High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

BD: I was delighted when I was sent your latest album High Temperature out Friday 20th October 2017 the follow-up to Belmont Boulevard to review.  But first – let’s go back to the early days

 

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Ottawa, Ontario?
JWJ:
JWJ: I started out playing drums at 13 years old.  I was into classic rock: Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix etc. As I explored their influences, I discovered blues greats like BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters. Then, when I was 15 I saw BB King live in Ottawa. I went to the show as a drummer and left wanting to pick up a guitar.

Growing up in Ottawa, there were a couple of great blues clubs. The Rainbow Bistro is still open, and when I’m in town I play there. Another club, Tucson’s, is closed. I saw tons of great blues bands there when I was younger and became friends with so many of my musical heroes. Most touring blues bands don’t come through Ottawa anymore, other than to perform at the Blues Festival.
When the festival started, it was truly a blues festival. Now it’s more of a general music festival with everyone from Kiss to Lady Gaga. But they still bring in great blues artists like Buddy Guy, Dr John, Luther Allison, The Fabulous Thunderbirds etc.

BD: High Temperature is certainly getting noticed for all the right reasons.  Awards seem to follow your releases including for High Temperature produced by Nashville-based Colin Linden, which recently won “Best Self-Released CD” at the 2017 ‘International Blues Challenge’ (via Blues Foundation in Memphis).

JWJ: It was a huge surprise to be nominated since I had not heard of the category. I thought the International Blues Challenge(IBC) was about performances. I have been a judge at the IBC, which was a great experience. The Ottawa Blues Society approached me saying they wanted to submit High Temperature. Out of 93 entries, I heard I was in the top 5 or 6, which was exciting enough. When they announced that it had won, it was a nice surprise.

BD: Tell us about the making of the album number NINE. BD: The album is full of blues, with the genre being mixed in with other influences including Country, was this due to Nashville-based Colin Linden’s influence?

JWJ: Colin Linden is well-versed in roots music. He was mentored by Howlin’ Wolf, so he has a long history with the blues. He also works on the TV show “Nashville” as the musical director, so he brought a combination of influences to the album.

One song that comes to mind is “Where Do You Think I Was”, which I wrote in drop “D” tuning on guitar at home. I had no idea which way it would go in the studio. When I went in there, the studio musicians played their parts, then vocal harmonies were added. All of a sudden, it sounded like it had a bit of a country tinge to it.
My last two albums were recorded in Nashville with producers. This one with Colin Linden, and my previous album, Belmont Boulevard, with Tom Hambridge. Both producers assumed that the albums would be made using studio musicians. I had to fight to get my own band on a few songs. I believe it is important to have my own touring band on the album because they bring a different approach to the songs. They know blues music well since it is what we play every day on the road.

BD: Does the Title of the album High Temperature have any particular significance?

JWJ: “High Temperature” is a song by Little Walter, which we recorded for the album. I thought it would be a good title for the record because it ties into our live show, which is high energy.

BD: The album is inspirational with the track Who I Am being deeply personal as you share life experiences. Do you find it easy to open up using the power of your lyrics, vocals and guitar?

JWJ: That changed on the last record. Before that, I had not written anything really personal. For Belmont Boulevard, I mentioned to Tom Hambridge that I wanted to write a song about my childhood. He said to do it. Once I did this and got a positive reaction, I felt liberated. So on High Temperature I dug deeper with the song “Who I Am”. It is so moving to get emails from people saying they went through similar experiences. It is a beautiful thing to have your songs appreciated and understood.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. How do you set about writing your music is it words first or sometimes a guitar lick or riff that inspires you?

JWJ: Songs are all individual. Some come all together at once, but that is rare. My brain works in two ways. One side gives me the chord changes, riffs that develop the melody and the other side the words that become the lyric. I then play match-up with the tune to the lyrics to the melodies. It takes a lot of trial and error just have to keep going until it clicks.

 BD: Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?

JWJ: Every song is different. Some come together all at once, but that is rare. In my brain, there are two sides to writing a song. One side is the chord changes and riffs. The other side is the words and lyrics. I then have to match the chords with the lyrics and melody. Sometimes I try a few different ideas with the same lyrics. It takes a lot of trial and error, so I just keep at it until it clicks.

BD: Having toured the U.K. for the first time in 2016, long overdue having heard you and the band play in Swansea. You are back in the U.K. in November. With 17 dates will you be touring with the same band?

JWJ: The band is Laura Greenberg on bass, who was on the first U.K. tour and has been in the band for over five years, and we’ve got a great new drummer, Will Laurin. The UK tour last year was my favourite tour to date. I was nervous about stepping into the unknown, but the response was incredible with people travelling miles to see us on multiple shows. We really started to develop a fan base.

Now we are coming back to new towns and venues. We are taking a risk by renting venues, when we normally get paid to play, so we have to sell tickets in advance. On the positive side, there is a huge potential for growth. I would love to make this a regular tour, so we need to get everybody talking about us on social media and building a buzz for the tour. I loved the British experience and I am looking forward to going back.

BD: With new album and touring do you have any exciting plans for 2018 and beyond?

JWJ: My goal is to keep playing festivals, clubs, and theatres. I am also planning a live record for 2018. The last nine albums have been studio recordings, so it will be a first. People have been asking about a live record for years, so I think it’s about time.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
JWJ:

Drums: Richard Innes
Bass: Larry Taylor / James Jamerson
Guitar: Jimmie Vaughan
Harmonica: Little Walter
Organ: Jimmy Smith
Piano: Chuck Leavell
Vocals: Aretha Franklin / BB King

 

Find out more about JW Jones at – www.jw-jones.com

Read Bluesdoodles Reviews for JW Jones:-

High Temperature –  Review HERE

Beaumont Boulevard –  Review HERE

JW Jones Live in the U.K. HERE

JW Jones 2017 UK Tour Information HERE

 

High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

 

 

In Conversation Believe What Rebecca Downes Says

In Conversation Believe What Rebecca Downes Says

In Conversation Believe What Rebecca Downes Says

 

 

BD: Hi Rebecca it is great to speak to you. So much has happened since the UKBlues Challenge last year. Live album and so much more.

RD: No problem life is busy and good.

BD: Lots of touring, the band has been busy off the road. Supporting King King and Magnum as well as headline shows and Festivals. So tell us about your experiences on the road.

RD: I love supporting King King. Being around the King King crowds we knew where we are with fans of their blues-infused rock music. I was much more worried about opening for Magnum.  Would the fans like us and go for our music. They loved our music it was the best gig of last year.  The reaction blew me away. I am always nervous when playing as the support band. Magnum must have approved as we are supporting their 2018 show.  Headlining is different. I still worry, always worrying about getting people to them, how to manage the PR. There is a big difference between Europe and UK. In Europe, people go out and see live music all the time whether in the week or weekends and is on later. Life on the road is a bit of a whirlwind really.  For me, I am anxious and nervous. That said I love what I am doing such a privilege to play music. It does have its ups and downs. Music is not the kindest industry in the world. I have to remember that I chose this and get it all into perspective, at the end of the day I am lucky to be doing it. I got great reviews in the early days; that was fab, it is my baby. Then I got one arsey review, it was quite bitchy, no need for that, reviewers can say they don’t like it, not my cup of tea that is fine. I had to learn to leave the negatives behind and move on.

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Wolverhampton?
RD:
Through my Mum & Dad, they were older parents and loved swing and jazz. The likes of Ella Fitzgerald; Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Julie Covington, Sammy Davis Jnr, etc. Both of my parents had been to see Ella Fitzgerald before they met so had this is common. Especially female singers of this era were the best of the best. The Carpenters were the most pop Mum listened to. She said to me if you are going to be a singer be like them.  It is the notes, choice of melody, tone, and timing that sets them apart. I know how tricky they are. As a vocal coach people ask me all the time how can I sing like Ella. The key is to have your pitch right. What unbelievable changes she achieves with her voice. Her voice can mimic even the brass section.

BD: There has been lots of Rebecca news. Your exciting trip to the States; will you be touring over there next year.

RD: Firstly, didn’t say I was going being careful as previously had a similar opportunity and it fell through. We were over in the States pitching what we do to a record company, how we can work with them. Before we went out had all new songs demoed and properly recorded with video. Been speaking with them this week so it will be interesting how this pans out – definitely watch this space.  I do lots of the PR & Admin work myself working until 11 pm. Life for a musician isn’t all the fun stuff but have to keep on top of it. Facebook, people put on a comment and they like you to react to it and say something. That takes time. I now try to only open the messages when I have time to answer them.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?

RD:  Steve Birkett and I work together we both crossover between lyrics and melodies. Sometimes lyrics come first other times basic riffs sometimes both together. I almost always have a hand in the finished song.  I owe my Ex’s most of my PRS statements much of my inspiration comes from past relationships. Think the new album will see a change. It is true – a happy song cannot be written when sad, you just want to wallow in your misery. Uplifting songs will be on the new album along with those inspired by life experiences.

