LaVendore Rogue Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

LaVendore Rogue Talks about 2017 Blues ChallengeLaVendore Rogue Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

LaVendore Rogue Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge



BD: firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 4th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.

LVR: It’s our pleasure – we’re thrilled to have been put forward for the competition!

BD: 2017, sees the fourth UK British Blues Challenge.  This year the UKBlues Federation are “Bringing The Blues back to The cavern 60 years on..” Tell us what it means to LaVendore Rogue to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

LVR: We’ve been to hell and back a few times over the years, and playing in the states has to be a dream of any UK musician, so it’s an honour to be considered for the UK British Blues Challenge – we’ve been working hard over the last few years, and it’s great to see its been recognised by the UK Blues Federation.

BD: What are the Blues to LaVendore Rogue? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?

LVR: A lot of the biggest British Bands in history started off playing Blues but took it somewhere else. Just look at The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin.  Nowadays, it seems a lot of UK acts lean towards the heavier Blues Rock side of things, which is perhaps reflective of the US artists who took their influence from the 60’s Blues Boom. Whereas in Mainland Europe there is real wide variety of artists such as the Dawn Brothers or Daniel Norgren who are doing something different, but still with its roots in the blues. Obviously the US is where it all began and it’s good to see that despite the influx of “Blues Rock”, they are still producing artists who take their influences from early American Music, people like Blind Boy Paxton or the Carolina Chocolate Drops and even Mud Morganfield.

LaVendore Rogue Talks about 2017 Blues ChallengeBD: Your latest album is A Night In The North, LaVendore Rogue live in a Blues club; tell us a bit about your album and the reaction your interpretation of blues is received by audiences?

LVR: We recorded the album at Sedgefield Rock & Blues Club in January. We didn’t plan on doing so, until 10 minutes before show time, and we’re all really pleased with the result. Joel mixed and mastered the album, and we feel it’s the best thing we’ve done to date. Certainly the most honest.

We were keen to include a cross-section of everything that’s influenced us and that we’ve done, so the album goes from pre-war Blues (“Oh Death” by Charley Patton) to the 60’s British Blues Boom (“Get Off Of My Cloud”, by The Rolling Stones) and includes several Hokie Joint songs too (“Chocolate Cake”, “The Way It Goes…Sometimes”). Oh and obviously there’s some LaVendore Rogue material in there as well. To keep things fresh, there’s also a couple of new songs on the album too.

When we first started as LaVendore Rogue, the reception was mixed, although people generally either love us or hate us. However we’ve worked hard to put together a set that will appeal to lots of people, including ourselves. Songs such as “Chocolate Cake” and “Oh Death” always seem to receive a fantastic reaction, so we’re obviously doing something right when it comes to honouring The Blues.

In our opinion, a lot of the British Blues Scene is leaning more towards rock music more than Blues and songwriting has been replaced with too many guitar solos. Although is good to see a broad spectrum of the blues taking part in the UK challenge.

However our focus is on songwriting and using a song as a way to tell story. At the end of the day, 99% of people go home from a gig singing a chorus, not a guitar solo.

BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to the UK Blues what would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?

LVR: It’s very difficult for a band to gain much profile without a fairly large budget. We feel there are a lot of great undiscovered bands on the British Blues scene that aren’t getting the attention they deserve for one reason or another. In fact, many are far more interesting that some of the bands that are at the top of the ladder. As artists in our thirties we hope to playing for another thirty and perhaps the Blues Federation could play a pivotal role in bringing the blues to a younger generation, perhaps through schools workshops or through making connections in Universities.

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

LVR: That’s a tough one…we all have very different tastes in music, in many different genres, so the result could be somewhat catastrophic!

BD: The band they would create is left to our imagination. Thank you for your time. The challenge at The Cavern on 10th September will be an amazing night of live music as we hear the five bands – LaVendore RogueElles BaileyZoe Schwarz Blue Commotion The Rainbreakers and the winner of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned to be decided at the 2017 Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival at Colne. Buy Your ticket here and be part of a great night HERE.

