Lance Lopez been there done that and back for more

Lance Lopez in conversation with Wes O’Neill with new solo album Tell The Truth, Supersonic Blues Machin and Rockin’ The Blues tour 2018. As he says, Lance Lopez been there, done that and back for more.. read what they talked about

It’s been awhile since Texan axe slinger Lance Lopez has released a solo album, but it’s certainly been worth the wait. “Tell The Truth” is full of hard rockin blues, deep southern influences and incendiary yet tasteful guitar playing. Add to this a man who certainly has stories to tell and “Tell The Truth” is a sure-fire hit. As Lance sings himself on the opening track, “Nothin’ worth having, ever came easy to me, the sweetest victories came within an inch of defeat”.

WO’N: Your solo album “Tell The Truth” has been coming for a while now, what’s been the hold up?
LL: We recorded it over a period of a few years – we started recording at the end of 2012 but then Supersonic Blues Machine happened! I headed out to Los Angeles to record the first three tracks with my good friend producer and bass guitarist, Fabrizio Grossi, and then a week later Billy Gibbons showed up and they began working on “Running Whisky” and the next thing you know Supersonic happened in our West of Flushing, South of Frisco album! When we began to record that album, we resumed recording “Tell The Truth” simultaneously to it. We’d start off with Supersonic songs, go out and have a bite come back and the work on “Tell The Truth” for the rest of the day and into the night. Sometimes those were 20 hour days that Fabrizio and I were recording for, but man it was fun! It just took time and in between the first Supersonic record and the latest “Californisoul” I recorded on my own in New York, Texas and wherever I happened to be at the time and would send things back to Fabrizio in LA where he would edit them, mix them and then I’d be back in LA where we would resume recording. It was really when we began recording the second Supersonic Blues Machine album that we actually finished “Tell The Truth” midway through.

WO’N: That must of been crazy working on two records at the same time…
LL: In fact, it was easier! Hahaha! One day Fabrizio and I would work on Supersonic, the next my record – alternating days as opposed to giant long days that were in first place. The other thing for why we did it like that then was that we didn’t have very much more to do on “Tell The Truth” ‘cos we had been working on it for a number of years. The main thing behind it taking so long was Supersonic Blues Machine…but that’s a cool problem to have had!

WO’N: Did you have a different mindset or approach for each album?
LL: Absolutely! Here’s the thing, working with Fabrizio Grossi is super cool in that he very much has a vision of how we want everything to sound, how it should be played, sung, attacked, held back…every last detail that’s super polished and just so well produced man. It was particularly in the early recording split days as I said that it was much more of a collaborative process in Supersonic yet more of an out and out producer role with my solo record. This came about in the writing, the vision and overall delivery for “Tell The Truth”, there’s much more of the Texas blues-rock influence in my record than our Supersonic Blues Machine records. You know that was what was really cool – adding a lot more of the blues harp and slide guitar real authentic sounds in “Tell The Truth” which ended up influencing our Supersonic Blues Machine “Californiasoul”. There was a definite mindset to each, but you can’t help being influenced by what you’re around.

WO’N: Tell The Truth is a very thematic album – a lot of references to redemption, luck, nights out gone wrong…
LL: It’s autobiographical and biographical at the same time. There’s Joey Sykes songwriting, ya know the lead guitar player in The Babys, on this record and really great writer and producer Serge Simic who looked at my life and wrote songs about me instead of like “Hey Lance, here’s a song I wrote about something you don’t care for, wanna put it on your album?”. It was very different having guys look at my life, real good times and real bad times, and coming to me with these songs of how they saw me or what had happened in my life so far. It’s one of the most different experiences I’ve had as a musician than before as I’ve wrote and recorded with people before but with this I had folk coming up to me and saying “‘I’ve wrote this song about you”. Just wow man, just wow…

WO’N: Did it make you feel uncomfortable at all having these guys peer into your life like that and how did you deal with that from an artistic vantage point?
LL: It was real interesting, I can tell you that! Hahaa! Songs like “Down to One Bar”, like damn, some of it was hard to hear, you know a song about my…let’s call it “my adventures in the pub”, hahaa! Like the song “The Real Deal” – Joey Sykes wrote that about me so it was kinda strange to stand there and sing that I’m the real deal! Hahaa! But, hey, that was his vision of me and real interesting to sing it from a first person perspective. It was very cool to have that experience  that people were watching my life from the outside and some of it was very good, some of it was bad, lot’s of ups and downs but it’s really cool that we were able to document all that and that’s the premise – like “Blue Moon Rising” which I co-wrote and it was very touching and a good awakening of sorts to loom back and say “Wow, you know I may of been thinking this but other people are seeing it too”. We were just being open and honest through it all, hence “Tell The Truth”.

WO’N: Now then, it wouldn’t be chat between guitar players if I didn’t ask what ladies you used on the album would it?
LL: No man, it wouldn’t be! I mainly used my Gibson guitars. My R9 Les Paul, my Pelham Blue Firebird (you can see them front and centre in the video for “Down to One Bar”) and also a sunburst Firebird which is a newer one which is my slide guitar. On “Never Came Easy” and “Cash My Check” I used a 1963 Melody Maker that belonged to Warren Haynes’s former guitar technician, Brian Farmer who passed a few years back. A good friend of his brought me his guitar in to play and it just sounded fantastic on those tracks. It was very interesting recording the different guitars on different tracks – I did also use a 1963 Telecaster on “Blue Moon Rising”, you know, just to get the old Stax Records R&B vibe going down for the rhythm tracks, that was really cool.

WO’N: I’m thinking that these guitars will be out in force for the first Provogue Rockin’ The Blues Tour which kicks off in Germany on March 9?
LL: Oh for sure man! You know what the great thing is about The Rockin’ The Blues tour is that everybody on it, we’re all dear friends. Eric Gales, Gary Hoey and young Quinn Sullivan – man we’re gonna be out on that tour having a great time and I’m just looking forward to being back out on the road with those guys. That’s one of the great things about being around other guys is the jamming, in that everybody admires each other, respects each other and are good friends.

WO’N: You guys also play in Holland with the final night of the tour being here in the UK at The Garage in London Saturday, March 17…
LL: Yes man, and it’s gonna be the same every show with this tour so when we’re up on stage jamming, people will be able to feel it, not just hear or see it. There’s no competition, there shouldn’t be in music – we’re just all friends having fun!  I’ll be sitting in with Eric Gales and we’ll play some songs from “Tell The Truth”…and all jam at the end, it’s gonna be cool and a trip for the audience.

WO’N: It’s always great chatting with you, thanks again,  to close off – with all the ups and downs in your career so far, what lessons would you pass on to the youngsters?
LL: Well, you know one of the main ones is that practice is what makes you good. Spending time with your instrument and having the dedication to. It’s like when Eric Gales and I were young, that’s all we did was play the guitar and that even happens today when we get together. It’s all we did as kids, we’d sit and play, but then there’s the bad stuff which you need to avoid. There’s the pitfalls of the substances and the booze – you know you don’t need to take anything to play or sound a certain way…I know that we felt like we did when we were younger and it didn’t do a thing but cause us lots of pain and suffering. If you can avoid trying that myth, steer clear of that and practice well, you may get somewhere and I hope you do.

“Tell The Truth” is out now via Mascot Label Group

Ticket link for Rockin’ The Blues with Eric Gales, Quinn Sullivan, Gary Hoey and special guest Lance Lopez at The Garage London UK March 17


Lance Lopez been there, done that and back for more



Lance Lopez been there, done that and back for more

Toby Arrives In Conversation with Greg Koch

The Koch Marshall Trio Debut Album Announcement

Wo’N Your new Album, Toby Arrives – I’ve been looking forward to talking with you for Bluesdoodles having listened to the new album over the last couple of weeks.  How did the new album come about as I have read about the Don Corleone moment which is intriguing in the press release?