Some songs write themselves Believe is one I just wrote. It was almost as if I was downloading and I was just the vessel that spat it out it was a bizarre experience.

BD:  You are also in the studio at the moment making a new album. Will Chris Kimsey be involved in the whole album or just the re-mix of Sailing In A Pool Of Tears?

RD: Chris Kimsey is mixing and helping record the new album along with Mark T Stuart who records all our stuff. He is the nicest person he gets what we do. It is not strictly blues he gets where we are going slightly darker, slightly rockier. He is an absolute joy to work with. The new album is going to be released early 2018, the tracks include those we took to the States. It is ready to go now working out the release time, PR loads of things that are all in the pipeline.

BD: What plans have you in the pipeline for rest of 2017 and into 2018??

RD: Rest 2017 we have a headline tour of Germany throughout November and a T.V. show over there. Then back in the U.K. Tenby Blues Festival and King King’s Christmas party which will be fun. Then for 2018 making a video, our own tour of Europe and UK; opening for Magnum and more. It is gigging that keeps me alive. Music is my drug.

BD: What are the Blues or how do you define the Blues the perennial debate?

RD: What does blues mean to me? It is music with an emotional depth. Real blues goes back to the acoustic guitar through to the clean sound of the electric guitar. Today it is more rock than blues. With blues-tinged vocals and guitar with its roots firmly in the blues with other influences layered on top.  Blues is 12-bars why do we want to do it still when the past masters have done it better, the likes of John Lee Hooker and the other greats. Now we take the elements and shaped differently. Norman Beaker once said blues is anything that has got emotional depth. A melody link and a bluesy hook. Sound and guitar doing them as well, like the Blues Band who do the originals so well.

BD: If you were putting together your perfect fantasy band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
RD:

Vocals: Aretha Franklin
Guitar: Bonnie Raitt
Drums: Dave Grohl
Bass: Kevin McCormick

BD: Thanks for your time Rebecca and in the meantime catch Rebecca Live check out her tour dates HERE and keep listening to her albums they are infectious and will pass the time until her new album in 2018

Bluesdoodles Reviews:-

Be Live – The Leopard says Be Live With Rebecca Downes Rebecca is not defined by the blues but shaped by them with a soulful voice and a stage presence that shines out as wide as her dazzling smile. Rebecca is a singer who loves the stage and the audience loves her back as the music flows and Be Live captures the essence of a Downes live show. Read MORE HERE

Believe  – Believe has Rebecca Downes Singing the Blues …… The album does that crossing genre and with tempos and beats that will appeal far beyond the confines of blues clubs and blues aficionados. Read MORE HERE………

In Conversation Believe What Rebecca Downes Says

 

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

 

 

BD: Hi JD delighted to have the opportunity to chat with you once again for Bluesdoodles. A year has passed and we have a new album to explore and enjoy Rise and Shine. The follow-up to the acclaimed Let Love Show You The Way. You have certainly gone off on a different journey as we Rise and Shine with SIMO.

JD Simo:  It is always a pleasure to talk with you. On our way to Nashville to Rise & Shine Record release show.

BD: Tell us about the making of Rise and Shine and how the eleven tracks were weaved together as a tour de force?

JD Simo:  Started the concept last year during that ridiculous touring schedule. There was a hint of the direction at the live shows on our last tour especially in the UK. We had so much material and not had time to work on so many songs. The concept came out as we got bored creatively with what we were putting out material wise. We wanted to push the sound by how we view this and push that so we could find a place that felt unfamiliar. That coupled with the determination to be the best we could be through writing and the music. We could have easily gone in and made an album that was familiar. We wanted to craft and make music with a purpose and with a refinement. Using a methodical approach to be the best possible. This takes time and effort and is a bit scary. It is easy to be lazy being tricked by praise and believing what you are telling yourself. That stops creativity.

The nucleus was when we finally got home in January. No shows and a month studio time already blocked off. So we bared down onto the album. It was a lot of hard work. Lots of time spent it was serious and fun definitely not stressful. It was like a good work out working through and feeling good at the end. Every day was a stretch, it took a long time to arrange and work out the songs. How we were going to do it, what the concept was how the track would sound and fit into the album.

Studio time we were there every day with long hours of crafting our music it was good not to have to rush. We had the time to capture a good performance. Sometimes a track took a long time others a lot shorter. It then took two months to mix. Making the album was a marathon rather than a sprint.

Rise and Shine is a piece of work that represents the best of what we are capable of. It feels like our first record.  If it reminds you of other works that is not intentional. In the past it was intentional. Here we said lets deconstruct I am really proud of the result.

 

BD: You have described the sound as Psychedelic Blues, many have fused soul and funk onto the blues base but you have gone one step further for me this is progressive blues, experimental. Why do you describe your music as Psychedelic ?

JD Simo:  What my music ends up being called is terms is meaning less and less to me. It has to be done in the world we live in. It is fun to hear everyone’s take on the music. Everyone has a different take, it is good that they are finding something that resonant.

Psychedelic is another way to say experimental not taking the norm. A lot of elements makes this experimental with different textures and sounds. The record is still Rock n Roll. Trying to push finding inspiring sounds is cool.

 

BD: How did you come up with the jaunty title Rise & Shine almost a pop feel?

JD Simo:  There is a pun in that behind the name is a concept of growth and your inner light/beauty and the ability to convey that. There are miracle themes, spiritual elements. Rising out of whatever you are dealing with. Shine the message is don’t hold it in, it is okay to let your inner self be seen. There were other names considered. In the end we all liked the title it is kind of funny and suited the album..

 

BD: You made the decision to take a month out and producing the album yourself. Did this give you more control combine the feeling of a live show, energy of a jam and the experimental sonic tones all into the same album that makes sense and is never disjointed?

JD Simo:  We had complete control it was incredible. I was astounded that I was given the opportunity, they had faith in me. So I was given the opportunity to see the vision through. We wanted the live energy on each song. They were treated singularly. There were lots of songs that didn’t make it and others were torn apart during pre-production. The aim was that on each song we nailed it, sonically what suited the track. Some link Meditate were laid back, with intense parts felt the track was laid back, not always easy to capture. It was great to have complete control. We took it really seriously there was no messing around.

 

BD: The opening track Return is a sonic assault as you tune in you realise that Return is not return to the same you have gone in a different direction as the band moulds influences from Beck to Prince with deep bass lines, vocals that are beguiling an opening track opening the doors on the new shape of SIMO?

JD Simo:   Once we got to the mixing stage we were fairly methodical as we considered how the album would flow. The choice of opening with Return was to knock you of your balance, a track you would not expect us to do. In the end it felt the best, felt right to start that way.

A lot of thought went into how to sequence the record. We really loved the opening of the record and the rest made sense. Return, was lyrically a good place to start. The songs get more and more persona. They are what JD personally gone through.  Light The Candle starts to gets heavier subject more about the world outside of me and more intense. It was just the way it worked out in the end.

BD: SIMO have been describe your sound as retro but that is for me too easy. Your sound is modern cutting edge how do you manage that?

JD Simo:  Retro is a fair assessment of what we were creating before Rise & Shine. Not indicative of where we are now. We have turned away from retro it is a natural evolution. Where we are getting more genuine and comfortable. It is like not putting on someone else’s cloths. This is what we were doing with the best of intentions before. It is like growing up, at High School you dress like everyone else. You think man I don’t like this shirt I am not going to wear that anymore. Musically it is like that. Retro was a way of exploring a range of influence. Yet we have as many influences that are contemporary, including Alabama Shakes and Wilco we needed to re-group.

BD: Following on from moving on from being Retro, did you use different equipment on Rise and Shine?

JD Simo: Great question. Yes we did use different equipment. Didn’t use anything used on previous albums. It was all stuff I had found myself it was my own equipment. In the past I had used equipment used by people I admire and love used trying to be authentic.

Now I have collected equipment that suits me in fact none of the equipment was used before it was fresh start on Rise & Shine.

BD: The lyrics are often deep, very personal how much have you been influenced by your extensive travels in 2016 and the election of President Trump last November?

JD Simo:  Majority a lot is about me. This is obvious the emotions I have been through and very observational. I was trying to work through stuff I had to deal with myself. I had to face myself.  It is more honest not alluding but very stark, uncomfortable at times to listen to. This was a conscious choice on my part. I know I am a decent musician as a writer I have never forced myself to write as good as I can. It is important to work on writing. It is absolutely the most important thing is the writing. I love writing it helped me to have the confidence to work to be better and better. Focusing as much on writing as being a good musician that is not being neglected though. Just working harder to be as good a writer as I am a good musician. It feels really good.

