in the studio recently recording all live and we are currently mixing the record, and deciding about the release. We have always struggled capturing the adrenaline and passion of a live show on record, but this time we are a step in the right direction. It’s essentially an old school rhythm and blues album wound around the raucous dirty blues people may be used to hearing from us.

BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to the UK Blues what would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?

RHB: The British blues scene is really buzzing at the moment, there are more and more young bands experimenting with the blues and there are some incredible blues guitarists on the scene. Sadly, a lot of bands go unnoticed, with a lot of the same few acts working the scene with only one or two new additions now and then. There a lot of artists putting their heart and soul into their craft but struggling to make a dent into the scene. I think more opportunities for young original blues bands need to be available and I think the UKBlues Federation can and is doing that. We are very lucky to have this opportunity.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?

RHB:
Lee Brilleaux on vocals and harp,
Big Mama Thornton on vocals
Norman Watt Roy on bass
Mitch Mitchell on drums
Bonnie Raitt on slide
Keith Emerson on Hammond
Rory Gallagher on lead guitar.
It would be chaos, but damn would it be good.

 

BD: Thank you for your time. The challenge at The Cavern on 10th September will be an amazing night of live music as we hear the five bands – LaVendore Rogue – Elles Bailey – Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion – The Rainbreakers and Robert J. Hunter Band.

Buy Your ticket here and be part of a great night HERE.

 

UKBlues Challenge Fifth Contestant Announced

Rise and Shine with SIMO Forthcoming Album

Rise and Shine with SIMO Forthcoming Album

 

SIMO RETURN WITH NEW ALBUM ‘RISE AND SHINE’

OUT SEPTEMBER 15TH VIA PROVOGUE/MASCOT LABEL GROUP

Watch the video for People Say here

 

Nashville trio SIMO widen their sound with slow-smoked soul ballads, psychedelic desert-rock instrumentals, hard-edged, bluesy barn burners and Stax-worthy funk rockers.

“Phenomenal” The Independent

Simo’s future looks so bright that the trio needs shades” Classic Rock

“Raw and brimming with Mojo” Guitar & Bass

“An incendiary talent” Powerplay

Bluesdoodles  talked to SIMO last year We asked about follow-up album to Let Love Show The Way. JD said “We have started work on next record actually started several months ago. We are doing the album in little phases. This is a different approach from previously and will be a different type of album putting it together over long period of time. We are about a quarter way through the process”.   Read More…..

Rise & Shine took shape as they toured throughout 2016 playing 215 show. The trio on stage are a firework display of energy and musical style lead by  frontman JD Simo; drummer Adam Abrashoff; and bassist Elad Shapiro. Touring across nine countries was inspirational SIMO hashing out chord changes in hotel rooms and tweaking song arrangements during soundcheck. It was a time of growth and self-improvement for everyone, and they became better friends, better musicians, and better people. At the same time, the outside world was changing. Political pundits were screaming at one another. Elections were pitting candidate against candidate, party against party, neighbour against neighbour. The need to write music that truly meant something — music that not only demonstrated the band’s explosive chops, but also sent a clear message — was greater than ever.

Rise and Shine with SIMO Forthcoming Album blurs the lines across genres as they look to future understanding the past influences whilst creating new contemporary sound. “If you go through my record collection and look at the more contemporary titles,” JD explains, “you’ll see the Roots, Wilco, Alabama Shakes, and Ryan Adams. I listen to a lot of old soul music, too. Isaac Hayes. Funkadelic. Bob Dylan. On Rise & Shine, I was just trying to cull from the vastness that is my normal music diet, and not trying to pander to some target that was easy to hit.”

Rise and Shine with SIMO Forthcoming Album was slowly  recorded working long hours moving at their own deliberate pace. “There was a lot more sonic experimentation going on,” remembers Adam. “Every track has a different sonic imprint,” JD adds. “We took great care to make each track’s sonic identity match the mood of the song. Even though that meant starting from scratch every day with how the studio was setup.”

