Kirk Fletcher and Friends turn The Tunnels Blue

Kirk Fletcher and Friends turn The Tunnels Blue

 

Kirk Fletcher and Friends turn The Tunnels Blue

Sunday night in Bristol. Kirk Fletcher and Friends turn The Tunnels Blue.  The Sunday night buzz was full of warmth as friends and lovers of live music came together. This was our Sunday experience of light, music and being uplifted.

 

With Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue opening the night there was a real feeling of Déjà vu.  Why? They opened for Kirk Fletcher at The Tunnels last year. The difference was that I was in the audience. Last year a series of road chaos and other unplanned issues meant we never got to see the show! This year we left in plenty of time. Curse of roadworks around Newport struck again. The minutes ticking by with no progress would we fail for the second year running? After an hour of stop/very slow-moving the road cleared. We arrived with minutes to spare. Result!

Tonight Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue, the trio that delights their many fans in Bristol, were joined by Phil Quinn on keys adding another dimension.  Ruzz, Zachery and Joe managed to find space on the stage ready and waiting for Kirk.  The crowded stage did nothing to curtail the steaming tempo from the band that plays foot tapping rock n’ roll the interest is maintained with Texas Blues, with some slower numbers mixed in. The guitar in Ruzz’s hand was on fire with the energy that was warming the audience with the love of live music and building the anticipation of Kirk Fletcher later in the evening. Closing out the accomplished, crowd-pleasing set making rocking fun the order of the day this Sunday evening.

Kirk Fletcher and Friends turn The Tunnels BlueNow for the Kirk Fletcher moment. His surname takes us back to an age when arrows were made by the fletcher. Tonight the arrow sharpness and direction took us deep into the Blues. Fletcher maker of arrow flights tonight Kirk took us on a flight of blues delight. What an evening it was full of glorious live music that moved you. Kirk has surrounded himself with some of the UK’s best. With Westley Johnstone on drums, Jonny Henderson in complete control of his Hammond and Dudley Ross adding to the guitar sound. Kirk plugged his guitar straight into the 633 amp. The sound was clean and bright. The tone that defines Kirk Fletcher. The set flowed with a freedom as he and the band hit the ground running with Hip Hugger through to the last notes of the encore Rock With Me. Kirk’s riffs and licks purr as he makes the music shimmer. When you go to Kirk Fletcher a night of blues quality is assured. Tonight he stepped up the tone, tempo and energy he was inspired. The instrumental version of I’d Rather Go Blind was simply sublime. What a beautiful interpretation. His guitar wept and Jonny’s Hammond delivered the anguish which was pulled together by Dudley’s guitar shaping the melody.

As Dudley took some time out we were treated to a jam full of jazz chords and blues licks as Denny Ilett stepped onto the stage. The interaction between Denny & Jonny was magical as Kirk filled in the spaces with licks of glorious definition and tone. Breath-taking live music.

Interspersed with funk and shuffles we were taken on a journey through the tonal textures and sonics that pulled the band together and the audience stepped on board with enthusiasm. Live music doesn’t get much better.  Tonight was a night that will remain etched in the memory. Glad you were there never to be repeated solid gold performance. A real privilege to have been in the audience. Kirk Fletcher just gets better and better every time I see him live I am left amazed. Blown away by the quality of the guitar. Kirk is still on tour I thoroughly recommend catch him before he returns to the USA.

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Tonight, was a celebration of the power of the guitar flexing its vocal depths as the six-strings celebrated the blues full of the complexity of tone, mood and emotional connection the audience tonight as Kirk Fletcher and Friends turn The Tunnels Blue.

 

Kirk Fletcher and Friends turn The Tunnels Blue

 

Kirk Fletcher and Friends turn The Tunnels Blue

 

Malaya Blue Will Never Leave You Heartsick

AlbumArtwork_HighRes 020316Malaya Blue Will Never Leave You Heartsick

Two of the tracks were released as a double-sided single last summer, Hope & Let’s Reinvent. They have survived and are included in the album, the band though that supports Malaya Blue’s distinctive voice has been all change. The band with stunning production from Paul Long, capturing the tone that suits Malaya as her career progresses. The walk towards soulful jazz with the shading of blues continues apace. The band for the album recorded in The Grange Studio Norfolk are Dudley Ross, with the guitar playing that makes every lead break zing with anticipation, and alongside Dudley is keyboard player Paul Jobson and the synergy between them is natural. Added to this is a rhythm section that keeps the beat on an eye of the smallest needle, Stuart Uren bassist and drumming Andrew McGuiness. The reality is this is all window dressing for the heart of the album, Malaya Blue’s vocals which are drenched in soulful anguish as the album explores loves sharpest facets. The harp playing like a mirror bright and clear reflects the vocals from the lips of Paul Jones on Hunny Little Daydream & Let’s Reinvent (Love). Another guest is Carl Hudson whose piano playing enlivens the track To Remain The Same.

