Dan Patlansky Guitar and Vocals asks if Perfection Kills

Perfection Kills as We Talk to Dan Patlansky

Raw, authentic hot guitar like molten fire pouring around the mould created by lyrics that captivate. No-one needs to seek perfection under the aural hug of Dan Patlansky’s latest album Perfection Kills. Following on from a pair of critically acclaimed albums Dear Silence Thieves & Introvertigo; Dan needs no introduction. We have come to expect a guitar sound that stings and vocals that are a beguiling mix of melodic rock and deep down dirty as the vocals are spat out or become a melodic ballad. Then there is the third element, those deep dark slow blues that melt the Strat’s six-strings. If Perfection Kills as Dan suggests I say throw away the quest sit back and let the latest album wash away the day’s demands with the tracks that will delight from the first to the last note.

The opening phrasing of Johnny is gently melodic building with a crescendo that announces the mighty guitar of Dan Patlansky in the room. Followed by our first hit of vocals spat out by Dan’s distinctive vocalization, gruff, clear and melodic always in total control. Dan controls the number by stunning licks and vocals that just demand your attention. The first thing you notice is the warmth of tone it has a texture and tone that is vibrant, organic and a living being that Dan has shaped through his production of the album. Halfway through Johnny, the guitar is sharp stinging with Satriani inspired imploring as the six strings are made to sing with a melodic purity. Johnny’s challenging upbringing comes to the fore as the guitar tone and lyrical intensity ebbs and flows. Johnny has controlled volatility, summing up Dan’s amazing approach to Blues-Rock.

Like the last two albums, there is no title track, but a loose thematic flowing through the structure of the album. The theme being explored is our perpetual goal of finding perfection, in relationships, the work we do, and how we project ourselves through social media. As Dan says, Perfection Kills. The relentless pursuit of perfection always just around the next corner is slowly destroying the artistry within us all as humans. Captured in Never Long Enough; how time is catching up with us and the next departure is always too soon.

Slowing the tempo down with slow melodic blues. Mayday with the vocals softer, yearning drenched in a feeling of regret.  We are on a whirligig of daily demands as the refrain of the title over and over. Building the tension, the rush, and then the guitar cools the frenzy down. Focusing on the important things in life love, anger and frustration spills over into the guitar on Too Far Gone. A despairing wildness in the delivery of the vocals.  The question being asked can we turn the clock back and be more caring about the environment and can mankind be kinder, fairer and less stupid. The lead breaks have glimmers of hope with a cascade of notes combine with a harder edge questioning if we have any hope of taking this positive view.  Once again guitar and vocals add tonal layering to the lyrics adding more this is music to be heard, enjoyed and listened to. Not analysis for perfection but gaining a clear understanding of the question the album asks from the album cover to the last notes of Dog Day.

On Introvertigo, there was Queen Puree to his daughter. Now we have a song for My Dear Boy – his son and allows him to imagine with freedom and a sense of positivity as he imagines the life of his dear boy. The lyrics sit on top of stinging guitar coloured electric blue as the strat delivers the notes that make this outpouring of love and hopefulness into a melodic song that will leave live audiences demanding more.

Unusually the first single from the album is the final track and Dog Day hard-edged rocking your socks off with its booming bass line and once again Dan is challenging the stress we create that is, in reality, a first world problem. Self-absorbing, making us run faster-seeking something that cannot be defined. Yes as Dan Patlansky says Perfection Kills defining the sound and approach on his latest album. Dan may say Perfection Kills – one thing for certain very track is a Killer and who cares about perfection? We love the tone, texture, feel and organic energy captured by voice and guitar that define Dan Patlansky on every track he plays. Blues that definitely rocks perfection of its pedestal.

Dan Patlansky Guitar and Vocals asks if Perfection Kills

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Johnny
  2. Never Long Enough
  3. Mayday
  4. Too Far Gone
  5. Judge a Man
  6. Junket Man
  7. Eyes
  8. Shake The Cage
  9. My Dear Boy
  10. Dog Day

Dan Patlansky chatted to Liz about making the album, the repair on Old Red and more check out what was said:-

Perfection Kills as We Talk to Dan Patlansky

 

 

Dan Patlansky Guitar and Vocals asks if Perfection Kills

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

Perfection Kills as We Talk to Dan Patlansky

Perfection Kills as We Talk to Dan PatlanskyPerfection Kills as We Talk to Dan Patlansky: 2018 already looks massive with exciting new albums, tours and more. Music rules 2018 that is a certainty. Kickstarting 2018 with his new album Perfection Kills, Dan Patlansky is smoking hot as he follows up his critically acclaimed 2016 album Introvertigo.