We had a listening party. A bunch of people came round I felt really uncomfortable, sick to the stomach. It was hard for me to do, listening to the songs. Bringing stuff up not expressed before in front of a group of people. Once I recovered it felt fine through this journey I have become a decent writer I have revealed everything I needed to. Writers like Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan and Neil Young they do that all the time. I am not comparing myself to them but is sets the bar high to aim for that a better job than I have ever done before.

 BD: Will you be touring Europe with this new exciting album?

JD Simo:  Yes, have a three-week tour of Europe mainly Germany, one night Holland, Belgium and London. Just doing shorter tours, can’t do the 5-6 weeks just too draining for us. Early 2018 will be back in Europe more dates UK and some of the other countries missed including France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. 2-3 week tours are so much more enjoyable and we are really looking forward to doing them. In fact some of the best gigs we have played have been in London so looking forward to 26th September at the Borderline.

 

BD:   Last time we finished with what your dream band would be this time – what are you listening to and what SIMO track would you liked covered and by whom?

JD Simo:  Without hesitation JD said – D’Angelo to cover I Want Love. That would be pretty sick, pretty incredible and a huge honour. Mind you it would make me never want to do the song every again.

I am a Spotify junkie, I have playlists of all types of stuff. I really am really love Jeff Tweedy solo record with its Meters influence. Also really digging Lily Mae from Nashville, who is on Jack Whites label Third Man. It is folk/country like Gordon Lightfoot. Classic country she is an incredible musician playing fiddle and guitar. Her vocals are unique at times frail sounding like she is crying.

BD: Thank you for your time and looking forward to hearing the new numbers live very soon.

 

Rise and Shine out on Mascot Label Group – out 15th September 2017 

 

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

Alan Nimmo from King King Talking about Album & Tours

Alan Nimmo from King King Talking about Album & Tours

Alan Nimmo from King King Talking about Album & Tours

BD: Hi Alan, thanks for taking the time to chat about Exile & Grace King King’s new album and tour dates brightening 2018.

Exile and Grace the much-anticipated album is released by Manhaton Records on 6th October 2017.

Their UK tour kicks off at London Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Wednesday 17th January 2018.

Tickets: www.kingking.co.uk/tour

 

Alan Nimmo from King King Talking about Album & ToursBD: Let’s start with Exile and Grace out 6th October on Manhaton Records. The album title feels different from previous titles. What inspired the title Exile & Grace?

AN:  The inspiration behind the album title came from a number of things really but all rolled into one! There is a huge concern that the future of our world and our species is very uncertain! There is so much conflict in the world and the way we treat the planet is a real worry for future generations. So it’s almost like “Exile” and “Grace” are like a yin and yang. We seem to exile the willingness and power to be graceful and live in harmony with one and other.

BD: Having listened to the album a number of times it is definitely rockier and has a cohesive sound. Is this the trajectory that you and King King plan to take the group in the future.

 AN:  It’s never a plan to take the musical style in any direction… it’s simply just how the songs turn out when we write them. I feel as the main songwriter that the more experience I gain from writing, the more relaxed I become and with that relaxation comes the early influences that I was listening to as a young kid.

BD: No title track as such – do you see any particular track as the number that defines the album.

AN: If I had to pick a tune that defined this album I’d probably say it was “Broken” It talks about the things I mentioned earlier about my concerns for our future as a human race.

 BD: Do the tracks have personal meaning and have you a favourite Track?

 AN: Everything I write has personal meaning as I tend to write about things and events that have gone on in my life or they can be subjects that matter to me too. They’re all my favourites!

BD: The first single of the album, (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’ has had plenty of radio play and excited the fans. Keeping King King’s profile high while you are off the road. How did you decide on this track to launch the album with its Thunder overtones.

 AN:  It’s great to add depth and real meaning to certain songs throughout an album but just sometimes it’s simply ok to write a quirky tune that still tells a story but doesn’t need to tax the brain too much! We just wanted to have a first single that had an immediate impact on the ears and made you tap your feet! Simple as that!

BD: Before we talk about the 2018 tour dates and beyond.  You must have been heartened by the support and loyalty of your fans who have joined at various points on the King King Musical journey. The fans want to know how your vocal chords are progressing and are you doing what has been ordered staying quiet and resting your voice.

AN: First of all I would just like to thank all of our fabulous fans for the staggering amount of support and love they have shown not only me but to everyone in the band! As you can imagine…this is a very difficult time for me and indeed the boys and I’m glad that we decided to take this time out to get a full recovery and I want everyone to know that I’m working my backside off to get into good health vocally and in every other way!

BD: Let’s talk 2018. UK tour dates kick off at London Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Wednesday 17th January 2018; then four further dates around the U.K. This will certainly start the gigging year on a high for your growing phalanx of loyal King King fans.  This will be the start of Exile & Grace Tour and hearing the tracks we will have time to have learned. Which tracks work particularly well on a live King King set?

AN:  Yes, we’re really looking forward to getting back on the road and playing our UK tour! We’ll be rehearsing for the tour pretty soon and we’ll find out which songs work best live but you can never tell which ones will go down well on a live show until you try them! We will try to choose wisely!

BD: What plans do you and King King have for 2018 and beyond whether playing Rock or blues?

AN: There is a very busy 2018 already shaping up so we just want to keep doing what we do and hope that our fans stay by our side and enjoy the journey with us. There is plenty more for King King to achieve so don’t worry… you’ll be seeing lots of us!

BD: Finally, while you are off the road relaxing! What music are you listening to and giving you inspiration? 

AN: When I’m in the gym or walking in the hills or even out on the motorbike then I tend to listen to everything in my music library… it’s basically on random shuffle all the time so it’s anything from Thunder to Prince to Chris Stapleton to Black Crows to Eric Clapton, Free, Whitesnake, Steve Vai… I could go on all day! I even listen to King King and I also love the “Sky Won’t Fall” album from my big bro!

Alan Nimmo from King King Talking about Album & Tours

 

 

 

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

 

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

 

 

BD: I was delighted when Wilful PR sent me a review copy of your new album Bridges and the opportunity to find out yourselves, influence and lots more. When I saw you play live at Rockstock last December for me you were the band of the Saturday night.

A Thousand Horses, have answered the questions as a team hence four bands of fantasy and delight. Read more for an insight into Michael Hobby Lead Vocals; Bill Satcher Lead Guitar,  Zach Brown Guitar and Vocal & Graham Deloach Bass and Vocal

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up?
Thousand Horses:

Graham: I loved all of the classic rock n roll growing up, and still do! Led Zeppelin       is my favorite band of all time
Zach: My parents listened to oldies in the car when I was growing up. The first concert I can remember going to was The Beach Boys out at the lake near our house. I didn’t learn that there was music made after 1970 until a friend played the song Breakfast at Tiffany’s for me when I was 10 years old.
Bill:  The Beatles
Hobby: The Black Crowes

 BD: A Thousand Horses are making an impact, how did you get together and form the band and what is the significance of the name?

Thousand Horses:
Hobby: We formed the band in Nashville in 2010. Bill and I grew up together in Newberry, SC and met when we were 12 and 13 years old in a local music store. Graham is bills cousin so we would all 3 hang out every summer and play music. We formed ATH when we met Zach through a mutual friend in 2010. We named the band after a song we wrote when we formed the title A Thousand Horses.

We all write in the band together, separately, and with other writers here in town. Everyone in the band brings a great deal of creativity to song writing and our sound whether it be lyric, melody, or music, it’s a group thing. You never know where a song can come from or inspiration can spark!

BD: Bridges, is your follow-up album to your success with your debut Southernality last year. Produced by the Band, Corey Crowder & Dann Huff. With many involved in producing the sound who gets the final production say?

Thousand Horses:
Bill: Well, Corey Crowder and Dann Huff both really wanted to make the best A Thousand Horses record that we could, so at the end of the day we were the ones with final approval on the album and they wanted it to be that way. But they’re so badass that there wasn’t much to be debated about in the end.

BD:  How did you choose the tracks and then decide that Preachin’ To The Choir should be the single to proclaim the album?

Thousand Horses:
Graham: We love every song that is on the new album. We are always writing and creating new music and these are some of our favorites that we wanted our fans to hear. We chose ‘Preachin’ to the Choir’ as our first single because we thought it was a great song for our fans and a great first impression and representation of the new musical project (Bridges) as a whole.
 Bill: I think that every new song we write, record, lyric we jot down or melody we try and refine, we are always pushing it and ourselves to be better than what we have done before. So, in a way, yes it’s more challenging because we are pushing harder to be better. So most the pressure or challenge comes from within ourselves. As far as the album title “Bridges” goes, we decided to name the project that because we feel that song’s meaning encapsulates everything we have been through in the process of creating this new music. It’s a song about light heartily looking back and being able to laugh at the mistakes you made along the road of life. It kind of defines our point of view at this time in our lives.