A former session guitarist who’s played on nearly 500 albums, JD didn’t take Rise & Shine’s lengthy creation process for granted. “I’ve never worked on a record that took this long to record,” he adds. “I was so grateful to have that opportunity.”

Rise and Shine with SIMO Forthcoming Album is the band’s most expansive album to date — the work of a band at its curious, adventurous peak.

 

CATCH SIMO AT THE BORDERLINE, LONDON ON SEPTEMBER 26TH

Pre-order Rise & Shine HERE

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

 

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

 

 

Who are the four excited bands talking about 4th UK Blues Challenge? They are Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion; LaVendore Rogue, The Rainbreakers and Elles Bailey. There will be a fifth band joining the quartet of superb bands. The fifth band will be announced shortly after the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival taking place at Colne 25th-27th August. The Jessica Foxley Unsigned bands who will be playing on the main stages have now been selected. From these Eight bands one will be chosen to join the bands already announced to take part in the Challenge on the 10th September. Find out who the eight bands that are in with a chance HERE.   

While we all wait in anticipation as to which band are joining the four who have already been nominated read about the bands and what they said when Bluesdoodles spoke to them.

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeFour Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeTell us what it means to Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

 ZSBC: Firstly, the fact that the number of our peers nominating is so large gives real credibility to the artists involved, so we are also proud about that.    We are also proud to be nominated as we see it as a recognition of our original music, concept and style.  We don’t write the songs to any kind of formula or to fit in with any cliche or pre-conceived ideas of what defines blues in 2017. Read more…..

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeFour Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to LaVendore Rogue to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

LVR: We’ve been to hell and back a few times over the years, and playing in the states has to be a dream of any UK musician, so it’s an honour to be considered for the UK British Blues Challenge – we’ve been working hard over the last few years, and it’s great to see its been recognised by the UK Blues Federation. Read More …

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeRainbreakers Talks About 2017 UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to The Rainbreakers to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

RB: We were overwhelmed to have been nominated, especially when we don’t really consider ourselves to be a blues band as such. We think it shows willingness from the scene to accept the new approach to the blues that some of the younger bands of today are displaying. Obviously we would be thrilled to go through to the European and American challenges especially as we are hugely influenced by a plethora of bands from the states! Read More….

 

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to Elles Bailey to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

EB: Love the fact that European Challenge at Hell – didn’t know it existed on Earth. I am chuffed to bits to be performing in the Challenge this year. I am a newbie on the scene over the last twelve to eighteen months I have been quickly accepted in the Blues community. It has just exceed my expectations, definitely delighted to be performing in Liverpool and looking forward to seeing the other acts. It is definitely going to be a great night. Read More…

More about The UK Blues Challenge

What is the UK Blues Challenge (UKBC)?

An annual event organised by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) at a different location in the UK at which a number of bands/acts compete in front of a panel of judges drawn from across the blues spectrum. The winning band/act is invited to represent the UK at the following year’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis and European Blues Challenge (EBC) which is held in a different European country each year.

The International and European Blues Challenges are organised by, respectively, the Blues Foundation  and the European Blues Union (EBU)

We are very pleased that this year’s event will take place at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool on Sunday 10th September 2017 starting at 16.00. More details can be found  and how to buy a ticket for the event HERE. UKBlues is excited to be bringing the blues back to the Cavern sixty years on!

How are the contestants in the UKBC chosen?

As an Active Member of the EBU meeting the EBU’s laid down criteria (see EBC rules here) and the sole UK Affiliate of the Blues Foundation, UKBlues are honoured to be invited to create and manage the selection process to choose the band or artist who will represent the UK at these prestigious events each year.
The first stage of the process this year saw a panel of more than 250 people from across the blues spectrum in the UK which included members of UKBlues, all UK based Active Members of the EBU, members of the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association, festival and gig promoters, writers (both online and print media), musicians, fans and blues supporters etc. being invited to submit the three UK acts that they felt would best represent the UK at the EBC and IBC.