GK: Well my son Dylan, who is now at the ripe old age of twenty-three, he had been doing some gigs up in Minneapolis. I am in Milwaukee, we are about a five-hour drive away so little bit of a haul. Doing some gigs with a young guitarist he has been doing stuff with, one of the iterations he has been performing with is an organ trio. So my son would come home and say, Dad you have got to check out this organ played, he is unbelievable and I would say Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! That’s great but it is five hours away when is that going to happen just didn’t seem right. So at some point, my son said you have got to hear this Toby on the keyboard because he is coming to town here to pick up a Leslie speaker that he is buying from this guy in town whose family owned the Hammond dealership for years. Any way to make a long story short he was coming into town on a Thursday and you know I travel quite a bit doing all kinds of stuff. So when my son we should get together and jam with some guy who is coming into town someday is not really high on my priority list. It was the day before he was coming to town my son said Dad Toby is coming to town we need to jam with them. I said well we have that keyboard in the basement we should just go downstairs and hammer it out. Dad he isn’t going to play that piece of shit, he plays B3’s, so what do you suggest. Well, he is going to have his B3 with him so bring it into the front room move the furniture around, yeah your mom is going to groove on that when she comes home from work. Scratched on the hardwood floor yeah that was where we were jamming with Toby, Dylan’s friend.   On Thursday my son was working at the coffee shop Bag N’ Beans and I will home around 2 pm Toby be here around that time.  So I reached out to this buddy of mine with a studio and B3 wired up and ready to go I didn’t know if he was in town. I called him up and said Dude, Dylan has got a friend coming to town who plays the organ can we come over and make some noise for a while? He said no problem come over little after two and I will have everything wired up and I will record it. Great. Toby guy arrives, Dylan comes home from work. I say Toby nice to meet you Dylan’s says you are great. I have booked a studio to jam in and if it all works out will through in some dough and we can start to make a record. They loved it, so we went over for some reason I grabbed my Vibrolux and I grabbed custom Les Paul I have with Peter Green wiring in the middle position I get the duck walky, Peter Green sound that will be fun to jam on.  I bought it over, we set up and got some sounds.  First tune we played I said let’s do a shuffle in G to start off with and that is the first tune on the record as we recorded at the session. When I heard it played back I thought holy shit here we go. Bought them back in two weeks later back in the same studio. At that point, I do all these guitar videos out in Colorado at a place called Wildwood Guitars I bought in the film crew who was actually just one guy with several cameras and he filmed that session. So we basically recorded the whole thing in two and half days of kind of messing around. It was live in the studio though the bonus track I did add an acoustic track after. Everything else is live in the studio we wanted that approach. When I heard the stuff back I was really excited about it and we started to do some gigs most of my material prior to this had been more vocal orientated, always had a certain modicum of instrumental stuff. We just started to do gigs, we just played and everyone dug it even people who didn’t get instrumentals normally because of the energy of the band. The way we treated the material in such a way. It was my own material, my own songs we didn’t do covers people just freaked. So I was going to release the record on my own. My wife has done artwork for my stuff for years, so we did the artwork, packaging and sent it off to get duplicated in late August last year. I picked a random date of September 9th of last year to release it as it coincided with a big hometown gig we were doing. But during that point in time, you know this kinda deserves more of a push.

WO’N: Was this the motivation to get involved with Mascot Label Group and not self-release as planned?

KG: Yes,  I was thinking of the logistics of touring with a B3 be nice to have a bit of the infrastructure that a label could offer us. I knew that Mascot had the best game in town. So I sent Ed at Mascot a link to two of the video’s we had had the chance to edit and posted up online with some bio material told him the story briefly. He got back to me right away this is perfect – Mascot got an imprint coming out called Players Club an instrumental orientated thing you guys will be on the label. So let’s make a deal and that was it. It was kind of weird, I had pre-sold quite a few CD’s from my website so I honoured those pre-sales and then I yanked it from there so CD not available. So there are a few hundred people that already have the record.  So we mastered it and added that bonus track Sin Repent Repeat and vinyl release and all that sort of thing.

WO’N: Regarding songwriting, you went into the studio and jammed based it. Did you have these ideas before or was it from bouncing off your son and what Toby brought to the table?

It was a little bit of both. The first two tunes were literally off the cuff made up the melodic stuff on the spot, So that would have been Toby Arrives & Funk Meat as we call it.  Other tunes like Heed The Boogaloo, Let’s Get Sinister and Mysterioso those were from demos I had.  I went through this songwriting jag with this buddy of mine a singer-songwriter guy a couple of years I did this record all Plays Well With Others. He is a really good singer-songwriter, I would make little demo’s as I was travelling on my laptop throw out a couple of guitar tracks and like play the drums on the desk or whatever the case might be and send them to him. He would turn around in the days with some really cool songs. So we literally had seventy songs we had done together. I also had a cache of tunes that he had never written lyrics too so I had all these little ideas I have them all on my iPhone. When I go on my walks and have it on shuffle these tunes would play and I would think these are really good tunes, I really should do something with that. So three of those were tunes that I had been listening to lately and thought I should try these and throw them at Toby and see what happens.  So that is where those three came from. And then I had Enter The Rats about my son’s girlfriend who had pet rats who walked in as we were tracking the tune with them!

WO’N: You can hear it though, particularly in the intro it’s like they are suddenly creeping in…

GK: So that was kind of off the cuff, so I said let’s do some in ‘A’ I made up ahead then the Boogie tune was kind of the same thing. So a little bit of both some was from sketches I had others in the moment. I foresee that as being the plan to go ahead in the future. We have got reams of stuff ready to go. Then there are days where we get together and play literally as soon as we turn our stuff on we start messing around and we always come up with new stuff whenever we are playing. Future records will be the same some stuff will have been a little sussed out ahead of time and others happen in the moment.

WO’N: Do you think that for guitarists and other musicians reading this that it’s something that is very, very important and maybe has been lost a bit nowadays. From where people would go and spend a long time in the studio to be creative but because of money constraints things are pre-produced an awful lot now?

GK: There is that. I tend not to look at things as real black and white, in terms of right-way or wrong way. Certainly especially with Protools and the ability to kind of reinvent history as far as recording is concerned. The temptation is to fix everything and try to make it as perfect as you can. There is a real magic I think to people just playing in the moment just having that be what it is. That being said if you have a really good take except for that one horrific moment that happens we are going to fix that if we can. If fixing it negates the overall life of the performance then don’t fix it. I think there is something about and from my point of view is liberating as I have a tendency to hear stuff and go OH! Well, I could redo that, redo this and it was a real good exercise for to go no this is it. It was liberating for me to be honest, it does bring an extra life and vitality to hearing performances in that way and the energy supersedes the need for precision not that there isn’t the need for precise things to be going on. A little bit of that Lucy goosiness adds to the whole overall vibe.

WO’N Yes it is good. There are lots of different styles and elements thrown into all the different songs, comparing Funk Meat to Mysterioso, those sort of vibes to it – how can players go about learning to mix styles particularly the youngsters that might be only listening to one or two things? What else could they be getting into and putting into their playing?

GK: Well it is kind of interesting and it has been a blessing and I won’t say a curse. Certainly from making music and having a fun point of view I have always enjoyed being as versatile as possible. There is always a kind of connection to all the different things. The whole reason I got into the country side of playing I heard Albert Lee playing with Clapton and thought that is not the blues scale what the hell is he playing? I started researching who he was influenced by. Part of it was listening to Mark Knopfler and hearing the sound of a clean Strat on the radio in the late seventies was unusual. Hearing that chicken pickin’ way he approached things led me down one way. Then I was always into the Allman Brothers and Dickie Betts was always a kinda fiddlesque way of articulating something’s when he would do more country tinge things. Then there was always this jazz element.  So to me, I just connected the dots in terms of well I would read about Hendrix for instance how he would listen to Hubert Sumlin a lot with Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters but then he would mention why I did this octave thinking about Watts Montgomery. I would say whose is Watts Montgomery starting listening to that and then hear about George Benson then hear how it all started with Charlie Christian records then I would go back to that. To me, it has always been a little bit of history homework. What makes it infinitely more immediately gratifying in this day and age is that I can mention all these names in an interview and someone can go online and have immediate access to all those people. Back in the day if I was reading a Guitar Player magazine with Albert Lee and he was mentioning guys like Hank Garland or some obscure Jerry Reed thing or talking about Jimmy Bryant those weren’t things I could go into the local record store and have immediate access to. It was more of a quest you had to go on especially in the early eighties when I was in high school learning some of this stuff it was not a time when all this stuff was available in your average record store it was more esoteric. You wouldn’t necessarily hear all these things people were talking about. I remember reading this book obscure contemporary people who Django (Reinhardt) was influenced by and I would immediately go online there was either obscure footage or someone had uploaded these 78’s so you could hear the audio online. Not to mention the fact that there actually video footage of people playing the stuff. So I think the idea of learning all these different styles is something that can be done much easier now than before. In terms of how I approached it, I was never really concerned with kind of learning solos or things transcribing note for note. I was interested in the flavour and I would cherry pick things that I thought were indicative of what this person would do that I could add to my own soup. If I changed it up it would be a little bit more of my own vernacular I always had the vision of being able to take the key elements of someone’s particular playing style and be able to learn to get just enough of it to be able to reference it without having to fully devout my entire vision into being that one thing.

WO’N: You mention learning, do you feel that you are still learning now?
GK: Oh absolutely.

WO’N Where/who are you learning from these days?
GK: I was learning some Big Bill Broonzy stuff the other day and Rev Gary Davis stuff that kind of early stuff. It is a funny story but I got into the Merle Travis stuff earlyish on. But it seemed to me that all the guys into Merle Travis like had an Uncle. Older Brother Dad into Travis. I had none of those things none of my relatives played. So I didn’t have that familial association with these players that stuff is a bitch to play.  Later on, I saw Doyle Dykes playing someplace and damn it I wanted the ability to accompany myself, perform some songs covering bass. Melody and rhythm all at the same time. So I made an effort to immerse myself in learning some Chet Atkins, Merle Travis & Jerry Reed. I would do some of this on the Wildwood videos that are what made that a successful thing for me because I reference all these styles. So if someone bought a high-end guitar they could hear it being played in a variety of styles.  Some guy, some troll he was more of a rock dude he said this is so much better than that Ragtime Wanker Greg Koch. Laughing, I started to refer to myself as a Ragtime Wanker, I should probably brush up on my ragtime. Do I have been messing around with some Blind Blake, Rev Gary Davis and Big Bill Broonzy stuff of late.

