JW Jones Thunderbolt Blues Reaches High Temperature

JW Jones Thunderbolt Blues Reaches High TemperatureJW Jones Thunderbolt Blues Reaches High Temperature tonight on a cold Bristol November night. With lots of gigs on tonight, those with a discernible taste for Canadian driven Chicago Blues were definitely in the right place with JW and his band; on bass Laura Greenberg and new drummer Will Laurin a perfectly formed trio.

Opening with an instrumental that grabbed your ear’s attention you were hooked in with a great SRV styled guitar with the tone and but definitely not a clone! With guitar driven melody this was the start of the warming process we would soon be hot with the delights of blues via JW Jones and his Gibson Les Paul. Tonight was about his music and the opportunity to hear tracks from his stupendous album High Temperature what better way to introduce the album than with the title track a reworking of a Little Walter classic. His guitar playing certainly wooed and excited everyone in the room tonight with authentic electric blues. His music shaped by tradition but never trapped in a cul-de-sac even during the set taking us down the delta showing a different side of the blues.

He makes his gold Les Paul sing to his blues style with a deft touch and depth of feeling for the roots of the blues. The music is contemporary, touching and inspiring everyone with lyrics that told a story or shared emotions. The night was a mix of numbers from his previous album Belmont Boulevard and great covers re-shaped and perfectly formed. The textures and tones change but the quality of sound was constant as we heard BB King and Charlie Musslewhite. Both were stylish with JW Jones treatment of Charlie’s music was a real highlight his interpretation was inspired. The harmony of the chorus with Laura his bassist backing vocals on How Many Hearts gave the number a shape and context. The mood changed with a foot-tapping rockier R&B infused Watch Your Step,
The tempo slowed with a beautiful slow blues number. This was pure, blues crystalline in its purity the perfect contrast to what went before, even the siren of the emergency services on the A4 outside did not distract you and almost acted as a sound effect fitting into the groove. adding to the drama of another impeccable lead break the use of the drumstick as a slide. The blues flowed like a molten river through the venue the tempo changed the mood evolved as we fell under the spell of JW Jones and his band’s spell. Live music, intense, up-close and full of emotion. This connection you will never get at a larger venue. The Thunderbolt is small and perfectly formed and the beer is served at the right temperature and almost as tasty as the blues on offer tonight from the stage.

JW Jones Thunderbolt Blues Reaches High TemperatureAll too soon the set was drawing to the finale a medley, name that tune moment with the up-tempo fun-loving groove of Magic Westside Boogie. The number was fast upbeat lets dancing music with Bo Diddley licks, smoothly morphing into Voodoo Chile all part of a single lead break. Magnificent. This then gave the opportunity to shine the spotlight on Laura and Will. The ‘let’s add to a sense of fun and adventure’ vibe maintained as they played their own form of musical chairs. JW Jones left the guitar and picked up the drumsticks, Will the Bass vacated by Laura who was now up front on the Les Paul. The depth of understanding between the band was demonstrated as we then had a TomTom duel between JW & Will. Then the set was wound up with an incredible medley of Rock n Roll favourites, which smoothly morphed and some intuitive improvisation that saw the temperature and delight of the audience reach fever pitch. The end was a real show stopper as all three members of the band joined JW on his Les Paul. Tonight we had sparkling blues and real entertainment we all had fun.

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JW Jones Thunderbolt Blues Reaches High Temperature


JW Jones Thunderbolt Blues Reaches High Temperature




Youthful Guitarist Aaron Keylock is a Cut Against The Grain

Youthful Guitarist Aaron Keylock is a Cut Against The Grain

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!

Aaron Keylock – Cut Against The Grain – Mascot Label Group

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. All The Right Moves
  2. Down
  3. Medicine Man
  4. Falling Again
  5. Just One Question
  6. Against The Grain
  7. That’s Not Me
  8. Teg
  9. Spin The Bottle
  10. Sun’s Gonna Shine
  11. No Matter What The Cost

Blues Joins The Jazz Party in Bristol Festival 2017

Blues Joins The Jazz Party in Bristol Festival 2017

Blues Joins The Jazz Party in Bristol Festival 2017


Blues Joins The Jazz Party in Bristol Festival 2017From the 16th – 19th March Colston Hall is buzzing with lovers of live music with a mix of Jazz and a sprinkling of shimmering Blues.

