Divine and Dirty talking with Kris Barras About Guitars and Albums

In 2016 Kris Barras released “Lucky 13”. The album was titled as such as it was his 13th year as a professional musician and a “now or never” moment.

That moment led to a first European tour, playing a crowd-drawing set at Ramblin Man Fair and a headline slot at the world’s largest indoor arena blues festival in RAWA Blues Poland the following year. Strutting into December 2017, Kris signed with Mascot Label Group amidst all sorts of conspiracy theories; including one of a suspected terror incident in London upon his first visit to their UK office. The Kris Barras Band new album “The Divine and Dirty” is due for release March 23.

Being an ex-professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter, Kris Barras will take a punch, endure and toy with it after. He’ll then fire it back at you when you least expect it…

The Divine and Dirty” comes out March 23 in the UK, are folk about to hear two sides of the Kris Barras Band?
Possibly, but we’ll get into that later…It was kind of based on the fact that there’s the dirty, slidey, rockier elements that’s contrasted by the gospel side on the album which brings a balance to it. I felt it summed up the album with the riffs and songs I had written and bringing in the ace backing vocalists really added to it, there’s different sides to everyone and the title came about later on whilst writing.

It’s a great collection of songs that’s going to have a wide appeal to blues rock fans everywhere, what was going through your mind whilst writing?
I started writing for it about 18 months ago and songs like “Hail Mary” and “Propane” have been in our live set for at least a year. I wrote the album quite gradually really, rather than at the end of the process going “Right, I’ve got 30 songs, which ones am I going to do?”. I was sifting through them as I was writing them, throwing out what didn’t work or feel right for where I wanted the album to go and sound. I’d write a song, leave it for a bit, come back to it and if it wasn’t sticking with me, I’d chuck it on the pile aside, perhaps for another time.

Did you draw from moments in your life for the songs such as “Kick Me Down” and “Lovers or Losers” and were there any specific messages you wanted to throw out there?
Some of the songs, you know they’re just stories to tell, are not necessarily things that have happened to me but there are a fair few autobiographical tunes in there and people can figure that out for themselves. It’s quite a nice release to be able to write about things that have happened, people, places etc but they’re not always about me even if they’re sung in the first person. I think anyone who plays music enjoys that release and to let people find something for themselves in a song.

You recorded your last album “Lucky 13” in your own studio, but this time round you’ve had a change of guard…
Yeah, I and the keyboard player Matt recorded, engineered, produced, mixed, the lot on “Lucky 13” which was really well received and led on to a really great year for me. With this album, I really wanted to work with a dedicated producer, a guy that was going to tell me what to do so I could just concentrate on the playing and singing. We recorded it at Momentum Studios in Plymouth UK with Josiah J Manning producing. Josiah was a guy I knew of from a gig and I knew a lot of bands that had recorded with him and I really liked the sound of their albums. We got together, had a chat and it went from there. During the recording, my band line up changed as we recorded the album in two halves. When I started it I was self-financed so could only afford to get 4 tracks down with Huw Weston on the keys and Ricky Mitchell on bass. As the band’s developed over time, signing with Mascot Label Group and commitments getting bigger and bigger by the weeks they’ve had to drop out due to work and family commitments. As a result, Josiah has joined the band as permanent keyboard and organ player which is really exciting and his playing is on the album.

When it comes to your guitar playing, do you find it difficult from trying to get as much guitar on the album as a player or do you consider yourself to be more of a songwriter/guitarist?
I don’t really like placing a label on it, to be honest so I’ve not put much thought into which one I am! Hahaha! You know, I just write songs that I want to write and some songs on the album have lent themselves more to the vocal and melody and others are clearly balls out guitar tunes…I don’t sit down and decide what I’m going to write or play it’s really just what comes out at the time. I like to think that I’m not just writing songs where the verse and chorus is just passing time to get to the guitar solo, my songs have more substance to them than that. I really put a lot of effort into creating these songs, with all the songs I’ve written and I hope that people enjoy them and get something out of them for themselves. I think that’s already been reflected in the airplay from Planet Rock with “Hail Mary”.

You mentioned guitar solos, and you knew I was going to ask anyway, what’s your approach to them as there’s a bunch of “less is more” moments (which I think are going to surprise some listeners) on this album…
It varied from song to song how I approached them. To be honest, and don’t tell anyone, I’m not very good at writing solos or playing the same thing twice! Hahaa! I never have been – I’ve always been about improvising. I’ve had to work really hard re-learning some of the solos from my songs to actually play them on this coming tour as some of them are memorable to the audience so I need to give them the actual thing rather than widdling with new ideas all the time!

Everything’s off the cuff when you record then?
For some of them I do have a rough structure, some themes or ideas I want to include so I’ll bang a few takes out and we’ll pick the best one. On some of the solos on “The Divine and Dirty” there was no preparation at all – I was just gonna play whatever I was going to there and then.

…all in one take then, none of the cutting and pasting nonsense?
Well if there was I wasn’t aware of it! Maybe Josiah did that after I left, you’ll have to ask him mate! Nah, not really, all solid, one take, it’s the only way. I know some of your readers like their gear so here we go: most of the album I played my Fender Custom Shop Telecaster that we talked about before, the one I took a punt on eBay for and really liked it. A few tracks had a couple of overdubs with my Strat, but the Tele always sounded best. Amps wise my Laney Lionheart which is a beast of an amp with a 2 12 cab was the main one. For 4 tracks I recorded first prior to my Laney endorsement, I used my Roberts 50W all valve combo amp and that amps still a bit of a mystery if anyone knows who built it?

The first round bell of your Divine and Dirty tour rings out Tuesday March 20 at Thousand Island in London –  are people in for it, but in the nicest possible way?
Definitely! We’ve been rehearsing so much and really putting a lot of effort into making the best show that we possibly can. It’s not just about having new songs to play and a new set, but really making a show in the way that songs run from one into the other. It’s really polished, yet raw and we’re really looking forward to getting out there and hitting people with it at Thousand Island and debuting songs from “The Divine and Dirty” for the first time. The other dates of the tour are going to be great also; one venue in Sittingbourne has been upgraded to a larger venue in UKP Leisure as the original venue sold out and Tavistock Wharf is a few tickets shy of selling out…

With your full band on the tour, there’s going to be a bit of a difference when you’re opening for Beth Hart on her UK tour shortly afterwards…
Yes, we’re doing an acoustic trio for that and it’s gonna be great to be out on tour with such a cool and powerful singer in Beth, who’s a label friend. Again, for that we’ve come up with a really cool set with some different takes on the songs which people will love and I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. The audience will see a different side of me on that tour and not just the guitar player some may think I am.