Members of this panel were asked to place their choices in order (first, second, third) and points were awarded according to the position in which the acts are placed by you.

The 4 top scoring available acts after this process was complete were invited to participate in the UKBC where the contestants will perform in front of a panel of judges who will use the same criteria to award points to the contestants as are used at the EBC and IBC.
In a new departure this year, a fifth band will be invited to participate which will be selected from the bands who have been invited by Jessica Foxley Unsigned to play at the Great British Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Festival which takes place in Colne over the August Bank Holiday weekend –  These bands are, generally, under the radar and being selected to play at Colne is a big step up for them.

The band will be chosen by a panel of representatives of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned project and will be chosen on the strength of their performance at Colne.

The winner of the UKBC will be invited to represent the UK at both the 2018 EBC and IBC.

What are the selection and judging criteria?

When making their selections, the members of the panel are asked to bear in mind the following EBC rules which apply:

  • The leader of the band must have the nationality of the country he/she represents.
  • At least 50% of the members of the contestant bands must reside in the country they represent.
  • Acts who participated in a previous edition of the EBC, but did not win, may compete again after a period of 3 years.
  • Bands of which half or more of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 3 years.
  • Bands of which less than half of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 2 years.

Contestants at the UKBC, EBC and IBC are expected to perform at least 50% original music in their set and they are awarded points using the following criteria as laid down by the EBU:

  • Originality
  • Instrumental talent
  • Vocal talent
  • Stage presence
  • Blues content

You can read the full EBC rules here

This process is the same as that which has been used in previous years and is approved by the Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

 

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

 

 

BD: I was delighted when Wilful PR sent me a review copy of your new album Bridges and the opportunity to find out yourselves, influence and lots more. When I saw you play live at Rockstock last December for me you were the band of the Saturday night.

A Thousand Horses, have answered the questions as a team hence four bands of fantasy and delight. Read more for an insight into Michael Hobby Lead Vocals; Bill Satcher Lead Guitar,  Zach Brown Guitar and Vocal & Graham Deloach Bass and Vocal

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up?
Thousand Horses:

Graham: I loved all of the classic rock n roll growing up, and still do! Led Zeppelin       is my favorite band of all time
Zach: My parents listened to oldies in the car when I was growing up. The first concert I can remember going to was The Beach Boys out at the lake near our house. I didn’t learn that there was music made after 1970 until a friend played the song Breakfast at Tiffany’s for me when I was 10 years old.
Bill:  The Beatles
Hobby: The Black Crowes

 BD: A Thousand Horses are making an impact, how did you get together and form the band and what is the significance of the name?

Thousand Horses:
Hobby: We formed the band in Nashville in 2010. Bill and I grew up together in Newberry, SC and met when we were 12 and 13 years old in a local music store. Graham is bills cousin so we would all 3 hang out every summer and play music. We formed ATH when we met Zach through a mutual friend in 2010. We named the band after a song we wrote when we formed the title A Thousand Horses.

We all write in the band together, separately, and with other writers here in town. Everyone in the band brings a great deal of creativity to song writing and our sound whether it be lyric, melody, or music, it’s a group thing. You never know where a song can come from or inspiration can spark!

BD: Bridges, is your follow-up album to your success with your debut Southernality last year. Produced by the Band, Corey Crowder & Dann Huff. With many involved in producing the sound who gets the final production say?

Thousand Horses:
Bill: Well, Corey Crowder and Dann Huff both really wanted to make the best A Thousand Horses record that we could, so at the end of the day we were the ones with final approval on the album and they wanted it to be that way. But they’re so badass that there wasn’t much to be debated about in the end.

BD:  How did you choose the tracks and then decide that Preachin’ To The Choir should be the single to proclaim the album?