Opening with Heartsick the beat is driving with an uplift the opposite to what you expect. Malaya’s voice though is definitely Heartsick as she explores a disastrous relationship ignoring what Mama said to her peril! With Dudley and Paul opening with a guitar and keys exploring the chords, the drum picks up the beat and Malaya’s voice clear as bell curls her tongue around Colour Blind. Her voice is polished with a sheen that reflects the bands melodic line. Half way through the eleven track album is an upbeat statement I Have Arrived, full of confidence with a mix of sounds to underline who Malaya now is with a second studio album under her musical belt. Now for contrast a rhythmic opening with Dudley’s guitar blasting the way through for a gentler wistful Malaya. This is a Strand of Gold that is full of country soul the instrumentation shapes the mood. Bringing the album to a close is Hope the single we have all got to know and then the finale. This is drenched in slow emotion as the soul comes back and is it the cure for Heartsick the opening track?

The album crosses genres and has a mainstream feel. Perfectly formed for radio airplay and getting Malaya Blue the attention she is demanding on this crafted album. For me, the album and instrumentation is just that bit too crisp. Like a starched shirt, it lacks at times a natural flow to the singing. I want Malaya to loosen up relax and show a rougher, dirtier side of love some sweet sugar bowl blues would have given the album a deeper range. That said, it is an album with sex-appeal from guitar licks through to the carefully modulated shaping of lyrics and the clarity of Malaya Blue as she shares her feeling of being Heartsick.

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

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Track Listing
1. Heartsick
2. Hunny Little day Dream
3. Colour Blind
4. Let’s reinvent (Love)
5. To remain The Same
6. I Have Arrived
7. Strand of Gold
8. Share Of Love
9. Hope
10. Soul Come Back

Kirk Fletcher Live @ The Convent , 20th September 2015

Kirk Fletcher - The Convent - Sept 2015_0091lKirk Fletcher
The Convent, 20th September 2015

 

 

Nearly a year ago Bluesdoodles discovered two greats a venue and a guitarist and tonight they are re-united as Kirk Fletcher and his band once again stepped in front of the Alter at The convent to share with a much larger audience than last time reflecting the impact Kirk made in 2014 and far and wide via live-streaming from Netgig.

The Convent and audiences are ready!

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Opening with an instrumental shuffle the band were chasing and capturing the tempo through the strings and beats; Wes Johnson on drums kept the twin guitarists, Kirk & Dudley upfront and in order and the rhythm section was full of funky bass interest thanks to Joe Sam on Bass. The instrumental was full of texture and tonal depths hinting at the stupendous musical journey we were all going to enjoy tonight as Kirk’s six strings explored the forms and structures of blues, soul and funk to create music that touched your musical inner core.

Kirk Fletcher - The Convent - Sept 2015_0120lThe guitar from Kirk was silky smooth with a an inner steel as he explored the groove the tone grown, explored and played with by British Blues Award nominated guitarist Dudley Ross, at times it was a duel, others a compact of friendship and then the moments where the harmonies touched perfection. The tempo changed but there was a constant Kirk Fletcher delivery of scintillating riffs, licks, lead breaks and clever hooks for the bass to take the lead and explore the lower cadences and frequencies that Joe’s five-strings could develop.  The version tonight of Bobby Womack’s I’m In Love was special full of feeling  the emotions were held captive and then let free in a lead break from Kirk no one wanted to end; the passion rose as Dudley & Joe added layers of tonal excitement.


We heard and enjoyed the hefty drivin’ rhythms of My Turn, a song to really to get the juices running with some grat interchanges between Dudley & Joe, featuring a Wah pedal Bass stunning!