In your MMA fighting days, you stepped into the ring with a whole heap of characters and went toe to toe. Not that music is a competition and shouldn’t be, but if you were to step into the guitar face off ring with anyone living who would that be?
Bloody hell…that’s a good one…give me a minute. It would have to be Joe Bonamassa. He’s the biggest name in my genre and there’d be no competition as you say – it’d be great for a laugh! Joe’s been a big influence on me in the past recent years and is a really nice bloke so that would be awesome to have that shot.

…and a guitarist who has passed on?
C’mon now, you know it’s Gary Moore! That guy played with such balls and passion – it’d of been great to share a stage with him and feel that passion and intensity up close.


The Divine And Dirty out 23rd March 2018 on Mascot Label Group


Bluesdoodles review – “The Divine And Dirty is a very good album. He is an excellent guitarist and with so many hooks and bristling solos, the album has drive, intensity and passion”. Read what else we said HERE


Divine and Dirty talking with Kris Barras About Guitars and Albums


Women in Music – International Women’s Day

This is a place for all women involved in Music who celebrate their art through Blues, Americana, Roots and Rock music the focus of Bluesdoodles. Welcome aboard and join the day women’s voices were heard louder with confidence. Email your story to liz@bluesdoodles.com and get involved with Bluesdoodles Women in Music. Today and every day.

Today is International Women’s Day and thought how male-dominated Bluesdoodles the ration is dismal not deliberately but how music is promoted perhaps or internal and unrecognized biases.

As a woman and blogger of music, it dawned on me that this needed to be rectified not for one day but every day. So to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 a new page is being launched Women In Music.

The Women In Music Zone is a place for women involved in the music business, singers, musicians and as importantly women involved across the industry. Photographers, Sound & Lighting Engineers, Producers, Promoters, bloggers etc.

This is a place for all women involved in Music who celebrate their art through Blues, Americana, Roots and Rock music the focus of Bluesdoodles.

Welcome aboard and join the day women’s voices were heard louder with confidence.

Email your story to liz@bluesdoodles.com and get involved with Bluesdoodles Women in Music. Today and every day.


You can find the fledgeling Women in Music Page HERE

Lance Lopez been there done that and back for more

Lance Lopez in conversation with Wes O’Neill with new solo album Tell The Truth, Supersonic Blues Machin and Rockin’ The Blues tour 2018. As he says, Lance Lopez been there, done that and back for more.. read what they talked about

It’s been awhile since Texan axe slinger Lance Lopez has released a solo album, but it’s certainly been worth the wait. “Tell The Truth” is full of hard rockin blues, deep southern influences and incendiary yet tasteful guitar playing. Add to this a man who certainly has stories to tell and “Tell The Truth” is a sure-fire hit. As Lance sings himself on the opening track, “Nothin’ worth having, ever came easy to me, the sweetest victories came within an inch of defeat”.

WO’N: Your solo album “Tell The Truth” has been coming for a while now, what’s been the hold up?
LL: We recorded it over a period of a few years – we started recording at the end of 2012 but then Supersonic Blues Machine happened! I headed out to Los Angeles to record the first three tracks with my good friend producer and bass guitarist, Fabrizio Grossi, and then a week later Billy Gibbons showed up and they began working on “Running Whisky” and the next thing you know Supersonic happened in our West of Flushing, South of Frisco album! When we began to record that album, we resumed recording “Tell The Truth” simultaneously to it. We’d start off with Supersonic songs, go out and have a bite come back and the work on “Tell The Truth” for the rest of the day and into the night. Sometimes those were 20 hour days that Fabrizio and I were recording for, but man it was fun! It just took time and in between the first Supersonic record and the latest “Californisoul” I recorded on my own in New York, Texas and wherever I happened to be at the time and would send things back to Fabrizio in LA where he would edit them, mix them and then I’d be back in LA where we would resume recording. It was really when we began recording the second Supersonic Blues Machine album that we actually finished “Tell The Truth” midway through.

WO’N: That must of been crazy working on two records at the same time…
LL: In fact, it was easier! Hahaha! One day Fabrizio and I would work on Supersonic, the next my record – alternating days as opposed to giant long days that were in first place. The other thing for why we did it like that then was that we didn’t have very much more to do on “Tell The Truth” ‘cos we had been working on it for a number of years. The main thing behind it taking so long was Supersonic Blues Machine…but that’s a cool problem to have had!

WO’N: Did you have a different mindset or approach for each album?
LL: Absolutely! Here’s the thing, working with Fabrizio Grossi is super cool in that he very much has a vision of how we want everything to sound, how it should be played, sung, attacked, held back…every last detail that’s super polished and just so well produced man. It was particularly in the early recording split days as I said that it was much more of a collaborative process in Supersonic yet more of an out and out producer role with my solo record. This came about in the writing, the vision and overall delivery for “Tell The Truth”, there’s much more of the Texas blues-rock influence in my record than our Supersonic Blues Machine records. You know that was what was really cool – adding a lot more of the blues harp and slide guitar real authentic sounds in “Tell The Truth” which ended up influencing our Supersonic Blues Machine “Californiasoul”. There was a definite mindset to each, but you can’t help being influenced by what you’re around.

WO’N: Tell The Truth is a very thematic album – a lot of references to redemption, luck, nights out gone wrong…
LL: It’s autobiographical and biographical at the same time. There’s Joey Sykes songwriting, ya know the lead guitar player in The Babys, on this record and really great writer and producer Serge Simic who looked at my life and wrote songs about me instead of like “Hey Lance, here’s a song I wrote about something you don’t care for, wanna put it on your album?”. It was very different having guys look at my life, real good times and real bad times, and coming to me with these songs of how they saw me or what had happened in my life so far. It’s one of the most different experiences I’ve had as a musician than before as I’ve wrote and recorded with people before but with this I had folk coming up to me and saying “‘I’ve wrote this song about you”. Just wow man, just wow…

WO’N: Did it make you feel uncomfortable at all having these guys peer into your life like that and how did you deal with that from an artistic vantage point?
LL: It was real interesting, I can tell you that! Hahaa! Songs like “Down to One Bar”, like damn, some of it was hard to hear, you know a song about my…let’s call it “my adventures in the pub”, hahaa! Like the song “The Real Deal” – Joey Sykes wrote that about me so it was kinda strange to stand there and sing that I’m the real deal! Hahaa! But, hey, that was his vision of me and real interesting to sing it from a first person perspective. It was very cool to have that experience  that people were watching my life from the outside and some of it was very good, some of it was bad, lot’s of ups and downs but it’s really cool that we were able to document all that and that’s the premise – like “Blue Moon Rising” which I co-wrote and it was very touching and a good awakening of sorts to loom back and say “Wow, you know I may of been thinking this but other people are seeing it too”. We were just being open and honest through it all, hence “Tell The Truth”.