Thousand Horses:
Graham: We love every song that is on the new album. We are always writing and creating new music and these are some of our favorites that we wanted our fans to hear. We chose ‘Preachin’ to the Choir’ as our first single because we thought it was a great song for our fans and a great first impression and representation of the new musical project (Bridges) as a whole.
 Bill: I think that every new song we write, record, lyric we jot down or melody we try and refine, we are always pushing it and ourselves to be better than what we have done before. So, in a way, yes it’s more challenging because we are pushing harder to be better. So most the pressure or challenge comes from within ourselves. As far as the album title “Bridges” goes, we decided to name the project that because we feel that song’s meaning encapsulates everything we have been through in the process of creating this new music. It’s a song about light heartily looking back and being able to laugh at the mistakes you made along the road of life. It kind of defines our point of view at this time in our lives.

BD: Bridges has seven of the thirteen tracks recorded live. Six of them at Metropolis Studio in London what do you feel this approach adds to the music and what made Metropolis the place to be for Bridges?

Thousand Horses
Zach: I think we wanted to show something real and raw with the Metropolis sessions. So much music coming out these days is so computer heavy that sometimes people don’t even know what artists actually sound like. We wanted to do something stripped down, one take, just us and our instruments. Metropolis has one of the only direct to vinyl machines left, so it was the perfect place to capture the live half of the record.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?

Thousand Horses:
Hobby: Song writing has always been a passion of mine since I got my first guitar and learned to play it. Instead of learning other people’s songs I would make my own up. Lyrically I always wanted to have truth in my stories. A lot of what I write about is real life things that I have lived or been a part of.

BD: The music Industry is constantly evolving with changes often not for the better, how have the changes impacted on Thousand Horses Country Rock style of music?

Thousand Horses:
Graham: I think that the music has become more accessible as the industry and the genre of country music grows. This allows us to reach more people with our music.

 BD: I am sure you have many plans for 2017 and beyond for the band do you plan to tour UK and Europe?

Thousand Horses:
Zach: We love playing in the UK and are really looking forward to getting over to the rest of Europe. We have a few things in the works so stay tuned!

BD: Is there anything you want to say to your fans reading this interview?

Thousand Horses:
Hobby: Thank you for your continued support and believing in our music. We love ya and can’t wait to rock with you soon.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect fantasy band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing

Thousand Horses:
Graham: Steve Gorman of The Black Crowes on drums, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd on bass/vocals, Billy Powell of Lynyrd Skynyrd on keys, Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers on guitar, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin on lead vocal.
Zach: Gotta start with the rhythm section cause it’s the backbone of the band. I always wanted to play drums like Keith Moon growing up so I’d have him on drums and Ashton Barrett, who played with Bob Marley, on bass. Then I’d add my favorite guitar duo, Keith Richards and Ron Wood, because they sound cool playing anything! I’d round it out with Freddie Mercury as the front man.
Bill: Rich Robinson – Guitar, vocal. Joe Walsh – Guitar, vocal. Liam Gallagher – vocal. Steve Gorman – Drums. Benmont Tench – Keys. Paul McCartney – Bass, vocal. Produced by Jeff Lynne.
Hobby: Tom Petty, Dwight Yokam, Max Martin, Jon Paul Jones, Steven Tyler and Prince on drums.

 

Thank you for taking the time to chat with Bluesdoodles.  read the review for the latest album Bridges – HERE

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

Ray Dorset aka Mungo Jerry Talking About Ealing, Festivals and Blues

Ray Dorset aka Mungo Jerry Talking About Ealing, Festivals and Blues

Ray Dorset aka Mungo Jerry Talking About Ealing, Festivals and Blues

In 1970, Mungo Jerry enjoyed world-wide fame with a song called “In The Summertime”. That song went to number three on the US chart and number one in England. Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry talked with us about the history of the group. Now performing as Mungo Jerry and popular at Blues Festivals, performing this July at Ealing Blues Festival.