BD: Bridges has seven of the thirteen tracks recorded live. Six of them at Metropolis Studio in London what do you feel this approach adds to the music and what made Metropolis the place to be for Bridges?

Thousand Horses
Zach: I think we wanted to show something real and raw with the Metropolis sessions. So much music coming out these days is so computer heavy that sometimes people don’t even know what artists actually sound like. We wanted to do something stripped down, one take, just us and our instruments. Metropolis has one of the only direct to vinyl machines left, so it was the perfect place to capture the live half of the record.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?

Thousand Horses:
Hobby: Song writing has always been a passion of mine since I got my first guitar and learned to play it. Instead of learning other people’s songs I would make my own up. Lyrically I always wanted to have truth in my stories. A lot of what I write about is real life things that I have lived or been a part of.

BD: The music Industry is constantly evolving with changes often not for the better, how have the changes impacted on Thousand Horses Country Rock style of music?

Thousand Horses:
Graham: I think that the music has become more accessible as the industry and the genre of country music grows. This allows us to reach more people with our music.

 BD: I am sure you have many plans for 2017 and beyond for the band do you plan to tour UK and Europe?

Thousand Horses:
Zach: We love playing in the UK and are really looking forward to getting over to the rest of Europe. We have a few things in the works so stay tuned!

BD: Is there anything you want to say to your fans reading this interview?

Thousand Horses:
Hobby: Thank you for your continued support and believing in our music. We love ya and can’t wait to rock with you soon.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect fantasy band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing

Thousand Horses:
Graham: Steve Gorman of The Black Crowes on drums, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd on bass/vocals, Billy Powell of Lynyrd Skynyrd on keys, Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers on guitar, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin on lead vocal.
Zach: Gotta start with the rhythm section cause it’s the backbone of the band. I always wanted to play drums like Keith Moon growing up so I’d have him on drums and Ashton Barrett, who played with Bob Marley, on bass. Then I’d add my favorite guitar duo, Keith Richards and Ron Wood, because they sound cool playing anything! I’d round it out with Freddie Mercury as the front man.
Bill: Rich Robinson – Guitar, vocal. Joe Walsh – Guitar, vocal. Liam Gallagher – vocal. Steve Gorman – Drums. Benmont Tench – Keys. Paul McCartney – Bass, vocal. Produced by Jeff Lynne.
Hobby: Tom Petty, Dwight Yokam, Max Martin, Jon Paul Jones, Steven Tyler and Prince on drums.

 

Thank you for taking the time to chat with Bluesdoodles.  read the review for the latest album Bridges – HERE

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

Bluesdoodles In Conversation with Sonny Landreth

Bluesdoodles In Conversation with Sonny Landreth

Bluesdoodles In Conversation with Sonny Landreth

 

 

BD: Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat with Bluesdoodles today; July 4th.  I was delighted to have had the opportunity via Mascot to review your latest album Live at LaFayette; it is ninety-three minutes of music heaven, smooth, warm and spiced up with clever licks and breaks to keep the listening ear totally engaged.

SL: Great, I love hearing that we try to plan some of these things out, but other things we have no control over and just hope it all pans out when playing live.

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Louisiana?
SL: In Louisiana I was already into music, my elder brother Steve was always bringing music in to the house. Elvis Presley was a big thing in Mississippi when I was still living there. Then I discovered Scotty Moore. By the time we got here, there was always music in the area as it is such a big part of the culture here with the Cajun and Creole influences. There were shows on the weekend, on TV and live bands playing, bands would play at the openings for a store you name it a flatbed truck would have a band playing on there, that was in the area and it was great to have that. Walking down town on my first Mardi Gras locally and I sneaked into a bar because I was mesmerized by the sound on the jukebox it was Ray Charles. It was great my family would go back to New Orleans that was the first time I heard Jazz, Rn’B and second line rhythms and so forth. So between all the influences of the music I liked I became a big fan of Chet Atkins, The Jazz Cats and Wes Montgomery. I started out on the trumpet so I had all those jazz heroes like Miles Davies, Ornette Coleman and so forth. So by time I got into the blues which is more of a guitar thing I was thirteen and the list goes on and on… (laughing)

 BD: So what Made you change from the Trumpet to the guitar?

SL:  Well I actually kept up the trumpet at school from 10 years old, fifth grade up until my two years in college and twenty. By the time I started to play guitar the Beatles came along and everybody wanted to have a band. If Scotty Moore fired me up to learn how to play a guitar it was The Beatles that fired me up to play in a band, as did my best friend Tommy, he wanted to play drums and that was our first band he and I, guitar and drums, lot simpler back then! You know with the guitar learning Beatles songs, really for us it was the instrumental thing that worked up some of those songs, played our first gig, we were hooked. A little later I was working in a family operated music store Prof Erny – that was a great experience. He supplied the music, sheet music, instruments for all the band directors in the area.  They sold records, they had a guitar room, so I was lost in there most of the time. There was an older kid there who said man you have to listen to Chet Atkins. Well I heard of him so he sat down and started playing Chet songs it just blew my mind. He started to teach me finger style, so I had to practice that to get the right hand finger picking style of Chet. That was my entry in to the world of solo guitar meaning playing the melody, rhythm and bass lines all at the same time and think of the guitar as a solo instrument. By the time I started listening to the Delta Blues and getting into the blues that’s how I related to the finger picking of all the old blues cats. Started tackling the Slide, I had Chet’s Right Hand technique and slide on little finger of my left hand that started me on my path really.

BD: That all sounds really clever to me!

SL: Well sure shows how clever I was. I was young so into it, so enthusiastic, didn’t have any hang-ups, preconceptions or perceived notions. My worlds view is about figuring out the next chord.  Not a bad place to be, you don’t have prejudiced perception. So your view of reality has not been so imposed on, that you are not open to any and all ideas. I think that was one of the great things about being raised here in South Louisiana because music is such a part of the culture I was open to everything and all those influences.

BD: Yes lots people get closed into a style or approach very early one.

SL Yes they do, I think having played a wind instrument to start off with I came to the guitar with a different perspective, more like a horn player. Where you have to take a breath that affected my phrasing. I guess what I was trying to accomplish on the guitar was different from my contemporaries. They were coming more rock n’ Roll cranking it up to 10 and fire away nothing wrong with that I love it. It helped me in addition to that to think of it in a different way more dynamically. Also that is where the slide comes in because of its vocal quality. I didn’t realise it at the time, but many years later I recognise that my jazz and blues heroes were all striving to emulate the human voice so slide really leads itself to that because of its lyrical quality.

Bluesdoodles In Conversation with Sonny LandrethBD: Live at LaFayette is a long awaited live album. How did you decide which tracks to include from the three nights and the decision to have a mix of Acoustic & Electric and as a double album.

SL: That was one of the advantages of doing it here at home. Everything came together my engineer’s studio just few blocks away as a resource for equipment, had him there and musicians in the main are all close by. There is a real nice theatre that has been built since my last live album I did eleven years ago. It was perfect setting for this kind of thing for a multi-night stance. We went in on the Monday set up, sound checked rehearsed with my trio Steve Conn and Sam Broussard. We recorded three nights in a row, that way you can relax more, you have more than one go at it. The hardest thing about recording live is not to think about it, not worry about it, get into the moment just like you do at any other gig that is what you have to capture. So in order to decide which songs that was a little bit of a trip.  Some songs were real obvious, some of the instrumentals I wanted to get those down just like we play night after night with my trio. Then I knew I wanted Steve and Sam to expand some of the other songs that we had been playing like for example Back To Bayou Teche and Walkin Blues I knew they would wail on those, have more colour more texture creating a big sound. Acoustic is where it got really interesting I started to think well, some of these songs that had been electric all along and had bigger production in the studio like probably any songwriter would tell you. Some of those songs  started out with me just on an acoustic guitar coming up with ideas, melodic line, set of changes that led to an idea for a lick, then led to a line lyric line of song becomes a chorus. Takes a while! That is what the whole process revolves around just you on an acoustic guitar. Went back to that just to embrace the essence build on it somewhat with an ensemble it was fun cos then you are re-interpreting songs that had a bigger production on the albums. I have always felt a good song can be interpreted in a number of ways like Creole Angel and Bound By The Blues actually speak better as an acoustic setting.  Because there are so many lyrics they go by so quickly and I think the audience gets engaged more. There are some element of dynamics as well, we figured out the best first come out and do an acoustic set, take a break and then come back out and ramp it up. That is how we approached the recording as well, then I realised we had enough material to do a whole disc acoustic and another electric. We kept adding a song each night that is how it came about. I wish I could say I masterminded the whole thing from day one, had it all planned out. I always wanted to leave something to chance anyway cos that is where some of the more interesting stuff happens, but in terms developing into the concept of a double album it was kinda cool how that came about.