WO’N: Now then, it wouldn’t be chat between guitar players if I didn’t ask what ladies you used on the album would it?
LL: No man, it wouldn’t be! I mainly used my Gibson guitars. My R9 Les Paul, my Pelham Blue Firebird (you can see them front and centre in the video for “Down to One Bar”) and also a sunburst Firebird which is a newer one which is my slide guitar. On “Never Came Easy” and “Cash My Check” I used a 1963 Melody Maker that belonged to Warren Haynes’s former guitar technician, Brian Farmer who passed a few years back. A good friend of his brought me his guitar in to play and it just sounded fantastic on those tracks. It was very interesting recording the different guitars on different tracks – I did also use a 1963 Telecaster on “Blue Moon Rising”, you know, just to get the old Stax Records R&B vibe going down for the rhythm tracks, that was really cool.

WO’N: I’m thinking that these guitars will be out in force for the first Provogue Rockin’ The Blues Tour which kicks off in Germany on March 9?
LL: Oh for sure man! You know what the great thing is about The Rockin’ The Blues tour is that everybody on it, we’re all dear friends. Eric Gales, Gary Hoey and young Quinn Sullivan – man we’re gonna be out on that tour having a great time and I’m just looking forward to being back out on the road with those guys. That’s one of the great things about being around other guys is the jamming, in that everybody admires each other, respects each other and are good friends.

WO’N: You guys also play in Holland with the final night of the tour being here in the UK at The Garage in London Saturday, March 17…
LL: Yes man, and it’s gonna be the same every show with this tour so when we’re up on stage jamming, people will be able to feel it, not just hear or see it. There’s no competition, there shouldn’t be in music – we’re just all friends having fun!  I’ll be sitting in with Eric Gales and we’ll play some songs from “Tell The Truth”…and all jam at the end, it’s gonna be cool and a trip for the audience.

WO’N: It’s always great chatting with you, thanks again,  to close off – with all the ups and downs in your career so far, what lessons would you pass on to the youngsters?
LL: Well, you know one of the main ones is that practice is what makes you good. Spending time with your instrument and having the dedication to. It’s like when Eric Gales and I were young, that’s all we did was play the guitar and that even happens today when we get together. It’s all we did as kids, we’d sit and play, but then there’s the bad stuff which you need to avoid. There’s the pitfalls of the substances and the booze – you know you don’t need to take anything to play or sound a certain way…I know that we felt like we did when we were younger and it didn’t do a thing but cause us lots of pain and suffering. If you can avoid trying that myth, steer clear of that and practice well, you may get somewhere and I hope you do.

“Tell The Truth” is out now via Mascot Label Group

Ticket link for Rockin’ The Blues with Eric Gales, Quinn Sullivan, Gary Hoey and special guest Lance Lopez at The Garage London UK March 17


Lance Lopez been there, done that and back for more



Lance Lopez been there, done that and back for more

Made My Peace With You New Album from Paul Dunbar

Made My Peace With You New Album from Paul Dunbar

Made My Peace With You New Album from Paul Dunbar & The Black Winter Band arriving was a reason to be excited at Bluesdoodles HQ, having first heard the gloriously distinctive vocals of Paul Dunbar performing with his previous band The Midnight Ramble at Blues on The Farm 2014. Now back as Paul Dunbar & The Black Winter Band, yes, new band, new album but same instantly recognisable vocals. Opening Made My Peace with Losing Game dripping in soulful and melodic music that pours out of the speaker. The timing and shaping of the chords are sublime when your ears are not being entertained by Dunbar’s vocals. What makes the vocals stand out as you listen to the album? There is a myriad of reasons the power, emotion and the integrity in the way the lyrics are delivered always with clarity and sensitivity to the bands playing. Then there is the grittiness and rawer edge that ensure the album is not just saccharin but full of sharp spiciness as well.

The title track opens with a crescendo of sound from the band. You know what is to come as the lyrics are shaped and given vocal heat by Dunbar. Who does he sound like? What are the bands influences? Dunbar sounds like himself a skilful mix of crooners meets bluesman via soul of Motown. The band The Black Winter is the perfect vehicle of delightful tones and textures that joins the dots with skilful interplay before Paul Dunbar’s voice rejoins the musical jamboree throughout the album.
Joining Paul on vocals and guitars are the Black Winter sound of Liam Atkinson on guitars, bassist Chris Pearce and, completing the album rhythm, drummer Phil Stevens. The band members also add voices as backing vocals they are the complete package.
Ten Tracks, nine originals and one from his previous incarnation, The Midnight Ramble, Ballad of Four Eyes. His voice screeches in tune capturing Joe Cocker vibes and bluesmen and ballads of the past.
Three tracks in and you are emotionally engaged. Inner Springsteen an acknowledged influence is captured in the rockier Friends. The tone is huskier, the guitar tone has an edge and the rhythm deep as it grows hewn from the original riff. This is an example of Dunbar’s raw talent, playing music with friends. Then roots of air, earth, sky and Raging Sea with rootsy tones rooted in the music of folks. This number is darker, deeper, moodier capturing the heart of musicians that keep giving music that clicks onto your musical DNA radar.
Closing out the album of ten tracks with Who’s Gonna Love You; the title asks a question and the listeners of music full of rocky soul and lovers of music are gonna love your sound. As you mix and meld rocking, the soulful rootsy mayhem of delights. Melodies hit the harmonies creating an energy that leaves you wanting more.

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

  1. The Losing Game
  2. Made My Peace With You
  3. Ballad of Four Eyes
  4. Barely Holding On
  5. Set Free To Emotion
  6. Friends
  7. Earth Sky Or The Raging Sea
  8. Contort Yourself
  9. Hands Down
  10. Who’s Gunna Love You

Before booking your ticket listen to the fabulous single from the album Barely Holding On

Made My Peace With You New Album from Paul Dunbar

Toby Arrives In Conversation with Greg Koch

The Koch Marshall Trio Debut Album Announcement

Wo’N Your new Album, Toby Arrives – I’ve been looking forward to talking with you for Bluesdoodles having listened to the new album over the last couple of weeks.  How did the new album come about as I have read about the Don Corleone moment which is intriguing in the press release?