WO’N To wrap and go back to the record Toby Arrives what are you hoping people will get out of it, and  is there any danger of seeing you guys over here in the U.K.?
GK: Absolutely, not to sound like an ingrate I have been able to play my guitar and make a living for a long time now. One thing I would wish to happen would be to go to the U.K. and a variety of places I haven’t been able to go and just be able to play at decent clubs people come and want to listen to the stuff and return every year when I have a new record and have fans come out and dig it. So it has been a little difficult, in the past is it blues, is it rock is it country is it shreddelicious. People want to pigeonhole you I think that this particular line up with Toby’s Hammond B playing and of course have my young son play the drums bring the youthful element. I think this is by far the most accessible thing that I’ve been a part of. I think it works across so many different levels. If you are a jazz fan you will dig it, if you are a blues fan you will dig it if you are a jam band person you are going to like it. It is one of those things that is very accessible and the best platform for what I do. So I am hoping it is going to be something that will allow us to perform in places that up to this point only done clinics at or whatever the case may be. The goal is to take this thing on the road. I think that is the vision.

Toby Arrives In Conversation with Greg Koch


Koch Marshall Trio – Toby Arrives – Mascot Label Group.

Reviewed by Bluesdoodles writer Pendragon for an interesting read.

Paul Bowe In Conversation About New Federal Charm

Paul Bowe In Conversation About New Federal Charm

Paul Bowe In Conversation About New Federal Charm


BD: Paul thank you for taking time to chat with Bluesdoodles once again. It was back in 2016 before the Roadstars tour that we last talked and a lot has happened in the Federal Charm world since then.

BD: Since that tour and the release of the acoustic album, things went quiet and we were not seeing or hearing much about Federal Charm. Now you are back on the road with a mix of keeping the old and bring in the new. With vocalist Tom Guyer & drummer Josh Zahler joining the mainstay of yourself and LD Morawski on Bass. Has the change of band members altered/developed the Charm’s sound? Are you still Nu-Blues or more rock?
PB:  When the tour ended we never expected to replace Nick. It has been a crazy time. The sound will be a melding of blues and rock. In fact, it is our sound on steroids. Federal Charm has gone through an unexpected period of development. With new members in Federal Charm, we have worked hard introducing the new band to sing the old songs which are favourites with the fans. It has been hard work getting the ball back rolling. It was for me so difficult to see Nick go. Tom Guyer is younger 23/24 his voice is insane and his talents are immense. His voice is unique very different from Nick, a cross between Plant & Cornell. It is taking Federal Charm in a new direction old numbers from previous albums sound different. Silhouette, for example, has been taken to a new place. I didn’t expect this, I wasn’t looking for either. The sound is really good it is heavier but still definitely melodic and rootsy inspired rock.

We still have the Fender / Les Paul combination and that is not going to change it was and still is my vision of Federal Charm. With Tom and Josh in the band it feels a lot easier they are not replacing Nick and Danny but new members with new ideas. There was no planning Nick leaving it was something he had to do we are still good friends. I feel that Nick leaving and Tom coming in there must be a reason for it. We had just finished the Planet Rock Tour, we were at a peak. Planet Rock had picked us up. The stress was mounting and it was just a step too far for Nick – too much.

Paul Bowe In Conversation About New Federal Charm

BD: Has the change of personnel and the change of management had a positive effect on the band?
PB: Yes, it has had a positive effect the dynamics have changed. Federal Charm we believe have not reached our full potential and this Spring tour plans for 2018 and the new album. Federal Charm has the potential to reach the heights with the right chances and packaging. To succeed bands need internal harmony; we have that and the talent. Federal Charm like many bands have loads of talent and motivation. It is hard work and difficult to get to know each other and the new line-up is determined to break the barrier. We are going to continue to work hard and rise above the challenges the new members have given us the extra kick and energy required. Opening for bands last year was an opportunity to road-test the new line up with new material and old favourites. It was good fun, introducing the sound to new audiences. It is amazing you open for a band and gets to play to new audiences. Nice surprise to see new people even when you have played the same venue many times before. Federal Charm produced two albums over five years from 2013.   Now we have a third album in the pipeline, due to be released late autumn 2018. We have new management and April Tour dates which are about telling people we are back out playing live. We have some summer festivals and an exciting new tour that will be announced very soon. So lots happening at Federal Charm so keep checking we have news.   So yes the change of drummer and vocals is a development of the sound and very positive.

BD: Federal Charm is back on the road with a headlining tour this Spring following the success of high profile support slots through 2017. Why should fans of the old Federal Charm and gig-goers who have not caught up with you yet make a slot in their diaries this Spring when you visit Norwich, Bristol, Manchester & Newcastle.?
PB: To meet the new Federal Charm. It is different.  So do come and support us and hear old songs and the chance to hear music from the forthcoming album. We will entertain you with rootsy rock and our charming style. Federal Charm is determined to be noticed in 2018 and these four gigs are the starting point. Catch up with the new sound now.

BD: Federal Charm is back in the studio making album number three and the first with the new line-up. Will the album be crammed with new gems form Federal Charm? Will we be hearing new tracks when you are on the road?
PB: The new album is completely Federal Charm – mark 2. Twelve fresh tracks full of new gems. The previous two albums (Across The Divide & Federal Charm) were deadline albums. This new album we are taking time so some of the songs are what Nick & I wrote in 2016. Into this mix, we now have Tom on vocals having taken over the role eighteen months ago. We have a demo and worked on each song, it is a meticulously produced album. Yes, the show will be a mix of half old numbers and half new tracks. There will be the first single from the album with video out in March heralding the album.

BD: Talking about the album, have you a title and release date for an album which I am sure that your fans are waiting for with anticipation. Will the album be guitar led or vocally led by your new singer?
PB: Title not been decided, ideas have been bounced about. And discussed. We know what the album will look like and have two or three ideas. We have time the album will be out in Autumn and everything is being considered not rushed. The album will make great Christmas presents! Narration for the album is informed by 2017 it was a complicated year with Nick then Danny leaving who I have known for twenty-five years. It was right for them to leave. 2017 was an extremely difficult year. It cannot be taken for granted how long it takes to rebuild, putting the band back together, it cannot be rushed. Last December we ended on a high with a gig with Slade. Then January 4th I was left thinking where do we go from here what happens next.

BD:   Talking about the album, who is the main songwriter on the album and are there any influences that are shaping the album?
PB: The album is balanced every track has a different character. You hear the sound of Federal Charm throughout the album. Tom’s vocals are very powerful in a different way from Nick’s vocals. Nick can never be replaced he had unique vocals, the highlight was when we opened for Mott The Hoople at Shepherds Bush when Mick Ralphs said to Nick his voice was the best thing he had heard since Paul Rogers. When you are compared to one of your heroes it is a moment that will always be a highlight in your life.

This album is more collaborative. LD has been involved with lots of ideas unbeknown to us. On his computer, he had loads of ideas and patterns on file musical sketches gathered over the years. So I had the brief for deciding if using the ideas if not immediately Federal Charm sound then it goes into the bin. Some of the ideas and patterns are amazing in fact I wish I had thought of them. Josh our drummer has a freedom of expression tasteful with a great groove. This is a new beginning, new start for Federal Charm.  Outside influences, I do listen to a lot of music and all of the band members have different tastes. I tend not to seek out new stuff Josh is into funky Motown sound and Tom loves Rock N Roll currently raving about Leeds based band Fizzy Blood. These influences inform the music but we are always looking to produce the sound that defines Federal Charm.

BD: Last time we chatted we heard about the band of your choice this time what music will be on the tour bus keeping you entertained travelling from town to town?
PB: For me, it will be the music of the sixties and seventies, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, in fact, all of their albums. Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Wishbone Ash – Argus album. Everyone gets a chance to play their choice of music on the bus as we travel. We have different tastes so makes for an interesting mix.


Paul Bowe In Conversation About New Federal Charm

Danny Bryant In Conversation its A Revelation

Danny Bryant Always a Revelation and Yours For A Song

BD: As ever Bluesdoodles, was delighted to have the opportunity to review your latest album Revelation leaving fans in anticipation to hear the songs live on your forthcoming tour across the UK.

 BD:  Before we come up to date lets go back to the early days. What were your first influences growing up in Royston, Hertfordshire.

DB: I still live in Royston about a mile from my parents’ house. First influences were my parent’s collection, Rory Gallagher, Eric Clapton, Hendrix and lots of Bob Dylan. All on vinyl, I have now inherited the vinyl collection. Though I think now it is back in fashion Mum wouldn’t mind having it back.

I then looked at the music that influenced the people I was listening to, who they were listening to. It is even easier to do that now with so many resources. YouTube and downloading is so very easy. I have to admit I tend to listen via YouTube it is easily accessible, the way we all listen to music has changed in an age of instant gratification.  There is definitely more music, consumed differently, if you order from Amazon, for example, you get an audio file to rip so before the Cd arrives you already have it to listen to through your speakers.


BD: Was the guitar always going to be your instrument of choice, with your late father on Bass as the counterpoint to your talent in RedEyeBand.
DB: It was always going to be the guitar. I didn’t consider anything else. Suddenly I wanted a guitar like a lot of kids does at some stage. For me it was the right time, I was quite insular and wanted to practice all the time. I have tried to learn the harmonica, then I hear a guitar being played and think I could learn that and it is back to the guitar trying to get better and better. Dad played finger-picking blues acoustic when I was growing up. I could hear him playing downstairs, and so is a soundtrack of my childhood. Dad took up the bass to help me out. There were not any young bass players around that wanted to be in a blues band.  What started out as a temporary fix became a permanent fixture.