People flock to the Lantern, Main Hall and while they wait can sip a coffee, enjoy refreshment to the acts playing in the foyer. Opportunity for Bristolians to meet friends and gain a musical Spring to their ears.  Did I mention dressing up in finery and Jiving it all happens over this joyous weekend.

If you think you know jazz and blues, you’re probably wrong! If you love music, you’ll love Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival. We’ve dipped into every genre and traversed the globe to bring you a line-up dedicated to the incredible musical legacy of jazz and blues.

Check out the full line-up of varied music HERE

A Trio of Blues Acts will excite with the energy and musicianship.

Thursday 16th March – The Lantern: Colston Hall

Double Bill: Sari Schorr & The Engine Room and Northsyde

New Yorker Sari Schorr with the her Engine Room is taking the world by a storm. Her Album Force Of Nature. With a voice that jolted legendary blues producer Mike Vernon (think Mac, Clapton and Bowie) out of retirement, it’s not hard to see why. The Engine Room is a musical powerhouse featuring the legendary blues guitarist Innes Sibun.

Northsyde has a vocalist Lorna, a true singing phenomenon and a Storytellers Daughter  fronting the band. Completing the Northsyde quartet  guitarist, Jules Fothergill and longtime friend Left-handed Ian Mauricio’s  unusual style (he strings the bass upside down) combined with Haydn  Doyle’s forceful grooves give the band a sound unlike anyone else on the rock and blues circuit today. Left-handed Mauricio’s unusual style (he strings the bass upside down) combined with Doyle’s forceful grooves give the band a sound unlike anyone else on the rock and blues circuit today. Bluesdoodles loved Story Tellers Daughter.


Tickets Available HERE

Saturday 18th March 2017 – Hall One: Colston Hall 

Robben Ford – 13.00 – 14.30

Robben Ford five-time Grammy nominated stage and studio legend back to his earliest roots as a performer, playing blues on hs current album Into The Sun; showcasing his distinctive guitar style that ensures Robben stands out from the crowd this weekend in Bristol.


Double Bill: Mud Morganfield and  KirkFletcher  16.30 – 18.50

What a stunning combination the voice of Mud Morganfield the first-born son of Muddy Waters – undisputed King of Blues  – was naturally drawn to music from an early age but it wasn’t until three years after his father’s death that he decided to pursue it as a career. He’s been wowing audiences worldwide with his charismatic brand of Chicago blues ever since. Mud is a tribute to his father’s memory and a fantastic songwriter in his own right. He’ll spend much of 2017 in the studio working on a new album, but not before doing us the honour of gracing our stage with his talent.

The guitar of Kirk Fletcher, creating licks, riffs and lead breaks infused with blues and darkened with soul. Raised on gospel and R&B, but equally influenced by the likes of Hendrix and Steely Dan, a rich mix of sounds informs the depth and quality of tone you can hear in both his guitar and his voice today.

Kirk spent three years as lead guitarist for legendary blues-rock band The Fabulous Thunderbirds before going solo and has now released one live and three studio albums with a fourth hotly anticipated and on its way. We’re extremely excited to welcome him.

 “Kirk is hands-down one of the best blues guitarists in the world.” Joe Bonamassa


Tickets available HERE

Robben Ford Guitar Fills The Globe Tonight

Robben Ford Guitar Fills The Globe Tonight

Robben Ford Guitar Fills The Globe Tonight


Midweek made glorious thanks to the stupendous guitar playing of Robben Ford to a packed house in Cardiff tonight. The anticipation was high and everyone was rewarded with a showpiece of blues with the chimes of jazz rather than dilution of blues guitar by rocky riffs. Robben and his rhythm section delighted the audience at The Globe, a full venue is a delight the energy pings between artist and audience and back again. Robben has a unique take on the blues, exploring a whole gamut of styles with sublime and scintillating lead guitar breaks, whilst maintaining real authenticity with each number. The set list was a mix of music comprising old from his extensive back catalogue; something new with tracks from his last album Into the Sun; lots of Blue and even something borrowed Freddie King’s shuffle.