LaVendore Rogue Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

La Vendore Rogue Live Album A Night In The North

La Vendore Rogue Live Album A Night In The North

La Vendore Rogue Live Album A Night In The North

What a winning and charismatic formula,  LaVendore Rogue captured live to be enjoyed in your front room. Turn the lights down low, the volume up to eleven and step aboard to immerse yourself in A Night In The North. Once again the quintet delivers music that is enthralling delving into the darkness with rocking majesty. Music that intrigues and refuses to be caught on a single genre coat peg this is inventive using the skills of every member of the band. Before getting down to the set-list of ten tracks, here is an introduction to the band, done by JoJo himself on the album. Upfront full of dramatic phrasing and vocal turns is JoJo Burgess; Joel Fisk brings in licks and riffs and tonal treats on his guitar combining his chords with those of Warren Lynn on the keys.  The flourishes of tonal delights continues deep into the rhythm section Rob ‘Tank’ Barry on Bass and the sticks of Stephen “Cupsey” Cutmore on the drums. That’s the personnel introduced now for the reason we all loved Hokie Joint and now LaVendore rogue, the wealth of music that mixes blues with good old rock n roll where the Rolling Stones collides with Charlie Patton.

Opening with Deadman’s Chest, from their debut album Light Up With. JoJo’s vocals are distinctive warm and he articulates every word adding dramatic emotions as the story unfolds with a bottle of rum and the harmonizing on the live version adding in intensity as the keys pull the cascade of sound that assaults you. We are now hooked in by the music.  Into the mix are two more tracks from the debut album, Honey Murder and A.S.A.D. Live these two tracks work so very well, the shredding of the six-strings by Joel imploring and demanding attention this is controlled playing with the guitar talking to you and then the deep velvet vocals this is a story that is full of Gothic intrigue.  On A.S. A.D is where Warren’s superb playing on the Hammond & Keyboard comes to the fore with an opening that has a fervor, JoJo’s vocals are quieter, sad reflective as he builds the debate about drugs and the power of money and then there is a death and the message changes what a powerful track redolent of so much in the news today.

Two survivors tonight of the Hokie Joint days is Chocolate Cake, as moist and tasty as any triple chocolate cake it is the equivalent of a calorific sugar overload in musical terms.  The number makes the transformation it is delicious displaying the prowess of their mercurial drummer at the back Steve Cutmore. The second is The Way It Goes….Sometimes with Joel’s guitar building the tension with judicious use of feedback and ripping chords that Warren picks up. This is popular music rock that rolls with the beat, never pure blues but has a magical air that connects us back to the days of the Delta, as  demonstrated by the inclusion of Charlie Patton’s Oh Death between these numbers.  Joel gives Charlie’s music a freshness and the lyrics re-interpreted and shaped around the velvet tongue of JoJo. Blues forever adaptable and the beat and rhythms remain strong and true.

The tracks so far are familiar is there something new on the album Oh! Yes there is! The Chemist, with a fresh melodic beat and a story that unfolds as ever with one of their original lyrics, as we met the industrial chemistry.  The number demonstrates the chemistry between the whole band with a Jaggeresque/Rolling Stones vibe this is the one-hundred percent LaVendore Rogue sound, layers of complexity an aural maze that enchants whether the guitar passion from Joel or the chords of the keys or the deep bass from Rob.  This is a band playing music they want to share. The second new number is Hikkomori which is Japanese for reclusive adolescents or adults who withdraw from social like.  Another darker subject, reflecting today’s complex society. The music is the opposite, bright, open and engaged, love the stick clicking from Stephen a clever sound that adds texture and interest during another superlative guitar solo from Joel.

The last two numbers bring us back to the familiar the second cover this time Rolling Stones, Get Off Of My Cloud pure energetic fun and then closing out we re-visit the debut album with Siesta Resistance about staying up all night and drinking perfect for the blues club the album was recorded at. Throughout the album the applause is warm and the audience appreciate the unique creativity that is La Vendore Rogue the band that understands how to entertain you. Definitely a keeper La Vendore Rogue Live Album A Night In The North.

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Dead Man’s Chest
  2. Honey Murder
  3. Chocolate Cake
  4. Oh Death
  5. The Way It Goes….Sometimes
  6. A.S.A.D.
  7. The Chemist
  8. Hikikomori
  9. Get Off My Cloud
  10. Siesta Resistance

La Vendore Rogue Live Album A Night In The North

LaVendore Rogue Darkening The Live Stage

LaVendore Rogue Darkening The Convent's StageLaVendore Rogue Darkening The Live Stage

The Quintet delivered music it is enthralling and delves into the darkness with rocking majesty. At the heart of LaVendore Rogue is the soul of Hokie Joint the band that always defied pigeon-holing. Up-front JoJo Burgess, with a vocal range and texture dexterity that defies comparison he delivers the lyrics with style, cynicism and more than a hint of menace. Joining him from Hokie is the guitarist Joel Fisk whose licks, slide and ability to make the guitar howl in answer to JoJo always adding that little bit extra. The third and definitely not the least at the back is Stephen ‘Cupsie’ Cutmore on drums picking up the beat from dark and hidden places and shining the light onto the rhythm that like a strobe light pierces the melody seeking attention as Rob “Tank” Barry picks up the bass line. Completing the quintet on keys Warren Lynn, whose keys adds an extra textural layer into the complexity that is LaVendore Rogue. The band has one foot in the music of Rolling Stones, Paul Rogers and the other exploring the array of contemporary rock and Rhythm n’ Blues.