GK: Well my son Dylan, who is now at the ripe old age of twenty-three, he had been doing some gigs up in Minneapolis. I am in Milwaukee, we are about a five-hour drive away so little bit of a haul. Doing some gigs with a young guitarist he has been doing stuff with, one of the iterations he has been performing with is an organ trio. So my son would come home and say, Dad you have got to check out this organ played, he is unbelievable and I would say Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! That’s great but it is five hours away when is that going to happen just didn’t seem right. So at some point, my son said you have got to hear this Toby on the keyboard because he is coming to town here to pick up a Leslie speaker that he is buying from this guy in town whose family owned the Hammond dealership for years. Any way to make a long story short he was coming into town on a Thursday and you know I travel quite a bit doing all kinds of stuff. So when my son we should get together and jam with some guy who is coming into town someday is not really high on my priority list. It was the day before he was coming to town my son said Dad Toby is coming to town we need to jam with them. I said well we have that keyboard in the basement we should just go downstairs and hammer it out. Dad he isn’t going to play that piece of shit, he plays B3’s, so what do you suggest. Well, he is going to have his B3 with him so bring it into the front room move the furniture around, yeah your mom is going to groove on that when she comes home from work. Scratched on the hardwood floor yeah that was where we were jamming with Toby, Dylan’s friend.   On Thursday my son was working at the coffee shop Bag N’ Beans and I will home around 2 pm Toby be here around that time.  So I reached out to this buddy of mine with a studio and B3 wired up and ready to go I didn’t know if he was in town. I called him up and said Dude, Dylan has got a friend coming to town who plays the organ can we come over and make some noise for a while? He said no problem come over little after two and I will have everything wired up and I will record it. Great. Toby guy arrives, Dylan comes home from work. I say Toby nice to meet you Dylan’s says you are great. I have booked a studio to jam in and if it all works out will through in some dough and we can start to make a record. They loved it, so we went over for some reason I grabbed my Vibrolux and I grabbed custom Les Paul I have with Peter Green wiring in the middle position I get the duck walky, Peter Green sound that will be fun to jam on.  I bought it over, we set up and got some sounds.  First tune we played I said let’s do a shuffle in G to start off with and that is the first tune on the record as we recorded at the session. When I heard it played back I thought holy shit here we go. Bought them back in two weeks later back in the same studio. At that point, I do all these guitar videos out in Colorado at a place called Wildwood Guitars I bought in the film crew who was actually just one guy with several cameras and he filmed that session. So we basically recorded the whole thing in two and half days of kind of messing around. It was live in the studio though the bonus track I did add an acoustic track after. Everything else is live in the studio we wanted that approach. When I heard the stuff back I was really excited about it and we started to do some gigs most of my material prior to this had been more vocal orientated, always had a certain modicum of instrumental stuff. We just started to do gigs, we just played and everyone dug it even people who didn’t get instrumentals normally because of the energy of the band. The way we treated the material in such a way. It was my own material, my own songs we didn’t do covers people just freaked. So I was going to release the record on my own. My wife has done artwork for my stuff for years, so we did the artwork, packaging and sent it off to get duplicated in late August last year. I picked a random date of September 9th of last year to release it as it coincided with a big hometown gig we were doing. But during that point in time, you know this kinda deserves more of a push.

WO’N: Was this the motivation to get involved with Mascot Label Group and not self-release as planned?

KG: Yes,  I was thinking of the logistics of touring with a B3 be nice to have a bit of the infrastructure that a label could offer us. I knew that Mascot had the best game in town. So I sent Ed at Mascot a link to two of the video’s we had had the chance to edit and posted up online with some bio material told him the story briefly. He got back to me right away this is perfect – Mascot got an imprint coming out called Players Club an instrumental orientated thing you guys will be on the label. So let’s make a deal and that was it. It was kind of weird, I had pre-sold quite a few CD’s from my website so I honoured those pre-sales and then I yanked it from there so CD not available. So there are a few hundred people that already have the record.  So we mastered it and added that bonus track Sin Repent Repeat and vinyl release and all that sort of thing.

WO’N: Regarding songwriting, you went into the studio and jammed based it. Did you have these ideas before or was it from bouncing off your son and what Toby brought to the table?

It was a little bit of both. The first two tunes were literally off the cuff made up the melodic stuff on the spot, So that would have been Toby Arrives & Funk Meat as we call it.  Other tunes like Heed The Boogaloo, Let’s Get Sinister and Mysterioso those were from demos I had.  I went through this songwriting jag with this buddy of mine a singer-songwriter guy a couple of years I did this record all Plays Well With Others. He is a really good singer-songwriter, I would make little demo’s as I was travelling on my laptop throw out a couple of guitar tracks and like play the drums on the desk or whatever the case might be and send them to him. He would turn around in the days with some really cool songs. So we literally had seventy songs we had done together. I also had a cache of tunes that he had never written lyrics too so I had all these little ideas I have them all on my iPhone. When I go on my walks and have it on shuffle these tunes would play and I would think these are really good tunes, I really should do something with that. So three of those were tunes that I had been listening to lately and thought I should try these and throw them at Toby and see what happens.  So that is where those three came from. And then I had Enter The Rats about my son’s girlfriend who had pet rats who walked in as we were tracking the tune with them!

WO’N: You can hear it though, particularly in the intro it’s like they are suddenly creeping in…

GK: So that was kind of off the cuff, so I said let’s do some in ‘A’ I made up ahead then the Boogie tune was kind of the same thing. So a little bit of both some was from sketches I had others in the moment. I foresee that as being the plan to go ahead in the future. We have got reams of stuff ready to go. Then there are days where we get together and play literally as soon as we turn our stuff on we start messing around and we always come up with new stuff whenever we are playing. Future records will be the same some stuff will have been a little sussed out ahead of time and others happen in the moment.

WO’N: Do you think that for guitarists and other musicians reading this that it’s something that is very, very important and maybe has been lost a bit nowadays. From where people would go and spend a long time in the studio to be creative but because of money constraints things are pre-produced an awful lot now?

GK: There is that. I tend not to look at things as real black and white, in terms of right-way or wrong way. Certainly especially with Protools and the ability to kind of reinvent history as far as recording is concerned. The temptation is to fix everything and try to make it as perfect as you can. There is a real magic I think to people just playing in the moment just having that be what it is. That being said if you have a really good take except for that one horrific moment that happens we are going to fix that if we can. If fixing it negates the overall life of the performance then don’t fix it. I think there is something about and from my point of view is liberating as I have a tendency to hear stuff and go OH! Well, I could redo that, redo this and it was a real good exercise for to go no this is it. It was liberating for me to be honest, it does bring an extra life and vitality to hearing performances in that way and the energy supersedes the need for precision not that there isn’t the need for precise things to be going on. A little bit of that Lucy goosiness adds to the whole overall vibe.

WO’N Yes it is good. There are lots of different styles and elements thrown into all the different songs, comparing Funk Meat to Mysterioso, those sort of vibes to it – how can players go about learning to mix styles particularly the youngsters that might be only listening to one or two things? What else could they be getting into and putting into their playing?