Opening with Same Train from, Into The Sun we stepped onboard a journey of guitar magic that sets Robben out from the crowd. The blues with jazz chords interspersed with tasty licks were spellbinding, you could spot the guitarists in the audience by the steely fixed gazes of amazement. Cannonball Shuffle proved a fitting tribute to bluesman Freddie King, and throughout the influence of Freddie’s guitar work was evident. We needed something funkier and Robben obliged with High Heels and Throwing Things, raising the temperature with his guitar solos, into the mix we heard a great percussive bass solo from Brian Allen and not to be left out Wes Little explored his drum kit to great effect in his solo.

The whole evening was a masterclass in guitar control, with depth and glittering brilliance, Fool’s Paradise was a beautiful blues/jazz fusion to add to the mix. The music is not about control of his hands as in every track there is a deftness of touch and relaxed approach as if Robben is choosing the path the songs are taking. This is exemplified on Bird’s Nest Bound, the solo is startling its crystal clarity contrasting with the lyrical vocals, the combination was totally mesmerizing.

With a salute to the adoring crowds the band left the stage, but we had one more moment in the sun with Robben Ford’s guitar as he came on and did an Encore Thoughtless. Tonight the concert went too fast for many and we all wanted to hear some more but as Robben sang earlier in the set Midnight Comes Too soon, just like the final note from the guitar it was just too soon. Here’s to the next time Robben Ford visits Wales.

Set List

Same Train
Midnight Comes To Soon
Howlin’ At The Moon
Rainbow Cover
Rose Of Sharon
How Deep In The Blues
Bird’s Nest Bound
Cannonball Shuffle
High Heels and Throwing Things
Cut You Loose
Please Set A Date
Fools Paradise
Lovin Cup


Album Into The Sun – released on Mascot Group Label – Purchase HERE

Ryan McGarvey kicking up a Music Scene in Swansea

Ryan McGarvey kicking up a Music Scene in SwanseaRyan McGarvey kicking up a Music Scene in Swansea

Tonight Swansea was in for a treat. Tuesday night’s House of Rock and Blues kicked off the planned regular blues and rock delights with a double delight of Texas Flood opening for Ryan McGarvey. The Scene, Swansea is back delivering Rock and Blues live music that gets the happiness index rising.

Texas Flood, a rocking trio from South Wales played a dynamic set that had the music vibe deep and raw flowing through venue. We anticipated a great set having first heard them not in Wales but in Skegness R&B Festival earlier this year when they deservedly won the Introducing Stage vote. Tom Williams on drums hits them hard and the band plays a tight rock riff, the rhythm runs strong from Ben Govier’s Bass with Tom (Sawyer) Bradford’s guitar and vocals completing the Texas Flood sound. The drums definitely thundered reflecting the raw impetuous playing, but it would be good if Tom sometimes remembered that slamming the backdoor shut isn’t the only way of getting attention. Yes, rock is fast and loud but some subtle and gentler touches ring in the changes and keeps the set interesting. The set warmed the venue Gambling Man with its Southern Rock tempo hit the spot, and the title track of their debut album Young Dogs, Old Tricks certainly sold the album. This is a band audiences always warm to, why? Hard driven enthusiastic rock.

Ryan McGarvey kicking up a Music Scene in Swansea” width=”150″ height=”150″ class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-12653″ />After a short break the anticipation was raised as the main act stepped on the stage. Welcome back to Wales Ryan McGarvey, bluesman from Albuquerque, New Mexico tonight throughout the set delivered music from his three albums, The Road Chosen, Redefined and Forward In Reverse. Tonight was electric blue from start to finish. Joining Ryan on stage tonight legendary bassist Carmine Rojas and drummer Christopher Antoine Hill. The rhythm section was imaginative and was the perfect platform for the superlative guitar work from award-winning Ryan McGarvey to strut his stuff. Ryan fronts the band with a combination of swaggering confidence and humility. He loved being in Swansea for the first time and being back in the country of Wales, he loves performing and enjoys communicating with people through vocals and guitar that will never go unnoticed.

