Before the show, I had a quick chat with Derrin:
What was your first musical memories growing up in Australia?
My source was my Father’s vinyl collection BB King, Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, it was all down to his good taste, opening my eyes and ears to blues and blues-based music.
Other than your Father’s Vinyl’s, who were your early musical influences in Australia?
Australia has a rich source of musical talent including Jeff Lang, Chris Wilson, Geoff Achison and Tommy Emmanuel, and in the days prior to the internet it was much harder to link up; but these three great guitarist; singer/songwriters showed me that I could make a living out of the music I loved.
Did you always want to be a musician?
Once I picked up a guitar yes! I felt an immediate connection; I started off on electric when I was 15 and lucky for me it came easy, I naturally seemed to understand the guitar and developed my skill splaying in bands playing blues/rock for 5/6 years; at 16 I dreamed of being the ‘White Aussie Jimi Hendrix’. Then I found acoustic when I was 23 and this felt right, this is what I wanted to work with the acoustic guitar spoke to me and let me explore the areas of music that I connected to and spoke to people. The acoustic expresses feelings and personally the electric guitar cannot compete.
Who influenced your song-writing?
My song-writing has been influenced by many people and music and lyrics heard whilst travelling been about my own experiences; to name them all would look like a list but the two that definitely are at the top of the list of influences are Bob Dylan and Richard Thompson.
Are you considering bringing the Dylan project that you were involved with last summer to the U.K?
NO! in one word, it was great fun and sold lots of tickets and was very, very popular, we all had a great time, Ian Parker myself and Spanish guitarist Miguel Banon. The trouble with the project ironically was it was too popular; and we could quickly be tagged as the Dylan cover specialist and that would then be what audiences would expect from me every performance.
How Do You View the Current Live Acoustic Blues Scene in U.K?
The circuit is vibrant with plenty of good acts; and the use of social networking and the internet makes it easier to find gigging venues that are thriving and to connect with both established and new audiences that appreciate my style of delivering the blues. Having toured the U.K. since arriving here from Melbourne 10 years ago, I am busier than ever so no complaints from me; you do have to adapt with changing times and good promotion is vital with the growing importance of all the strands of social media.
Last Year also saw a new CD; how does this differ from your previous albums?
Yes, Distant Empires, this is different from my previous albums, it is less of an introspective on personal experiences it is more outward looking. Writing an album is a long process and has a world perspective and has been a good challenge. When writing for a new project I tend to get the chorus and music then build around this, though during the process the chorus often gets modified! The finished result is my latest album ‘Distant Empires which is a little bit different.
What plans do you have for the future?
Well going to take couple of months off over the Summer and then start touring with a band later this year, touring as a duo has been great fun but feel that it is time to change.
Now on with the live music event review.
The evening was kicked started by a stylish upbeat solo performance by the ever popular local talent John Lewis, who always delivers a foot stomping and lively set with his mix of self-penned and a selection from his vast lexicon of tunes that are the very best from Rock n’ Roll/Rockabilly discography of the 1950’s & 60’s. He has a wonderful tenor voice which brings passion and verve to the set, combined with skilled traditional engineering skills when his faulty amp played up a kick quickly resolved the issue and the show was back on track. This is what a supporting set should be great music, entertaining repartee and being left wanting more, whilst looking forward the main event of the show.
A quick change-over and Derrin Nauendorf and Rick Foot were on centre stage, and from the off the audience knew this was going to be an evening of fine musicianship, with Derrin demonstrating the power of the acoustic guitar; he certainly uses the whole instrument getting a great percussive note out of the wood at the sides which amplify the words and emotion of this singer/songwriter’s superb songs. Adding to the emotion is the superlative Double Bass playing of Rick Foot whether plucking or using the bow, Rick gets every ounce of emotional tension out of the instrument as the growl and oft mournful notes grip your very soul and tug at your heartstrings. This is a duo that delivers a full sound that makes you feel good about live music and certainly gets those endorphins going – so it was no surprise to me that spell-checker gave me the option of endorphins for Nauendorf, a really fitting suggestion. The two sets delivered a mix of Derrin’s self-penned work from previous albums and his latest Distant Empires’ which since its release in October 2012 has been receiving critical acclaim; and into this heady mix some interesting covers.
‘Ghost Town’; gave Rick foot the opportunity to use the bow on his double bass creating such haunting sounds that perfectly complimented Derrin’s beautiful guitar skills and melded in and accentuated the lyrics and Derrin’s melodic voice. The other sparkling gems included ‘Shipwrecked’ and ‘History Repeating’ & ‘New World Order’ from Distant Empires, demonstrating how this album is different from previous recordings with outward looking lyrics and shows that Derrin’s skills are growing developing and changing. This is not an artist in a rut that he has formed and frightened or unable to get out, which is why every live performance is different and he will always put in something different and unexpected – tonight it was in the second set with an acoustic version of Rolling stones; ‘Wild Horses’; as Derrin said “Stones for a Tenner!” Also it was an opportunity for the audience to have a sing-a-long which was enjoyed by all. The next surprise was the totally mind-boggling awesome acoustic Hendrix/Pink Floyd medley. The Duo started with ‘Voodoo Chile’ which then melded into ‘Another Brick in The Wall’ and back to ‘Voodoo Chile’; illustrating what it is possible to accomplish by an acoustic duo when in the hands a pair of master musicians – wow the audience loved this.
What made this evening of live entertainment so special was the interplay between Derrin and Rick throughout the set served as an object lesson in musicianship of the highest order, which they combined with warm, friendly interaction with the appreciative audience. Then they were both happy to chat with the audience and sell the CD; one thing for certain this Duo is welcome to come back to Barry very soon; this may have been the first time the duo had played in South Wales but I am sure it will not be the last!