BD: If planned too much it can become too produced too sterile?

SL: Yes, it does nothing wrong with that if that is your thing.  That is what I love about the studio a lot of that is like a painting where you have a canvas and you are adding colours then you get up one morning and you go that looks really good here or embellish it here and that is great. The thing about a live performance the energy with audience and the performers it becomes actually something else more personal connection that way. It certainly propels us to play better there is no doubt about it I can’t really do that in the studio up to a point. To be honest our last album Bound By The Blues was pretty much live in the studio with my trio and so we had lot of that feel about it. But when I have an audience it just takes it to another level and that is what you want to capture with a live album. And the other thing was in that setting and have it be somewhat of a retrospective of different songs over my career which I felt took it to the next level as well more of a personal statement. Something I felt the long-time fans would appreciate the different interpretations you know and then  for newcomers be a good introduction. BD: And they will then go and explore your other albums! SD: I mean it was kinda like your life flashing before your eyes. To be honest it was a nice affirmation to have too many songs to chose from. I would far rather have that than like only have three albums for forty-six years on the road that would be little disappointing. That was fun for me I enjoyed that aspect of it.

BD: Tell our readers about your infectious sound delta blues and zydeco influences? And for people especially in UK what is it about zydeco, creole sound that you create, separating your sound from pure Delta?

SL: Two different things in that regard, there is common thread and that is the Blues.Zydeco music Creole much influence of their African roots, original tribes, sound, rhythms and syncopations in particular and that is the biggest difference between that and Cajun music. Cajun music is the descendants of Nova Scotia and the Great North up there who were deported and settled in this area and a lot of them grew up side-by-side with Creoles so there was a give and take, that is really beautiful there which is why the music is so rich and diverse. Delta Blues across the Mississippi River there is a thread if you listen to say Mississippi John Hurt, playing his acoustic guitar and singing basically telling a story, call them story songs. Then if you were to hear Clifton Chenier playing Blues always in his repertoire, he mixed up blues with everything else and he formulated the sound, the great pinnacle to Zydeco sound there was that element to it. Zydeco per se is real upbeat, syncopated and really the best of it Clifton on his accordion, his drummer Big Robert and his brother Cleveland on the rub board. The three of them would just get of the stage a played old style Zyedeco, I just loved it, you just can’t not move when you hear that music, it is good for the soul.

BD: What are the Blues or how do you define the Blues the perennial debate?

SL: For me main thing about the blues if you take an overview it is such a profound experience again speaking culturally again. It is Grace in the face of adversity. Lot of the kids coming up they learn the licks try and get across to them they need to study the history of the players and the time they lived and what they were going through. It is the back story that is so important and all of them that as a common denominator overcoming challenges. That is why Blues is a universal language, it is something people all over the world relate to. It is these challenges really the things that unite us, I think that is why it resonates with people everywhere. It will always be pertinent, always evolve, will have new players. A lot of the old guard we have lost; not many left at all. That is probably true of all folk music or music that is important of the people. When I say folk music I literally mean music comes from people and their lives, big part of history there that’s when you factor that into story songs it becomes a richer experience that to me is profound.

BD: For me it was your opening phrase Grace in the face of adversity is just brilliant.

SL:  Part of it is all the trials and tribulations and my God! The things that people went through was just horrific and beyond belief. But they would turn to music and they would express, there would be a release in that expression that joy in the moment a thing to have, there is something about that connection that does make it so profound. It is not just another fad or pop song sells in the moment but doesn’t equate to the test of time and that is the big difference. Great music to me is music that stands the test of time.

BD:  Your bottleneck/slide guitar style is so full of power what makes your playing stand out from the crowd and your distinctive sound many describe you as King of Slydeco?

SL: I think what happened to me looking back I am so comfortable is so many different genres of music because of growing up here and that is great, versatility is a good thing. It is possible to go in too many directions at once I think when I landed on and beginning to work with the slide and started to make my way with it I realised it was a way to crystallise all these influences into a unified sound that was my own. Very much included songwriting as well and that became my focus. The fact that I started out on another instrument, influenced by all the other instruments in the area, accordion, rub board, triangle everything because slide offers a greater potential for creating sounds, I picked up on that pretty early and would begin to try and emulate some of these other instruments so I think that is part of it. I definitely made some discoveries that opened the window in terms of possibilities, harmonically, percussively, lyrically I could accomplish all that it was a bigger layer of sound from one instrument so to speak. All those influences come to bear you hope some like cosmic dust rubs off on you. As I got more opportunities to work with people, I always paid attention to how they worked and it has to be your passion.

 BD: If you were putting together the perfect fantasy band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
SL: I would probably but my heroes together, I could watch them play just sit on the side of the stage

Accordion: Clifton Chenier

Drums: Big Robert, just primitive style never heard anything like him.

Bass:  Noel Redding

Guitar: BB Guitar, Jimi Hendrix

I met Jimi Hendrix in store in Baton Rouge he had run away from his road manager and I talked to him . I heard BB; Jimi and Clifton play for the first time within a year when I was 16/17 years old. I have also  met them all, takes us back to your first question that was incredible experience set the bar so high not a bad way to start out

 

BD: Are you planning to come to the UK.

SL: We are Yes, hopefully in the fall if not certainly 2018. 

 

BD: Thank you for taking time out on 4th July

 

Note from editor: Check out his music over at Sonny Landreth

 

Bluesdoodles In Conversation with Sonny Landreth

Borderline Beckons Mollie Marriott and Debut Album

Borderline Beckons Mollie Marriott and Debut Album

In Conversation as
Borderline Beckons Mollie Marriott and Debut Album

Mollie Marriott, daughter of former Small Faces and Humble Pie singer/guitarist Steve Marriott and step-daughter to singer Joe Brown took time out to chat with Bluesdoodles. With debut album Truth Is A Wolf due out later this year Mollie is performing an intimate concert at London Borderline on Thursday 1st June 2017. Mollie took time out of a busy schedule having recently toured with Wilko Johnson & Paul Weller.

BD: Mollie thank you for taking the time to chat to Bluesdoodles
MM: Thank you as well, always good to talk about music.

BD: You are the daughter of Steve Marriott; until now your music career as a backing singer for many musicians including your step-father Joe Brown. What was the motivation to step out front taking centre stage?
MM: Stepping out on centre stage, felt right now was the right time. I was not bothered before I loved being a backing vocalist. I could turn up sing and go; not get involved with all the other stuff. I had seen the scary stuff connected with the industry. I had watched what it can do to people, it put me off. I wanted to write my own stuff, I knew that I had to live life first. I am influenced by Stevie Nicks  &  Alanis Morissette; raw and dark honest that is who I wanted to write. I now have the head space; with a few breakdowns to write about. In the family the last is called Crash 2012. Hitting Rock bottom is good as the only way is up to rebuild your life as you want it. Now I am in a good place since I hit 30; being in your thirties is great. I was a young mum at 23; when your twenties are about having fun with people in your life because they are around. Thirty, you become your own person now where you want to go and who you are so all is good.

BD: With a Debut Album Truth is A Wolf announced. How did you decide upon releasing as the first single the number Control?
MM: Previously I had a testing tie with record label; basically had no control It was a case of Beautiful women using their beauty to control and trample you. A Mother figure who then betrayed and let you down, as line in my songs says “You saved me to break me”. Taking back control of my music was important so this was the right single to start again with my career, I am in the driver’s seat going where I want to go. I co-wrote this number with Sam Tanner, lead vocalist with Brother Strut. We wrote the song together, we knew right from the beginning Control was the perfect song to release as the first single off the album Truth Is A Wolf.

BD: Tell our readers about the forthcoming album, how did you decide on the title the type of music that best describes your debut?
MM:  I went to Nashville to start writing the album. The title track Truth  Is A Wolf written by Gary Nicholson, he was going to give it to Bonnie Raitt or Susan Tedeschi who are lots of my influences. I heard the demo just wurli and vocals and thought that sums up my album it was the perfect tile song. With tracks that reflect my life Broken, ending of a relationship and the effect that had on me and my daughter. The song Truth Is A Wolf, tied it all in a bow.  So many types of music can be used in the description. It is a Rock Album. Yes, many people I have asked as I really do not know have said it is bluesy-rock. Within the Backing vocals there are elements of gospel and country. It is a Rock mix definitely NOT pop laughing. Also, grungy elements. I am a grunge girl love Chris Cornell, Pearl Jam, Jagged Little Pill a favourite album sounds a bit like that as well.