GK: Well it is kind of interesting and it has been a blessing and I won’t say a curse. Certainly from making music and having a fun point of view I have always enjoyed being as versatile as possible. There is always a kind of connection to all the different things. The whole reason I got into the country side of playing I heard Albert Lee playing with Clapton and thought that is not the blues scale what the hell is he playing? I started researching who he was influenced by. Part of it was listening to Mark Knopfler and hearing the sound of a clean Strat on the radio in the late seventies was unusual. Hearing that chicken pickin’ way he approached things led me down one way. Then I was always into the Allman Brothers and Dickie Betts was always a kinda fiddlesque way of articulating something’s when he would do more country tinge things. Then there was always this jazz element.  So to me, I just connected the dots in terms of well I would read about Hendrix for instance how he would listen to Hubert Sumlin a lot with Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters but then he would mention why I did this octave thinking about Watts Montgomery. I would say whose is Watts Montgomery starting listening to that and then hear about George Benson then hear how it all started with Charlie Christian records then I would go back to that. To me, it has always been a little bit of history homework. What makes it infinitely more immediately gratifying in this day and age is that I can mention all these names in an interview and someone can go online and have immediate access to all those people. Back in the day if I was reading a Guitar Player magazine with Albert Lee and he was mentioning guys like Hank Garland or some obscure Jerry Reed thing or talking about Jimmy Bryant those weren’t things I could go into the local record store and have immediate access to. It was more of a quest you had to go on especially in the early eighties when I was in high school learning some of this stuff it was not a time when all this stuff was available in your average record store it was more esoteric. You wouldn’t necessarily hear all these things people were talking about. I remember reading this book obscure contemporary people who Django (Reinhardt) was influenced by and I would immediately go online there was either obscure footage or someone had uploaded these 78’s so you could hear the audio online. Not to mention the fact that there actually video footage of people playing the stuff. So I think the idea of learning all these different styles is something that can be done much easier now than before. In terms of how I approached it, I was never really concerned with kind of learning solos or things transcribing note for note. I was interested in the flavour and I would cherry pick things that I thought were indicative of what this person would do that I could add to my own soup. If I changed it up it would be a little bit more of my own vernacular I always had the vision of being able to take the key elements of someone’s particular playing style and be able to learn to get just enough of it to be able to reference it without having to fully devout my entire vision into being that one thing.

WO’N: You mention learning, do you feel that you are still learning now?
GK: Oh absolutely.

WO’N Where/who are you learning from these days?
GK: I was learning some Big Bill Broonzy stuff the other day and Rev Gary Davis stuff that kind of early stuff. It is a funny story but I got into the Merle Travis stuff earlyish on. But it seemed to me that all the guys into Merle Travis like had an Uncle. Older Brother Dad into Travis. I had none of those things none of my relatives played. So I didn’t have that familial association with these players that stuff is a bitch to play.  Later on, I saw Doyle Dykes playing someplace and damn it I wanted the ability to accompany myself, perform some songs covering bass. Melody and rhythm all at the same time. So I made an effort to immerse myself in learning some Chet Atkins, Merle Travis & Jerry Reed. I would do some of this on the Wildwood videos that are what made that a successful thing for me because I reference all these styles. So if someone bought a high-end guitar they could hear it being played in a variety of styles.  Some guy, some troll he was more of a rock dude he said this is so much better than that Ragtime Wanker Greg Koch. Laughing, I started to refer to myself as a Ragtime Wanker, I should probably brush up on my ragtime. Do I have been messing around with some Blind Blake, Rev Gary Davis and Big Bill Broonzy stuff of late.

WO’N To wrap and go back to the record Toby Arrives what are you hoping people will get out of it, and  is there any danger of seeing you guys over here in the U.K.?
GK: Absolutely, not to sound like an ingrate I have been able to play my guitar and make a living for a long time now. One thing I would wish to happen would be to go to the U.K. and a variety of places I haven’t been able to go and just be able to play at decent clubs people come and want to listen to the stuff and return every year when I have a new record and have fans come out and dig it. So it has been a little difficult, in the past is it blues, is it rock is it country is it shreddelicious. People want to pigeonhole you I think that this particular line up with Toby’s Hammond B playing and of course have my young son play the drums bring the youthful element. I think this is by far the most accessible thing that I’ve been a part of. I think it works across so many different levels. If you are a jazz fan you will dig it, if you are a blues fan you will dig it if you are a jam band person you are going to like it. It is one of those things that is very accessible and the best platform for what I do. So I am hoping it is going to be something that will allow us to perform in places that up to this point only done clinics at or whatever the case may be. The goal is to take this thing on the road. I think that is the vision.

Toby Arrives In Conversation with Greg Koch


Koch Marshall Trio – Toby Arrives – Mascot Label Group.

Reviewed by Bluesdoodles writer Pendragon for an interesting read.

Paul Bowe In Conversation About New Federal Charm

Paul Bowe In Conversation About New Federal Charm

Paul Bowe In Conversation About New Federal Charm


BD: Paul thank you for taking time to chat with Bluesdoodles once again. It was back in 2016 before the Roadstars tour that we last talked and a lot has happened in the Federal Charm world since then.

BD: Since that tour and the release of the acoustic album, things went quiet and we were not seeing or hearing much about Federal Charm. Now you are back on the road with a mix of keeping the old and bring in the new. With vocalist Tom Guyer & drummer Josh Zahler joining the mainstay of yourself and LD Morawski on Bass. Has the change of band members altered/developed the Charm’s sound? Are you still Nu-Blues or more rock?
PB:  When the tour ended we never expected to replace Nick. It has been a crazy time. The sound will be a melding of blues and rock. In fact, it is our sound on steroids. Federal Charm has gone through an unexpected period of development. With new members in Federal Charm, we have worked hard introducing the new band to sing the old songs which are favourites with the fans. It has been hard work getting the ball back rolling. It was for me so difficult to see Nick go. Tom Guyer is younger 23/24 his voice is insane and his talents are immense. His voice is unique very different from Nick, a cross between Plant & Cornell. It is taking Federal Charm in a new direction old numbers from previous albums sound different. Silhouette, for example, has been taken to a new place. I didn’t expect this, I wasn’t looking for either. The sound is really good it is heavier but still definitely melodic and rootsy inspired rock.

We still have the Fender / Les Paul combination and that is not going to change it was and still is my vision of Federal Charm. With Tom and Josh in the band it feels a lot easier they are not replacing Nick and Danny but new members with new ideas. There was no planning Nick leaving it was something he had to do we are still good friends. I feel that Nick leaving and Tom coming in there must be a reason for it. We had just finished the Planet Rock Tour, we were at a peak. Planet Rock had picked us up. The stress was mounting and it was just a step too far for Nick – too much.

