In Conversation as
Borderline Beckons Mollie Marriott and Debut Album
Mollie Marriott, daughter of former Small Faces and Humble Pie singer/guitarist Steve Marriott and step-daughter to singer Joe Brown took time out to chat with Bluesdoodles. With debut album Truth Is A Wolf due out later this year Mollie is performing an intimate concert at London Borderline on Thursday 1st June 2017. Mollie took time out of a busy schedule having recently toured with Wilko Johnson & Paul Weller.
BD:Mollie thank you for taking the time to chat to Bluesdoodles MM: Thank you as well, always good to talk about music.
BD: You are the daughter of Steve Marriott; until now your music career as a backing singer for many musicians including your step-father Joe Brown. What was the motivation to step out front taking centre stage? MM: Stepping out on centre stage, felt right now was the right time. I was not bothered before I loved being a backing vocalist. I could turn up sing and go; not get involved with all the other stuff. I had seen the scary stuff connected with the industry. I had watched what it can do to people, it put me off. I wanted to write my own stuff, I knew that I had to live life first. I am influenced by Stevie Nicks & Alanis Morissette; raw and dark honest that is who I wanted to write. I now have the head space; with a few breakdowns to write about. In the family the last is called Crash 2012. Hitting Rock bottom is good as the only way is up to rebuild your life as you want it. Now I am in a good place since I hit 30; being in your thirties is great. I was a young mum at 23; when your twenties are about having fun with people in your life because they are around. Thirty, you become your own person now where you want to go and who you are so all is good.
BD: With a Debut Album Truth is A Wolf announced. How did you decide upon releasing as the first single the number Control? MM: Previously I had a testing tie with record label; basically had no control It was a case of Beautiful women using their beauty to control and trample you. A Mother figure who then betrayed and let you down, as line in my songs says “You saved me to break me”. Taking back control of my music was important so this was the right single to start again with my career, I am in the driver’s seat going where I want to go. I co-wrote this number with Sam Tanner, lead vocalist with Brother Strut. We wrote the song together, we knew right from the beginning Control was the perfect song to release as the first single off the album Truth Is A Wolf.
BD: Tell our readers about the forthcoming album, how did you decide on the title the type of music that best describes your debut? MM: I went to Nashville to start writing the album. The title track Truth Is A Wolf written by Gary Nicholson, he was going to give it to Bonnie Raitt or Susan Tedeschi who are lots of my influences. I heard the demo just wurli and vocals and thought that sums up my album it was the perfect tile song. With tracks that reflect my life Broken, ending of a relationship and the effect that had on me and my daughter. The song Truth Is A Wolf, tied it all in a bow. So many types of music can be used in the description. It is a Rock Album. Yes, many people I have asked as I really do not know have said it is bluesy-rock. Within the Backing vocals there are elements of gospel and country. It is a Rock mix definitely NOT pop laughing. Also, grungy elements. I am a grunge girl love Chris Cornell, Pearl Jam, Jagged Little Pill a favourite album sounds a bit like that as well.
BD: Mollie you are definitely making a statement with your next Gig coming up on the 1st June at The Borderline with guests? MM: Yes, so exciting, this is my first proper headline gig. With support from Anna Kratz, a special friend. We met in Nashville I went to one of her shows as she sung I was completely broken, sobbing she was singing y life, Anna is a wonderful songwriter writing with Ed Sheeran and many more. Pocket dragon are a cool band, with a female lead. It is so important to me that the night is Woman led. I want people to o listen to me as Mollie, Mollie Marriott; NOT “Mollie Marriott daughter of Steve Marriott” – that was not the name on my Birth Certificate. People have said well why not Mollie Brown? Joe Brown my step-dad then there is all that baggage as well. So sticking to the name I was given at birth Mollie Marriott.
BD: With a London Gig under your belt. Are you taking Mollie and her band to be heard outside of London? MM: Yes, definitely tour outside of London. I love getting outside of London to venues in towns and cities. Played The Tramshed in Cardiff when opening for Wilko JohnsonBD: Had to miss that show to my disappointment as away in Sheffield. MM: What a great venue loved playing Cardiff, Nottingham was fun as was Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Playing Liverpool with Paul Weller was mad, even a little bit scary a room full of mods. My show will be exciting to watch, all my band is very visual to watch we move about.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing? MM: Oh My God that is such a difficult question, will change the moment I put down the ‘phone Mollie laughs and says:-
Bass: Has to be Flea visually rocks. Drummer: Richie Hayward – he has to have been the best drummer ever! Guitar: This is so difficult going to upset so many people has to be Stevie Marriott (such an under-rated guitarist) Guitar: Joe Bonamassa Vocals: Chris Cornell (he has such an amazing voice)
BD: Thank you for your time, looking forward to hearing the whole album and seeing your show when you take it on the road.
MOLLIE MARRIOTT LIVE AT LONDON’S BORDERLINE THURSDAY 1 JUNE 2017
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
POCKET DRAGON & ANNA KRANTZ
Daughter of legendary Small Faces and Humble Pie
singer/guitarist Steve Marriott, plays intimate London show
King King are pleased to announce a raft of new UK tour dates in April – July 2017. Special guests on all April and May dates will be “Bad Touch”. All tickets are priced £20, are on sale from the 24 Hour Box Office:0844 478 0898 and www.thegigcartel.com.