BD: Thank you once again for taking time out to chat to Bluesdoodles from South Africa. I was so disappointed not to have been able to catch up with you in Bristol when the Joanne Shaw Taylor show you were the special guest of was re-scheduled as she was not well. That said New Year, New Album and back touring England in March.

 

BD: When we last chatted we talked about the rebuilding of Old Red. How did the face-lift go and does the guitar feature on Perfection Kills?

DP: It does appear on Perfection Kills and the facelift went really well. I found a vintage neck to use so that was a great start. For the first few shows, it felt different but now feels and sounds right, and is on the whole of Perfection Kills and feels like home now. Old Red has been played for the last twenty years and time was having its effect. When over in the UK last April, Ash Wilson was opening the shows. He loved the sound of the guitar and at the soundcheck at The Globe in Cardiff, he asked if he could have a play. So I said yes, he picked it up and said wow how do you play, this guitar is impossible to play. I have got used to the imperfections and adapted either way I play. Ash said, take my guitar with a straight neck. I then realised how hard it was to play, at that point it was a no-brainer to have Old Red refurbished BD: So you adjusted like we all do when something is worn like the temperature guide on your cooker, it is not until someone else points it out you realise there is a problem DP: Yes, just like that the changes happen gradually and you adapt to the little flaws and I have adapted over time as the neck twisted. The new neck is easier to play, easier on my hands now I do not have to work quite so hard.

Perfection Kills as We Talk to Dan PatlanskyBD: Ten new tracks, before we talk about the inspiration behind them what is behind the Title Perfection Kills and the artwork of the Album cover with its dark, retro feel?

DP: Well I do like the thing of the dark laughing. The album cover is a representation of the title, Perfection Kills. There is no such thing as perfection in art. There is no yardstick to measure any art form against. By trying to obtain perfection the music is over polished. Polishing out the imperfections, rawness of sound the live organic feel. That is why I decided to produce this album myself.  The producer of Introvertigo and other albums, Theo Crous will always be my mentor. The concept of Perfection Kills called for this new approach.

The cover reflects that I have always been a massive Pink Floyd fan, their album covers are my favourites. This album cover is supposed to be intriguing going outside of music and arts with a family and the vibe being killed. The mum is turning into a plastic mannequin, the girl cannot breathe in the atmosphere being created and Dad may look complacent in fact he has given up living every hour as it comes.

BD: You have recorded the album in Scherzo Production, what prompted this choice other than it being based in your hometown?

DP: Having recorded both Dear Silence Thieves & Introvertigo at Theo’s studio, I had a clear picture of the sound I wanted. It wasn’t going to be achieved in a traditional, very clinical studio with a sound deadened room. The studio that would work for me happened to be close to where I lived. The recording space sounded like a living room with a natural sound the wooden walls made the sound like playing live especially the drum and guitar sound not just close to the mic in a sterile space.  Also, it was fantastic coming home at the end of the day rather than in another hotel room.  I could come home and sleep on it, still many sleepless nights, over what is working, why other parts are not working what needs to be changed to make it good. Sleepless nights at home are definitely better than in a sterile hotel room.

 BD: The first single from the album Dog Day has been receiving airplay ramping up attention for the album and getting the fans excited. How and why did you choose the number that closes the album to be the first out of the traps in the public sphere?

DP: I didn’t choose Dog Day, I initially thought Johnny would be a better single. I am happy with the choice made by my team here in South Africa and U.K that this was the first single. In fact, I just popped Dog Day on last without any thought. It was not my decision, not unhappy as that is why I pay people to make these decisions. In fact, it is perfect that Dog Day is the last track on the album – people will listen to the whole album before hearing what has become familiar the first single Dog Day.