BD: I was delighted to have the opportunity to talk with you today, the writer of In The Summertime

BD: Lets start off with the here and Now. Mungo Jerry not in the 1970’s band format performing at Ealing Blues Festival July 2017.
RD: Mungo Jerry is me Ray Dorset. I am Mungo Jerry the artist performer. I have owned the name since 1972. Before I was even fired from the band. Once I was fired they considering the vocalist from the Strawbs to replace me it wouldn’t work. BD: Why? RD: They very quickly realised without Mungo there was no band called Mungo Jerry. In retrospect having the Mungo Jerry was a good move for me. Gives me an identity linking back to the band and suits the widespread music I play, African and world music rooted in the blues.

BD: Now playing in the Summertime in West London at Ealing’s Blues Festival what will you associated with 70’s pop bring to the Blues vibe?
RD: Mungo Jerry is not pop as it is known today. I will be playing In The Summertime it is expected. You can be assured I will not be doing what Shaggy did at Glastonbury with In The Summertime get crowds to wave arms in the air never expect a worldwide performer to keep asking people put arms in the air just can’t do it. The hit the band Mungo Jerry had with In The Summertime was one of many. Even then the essence of blues was present. BD: How? RD: We had no drummer; the percussion was from Cabasa combined with my foot stomping on the floor picking up from John Lee Hooker’s style..

BD: Back to Ealing Festival
RD: As I said I don’t do pop. I play some of my hits that is to be expected. Most importantly I play music I enjoy playing. I gauge the crowds reaction and what else is on the festival line-up. I am not there to educate or display a virtuoso performance. I am at a festival to entertain, hopefully the music will be a positive and therapeutic experience. I give something in my performance and get something back from the crowds it is karma. What will be fun at Ealing will be playing music the audience wants to hear. You have to remember the majority of the crowd what to be entertained on a summer’s day. They really do not care about the genre and if it is recorded music who produced it is of little importance. Music for them they either like or dislike. Hopefully they will like my music and I am really looking forward to playing Ealing this July and you never know there may even be schools mates from when I lived in West London.

BD: What were your introduction to music growing up in West London?
RD: I grew up in Ashford Middlesex in 1955 the population was approximately 16,500 the whole family was very, very musical. My Father played the harmonica and Mum the Piano and sang. On any occasion, Christmas, birthdays, family get-togethers we all did our turn playing and singing. I had no brothers or sisters so was taken by my Gran to lots of movies, particularly Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and especially musicals. Such as Annie Get Your Gun, The King & I, and Singin’ In The Rain. There was something in the rhythm and groove that had a therapeutic effect. When I was eight or nine my Great Uncle would take me to the local football club socials; I would sit as close to the band as possible I could feel what it would like to be the drummer. I started playing the washboard, then made a tea-chest bass and then saw it up to make a guitar. I had for Christmas a terrible plastic guitar and then when I was ten I got a proper guitar for Christmas. By the time I was eleven I was in my first skiffle band with friends from school, rehearsing around each other’s houses, yet never thought about being a professional musician.

I had an interest in electronics and had a crystal set for Christmas one year, build that and then investigated how it worked. A friend discovered transistors used to buy ex-government components and old radios and take them apart. Then I got a job in Timex in Brentford working in research drawing up quality control equipment. Hand –in-hand whilst I was playing in a band in the evenings and weekends. By the time I was fifteen I was playing in the White Hart and Red Lion in Sutton, on alternate Saturday evenings. The Rolling Stones played there on a Thursday evening. We were running out of repertoire from across various genres so started to write songs.

BD: You obviously loved playing music and the effect music had on yourself when listening and others when playing. Who influenced you?
RD: So many, from across the genres. From playing in the same venue as the Rolling Stones to when my band supported the Yardbirds, they were phenomenal, unique and real. Then bands like The Who created a fantastic groove the maximum R n’ B from three musicians; and rooted in the blues. From the British Blues Scene I explored the music that influenced them I have always been inquisitive and asked questions.
As I found music I explored the roots and the road led back to blues whether Bob Dylan or Woody Guthrie; who played a lot of Leadbelly. I listened to music from far and wide and continue to find new experiences like Daddy Long Legs based in America he does a great version of Bourgeoise Blues full of raw energy. Through discovering his music recorded in jail by Alan Lomax I found the other artist captured on Lomax’s tapes. Blues run deep from Robert Johnson through to Muddy Waters & BB King the list could go on they have been so influential.