Ryan McGarvey kicking up a Music Scene in Swansea

Ryan had a great mix of sounds, textures and tempos that flexed the muscles as he produced nifty licks, stylish riffs and lead breaks that curled around the venue and delighted everyone in the audience. The instrumentals between the vocals were addictive, yes the guitar was sparkling added to the magic was a Carmine’s bass with fingers walking the strings everywhere and into the mix drumming that was harsh, delicate and always adding the drama of the beat. The music generated was blues that is superb! From his second album, redefined Starry Nights, light up the evening air with classy blues. The mood changed with deep blue Cryin’ Over You going deep into his back catalogue with a guitar into that leads you gently into the lyrical story unfolded by Ryan. Ryan’s talents and skills keep growing he is a top drawer musician that deserves everyone who loves electric blues attention. His dexterous fingers shape the blues with a zinging blast. The music played on the lead breaks explored the six strings as we entered the world of fairy tale with Little Red Riding Hood and the tales of a trip that went from bad to worse and written as he left town, Memphis will always get your attention. We had love songs, we had upbeat numbers, the blues conquered all with the power of the trio.
Live blues back in Swansea what an opener, come back soon Ryan McGarvey.

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Chantel McGregor back at The Tunnels

Chantel McGregor-1933

Chantel McGregor back at The Tunnels
16th December 2015

Chantel McGregor back at The Tunnels in Bristol on her current tour promoting her sparkling guitar playing and her current album Lose Control. Chantel tonight, despite back pain was full of smiles and a shimmering determination to play loud, hard and with her twist of Gothic Southern Rock with a glimmer of blues.


Chantel McGregor-2146The set list was full of guitar twists and turns full on riffs and licks that delight the ear with a selection of firm favourites and new music that certainly got the Tunnels in a party mood. The tone was set from the off with Freefalling that got the phalanx of fans in the mood to partake in spangly rock from Chantel. The sound was definitely rockier overall and this does suit her guitar style and her vocals poured out above the guitar like a cooling waterfall, a wonderful combination.


Having heard and reviewed her latest album I was delighted to hear the tracks live they really work on a stage up close to a crowd that what to hear every note played and lyric sung.  Burn Your Anger was really impressive as was Southern Belle, Gothic Southern rock with a tinselly trail of the blues running through the whole number.  Tonight she hit Bristol with power chords that slur and grind out a melodic sound with her feminine vocals full of purity this is a combination that wins every time.

Tonight Colin Sutton on Bass rocked the rhythm section and held amusing conversations with Chantel, it was definitely a first for any conversation or gig to have Unicorns, Haggis and Otters in the same conversation. This had to be the warm up act for Chantel going progressive with the closing track of Lose Control, Walking On Land – what a land of imaginative guitar playing that Chantel took us too.  I believe in unicorns when the music is this good. This was an instrumental that added a new facet to the show, Chantel’s guitar playing is virtuoso and her style is distinctly hers as she blends and shapes her influences into her own guitar story.  The title track Lose Control is a winner once again Chantel controls the energy of the guitar bending the strings to play her tune.

The tempo and tone changed as Chantel took up the acoustic guitar and we heard Anesthetise transporting you into a different reality no-one would have been surprised if an unicorn stepped on the stage to keep her company as Colin and Andy had left the stage. This is a song driven by lyrics full of haunting tones delivered by her Taylor acoustic. Then Home also from Lose Control suits this format perfectly and closing this segment with Eternal Dream inspired by her hero Jeff Buckley.


Chantel McGregor-2062The rest of the band returned to the stage with the tempo going up to eleven and the electric guitar rules once again with Your Fever and Killing Time amongst the closing numbers. No wonder the encore, has had lots of airplay across the radio stations and especially Planet Rock as Take The Power is what Chantel does every time her fingers hits the six strings!

Anyone who hadn’t already purchased Lose Control was now hooked on this new sound that Chantel was playing with a new sense of maturity, control fizzed up with the effervescent energy that is Chantel McGregor.

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Mike Zito and the Wheel Keep Coming Back

Mike Zito

Mike Zito and the Wheel
Keep Coming Back
RUF Records


Texas, blues, and so much more, story-telling with the spice of a life well lived plus those life affirming moments define Keep Coming Back. The solo album from Mike Zito, Keep Coming Back is one that you will return to again and again to bring musical sunshine that is both bright and tinted with shadows of hurt and bewilderment that life throws at us all.