BD: The songs are impactive with many tones and textures and wide-ranging topics covered reflecting the modern world bringing a darker side to the lyrics on tracks such as Too Far Gone, Mayday and even iEyes.  Many of your songs are about stepping out of our and your comfort zone does the guitar playing help you reach those tricky places.

DP: Playing guitar is comfortable, it is my security blanket. I am more confident playing the guitar. My approach to creating the album is about embracing change and taking risks with change speaks to the picture-taking and embracing change. It was a high risk, high reward strategy, I closed my eyes and just hoped that it would turn out successful and as I had imagined it.

BD: iEyes subject makes it a crossover number with many younger people who are getting disillusioned with Social Media?

DP: Yes, we are all entranced with our phones and pads. The inspiration goes back to when I looked up while I was playing to a sold-out gig in London a couple of years ago I saw that 90% were watching the live music they had paid to see and hear was being viewed through the back of a phone as they were filming it. I fail at times, as I am just as guilty spending too much time on the phone. We need quality interaction with people and music not just through our phones.

 BD: On Introvertigo, you had a song dedicated to your daughter, Queen Purree now we have My Dear Boy for your son Jack.

DP: I felt it was a little bit unfair just for my girl to have a song. My wife was pregnant with him while recording the album so felt very relevant topic to write about for the album absolutely had to be on the album. It is gentle and bit more melodic as if speaking to him. Now I have got to know him it suits his personality.

BD: What tracks will you be taking on the road with you when touring England in March.  I know many of your fans will be disappointed that you haven’t fitted in Scotland and Wales. Touring is addressed in Junket Man, how do you plan where to visit when you visit the U.K?

DP:  I don’t plan, I get given the tour by my booking agent/promoter. I was disappointed no Cardiff or Glasgow dates, I know fans will be disappointed. Will only decide the tracks to be played live after rehearsing them with the band along with a couple of shows in South Africa will have a better indication of which tracks. All of the tracks on Perfection Kills should work live so hopefully all of them will appear on the set list.  For the UK tour I will have the German band I toured with it works better logistically they drive the van across and pick me up at Heathrow and the tour begins. This time we start in Bahrain & Dubai so while in the Middle East will have couple days to rehearse the new material and the shows to warm us up before UK tour starting in Manchester.

BD:  Thank you, Dan, for once again taking time to talk to me and sharing your thoughts on the new album, touring and more. Be fantastic to hear the new music played live and loud in 2018.

Perfection Kills as We Talk to Dan Patlansky

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

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?
SW:
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

 

High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Read Bluesdoodles Reviews for JW Jones:-

High Temperature –  Review HERE

Beaumont Boulevard –  Review HERE

JW Jones Live in the U.K. HERE

JW Jones 2017 UK Tour Information HERE

 

High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

 

 

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

 

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A Thousand Horses In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

 

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Conversation with Living Legend Wilko Johnson

Danny Core Shouts About Broken Witt Rebels Music

Danny Core Shouts About Broken Witt Rebels MusicBD: I was delighted when I listened to Georgia Pine for the first time I was instantly excited by the music. The EP had an energy and freshness and makes me just want to get to hear the band live.

Before we talk about touring and the album Broken Witt Rebels is a new band for many so Bluesdoodles readers would be interested in getting to know you

BD: Let start with your first musical influences growing up in Birmingham?
DC:
We all listened to the music of the nineties, Brit Pop including Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene Danny Core Shouts About Broken Witt Rebels Musicwho were from Birmingham. There are so many bands from the Midlands that have influenced us and who we admire from Sabbath through to UB40 via Zeppelin and Duran Duran.  We have definitely been inspired by early Rolling Stones, The Doors, both variants of Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green era and Stevie Nicks.

I began picking up the guitar and playing along to Oasis. I then started to play rhythm chords, etc. I am great at one of them you decide. No seriously, I am a chord monkey on the guitar I leave the rest to James. Having given him the foundation, I underpin him with some great chords.

BD: Genres have become fixed putting musicians into categories how do you define your music.

DC: http://www.brokenwittrebels.comBroken Witt Rebels are a mix of everything Rock with soul and blues. My vocals have a soulful tone we are a super-mix of greatness crossing genres, Whatever we play pop or rock or blues we will be the best.

BD: Well you certainly have musical drive a powerhouse Joe Cocker Midlands Rock!

DC: Like that.