Due to front man Alan Nimmo having an acute laryngitis, King King have re-scheduled the following four UK tour dates. Existing tickets for re-scheduled shows remain valid –
King King at The Cube in Corby now on Friday 30th June
King King at The Wharf in Tavistock now on Friday 28th July
King King at The Tivoli in Wimborne now on Friday 16th June
King King at The Fleece in Bristol now on Saturday 1st July
The tour dovetails the release of King King’s forthcoming single taken from the much anticipated new studio album, and follow-up to 2015’s multi-award winning Reaching For The Light. The new album is scheduled for release in early September 2017- while we wait for the release of the album catch King King with special guests Bad Touch as they tour the UK
In 2014, King King’s second album Standing in the Shadows, firmly established them as a formidable force on the British Blues scene. They still retain that accolade today with a growing legions of fans.
King King features Alan Nimmo (vocals, guitar), Lindsay Coulson (bass), Wayne Proctor (drums) and Bob Fridzema (keyboards). The band are widely recognized as the UK’s hottest rock blues band. They continue to push the envelope by providing their fans with the best live experience and musicianship.
Says King King’s frontman, Alan Nimmo, “We’re really excited to perform the new single live. It’s rockier than our previous material, but it still has an inherent King King sound to it. The new single is a nice taster from the upcoming album.”
Having scored three radio hit singles on Planet Rock radio with the songs Crazy, Hurricane, and Rush Hour, the band recently went to Planet Rock’s studios to perform three acoustic tracks that will be aired on the station in early 2017.
Bad Touch – the 5-piece rock band from Norfolk, who recently supported the Kentucky Headhunters on their critically acclaimed sell-out UK tour, recently released their second studio album Truth Be Told on Bad Touch Records, with distribution via Cadiz, on Friday 2nd December 2016.
To coincide with the new album, the band embarked on a UK co-headline tour on November 19th with the Australian rockers Massive. They recently announced a March 2017 UK tour with Broken Witt Rebels.
The new album, recorded at Mwnci Studios in Wales, includes the singles99% and Made To Break, both remixed for radio by Rolling Stones engineer and co-producer, Chris Kimsey. In early 2017, Made To Break will be released as a single alongside an official music video.
“99% is a great song to ride around in cars and drink beer and smoke pot and listen to rock and roll on the radio,” says Chris Kimsey. “Not that I drink beer or smoke pot , but I remember the simplicity of music and life so it’s good to hear it is alive and kicking with Bad Touch.”
Back in the O2 Sheffield for the second year HRH Blues III promised with a deep blues infused line-up to be an Easter full of music. They certainly delivered across the two stages, as ever clashes were at times frustrating, demonstrating the wealth of blues in town this weekend.
HRH Blues once again created an ambience, professional on the outside, inside pure unadulterated fun of listening to live music. The two days had a mix of blues from heavy and raw through to delicate and everything in-between. More people this year stepping on the bright blue HRH Blues Train crammed with live music in Sheffield.
With two stages, we heard a total of twenty-two bands and for some Royalty Passes & Media an extra five acoustic acts early on Sunday morning. The one disappointment for many was the missing act. King King had to pull out at the last-minute – now we know it was due to Alan Nimmo having acute Laryngitis. With the number of King King T-shirts in the audience you could have expected annoyance, but all you heard and saw on social media was empathy, love and get well. The bands that did play filled the gap with extended sets from Simon McBride and Ten Years After and a slightly early Saturday.
Getting the Easter music fest started was Dani Wilde who set the scene with quality opening act it was going to be high quality blues form the first to last note. Highlights in the main stage on Saturday were…
For the vast majority that I spoke to the stand out band of the first day and the festival were Billy Walton Band, they bought fun, blues and music that just gets every one excited. Following on from the band that wowed the audience and were still being talked about as the festival closed. Why? A full on band who really get that good-time vibe flowing the boys from New Jersey bring that East Coast joie-de-vie. Billy and the band want you want to party all night. With a horn section adding texture and tone they are just very entertaining and totally enjoyable. They were ready to party with the festival a fan supplied an array of hats and they were delighted to play with the donated headgear. The atmosphere was now loud, electric with blues flowing through the O2.
Follow that, well this is HRH nothing safe, nothing out-of-bounds as The Graveltones, a duo took to the stage. Heavy, raucous, energetic and loud they divided the room just as Marmite on toast would! The guitar was raw and the drumming hard with splinters of wood being torn from the sticks. Heavy, hard with complex rhythms and bucket loads of feel, delivering a punchy set that re-defines duos and the blues.
All aboard the next station on the blues train journey to Finnish Blues with Erja Lyytinen and her band. For many of her fans the first time we have had the opportunity to listen to the music from her acclaimed album Stolen Hearts. I was definitely excited having given her the full 10-doodle paws. High class set from the renowned queen of the blues slide guitar. In the set is Black Ocean for me a highlight and favourite on the album now a live favourite as prog meets blues under the charms and skills of Erja. We joined her on the rocking Chair, sang along with Stolen hearts. Then the trained steamed up the hill with her interpretation of Tina Turner’s Steamy windows. This was blues that sparkled as Erja smiled, played and won our hearts.