BD: That leads us nicely to and linking back to Ealing Blues Festival. What does the Blues mean to you and can it be defined?
RD: Blues has a fundamental drive it is honest music. I have always listened to music associated with the blues, the old timers, British Jazz and my Mother loved Frankie & Johnny with Elvis Presley and I was paying in a Skiffle and Blues Band. Rock N Roll came to the fore with Bill Halley then Elvis Presley they go back to rural blues. Country and blues and of course Rockabilly white ghetto blues.
Enough people have defined the blues intellectually and socially for me it is about a feeling. There are so many different aspects of blues. There is an element of soul to it the feel is kind of rooted in the blues. The feel and soul reaches back to slavery, servitude working in the fields creating rural blues. Rising out of intense misery singing about the discontent, hurt complaining to a beat can be persuasive. Blues is about writing about what is happening and can be triggered by an event such as a hurricane or newspaper headline or a phrase overheard. You could say the roots of I Don’t Like Monday title and theme is a link in the chain of blues impacting popular music.
Blues is personified by for example, Sleepy John Estes, Married Women Blues electric guitar into a basic amp both bought from a department store yet created music that was timeless. The same goes for the legendary twelve-string played by Leadbelly both influential musicians over the decades. Stripped down to its basics it is guitar and foot stomping, from likes of John Lee Hooker as you get more excited the stomping gets harder creating a fundamental tempo. The instruments, lyrics and player meld into one delivering the blues. Blues has always been commercial once they sold records Howlin’ Wolf wanted to sell his records and was commercial and there is so much more than 12-bar blues it is a much more complex genre. It has to have an element of being unique not just replicated what has already been done and definitely for me in the blues less is more; I have definitely made that mistake. I find that today so many blues artists play the same style all the time reflecting what seems to be taught and the influence of X-factor type programmes. Take Joe Bonamassa he can play the guitar BUT it has all been done before.
I have written blues in various styles always been an influence. Looking to write and record in the future something that has not already been done in the past. It will definitely be influenced by all the soulful blues energy and hopefully create something unique. Music that isn’t just for a black guy to sing. American population is made up of immigrants from Europe, Asia and Africa. The music became the melting pot with influences from Eastern Europe, Germany, Ireland as they got together in homesteads and East met West. The instruments were mixed together whatever was available, parlour piano, banjo, harmonica, accordion all got mixed together as remembered folk music formed and re-formed into music we recognise today.

BD: During your long career, a jam with Peter Green & Vincent Crane resulted in the Katmandu Album, Case For The Blues
RD: I first met Peter Green when he was in Fleetwood Mac; he recommended a guitar shop to me. Then met him again when I was living in Grayshott Surrey where I lived for a while in a large house with a recording studio. Chris Hollands asked me if I fancied a jam with Peter Green I said yes, come round to my studio. Few days later another phone call Vincent Crane fancies a jam. So we got together with Peter Green, Vincent Crane(Keyboards), Len Surtees an old school friend on bass and cousin of motorbike racer John Surtees; Jeff Whittaker on percussion with sharp skills. We realised that we didn’t have a drummer so asked Jackie Lynton Band’s drummer Greg Terry to come round. So we had a big jam session, and thought possibly have a record from this so recorded on a cassette and 2” multi track.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect / fantasy band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
RD: No not doing that the past is the past only now. BUT I would love to have a jam with Bob Dylan; Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton. If I could bring someone back to play it would be Vincent Crane he was a genius the way he played, whether classical progressive or rock. There would have been no ELP or Crazy World of Arthur Brown without his influence and keyboard skills. So sad he committed suicide a real loss.

 

Thank you for your time, been wonderful chatting with you as we wondered around the world of music, Mungo Jerry and In The Summertime

 

 

Ealing Blues Festival Leads with The Blockheads and Mungo Jerry

 

Tickets on sale here.