This is foot stompingly good music and Get Busy Living has a quieter feel as the lyrics reflect on life the sad and unobtainable and then the drums kick in the tempo brightens and he sings Get Busy Living a motto for us all.
The guitar is fast and zinging and then Jimmy Carpenter’s Saxophone has you pulled into the album from the off and it is fast and furious as Mike sings what have you got to loose, Keep Coming Back is Mike Zito and the band on fine form the sound is full of musical vigour with a depth of textures and tone. The personal nature of the songs, as Mike sings directly to you is how the album works and Early in the Morning captures this perfectly. The rendering of I Was Drunk, a moving autobiographical number drenched in emotional energy, that never becomes a dirge thanks to the use of guitar hooks and a melody line that sustains the tempo throughout another example of how Trina Shoemakers production has given the album a drive and purpose.

The intro of Sax and drums with the guitar and vocals picking up the beat and then rocking out on Girl From Liberty. This is an album that never stays in the same place it rolls and flows with each track tempo reflecting the mood and this is a song written to make the band shine. Then the rocking fun takes over on Get Out Denver a high-octane version of this Bob Segar song and the keys cascade through before the guitar crashes the party and takes over the lead break this is a track that makes you smile, laugh and you just have to get up and dance! It is difficult to find a favourite track as they are all strong but for me the fuzzy, dirty guitar sound and the tone of Mike’s vocals makes Cross The Border a firm contender along with Chin Up and I was Drunk. Closing with Creedance Clearwater Revival’s Bootleg, Mike and the Wheel have done it again an album that is sheer quality. The combination of Mikes ability to shape his vocals to the lyrics, his sharp and deft guitar skills the six-strings play to his tune and the backing of a band that just loves being the wheel to his creativity.

Mike Zito is the hub of the wheel and the spokes that keep the music turning providing layers of glorious sound are Jimmy Carpenter on saxophone, bassist Scott Sutherland; Rob Lee on drums and Lewis Stephens playing the keys. The other essential elements of the wheel that keeps Mike Zito rolling and playing awesome music are Trina Shoemaker producer and the engineering skills of David Farrel. Without the lyrics the album would ring hollow and the bumps experienced on the road of life would be missing. The lyrics are provided by Mike himself on seven tracks, three he co-wrote with Anders Osborne and completing the album two covers From Bob Seger and CCR. Making the album a wheel that is perfectly balanced as the sound rolls out of your speaker and you walk a musical journey.

Keep Coming Back has all the ingredients of a great album, if you love music infused with emotion this is for you. If your music needs guitar a great rhythm section and you love the layers that keys and sax contribute then Keep Coming Back is for you. If you love lyrics that tell a story puts the flesh on the bones of the melody then Keep Coming Back is for you. If you love modern Texan infused blues Keep Coming Back is a must for your collection. The conclusion is love good music then add Mike Zito’s Keep Coming Back to your collection.

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

Track Listing

1. Keep Coming Back
2. Chin Up
3. Get Busy Living
4. Early In The Morning
5. I Was Drunk
6. Lonely Heart
7. Girl From Liberty
8. Get out of Denver
9. Nothin’ but the Truth
10. Cross the Border
11. What’s On Your Mind
12. Bootleg

Dave Ellis Blues Band: Straight Up Album Review



Dave Ellis Blues Band
Straight Up


Dave Ellis delivers blues that is gritty and Straight Up. Nothing is mixed or cajoled into a corner this is blues guitar that pierces through the gravel tone vocals as the Dave Ellis Blues Band delivers electric blues.