This year with the addition of food stalls and coffee there was no need to leave the arena and miss a single note of blues that was weaving their magic over the audience. Now we had two stages running parallel always a conundrum what to stay and listen too. Quick run upstairs to catch some of Will Wilde, this was the decision of many as the second stage was rammed and Will’s harmonica playing won him many new fans. For some the band of the weekend having never heard him play before. Will delivers more ‘authentic’ blues almost a match for Erja, a shame about the clash of blues titans. Will is one of the best blues-harp players on the UK circuit. Now we had a festival exploding under the glories of blues in full flight.
Back downstairs for Pig Iron returning for the second year. Describing themselves as Blues Metal this was pounding heavy blues that incorporates some delicate harp playing. Upstairs was Troy Redfern, the Welsh slide guitar troubadour. With tracks from his current album Backdoor Hoodoo. His rendition of John The Revelator is always a crowd-pleasing winner as it was tonight in Sheffield. The HRH Blues train was now gathering speed and pulling in a wide variety of acts.
Now back to the main stage for Simon McBride and the headliners returning for the second year Ten Year After. First, a stunning blues rock guitarist Simon McBride. The set saturated with scintillating riffs and licks making Simon’s PRS guitar sing and squeal. An accomplished set strewn with covers to extend the time on stage and numbers from his last two albums. What a set it was a tone the festival wanted to hear that mix of SRV, Hendrix woven together with McBride magic. The dueling between bass and guitar was magnificent. As he played Good Times Roll, following a McBride favourite Down To The Wire we were definitely having a great Easter Saturday as he closed with Deadman Walking we were all alive with festival fever.
After fifty years of touring with Ten Years After Chick Churchill & Ric Lee are now joined by bassist Colin Hodgkinson and the charismatic Marcus Bonfanti. Marcus’ vocals are full of power, tonal texture, his guitar playing sharp and the harp adds another dimension to the Ten Year After sound of 2017. No Ten Year After set is complete without The Hobbit, Ric Lee and his drumming acrobatics. A wonderful set blending old stalwarts and new numbers from the forthcoming album A Sting In The Tale out later this year. The whole set is a perfect platform for showcasing what a great and oft underrated guitarist Marcus is. Wow moments of the festival with Love Like A Man and Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. Ten Years After strong after Fifty-years and the thrill of a new album. What a Saturday now for Sunday’s delights.
Sunday, started with a Smörgåsbord of acoustic showcases, including Chantel McGregor; Big Boy Bloater, Crow Black Chicken and Dan Patlansky who we would be hearing in full amplified glory during the day. The sets were chilled whilst also demonstrating the varied sounds achievable from the acoustic. This was personified by the difference between Big Boy Bloater and Dan Patlansky, same guitar totally different tone and approach. We heard hollers, blues and songs given new shapes a perfect slow wake up call to join the main blues train downstairs on stage one. Into the mix the wonderful vocals and charm of Jack Hutchinson a welcomed addition to any blues gathering, with a new band album, Set Your Heart For The Sun, let’s hope he is back electric in 2018.
What a stunning set once again from the mighty Sean Webster with his new band The Deadlines. Having heard Sean many times he never disappoints, unsurprisingly he was the find of the weekend for many. His rendition of I’d Rather Go Blind moved many to tears with the raw, intense emotion he puts into every word sung and note played. Sean has the winning combination of a superb blues voice and plays the guitar with lightning blue touch. Now living in Netherlands, Sean is the enigma of the British Blues scene never reaching the heights his playing should be taking him. Let’s hope the station stop on HRH Blues Train will be the launch pad for a renaissance of Sean the bluesman. Following on from Sean, in a bright red dress is Chantel McGregor always a firm favourite with her many fans. The set was a mix of favourites and her latest album. Anyone hoping for some new material would be disappointed, though there was a new drummer in the band. The set was safe, definitely rockier than the early days of Chantel. She still smiles with warmth and affection and Freefalling was a guitar blazing delight as were the other guitar improvisations. Her rhythm section gives her a solid platform, bassist Colin Sutton and Ollie Goss on Drums. The mischievous Chantel was ever present with ‘Aving A Giraffe a fun out take celebrating the April the Giraffe giving birth the story that Chantel has been following on Social media. The set overall felt a little flat, come on Chantel lets have some new McGregor gems soon. This is the nuances that makes live music fun a have to be there moment. British Blues celebration continues with Laurence Jones with his new band. Laurence is maturing the new band seems to fit his style and the addition of Bennet Holland on keys certainly adds some textures to the music complementing Laurence’s stinging guitar. We are enjoying this stop on the train. Yes, this is British blues-rock personified; what is great to see Laurence continuing to grow in stature, developing his sound and staying fresh. The longer lead breaks played with growing confidence adds interest and variance in the live sound. Fantastic audience participation during JJ Cale’s Cocaine, conducted with vigour and winning smile from Laurence more Cream and Clapton than Cale. That is no bad thing in a stalwart of the blues circuit who wins fans whenever he picks up his guitar and plays. .