Kirk Fletcher - The Convent - Sept 2015_0090This was a band that knew how to entertain with a modern fresh re-working of modern music engaging with the roots of the sound but never finding themselves trapped in a boring loop of conformity. Kirk was brilliant last year tonight he was scintillating he and his guitar were one it was a true communion of the power of music to talk to the heart of everyone who takes a moment to quieten their thoughts, engage with the flow of the sound and have a journey where emotional highs and lows explored. The whole set was phenomenal, the crowd tonight were privileged to be treated to such a masterclass in Blues musicianship by the whole band and Kirk he was sensational. The encore Let Me Have It was a tour-de-force and then the music died away for the last time, well not quite he is now in the vaults of Netgig so can be revisited.

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Katie Bradley & Kirk Fletcher @The Convent – Stroud ~ October 2014

Kirk Fletcher UK Tour - The Convent- Oct 2014_0021l

The Convent near Stroud, Gloucestershire is a dramatic backdrop for any musician, where the Alter stood originally full of iconography is now the stage, the stage area is flooded with light and the audience have a choice of sitting at tables or listening from the ornately carved choir stall while supping their beverage of choice. The compare warmly welcomed the crowd to a night of entertainment and the show began with the backed venue full of excited anticipation.

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Kirk Fletcher UK Tour - The Convent- Oct 2014_0006lThe stage was set with a table of Harps waiting for Katie Bradley to make them sing, and this she did as the set delivered a mix of self-penned and gorgeous interpretations of well-known numbers including ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ included on her current album Anchor Baby. There is no argument this was a perfect setting for Katie’s gospel style blues and we heard some of the amazing numbers that are making her latest album so popular with Radio DJ’s at the moment. Her band tonight they were Dudley Ross playing guitar that was gritty, determined and the perfect foil for Katie’s lyrical vocals; the rhythm section was the effervescent and popular bassist Roger Inniss and Wes Johnson on Drums who were on fire enjoying every moment as they interacted and picked up the groove and laid it down and into the mix adding an extra tone on Hammond C was Vic Martin, who played with Gary Moore.

Kirk Fletcher UK Tour - The Convent- Oct 2014_0129lThis is a band that is enjoying being on the road and loving every moment that they are in front of the audience entertaining with a wonderful selection of the blues infused with soul, gospel and a twist of funk. Dudley with his controlled aggression on guitar on tracks including Junior Wells Little By Little and featuring some sublime Harp by Katie from her latest album Anchor Away. In the set was also a reminder of how wonderful her debut album She’s Ready was with tracks such as Be Careful With My Baby with the sultry phrasing of her vocals. Katie Bradley delivered her distinctive brand of the blues, with soaring harp and a voice that rang high and clear through the chapel.

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Tonight was an opportunity for Katie, to sell her approach to the blues and her albums this she did with warmth and delivery of quality blues. For anyone who had not heard her before were delighted they heard her and the band tonight as I heard many chat about her in the break as it was Kirk Fletcher that had drawn them to the Convent tonight.

Kirk Fletcher UK Tour - The Convent- Oct 2014_0192lQuick break and Kirk Fletcher strode onto the stage with the band returning to the stage to support Kirk who having played with Mannish Boys, Fabulous Thunderbirds the quality of his guitar playing is known by many. They all looked like they were happy to be playing and determined for everyone to have a very good time indeed for what was Kirk’s first UK tour as himself having previously visited a couple of times with the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
What a blues guitarist, as he made the Telecaster play to his tune with a mix of subtly, control and then full-blown array of power riffs and clever licks, at times the phrasing the control and the use of space in the music reminded me of Robben Ford with a blending of Chicago blues, creating as Kirk as endorsed by Joe Bonamassa – “….hands down – one of the best blues guitarists in the world…”

Kirk Fletcher UK Tour - The Convent- Oct 2014_0093lThe music the guitar skills on display was not a surprise, I was delighted that Kirk has such a great soulful voice live as well as in the studio. He delighted the crowds with a rather special take on several blues classics including a slowed down version of Jimmy Reed’s Found Love. Throughout the set all the musicians had solo slots to show why they were such an awesome backing band for any guitar/vocalist. His renditions of blues classics made you appreciate why they are classics and really listen to them again with a refreshed ear, Kirk has musical style by the bucketful. They have the skills to make their own instrument be centre stage or in the background as the music dictates. The drama of Wes – who managed to smash the snare did not cause a beat to be missed Roger filled in the gap on bass whilst Wes popped of stage got a replacement and carried on. This was high-octane musicianship with Kirk’s vocals the perfect pitch to ensure the words were heard but the music was at the heart of the evening. What a great gig with two headlining sets that perfectly matched drawing on all the strengths as the vocals curled, the harp wept, the guitars snarl, with a Hammond adding depth and a rhythm section that was the perfect back-line of timing and control. There were lots of happy music lovers wanting to take the live sound home by purchasing Kirk’s latest album Burning Blues – Live

A great double set evening entertainment from marvellous Katie Bradley and then the wonderful Kirk Fletcher leading a band of exceptional musicians at The Convent, it might be a strangely different location for a music club but it really worked hoping lots of bands and musicians check this rural gem out.