 

Leading the line-up this year are The Blockheads, one of the most underrated British bands of all time. Since 2000, Derek Hussey has been fronting the band, adding 21st century bite to the everyday observations of their late frontman Ian Dury. They will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of their album ‘New Boots & Panties’ by bringing their witty lyrics to their biggest London show of the summer.

Joining them as headliners across the weekend are Mungo Jerry, the blues, jugband & skiffle influenced band whose frontman and founder Ray Dorset played a number of Ealing venues in his formative years. The group are famous for their feel good summer anthems and responsible for one of the best-selling singles of all time, “In The Summertime”, which has sold over 30 million copies.

As always, Ealing Blues Festival will present the artists at the heart of the British blues scene, with performances from 2016 British Blues Awards finalists Tim AvesNorthsydeSam Kelly & Laura Holland, 2016 Sky Arts Guitar Star series finalist Steve Morrison and Amy Mayes, who recently performed with Jools Holland’s band for his Radio Two show. It is also proud to champion a number of emerging blues artists, and will feature showcases from Winnie & The RockettesGeorgie ChappleDu BellowsAndy Twyman and Tom Walker.

Ealing Blues Festival began as an independently-sponsored ‘free’ event in 1987. Over the years, the festival has developed in partnership with Ealing Council & The Event Umbrella to become one of the biggest blues festivals in the UK, with almost 6,000 people attending last year alone. Acts will perform across three stages in Ealing’s beautiful Walpole Park.

Ealing Blues Festival is one of 2017’s Ealing Summer Festivals, a series of eight separate events taking place in the borough between July and September. Set in some of Ealing’s most beautiful parks, the festivals bring people together in a collective appreciation of exceptional local and international talent across a range of artistic disciplines.

 

The Line UP

Blockheads
Mungo Jerry
Tom Walker Band
Laura Holland Band
Bourbon Street Revival
Du Bellows
Greg Coulson
Amy Mayes Band
John Crampton
Northsyde
Georgie Chapple Band
Tim Aves & Wolfpack
Steve Morrison & Blues Abuse
Marky Dawson
Andy Twyman
Sam Kelly’s Station House
Dan Sowerby & Hugh Budden
Winnie & The Rockettes
Mumbo Jumbo
Geoff Garbow Band
Robert Hokum’s Blues Festival All Stars
Uncle Buck
Little Steam
Mack
King Buster Blues Band

Ealing Blues Festival details

22th – 23th July 2017

Walpole Park, London, W5 5HS

12pm – 11pm

Tickets available from here

Advance tickets: £5 per day or £10 for the weekend (plus booking fees)

 

Ray Dorset aka Mungo Jerry Talking About Ealing, Festivals and Blues

 

In Conversation with Kenny Wayne Shepherd

In Conversation with Kenny Wayne Shepherd

 

In Conversation with Kenny Wayne Shepherd

BD: I was delighted when I was sent your latest album Lay It On Down to review via Mascot Label Group. The album has a beguiling mix of complexity and simplicity. Before we talk about the album, Ramblin Man and UK Tour lets go back to the beginning

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana?
KWS:
It was the first concert I went to Muddy Waters & John Lee Hooker when I was three years old. What an introduction to the blues in anybody’s life. For me it was the start of a lifelong connection with the blues. I just gravitated to the blues, there is an honesty about the music. It is music played with heart and soul. Blues define lyrical content. Dad loved the blues and introduced me to the music. I was influenced by and love a wide spectrum of genres including country R’n’B; Rock’n’ Roll and Funk but it was Blues I naturally gravitated to.

BD: What was it about the guitar that made this the instrument of choice and music your passion.
KWS: I loved the guitar and taught myself. I also love the drums, but have never sat down and learnt them. Not sure my parents fancied a drum kit being practiced in the house. I was attracted to the kinda music that features the guitar. Rock/Blues and Country they all featured the instrument and a lead vocalist. Not sure if I chose the guitar or it chose me.