BD:  Mollie you are definitely making a statement with your next Gig coming up on the 1st June at The Borderline with guests?
MM: Yes, so exciting, this is my first proper headline gig. With support from Anna Kratz, a special friend. We met in Nashville I went to one of her shows as she sung I was completely broken, sobbing she was singing y life, Anna is a wonderful songwriter writing with Ed Sheeran and many more. Pocket dragon are a cool band, with a female lead. It is so important to me that the night is Woman led. I want people to o listen to me as Mollie, Mollie Marriott; NOT “Mollie Marriott daughter of Steve Marriott” – that was not the name on my Birth Certificate. People have said well why not Mollie Brown? Joe Brown my step-dad then there is all that baggage as well. So sticking to the name I was given at birth Mollie Marriott.

BD: With a London Gig under your belt. Are you taking Mollie and her band to be heard outside of London?
MM: Yes, definitely tour outside of London. I love getting outside of London to venues in towns and cities. Played The Tramshed in Cardiff when opening for Wilko Johnson BD: Had to miss that show to my disappointment as away in Sheffield.  
MM: What a great venue loved playing Cardiff, Nottingham was fun as was Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Playing Liverpool with Paul Weller was mad, even a little bit scary a room full of mods. My show will be exciting to watch, all my band is very visual to watch we move about.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
MM: Oh My God that is such a difficult question, will change the moment I put down the ‘phone Mollie laughs and says:-

Bass: Has to be Flea visually rocks.
Drummer: Richie Hayward – he has to have been the best drummer ever!
Guitar:  This is so difficult going to upset so many people has to be Stevie Marriott (such an under-rated guitarist)
Guitar: Joe Bonamassa
Vocals: Chris Cornell (he has such an amazing voice)

BD: Thank you for your time, looking forward to hearing the whole album and seeing your show when you take it on the road.

Borderline Beckons Mollie Marriott and Debut AlbumMOLLIE MARRIOTT LIVE AT LONDON’S BORDERLINE
THURSDAY 1 JUNE 2017

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS

POCKET DRAGON & ANNA KRANTZ

Daughter of legendary Small Faces and Humble Pie
singer/guitarist Steve Marriott, plays intimate London show

24 Hour Box Office – O8444 780 898
Book tickets from 
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In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

 

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

 

Having the opportunity to interview Wilko Johnson a genuine music icon and living legend was a little daunting and so exciting. Liz at Bluesdoodles, a fan of Dr Feelgood since her younger days. Ponder what he younger self would think about her chance to speak with Wilko. As Liz dialed the number she will openly admit how nervous she felt. Was this justified? No It was Not! Wilko answered the phone I took a deep breath and introduced myself with warmth in his voice and a feeling that he had all the time in the world to chat, whilst knowing there had been people before and a long list over the rest of the day. The often laughing Wilko shared his thoughts, experiences of being Alive and surviving cancer and much more. As he approaches seventy the blues flame still burns bright and true.  With twenty minutes and the clock ticking down the first question was asked:-

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Canvey Island?
WJ:
It was the beginning of the swinging sixties of course. It was the electric guitar, I had seen one at school; liked the look of them. I was fascinated by the springs, knobs and I fancied myself playing one. Yea I wanted one, so the next Christmas I suppose I had a cheap electric guitar and started to play. I did not know much music at the time.  It was time of The Beatles and Rolling Stones through them got interested in American Rn’B that was influencing them. Johnny Kidd & The Pirates I thought the guitar sounded interesting, I want to play like Mick Green, play the blues. I was also listening to Chess Records, the likes of Chuck Berry Bo Diddley Muddy Waters hearing the blues opened a new world for me while still trying to copy Johnny Kidd. I couldn’t do it but ended up developing my style as I continued with the twanging through my teenage years.

Then university and I forgot all about the guitar. Four years went by.  and I bumped into Lee Brilleaux he said he was forming a band so Dr Feelgood was formed with me trying to play like Mick Green, playing the blues. Playing in London in the early seventies we were creating bit of a scene we had no multiple keyboards or light shows, we didn’t wear cloaks or dresses we just played good basic music. Lots of people were watching and a year later punk emerged. Dr Feelgood was influential in creating the sound that became Punk. I stumbled into music really.

BD: That leads neatly on to – The sound you make from your Fender is distinctive and instantly recognisable as Wilko. How do you achieve this on your signature Telecaster?

WJ: Yes, I do now have a signature telecaster. I am a great believer in standard and straightforward approach. There a great players who use pedals. Sometimes though, great things can interrupt the sound and you have to operate them with that tip-toe action on the pedal board. Just not for me and you have to stay on one spot too long! The signature guitar is based on the bog stand Fender Telecaster as my first guitar. Everything I do is straight forward, not technical it is skiffling. It [guitar sound] does what it does. From an early age I learnt from Chuck Berry not just about playing the guitar but as important to move about putting some action into it. The silly walk is part of the music rather than a technical 12 bar solo.

 BD: Turning 70, celebrating life and a gig at The Royal Albert Hall. Did you think you would be performing In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnsonthere when playing at venues such as The Nag’s Head in High Wycombe? Which sadly like so many venues of our youth are closed now

WJ: I never did think about playing large venues. Times change, venues close have to accept it. Playing The Royal Albert Hall the last three to four years have been so crazy. Nothing surprises me anymore. I was given ten months to live that led to a fantastic year. Mad things happen in the year you are dying. Roger Daltrey, says let’s make an album. I thought I will never see the release of this album. But the last thing that I have done is an album with Roger Daltrey has to be a good result that was consoling It was very successful, bestselling I have ever had. It was made in eight days and best of all I saw it released.

Doctors in Cambridge, said they could operate, and they did more than a year after I was certain I was going to die. The tumour was the size of a melon weighing over 3 kilos, they opened me up lifted it out of me. Few days after the operation the surgeon Mr Huguet came with the results from the Lab along with the tumour, half my stomach, gut and pancreas every trace of cancer had gone. They had cured me. It was a strange old moment. Mr Huguet is a hero, super human to me, he is such a nice guy we are on first name terms but he will always be Mr Huguet to me.

 BD: How has the experience of living through the diagnosis, farewell tour and then operation and back in the world of the living effected your approach to music, performances and life in general?

WJ: During my farewell tour the year I was dying the audience all knew what was going on and there was a real closeness with the audience. I knew that I couldn’t change anything that had happened in the past and there was no future so there was only the moment. I could play my music in the moment not worried about what people thought it was such a strong feeling and I lived to tell the tale.

I hope that I can take this into the future. You have lots of profound insights when facing death I think I learnt some wisdom’s and hopefully retained them. I will not be such a prat as I used to be. I know how to play relaxed doing it in the now. Not thinking about it. In The Dr Feelgood days, we were so considered about we got to get it right, worrying what will the papers say. Now just play Rock n’ Roll all that matters is the moment.

BD: What are your plans once celebrating 70 fades away? New Record?

Yes lots of plans, in fact been in the studio this week, looking at what we have got. New album after our summer gigs. I would like to get going straight away. I love playing again have so many ideas. After the operation it took a while to get playing again up to scratch. I had not touched a guitar for a year, few more gigs to do, Royal Albert Hall, tour of Japan it is wonderful just being able to stand up and be capable of playing the guitar again.

BD: How does it feel to have been described as the best thing to have come out of Essex since the Peasants revolt??

WJ: Wat Tyler has definitely left a footprint on history more clearly than me. When Dr Feelgood started to be got known we made a lot of being Essex boys out of Canvey Island.  Canvey Island not been that famous since the Great Floods of 1953. There is no argument that Canvey Island have lots of reasons to be proud of us. They should definitely name a road after Lee Brilleaux – Lee Brilleaux Boulevard has a nice ring to it.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
WJ: So many favourite guitarists and their playing would definitely show me up! I have to say without sounding this is a rubbish answer it has to be my guys who I am playing with at the moment. They are the business Dylan Howe on drums and Norman Watt-Roy on Bass.

BD: The time flew by, it was a fun twenty minutes of my life.

Let the music do the talking:
Wilko Johnson en el Teatro Apolo de Barcelona – “The More I Give”

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

Dan Patlansky In Conversation Touring 2017 and Beyond

Dan Patlansky In Conversation Touring 2017 and Beyond

Dan Patlansky In Conversation
Touring 2017 and Beyond

BD: Morning Dan, great to see and catch up with you in Sheffield at HRH Blues and the opportunity to talk this morning

 BD: Dan Patlansky, Back in UK and Europe for an exciting tour. Latest single Sonova Faith from the award-winning and acclaimed album Introvertigo.  Returning to venues new and old favourites? With a new band tell us about your touring plan. Starting off at Mr Kyps with Ash Wilson opening and HRH festival you have hit the ground running

DP: Yes, back in UK and Europe with second round touring with Introvertigo.  Following the achievement of Introvertigo being number 1 Blues Rock Album of 2016 by the influential American website Blues Rock Review.  So we are back with a new band of session musicians from Germany bringing a different feel from my South African band. Part tour back at The Globe in Cardiff which will be such fun with Ash Wilson opening a great band, great songs the combination will be a good night of live music following on from Mr Kyps. HRH Blues was amazing great crowd and some amazing bands the atmosphere was really positive.