BD: When did you decide to use British guitar maker Fret-King as your six-string of choice. What do these guitars add to your playing that other guitar manufacturers would not bring to your sound?

DB: I have worked with Fret-King guitars for a number of years and the guitar suits the sound I want to achieve. The guitar looks like a strat but is different. When you fly and can only take one guitar this covers all bases. With my signature Danny guitar in the range, that is, in my opinion, good value for money. Fret-king guitars have worked well for me for quite a while now.

BD: Revelation is a deeply personal album, out 20th April via Jazzhaus Records. Despite the dark shadowy album cover the album is a Revelation as you let the light shine into the corners of your emotions. Tell our readers why you found writing the album such a challenge?

DB: It was a challenge with the music I wanted to create, it did not come easy. It was not necessarily a thing I wanted to deal with. But Dad’s passing had happened and it was a therapeutic process. Hence lyrically the album is quite dark, with a heavier sound. The horns add a different tone and dimension. Big Band Project was something I always wanted to do. We played three shows and on the live album. Promoters were interested so now will run alongside the band. I kept the sound in the current album as it adds another layer of textures and interest. Logistically touring with a nine-piece is a huge and expensive challenge.

 BD: Yo talk about how music has been your personal salvation do you feel the tracks on Revelation speak to everyone who listens who have their own personal dark moments.

DB: Yes, I hope this album connects with people.  It was a personal and at times a difficult process exploring difficult parts of my life. We all loose loved ones, go through hard times, feel lost. The other thing in common is we all interpret music and songs differently.  For example, Roy Orbison songs speak to me in one way may not be the way Roy intended but that doesn’t matter. Again with my music it doesn’t matter what you get out of the lyrics what is important what you hear and connect with and that it speaks to the listener on some level. It is like art some people look at a painting and analyse looking for meanings whilst others just say looks nice going to hang that on my wall. Neither approach is wrong nor right, it is how you connect with art that is important. When you write a song it is a snap shot of how you feel at that moment; not how you feel all the time. Lyrics have always interested me, love the guitar but the solo is pointless unless within a decent song with a strong melody striking a balance across the number.

 BD: Blues is never far from your music, do you have a favourite or special track on the album.

DB: If I have to pick a track it is Isolate I like ballads that are not soft but have power and some balls in them. It is a track that is fun to play live and I am always a sucker for a guitar solo. Revelation the title track is also a favourite, it is different and that keeps everything interesting with changes in texture and tone.

BD:  With the new album and touring 2018 is going to be a busy year and your fans will be delighted that you are back on the road in the UK once again.

DB: Yes, back touring in UK is always going to be fun. Logistically & financially it is impossible to tour with the Big Band Project. What is new is we are now a four-piece with keyboardist Stevie Watts joining the band.  Having added keys into the Danny Bryant sound there was no going back to being a trio.


BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
Guitar:  BB King
Vocals: Otis Redding
Bass: Willie Dixon
Drums: Willie “Big Eyes” Smith
Keys: Otis Spann


Check out Tour Dates

Bluesdoodles revelation Review

Danny Bryant In Conversation its A Revelation

In Conversation Tommy Emmanuel with help from his friends

In Conversation Tommy Emmanuel with help from his friendsAustralian born Grammy award-winning Tommy Emmanuel has been wowing audiences and guitar players across the globe for some time now. His unique playing style, pure musicality and to quote Chet Atkins, his “fearless fingerpicking”…surely Tommy needs very little introduction. His new album “Accomplice One” is a veritable delight of 16 tracks of duets with a wide range of musician friends of Tommy’s who were all keen to lend a pair of hands or a voice…


“Accomplice One” is brimming with talent, what was the idea behind getting all of these great players together?

It’s really come about from living and working in Nashville over the last 15 years which has grown a group of artists and friends who I get to work with from time to time on various things. I got the idea that I wanted to collaborate with some really good artists, good singers, good songwriters to see what we could come up with. It was over 2 years of trying to find time between my touring and everyone else’s touring and projects for it to all come together. It was great in the way that everyone had suggestions of songs and it really came together quite beautifully. With all the schedules involved it was my recording and mixing engineer that really glued everything together what with me being in and out-of-town all the time, we’d book the studio ahead of time and he’d be ready to go as soon as I and the other artists were in and we wasted no time at all as time is precious for everyone. The tracks were cut with just the acoustic guitars and vocals and we would add bass, drums afterwards. It gives a warm and live sound for sure. Each of the artists recorded more that what’s on the album, like Amanda Shires who I duet with on Madonna’s “Borderline” did a swing track that’s not on the album, I have other tracks as well and we chose the best tracks for the first album. That’s why it’s called “Accomplice One” as there’ll be another one.

JD Simo, Amanda Shires, Ricky Skaggs are some of the artists you duet with – why did you pick these artists?

The fact that these are young people coming up in the business and really talented artists who are all really soulful. I thought that rather than trying to get Keith Urban or another well-established artist in that younger people, new and fresh could bring something else to the album and be a great opportunity in their stage of their career for us to be seen working together. Then again, Mark Knopfler, who I’ve know since 1984, certainly doesn’t need any help from me but that fact that he wrote back to me and said: “Sure, I’d love to play on your record, but can we do one of my songs?” – you know, I just couldn’t deny him that as I love everything he writes. Mark invited me over to his studio in Chiswick London, we sat down and went forth and back with who was going to sing which line and play what part. From the moment I arrived in his studio, it took an hour and a half to arrange, record and Mark’s keyboard player/assistant mixed and mastered the song and I was out of there with it that quick.

Having produced the album yourself, what were you looking for sound wise?

First of all, I didn’t want it to have anything on it that was unnecessary, more stripped back, lush, warm and earthy. The only track that has keyboards on it is “The Duke’s Message” the very last track which I cut with Suzy Bogguss and one of my original songs. I had Grammy award-winning piano player Will Barrow come in, listen to the song and just play along with what was going on already instead of embellishing parts. The rest of the album is really just guitar, bass and drums, sometimes no drums. Where there are bass parts they’re well thought out and I played some of those, I even played the drums on it – no programmed nonsense here mate! On “Saturday Night Shuffle” I purposely mic’d the drums at a distance and made them sound almost like they were in a garage. All the acoustic guitars are mic’d up just how you would playing live so I really took an approach to producing the album in the most organic way as possible.

Alongside your original tracks, there are a few covers, what’s behind the choice of those?

Trying to find the right song for a person, you know that’s the key. Mark and I could have done anything but doing an original that’s something different is always great. With Mark’s song we really approached it like Tom Waits meets Randy Newman! JD Simo is such a great guy and we have a shared love for Elvis Presley but cut Otis Redding’s “(Sitting On) The Dock of The Bay” where you can really hear the fun we had playing it. There’s a contrast in going from “Keep It Real” with it’s Celtic feel into “Rachel’s Lullaby”. Clive Carroll and I have been friends for a long time (he’s one of my favourite musicians on the planet) and we worked up that medley of “Keep It Real” together. There’s a lot to it already but it could of easily have gone on for another 10 minutes as you know how it is when you get a good thing going playing! You mentioned the “Purple Haze” cover, I hate to tell you and most people will not believe it, that was one take. Jerry Douglas, the dobro playing wizard, came in to play on another track and we got that finished so I said to him “Do you want to have a shot at Purple Haze?”. Jerry’s response could not have been more emphatic; “What a great idea! That’ll really piss off all the bluegrass purists! Let’s do it!”. I brought my guitar into the control room, showed him how I played it, Jerry’s like “Just nod at me when you want me to play…” and away we went with it in the purest moment of inspiration and improvisation.

On the note of improvisation and for the guitarists out there, what advice/approach can you pass on?

Well there’s a certain amount of not being afraid to step out and try stuff. You know, everybody worries too much about what people will think of them if they fly their kite to high, you know what I mean? I really try to get rid of that as it will only hold you back and to just play what I feel like playing in the moment and this is what my instincts are telling me to play. You’ve gotta have fun with it but at the same time have something to say musically that works, makes sense to you and let it fly. There’s a time to really jump in and a time to hold it back, listen and find the right spot to come in – you know Jerry is just like that, no boundaries, no filters and just runs at things dead ahead. Jerry and I have some shows coming up together in 2018 in addition to the shows JD Simo and I are doing together and you can bet on us improvising in the moment on those. At the base of it, it’s about being in the moment and really listening as that’s the first thing a real/good musician does.

In the Spring you’re running a guitar camp in Scotland, planning to give away your guitar secrets?

Oh definitely as that’s what teaching is all about, you have to give the student everything. That’s happening in May 2018 and it’s 4 days of lessons, masterclasses, evening concerts and there’s also time for one-on-ones with students at the camp with myself and the other instructors. It’s one of those where we want people to come along, be challenged in their playing and change the way they experience playing and learning music. It’s a whole different ball game and I really think that the people who are going to be on that camp with me are going to have the best time. It’s really about immersing yourself and seeing things in a different way.

More information and booking for Tommy’s Guitar Camp in Scotland can be found HERE

If you could go travel back in time, what would you tell the Tommy Emmanuel in his early 20’s?

