Hellbound Where Else On Dave Arcari’s Train

Hellbound Where Else On Dave Arcari’s Train

Hellbound Where Else On Dave Arcari’s Train

 

Get on board for a five track, four station stops, steaming train ride with the crazy Scottish Bluesman Dave Arcari.  As you step on board the Hellbound Train, put away prejudices and pre-conceived ideas of acoustic blues this is loud and a real mash-up.  You may wonder why there are two versions of Hellbound Train, when it is not too long for radio play well let’s say the radio edit loses some of the Arcari components, the language is now temperate.

With three new tracks, the title song, Good Moonshine & Travellin’ Man we have vintage Arcari with some heartfelt lyrics, reflecting the last three hectic years.  The opening whistle gets off to the start of the  journey then the instantly recognizable fingers of Dave on his national, unforgiving, punked-up blues, you know we are in for an adventure as he sings “it is all Rock N’ Roll Now, You have Nothing Left To loose”. Let’s not worry about the genre just the music and his pertinent observation.  Good Monshine is a gentler song, this is a travelling southern blues song that tells the tale with a jaunty country-blues tempo.  The third self-penned track picks up the beat and is again a reflection on travelling; Dave is on the road throughout the year and this road trip is about the life of a travelling man reflected in the stomping beat of the resonator.  We then have a traditional number coloured by Dave’s buoyant non-reverential approach to his music. Pearline is given the treatment and fits neatly into the Hellbound Train with rawness and integrity, this is the music I play if you don’t like fine but this is what I do.

The biggest disappointment is after three years absence from the recording studio we only have a snippet of Dave Acari’s music, a full album would have taken on a real mashed-up journey but hey it’s all Rock n’ Roll and this EP is sparkling with energy and driven by guitar playing with attitude.  So join the trip yes, Hellbound Where Else On Dave Arcari’s Train.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Hellbound Train – Dave ArcariBuzz Records

Track Listing

  1. Hellbound Train
  2. Good Moonshine
  3. Travellin’ Man
  4. Pearline
  5. Hellbound Train (Radio Edit)

Dave Arcari ~ Live @ Beaufort Ballroom: June 2015

Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0112l

Dave Arcari
Beaufort Ballroom, Ebbw Vale
13th June 2015

 

Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0062lDave stepped on the stage and we were in for a night of wild blues that is full-on acoustic there is never anything subtle this is blues that hits you in your solar plexus and works up the spine with excitement and anticipation as he plays from his back catalogue. Tonight in the opening few numbers he slipped in a couple of numbers on his much anticipated new album. He shared that the song writing was slow and having read about getting your song writing mojo back to avoid travelling songs he ignored that convention with not one but two travelling blues numbers – no hints of trains or whistles as he launched into Travelling Man on his signature shiny National guitar, about life on the road. The second new number had the stomp box creating a deep back drop to his high energy stage presence on I Went To America reflecting his recent gigging experiences.

Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0042lTonight we heard songs on his banjo, electric resonator, and his black National that always receives murmurs of approval from the audience I love that guitar, as he performed the title track from the album Got Me Electric. With stomp as well this was a number full of static electricity that fizzed and raised the hairs on your neck. Earlier in the set another track from the album Parcel of Rogues received a cheer in the setting of Robbie Burns’ poem written in 1791 about the act of union that is as relevant today with its anti-traitor sentiment. We had a version of Robert Johnson’s, Preachin’ Blues that is his own take on delta blues revitalizing the oft heard number, and making you realise with your attention caught the full depth of the this authentic number, found on Whisky In My Blood.

Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0185lFitting for a man dressed in black we have his tribute to the great Johnny Cash, Blue Train you never get many covers in the show but when you do they have the distinction of being given the Arcari treatment. Ending the first set with Good Friend Blues, a simple blues number which sounds so stunning because of that dirty slide driven ‘Black beast of a guitar’ leaving everyone wanting more after a short break.