BD: Having heard your acoustic set at HRH which was wonderful, elegant, beautiful with lingering notes that I wanted to last forever; have you thought about doing more acoustic in the UK?

DP: Yes, it was fun. Acoustic is a different beast to playing electric. In some ways limiting with the change of guitar style. It is a challenge in the way you play and think about the music. As for playing acoustic in the UK; back in South Africa we often do the combination acting as our own support act. Yet to do that in the UK. Perhaps for the future; the logistic of travelling with an Acoustic rig as well as electric will be another travelling challenge. For acoustic at HRH I borrowed Big Boy Bloaters guitar, it was great to play and a big thank you to Big Boy Bloater’s loan of his lovely acoustic guitar. It was a different vibe when I played the guitar showing the power of acoustic.

BD: We all love to hear you get that special sound out of your Strat Old Red and is certainly how you continue to build your fan base. Tell us about strings, pickups and I believe you are retiring the beautiful guitar. How will you find a replacement?

DP: I play with twelve gauge strings, they are considered heavy, but I have always used them. I don’t just use them for the showmanship of the last number. I like the sound they produce. I use standard Fender pickup. For the last number, I turn my amp up to achieve sonic textures, feedback making it as musical as possible.  I always have the amp fairly high, I play loud which is why I have speakers facing the wings and turn them up which can surprise front of house guys.

Old Red not being retired just refining parts of her. Just the neck is being overhauled. The neck has become a liability, 1960’s Fenders used Brazilian Rosewood, this is now a restricted wood and can cause a problem at customs in some countries. In addition, the neck is getting tired and twisted. When I get back home from this tour I’ll be getting a new neck for the guitar.  A face-lift, not retirement.

BD: How do you keep the tracks we love to hear you play the sound is so fresh and vibrant when playing live? It is as if we are hearing the tracks for the first time as you add interest and surprises.

DP: This tour there is a new dynamic with the German musicians. It is though the nature of the music improvising. I may be playing the same song every night on tour, yes the melody, lyrics and chords stay the same but I go in different directions. Not always the way I expect, I grew up playing Jazz music the king of improvisation so every night has its own journey. Can be good or not that is the nature of the beast. It keeps the music exciting for us as musicians and puts a fresh breath into every night’s performance. We are definitely not playing by numbers, traditional blues is steeped in improvisation. I am just keeping that tradition alive and flourishing through my music.

BD: With a hectic touring schedule here, Europe and South Africa what are your plans for 2017 and beyond?

DP: Yes touring is hectic but always great to catch up with friends and fans we make on the tour. This will be the last UK tour focused on Introvertigo. I have dates in South Africa when I return. Then in June we go back in the studio with new songs, new ideas for my next album which will be released Spring 2018. Then back touring South Africa. We are also possibly back in the UK November 2017; where we could be previewing new tracks from the forthcoming album. So watch this space once dates finalized we will be letting the fans know.

BD:  You are back in Cardiff at The Globe, what makes venues fun to return to? Is it building the fan base?

DP: Yes, excited to be playing back in Cardiff. I love the vibe of the venue. Why return to venues, it is a bit of both the venue and the audience is a big part of the show. The Globe is a great little venue, great audience who have such a positive response. I love the sound of the venue, the guitar always sounds good to me on stage which is really satisfying. The Globe is a loud room, lots hard surfaces. It is a venue I will always look forward to playing. The Cardiff crowd are always up for loud music and to enjoy the blues.

BD: Thank you for sharing with your growing group of fans. We have asked you your fantasy band, what you are listening to in previous interviews. So today who would you invite to play with Dan Patlansky band?

DP: Dream scenario would be David Gilmore from Pink Floyd. Gilmore got me into music generally and in particular the guitar.

BD: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule and looking forward to seeing you play live in Cardiff on 4th May.

Dan Patlansky In Conversation Touring 2017 and Beyond

 

Dan Patlansky In Conversation Touring 2017 and Beyond

READ what Bluesdoodles said about the TEN Doodle paw album  Introvertigo – We voted the album as the best Overseas album heard over at Bluesdoodles HQ.

Introvertigo with its carefully crafted lyrics that blend urbane wit and honest observation, this is blues pertinent to today’s lifestyles, not so much whisky and women more the corruption of power and social interaction. Ten tracks there are no fillers every number is full of strength and tonal power but there is not an off note or lyric.  

FULL Review – HERE

Dan Patlansky In Conversation Touring 2017 and Beyond

Who Will I Turn To Now for a Conversation Has To Be Husky Tones

Who Will I turn To Now for a Conversation Has To Be Husky Tones

Who Will I Turn To Now for a Conversation Has To Be Husky Tones

 

 

BD: I was delighted you asked Bluesdoodles to review Husky Tones latest album Who Will I Turn To Now.  It is an album very different from the previous one size of band downsized and upsized the energy.  Victoria: Ha Ha, That is a pretty good summary!)

Before we talk about touring and the album Husky Tones will be a new band for many so Bluesdoodles readers be interested in getting to know you, Victoria Bourne & Chris Harper the Husky Tones.

 BD: What were your first musical influences?
VB: 
First albums people like John Lee Hooker – The Healer, Buddy Guy other influences were Blondie, Patti Smith huge huge influence who kick started my love of music as a teenager. ABBA when I was eleven laughing my little secret no more. I loved all the depressing albums about divorce that was quite fun laughing and Howard Jones was in there too, enormously into Prince I saw him as a teenager and a lot of rock bands through my brother including Metallica, Rainbow so huge variety and a lot of classic as a teenager was added into the mix. I was quite random what I listened to at University Pearl Jam and Madonna danced to her songs.

We didn’t have internet as teenagers who can listen to wide range of easily accessible music. Now teenagers, have YouTube, music is so accessible. We have got into and listening to a lot of Gun Club, PJ Harvey & Iggy Pop two current favourites from 2016 along with contemporary classical music people including Steve Reich among others listen to them a lot when studying music.  I did a Contemporary Classic degree in Music prior to that did a course in Musical Theatre at Trinity, London. I really thought musical theatre was what I wanted to do, but then thought I do not want to be in a show for six months, singing the same cheesy musical theatre songs. That was when I met Chris, I auditioned for his band and started our journey thirteen years ago at the time doing Indie Rock. As they say the rest is history!

The influences continued including Jeff Buckley, Radio Head as you talk you think of so many influences.  At the moment listening to Blues Rock, Bonneville’s from Northern Ireland and Guadalupe’s Plata Spanish Blues-rock then people like RL Burnside, Cedric Burnside, one of the best gigs I’ve been to like a juke joint in a tiny bar in Bath.  Local man Bob Log, Hill Country Blues has been a huge influence.  Everything and anything can be an influence even our cats name is Osvaldo named after contemporary classical musician Osvaldo Golijov, The cat got the name as this was who we were really into when we got him. Golijov, the musician not the cat! Wrote some amazing music around the Spanish poet Lorca’s work.

BD: How did the unusual combination of drums & vocals come about.
VB:
I like to be different! I learnt the piano from the age of four. I realised that I would not be able to combine piano and vocals to the standard I would want to play. I would always want to play the piano to a higher level not as a chord-led accompaniment. I started playing drums and loved them the power and energy.  Starting with my kit. I have an unusual blend of cymbals, people usually have one brand. But I got some Zildjian and Sabian mix of bright and dark. I chose my cymbals by closing my eyes so couldn’t see the brands using the sound they produced as the selection criteria.  In the crash ride, I have a Sabian which sounds like a massive gong it sounds awesome, it is huge which is brilliant especially for big events.  I have a little Zildjian splash which is a dark at twelve inches it is one of the bigger ones. I also have a Zildjian dark ride to get this really deep and dark sound really very different to the Sabian. Then on the other side, I have Zildjian Crash and Mastersound high hats quite common but the bright version. So I have a mix of bright and dark, cymbals are quite personal and this was the sound I wanted. The Sabian was great when recording with Stuart for the latest album as it had real power. I have them in strange positions compared to other people I have them quite low but that is because I am singer it is a visual thing as well on stage. Others gave combined vocals and drums; Cedric Burnside, other women who have combined the two, Karen Carpenter a phenomenal drummer, contemporary artist Cara Robinson and Donna Dahl based in Memphis.