Don’t be so worried about what people think, have a great time and just try to learn as much as you can.

Accomplice One is due for release January 19 on the new label Players Club via Mascot Label Group and can be ordered here  MASCOT LABEL GROUP


In Conversation Tommy Emmanuel with help from his friends

In Conversation Raging Fire Blues with Alastair Greene

In Conversation Raging Fire Blues with Alastair GreeneIn Conversation Raging Fire Blues with Alastair Greene

By Wes O’Neill

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Alastair Greene has been a mainstay of the Southern California USA music scene for over 2 decades. Alastair has recently embarked upon a safe bet, even though he doesn’t play slot machines…but we’ll get into gambling later. A new chapter in his career with the release of his solo record “Dream Train” after many years playing with the highly revered Alan Parsons. Alastair has opened shows for many Bluesdoodles favourites in The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robin Trower, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Lonnie Brooks, Jonny Lang, Joe Bonamassa…anyone who is any good is busy right?

Alastair certainly is both but took the time out for me to call amidst the recent raging California fires to chat about his latest release “Dream Train”…


“Dream Train” was released in October and has been really well received – what’s the thinking behind the album and why are you doing this solo now?

I’ve had my band for a long time now and have previously put out a handful of records. I played with Alan Parsons for like 7 years but knew that would come to an end at some point as either Alan would retire or I’d finally figure out it was time for me to leave and launch my own solo career. The album is really me swinging for the fences, trying to make the best album that I could, not that you don’t try for that on every record, but it’s a really important record for me. Writing wise I love the blues and I’m a huge fan of all its tangents. I wanna make everyone happy, I guess we all do deep down, and I have a lot of friends in the traditional blues world that I’ve played with and I can get kinda close to that way of playing/singing/writing but my strengths lie in where things start to rock. It really goes back to a lot of my favourite stuff in Cream, early Jeff Beck Group, early ZZ Top and I love to combine what I dig about the blues in its perceived simplicity as far as the chordal structure goes and then mix in other influences. I grew up listening to Mom’s record collection like Stevie Wonder and The Beatles which is a totally different kind of way of songwriting so that’s had an influence in my combination of the pure blues along with stylised hooks, riffs and melodies. It’s not that I think that the traditional blues is limiting by any means, it’s just that there are guys who are doing it so well so on this record I really wanted to embrace what my strengths are as a writer, a player and a singer.


On the note of writing, did you dig deep into your own life or are you writing about other people, places and times?

Yeah, you know somebody asked me that the other day and the two most personal songs are the two instrumentals. The acoustic one “A Song for Rufus” is about one of our cats that ran off and that was wrote at the last minute. The other one in “Iowa” is dedicated to my Grandmother who lived there and where my Dad spent a lot of his youth. Writing lyrics for me is always a thing in that I kinda want them to be something that people can relate to and not be too personal as you might lose people where they can’t connect with it as it’s hidden away, you know like an in joke no one gets. Sure, you want to write about things that are close to you but you also want to entertain people so it’s a fine line to walk when writing.

I find that I’m an observer of things; I’ll watch people, watch the news and I’ve spent the majority of my adult life in bars and clubs around the country playing so I’ve seen a bunch of stuff. “Down to Memphis” was written in a cab going from the hotel to the airport where the cab driver started talking, telling me his life story so I just got out my phone and started writing it down, maybe he needs a royalty payment for it! Another one is “Big Bad Wolf” about a girl who makes poor decisions in her life but who eventually finds a friend who helps her is more of a story than an observation but there are people out there like it for sure.

The title track is the quickest song I’ve ever written and it’s a proclamation, a mantra in a way, of me re-committing to my solo career. The opening lyric “I never was a gamblin’ man, unless you count what’s in my hands” is me saying this is who I am and I’m gambling with my life.


The renowned producer David Z, what did he bring to the party?

The guys who engineered my last records I always thought of as my co-producers but this was the first time I’ve had an out-and-out producer. I demoed most of the album at home and had a bunch of them where I would send them to David and we would tear them apart and narrow it down to the 12 that would be on the record, not record 16 and then pick which ones but just focus on the ones that really count. What’s cool about Davis is that he’s really easy-going in the studio and he’d have all these subtle ideas about singing, guitar tones and he was the one who brought in the Billy Gibbons cover “Nome Zayne”. He had a load of demos from Billy, we went through them, picked it and David emailed Billy’s people and got permission for us to record it, it’s such a cool song man and people are digging it. An attraction to David was definitely knowing not how many people he had worked with, but who he had worked with which was very validating to me to work with someone like that. There were a few things that we would disagree on a little bit here and there but there was never any friction so I was really able to trust him and my instincts with how the songs were arranged and performed. Ultimately it was cool to have someone else in the room to ask “Good or bad?” and nine times out of ten it was “Yeah, that’s good, let’s keep going!”

That good eh, must have been a breeze tracking the album?

This record was really varied in its recording styles. My last album “Trouble at Your Door” was mostly tracked live then vocals added afterwards and the album before that “Through the Rain” was really put together piece by piece – get the drums down, then add the bass, then the guitar so not as live at all. This record was a combination of styles, for the most part, it’s tracked live but like I said I had demoed most of the album at home here on Logic and there were a few things from the demos that we flew in ‘cos I knew I wasn’t gonna get them any better in the studio like the guitar solo on “Big Bad Wolf” – that’s a plugin right there man and you wouldn’t be able to tell there’s no amp. As you said, there’ll be some purists who won’t like that but you know, they’re welcome to feel that way if they guessed it was a plugin in the first place that it was a solo recorded in my bedroom barefoot and wearing jeans and tee-shirt! I do think there’s something to be said for being in a room with everyone, all the gear and recording live but when the moment gets you, you have to take it. My wife and I recently watched the Tom Petty documentary which is really cool, and there’s a moment where he’s talking about the recording process and what matters is the end result and how you get it. You’re not on stage you’re not in front of people, come to the show for that but in the studio, you are really making this piece of art that’s going to listened to time and time again so it has to be as good as you can get it. With the special guests (Walter Trout, Mike Zito) on this record, technology affords us the ability to fly things in where it’s not possible due to people’s busy schedules to hook up.


There’s a pallet of tones on the record, so for the guitar geeks out there – what was your rig, guitars and effects used?

I’ve had a really good relationship with Hughes and Kettner amplifiers for a few years now, I guess you could say I’m an endorsee of them, so I always had two amps going as well as a direct into the desk in case the event arose where we would want to use a plug-in of some kind. For the heavier stuff, the primary amps were a H&K Tubemeister 36 through a 4 x 12 cabinet with me plugged into a splitter box with one in the vboard and one to the amp bypassing all my effects pedals. The other would go into my pedal board and into an H&K Puretone which is more a real clean amp, a lot of clean headroom and that works really well with pedals. The primary gain/distortion for that was an Xotic AC Booster and a friend of mine makes pedals so I used one of his which I think he calls “Badness” which is a clean boost and a Crybaby Wah Wah. For some of the cleaner tones, we used a ‘72 Super Reverb which has been kinda modded and a Fender Deluxe Reverb. We’d really just mix and match depending on what felt and sounded right for the song. As far as guitars wise, I’m pretty much a Gibson guy but I also have this Musicman Steve Morse guitar. I used a Gibson 335 on the songs that, I wouldn’t say traditional blues, but the ones that lean a bit more that way. A Les Paul is my main guitar, particularly coming out of Alan’s band and that’s pretty much it. There were a couple of random overdubs where I used some guitars that were in the studio – I think I used a Telecaster on some part somewhere, quite simple really but I guess when you see pictures of it all, it’s a lot of gear!


You’ve played with a lot of great bands and artists (Joe Bonamassa, Jonny Lang, The Fabulous Thunderbirds to name a few) over the years – what have you learnt from those experiences?

I think that when you see people that are successful and doing it at a high level (I consider playing with Alan Parsons a high level), that it’s easy to kind of forget the big picture sometimes if you’re playing what you guys refer to as pub gigs – that it’s really regardless of where you’re playing to be professional. Have your songs rehearsed well, have a set list thought out…which I don’t always do mind as if it’s a long gig I’ll read the audience and see what’s going to dictate tempo and dynamic of the show. Any time you’re up in front of people on a big stage where they’ve paid their hard-earned dollars to come and see you, you have to be on it 100%. It is tough with the amount of work you have to do as a working musician and there’ll be some as you say that treat smaller gigs on a local scene as a throwaway thing, an excuse to practice, but it is easy to get burnt out and lose focus so you have to be mindful of that as people will be able to tell. I saw Joe Bonamassa play a couple of months ago…he invited me to come down and hang out, take a look at his amps and all and it was nice that he knew who I was and what I’m doing…he was running late but he took the time to call me to let me know. That sounds like a small thing, but that’s professional. Joe gets a bad rap from some of the more traditional blues guys but everybody has a different path and some will resent popularity and commercial success. There’s a lot of guys out there working their asses off that aren’t getting the same kind of success, not getting the break, tours or whatever and there becomes a kind of psychological game with the headspace that you’re in and the expectations that you have. You think 1+1+1=3 in the music business, then you’re wrong! Going back to your question, you gotta have good songs, good players and you gotta get up there and kick ass. Sure there are other factors like how much money, who you know and so on but that’s where it’s gotta start from…kicking ass.