 

Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0115lThe second set was full of percussive distorted music that is the signature of Mr Arcari and his guitar, a singer songwriter who stands out in a crowd with his ability to tell a tale that shapes around the music. Cherry Wine is always a favourite of mine a highlight of his Whisky In My Blood album with the added value today of his fantastic stomp box that really adds to the live solo act. This was followed by Devil’s Left Hand that he played for the first time when opening for Steve Earle who famously wrote Devil’s Right Hand. Also from the album of the same title we heard Hangman’s Blues and Texacalli Waltz; a hard arsed fu***d up blues as he waltz’s with his black demon of a guitar; perfect synergy.

Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0262lHis music is eclectic a variety of styles and his playing really suits Mississippi Hill Country music and a tribute to Cedell Davis, which had his own distinctive guitar style closed the evening See Me Laughing leaving everyone wanting some more. We had the encore with the beast where he got off the stage close up to the audience, no amplification, no leads, no effects with a memorable version of Dust My Broom, a wonderful end to a great night of live music incorporating jamming with the audience and the stepping up on stage for some stylish harp playing from Christian Presse on Walkin’ Blues.

Tonight, as ever he delivered his two sets in his usually infectiously energetic way, punctuated with his amusing anecdotes and thoughts of a travelling musician, above all though it is the combination of his voice one moment loud and raucous wiDave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0018lth punk blues guitar work and then he shows the gentler side and what a marvelous voice he has. He is the entertainer who does what he does enjoying every note refusing to conform as he shares his energetic In-Your-Face Blues of the most honest type the authentic sound of Dave Arcari a Ronseal – Marmite Performer. He plays one of the best sounding steel guitars I have ever heard for me the man in black can’t pay too much of his black beast and the louder the better.

 

SET LIST
Set 1                                                            Set 2
Dreamt I was 0ne Hundred                            Stagolee
Travelling Man                                               Homesick & Blue
Cotton on My Back                                        Cherry Wine
I Went To America                                        Devils’ Left Hand
Still Friends                                                  Another Chance
Parcel of Rogues                                           Bring my Baby Back
Whisky in my Blood                                      Can’t Be Satisfied
Preachin’ Blues                                             Hangman’s Blues
Trouble in Mind                                             Texicalli Waltz
No Easy Way                                                Close to the Edge
Got Me Electric                                             See Me Laughing
Blue Train                                                    Good Friend Blues

Walkin’ Blues (Encore)

Babjack meets Dave Arcari @ Re-con Club, Malvern on 20th April 2013

Dave Arcari -  Malvern April 2013_0160l Dave Arcari arrived with an impressive array of string instruments Banjo, his solid electric is a National Resolectric Junior, a shiny Silver National Style O and the one I describe as the black beast which is more precisely a National Delphi; both of these have been custom-made for Dave by National so they produce that Arcari sound the trade-mark of artist who in his own words delivers ‘Fucked Up alt. Blues! Delivering some exciting tracks from his excellent new album “Whisky In My Blood” including the fantastic track ‘Cherry Wine‘ showing a gentler side of Mr Arcari well know for his hell raising guitar playing and stage presence. Included in this opening set of an evening celebrating Trevor Steger’s 50th birthday in Babajack’s hometown, was some of Dave’s classics including Blind Lemon Jefferson, ‘Hangman’s Blues’ and ‘Stagolee‘.

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As ever Dave played like a lightning storm heating up the Re-Con so the temperature was definitely tropical rather than a mild British spring evening and the crowds were loving it. What made tonight’s performance was Trevor and Becky joining Dave with a fantastic performance of Johnny Cash’s ‘Blue Train‘ As the video demonstrates that this was a collaboration that produced a stellar performance and everyone was delighted, excited and entertained, this is a live music moment that though captured on camera you really needed to be there to get the full on effect of the energy and good-time vibe they produced.