It is a very strong thing to do at the same time,  drumming it is very physical, it is getting that fine balance between drumming and vocals especially now we are quite loud so that you can hear yourself live so as not to be shouting across the drums.  It is hard to do the two together but it is fun. When we were recording I had the luxury of doing them separately, which was beautiful. Now when playing live I pull my voice back, slightly sexy, gentler way of singing. It is harder as I get out of breath, I wouldn’t not to be on stage without an instrument. Now we are a duo we have been changing how we deliver the songs. For example, Island of Barb Wire I come from behind my drums and to the front of stage concentrating on my vocals. We are looking at having more opportunities to come to the front even if for part of a song. Part of the stagecraft, we enjoy jumping around front of the stage. Another example of variation throughout the live show is on One Good Reason, in the middle section I move away from being behind the drum kit, sing my vocals front of stage and then go back. Helps to keep the audience engaged with me as lead singer and become part of the Husky Tones stagecraft. Can be a bit of a nightmare at festivals where the drum kit is right at the back of the stage.  I do enjoy jumping up and down at front of the stage.

BD: Why did you choose Drums out of all the Instruments? What made Drums so Attractive?

VB: In fact it could have been keys, trained to play piano. Especially when teaching I play piano for my students. Piano would be too difficult to do both. It would take a huge amount of practice to be as good as I would want to be doing it in the blues. Thinking about chord structures and singing on top would just not work for me. Yes, playing three chords backing the vocals is fairly straightforward but not what I wanted to do. Guitar tried in the past, I hate how it hurts your hand. Thought about Bass but that was learning a whole new instrument. I started dabbling with percussion about 10 years ago when we had our own studio. I used to teach a blues singer who was also a drummer. I was also involved in the electronic music scene I used a basic drum kit doing weird electronic things, loops etc. started from that. When thinking about a band the drums are always nightmare so tempted to give it a go. Started 4-5 years ago with a small kit without a kick drum, really cheap so said I would give it a try and really liked it. So bought a cheap kit, had some drumming lessons, Ken Pustelnik, from the Groundhogs, who I knew from the music scene. He gave me some lessons, his way not the way a college would teach the drums. I learnt on the cheap drum set-up which I used until I was sure that I wanted to play drums. The reality was I loved it went crazy for it.  Practiced loads, went off and did gigs after year upgraded to a Yamaha. Year later upgraded to the kit I have now which was very expensive a Gretsch Renown Mahogany not made any more so very special, beautiful instrument. Gradually added cymbals sold those I didn’t like and ending up with the set I have now. Takes time to build up the kit I enjoy it. It is interesting that the piano is percussive as well so has strong connection, started learning piano when I was four. Lessons through rogue teacher like Ken meant that I didn’t follow traditional structures initially people questioned the way I played asking what I was doing. In fact on this album I don’t think I play a single shuffle. Each song has different pattern that is something I aim for, audiences get bored If they hear the same over and over again. I have also been studying punk drumming which is fun. Been long and continuous process. You have to be fit for three-hour gig and sing.  Drums has been the instrument I have most enjoyed playing.

 

BD: On the album you Husky Tones are a duo is that now the format you will be touring with? What are the advantages and will the three-piece be back?

Chris H: (joined in with his perspective) Now there are just the two of us it is easier to keep a handle on what we are doing. We are freer to jam our way into different corners of the music. Now the two of us can rehearse every day. One of the problems with the four-piece was difficult to all get-together. Plus now only one standing up front I have a different pressure. Enjoying being a duo we said let’s do this getting very quickly feeling good. It was scary at the beginning, you do not have the safety of numbers when part of a twelve piece. Chris as only one standing up has nowhere to hide. When the Crowd are on side at a good venue you will have a good time. We had to re-write older stuff for the two of us; whereas the new album was written for the duo Husky Tones. It is getting easier now bookings coming in now are for us as duo no one expects to see the band now. The promoters/venues have heard the new stuff and reacting positively some exciting gigs lined up for 2017.  VB: Plus all the re-writes are getting grungier

We only changed because Liam lives in Swansea and was not financially t working out for him plus clash of commitments with his other bands. Matt bassist got more successful than he thought it would be found this difficult. It had been suggested that we should be a duo and we are loving it.  The transition for the tour with two weeks rehearsal it was a great chance to jam together. Now we have more material written for the two of us, new album and it is only our availability to worry about.

Now we have Skegness to kick the year off the set will be a mixture of songs from album, older stuff rearranged and some acoustic numbers we have leant that we have to be ourselves trying to adapt and second guess what the audience is expecting doesn’t work. We know that Husky Tones is not going to please everyone. Our Blues will be too loud for some we are definitely not a traditional 12 bars. We know that we will only be pale imitations of what we are copying. Have to remember that many of bluesmen seen as traditional like for example Elmore James they were cutting edge. Need to think about what will reflect the times. No artist has ever stayed in one place.

BD: Tell us a bit about the making of Who Will I Turn To Now – and deciding on Stuart Dixon to produce the album and deciding the studio space

VB: We got on with Stuart really well. We didn’t know we would, having had really bad experiences making the first album. We had three or four pre-production meetings with him and though he is pretty cool. When it came to the sessions completely got what we were trying to do. He knew what microphones to use, the settings. He knew how to get the best out of us both.

We started off recording drums and guitar at the same time. These are all one takes so no chopping, he would make us play until the take was right. Two/three songs where we completely re-wrote the drum part we actually put in some real African drums into Jungle Blues. And then following re-writes had to learn them in half a day and record the tracks it was tough and challenging but was good improving the songs so much.  Chris as well did lots of Electric, acoustic and slide guitar. Then the vocals were recorded over a couple days loved recording them separately can concentrate and focus on the voice so songs sound so good.

Then added other bits like Wah wah on Jungle Blues and other added extras on top of the recordings.  We laughed a lot. The whole ten days. The view at Platform is a lake it is just stunning such a beautiful atmosphere to record in.  Stuart third wheel of the band for that week, he got involved, very intense and we were all on the same page. He would come up with ideas so everything was improved working for ten days on album was amazing very proud. Another benefit, as the two of us we could book in a solid period where as with the band he has to work around their diaries. We were there for the mixing and he then mastered it. He cared about it so got it right.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?

VB: Always write together always have, lyrics and music.  We ask what shit experience can we use from your past can we use this time Victoria.  Who Will I Turn To Now, was a reflection of the less than positive experience of signing on after my masters. Let’s make that generic lots of people unfortunately, have experienced get door slammed in face by those who should be there to help. Relatives in the past luckily have to draw on.  My Gt. Gt. Gt. Uncle was interned inspired Island of Barb Wire.  Looking for interesting things in your family. Round the Wrekin I use the phrase a lot it is a Midlands colloquialism going long way round a gift for a song. Momentum, build up people getting together deeply political about protest and the right to protest. Then there are the cheeky ones like These Hips Were Made For You little personal love song.  Drawing on things that mean a lot to us have a meaning. Writing is a continuous process I have some ideas. Some take a long time. With lots of re-writes to get lyrics right some are from the newspaper articles of the time and how the interns were actually referred to. One of us will start and then we will tidy them up, we try to avoid clichéd, the obvious.   Bits of lyrics, riffs sometimes lie around and have left overs from the album.  We created too many songs probably have enough for another album, we wanted to make sure that the songs we chose will be the right mix.  Love jamming it comes as it does not have hard or fast rule sometimes it’s a riff, drums or a line. We are a bit obsessive and crazy we work at something every day.

BD: What plans do you have to get Who Will I Ask Now? Noticed?

VB: We do our own PR. For two reasons, we have no money to pay someone. But it is not the main reason we trust ourselves to approach and deal with people in an empathetic way. So far we are getting lots of notice, played on Paul Jones on BBC Radio 2, just before Christmas from an album we sent in September. Done lots of research on how to write to people who do blogs, contacting magazine editors etc. How to format things, what they like to be informed about and getting lots of interest from a wide range of people. You have to do a lot of work yourself to make it happen. This one is doing all right actually with the people we are contacting.

BD I am sure you have many plans for 2017 and beyond for Husky Tones

VB: Album Launch 25th Feb Crofters Bristol, Benjamin Bassford will be Pay What You Can reflecting the album’s songs highlighting that people can’t always afford to pay for a gig. We are going to pre-record some interviews co-op environment homeless group refuge and relating to songs and what can do to help.  Going to Isle of Man to perform Island of Barb Wire for my Uncle live acoustically and video it as part of the album launch. Last event in a fans house, many may be more acoustic, in London with more than one song.  Hopefully if it works to go out on Facebook as live performance then put up pre-recorded interviews. Later in 2017 tour and number of festivals including Field Good Bar a Women’s Music festival in Bath. Headlining on Saturday night others in the pipeline so keep checking our website.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
VB & CH:
Drums:  Cedric Burnside
Bass:  Tina Weymouth
Guitars:  Ry Cooder, Bob Log
Vocals:  Patti Smith
Backing Vox:  Jeff & Tim Buckley
Sax:  PJ Harvey

 

Bluesdoodles Review of  Who Will I turn To Now HERE

Tour Dates: HERE