Paul Bowe In Conversation About New Federal Charm

BD: Has the change of personnel and the change of management had a positive effect on the band?
PB: Yes, it has had a positive effect the dynamics have changed. Federal Charm we believe have not reached our full potential and this Spring tour plans for 2018 and the new album. Federal Charm has the potential to reach the heights with the right chances and packaging. To succeed bands need internal harmony; we have that and the talent. Federal Charm like many bands have loads of talent and motivation. It is hard work and difficult to get to know each other and the new line-up is determined to break the barrier. We are going to continue to work hard and rise above the challenges the new members have given us the extra kick and energy required. Opening for bands last year was an opportunity to road-test the new line up with new material and old favourites. It was good fun, introducing the sound to new audiences. It is amazing you open for a band and gets to play to new audiences. Nice surprise to see new people even when you have played the same venue many times before. Federal Charm produced two albums over five years from 2013.   Now we have a third album in the pipeline, due to be released late autumn 2018. We have new management and April Tour dates which are about telling people we are back out playing live. We have some summer festivals and an exciting new tour that will be announced very soon. So lots happening at Federal Charm so keep checking we have news.   So yes the change of drummer and vocals is a development of the sound and very positive.

BD: Federal Charm is back on the road with a headlining tour this Spring following the success of high profile support slots through 2017. Why should fans of the old Federal Charm and gig-goers who have not caught up with you yet make a slot in their diaries this Spring when you visit Norwich, Bristol, Manchester & Newcastle.?
PB: To meet the new Federal Charm. It is different.  So do come and support us and hear old songs and the chance to hear music from the forthcoming album. We will entertain you with rootsy rock and our charming style. Federal Charm is determined to be noticed in 2018 and these four gigs are the starting point. Catch up with the new sound now.

BD: Federal Charm is back in the studio making album number three and the first with the new line-up. Will the album be crammed with new gems form Federal Charm? Will we be hearing new tracks when you are on the road?
PB: The new album is completely Federal Charm – mark 2. Twelve fresh tracks full of new gems. The previous two albums (Across The Divide & Federal Charm) were deadline albums. This new album we are taking time so some of the songs are what Nick & I wrote in 2016. Into this mix, we now have Tom on vocals having taken over the role eighteen months ago. We have a demo and worked on each song, it is a meticulously produced album. Yes, the show will be a mix of half old numbers and half new tracks. There will be the first single from the album with video out in March heralding the album.

BD: Talking about the album, have you a title and release date for an album which I am sure that your fans are waiting for with anticipation. Will the album be guitar led or vocally led by your new singer?
PB: Title not been decided, ideas have been bounced about. And discussed. We know what the album will look like and have two or three ideas. We have time the album will be out in Autumn and everything is being considered not rushed. The album will make great Christmas presents! Narration for the album is informed by 2017 it was a complicated year with Nick then Danny leaving who I have known for twenty-five years. It was right for them to leave. 2017 was an extremely difficult year. It cannot be taken for granted how long it takes to rebuild, putting the band back together, it cannot be rushed. Last December we ended on a high with a gig with Slade. Then January 4th I was left thinking where do we go from here what happens next.

BD:   Talking about the album, who is the main songwriter on the album and are there any influences that are shaping the album?
PB: The album is balanced every track has a different character. You hear the sound of Federal Charm throughout the album. Tom’s vocals are very powerful in a different way from Nick’s vocals. Nick can never be replaced he had unique vocals, the highlight was when we opened for Mott The Hoople at Shepherds Bush when Mick Ralphs said to Nick his voice was the best thing he had heard since Paul Rogers. When you are compared to one of your heroes it is a moment that will always be a highlight in your life.

This album is more collaborative. LD has been involved with lots of ideas unbeknown to us. On his computer, he had loads of ideas and patterns on file musical sketches gathered over the years. So I had the brief for deciding if using the ideas if not immediately Federal Charm sound then it goes into the bin. Some of the ideas and patterns are amazing in fact I wish I had thought of them. Josh our drummer has a freedom of expression tasteful with a great groove. This is a new beginning, new start for Federal Charm.  Outside influences, I do listen to a lot of music and all of the band members have different tastes. I tend not to seek out new stuff Josh is into funky Motown sound and Tom loves Rock N Roll currently raving about Leeds based band Fizzy Blood. These influences inform the music but we are always looking to produce the sound that defines Federal Charm.

BD: Last time we chatted we heard about the band of your choice this time what music will be on the tour bus keeping you entertained travelling from town to town?
PB: For me, it will be the music of the sixties and seventies, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, in fact, all of their albums. Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Wishbone Ash – Argus album. Everyone gets a chance to play their choice of music on the bus as we travel. We have different tastes so makes for an interesting mix.


Paul Bowe In Conversation About New Federal Charm

Danny Bryant In Conversation its A Revelation

Danny Bryant Always a Revelation and Yours For A Song

BD: As ever Bluesdoodles, was delighted to have the opportunity to review your latest album Revelation leaving fans in anticipation to hear the songs live on your forthcoming tour across the UK.

 BD:  Before we come up to date lets go back to the early days. What were your first influences growing up in Royston, Hertfordshire.

DB: I still live in Royston about a mile from my parents’ house. First influences were my parent’s collection, Rory Gallagher, Eric Clapton, Hendrix and lots of Bob Dylan. All on vinyl, I have now inherited the vinyl collection. Though I think now it is back in fashion Mum wouldn’t mind having it back.

I then looked at the music that influenced the people I was listening to, who they were listening to. It is even easier to do that now with so many resources. YouTube and downloading is so very easy. I have to admit I tend to listen via YouTube it is easily accessible, the way we all listen to music has changed in an age of instant gratification.  There is definitely more music, consumed differently, if you order from Amazon, for example, you get an audio file to rip so before the Cd arrives you already have it to listen to through your speakers.


BD: Was the guitar always going to be your instrument of choice, with your late father on Bass as the counterpoint to your talent in RedEyeBand.
DB: It was always going to be the guitar. I didn’t consider anything else. Suddenly I wanted a guitar like a lot of kids does at some stage. For me it was the right time, I was quite insular and wanted to practice all the time. I have tried to learn the harmonica, then I hear a guitar being played and think I could learn that and it is back to the guitar trying to get better and better. Dad played finger-picking blues acoustic when I was growing up. I could hear him playing downstairs, and so is a soundtrack of my childhood. Dad took up the bass to help me out. There were not any young bass players around that wanted to be in a blues band.  What started out as a temporary fix became a permanent fixture.


BD: When did you decide to use British guitar maker Fret-King as your six-string of choice. What do these guitars add to your playing that other guitar manufacturers would not bring to your sound?

DB: I have worked with Fret-King guitars for a number of years and the guitar suits the sound I want to achieve. The guitar looks like a strat but is different. When you fly and can only take one guitar this covers all bases. With my signature Danny guitar in the range, that is, in my opinion, good value for money. Fret-king guitars have worked well for me for quite a while now.