So, there’ll be Alastair Greene ass kickings for all in 2018?

In the nicest possible way, for sure! Hahaa! Everything that I’m doing right now is around promoting “Dream Train”, to raise awareness of the band, the album and playing shows. We’re looking at recording a live record and maybe put that out later next year. I’m always writing and so I’m already thinking about the next album for in a couple of years’ time! I toured a lot in Germany when I was playing in Alan Parsons band but it’s really England where a lot of my musical roots come from. I’d love to come over to England and kick some ass in your backyard…


In Conversation Raging Fire Blues with Alastair Greene, Bluesdoodles was delighted to have had the opportunity. Copyright and our thanks for fabulous photographs to photographer Amanda Peacock.  Bluesdoodles review of Dream Train coming soon…



In Conversation Raging Fire Blues with Alastair Greene



The Dark and Light Sides of Chantel McGregor

The Dark and Light Sides of Chantel McGregor

By Wes O’Neill

There simply is not enough women guitarists that get the same acclaim that their male counterparts do and even when it’s deserved. It’s a male-dominated world and something needs to change – doors need to be kicked in by ladies with amps cranked up and playing that can go from a scream to a whisper with just as much force and subtlety.

Fortunately, there are players that can hold their own with the “big boys” in Samantha Fish, Nita Strauss, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Orianthi and others…along with Chantel McGregor. There’s no top of the guitar magazine polls here, ladies doing their thing and damn well at that.

One of my guitar students, a young lady in fact, when I first asked her a couple of years ago what she wanted to get out of learning excitedly proclaimed “I wanna learn to shred and not just play to typecast in acoustic songs or on a fucking ukulele.”. That brought warm feelings to my heart and a sense of hope…

Chantel McGregor is such a lady to inspire such aspirations that are not beyond reach with self-belief and dedication. Ahead of playing a blistering show at The Tunnels Bristol, we sat down with Chantel for what’s been happening, her advice on being a woman in what some archaically view as a man’s world and what’s coming next. It’s about to get dark but with a light side also…


It’s been a couple of years since your last album “Lose Control” What have you been up to?

We’ve been on tour for 2 years since the release of “Lose Control”. It’s been constant, we’ve played in a whole load of countries in Europe, we’ve just got back from 3 weeks in Germany in fact, so it’s been tricky to get time to do another album. But…that’s now sort of in the process of coming to a head with writing nearly done and us heading into the studio in the next few months to get that down and releasing it hopefully next summer.


“Lose Control” was quite gothic, taking inspiration from a variety of sources you were in to at the time. What kind of musical direction are you taking this time?

It’s dark. Darker than before, in the way that it’s more personal than the last one. The last one was southern USA gothic themed, dark but not personal in any way that I wrote about dark things from my life – I’ve now been doing that. It’s a bit of a personal trip and a gamble as I’m really trying to dig deep with the emotions I have and stories to tell, it’s quite hard, to be honest with you.


Are you finding that’s helping you come to terms, and not to pry, with whatever has gone in your life?

No! Hahaha! No, it’s horrible! It’s like everything that I’ve put into a box, you know every bad relationship, every self-doubt, every moment that hasn’t been right all coming at me at once. Opening that box opens old wounds and it’s like ‘Oh my God, why I am trying to sing, play and write about this kind of stuff, why didn’t I just leave it be, why did I think of doing this?’.


In that case, what’s the idea behind putting yourself through that instead of writing in a third person or about other things?

As in taking the easy option? I don’t know, ‘cos I’m stupid or something! Seriously though, I think I’m at that point where I should really write about something that is really my own with my own feelings and emotions rather than relying upon other peoples. It’s easier to write songs about other things and other people than it is about yourself. When you’ve locked emotions away, revisiting them is hard but I did feel that I needed to do that as you know, we all have to do it at some point really. Either that or I’m just a bit sadistic, masochistic…or just weird!


How is this going to come through on the new album, in the guitar or in the lyrics?

Probably more towards in the lyrics as the music bit with the riffs, changes, grooves and all that isn’t really difficult for me to play. If I’m writing about a telly show, then it’s easy as you’re not digging deep, but when it comes to writing about how a relationship ended and how it’s made you feel then it’s really tricky.


As you mentioned, you’re looking at a summer release (it’ll be a dark summer by the sounds of it!), any specifics on production you have in mind that you can share with us?

Well, assuming everything runs to plan, but in my world, you never know, but yes, summer is slated for it. Production wise we’ll be down to London probably, the same producer that I use as it always seems to work out with him and he’s great…probably just that. We’ll have to see what we come out with when tracking, and that’s all you’re going to get on that for now!


Moving on from the new album, how important do you think music education is or are there other routes that you can take learning and playing?

I started playing when I was 3 and started having lessons when I was 7 until I was 16 and then I went on to do a degree in music a bit after that. To be honest with you, most of the things I have learnt, the really valuable and meaningful things have been from improvisation and jamming around with people more than the strict educational side of it. Lessons are good though, as long as you’re getting something out of it and always. It’s important to have the educational side of it in some ways but I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone.


Being a woman in the guitar world, what would be your advice be to other women playing guitar or thinking of doing so and to those in bands already?

For me, I think, and it’s taken me all this time to get to this point where I realise I’ve probably spent years wasting time being fragile and worrying about what people think…You know, all the stupid stuff like what do people think, how am I perceived, do they really care, do they like my playing, how I look, my singing, are they just here ‘cos I’m a girl, what are they saying in the bar after…all that rubbish. I’m now at a point where I can stop worrying about what other people think and for women that’s essential. Not that blokes don’t have feelings and all, but for women we can be a bit more sensitive than men and we do bother about what people think of us whether that’s image or musicianship, and we spend so much time thinking about it, tearing your life and thoughts up that you end up not concentrating on what you love doing. You need to get strong, really quickly and just sort of say “Stuff everyone else, I’m gonna do what I want to do and I’m going to enjoy it”. That’s the hardest bit – it’s not learning the scales, chords and how to play, it’s having strength in who you are and what you do being a female in the music industry.


Wes, thanks to Victoria Tyrer for helping put this together for Bluesdoodles


Bluesdoodles Review of Lose Control – HERE


Jack J Hutchinson Talking To Wes About Paint No Fiction

Jack J Hutchinson Talking To Wes About Paint No Fiction

Jack J Hutchinson Talking To Wes About Paint No Fiction


BD: Very excited to be posting the first, of many planned interviews from Wes O’Neill who is working with Liz to get behind the music, albums and artists that Bluesdoodles loves to share. Wes based in Bristol will bring new angles and approaches and his enthusiasm and love for music that bends the Blues.

In his first interview talking to Jack J Hutchinson, he gets behind the songs shaping his new album Paint No Fiction.



As Wes says: “Paint No Fiction” is the cracking new release from Jack J Hutchinson, an album full of quality songwriting, sludgy bluesy guitar and you can read our review here (insert link). We caught up with Jack for a talk through the album, breaking it down track by track ahead of his album launch party at Ain’t Nothin But Soho, London on December 8th, 2018…

Read on and find out Jack’s intriguing thoughts as Jack J Hutchinson Talking To Wes About Paint No Fiction

Deal with the Devil
This was actually the last song recorded. I had 12 songs ready to go but none of them felt like the opener in that you want a kick-ass rock tune to get the record in the right groove and then build from there. I wrote this riff at 2 AM in the morning in Moscow, Russia after I had played this great sold out show and been drinking whisky with the guys I was playing with. The lyrics are kind of political which is different for me as I usually write about falling in and out love! It was kind of strange being in Russia around the time of the US presidential election what with all the Trump and Putin nonsense going on so it felt right to address that in a kind of Black Crowes/Blackberry Smoke meets Rival Sons type jam. Actually, this is my favourite song on the record and I love playing it live.

Written In Stone
Written In Stone is supposed to sound like Crazy Horse as I was listening to a lot of Neil Young, I’m a massive fan of all his work solo and with various bands and have probably listened to his records more than any other band or artist. There’s a lot of tracks on his latest album which has all these slow and sludgy riffs so I took that idea with fuzz guitars but mixed it with the vocals with a bunch of harmonies and a really punchy chorus. Somebody told me that the melody in the chorus reminded them of Tina Turner, which I’m totally cool with, I’ll take that! It’s a personal song, there’s a lot of personal stuff on this record and that comes through. The guitar solo on this one is a bit of change for me in that I really focused on the melody instead of just fucking hammering at the guitar, which is fun but wasn’t the right approach for this album and really tried to write memorable solo’s like my hero’s Neil Young, George Harrison – his work was definitely a reference point for me along with Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti. Again, it’s a cool song to play live.

Hip Slickin’
I think this tune is really great in terms of the riffs, you say it has a swagger to it which is right as it’s about someone who is drinking too much and hasn’t got a handle on their life. The riffs really kind of represent the lyrics of someone who’s a bit too pissed in a bar, acting like a complete cock – we all know someone like that eh?