The fourteenth album of the a touring band that have been thirty-one years on the road honing the feel that makes the band more than a SRV clone, though his style is a dominant influence. Dave Ellis with the band has travelled far and wide through Europe and America reflected in the opening track Travelin’ Man. Dave has also played with Papa Grorge Band and Egypt these inflections can be heard on Straight Up which is an album that is not a mono-chromed version of the blues.  Tempos change and the guitar takes on light and dark textures in Blues Today which sees the rhythm of Slawny Puskin’s drumming driving the guitar and bending the emotion into a form that has an exciting energy.  Half way through and the slide guitar creates a swampy, dirty feel for Rattlesnake Hide with a beat that gets the feet tapping with and urgency reflected in the bass line put down by Jerzy Janik.   The as the Sun Goes Down on the slide guitar we have a rock fueled blues number that adds another layer of fuel injected energy into the proceedings.  The slower Prayer For A Friend has an acoustic feel and the tempo reflects the lyrics delivered as a mournful chant intoning a prayer like quality. The album of ten self-penned tracks closes with Honey Pot, rocking RnB takes us home as the last notes die away.

Dave Ellis Blues Band has delivered blues; there are no twists, turns or surprises. The music is open and honest reflecting the band’s style as they combine lyric driven songs that weave in and out of Dave Ellis’ guitar work delivered by his distinctive grit fuelled vocals.

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

Track Listing

  1. Travellin’ Man
  2. To Lose
  3. Me Free
  4. Blues Today
  5. Rattlesnake Hide
  6. Sun Goes Down
  7. Stop Sign
  8. Prayer For A Friend
  9. Peace OF Mind
  10. Honey Pot

Joe Bonamassa Live @ Motorpoint, Cardiff 2015

Joe Bonamassa - Motorpoint - Oct 2015_0014lJoe Bonamassa
Motorpoint, Cardiff
27th October 2015




Tonight, Bluesdoodles is in the heart of Cardiff for Joe Bonamassa at The Motorpoint visiting the twelfth European country on his current world tour. Expectations were high as the 4000 strong audience sat on the edges of their seats waiting to hear the Bonamassa blues guitar. The stage was minimal no banners or movie backdrop it was a simple curtain and industrial steel with an array of lights. The lighting was skillfully used throughout the show from deep blue to shocking reds, mauves and turquoise the attention though was all about the guitar playing that needed no embellishment.Joe Bonamassa - Motorpoint - Oct 2015_0108l

The lights went dark and the announcement was an apology the show you were expecting tonight One Direction is cancelled… so in their place we bring Joe Bonamassa the Welsh audience always loud took the roof off before a note was played. Tuesday night and the guitar fireworks were ready to go off in the arena the capital city was alive with the sound of Joe B! and his extraordinary band creating a sound full of textures and every shade of blue weaved through the melodies.

The band is so very special and throughout the night they had moments in the spotlight and at other times gave the perfect tonal backdrop for the cascading licks, riffs and the space for Joe to find room for the vocals on the songs, some familiar and others we heard live for the first time including Love Ain’t A Love Song, the superb track from his current live album, Live At Radio City Music Hall, having first been aired on Different Shades of Blue; it is always special hearing the music live as it develops an energy all of its own.

Joe Bonamassa - Motorpoint - Oct 2015_0030lTonight we had a horn section that was brash and mellow; sharp and smooth Lee Thornberg, trumpet, and Paulie Cerra on saxophone a rhythm section that set the backline afire with inspired and powerful drumming from Anton Fig – what a sound he developed built up and quietened down creating a torrent of beats for the band to explore. The second half setting down the rhythm is bassist, Micheal Rhodes whose deep full sound was wonderful and on Organ, keys and grand piano Reese Wynans pulled out the stops, tinkled the ivories to create chords that swelled and moved across the auditorium. Then out front stage centre, stage left, stage right and up close to the other musicians was the guitar maestro himself Joe Bonamassa.

Joe Bonamassa - Motorpoint - Oct 2015_0042lThe music rocked with influences of British rock guitarists from the 60’s and this combined with a thick and concentrated vast vein of blues creates a sound that is modern and rooted in the past and is instantly recognized as pure golden blues from the guitars of Joe Bonamassa. Tonight there was no acoustic it was electric courtesy of Fenders and Gibsons. Every song had a special place in the set that worked and delighted the Cardiff crowds, including his memories of playing at a much smaller and now sadly no more venue The Point and his quip he was paying the horn section with the local ale from Brains Brewery. Joe noted that the Welsh were a raucous crowd and that just made them louder. A spectacular light show added another layer of drama to the opening for the number Hey Baby. The sublime Trumpet solo entranced invoking a sound from big bands back to a sleazy 1920’s Speakeasy, Happier Times also had booming drumming and guitar work that flowed and shone with the six strings vibrating with an energy that lit the hall – who needs lights! Followed by Trouble Town and delicious slide the sound was spellbinding.