Now for Babajack’s showtime tonight a new addition forming a trio with the addition to the line-up; electric bass player – Adam Bertenshaw; storming the stage as on home turf they were at their confident best full of energy, vim and vitality. The crowds were enthralled and delighted as Becky delivered heart stoppingly beautiful vocals whilst providing the trade mark out of Africa percussive rhythms courtesy of the stomp box, African drum and the cahon combined with the 2013 British Blues Awards nominated harmonica player, who also plays acoustic guitar and wine box guitar which he makes himself and provides great vocals Trevor and providing a layer underneath this was the bass addition provided by Adam. It is no wonder that Babajack is so popular where ever they play. No Babajack set is complete without their trademark songs from previous albums including ‘Money’s All Gone; Death Letter’s Blues’ and ‘Gallows Pole’; this is not a band trapped in the rut of tradition every rendition is given the Babajack treatment giving the songs a modern and exciting edge whilst remaining true to the very soul of early blues music; understanding what made the likes of Leadbelly so very special. Trevor’s vocals are always a delight and tonight there was a roughness perhaps picking up the gravel tones of Dave Arcari, and demonstrating why there is such a great synergy between these talented artists; this was especially apparent on ‘Burn All The Bridges‘ and definitely added another tier of emotion to this powerful song.

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Not only has Trevor been nominated for the British Blues Awards; but the title track of their last album ‘Rooster Blues‘ has been included in the final voting round of the Kevin Thorpe’s 2013 Award for Original Song – so Babajack will be celebrating long after Trevor’s 50th birthday is a distant memory. as well as old favourites interspersed throughout the set was tracks from their much-anticipated new album “Running Man”; this was an opportunity for Becky to thank all the contributors to making the album possible, this was received with a cheer as so many supporters were standing enthralled by the music at this sell-out show. A work song, ‘Hammers and Tongs’ was a duet with Becky on vocals and Trevor on harp, not a guitar in sight using a chain gang style, was effective and was for me the highlight of a wonderful set. Another new song from forthcoming album “Running Man”, ‘Falling Hard‘; followed by a dramatic rendition of ‘Skin and Bones‘. What an evening of full-on entertainment which included a rousing birthday song to Trevor; an end to a fantastic evening of music at The Re-Con in Malvern but  I am positive Babajack will be celebrating throughout 2013…

Babajack -  Malvern April 2013_0119l

CD Review – Whisky in my Blood – Dave Arcari & Helsinki Hellraisers

Dave Arcari & Helsinki Hellraisers – Whisky in my Blood davearcaripromo - Whisky in my Blood - cover_image
Record Label – Blue North Release Date – 25 March 2013.

From the first second, this CD can only be the handiwork of Glaswegian Dave Arcari, with his punk take on acoustic. There is nothing gentle in the delivery as his voice and guitar dominate the Hellsinki Hellraisers so that they provide a stable platform of excellent musicianship for him to launch off from. The backing artists are Juuso Haapasalo (upright & electric bass) and Honey Aaltonen (snare drum, cymbal, rub-board), who elevate the songs from a one-man show. The title track, ‘Whisky in my Blood’ is wild and loud if you have ever seen him live your immediate vision is Dave filling a stage that normally dwarfs a three or four piece band. Then the surprise nugget track 7, ‘Still Friends’ a gentle, lullaby style love song with gentle drumming and everything toned down this gentler side is continued with ‘Wherever I Go’ with its country waltz style, almost as if Dave has realised with fellow musicians around him he can concentrate on singing and his deep tenor definitely comes to the fore. Then it is back to more typical Arcari style with ‘Still Laughing’ and lots of references to the Devil, again the drumming, this time with brushes, compliments the guitar work making a complete sound with the addition of the double bass. As ever it is that authentic, unique sound that he gets from the National Guitar which you either love or hate as his clawed fingers strum the guitar so that it is all a quiver, as in his cover version of Jitterbug Swing, so often associated with Bukka White. The other two covers are Robert Johnson‘s, ‘Walkin’ Blues’ and ‘Preachin’ Blues’ which again are given the Arcari treatment whilst still keeping the integrity that listeners expect from these much loved blues classics. Like ‘Still Friends’, on ‘Third Time Lucky’ the National takes back stage with Dave playing the banjo for the shortest track on this 14 track album lasting just under two minutes.
This album has a definite live feel, resulting from the album being recorded live at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki; the album was mixed between there and Chem19, Glasgow, Scotland and mastered at Boiler Room, Chicago, USA. Whilst this album possesses similarities to Dave’s previous recordings and again showcases this travelling musician as a skilled songwriter and awesome slide guitarist that just wants you to have fun whilst listening to a punk blues sound that is modern and works so well. This CD reflects the skills of this accomplished musician and your foot will be tapping from beginning to end as the Arcari style shines through.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of
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Dave Arcari - Shrewsbury 2012 - DSC_0574l