Hold Me Close
The thought with ‘Hold Me Close’, in terms of the track listing, is that I wanted 3 really in your face openers and then to change the vibe a little bit and take people to a different place. I thought a lot about the song sequencing on this album, I wanted to take the listener on a journey, really tell a story and let them pick out their moments in their lives with it. When I wrote this track it sounded a bit like Ryan Adams to me, like his records Heartbreaker and Gold, and that really inspired me as I make a lot of really loud blues rock records, but this just dials it back and is heartfelt. It has real melody, I had to actually sing the thing instead of banging the lyrics out. It was a tough one to record in that it had to be absolutely right as it’s very personal to me, it took a bunch of takes for the vocals, unlike some others.

Cut The Noose
Recorded late at night this was, with me drinking whisky tracking the vocals, as I wanted to capture that real smoky late night blues joint feel. I’m really into the Chicago blues thing and there’s a lot of references in this track to blues artists that I love – a bit of Peter Green feel in the solo, the keys were inspired by BB King Live at The Regal and it’s the closest to traditional blues you’ll get on the album. Like all of the tracks, I didn’t force anything out, it was all just what I was writing at the time as when creativity hits you, you keep at it. Yes, I’ve already got a bunch of songs for the next album!

Set Your Heart For The Sun
That’s a bit of a bizarre tune if I’m honest with you. I wrote that for another record with The Boom Boom Brotherhood which has the same title but it didn’t fit on that record, it just felt a bit too poppy for it so held it back and re-recorded it for this album. There was a point where I was a bit unsure about it like it sounded like The Magic Numbers or something, but the other guys in the band really dug it. It’s good having this at the midpoint as it really breaks the record up, telling the story of one half and setting up the next. It’s really a cool 2-minute track, light-hearted and has got a really cool psychedelic middle section…if I could change one thing about this album it would be that middle section in that it could have gone on for 15 minutes in a totally cool Pink Floyd kinda way.

Rattlesnake Woman
I released this as the first single and people are really digging it. It’s a heavy fucker of a tune and to play it live is really cool where I can really let loose on the vocal. This one will definitely be in the set at my album launch party on Friday, December 5th at one of my favourite venues Ain’t Nothin’ But in Soho, London. It’s an early start at 6:30 PM so make sure you’re down for that. I wanted to have an early gig, with lots of my friends playing in a last waltz style so then I could hang out with my mates and celebrate drinking whisky – there was a lot of whisky drunk making this album! My mate Mike Ross came in and played on this song and there’s this dual guitar solo on it which is wicked. I love playing with Mike so being able to play off of each other and get it on a record is really special.

Skin And Bone
Do you know what? I didn’t even realise there’s a Foo Fighters song called that let alone a whole acoustic album! I’d like to say it’s an intentional tip of the hat to the Foo’s but it’s not and it certainly doesn’t sound like them! It’s a nice little acoustic blues ditty. There’s some that you write that are so personal, you’re thinking about stuff that has happened to you and you try to encapsulate that, but with Skin And Bone, I’m happy to admit that the lyrics are a bit throw-away. They sound cool though and their fun to sing – not every song has to be an In My Life by The Beatles, you just gotta have fun with songs sometimes, like you can also have your I Am The Walrus.

I Got Your Number
I recorded this for an album before and I hate the way it sounded, it didn’t come out right, not what I was looking for at all so I saw this as a good chance to put it right. One of my good pals Big Boy Bloater who I’ve played with, and drunk a lot with, over the years means a great deal to me and if I could describe this song as a tribute to anyone, it would be to him. It’s a re-recording of one of my songs in an acoustic style of Big Boy Bloater. He’s a great dude and been a massive influence on my career – I tell you what, my voice was fucked after trying to sing like him!

Send Me A Signal
Send Me A Signal is the EXACT opposite to my throwaway lyrics from Skin And Bone. This was written about a year ago when there was a lot of shit going on in my personal life that was very upsetting for me and those close to me, Send Me A Signal really addresses that and deals with it. Writing this over breakfast at 7:30 in the morning, just playing around on an acoustic where I found the melody line and the lyrics got really personal. It’s weird as I find this one quite hard to play live with the emotions it stirs up. Part of the idea for this record was bring a lot of my friends to guest on songs with a chap called Stuart Moore who played the violin on this. That really brought it to life and brought an extra emotional feel to it.

Hard Right In My Dreams
I referenced George Harrison earlier and this was very Beatles like in my head when I wrote it, particularly the guitar parts with a bit of a Bowie vibe mixed in. A bit like Set Your Heart For The Sun in that I was quite unsure about it, but everyone who’s heard the album keeps asking me why I didn’t track this at 2 or 3 as they’re really digging it. I love records that close on a really strong tune and this has a feel to it here it makes you want to hear more I think, a good bookend but leaves a bit of a question mark. It’ll be tricky to play live as there are 4 or 5 guitar harmonies in it… I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll put the CD on, press play and fuck off for 5 minutes to the bar for a drink as Neil Young doesn’t use a loop pedal, so why the fuck should I?!

Jack J Hutchinson Talking To Wes About Paint No Fiction

Fabrizio Grossi Talking Music Friends and Californisoul

Fabrizio Grossi Talking Music Friends and CalifornisoulIn Conversation with Bluesdoodles

Fabrizio Grossi Talking About Music Friends and Californisoul




BD: I was delighted when Mascot Label Group sent me a review copy of your new album Californisoul and the opportunity to find out you the band, influences and lots more. Before we talk about Californisoul and the band lets rewind to your early days

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Italy?
My Family was not a musical family. Not much excitement musically in Italy in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Italy was traumatized due to the lost years due to terrorism. The bands I liked did not come to Italy so had to travel to France or Switzerland to see rock music live. My Mum did like music on the radio. The first 45 rpm record I was given two music records Beatles Ob La Di and Rolling Stones the kind of music being played on the radio. I have always been attracted to black music, I couldn’t understand the words as I had no English but felt it I was exposed to the music and did not realise that until recently. My Biological Mum died when I was ten and went to live with an Aunt. My Mum did love music and that was where I was first exposed to guitar driven music.  I was into the Beatles they are still my favourite band. There are a bunch of other bands that I love especially English Bands like Pink Floyd, T. Rex; and Procol Harum. When I first heard AC/DC and Queen it was like WOW! It was a shock I remember. I also loved old style black music and Motown like Marvin Gaye. I came to the UK in 1993, it was common for children to stay with family, the older cousins took me to Castle Donington it was my first encounter with a large festival seeing Whitesnake with Bernie Marsden. It was amazing I was moved as the whole park was muddy and loud then the change in atmosphere with Ain’t No Love in the Heart of The City as we all became chilled. It was a supreme moment. The first seed was planted that I wanted to be a musician. It was the impact of how one song changed the mood of thousands of people a few months later I saw the last concert of Queen played in Madrid. I walked out I knew what I wanted to be.

BD: What made you decide on the playing the Bass guitar?
FG: I started off playing the guitar when in junior high in Milan. My Uncle wanted me to play the piano. The guys on T.V were playing the guitars all the kids wanted to play the guitar. I moved back to Milan in high school I played in a couple of bands with friends. Most of us wanted to play the guitar. I had a cheap electric guitar to keep up with my friends. I was the worst guitar player so they said you should play bass. I was told it was like a guitar but with only 4 strings. I gave up the guitar, I was getting ahead playing the bass.

BD: How would you define the Blues yourself and the Supersonic Blues Machine?
FG: Wow! That is a question! Firstly, blues is a style of music, an attitude with a legacy. Artists playing the blues have to be present in the music putting in a sense of the history, blues man is not because you play the guitar. Blues is real music from the heart express music as a documentary of a story; it is a state of mind. Blues is American and is the Yin to Country music Yang. Both out of the same place in the USA country for white folk and blues for black folk. Blues allows for great interaction on an artistic level. Blues are the cultural lament of black people up to the fifties and sixties. With the rise of the civil rights, movement times changed. I feel that at the end of the day we are all human feeling the same things, want better relationships, whatever our birth, race or heritage. Blues has spread to a wider audience with the British explosion, Brian Jones, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Greg Allman and others a hundred years since the inception the blues is being played, Blues is music being played from the heart.

BD: At the heart of Supersonic Blues Machine is a trio yourself, Lance Lopez and Kenny Aronoff. How did you get together? On this and your debut album, you had guests what is the deciding factor in choosing them?
FG: We are part of a music community full of musicians who are friends. We did not want to be restricted by the  ‘boss’ to be more open. We have played at festivals including Hells Fest and Ramblin’ Man. Many people buy tickets a year in advance they go for a day or more to be surrounded by good people, friends and good music the festivals have established their credentials as the place to go and hear some bad-ass music. The principle behind the band is we will be touring playing like a jam band from ‘70’s playing the music we liked.  Played through 1996/97 and then 2001 birth of my daughter, I wanted to be around so she remembered she had a Dad. Being on the road was not for me and started to do lots of studio work.  Kenny and I became good friends in the studio playing together continuing the jamming experience. I was really busy with the band Starbreakers, and working with Toto one of the best bands around, Steve Vai and more which is why in music we are one big family of friends. Then Billy Gibbons called me one night asked me what I was doing as he was in town. He had an idea for a song which we are trying to put together for a whiskey commercial I have a great idea for a song and would like to co-write it with me so I said Yes! End of the day working together we had the song Running Whiskey from our first record. Then Billy’s manager called some good and bad news. Good news can clear the song but bad news can’t use for the advert. So we needed to find a home for this song – write more songs and start a band and that is what I did and Supersonic talked with Warren Haynes after the show. So said Gibbons was involved and Warren said yea what is going on.  So explained looking to play very loose as the end ‘60’s troubadour. Sounds fantastic count me in and here was the second recruit… So the musicians involved kept evolving so it was a group of friends that wanted to get involved. The core of the band is the three of us with the guests’ involvement very casual, the aim to create exciting music.  The first album West Of Flushing South Of Frisco, I was surprised how well it was received, we were delighted with the album created interest and a buzz. The project involves lots of friends, so we cannot do as many live shows when we do they are fun.  The idea is to have a Grateful Dead approach adding our friends to play some of their songs as well. What we want is people to experience a fun vibe a fresh approach free and not so structured.