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Katie Bradley – Anchor Baby Sessions ~ CD Review

KB-AnchorBabySessions_V4_Katie Bradley
Anchor Baby Sessions
Independent

This album hit the decks with a sense of anticipation as the follow-up album to the sensational She’s Ready; and as the first note of warm guitar from Dudley Ross became the intro for Katie’s sultry vocals I was instantly engaged this album had my full attention and bluesdoodles knew they were in for a musical treat.
Anchor Baby Sessions is jammed packed full of smooth sounds from the varied vocal range of Katie, with soul, blues and gospel put to masterful use so that every track has its own identity and musical feel ensuring that the lyrical tone and poetry is enhanced and never drowned out. This is achieved by empathetic accompaniment by Dudley on guitar whose timing is impeccable and augments the tonal quality that Katie is producing as shown with the lead break of such purity and intensity as One Day fades away. A Katie Bradley album would not be complete if you did not have some spectacular haunting harp from her sweet lips that shapes the notes to pierce your blues soul and make your hairs stand on edge as your body responds to the clarity of each note as the harp is used to great effect throughout the album.

I’d Rather Go Blind is a track we all have many versions of; here is another take of Etta’s song and it is the backing vocals that give this version a ghostly feel, once again Dudley and Katie perfectly augment each other’s musicality. Aaron Birks on keys adds more tone and passion and the drumming from Wez Johnson has a purity that this track needs with all the emotions pouring out of the speakers – this track as they say is a keeper adding to the lexicon of quality versions of this classic.

What a contrast with The Levy, swampy blues, a little bit dirty and conjures up slow-moving waters full of dark shadows with harp that really adds to this effect, once again her talent has layers and layers of depth and musical understanding,

We are treated to two versions of Long Way From Home, first the full band as the slide guitar hints of country blues the track moves along at a pace that gets the feet tapping to accompany the beat of the drum, this is a song destined to be a classic the lyrics so suit the music and Katie’s voice. The acoustic version is full of slide and harp and gives a sultry take as the whole number is slowed down – shows what talent can do with a track!

The last number Some Kind Of Women opens with Drums and Keys giving a bass sound that will move this track along and is a perfect end as unfortunately there is always an end to any album – great thing with modern plays you can put on repeat, listen randomly the album works just fine any way you want to listen.

This is blues with an edge that really works Anchor Baby is a class album with a mix of self-penned and clever renditions of Little Walter, James Cotton, Etta James and Luther Allison and will get Katie lots of nominations once again!

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

KB-AnchorBabySessions_V4_2

BAND
Katie Bradley – Vox/blues-harp
Dudley Ross – Guitar
Aaron Birks – Keys
Wez Johnson – Drums

KB-AnchorBabySessions_V4_5Available to Pre-Order Now: ‘Anchor Baby’ is the new album by Katie Bradley featuring material that is already receiving a lot of attention from the Blues Radio and Press. To celebrate this milestone, the first 50 orders of the album will receive a signed limited edition piece of artwork designed by artist Andrew Budell. The album will be despatched on the 1st October by Chrome Note Records.
The album will be Officially launched on 16/10/14 at the beginning of Katie’s Tour of England and Scotland. Twenty two dates with her stellar band and Kirk Fletcher – Tour dates and tickets: follow the link you will not be disappointed