BD: Revelation is a deeply personal album, out 20th April via Jazzhaus Records. Despite the dark shadowy album cover the album is a Revelation as you let the light shine into the corners of your emotions. Tell our readers why you found writing the album such a challenge?

DB: It was a challenge with the music I wanted to create, it did not come easy. It was not necessarily a thing I wanted to deal with. But Dad’s passing had happened and it was a therapeutic process. Hence lyrically the album is quite dark, with a heavier sound. The horns add a different tone and dimension. Big Band Project was something I always wanted to do. We played three shows and on the live album. Promoters were interested so now will run alongside the band. I kept the sound in the current album as it adds another layer of textures and interest. Logistically touring with a nine-piece is a huge and expensive challenge.

 BD: Yo talk about how music has been your personal salvation do you feel the tracks on Revelation speak to everyone who listens who have their own personal dark moments.

DB: Yes, I hope this album connects with people.  It was a personal and at times a difficult process exploring difficult parts of my life. We all loose loved ones, go through hard times, feel lost. The other thing in common is we all interpret music and songs differently.  For example, Roy Orbison songs speak to me in one way may not be the way Roy intended but that doesn’t matter. Again with my music it doesn’t matter what you get out of the lyrics what is important what you hear and connect with and that it speaks to the listener on some level. It is like art some people look at a painting and analyse looking for meanings whilst others just say looks nice going to hang that on my wall. Neither approach is wrong nor right, it is how you connect with art that is important. When you write a song it is a snap shot of how you feel at that moment; not how you feel all the time. Lyrics have always interested me, love the guitar but the solo is pointless unless within a decent song with a strong melody striking a balance across the number.

 BD: Blues is never far from your music, do you have a favourite or special track on the album.

DB: If I have to pick a track it is Isolate I like ballads that are not soft but have power and some balls in them. It is a track that is fun to play live and I am always a sucker for a guitar solo. Revelation the title track is also a favourite, it is different and that keeps everything interesting with changes in texture and tone.

BD:  With the new album and touring 2018 is going to be a busy year and your fans will be delighted that you are back on the road in the UK once again.

DB: Yes, back touring in UK is always going to be fun. Logistically & financially it is impossible to tour with the Big Band Project. What is new is we are now a four-piece with keyboardist Stevie Watts joining the band.  Having added keys into the Danny Bryant sound there was no going back to being a trio.


BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
Guitar:  BB King
Vocals: Otis Redding
Bass: Willie Dixon
Drums: Willie “Big Eyes” Smith
Keys: Otis Spann


Check out Tour Dates

Bluesdoodles revelation Review

Danny Bryant In Conversation its A Revelation

Cameo The Bad Flowers Band Creating A Hurricane

Cameo The Bad Flowers Band Creating A Hurricane

Cameo The Bad Flowers Band Creating A Hurricane

Cameo The Bad Flowers Band Creating A Hurricane

The Bad Flowers have released their new single “Hurricane” taken from their debut album “Starting Gun” (released Friday, February 16)

Over at Bluesdoodles, we have rules but with a band this good stirring up the rock in our inner soul. As Bad Flowers Firing A Bouquet with Starting Gun they were blown out of the window – no wonder the latest single is Hurricane.

Read why we broke our own rules:-

Bad Flowers Firing a Bouquet With Starting Gun


The 3-piece band hail from Cannock, West Midlands. Have a listen this is rocking good music that blows away the cobwebs. The Flowers will play their album release show at Birmingham’s Asylum 2 on Saturday 17th February, – only a few tickets remaining.

Following the September release of their recent single Thunder Child, The Bad Flowers were named as one of Planet Rock Radio’s “Ones To Watch”.  Thunder Child, the first single taken from the Starting Gun, gained heavy airplay and was described by the station as “pure, dynamic, riff-heavy rock ‘n’ roll delivered with passion and prowess.”

HURRICANE – Single review

Bluesdoodles – says this about the Single – Track eight on the album –  musically heading for home. We are now in a for heavy weather with Hurricane. The opening bars of guitar in a hurry and then the vocals of Tome burst into the eye of the storm.  This is a love song that is fast loud and full of rocked up venom. Dangerous as a storm trying to get away from her love. This is a young band laying down the chords with the intent they want to be heard, they will be heard when they can invoke a Hurricane of musical delight.

With the album launched The Bad Flowers Head out on TOUR with Jared James Nichols and headliners Stone Broken. Venues, Dates and links to buy the tickets HERE

So learn the lyrics to sing along when the energy is unleashed at a venue near you!


I’m running, I’m running as fast as I can
I’ve gotta get away from you.
I’m screaming, I’m shouting at the top of my lungs I don’t know what else to do.

And try as I may, try as I may
I just can’t get, get away from your love.
From your love

Sweet little hurricane with your howling wind and rain
I can’t get, get away from my sweet little hurricane.

You took all the air from my lungs and now I can’t catch my breath
You turned my blood into stone and now my heart sinks in my chest.

And try as I may, try as I may
I just can’t get, get away from your love.
From your love

Sweet little hurricane with your howling wind and rain
I can’t get, get away from my sweet little hurricane.

I can’t get away from your howlin’
Your howlin’ wind and rain

I can’t get away.

The Bad Flowers Debut Album Starting Gun Announced

In Conversation with Tom Leighton

In Conversation As the Starting Gun Fires Up For Bad Flowers

Bluesdoodles knows the future is shining brightly for The  Bad Flowers they are blowing in on a Rock powered Hurricane.

2018 UK Tour Dates


Dan Patlansky Guitar and Vocals asks if Perfection Kills


Raw, authentic hot guitar like molten fire pouring around the mould created by lyrics that captivate. No-one needs to seek perfection under the aural hug of Dan Patlansky’s latest album Perfection Kills. Following on from a pair of critically acclaimed albums Dear Silence Thieves & Introvertigo; Dan needs no introduction. We have come to expect a guitar sound that stings and vocals that are a beguiling mix of melodic rock and deep down dirty as the vocals are spat out or become a melodic ballad. Then there is the third element, those deep dark slow blues that melt the Strat’s six-strings. If Perfection Kills as Dan suggests I say throw away the quest sit back and let the latest album wash away the day’s demands with the tracks that will delight from the first to the last note.

The opening phrasing of Johnny is gently melodic building with a crescendo that announces the mighty guitar of Dan Patlansky in the room. Followed by our first hit of vocals spat out by Dan’s distinctive vocalization, gruff, clear and melodic always in total control. Dan controls the number by stunning licks and vocals that just demand your attention. The first thing you notice is the warmth of tone it has a texture and tone that is vibrant, organic and a living being that Dan has shaped through his production of the album. Halfway through Johnny, the guitar is sharp stinging with Satriani inspired imploring as the six strings are made to sing with a melodic purity. Johnny’s challenging upbringing comes to the fore as the guitar tone and lyrical intensity ebbs and flows. Johnny has controlled volatility, summing up Dan’s amazing approach to Blues-Rock.