LaVendore Rogue Darkening The Convent's StageLa Vendore Rogue, is a complete band borrowing the best from Hokie Joint but never shrouded or swamped in the mantle as they create music that is roguish and has a textural interest that beguiles the listener wrapping the audience in the LaVendore sound. The album Light Up With, introduces the sound which continues to develop and take on a roguish shape a band visual exciting the music is dark, entertaining and tells a good story through lyrics and melodic lines.

LaVendore Rogue Darkening The Convent's StageJoJo is the charismatic front man, full of dramatic gestures augmenting the lyrics of old favourites Chocolate Cake, when celebrating Charlie Patton’s, Oh! Death with lyrics reflecting the stage tonight in front of the altar at The Convent. As JoJo sings, Just look what the Lord has done, Lord I know, Lord I know I’m coming home… Then the latest sound Gangsters, Thieves and Villains from the debut album, Light Up With along with Dead Man’s Chest. This is a quintet that wants to make waves, to be listened to and taken seriously as they create a sculptural sound that tells a story, evokes emotions and connects.

Tonight, LaVendore made an impression as they wowed the audience and will delight and continue to delight with a sound that is live and full of mystery. Spanning genres they are themselves true to the music they want to create and you want to listen too.

Closing with Mrs Jones, revamped and full of energy we listened on the edge of our seats as JoJo unveiled Mr Jones walking upstairs to see Mrs Jones in the afternoon. LaVendore Rogue catch them at a venue or festival whenever you can they will never disappoint and always entertain with fantastic music.


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CD review: LaVendore Rogue ~ Light Up With

LA Vendore Front


LaVendore Rogue
Light Up With



There is no argument there are generous spoonfuls of Hokie Joint magic distilled into the debut album by LaVendore Rogue, Light Up With; unsurprisingly as up front we have JoJo Burgess with his distinctive vocals and Joel Fisk stylish guitar with the award-winning Hokie drummer keeping the rhythm section under control Stephen Cutmore. Joining them on this exciting new venture is Rob ‘Tank’ Barry on Bass and the addition of keys from Warren Lynn.

The opening track Dead Man’s Chest, sets the market stall out with strong guitar quirky lyrics, huge sound and a story that unfolds as JoJo’s vocals draw you into the sound and you have been hooked, lined and sunk like any pirate with a bottle of rum would want to achieve. The next track The Maze as a sound that is new with more control and more mature with gentler vocals that lead you through the musical maze being set as the keys, guitar and gentle cymbal create a backdrop that is rocky and definitely one to get you energized and dancing.
The opening of Animal is gentle and beguiling with gentle keys and the swirl of cello, JoJo starts the story to be told a poem set to music sculpting the horror around the corner and then the tempo and character of the song changes and wow this is my favourite so far.
Half way through the album and you just want to shut out the world and immerse yourself, Riot is another tale that is more than a song it is a tale of society and reflects the riots that happened in London, the tempo and production is quiet, calm and measured with anger shimmering in the vocals and the measured tempo of almost funeral drumming. Joel’s guitar playing is elegant with licks that act as a punctuation to what is always important to this band the words are what counts the music is the powerful medium to showcase the message they are sharing.
The quality of Warren’s skills on the keyboard is apparent on A.S.A.D accompanying the haunting voice of JoJo as he builds the debate about drugs and the power of money and the tambourine is elegant and then there is a death and the message changes what a powerful track redolent of so much in the news today. Tattoo has an acoustic feel from guitar and the beat is modern with the undertones of Rock n Roll of the 1960’s there is certainly a feel of the Rolling Stones and JoJo’s vocals are jaggeresque.
The last track is the only cover choosing Warren Zevon’s, Play It All Night Long there is a frivolity in the playing the end of the party which belies the words as the irony of Sweet Home Alabama is played upon with the grim reality of life, then the notes fade away. La Vendore Rogue are a complete outfit building off each other’s talents, they will never be boxed in they just write, play and produce quality music you want to listen to again and again
Throughout the album there is a balance of tones and a symmetry between all the musicians so that the band has control of the material and JoJo has the freedom to play with the microphone so that every word has meaning and emotions are developed through the wonderful range of his warm voice at times deep and dirty and others teasing and gentle.
The album is independently minded in the construction of the lyrics the blending of tones and the vocals that have been moulded to suit the mood, and shape of the music poems that are never too long so the message doesn’t get lost in a clutter of chorus lines or unnecessary lead breaks.