Shrewsbury 2012 – Review and Photographs

Blues Boy Dan - Shrewsbury 2012 - DSC_0264l
all photographs copyright Liz Aiken
Blues Matter reviewed the festival that last year took place on a snowy Saturday afternoon in early February 2012, the festival got under-way with one of the hottest and original acts on the circuit Babajack. The innovative percussion from Becky Tate who uses a combination of an African Hand Drum, Djembe and the Cajon (Spanish for box) on which Becky sits with aplomb combines with her great voice with its vibrancy that Trevor Steger on Guitar (including Wine Box Guitars made by Trevor) and Marc Miletitch (Double Bass) build on to create the BabaJack sound. The set is a mix of self penned numbers including strong tracks from their much-anticipated third album “Rooster”; and their own arrangements of traditional blues from Sleepy John Estes, Blind Willie Johnson et.al. BabaJack manage to conjure the deep south, traditional music. The use of the African drum also brings deep African rhythms evocative of heat, and raw emotions of slavery taking the blues back to its roots…… This band has a rootsy style that is drenched in the essence of the blues what a fantastic sound they create. The afternoon was crammed with acts, and next up was a young man from Shrewsbury, Blues Boy Dan with his Acoustic guitar blues harp and a stomp-box made from a shortbread tin covered in fabric! He delivered an accomplished set of well-known classics and his voice shone through with a fantastic range accompanied with skilful acoustic guitar playing. This young man is a blues-man in the making and will be heard on the festival circuit very shortly as talent shines through as he includes his own take on these classics. Then a contrast again, Andre and Dermont from Rhythm Zoo who organised the festival, have definitely thought about the sound and tempo as they mixed up the acts, repetition was not going to happen today. Northsyde stormed the stage next full of energy and life as the musicians support Lorna up front the second female lead vocalist if the day. Once again the set was a clever mix of Northsyde favourites such as Allman Brothers, ‘Whipping Post’, ‘Mercy’ and new tracks from their much-anticipated album including ‘Rocking Chair’……. Last act of the afternoon section was Dave Arcari bring to the stage his punk acoustic blues, bold sound from his National Resonators including his electric resonator. His slide playing is magic and as he leaps around the stage his energetic performance leaves the audience gasping for breath. This Scottish wizard of the blues is a bit like Marmite you either love or hate him and today he made some new fans and the crowd loved the tracks including ‘Devil’s Left Hand’, title track of his latest album and ‘Got Me Electric’. With a short break everyone gathered their thoughts and sat down for a well-earned rest and a catch up with the musicians who were all in the foyer all to happy to talk to fans both new and old. Rhythm Zoo opened the evening session producing a strong set with the third female lead vocalist Andrea Jones, who added loads of energy despite the stress of being integral in the organising of this exciting new festival. Andrea’s powerful vocals were supported by four strong musicians, a solid rhythm section comprising Dermot (Drums) and Dave (Bass); Carl (Guitar) and John on Flute and Saxophone making this band just a little bit different. They certainly lived up too their slogan ‘keep it blue, keep it zoo’; this was blues with confidence and animal magnetism. Andrea was witty and warm introducing the numbers with relevant anecdotes great set full of original material and a beautiful cover of Robert Cray’s ‘Playing In The Dirt’. For their encore they invited Blues Boy Dan to join them on the stage, now brandishing an electric guitar for a mini jam – ‘Shake You Money Maker’ demonstrating that his talents stretch beyond the acoustic fitting the band as neatly as a glove.