BD: During your long career leading up to the release of your 8th Kenny Wayne Shepherd studio album you have explored the blues. What does the blues mean to you and how would you define the blues?
KWS: Blues is a timeless genre, it addresses the ups and downs in life. Often about difficult subjects it is the feel you get as the music takes you beyond overcoming what is troubling you. I myself play the happy side of blues what makes life good, celebrating life.  Blues is timeless it speaks to people whatever their age, colour or background. Add into the mix all this and it has spawned every type of modern popular music; inevitably you find yourself back at the blues.

BD: Lay It On Down, your 8th solo album, focuses on the lyrics as you take the listener on a journey.  The guitar is ever present whilst often complex in the tones and shapes achieved and the lead breaks are curtailed giving a contemporary fresh feel.  Moving away from blues power what led you to this change in direction?
KWS: I always play to the opportunity to shape and show the musical image that I feel needs to be created. Some songs like Ride Of Your Life gives you the opportunity to lay it on down hard. It was not the intent to play one way or the other the guitar chords just used to showcase everything. Records should take people on a journey. I set out with the goal that this would be the best album of my career. You have to continually set the bar high if you want to accomplish anything.

BD: Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?
KWS: Historically I have always based my song writing on my life experiences; or when writing with someone else their experiences. Until now actually written from fiction. Ride for Your Life is definitely fiction definitely not literal. I haven’t and I am sure none of the band have experienced escaping capture from the law. The music has an outlaw on the edge vibe so we wrote the song. It was a lot of fun, whereas Louisiana Rain is very personal showing an appreciation of where I come from.  BD: Do you write the music or the lyrics first? KWS: Nine times out of ten starts with the tune and then the lyrics but there are exceptions.

BD: You are playing Ramblin Man on the Outlaw Country Stage & Holmfirth in July and then back in UK & Europe in October for a tour. Does a new album help keep touring with your music fresh and vibrant?
KWS: Yes, have asked but been assured that on that day it is the right stage as calling that, but same thing as the Blues stage.  Looking forward to being back in the UK and again later in the year. I love touring and playing my music have a large back catalogue to choose from with a career spanning twenty-five years. New album is good and brings its own challenges; new songs to learn outside of the studio and having to work them into the set list so they fit in. I have worked songs from the album into shows I was playing last week in America. Still work to do to ensure the songs make the biggest impact, it is often trial and error revising the set lists as a tour progresses. It definitely keeps it interesting and always gauging the reactions from the audiences that all have favourites they expect to be in the set list.  The expectation from the fans is inevitable with a career of twenty-five years, lots of records played on radio and in the charts. There is a group of songs fans expect and want to hear so you have to walk a fine line when introducing new stuff.

 BD: If you were putting together the perfect fantasy band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
KWS: Already have it with The Rides. Myself, Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg.
Let me think

Drums: Chris Layton; my drummer, he is the best drummer for what I do

Bass: Danny McCormack No let’s put together a legendary group so have to be Willie Dixon he is so impactive on a song

Guitar: Albert King, Jimi Hendrix I would just love to have the opportunity to play alongside these guys.

Vocals: Muddy Waters

BD: Having mentioned The Rides, I loved the last album Pierced Arrow are you likely to tour in the UK with the band?  
KWS: We have toured in the States and have tried to put together a UK/European tour twice now just not come about.  We are planning a third album so hopefully a tour will come about.          

BD: Thank you for your time and insights into your music. Anything you would like to say to your many fans.
JWS: First I would like to say how much I appreciate the support I have ever since the first time I played when I opened for The Eagles in Wembly back in 1996 for a three night run. The loyalty of the fans once they find an artist they like they are a life-long fan. Secondly, I am really looking forward to playing UK & Europe again. I make a conscious decision to come back and tour Europe every couple of years whenever possible.  There has been a longer gap this time as been touring States with The Rides. I want to reach out to new fans of the blues, continuing to build a fan base for our brand of Blues and Rock n’ Roll.

In Conversation with Kenny Wayne Shepherd