BD: The title of your latest album Californisoul is interesting how did it come about? And is there any particular meaning to the word you have created?
FG: California is not just a State of USA. California is an attitude state of mind, a way of life, a sound and feel. A philosophy living California Style. The album is capturing the music we grew up on in the ‘60’s & ‘70’s. Mama & Papa’s, Janis Joplin, Santana. Jimi Hendrix, BB King etc… played on the radio. The big blues, soul sound of the past all that music surrounding the summer of love is tangible throughout the Cali spirit/soul. Radio had a big impact as always driving around the state everyone embraces that feel. We are like a family both Robben Ford and Steve Lukather are from California   Lots of the songs came out of my vault some that didn’t make West Of Flushing they were all looking for a common thread a Californisoul was the place they belonged.  The songs, lyrics and sound of the late sixties & seventies are still applicable for today. Standards have not moved forward despite lots of technology humanity has not moved forward, we still have the same issues wars, not Vietnam but around the world, problems with racism, poverty, social problems and ecological disasters. So the name is capturing the sound and philosophy we are addressing.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Californisoul Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?
FG:  Songs are important it is why we like these songs. It is essential to produce real art, real music, real lyrics found in all the best art/culture and movies the times dictate the issues that art is addressing.

When I write I don’t have an inner alarm clock the songs come to me from other lyrics, experiences and improvising with friends. Many of the tracks have been sitting waiting for this album.  The album embraces message from back in the day those being delivered by Bob Marley/John Lennon. Pretty much wanted to record an album that was the ideal soundtrack for a road trip.  The lyrics and the melodies as very natural and organic and pull out what we want to capture on Californisoul.

BD: I am sure you have many plans for 2018 and beyond for the band do you plan to tour UK and Europe?
FG: We are planning to do shows in 2018. Whenever we have the opportunity to take Supersonic Blues Machine out we will. Playing live is fun and we love to jam and create the vibe that is fun for audiences.


Fabrizio Grossi Talking Music Friends and Californisoul


Album Review of Claifornisoul HERE

Stevie Westwood Talking About Bad Touch Headline Tour

Stevie Westwood Talking About Bad Touch Headline Tour

Stevie Westwood Talking About Bad Touch Headline Tour



BD: Thank you for taking time to talk to Bluesdoodles again before you head out on a headline tour with Mollie Marriott, Celebrating the tour you have just released a video with the download available from Monday 23rd October.  The number Baby Get It On sounds fab love the inclusion of Mollie’s vocals.  Let’s start off with how did you decide on this Tina Turner Classic?
SW: We wanted a new number to promote the tour for our first headline tour. Delighted to have the amazing Mollie Marriott as our special guest real privilege she has such an amazing voice. Seeks our guitarist said let’s try this one and he had a cracking arrangement. We demoed it and recorded the number and sent it to Mollie. Mollie liked it as so she came up to the studio and we recorded the video. The whole this was a quick turnaround from Seeks first suggesting Baby Get It On and then half day in the studio recording the number.



BD: Bad Touch has been touring with some great acts including King King and recently Kentucky Headhunters how does it feel to be Headliners?

SW:  Headlining, yes feel bizarre weird place excited nervous, a good nervous will give chance for fans a chance to come out and support us. We are planning to get everyone who has seen us play live out the nights will be good value for money. Good times to be had. The support from Mollie will be immense. So we are asking everyone who has heard a radio play or seen us supporting some amazing acts, come out and support live music.  We have as everyone keeps saying come a long way in a relatively short time we just now have to keep moving forward.
BD: How do you keep the music contemporary when the influences are clearly out of the 1970’s, that bluesy Southern Rock sound. How do you manage not to be a retro band, but one with a relevance for audiences here and now despite being compared to Black Crowes and others?

SW: Ha! Yes, we do keep getting compared to bands of the ‘70’s. We didn’t go out to do that. Yes, we are all fans of many bands from Lynyrd Skynyrd through to Led Zeppelin. The music we write is what we want to write the music we want to play to audiences. We are also influenced by contemporary bands, including Temperance Movement, The Answer, Rival Sons and Blackberry Smoke. Listening and absorbing music from a variety of bands keeps our finger on the pulse. The truth is Bad Touch sound is the one we have shaped by all the members of the band.  You have to keep going nowadays, writing the music you want to write, Bad Touch are creating a sound that is getting us heard.
BD: Your album Truth Be Told was out last year and has gained you lots of fans with radio airplay. Will we be hearing some new music in the Headline set list?

SW:  Yes thanks to stations like Planet Rock for the support. We have four new songs that will probably be on the new album which we are planning to release in the first half of 2018. It is good to play them live, can see what people think. How audience reacts to them and keeps the set list fresh.  So yes there will be some new music on the set list every night we play.

Check out Tour Venues, Dates and a click away from buying your Ticket  HERE

BD: For people who have missed out on seeing Bad Touch Live how would you describe your sound and live performance. What makes Bad Touch the band to see in 2017.
SW:  Mmmm… honestly that is hard to answer.  None of us has seen ourselves play live or reviewed our shows! What I can say is we play to make people feel good about themselves. We are a feel good Rock N’ Roll Band. We aim to break down the space between band and audiences we want to create that one good party feel. You have reviewed us what do you say?

BD: Ha! That is cheating turning the tables. Yes, feel good music that makes you smile. You certainly are a high energy performers that raise the temperature of any venue.
SW: Glad you have enjoyed the show.

BD: Stevie, you are the vocalist and frontman of Bad Touch share with our readers how you interact with the band.  From your performance on stage, it always appears that you are having fun.
SW:  Truthfully why would we be doing this, playing in a band, if we were not having fun? Without being too pessimistic it is certainly not for the money! As a band, we look at it as we are all brothers together. We all communicate on stage I find a raised eyebrow works well along with a quick word in ears. We do talk to each other between numbers. The fun is doing the numbers different to the studio version, keeping it fresh reacting to the audience building a conversation between the band and the audiences.

BD: Having seen you play live a few times, you always include a couple of covers how do you choose them. Also, will the new single Baby Get It On make an appearance in the forthcoming tour?
SW: Mmm…. playing number live, the stage could be cramped come to a show and find out. Would be fun Mollie is such a great singer full of talent. So may make an appearance. We always have a couple covers up our sleeves, audiences know these songs which is great if it is the first time they are seeing us live, Secondly used to feel up the time of the set if we have run ahead of ourselves, in fact, that is generally the reason why we add them into the set.

BD: The world of music is tough. Bad Touch seems to have an upward trajectory getting your music heard is a challenge and you have had lots of Radio Plays from the album. What impact both positive and negative is of downloads and streaming services such as YouTube, Sound Cloud, Spotify for Bad Touch’s music and getting the sound heard to a wide audience?
Music business is tough. Thank you, we like to think we are moving upwards long may that continue. I am old fashioned I like to buy the CD. I like building my collection and being able to browse and choose what I am going to play. I cherish what I have bought.  That said I am definitely not poo pooing anyone who listens to their music using streaming services. That said though I do feel that there has been a huge devaluation in the value of music now have the ability to have what you want without paying(or only paying minimal amount) for it. It is very hard, don’t know really we use YouTube and Sound Cloud for our music and it is a way to find music. I do though believe that streaming stops people from having to pay for music if you pay you put more value on the music you are listening to. BD: Read recently that people only listen to few seconds of intro before trying another track. SW: Yes, attention spans are now so short need to catch people attention in first few seconds or they move on. Technology is both amazing and scary everything is available in the instant which definitely has positives and negatives. I still like having my CD’s on a shelf they are always available even when Wi-Fi is down.

 BD: What other plans and excitements have you got planned for 2018 following a very busy 2017?

SW: Taking it as it comes. First priority is the new album follow-up to Truth Be Told. Bookings for 2018 are coming in so we will be keeping getting out there performing in front of audiences.
BD: What was the first album you bought and what is the most recent?

SW: Big Willie Style – Will Smith Like an Arrow by Blackberry Smoke
BD: We asked you your fantasy band when we talked last year so what are you listening to at the moment; whether on the tour bus or relaxing?

SW: Everything and anything. When out on tour we all bring the music we are listening to. We talk about it what we like about it.  All that we listen to sculpt the Bad Touch sound as we get down and write new stuff together. Currently, we have been listening to lots of Country having been on Tour with Kentucky Headhunters. Some great music out there to be discovered.

Bad Touch are:

Stevie Westwood
Rob Glendinning
Daniel ‘Seeks’ Seeking
George Dewry
Michael Bailey

BD: Once again thanks for your time and looking forward to seeing you with Bad Touch and Mollie Marriott at The Tunnels, Bristol