The crowds were delighted with a double helping of Joe B favourites, Sloe Gin tonight more considered, slower with a sorrowful tinge and the Ballad of John Henry which tells such a story and the fretwork was on fire and full of the heat and determination just as John Henry must have shown winning the wager.

All toJoe Bonamassa - Motorpoint - Oct 2015_0315lo soon it was the end but, we had and encore All Aboard with the feel of journeys railways and upbeat, tonight Cardiff was entranced, delighted and on fire after over two hours of guitar playing this is truly fretboard manipulation of breathtaking proportions.

There was a relaxed energy from Joe tonight the best I have ever seen him in an arena environment I have come late to the party but tonight live in Cardiff I was converted to Joe Bonamassa and his guitar show.

Joe Bonamassa - Motorpoint - Oct 2015_0364l

See See Baby
Never Make Your Too Soon
Angel of Mercy
Hey Baby
Oh Beautiful
Happier Times
Trouble Town
Going Down
Gave Up Everything
Double Trouble
Breaking Up Someone’s Home
Love Ain’t A Love Song
Sloe Gin
Ballad of John Henry

All Aboard

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Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ Live

Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ Live

Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ Live



Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ LiveBluesdoodles is back for the second time in a week to this unique and very special venue, the welcome and warmth from the moment you step in to The Convent, through to the show where the sound has a depth that you would not expect from an old chapel sound that resonates with echoes of the stone and vaulted ceilings. Tonight in Stroud we have Simon Campbell & Suzy Starlite a duo who create music with a wealth of skill on guitar and bass, and joining them on the stage was Danilo Adriano Argenti Gener completing the rhythm section on drums and Christian Madden on Hammond and Grand Piano filling in the sound so that the audiences were drawn in to every varied rack offered tonight.

Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ LiveSimon is definitely upfront with guitar playing that ranges from controlled blues, melodic acoustic, Rock n’ Roll energy and the exploration of the strings in the style of Prog Rock, in his white suit and straw hat he grasped your attention; and, more importantly, it was retained throughout the gig. He would not have the freedom to explore his music if he did not have a rhythm section that was that rare combination solid but not staid, the drumming from Danilo was inspiring sometimes showing that it can be more effective to do less with well-timed drum beats augmenting the full sound being delivered by the guitar keyboard combination. Danilo’s little half-shuffles and the use of sticks, standard, percussive mallets and brushes often with more than one type of stick in one hand there is a tonal texture and subtlety not normally heard from the back. Supporting Danilo in creating a rhythm section with hidden depths is Suzy Starlite whose bass playing engaged and was the perfect foil for the enthusiastic playing from Simon; it is amazing that she has being playing Bass for just eighteen months as she has a natural feel for creating the bass tone that compliments the tracks that varied across the set. The keys from Christian were sublime from full organ crescendos through to gentle notes he wrapped the third layer of chords around Simon’s guitar adding shape and texture to the lyrics as the story unfolded. This was a quartet that wanted to talk to you through their eclectic mix of tones on tracks including a collection from their current album The Knife, including the title track, Dreamer and Affairs of the Heart re-affirming the quality of the songs included. We also had an early listening opportunity for their anticipated forthcoming album The Coat; the title track saw Suzy leaving the bass and sitting behind the majestic Grand Piano, her vocal prowess had already been confirmed with some stylish Harmonising with Simon and she now sung a song very special to her and for everyone who has lost someone important or they are not there and was dedicated to her mother who has early onset-Alzheimer’s a thought-provoking and emotionally stirring number. The last song of the night Hello, which is also on the forthcoming album, had five distinct movement and, is definitely more Prog Rock than blues but worked so well with Suzy’s vocals, clever guitar solos. Each movement had its own distinctive shape and tonal character and for me full of interest and the pick of the set for me.

Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ LiveThis was an exciting, intriguing at times challenging set stretching across all the styles of recorded modern music and it worked, they are certainly worth checking out as they will surprise and the musicianship is spot-on.

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