Quick sojourn to Stage 2 for StoneWire a band from the South coast that I had heard about. This is a five-piece led by a big voice. Another great female vocalist out front shaping the StoneWire sound. Whilst on stage one, young gun Aaron Keylock, was completing the very British Blues opening to the day. Solid set as this man’s stage presence grows. He is full of potential and the setlist was a perfect showcasing opportunity for Across The Grain his debut album. The slide guitar was over loud and the vocals slurred but every time you hear him there is improvement, Spin The Bottle a set residence that suits this young man who is truly motivated and shaped by the blues. Not to be missed, if you get the opportunity another HRH Blues festival favourites are definitely Black Crow Chicken. The sound is earthy, dirty blues. Every song has a colourful story as they take the blues train down an Irish lane as roots blues collide with Irish Tradition through the amplifier. The humour is dry and all-encompassing that follows through into the strong lyrics. With Jonestown and a tribute to Pat McManus from Pariah Brothers, the latest album. This is a band I could have listened to for longer. A definite bring back next year request. With Big Boy Bloater following, his acoustic set was superb so we were looking forward to electric Luxury Hobo. The sound was too loud for the small stage area and that meant the music lost its edge. That said what a rendition of bloater blues pushing them to the limits and he knows how to entertain the crowds vital for any set and sometimes missing. The superb track from his album Luxury Hobo, It Came From The Swamp won him many fans another strong contender for stage one 2018.
Now back to Stage 1 for South African, Dan Patlansky who always delivers fireworks from his Strat. Tonight, with a band of session players from Germany we were treated to a stand out set of guitar acrobatics. Old Red is the signatures Strat of Dan, and is off for a refurb after this UK tour. With his latest single from Introvertigo, Sonova Faith given a live airing we hear the clever improvisation that is part of the live show. Never expect to hear the songs the same, chords and lyrics are a constant but the interpretation every time is a certainty. Dan can rock his blues, and then with an application of the blues breaks will slow it right down. Then you listen with care as it is as good as it gets. Dan Patlansky is a showman. He brings Laurence Jones back to play Bright Lights, Big City that sees a guitar dueling that sparked with jaw dropping intensity. Closing the set, instrumental My Chana is a majestic exploration of the every sound a strat can make. As he experiments with feedback, ringing single notes. The audience are spellbound, a collective holding of breath with wonderment. No one wanted the moment to end. Sadly, it did one more act Stan Webbs Chicken Shack and 2017 HRH Blues fell silent.
Easter Sunday, this year more music that chocolate. What a tasty day once again HRH train ride was full of blues hooks, licks and riffs, laughs and friends the perfect festival journey.
HRH Blues III blues train was full of exciting stops along the complex musical map that incorporates The Blues. The festival does not rely on have the same favourite acts returning each year. Weaving into the acts surprises and variance in the sound of blues.
With such an array of blues it is unsurprising, with not a single act announced HRH Blues IV; 14-15th April 2018is already over eighty percent sold. People want to come back, reserving there spot for when the HRH Blues train leaves the station once again in Sheffield 2018. HRH Blues a definite for Blues lovers diaries.
Live at Freak Valley blues rocking With
On first listening before the guitar warrior starts, I could sum up the album in a sentence – Caged raw live energy across the eleven tracks as Krissy is the comet of British blues taking us on a sexy and freaky ride.
The album is full of live energy as the band plays before a live audience, recorded May 27th 2016 at Freak Valley Festival, Germany. Every track has that special live ingredient, a mix of adrenaline, raw energy and sweat, it is the real deal with no studio over dubs, and is one-hundred percent as the music was heard that day. The blues rock from the first chord to the last can be no-one but Krissy himself. The rhythm section that surrounds Krissy are high-octane musically driven pairing of drummer Max Maxwell and bassist Sam Weston. Creating a trio that is full of power combining this intensity with subtleties, tasty licks and huge riffs from the guitar driven by Krissy himself.
Opening with Feeling For The Blues, shows that Krissy has inherited the feel for blues without experiencing the life of the early bluesmen. Written when he was fourteen it showed the direction he would take and the lyrics put down a commitment to the inheritance that the blues have to music today. The guitar solo squeals with pain and beauty as the melodic tone of the opening number is defined. The tone and texture changes, the quality of delivery is consistently high as the songs many written before Krissy was a teenager show a maturity far beyond his years. All Night Long has a swing to its step as the guitar sings sweet and Krissy singing the lyrics with his distinctive vocals that seem to float above the music connected but never controlled by the guitar. Krissy, squeals, shouts ensuring the voice is heard loud and clear All Night Long. Everyone who plays the blues will be influenced by BB King, many have stories to tell and Krissy is no different as the tempo slows the blues are sparkling with intent from his six-strings. The Soul Will Never Die is not a tribute it is a young thirteen-year-old reflecting back what he heard and experienced when he had front row seats in Bournemouth. The impact of meeting BB; this is blues with love straight from the heart.