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all photographs copyright Liz AikenBlues Boy Dan - Shrewsbury 2012 - DSC_0264l
Jon Amor strode onto the stage with Jon Amor Blues Group this set upped the tempo for the evening with a selection of numbers off their excellent album. The polished performance showed that all of Jon’s catalogue now belongs to The Jon Amor Blues Group, the band members Doherty brothers Chris (Bass) and Dave (Rhythm Guitar) and Si Small (Drums) complimenting each other creating a bluesy sound. ‘Juggernaut’ and ‘Repeat Offender’ from their début album had the festival rocking on their collective feet. Once again a great set at a fast pace with Jon letting the music do the talking and keeping the talking between songs to the minimum. Now with a festival hum around the theatre Big Pete from Netherlands introduced his band, he is a blues harpist with extraordinary talent and a lightness of touch. The set included self-penned numbers, traditional blues all performed with style, probably the most traditional act so far, a pleasant contrast to the more modern blues sounds that had preceded Big Pete. He was anything but staid as he varied the pace of each number from long-drawn out slow blues through to high-octane 12 bar-blues that got the dancers dancing and we heard the first drum solo of the day. This was a classy performance from a great band and superlative harpist delivering quality harp-inspired blues with very colourful style of harp playing from Big Pete, embellished by his smooth vocals.
All too soon the last act of the day Big Joe Louis and his Blues Kings, including Little George Sueref (Harp) took to the stage. What a sound Big Joe Louis produces, something very special that sets him out from the rest. There is an innate authenticity about his act. He delivered all the favourites you would expect from this accomplished showman including ‘Catfish Blues’ delivered in Big Joe Louis own indomitable style making the song truly his own. The audiences were delighted dancing with the great rhythm being offered whether Big Joe Louis renditions of old favourites or his own penned offerings. This band was the icing on the amazing cake of sound that went into making Theatre of Blues such a success. The sound and lighting were fantastic and the brilliant MC Lionel Ross who did a sterling job as last-minute MC introducing and thanking the bands. Above all great to see people out supporting and keeping blues music live, that is what it is all about. I am positive 2013 Theatre of Blues will be bigger and better if that is possible but on the evidence of this year as the standard has been set very high indeed anyway. Liz Aiken

Abertillery Blues Rock Festival – reviewed

Abertillery  Rock Blues Festival 2013Abertillery Blues Rock Festival will be returning for it’s ninth year on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th July with an amazing weekend of live music.

Line-up will be announced soon – early confirmation is on Saturday 13th July – the Kings of Rockin’ Rhythm & Blues, The Nightporters, together again marking 20 years since the band formed.
Ticket Prices:- (discounts for Blues club Members)                                                           Friday – £25 ——– Saturday – £35 ——– Weekend – £40

Held under a marquee in the picturesque setting of Abertillery Park, this year’s festival brings you the very best in British and International Blues.Previous festivals have had great line-ups as demonstrated in Blues Matters Magazine Reviews demonstrating why this should be a reserved date in your 2013 diary,