Like the last two albums, there is no title track, but a loose thematic flowing through the structure of the album. The theme being explored is our perpetual goal of finding perfection, in relationships, the work we do, and how we project ourselves through social media. As Dan says, Perfection Kills. The relentless pursuit of perfection always just around the next corner is slowly destroying the artistry within us all as humans. Captured in Never Long Enough; how time is catching up with us and the next departure is always too soon.

Slowing the tempo down with slow melodic blues. Mayday with the vocals softer, yearning drenched in a feeling of regret.  We are on a whirligig of daily demands as the refrain of the title over and over. Building the tension, the rush, and then the guitar cools the frenzy down. Focusing on the important things in life love, anger and frustration spills over into the guitar on Too Far Gone. A despairing wildness in the delivery of the vocals.  The question being asked can we turn the clock back and be more caring about the environment and can mankind be kinder, fairer and less stupid. The lead breaks have glimmers of hope with a cascade of notes combine with a harder edge questioning if we have any hope of taking this positive view.  Once again guitar and vocals add tonal layering to the lyrics adding more this is music to be heard, enjoyed and listened to. Not analysis for perfection but gaining a clear understanding of the question the album asks from the album cover to the last notes of Dog Day.

On Introvertigo, there was Queen Puree to his daughter. Now we have a song for My Dear Boy – his son and allows him to imagine with freedom and a sense of positivity as he imagines the life of his dear boy. The lyrics sit on top of stinging guitar coloured electric blue as the strat delivers the notes that make this outpouring of love and hopefulness into a melodic song that will leave live audiences demanding more.

Unusually the first single from the album is the final track and Dog Day hard-edged rocking your socks off with its booming bass line and once again Dan is challenging the stress we create that is, in reality, a first world problem. Self-absorbing, making us run faster-seeking something that cannot be defined. Yes as Dan Patlansky says Perfection Kills defining the sound and approach on his latest album. Dan may say Perfection Kills – one thing for certain very track is a Killer and who cares about perfection? We love the tone, texture, feel and organic energy captured by voice and guitar that define Dan Patlansky on every track he plays. Blues that definitely rocks perfection of its pedestal.

Dan Patlansky Guitar and Vocals asks if Perfection Kills

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Johnny
  2. Never Long Enough
  3. Mayday
  4. Too Far Gone
  5. Judge a Man
  6. Junket Man
  7. Eyes
  8. Shake The Cage
  9. My Dear Boy
  10. Dog Day

Dan Patlansky chatted to Liz about making the album, the repair on Old Red and more check out what was said:-

Perfection Kills as We Talk to Dan Patlansky



Dan Patlansky Guitar and Vocals asks if Perfection Kills

Dream Train Flying Blues From Alastair Greene

Dream Train Flying Blues From Alastair GreeneAlastair Greene’s musical qualifications are impressive. He has guested with such luminaries as Eric Burdon, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya, Savoy Brown, John Nemeth, and Debbie Davies.

Now, after touring the world as the guitarist for the Alan Parson Project, Alastair has released a solo album called Dream Train. As he says, “I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity Alan gave me to handle guitar and vocal duties in his band. After 7 years, the time has come for me to truly pursue my own musical dream.”  Hence the album title one would assume. (A great interview with Alastair is available here on Bluesdoodles  Alastair Greene Interview by Wes O’Neill

It is clear from the people he guested with previously and who appear on this album where his musical roots lie. Here we are treated to blues variations aplenty, with shuffles, boogies and rocking tracks with soul sensibilities mixed in.

His touring band provides a solid, rhythmic background across the whole album with special guests filling out the sound on selected tracks. Greene is a skilled guitarist and has a subtle feel for electric blues and can transfer this subtlety to acoustic playing too. That’s not to say he doesn’t unleash a stinging solo or three along the way. Throughout the album, I hear hints of S.R.V., Trower and Snowy White in his playing, although the style is very much his own.

The opener and title track is an out and rocker with alternated picking and slide driving a fast, almost 12 bar riff. Then comes a superb slide solo; just what a good blues/rock track needs, although it is far too short. Big Bad Wolf has the vocals following the guitar melody making an effective build before a full-fat solo. The bass guitar on this is stunning too.

Nome Zayne is the only non-Greene composition. This one is written by none other than Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame. The title is deliberately obtuse; when it is sung it becomes “Know what I’m sayin’”! Typical Gibbons lyrically and musically and well executed here.

Another Lie has typically beautiful complimentary guitar from Walter Trout. A slower paced traditional electric blues. It also benefits from the warmth of the keyboard fills courtesy of Mike Finnegan (a Hammond B3 specialist who has played with Hendrix and the Phantom Blues Band amongst many others). Both guitarists stuff more feeling into this track than most blues albums can boast.

Acoustic skills are to the fore on the simply complicated instrumental, Song For Rufus. A purposeful oxymoron, for the tantalizing slide in the bridge, creates a complex weave to produce a brilliantly crafted and, for an instrumental, a lyrical composition. Grateful Swagger features Debbie Davies, known also for her work with Duke Robillard, Coco Montoya and J Geils amongst others. She adds a funky touch to this sweeping blues instrumental. This also has a rare, albeit short, great bass solo.

Lucky 13 has Mike Zito, a blues legend in his own right as well as being a co-founder of Royal Southern Brotherhood, sharing guitar duties. A faster paced blues with a ‘standard’ approach and the two guitarists trading sections brilliantly.

Greene may not be the strongest vocalist you’ll hear but has sufficient depth to carry all of the demands of this varied and wide-ranging blues album. The songs, the musicians and the production ensure that Dream Train is never less than engaging. Most of it is a thrill and if you keep your feet still throughout, then you probably need to seek medical attention!


Alastair Greene – Dream Train – Rip Cat Records

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Dream Train
  2. Big Bad Wolf
  3. Nome Zayne
  4. Another Lie
  5. Song For Rufus
  6. I’m The Taker
  7. Dare Devil
  8. Grateful Swagger
  9. Rain Stomp
  10. Demons Down
  11. Iowa
  12. Down To Memphis
  13. Lucky 13

Alastair Greene: guitar and vocals
Jim Rankin: bass
Austin Beede: drums

Walter Trout: guitar track 4
Mike Finnigan: organ tracks 4, 7, & 11
Dennis Gruenling: harmonica track 7
Debbie Davies: guitar track 8
Mike Zito: guitar track 12


Alastair Greene, except Nome Zayne written by Billy Gibbons

Dream Train Flying Blues From Alastair Greene