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

1. Dead Man’s Chest
2. The Maze
3. Animal
4. Honey Murder
5. Riot
6. Gangsters Thieves and Villians
7. A.S.A.D
8. Siesta Resistance
9. Tattoo
10. Day It All Night Long
* All tracks written by LA Vendore Rogue with the expection the final track; Play It All Night Long which was written by Warren Zevon.

JoJo Burgess – Vocals
Joel Fisk – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Stephen Cutmore – Drums
Rob ‘Tank’ Barry – Bass
Warren Lynn – Keys.

CD Review: Joel Fisk & The Breakdown ~ The Well

FrontJoel Fisk & The Breakdown
The Well
Hollytree Studios

This is a new Essex based band, every member will be known from their prodigious work in various bands including Hokie Joint, LaVendore Rogue, Time Aves & Wolfpack and The Swamp Cats. Some of the band members have got together forming this new venture a quartet with lots of friends and they mean business they want to be recognised within the blues scene and beyond for playing Blues and Roots music that has been stirred but never shaken out of shape.

The Well, their debut album is eleven tracks that showcase the collective skills of Joel Fisk, Geoff Johnson, Rob “Tank” Barry, Bass & Stephen ”Cupsey” Cutmore this is a collection of roots and blues songs that we all know that have artfully been made relevant for the 21st century with five of the tracks re-arranged by Joel and have been given a fresh squeeze of verve and re-shaped to suit the style of the band. They have picked a mix of styles from the historical lexicon of roots and blues including Skip James, Willie Dixon, Son House, Charlie Patton and of course Robert Johnson and into the mix are a traditional song whose origin has been lost in the mists of time.

Now onto the important but is the music good from Joel Fisk & The Breakdown Yes is the resounding answer from bluesdoodles. It is a scorching album that is an interesting, infectious foot-tapping glorious collection, with superlative guitar playing, percussion that has that ‘cupsey’ effect with a bass line that just knits the sound together. Joel’s vocals are strong with different voices and ranges being used to reflect the music and the addition of Hammond Organ on some the tracks just adds another layer of sound.

Opening track is a Johnson classic, Stop Breaking Down, with a great guitar intro that draws you into the music you are captured in the net of The Well before Joel’s vocals hit the speakers, on this track the guitar sound is huge though never overpowering with Jon Amor guesting adding that special tonal depth he brings to any music he plays, the stand out thing for me was the quality of Joel’s singing as the last note dies away I am intrigued and excited about what other gems are lurking deep in the well of sounds being delivered by Joel Fisk & The Breakdowns.

Stranger Blues is opened by the distinctive and alluring drumming from Stephen and this is a great version of this well-known Elmore James song, by now we know this is no ordinary band churning out the classics this is a group of musicians who really care about the blues and want everyone to enjoy the music. Howlin For My Darling the Dixon number made famous by Howlin Wolf is stripped down and given a contemporary beat without losing that Chicago vibe it really works and makes you sit up and take real notice of the clever lyrics; I am sure Willie and The Wolf would recognise the integrity of the song retained in this 21st century re-vamp. Crowe Jane, with its rootsy approach with a country feel from the off with the whining country guitar sound amongst the blues is one of the highlights.

In fact as the album develops every track becomes stronger and stronger as in John The Revelator given a toned down Hokie treatment making the music and lyrics feel of menacing portents that send a shiver down the spine; it is Joel’s interpretation of the words as be sings them in a gruff emotive voice that gives you a tension driven track.

Charlie Patton’s; Oh Death is a lament with some stylish steel guitar work exhibiting what a classy guitarist Joel is that is so evident throughout the album, this is a brilliant rendition and leads nicely into the climax of the album the last two tracks with Ian Siegal guesting on both adding a whole new dimension to the finale.