Unsurprisingly, a Hendrix number is in the live set this is Freedom, which made an impact when he heard Steve Lukather play the number then found out it was a Hendrix number from Isle of Wight album. Krissy keeps the essence of the Hendrix tone but makes the number his own.
The final three live tracks are a bonus recorded at Gerd’s Juke Joint in Garmany in April 2016. The signature drum beat a cymbal crash from Max opens The Rock and then the driving bass line from Sam underpinning the energy and zing of Krissy’s live performance. The rock is solid powerful blues track fading into Roadsick Blues about addiction to being on the road. With keys adding a mournful, reflective air to the final track Bobbles And The Seven Phones. Written in memory of a dear friend this is a song of remembrance and the chords are sharp, gentle and considered the tone and tempo are measured. Closing out Live At Freak Valley with love, of friends, music, the guitar and above all The Blues played in Krissy’s indomitable style. This is a live album where Krissy blues demons have been unleashed and ready to swirl with dramatic effect across the valley to your stereo thanks to the record button being pressed.
Bluesdoodles reviewed Cut Against The Grain “Aaron Keylock is a Cut Against The Grain Definitely on to keep watching a listening where will Aaron’s music journey take us? Get Onboard now!” – read the rest HERE
Tues 4th April: The Black Heart, London: Headline – TICKETS Sun 16th April: HRH Blues Festival, O2 Academy, Sheffield – TICKETS Sun 30 July: Ramblin’ Man Fair, Mote Park Maidstone – TICKETS
“A fabulous new talent” Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2 “Aaron Keylock is on the brink of international stardom” Daily Mirror – Top Tips for 2017 ““If anyone can shred like Gary Moore, this young buck can” Metal Hammer “The New UK guitar hero” Shindig “Toe-tapping electric blues beast” Total Guitar
Hurricane Ruth Album Ain’t Ready for the Grave, her fourth record that spins with the full force of the Blues driven by rock dynamics. Ruth is diminutive, earning the name Hurricane Ruth as everyone was blown away at the large vocal sound that shapes her blues with rock. Recorded in Nashville this twelve track album, produced by Tom Hambridge (drummer, songwriter and Grammy winner) is the real deal; Hurricane Ruth has surrounded herself with a posse of talent, comprising the magic fingers of Reese Wynans on keys; deep bass grooves from Michael Rhodes and guitarists that light her fire Pat Buchanan & Rob McNelley . Dedicating Ain’t Ready For The Grave to her father Milt Lamaster Snr, it was growing up in Glendale’s Tavern, Beardstown, Illionis owned by her Dad that inspired her, on the route between Chicago & St. Louis. Where Middle America absorbs the music styles with jazz, blues and country artists all filling the club with music at some time or other.
In praise of live music venues, Barrelhouse Joe’s opens the party with the force that drives the album on Hurricane Ruth’s vocals, a heady mix of sassy rawness as blues and rock entwine. The keys from Reese paint the canvas of a juke joint with Ruth layering on tonal shades so that the house is rockin’ this Friday night as Saturday dawns. Hard Rockin’ Woman follows a descriptive title for the artist herself, this is the track that sets down her style blues with granite attitude that charges up a breeze into a perfect musical storm.
Hurricane Ruth delivers blues with gritty determination. She sets the music going and raises the tempo and heat until a perfect storm is created, with energised, swirling blues that are fueled with high-octane rock. Following a personal path with Far From the Cradle, the tempo slows the guitar is dirty and the vocals delivered with purpose as the album takes shapes as deep down blues with style. Estilene picks up the tempo, the foot is taken off the brakes as Ruth chastises her for messing with married men alone.
Every number has an element that sets it out from the rest, from the dance track Beekeeper with its fat boogaloo beat, and the slower Cheating Blues which slow, and measured with Wyanan’s keys making this a dramatic blues number a classic fresh as a daisy.
Then a rock cover AC/DC Whole Lotta Rosie, sizzling with Hurricane appeal. The album builds with new delights around every corner good stuff, saucy, soulful as she is joined by the McCray Sisters leading into a dose of gospel to close the album out with Yes I Know.
The album is delivered with passion and determination the lyrics are set free by Hurricane Ruth’s vocal interpretation.
BD:Hi Sari hope you are well, thanks for taking the time to speak to Bluesdoodles, we spoke last year on the release of Force of Nature, and your tour now you are back in the studio and Deja Vue about to tour the UK again.
SS: Thank you for listening to me and supporting music. Everything is going so fast. I am trying to slow down and savour every moment. The reality is I am having too much fun. Last year there was so much pressure with the release of our first album. Now I am doing it all over again definitely trying to relax more and enjoy the process of making my second album. I have a good label with Manhaton and a phenomenal band so I am determined to enjoy the ride. I do believe that everything has a time and place and part of your destiny to get involved with certain projects so grabbing the pleasure of every opportunity I say “get on board, see you wherever the train goes” BD: Sounds like lyrics of a blues song. SS: Laughing, let’s get together and write a blues song you never know where it will go.
BD: Before we talk lyrics, songs and touring let’s turn to the important dogs in your life, how are they back in Brooklyn?