2011 Festival:-

Abertillery Blues Festival, got underway in the majestic setting of Abertillery Park , deep in the valleys of South Wales under the shadow of the Arael Mountain. The now familiar tradition of a big top circus tent and comparing supplied by Bob and Norm from GTFM, famous for their Monday night blues show. The festival showcased a selection of local bands, including The Hideaway Trio who started the 2011 show off and then Saturday afternoon, Bluesey Susie, who bought talent and style with her great voice that is both smooth and raunchy delivering old favourites and self-penned straight-edge traditional blues. Pat Grover and the Hawks delivered a great set with slide guitar strong vocals this was blues that took you on the hobo train ride. Luke Doherty Band this new line-up with vocals provided by Paul Morgan provides the perfect backdrop to allow Luke Doherty to concentrate on his guitar skills producing a brilliant sound that excites the crowds. Now he needs to develop a set that includes more than covers delivered in his inimitable high speed blues style.
Around this strong local backbone great bands from England and beyond delivered a fantastic weekend. Giles Robson and the Dirty Aces, a combination of great musicians and songs produced a dirty sound that whilst evocative of the past was contemporary and relevant, as they showcased their latest CD “Crooked Heart of Mine”. The highlights of the set included, ‘The Mighty Incinerator’, ‘Solidor’ with Giles providing an emotive harp solo and giving the band a break as they left the stage and Ian Jennings swapped his double bass for electric bass with fuzz pedal providing a different but strong bass line for ‘Ain’t Dead Yet’. This band definitely is one that gets your foot tapping and dancing along to the strong blues tempo. The encore was ‘House of the Rising Sun’ re-arranged with the distinctive Dirty Aces signature and it worked. Never The Bride with their effervescent stage presence delivered a selection of Rock Ballads. With their larger than life sound ‘The Living Tree’ and ‘April Rain’, they bought rock to the valleys pleasing the crowds and got the festival a buzzing and a talking. Friday closed with The Hamsters, making a welcome return as part of their farewell progress across the country went through an eclectic mix delivering a selection of there extensive back catalogue including a self penned track which was a mix of song titles and band names with the riff indicative of Tom Principato’s guitar style. As ever superb Hendrix covers, some traditional blues and rock & roll overall a great festival set.
Eugene Hideaway Bridges, bought a touch of Texas sun and magic. ‘Never Alone’, delivered as a capella was haunting and spellbinding captivating the audience. Very much a crowd pleaser, he uses clever changes of tempo between straightforward blues and more soulful numbers. Whilst delivering a mixed-up set from his extensive back catalogue.
This was followed by the surprise of the weekend, Hokie Joint, one night only Ian Siegel would be guest singer for the band! With no set list and no rehearsal the guys strode and strutted onto the stage. This was jamming at the highest level and gave credence to the expression living on the edge… Fortune favours the brave and with Ian knowing only two of Hokie’s tracks demonstrating the skilful song-writing of this dynamic, modern and exciting British blues band. Thus, ‘Back Where We Are Going’ and ‘The Way It Goes Sometimes’ were given the Siegal touch ……. The whole audience, whether Hokie, Siegal fans or seeing the artists for the first time were blown away by a demonstration of blues at its best; a delightful mix of covers and originals this was jamming, performing and musicality at the highest level.
To close the festival Mike Sanchez built on the energy that Hokie and Ian had instilled into the festival crowd. Mike was as ever enthusiastic, energetic and not only got the feet a tapping, but suddenly the chairs were folded away and the dancing began. There is no argument that this flamboyant front-man pounding the piano keys, licking up and down the scales resembling a whirling dervish of the piano, making this performance highly charged and delivered at break neck speed, and bringing the festival to a rousing finale. This festival bought music and sunshine to the valleys, and the numbers increasing this year.
As with all festivals its is the hard work of the organisers, stewards and bar staff that make the weekend a success and there is no doubt that Abertillery is lucky to have a great team making this event happen every year. So for another year the music fall silence and the hard work starts to make next years another positive event, feedback has been that this was one of the best yet… looking forward to 2012 already.
Liz Aiken
Slide Show – 2012 copyright all photographs LizAiken

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For 2012 – Blues Matters were back and delighted by the musicianship they heard and the friendly vibe they experienced over Friday 13th and Saturday 14th July 2012.
Opening 2012 were local band J Alexander and The Blues Devils playing a solid set of traditional and ever popular blues numbers, taking a chance by singing Muddy Waters, ‘Forty Days and Forty Nights’ with the long wet summer and St Swithin’s day just around the corner… The tempo was pushed up by Cornwall’s, Devil’s Creek, a confident mix of covers and own numbers with their rockier take on the blues so in the first two acts the Rock & Blues element of the festival had been met. What a great start to the evening and crowds were enthusiastic about the bands and waiting in anticipation for the next two bands as the evening flew by, next the McMahon brothers from Aberystwyth stormed onto the stage raising the temperature with atmospheric and stellar guitar playing that is the hall mark of Virgil and The Accelerators. This is a young British band which has taken its influences from Stevie Ray Vaughan and modified the sound with influences from Joanne Shaw Taylor and The Hoax creating their own take on the blues which continues to develop as they relentlessly improve their musicianship and stage craft. The comments from the audience were complimentary as jaws dropped at the quality and precision of the guitar playing supported by brilliant percussion and solid bass playing, the audience was captivated. Finally, Vintage Trouble what an ending to a brilliant opening night, this band hits all the right chords and gets the crowds up, dancing and feeling good about themselves. Vintage generated a real unique ‘party atmosphere a real contrast to the typical 2012 summer festival weather yes, it was pouring down outside of the marquee! They took the roof off the place and had the audience feeding out of their collectively talented hands. Charismatic lead vocalist, Ty Taylor, built an amazing rapport with the crowds with up tempo blues soul music with great songs including ‘You gotta believe me’ with enthusiastic audience participation.