Cut The Funk – CD & Gig Review – 2014

downloadWeekend Coda
Cut The Funk
Independent

If you are looking to add something a little different to your collection then Weekend Coda the debut album of Cut The Funk is just the ticket with its skillful blending of Jazz and Funk that is never indulgent just a perfect harmony of sound that will definitely end your weekend and start you on a high for the week ahead with a feet tapping feel good sound. This Kent-based band have really nailed the beat and tempo as the individual instruments blend and meld together to rise to the top as the saxophone in the opening track Blue Milk so a rich milkshake of sound is created that makes you feel good and sets the quality for the whole album you know you are going to sit, dance tap your feet for just over an hour of pure delight.
The album brings a sublime mix of tempos with upbeat Afroturf and followed by the more mellow (ain’t nothing but a) Chicken Wing.
There are long tracks like Art Dart, which moves along with little interludes from bass, sax, piano and the guitar and drums providing a background that makes this track a musical art form in its own right ! Then there are short tracks at just over three and half minutes Funk Credit Cards opens with Ian Anderson style flute and then the beat picks up with a rolling funky rhythm that will make everyone’s mood upbeat.

This is an album full of musical complexities and a mix of subtle and in-your-face riffs and melodies, but it is not complex for the sake of complexity; Cut The Funk have cleverly got the balance right so this is an immensely listenable album that will keep appearing through your speakers as you listen again and I bet each time you listen your favourite track will change, mine is, for the moment, Cut The Funk full of fusion that reminds me of the bands from the past like The Meters.

Not sure about Funk/Jazz fusion this is the album to stretch your listening tastes as the music flows and surrounds you with a funky hug.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

 

 

Gig Review – Riffs Bar Swindon – August 2014

Now youCut The Funk - August 2014 - DSC_7683l have listened to the album go see them live when you get the opportunity this busy group of musicians do not often get out on the road, Bluesdoodles was lucky enough to catch up with them at Riffs Bar, Swindon in August. We were treated to some tracks from the album and lots of other gems as well as the funky, jazzy fusion sound Cut The Funk create flowed off the stage and throughout the bar. Watermelon was a great tune and the communication between the members of the band ensured that there were seamless changes in which instrument was taking the lead and the finishing spot-on the beat every time.

Cut The Funk - August 2014 - DSC_7616lCut The Cake, was a fantastic version of Average White Bands number, the whole sound they create is interesting with a varied beat and sound making a real change from the guitar-dominated riffs and licks of many bands. Two tracks from the album The Blazer and The Promise demonstrated that this is a live sound with a fluidity from every instrument they want your attention and once they have it they are not going to let go. We were treated to a unique take on The Meters People Say showing what a versatile number this is. This is a band that comes together for a few gigs when they are able to as they all have busy lives on a myriad of musical projects; thus they do not really rehearse giving every show a fresh take on the tracks they play that sound natural and full of quality. This is definitely a band to look out for and make every effort to go see this band with a touch of fusion magic.

BAND MEMBERS
Paul Jobson – Keyboards / Vocals
Dudley Ross – Guitar
Tony Rico – Saxophone / Flute / Vocals
Joe Sam – Bass

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Katie Bradley She’s Ready (2012)

Celebrating International Women’s Day with Katie Bradley

Katie Bradley

This is an album that is alive with pure joy of excellent blues music that truly reflects the live recording of Katie Bradley’s, ‘She’s Ready’. This is a début CD of 8 tracks that take you on a roller-coaster of highs and lows, combining a mix of clever re-arrangements so that they fit into Katie’s style and self-penned tracks.

Katie fronts the band, showcasing her strong melodic vocals and playing blues harp, the rest of the band are not mere background to her voice but a quartet of top-drawer musicians, Paul Jobson, Keys & Vocals (Chaka Khan) and (Geoff Achieson & Soul Diggers); Sam Kelly, Drums, (Station House); <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-Sam-Bass-Player/101692133233144″>Joe Sam, Bass (Gary Moore); and virtuoso guitarist Dudley Ross which all bring something special to the tracks.

The self-penned ‘I Hear a River’ is gorgeous with beautiful lyrics articulated by Katie’s soulful vocals that sends shivers down your spine; it is not surprising that this has been nominated for The Kevin Thorpe Memorial Prize; by Blues on The Marsh internet radio programme. This CD is receiving lots of airplay which is no surprise with tracks like ‘Damn Your Eyes’; and an interesting arrangement of ‘Hound Dog’; and will assure that Katie is definitely ready to have a successful future and should be gracing festivals and venues all over the country, as she delivers songs with a range of emotions from up-beat through to mellow blues. She never overpowers the lyrics but delivers with a clarity and delicate touch that tugs straight at your heartstrings.

This is the CD to sit back, relax and let the music wash away the strains of the day.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of
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