SS: I will tell them that Aunty Liz in Wales sends her love. BD: Othello wags his tail in delight, sending a doodle woof to your three girls. SS: They are great, not eaten any furniture for a few months. When I get the suitcase out, they think they are going as well to the dog park or store somewhere exciting, they cannot imagine I would go anywhere without them. When they see the suitcases they look sad, Sophie sat in the suitcase shivering it was horrible. I am always really homesick until I am at the airport them I am looking forward to the adventure about to unfold.
BD: What were the highlights last year on the road with the Engine Room singing your distinctive blues-rock sound.
SS: Highlights, for me it is just the feeling of being on the road with this band working hard. The band are always enthusiastic, positive and ready giving one-hundred percent. We all care about each other, we are like a string family. The highlight is sharing our music, it is brilliant to be part of making the music live it can be a challenge but I know they have got my back. When I need a boost they understand, when I am exhausted they build me up. Travelling all over the world singing along to our songs brings tremendous rewards. Innes and I smile at each other as we see people singing along. It is so fantastic and humbling to see people embracing the album it is a sign that the music has touched them. There is a video of Trish singing in her car, Black Betty connected with this through the power of social media and felt so honoured.
BD: Having performed the songs from Force Of Nature live do you have a personal favourite and why?
SS: Favourite, I love singing every track on the set list, with the exception of Black Betty that still scares the life out of me. The look of the set list varies depending on my mood, kick up the tempo with Demolition Man or cooling down the pace with Ordinary Lives. It is the diversity of the tracks that makes them so much fun to play live, they never get boring for the band to play we love them every time. BD: Why does Black Betty Scare You? SS: To do it right there is a lot of emotion, have to sing by taking it on, it is a painful song. I feel that pain when I sing my version of Black Betty. You have to go deep, I feel exhausted by the end of the performance. Innes has written a middle section, a magnificent piece of music makes me cry, for me it’s the highlight of the song. Some nights I feel that I have not got the strength to sing Black Betty, Innes says okay, then I know I can just to hear his guitar. The melody is bright, the words dark they don’t quite match that is what makes Leadbelly great. The music is accessible to people and then if they wish can delve deeper into the lyrical content. It does not require you to do that, but if you intellectually want to the lyrics take you on an emotional journey.
BD:Back in The Studio with Mike Vernon producing the sequel what is exciting you about the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Force of Nature? What does Mike as your producer add to the sound and shape of the album?
SS: This time we are in the UK recording at The Riverside studio, it is awesome, with lots of the vocals being recorded in the same booth as Robert Plant, inspirational. Logistically it was easier to bring Mike from Spain. Majority has been recorded. The sound is a continuation, development from Force of Nature. It has been awesome recording as a live album in the studio true Engine Room sound. I am off to Germany to write a couple of songs. We have no working title it is just The Album, we keep listening to the eight tracks already done and cannot decide which one it should be the title track! Every time we listen we say this one, no this one we will get there. We wrote the majority of the songs together when we spent time together in Spain the sound is more representative of The Engine Room sound, showing what the band is capable off. Those boys are fierce.
BD: What does Mike bring, is he part of the band or more of an overseer knitting the sound together? SS: Both he can step back, and be an integral part of the band. When searching how to treat a certain section of a song, example the keyboard groove, Mike will conduct, singing the part shaping the groove as a member of the band. On other occasions he will give an overview. He is the kindest most patient man, he never gets rattled he gives us plenty of room always. Then when we are struggling he will throw in an idea, what if you approached it this way. Mike has no ego, which is amazing when you consider what he has done and who he has worked with over the decades. He could have a big ego, be really demanding but no he is the most giving, generous of producers creating an open creative environment everyone can relax in. I always feel I am in the best hands, allowing us to experiment, push the boundaries. Mike is quick to tell us when we go too far bringing us back and preventing us from doing anything too obvious.
BD: Will you be showcasing songs from the new album as part of the 2017 set list. Are they different from Force of Nature if so how?
SS: Sadly, not yet, may do one in the sound check of this tour. The problem is someone will record and put up on You Tube before the record comes out.
BD: Last time we finished with what your dream band would be this time – what are you listening to and what Sari Schorr track would you liked covered and by whom?
SS: It has to be Robert Plant, which track after some consideration Ain’t Got No Money. I would so love to do a duet with him as well. At the moment I am loving my label mates King King, the music is so uplifting, it inspires me and I adore Alan he is such a great talent.
BD: I was delighted to have the opportunity to review your debut album Truth Be Told.
Before we talk about touring with the Planet Rock Roadstars and the album, Truth Be Told. For many Bluesdoodles readers, Bad Touch is a new band. They are interested what is happening behind the scenes of Bad Touch. Then dash to book tickets on the Roadstar Tour!
Before we start the talk the quintet of musicians are Bad Touch, Vocalist Stevie Westwood, who kindly took time out to chat with Liz from Bluesdoodles today. Harry Slater, Lead Guitar/Vocals, Daniel ‘Seeks’ Seekings, Guitar/Vocals, Michael Bailey, Bass and George Drewry, Drums/Vocals.
BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Norwich more mustard and cathedral than Rock music?
SW: Well, lots more in Norwich than that we have strong music scene in pubs, clubs and venues. For myself, I grew up in a house full of music with Dad playing AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and lots of Disco including Kool and The Gang. I then developed my own tastes with rock bands such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Southern Rock, Su and much more.
I played the guitar and found the guys from Bad Touch through a band forming website. Went for an audition and came away the singer as they already had two guitarists. This was after they asked me if I could sing, and my reply was not really! Must have been okay because still here singing for Bad Touch.
BD: How did you come up with the band name Bad Touch and the decision for the distinctive typeface.
SW: The band has always been called Bad Touch from the very beginning before I joined. For me, the name encapsulates the roots of the band with the power of Bad Company touched with all the influences of 70’s rock with the colouring of Southern Rock.
We want to add our Bad Touch to the music we love that mix of Blues, Southern Rock and classic rock we always describe ourselves as ‘Feelgood Rock’. It is not new we are deeply rooted in Rock with Blues. We want audiences to enjoy our music and feel good with Bad Touch.
We wanted a distinctive logo, there is no deep and meaningful back story. We needed a new logo, a friend was a graphic designer and did me a favour and the result is eye-catching.
BD: Tell us about the formation of the band while you were still at college and the roles you all play in developing the Bad Touch feel. Now with the new guitarist Harry Slater how has he fitted in and has it injected a new feel.
SW: The band formed when the guys were at college with Rob Glendinning our original guitarist who recently left the band. We all love the guy but he has chosen a different path and we wish him well. Now with Harry Slater, we will continue to ply the Bad Touch rock across the land. As with any change, it brings opportunities. Harry will inject a new feel of guitar power combined with his writing ability. At the moment he feels like he is stepping into Rob’s shoes, as learning songs already in the Bad Touch repertoire. With new songs, things will change and anything new is scary, with good performances under our belt the future of Bad Touch is looking exciting and bright. We have plans for a follow-up album to Truth Be Told, been a bit slow going with the switch over firstly, concentrating on getting the performance correct. We are going to nail the tour out on the road with Broken Witt Rebels then attention will turn to the next album.
BD: Having reviewed Truth Be Told, what if any truth were you exploring across the dozen tracks?
SW: All of the band wrote the lyrics, the title, Truth Be Told, was an alliteration and sounded cool. The whole album has lots of feeling, a more mature sound than Halfway Home with a mix of anger and darker emotions plus some happy feelgood songs. For me, the album is an open book of truths and we want people who listen to take from the lyrics what they can.
BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?
SW: We write together with royalties split equally. The writing process varies, can be from a riff that we play and then I add lyrics over the top and then turn into the words of the song. My preferred way is to write whole verse/chorus or even whole song. It is really satisfying five minds working together are better than one. We don’t always agree but that is all part of the fun of building our songs. We draw on life experiences, old sayings are often a starting point they stick in people’s minds when listening to Bad Touch music. It is important and really cool when people relate to the lyrics and music. The truth is we get inspiration from anything and a good example is Outlaw, from Truth Be Told, reflects that Seeks is really into cowboys. It is what we fancy at the time. You can over analyse the lyrics and then they can lose shape and feel so have to take the inspiration where it comes from however shallow that is.
BD: With you heading out on the road throughout March & April with Broken Witt Rebels. The Planetrock Roadstars are back for 2017. Two bands on the road that are causing a stir how will this tour build on the experience of opening for The Headhunters last year
Wow, this is so exciting we briefly caught up with BWR when they opened for Joanne Shaw Taylor at the Waterfront. It was really cool we also passed each other at the Stone Free Festival last year. We have got to raise our game, there is definitely going to be a gentlemanly rivalry between the bands, Bad Touch are out to get noticed, remembered we will be trying to blow BWR out of the water. We can’t wait to open in Leeds on the 16th March and bring the tour to a grand finale at The Borderline in London Saturday 8th April. We are looking forward to showcasing our brand of feelgood rock as we travel around the country, meeting fans and making lots of new friends of the band.
BD: What other plans and excitements have you and Bad Touch got in the 2017 pipeline?
SW: Lots of exciting stuff in the pipeline with lots of touring and new album taking shape. Keep in touch as soon as dates and festival slots are confirmed they will be shared through social media. We are on Facebook, Twitter and our dedicated web presence over at Bad Touch.co.uk.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have to play
SW: Thought I was coping well until this one so many to choose from ….
Let’s have a choir to start with!
Vocals: Chris Robinson, Paul Rogers, Freddie Mercury, Robert Plant, Steve Marriot and guests Drums: John Bonham Bass: Michael Bailey Guitar: Slash Backing Vocals & Mime Artists: The rest of Bad touch with inflatable instruments enjoying the explosion of rock.
Youthful Guitarist Aaron Keylock is a
Cut Against The Grain
The descriptive accolades for this young man are many. For me, the jury is still out. Aaron Keylock is definitely a guitarist who can shred, slide and more. Yes, a young guitarist with all the necessary potential to mature and fulfil the accolades being showered down on him with glittering ferocity YES! In the here and now in the studio, the sound is so different why? The power and clarity of the vocals, yet when Aaron performs live the clarity is lost when playing live.