BD: Tell us about the formation of the band and the roles you all play in developing the BWR sound especially your distinctive vocals which have a growl and also twists to empathise with the lyrics…

DC: We work together we all contribute equally. The start of a new track could be guitar lick from James or a crazy drum roll and we go with that. Luke may lay down a great bass line or I may mumble a phrase and we go with that. We build from each other as we jam out in the practice room. I have a good voice, we are all striving to reach the point where we are masters of our instruments. We are all good musicians, good friends all creating a high profile sound. It is the collective effort that creates the BWR sound. Our philosophy is whatever is for the greatest good of the band. We try to play for each other, building on strengths and so often we have realised less is often more. No-one is on a personal ego drive, we are all on the same wavelength.

We do not as a band try to be clever. BWR is not about haircuts, tossing hair around the stage or widdly show-off guitar. It is about the music that we want to connect with the audiences. Yes, I am the front man as the vocalist. The band will not let me become above the rest we are only interested in doing our music as a collective. It is about the four of us owning our music. I will never be the enforcer, head of the band we are together Broken Witt Rebels.

BD: Having reviewed the EP Georgia Pine, tell us about inspiration behind the name and selection of the five tracks

DC: The name of the EP comes from an old stoner reference ‘As high as Georgia Pine’. The starting point was a picture Luke took in Florida of Georgia Pine. James had a guitar lick and I said Sweet Georgia Pine and it worked. I explored the phrase and realised that it was what we wanted to do musically to be the highest trees on the circuit.

Choosing the five tracks was about creating a short-list from a number we had. With an EP you can continually develop and re-invent as you can hear when we play live and on the vinyl that is now available. The tracks worked well together and the two singles got airplay including Planet Rock.

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

DC: Lyrics happen, when I practice I mumble things, sing melody and lines from top of my head. When I replay something always stands out then using that to write about my life or something that is happening in the band or something I connect with. I do not sit down and write a song as you would a poem. It is quite fluid, happens from a phrase or word and grows from that point.

 BD: I am sure you have many plans for 2017 and beyond for Broken Witt Rebels following on from the excitement of 2016 festivals and recognition as Best Rock Act – 1st Unsigned Music Awards.

DC: We are starting the year off picking back up supporting King King and into the mix is opening for local blues guitarist Joanne Shaw Taylor and then our headlining Roadstar tour with Bad Touch. Through March and April playing across England, with visits to Scotland and Wales. The combination of opening for bands and then a tour will reinforce and expand our fan base.

One thing for sure is we are hungry to play our music, get noticed. We want to be a success, to be remembered we are not looking for fifteen minutes of fame then fade away.

We want to be the best band in the world, recognised for our great music, fantastic shows slaying everyone down with our music. We want a career, to make ourselves and our families proud we are aiming for sold out world tours. Danny, misquoting (Bette Davies. “oh Jerry, don’t ask for the moon. We Have the stars” – Now Voyager) but very apt we are aiming for the moon because then we will fall in with the stars – suits this ambitious young band that are determined to be heard.

2017 we definitely need a new album, not to have one would be a massive missed opportunity. We have the material we are ready to go. BWR fans will definitely see us playing in as many towns as possible across UK as well as playing Europe and hopefully dipping our toes into USA.  Musn’t forget we are playing up a mountain in Wales at The Steelhouse Festival which will be fun. 

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
DC:  Well let me think? It would be ……..

Drums: James Dudley
Bass: Luke Davies
Guitar: James Tranter
Vocals: (laughing ) Me!!!
Yes, I could think of the legends but that what they are from the past we are the future.

When asked about what music he is currently listening to the response was Georgia Pine, Demo’s new Broken Witt Rebels music I do not have time for anything else. It is all about our music making it the best we are hungry for recognition through music that is great and to be instantly recognised as Broken Witt Rebels.

Danny Core Shouts About Broken Witt Rebels Music

Keep checking the website for tour dates. Broken Witt Rebels

 Watch this space Broken Witt Rebels will be playing music for you in a town near you very soon.

 

BD: What a fun interview these are four young men with the determination and drive to make it in the music industry as they say they are hungry not for fame they want to be recognised instantly be their brand of rocking blues filled with soul.

 Danny Core Shouts About Broken Witt Rebels Music