Saturday was full of promise with a great mix of local, solo, young and famous artists and bands so the anticipation was high. Opening an afternoon session is always daunting and local band Panic Station were certainly up to the task with their mix of covers and own tracks showcasing blues musicianship they certainly kick started the proceedings getting people into the marquee to hear the music and soak up the atmosphere and the pleased the locals with self-penned ‘Rocking Down the A48’, the highway 49 of South Wales. For the next solo artist no stage is either too big or daunting as he fills it with his gigantic presence and personality of solo artist, Dave Arcari, love him or hate him this guy has bucketfuls of talent and is in my opinion, with his high octane stage presence, a Scottish Wizard of the resonator. His set was full of verve and energy and showcased his talent on the slide guitar with a selection of his tracks including ‘MacPherson’s Lament’ he is magic and as he leaps around the stage his energetic performance leaves the audience gasping for breath. Steve Roux and The Brass Knuckle Blues Band changed the tempo yet again with their brass instrument section and opening with an instrumental ‘You’re Gonna Need Me’ got the crowds swinging and swaying, the horn/sax section adding an extra dimension to the proceedings. The sound is very full rounded off with Steve’s slick guitar licks and soulful voice. This was a band where the whole was greater than the sum of the individual parts and great afternoon festival set, pleasing the crowds and raising the spirits. Next up strutting the stage was Dani Wilde Band, with Dani showcasing her guitar skills throughout the set, ably accompanied by her brother Will with superb blues harp playing and Stuart Dixon on lead/rhythm guitar. As a band they produced a set of controlled professional musicianship of the highest order, with Dani’s vocals providing the icing of a rich cake of musicianship. The title track of their latest CD ‘Juice me Up’ – demonstrated the great interchange between Stuart and Dani, during what overall was a great set delivered with real authority by Dani, leading the band from the front. They are definitely growing from strength to strength they certainly gave, aptly as their previous CD, ‘Shine’ to the festival.
Jon Amor Blues Group, the band members complimenting each other creating their own distinctive sound were the penultimate act. The band took the opportunity to showcase of two new tracks that may be included on their next CD due to be recorded very soon, ‘Wayfarer’ and ‘Good Thing Back’ As ever this band delivered a polished British blues set of the highest order and the members of the audience who had not heard Jon Amor before were blown away; they certainly gained a few fans at Abertillery. Once again a great set at a fast pace with Jon letting the music do the talking and keeping the talking between songs to the minimum. All too soon it was the last act and eagerly awaited by everyone as there was a definite surge to the front to hear The Zombies. They took us back to the ’60’s and early 70’s with a selection of their classics spanning fifty years. Rod Argent delighted the fans with an excellent display of keyboard work, and the appreciative crowds really enjoyed the set. They haven’t lost their voices after over fifty years, and were formed before the Rolling Stones. This was a headlining act that took many of the audiences down a road of nostalgic memories and the fans enjoyed the set immensely. Overall the running order of the festival worked really well with the atmosphere growing and moving on an upward spiral to a crescendo on each day. Yet again a fantastic festival with everyone saying roll on Abertillery 2013….
Liz Aiken

2012 saw
“IT’S not like Cardiff at all.” The precipitous hills and brooding clouds over Abertillery Park gave Vintage Trouble frontman, Ty Taylor, a whole new outlook on Wales as the band headlined the opening night of Abertillery Blues and Rock Festival.

2012 saw Vintage Trouble – a brilliant band as highlighted in Wales On-Line review – ”
“IT’S not like Cardiff at all.” The precipitous hills and brooding clouds over Abertillery Park gave Vintage Trouble frontman, Ty Taylor, a whole new outlook on Wales as the band headlined the opening night of Abertillery Blues and Rock Festival”. Read more: Wales Online