Cut Against The Grain, saw this young guitar slinger pick up the axe and travel to Los Angeles to record the album. Producer of choice was Fabrizio Grossi, the choice of many including Alice Cooper, Slash and Zakk Wylde. The album has been produced to showcase this young talent, who is gaining attention, for being a young guitarist with flair now. As Aaron says himself. “I guess what I’ve always loved about Rock n’ Roll is that you’re free to express yourself in many ways and to use many guitar techniques to convey different emotions …. My influences really vary!” Now with an album under his belt he needs to shape the tone and style so that it is instantly recognizable as the Keylock sound, not an imitation of an axeman who has been and done it before whether Gary Moore on Just One Question, with its lead break straight out of Moore’s back catalogue in style and delivery. Elsewhere we hear hints of Rolling Stones, Rory Gallagher. Johnny Winter and others
Opening with All the right Moves we are introduced to the fast Aaron, with a catchy beat and it makes the perfect first single off the album. Medicine Man, well-known by people who have seen Aaron play live displays the ability to write lyrics that tell a story that has a Southern feel and instantly recognisable. Spin The Bottle, is a simple guitar lick growing as the lyrics pull the guitar along as we are asked to Spin The Bottle with Aaron and take a chance, the sun might shine tomorrow he sings. Slower blues test a guitarist and the slide and pull of the rhythm show that this is no challenge to a young confident musician stepping out on a road where a long and successful career beckons. Falling Again has a Stones whoo hoo and takes the heat down with the guitar shining once again.
The title track is strong, but then he has been playing it live at festivals and venues since it was penned three years ago and has changed on the road. With a Zeppelin feel and Aaron’s innate ability to not be tempted to cram as many notes into a second as possible. The slide zings and the rhythm swells out the lyrics that tell a story. This track like the whole album shows a young guitar player that demands a wider audience with a crossover appeal emulating the rock n’ Roll heroes of the sixties and seventies!
Youthful Guitarist Aaron Keylock is a Cut Against The Grain. This is the debut album on a musical career that Aaron at eighteen has the potential to shape and reach the heights he has the desire, drive and latent talent to reach. Cut Against the Grain, is a studio album showcasing the guitar skills of a young man who understands what makes Rock N Roll stand out from the crowd and make people listen. Personally, as I said at the beginning the jury is out but Cut Against The Grain is a solid footstep on the road to producing a sound that defines now without losing the retro and Keylock himself. Youthful Guitarist Aaron Keylock is a Cut Against The Grain Definitely on to keep watching a listening where will Aaron’s music journey take us? Get Onboard now!
Opening with a raw driving beat with the signature slide cruising with a gritty determination across Ain’t No Judgement Day. Troy Redfern is a powerhouse of blues that forces you to look up listen and enjoy you are in for a ride full of swerves and fast exciting chords as you sit back and let Dirt Ritual Blues flow out of the speakers and connect with your musical radar.
Cold Light Of Day follows The Brave and the fortune of the album builds with a Southern-infused slide from Troy combined with his gravel tones as the words spit out in perfect harmony with the raw guitar and rhythm section. Jelly Roll opens with a cascading flow of notes with a Rock n’ Roll beat that gets the feet tapping and dancers dancing like the whole album the lyrics are strong and this is a welcome addition to Troy’s rollercoaster, driving the album. It the midst of the mayhem, Troy slows it down with a country whirl of the guitar with On The Skin, with the guitar reverberating in what feels like a vast open space; reflecting that many of the guitar parts were recorded in a World War Two water tower to capture the vast reverb that space has, with a 1958 Harmony Stratotone being the guitar of choice for 80% of the record.
With a harmonic of guitar strings, with a feel of early cowboy films, wide spaces and two antagonists as Revelator opens. Then the instruments are pulled in with Troy’s vocals and we are on a ride through biblical proportions.
The album is a welcome outing after the 2015 release of Backdoor Hoodoo. Stays true to the high-octane slide driven blues that Troy is renowned for. Pure Raw Blues with its mix of slide and boogie shows a musician maturing with stronger lyrics and a swagger of confidence from performing the material live. The album is anything but homespun despite being written, recorded and produced by Troy in his home studio in the Radnor hills up on the Welsh border. It is a recording with a live sound of a musician who believes in the music he and the band are creating. What band? – Why Troy Redfern who played Drums, Bass and Guitar this is a solo enterprise with a band’s heart. Troy is in total control. Must be Sign Of The Times… no not that one, a true Troy track. Closing with Walls Are Falling, we are left with one certainty, walls will not be collapsing around the raw blues the Troy plays, it will be the doors opening to welcome him in to perform live, raw and definitely a dangerous and exciting ride with Troy and his guitar.
Fifteen original tracks, raw as whisky straight from the still, kicking open the speaker to fill the void with blistering slide, gritty guitar and vocals that growl and spit out lyrics with and intensity that creates the fifteen track listening experience that is Dirt Blues Ritual. Make it your ritual to turn it up loud and play often.