Grinnin’ In Your Face, is a holler and Ian’s added dimension of mirroring the holler in the distance gently calling back this is a track that makes you stop in your track and just listen it is the simplicity of the collective artistry is compelling, then the final track of this debut album Last Fair Deal. Where Jon Amor joins the party to close what the album he opened, this is an up tempo country roots number this is a party number and gets your foot tapping and leaves you on a high note. Just waiting to catch this blues roots band that understands the tones and textures and plays with them to create a sound that is simply breath-taking and exciting British Blues scene there is a stylish act that will be heading onto stages and festivals and clubs across the land and in the meantime this album is a must have, listen to again and again album.

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

Track Listing

1. Stop Breaking Down (R.Johnson)
2. Bad Boy (E Taylor)
3. Stranger Blues (E. James)
4. Travelling Riverside Blues (R Johnson)
5. Howlin’ For My Darling (W. Dixon)
6. Crow Jane (S James)
7. John The Revelator (Trad)
8. Oh Death ( Charlie Patton)
9. Grinnin’ In Your Face (E.J. House)
10. Last Fair Deal Gone Down ( R Johnson)

Joel Fisk: Vocals, Guitars & Hammond Organ
Geoff Johnson: Guitar & Backing Vocals
Rob “Tank” Barry: Bass
Stephen ”Cupsey” Cutmore: Drums & Percussion
Guest Artists
Ian Siegal: Guitar & Vocals Tracks 9 & 10
Jon Amor: Guitar (Tracks 1 & 10)

Tim Aves & Wolfpack ~ Never Saw Chester – CD Review

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Tim Aves & Wolfpack
Never Saw Chester
Square One Records – Release Date 22nd August 2014


If I had to sum up Tim Aves and Wolfpack’s follow-up album to The Wolfpack Burnham Sessions it would be a brilliant, authentic collection of re-imagined classics with three classy tracks penned by Tim himself, in three words Authentic, Honest, Blues!

Luckily I can use a few more words because Never Saw Chester is filled with gems that makes this album a delight to listen to again and again.

The first of the self-penned numbers is the title track, a clever 5 minute musical journey through Howlin’ Wolf’s career with driving guitar from Joel Fisk, and then the intervention from Dale Storr on keys adds the sweetest of layers in the musical link before the next verse and Tim’s voice picks up the story and draws you in. After listening to this track put on some Howlin Wolf sit back and realise how this track is a true tribute to the man himself. Delta Angel opens with some great shuffles on the drum kit from Paul Lester as Tim comes in with a boogie in his voice this is a driving tune and the journey may be a bumpy ride but it is going to be fun. Making up the trio is Wageslave, opening with Joel laying down the licks he is joined by Rob “Tank” Barry on Bass and Paul on drums before the lyrics kick in ‘Don’t Want be a wage slave all of my life”; this is contemporary blues, with the true sound and feel of the Essex Delta; the lyrics, guitar work, harp all work distilling down the essence of the blues.

The other eight tracks are covers of classics, five of which were written by Willie Dixon, these are not renditions that you would necessarily expect, each has been re-worked keeping a clever synergy of the authentic sound of the original whilst shaking into the mix Tim’s spirit, passion and love of the blues. Opening the album with a version of Willie Dixon’s; I Ain’t Superstitious recorded by Howlin’ Wolf the album sets a tone and a very high level of musicianship. Evil and Backdoor Man are delivered with verve and a great deal of Essex blues influence courtesy of Tim Aves who seems to be enjoying getting his lips around the word Evil. Backdoor Man has a different guitar sound with use of acoustic and a driving rhythm that has a link with the Ian Siegal versions we love to hear live. Rice Miller’s; Your Funeral and My Trial really lets Tim showcase his skills on the blues-harp as the intro moves towards the lyrics that once again are dark and full of life’s travails. This is a foot-tapping track full of musical tones and colour. Then the album is drawn to its conclusion with two more tracks at the heart of the Wolf cannon re-created by the Wolfpack, Wang Dang Doodle the penultimate treat has a Canned Heat feel and the harp playing shines through but the star is the vocals as Tim tells the lyrics with passion and true meaning and you want the music to go on all night long. Then all too soon, in the case of albums you are enjoying the needle hits the last track with Built for Comfort and some spoken words left in the recording giving the album a live feel, not a studio controlled album. On this track we hear Joel on slide guitar demonstrating the versatility and talent of this young blues guitarist ending with a laugh and some fun summing up the album fun.

There can be no doubt that everyone has thoroughly enjoyed creating the sound, feeling and emotions encased in a very fine album Never saw Chester, may be true but the spirit lives on through these musicians..

Never Saw Chester will be available via the band and at its website – Tim Aves & Wolfpack
Normally an album that has so many covers would feel ‘heard this before’ – not on this album ….
Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch