Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded Music

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded Music

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded Music

 

What a fabulous year for music at Bluesdoodles HQ. I have enjoyed listening to all the recorded music sent. Liz makes a note (must do better in 2017 and review more! I have started a new hopefully more organised system!).

Album Highlights 2016

One Hundred and Forty-eight reviewed. What an array of music from Folk to Metal Rock to Blues. The genre to everyone at Bluesdoodles  HQ is unimportant, that is a marketing tool it is whether the music vibes hits our collective DNA. Liz, Kevin & Othello a very discerning Bandana wearing Labradoodle.

Album of 2016

Now this was difficult almost impossible with so many contenders With Thirty-Six albums with the Ten-Doodle Paw accolade considered throughout December. what a delight to play and listen to them all again. The final choice is mine, yes it is subjective and has changed there are many that have not been mentioned that will continue to be regularly played and enjoyed in the House of Bluesdoodles

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded MusicAlbum of  The Year 2016

Beth HartFire On The FloorMascot Label

I wrote when I reviewed in September that it was a contender for album of the year I was right. The fire in the album burns brightly from the floor to the heavens. Beth Hart,  Fire On The Floor has gathered together a dozen tracks that flow and warm up the speakers with a raw, charismatic and open delivery of intensely personal emotionally driven lyrics.  Fire On The Floor is a majestic album and will burn brightly long after 2016 fades into a memory.

 Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded MusicBlues Album Of The Year

Devon AllmanRide Or Die RUF Records

Ride Or Die, is a journey full of colour and texture in the tone. With flashes of blue and twists of granite rock and country green woven into a musical tuned magic carpet. This is an album that takes you on a journey full of anguish, hurt, pain and the pleasures of living life where you Ride or Die whatever your journey remember hope will be present.

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded MusicFolk/Roots/Acoustic Album of The Year

Red Dirt SkinnersBehind The Wheel – Independent

Roots wither and die whether music or plants without green shoots.  Red Dirt Skinners are an imaginative duo creating beautiful shoots of glittering music that will ensure roots/country music will continue to thrive Behind the Wheel. With this, their fifth album, the duo with the unique combination of acoustic guitar, drum and saxophone have made a noise that pleases all who listen.

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded MusicFemale Artist Album of The Year

Beth HartFire On The Floor Mascot Label

 

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded MusicLive Album

Martin Simpson & Don FlemonsEver Popular FavouritesFledgling Records

All twelve tracks have a purpose and in addition to the new arrangements and musicianship we have the blending, and mixing of British traditional music and blues in many guises and the common heritage of themes, lyrics and melodies the two traditions share.A definite for your acoustic collection. I recommend close the curtains block out the world, sit back and be absorbed into the music and the power of the lyrics.

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded MusicCelebration Album of The Year

Ian Siegal – 2wnty5ive The CollectionNugene Records

Celebrating twenty-Five years of playing live with the band a trio od CD’s celebrate the enigmatic and varied tones that the wandering troubadour Ian Siegal delivers and delights. This is the Opus Majus of an artist who whether playing solo, as a duo or with a band electric or acoustic always entertains and the box set does just that. You would be Hard Pressed to find a better collection and this is a trio of delights that will never be sent to Quarantine

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded MusicRock

Black Stone Cherry KentuckyMascot Label Group

The energy flows in a studio album that has a live, raw edgy feel and at the same time everything has its place and has been considered. Kentucky has a flow, no songs feel forced or put in as a filler this is Black Stone Cherry entertaining through the medium of brilliant rock grinding, demanding and immensely listenable.

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded MusicBlues Rock

Stevie NimmoSky Won’t Fall – Manhaton Records

The combination of powerful lyrics, blues guitar of such purity it makes you weep and a Nimmo’s vocals we can be sure The Sky Won’t Fall when there is music of this magnitude being created. The album is a mix of tones, texture and tempos. Seven tracks in and you are Still Hungry for more music. This is power-driven rock-blues of the highest order. A track that would work well if stood out alone, surely this will get acres of radio play. It is full of smokey riffs, power and rocks your socks off!

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded MusicOverseas Artist

Dan PatlanskyIntrovertigo

Introvertigo with its carefully crafted lyrics that blend urbane wit and honest observation, this is blues pertinent to today’s lifestyles, not so much whiskey and women more the corruption of power and social interaction. Ten tracks there are no fillers every number is full of strength and tonal power but there is not an off note or lyric. This has been achieved by production that keeps the live heat flowing from guitar and vocals.

Debut Albums

There are three that really made us sit up and listen:-

Inglorious – Self-titled album reviewed late January. We are licking our lips and tuning our ears for the follow-up album early in 2017. Inglorious are stupendous live getting better with every performance the expectations are very high for 2017!

Broken Witt Rebels – Georgia Pines Reviewed in February. A perfectly formed EP leaving you wanting to hear more. An album with Huge Guitar Riffs and vocals that delight. Fingers-crossed a full album is out soon consolidating the marker they set down in 2016.

Sari Schorr and The Engine Room – A Force Of Nature, Reviewed in August. Sari Drives the Blues, bringing a wealth of experience from life, influencing her songwriting and vocal delivery. Looking forward to Sari playing live in 2017 and hopefully will be back in the studio very soon.

RavenEye – Nova – Frontiers Music s.r.l The album’s name NOVA is a perfect reflection of the explosion of recognition that RavenEye has achieved in such a short time. The band is a rock explosion they certainly have suddenly brightened the firmament of the British rock scene and will be shining their Supanova Rock for many years to come.

Special Mentions

Bluesdoodles Picks of 2016 Recorded MusicKaz Hawkins – Feelin’ Good an album full of Kaz sparkle and joy. Having won the Blues Challenge organised by UKBluesFederation.  We wish you well as you head for the 34th International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2017. This is the first time that  British Blues has been in the challenge. Then she will be representing British Blues in Denmark at the European Blues Challenge a busy start for 2017.

 

 

Aynsley Lister, King King, The Temperance Movement, Albany Down, The Cadillac Three, SIMORival Sons, Jeff Healey, Jimbo Mathus, Big Boy Bloater & The LiMitsGlenn Hughes, Danny Bryant and Honey Swamp Island for albums that sparkle whenever they are played which is loud and often in this office.

Beth Hart Announces First-Ever Solo Concert

BETH HART FIRST-EVER UK SOLO CONCERT
LONDON, UNION CHAPEL
MONDAY 14th DECEMBER 2015
TICKETS ON SALE FROM FRIDAY 5th MAY

photo credit Liz Aiken
photo credit Liz Aiken

Beth has excited audiences across the U.K. on her recent U.K. tour during May, and following Following the release of her critically acclaimed album “Better Than Home”, Grammy nominated singer-songwriter, Beth will perform solo at Union Chapel in Islington, North London on Monday 14th December.

Tickets, priced £35.00, will go on sale Friday May 15th – BOOK ONLINE: HERE
24 HOUR BOX OFFICE: 0844 871 8819

photo credit Greg Wartermann
photo credit Greg Wartemann

“Beth Hart has a blues-rock voice so ballsy it could pin you to the wall.”
– The Times *****

Beth Hart is a phenomenon.” – Rockshot

“Anyone who was at the London Barbican last night will know just how special Beth Hart’s performance was and will probably not see a better one this year.” – Music News

“The numbers kept coming it was a deluge of vocal and musical glory … Beth refuses to be categorised, fenced in or tied to a style … there is a blending of tones from artists that have also shone in the limelight a mix of Billie Holiday; Eartha Kitt; Amy Winehouse and many divas who have wooed and enchanted audiences but these are just part of the complex distillation of texture, tones and range that is The Voice that defines Beth. Bluesdoodles

“Hart was part Tina Turner, part Bonnie Tyler-like pop powerhouse with a side-serving of county. Whether playing acoustic guitar or piano or rocking out with her fantastic four-piece band, Hart was a force field laying bare her rollercoaster ride of a life.” – The Times *****

“With Beth Hart, you get a versatile, genre-defying powerhouse of a vocalist and one of the great female singers of our time.” – National Rock Review

Beth Hart creates an atmosphere of fun and laughter as well as emotion and sorrow. She can go from looking like she’s having the best time in the world, to experiencing heartbreak and anguish all over again. She takes the audience with her on emotional journeys and experiences.” – Alpha Beata

Beth Hart is at the top of her game. The new material fits perfectly, the older chestnuts sparkle and she illuminates some well-chosen covers with a mix of raunch, passion and simply the joy of singing. It doesn’t get much better than this.” – Get Ready To Rock

This is an exciting opportunity to see Beth Hart perform a rare, first-time solo concert in the intimate surroundings of the Union Chapel in Islington, North London on Monday 14th December.

Tickets, priced £35.00, will go on sale Friday May 15th – BOOK ONLINE: HERE
24 HOUR BOX OFFICE: 0844 871 8819

CD Review: Ben Poole ~ Live At The Albert Hall

ben pBen Poole
Live At The Albert Hall
Manhaton Records

There is no doubt the The Bluesfest at The Albert Hall 2014 has spawned a range of top quality BBC recordings that allow fans of artists to hear them live in their own rooms. Having a live album is still no substitute for going out and seeing the artists you admire in a venue; this album once again shows what a superb blues guitar player Ben is and should raise his profile further.

Ben’s distinctive voice and approach to the lyrics make him stand out from the crowd when combined with his tasty lead breaks on guitar which fizz with rock tinged blues, this is not the ‘sitting on the front porch’ sort of blues. It is a British interpretation of electric blues that has been in the ascendency since the 1960’s. His version of Otis Redding’s Mr Pitiful and Freddie King’s Have You Ever Loved A Women are good illustrations where the silence of the audience is a testament to the quality of the guitar solo that holds your attentions as he sets his stall out with versions that have his own style embedded into the arrangements. Ben definitely adds layers of tones to every track with twirls of funk and soul as musical strands underlying the sound he produces. These tones are further embellished by the rhythm section, Craig Bacon on Drums and Matt Beable on bass they understand what is required on every track ensuring that the vocals and guitar have centre stage, confident in the knowledge without their bedrock of tone the sound would be hollow, so deftly demonstrated on It doesn’t Have To Be That Way.

The album has eight live tracks that span the years Ben has been touring Europe & U.K so gives a real flavour of the style and approach to the blues Ben will deliver to a live audience anywhere whether a gig or festival; though with a live set you hear more tracks so more of a delight. Plus a bonus of a studio track Starting All Over Again, with Wayne Proctor on drums & Bob Fridzema on keys, these two quality artists are normally associated with King King, and Steve Amadeo on bass leaving you spell-bound and wanting to hear more of Ben Poole and his band.

Ben Poole and his band are touring Europe and U.K. – TOUR DATES

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

Track Listing

1. Intro
2. Let’s Go Upstairs
3. Love Nobody No More
4. (I Know) I’m Losing You
5. Mr Pitiful
6. It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way
7. Leave It On
8. Have You Ever Loved A Woman
Bonus Studio Track 
9. Starting All Over Again

Coco Montoya – Songs From The Road ~ CD Review 2014

cocoCoco Montoya
Songs From The Road
RUF records

This live double album features Coco Montoya and his band on the Road, as part of a RUF records series of on The Road albums delivered from their catalogue of blues artists. The opening track I Got A Mind To Travel, is an apt starting point and introduces us to the full band of musicians Coco Montoya uses to augment his vocal and guitar skills the use of Hammond Organ delivered with panache by Brant Leeper who also adds to the vocals. Throughout the album there are glimpses of Coco Montoya’s exceptional musical career especially the influence he certainly gives the feel of movement and the guitar sound is an homage to his old boss Albert Collins while playing the guitar left-handed and upside down like the other Albert King! Coco’s playing is instinctive full of fluidity

The whole album is easy on your ear and an enjoyable listening experience BUT at times you want Coco to let loose and really show us what he is capable of.
On Love Jail his guitar takes on the shape and form of Albert Collins and all the better for it, even his vocals strengthen as the beat picks up, this is a stylish ten minute track. This album has fourteen tracks where Coco and his band just want to please as they play for the length of time need ( Never less than 5 minutes and up to a mighty 15 minutes) to explore all the alleyways and nooks and crannies they feel the music is taking them on their journey of discovery with you, there is freedom of expression that only live music free from the constrains of a studio walls and mixing desk.

Fannie Mae is a an example of this with the applause at beginning before some driving chugging guitar and Coco’s vocals this is trip everyone wants to take as the tale unfolds and some glorious keys from at the end the beguiling chuckle from Coco This is an album that brings the live performance directly into your living room, but do not be fooled this is a poor imitation to actually being at a performance of Coco and his band performing live you get not just the sound but the heat and energy of the man in action and the emotional engagement of the audience you are an integral part off.

This is Blues where the solo’s and instrumentals are there to provide a backbone of support to the vocals not to dominate. We have shuffles that is full of tones that are as clear as a bell from his guitar on Love Chairs, whilst Hey Senorita brings some Latin magic to the proceedings. This is a double album full of textures and musical tones, and the funky groove on Don’t Go Making Plans has all the feel of a jam and an artist out front of an audience enjoying himself as he entertains.

This is a double album you will listen to time and time again as this form John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers entertains with a live sound in your home; it is the next best thing to seeing Coco live on stage!

download (1)

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

CD Review – Ian Siegal ~ Man & Guitar

Ian SiegalIanSiegal_ManGuitar_pcksht300dpi-400x400
Man & Guitar
Nugene Records – Release date 12th May 2014 (Available at Live Shows from April 2014)

Man & Guitar the follow-up album to “The Dust” his last solo album has been long-awaited and oft ask for and here we get solo and live what a double bundle of delights; the combination makes you feel as you are almost at a live gig thanks to the witty interludes and with the lights down low and the speakers turned up it is if Ian is in your living room playing for you this album 43 minutes of pure joy.The title is a perfect description of this award-winning multi faceted musician, since it says everything you need to know or understand about Ian Siegal, he is a Man with guitar (multiple guitars in fact) who delivers his heart and soul to make every note and word have the tonal inclination so that you fall deep into the song and caught in the mesmerizing musical talent that is Ian Siegal.

The opening tracks can be found on Ian’s last solo album, “The Dust” but these are a different fresh and re-worked ‘Silver Spurs’ and ‘Mary Don’t You Weep’ which is a favourite of audiences across the land when this traditional song is given the Siegal treatment. The interludes between the songs are full of stories and Ian Siegal’s own self-deprecating cynicism, his strong opinions and the little comments about tracks being country! that make his solo shows so special. The solo re-working of ‘Mortal Coil Shuffle’ (Swagger 2007) and ‘Falling on Down’ (Meat & Potatoes 2005) with its emotionally charged storytelling. The British Blues Awards 2013 Best song – ‘I Am The Train’ is given a solo outing from British Blues Award winning album Candy Store Kid (2012) which was also nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album in the 2013 Blues Awards and the 2013 Blues Blast Awards is a country rhythm driven track which works so well live and I am loving this solo version. The re-working of classics intertwine between his own composition demonstrating the depth, skill and versatility of a true 21st century troubadour that will not be caged in by a genre but attracted to the lyrics and makes the songs his home. ‘Pony Blues’ by Charlie Patton is played beautifully and despite his modesty… ‘Ah, I goofed it Already’ is a true demonstration of his often underrated guitar skills as this slippery open is performed with love, respect and passion a true tribute to the great blues guitarist Charlie Patton. Personally I am delighted to have the superb, stellar storytelling track of Tom Russell’s blues song ‘Gallo Del Cielo’; the rendition takes you each step of the way through the highs and eventual low of this wonderful fighting cock and then … well listen to the album go see Ian Siegal sing the song live for the ending… one day it will be happy ..

There is no doubt that “Man & Guitar” will be played often as a complete album Why? It is the next best thing to going and seeing Ian Siegel live – he is never simple a man and guitar as he brings warmth, wit and mirth combined with a tear to your eye as he delivers wonderful songs with empathy.. he is a true talent

In the words of Ian “This is all the songs from start to finish imperfections and all. I hope you like it.” – we do it is authentic Ian Siegal.. honest and true long may you continue to produce quality songs for all of us to sit back and enjoy the artistry…

Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of five doodle paws a doodle rating of
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Ian Siegal Live Dates..
http://bluesdoodles.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/ian-siegal-april-solo-show/

Review – Bentworth Blues Festival August 2013

Celebrating the fantastic Bentworth Blues Festival and Bluesdoodles 100th posting…
This year prior to the festival, there were giant hurdles of bureaucracy that Matt Williams landlord of The Star Inn had to jump over to bring the delightful palette of sounds that is the unique come-back again draw of this festival. He surmounted the obstacle and once again the festival was delivered with the efforts of his whole team and the marvellous musicians who entertained us throughout the weekend delivering the whole range of blues music this was live music at its best, musicians enjoying playing and an appreciative audience whatever the weather threw at us.

This review cannot adequately cover all 29 acts that performed on the three stages, The Green, Garden and Bar what it hopefully achieves will be a flavour of the talent on show and the vitality of the event that is a sell out every year and attracts music lovers from across the land who camp in the allocated spaces nearby and those less hardy myself included who stay in local B&B’s and then there are the people who can simply shut their front door and stroll through the charming village to hear music on their doorstep. The weekend is truly a celebration of live music, good fun, meeting old friends and of course Matt Williams all this makes Bentworth Blues Festival that little bit special and keeps people returning.

Friday - Bentworth Blues Festival - August 2013_0197l

Opening the proceedings was the talented King Rollo with a complete acoustic set that got the early doors crowd into festival mood, the perfect accompaniment to the first pint of the weekend.

Friday saw a mix of bands and solo artists, acoustic and electric including Split Whiskers, Fran MacGillvery & Mike Burke and Will Wilde; though their approach to the blues was different the common link between the three was that they all had women bass players who kept the rhythm as part of the engine house of the band.

Split Whiskers managed to deliver many blues standards with a twist of whiskers magic making them come alive and delight in these tunes and lines all over again, this was a band that was a little bit different with a custom-built steel guitar that had its own unique sound. Fran McGillvray & Mike Burke set was a contrast with a great laid-back sound, created by the combination of Fran’s vocals, Mike’s silky guitar licks and beautiful lyrics with the three-dimensional sound completed by the percussive Djembe sound provided by Roger Nunn. The set was a perfect showcase of their style of country blues with tracks from their latest CD “Some Luck” and old favourites. Will Wilde delivered a powerful set with Stuart Dixon (Guitar) Victoria Smith (Bass) & Richard Newman (Drums) providing a great, solid accompanying foundation allowing Will’s powerful combination of vocals and searing harmonica-dominated blues to shine through – what a set. Harmonica playing that ranged from the raw to the gentile, teasing and caressing every displayed emotion as musical pictures were painted that reflected the lyrics. There is no doubt that every time I see this band they get better with a mix of tracks from their forthcoming album ‘Raw Blues’ and some covers. Not the normal string of covers which included a stonking rendition of Buddy Guy’s ‘Smokin Dynamite’ and Earl Thomas ‘ Soulshine’. This band is not just about Will’s talent, with the great emotional lead breaks delivered by Stuart Dixon adding an extra layer of sound that was incorporated to create a complete vibrant sound. Also on fire during the afternoon was Guy Tortora and his band in the bar who had to cope with a stand in bass player as the bass player was stuck in the accident tailback on the motorway which also delayed Stuart Dixon. Laurence Jones Band on the Green bought to the event youthful delivery of high energy blues whether playing self-penned or his covers delighting everyone as he strutted his guitar playing skills with a confidence and a swagger of a young man who loves the music he is playing and wants to entertain you. From youth to experience “Serious Blues“ fronted by drummer Sam Kelly, delivering that funky style, with layers of complexity with the fluidity of a jam creating an exciting and very listenable sound in the bar whilst Blues Associates set themselves up in the garden delivering an eclectic set that got everyone dancing and was a real change from the rest of the bands during the day back in the Garden. The sky’s were darkening as night fell and the last two bands of the first day – Stuart James Band with his rock-blues power trio approach blew away the crowds as they partied the night away with Bentworth festival stalwart Jules Benjamin bringing the first day’s proceedings to an end entertaining everyone and leaving us all very satisfied and already looking forward to the next day as we went humming to our beds from the selection of brilliant tunes we had heard over the last 12 hours.

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On Saturday, the weather was going to challenge us but started off fair as the Dave Raphael Band delighted everyone on the Green with a great set of traditional blues, including numbers by Koko Taylor. This was a great authentic sound ably complimented by Dave’s laid back vocals and harp playing. With the combination of great grooves and rhythms I really enjoyed the set, and then there was the twist in the tail as Dave took to the keys with a blues/reggae approach that woke everyone up ‘Bleggae’ a first for Bentworth. Saturday - Bentworth Blues Festival - August 2013_0063l Saturday is traditionally ‘hats day’ and there was a wide array of decorated hats that brightened the proceedings from Sombreros to Top Hats every shape and size was on display. “Red House, the first band in the Garden, certainly knew how to entertain and got the audience participating with lots of dancing this early on the afternoon, they were fun to listen to as they delivered for me a first at a blues festival Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In the Ball’ given the “Red House” Rock n’ Roll treatment and it worked. This was cider driven west country blues that worked well on a Saturday afternoon in the sunshine with a pint in your hand. Now the festival was hotting up as the next three acts were simply brilliant all delivering the blues with passion and all with their own distinctive interpretation of this genre. Kick starting the trio of delights was Ben Poole and his band, a class act and his CD “ Let’s Go Upstairs” showcased throughout the set is certainly one to add to your collection if you enjoy clean, solid and intuitive guitar playing. This is a complete band with an engine house of driving rhythm delivered by Craig Bacon (drums), Barry Pethers (Bass) and adding further depth of tone that complements and adds to the guitar there was Sam Mason on keyboards, and the sultry backing vocals courtesy of Amy Eftekhari. This is a band that delights on lots of levels and just gets better, and Ben is surely master of his own destiny now. He has managed to get the mix of vocal, lead guitar breaks and the showcasing of the band right. He does have clever tricks that work as he does not overuse them and he can definitely play guitar with one-hand as or even more competently than many using both hands. He may sing ‘They Call Me Mr Pitiful’ he is definitely not – this act was SENSATIONAL! Phew who could follow that power guitar demonstration – Clare Free could in the Garden with her own characteristic take on the blues with a style that uses emotions and a gentle touch making the guitar sing in perfect harmony with her voice. This is not a sickly sweet rendition it is full of sugar and spice and the music and lyrics are important to Clare as she introduces her songs which are a delightful mix of re-worked classics and self-penned songs, producing the perfect late Saturday afternoon set. Her band work with her so that the sound is complete and, if I have a comment it is ‘Clare believe in yourself, you are a really good guitar player producing a pleasing sound that is missing from the circuit – we want to see you playing at more gigs now you are back in the U.K’. The final act in my trio of delights is Bentworth festival favourites Northsyde; expectations were high on the Green, with a deputy drummer Joachim Greve the rest of the band Jules Fothergill, guitar; Ian Maurico, bass and fronting the band full of fizz and style is Lorna Fothergill. They ripped through a funky, bluesy rocky set with old favourites and tracks from there brilliant 5* new CD ‘Storyteller’s Daughter’ They are certainly one of the best live acts around confidently delivering their style which is so pleasing on the ear and Lorna’s interaction with the crowd is fantastic as she swapped hats to be part of hat day at Bentworth. Expectations were high and they delivered and to sum it up I overheard someone say “Wow that lady can sing!” The rest of the evening was a triplet of Bentworth stalwarts, these are acts that know what the festival goers want, a party to dance the night away to great music this was achieved by Pethers and Friends – an awesome jam of quality musicians having fun in the Bar, local band Five Field Holler from Hampshire in the Garden with their own take on blues-rock melding styles together so that you get a hint of Chicago, funk and a bit of swampy rock played with passion and vigour. The band also act as deputies for bands throughout the weekend, and more importantly ensure that the sound is perfect for the bands and the crowds and a brilliant job they do every year. They are soundmen extraordinaire who play jolly good entertaining blues. Ending the evening are the young guns who bring a party-like frenzy to the stage ensuring a feel good feeling at the end of the evening that energising combination of great music, fun, dancing clapping and happy people. Sugar Mama strutted across the stage, this youthful band from the West Midlands play favourites that bring back memories and are a sure bet the evening ends on a high; despite the rain and wind nothing could dampen the delighted festival goers.

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Sunday, sun was shining and spirits high – this was ‘Shirt Day’ so lots of gaudy prints and T-shirts that never normally see the light of day all adding to the fiesta feel. Sometimes tradition becomes stained and boring but Kyle and Shaw opening the proceedings on a Sunday is one tradition that really works. This laid back acoustic duo are just what everyone needs after a red-hot Saturday evening and heads need the gentle caress of this simple blues played well. ‘Andre and the J-Tones’ made a welcome return and the full sound they achieve with the addition of a superb horn section, they may not be the purist’s band but they are just the thing for the dancers and foot-tappers to delight in. The highlights of Sunday were two acts whose approach to the blues are different ‘BluesBeaten Redshaw‘, who combines a charming mix of Northern banter and blues songs from his new CD along with others. The audience warms to him as he interacts in an open and honest way including eating cheese and biscuits from a member of the audience’s picnic which he reckoned was just perfect with his Guinness. A great foot-stomping number reaching a furiously fast rhythm with his banjo ‘Rollin’ & Tumblin’, a really different version. He walked and charmed his way through the audience including serenading an appreciative dog. He saved his skills on his home-made diddley-bow until the end, when Barry Pethers joined him for lessons, but he soon realised he was not going to out play the master who was simply breathtaking. Look out for this spell-binding precocious talent near you, with his gruff voice and rough rootsy guitar a delicious combination of musicality. The only point is he needs to broaden his repertoire so that he has plenty of tunes in his back-pocket because audiences will always want more. The other act was Paint It Blue, a young five-piece band who deliver the blues with plenty of soul creating a freshness of sound. Vocalist Hannah Robinson has a beautiful voice and is ably supported by a quartet of skill on Bass, Blues Harp, Guitar and Drums. The whole band mesh together delivering music that fits together like a perfect-fitting glove. This is a comfortable sound that makes you want to listen to more, no wonder they are in demand at Blues Clubs and Festivals they bring real magic to any event. They delight in what they sing and play and in return the audience appreciate the music this is truly dancing blues. I have wanted to catch this band ever since I heard their début CD which was a really good listen but as ever live music gave us a little bit more. Loved their version of ‘My Babe’ and their self-penned numbers; with the intricate drumming in combination with the subtle accurate harp playing they deliver true authentic blues. As ever the stars that stole the show on Sunday were ‘Babajack‘, today in duo form with the effervescent Becky Tate on Percussion and Vocals and Trevor Steger on Guitar and Harp this is a winning combination full of style, energy and blues given a distinctive twist taking the sound back to Africa with the use of raw percussion courtesy of the Djembe and Cahon combined with home-made wine box guitars and with the clever use of the harp to blend the music together. The sound created is fantastic but it is Becky’s voice that soars above delivering the lyrics with passion this is a band that delight in each other’s skills and truly understand the essence of the blues. They delivered a set that was all the shade of emotions, a musical equivalent to all the colours of the rainbow. This was an opportunity to showcase the tracks we all love including Leadbelly’s ‘Gallows Pole’ and the new stuff from their forthcoming much-anticipated album ‘Running Man’. Bentworth was rewarded with the first live rendition of the title track which is definitely a little bit special. The rest of Sunday past with a wall of sound including blues soul delivered by ‘Soul Alliance‘, skillful playing by ‘Ivan McCormick’ and then the Big Jam at the end – leaving everyone happy with the scope of music they had heard and penciling into their diaries next year’s festival.

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Abertillery Blues Festival Saturday 13th July

SATURDAY 13th July 2013 second day of live music in the sun starts Midday in Abertillery The signs have gone up – and here is a map or for sat navs postcode is NP13 1TZ

abertillery 1

You know when you are nearly there this is the sign….
abertillery nearly there

Midday today’s is the START of music, laughs, dancing and pure enjoyment!

Kicking of will be a trio of local artists a fantastic opportunity to showcase their talents:-

Gordon Wride from the Revelators

The Breeze

 

Sam Andrews Band

Marcus Bonfanti

Touring the country Marcus and his band are delighting audiences with tracks from previous albums and his latest acclaimed album “Shake The Walls”

Grainne Duffy

Grainne is a popular performer across the U.K. and Europe at festivals and popular gigging venues. Grainne has taking hold and made her own the classic blues number ‘I Would Rather Go Blind’.

Henry’s Funeral Shoe

Henry’s Funeral Shoe local band from Ystrad Mynach is a duo of talent brothers Aled Guitar and Brennig drums/percussion they are popular in the valleys and beyond having successfully performed in U.SA.

Nightporters

Nightporters are back touring! The kings of Rockin’ Rhythm and Blues – they are at Abertillery on the second night of the tour we are going to be dancing in the aisles and cheering them to stay if the reception from last night is anything to go by! see this clip

This is what they sound like from the archives:-

The Blockheads

The Blockheads are the penultimate act and they will raise the temperature even higher! They will be pumping out to the crowd pleasing tracks for the past intermingled with recent creations wow this will be fun 🙂

Lucky & Tamara Peterson

What a headlining act at Abertillery this year! Lucky Peterson is an awesome talent – delivering world quality blues when singing, playing the guitar or on the keys he is a one man band of excellence.

His live performances are electric and everyone will be wanting more and the festival not to end sadly it will but I am sure Abertillery Blues Festival will be back July 2014…

STILL TIME TO GET YOUR TICKETS FOR 2013 – @ Abertillery Blues Festival

Mike Sanchez Band @ The Met Abertillery 8th June 2013

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Mike Sanchez and his U.K. band does not have a set list they let the music flow and the crowd is welcomed to shout out the numbers that are special to them creating an eclectic and inclusive set of blues, rockabilly and rock and roll delivered with style by Mike and his band of superb musicians. You cannot avoid being taken in by Mike’s giant warm personality with buckets loads of charisma that is natural and you know he is enjoying bringing joyful live music entertainment to you. The numbers ranged from Little Richard, John Lee Hooker, Fats Domino, etc… The supporting cast to the luscious piano delivered by Mike were his regular U.K. Band comprising of Drums, Mark Morgan; Double Bass, Nick Whitfield and Guitar, Tom Bull provided a clean/tight back-drop for Mike with the combination of fine musicianship that was balanced and created a whole. There is no doubt that the double bass, Nick’s weapon of choice provides a special timbre to this style of music and Nick delivered top drawer double bass throughout the evening and the solo interludes demonstrated why this instrument provides a tone electric bass however played simply cannot deliver. Tom Bell produced some wonderful guitar licks delivered with a subtlety that made them a delight delivered with a twang and whole lot of soul, Tom made the guitar strings purr in a delightful contrast to Nick’s double bass strumming. Half way through the set out strode Sarah Wynne, Mike’s wife of one week, who took over the vocals and the tempo definitely went up a notch or two, enabling Mike to show everyone what a talent he is as a keyboard player and the chemistry between the two of them was electric.

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By the end of the night, The Met @ Abertillery was a rockin’ and a rollin’ with lots of audience participation as they took to the space at the front of the stage to dance the night away creating a tremendous live event feeling, that makes live music so intimate and special. Mike, who played the local festival in 2011, gave a great plug for Abertillery 2013 and a lucky person in the audience won two weekend tickets; and Mike even hinted to delight of his many fans listening tonight that he could be at the festival n 2014! He then went straight into great rendition, with his own twist and musical turns, of Welsh rock star Dave Edmunds ‘Deep In The Heart of Texas’; delivering the approval of the audience. Also included was a clever, entertaining medley of great classics that was Mike’s version of ‘Name That Tune!; the medley included ‘Whole Lotta Love‘; ‘Boom, Boom,Boom‘; ‘Shake Your Hips’; finishing off with Mike playing the Maracas ‘Bo Diddly‘; this was pure fun to watch, hear and be part off. Mike’s expressive face made Howlin Wolf’s ‘How Many More Times‘, fresh and alive this is how covers should be performed; not as an exercise to show off the riffs, chords and beats that you have learnt but as a celebration of a classic number. To end the show he had the audience eating out of his hand, loving every moment as he took random request after request, his repertoire is quite staggering. Wow! What a brilliant evening everyone was truly entertained.

Liz Aiken Photography has more photographs click here

Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods @The Garage, Islington

Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods @ The Garage, Islington 8th May 2013


The support tonight was provided by a micro version of Dave Migden & The Dirty Words, comprising Dave accompanied by guitarist Joe Gibson, and what a fine duo they make delivering some superb covers including Taj Mahal’s ‘Fishing Blues’ interspersed with stripped back versions of numbers from ‘Killing It’, their recent acclaimed CD; with Reverend Jack Crow being quite sublime in this pared back acoustic version. This was a great performance including some new tracks demonstrating once again why they are storming the circuit at the moment and were definitely an ideal opening act, with Dave’s voice and their own unique and stylish take on the blues, for the only UK gig of Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods. This was a sizzling evening which started on top form as the band opened up with ‘Picnic Jam’; featuring Luther’s slide guitar skills and great harmonising interplay between Ian and Luther. And layered on top of this wall of sound is Ian’s voice what a start to a set that just got better and better with the bar being constantly raised as they just played to ever higher standards. This is a band that enjoys the music and interplay between them and they never forget that it is audience they have to please so this is not a self-indulgent performance but one that takes the crowd with them who enjoyed every note and would have been happy if there had been no curfew and the band could have played on through the night.

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The performance of ‘I am The Train’, which has developed into a great live number and is simply just fantastic and shows why this track has been nominated in the 2013 British Blues Awards, shows why the song has become synonymous with the latest album ‘Candy Store Kid’; This format with Luther on guitar allows Ian freedom that is not always available in the trio format, so his voice can really dominate and the extra guitar gives another layer of sound and when Luther plays the slide there is a rawness that slinks and slithers you all the way back to the darkest depths of a dirty prehistoric swamp… with the support of a superb rhythm section comprising Cody Dickinson (drums) and Carwyn Ellis (bass) to complete the sound sketching that draws you ever deeper into the darkness of a swampy bayou; as evidenced by the low down dirty rendition of ‘King Fish’. Then my head almost exploded as an old Siegal favourite ‘She’s Got The Devil in Her’ hit the airwaves; which has appeared on many a live set list and always performed differently as the story and musical techniques are developed – tonight was a simply superb version – for me it was sex on a guitar! The ending of for me an all too short set was a jam with Luther being experimental with the creative use of feedback creating a hauntingly effect an resulted in an unexpected creative finish. The evening would not have been complete without Ian; finishing with a moving tribute to Big George a truly fine Glaswegian bluesman, who has been an important part of Ian’s life; ‘Take a walk in The Wilderness’. The encore a clever rendition of ‘Hard Pressed’; with various tunes threaded through including Prince’s Sign of The Times; and closing with a beautiful version of ‘Forever Young’… phew what a fizzing evening of music which delivered the full gamut of emotions, the atmosphere was hot and steamy and everyone was energized by a great event of live music.
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There is no doubt that the music played tonight by both acts is blues that is relevant modern and the sound of now, it is not trying to recreate a sound of yesteryear but taking the genre to places that need to be explored. This is music that is a live sound thus firmly rooted to the original bluesmen and women who toured and played to live audiences using equipment and techniques available; think what their talent would be producing if they had the resources available in the twenty-first century! I am pretty darn sure it would be very different from the traditional and dare I say it often bluesy Blues being produced by bands that are scared to loosen the apron strings of ‘blues tradition….

Ian Siegal and Mississippi Mudbloods - The Garage - May 2013_0280l

Missed this brilliant gig – Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods are back in UK later this year appearing at various venues including at Gloucester Guildhall, 7th November 2013 The Flowerpot, Derby on 8th November 2013, courtesy of RAW Promo and Carlisle Rock & Blues Festival 8 – 10th November 2013, which includes two performances including the Mudbloods unplugged.

Babjack meets Dave Arcari @ Re-con Club, Malvern on 20th April 2013

Dave Arcari -  Malvern April 2013_0160l Dave Arcari arrived with an impressive array of string instruments Banjo, his solid electric is a National Resolectric Junior, a shiny Silver National Style O and the one I describe as the black beast which is more precisely a National Delphi; both of these have been custom-made for Dave by National so they produce that Arcari sound the trade-mark of artist who in his own words delivers ‘Fucked Up alt. Blues! Delivering some exciting tracks from his excellent new album “Whisky In My Blood” including the fantastic track ‘Cherry Wine‘ showing a gentler side of Mr Arcari well know for his hell raising guitar playing and stage presence. Included in this opening set of an evening celebrating Trevor Steger’s 50th birthday in Babajack’s hometown, was some of Dave’s classics including Blind Lemon Jefferson, ‘Hangman’s Blues’ and ‘Stagolee‘.

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As ever Dave played like a lightning storm heating up the Re-Con so the temperature was definitely tropical rather than a mild British spring evening and the crowds were loving it. What made tonight’s performance was Trevor and Becky joining Dave with a fantastic performance of Johnny Cash’s ‘Blue Train‘ As the video demonstrates that this was a collaboration that produced a stellar performance and everyone was delighted, excited and entertained, this is a live music moment that though captured on camera you really needed to be there to get the full on effect of the energy and good-time vibe they produced.

Now for Babajack’s showtime tonight a new addition forming a trio with the addition to the line-up; electric bass player – Adam Bertenshaw; storming the stage as on home turf they were at their confident best full of energy, vim and vitality. The crowds were enthralled and delighted as Becky delivered heart stoppingly beautiful vocals whilst providing the trade mark out of Africa percussive rhythms courtesy of the stomp box, African drum and the cahon combined with the 2013 British Blues Awards nominated harmonica player, who also plays acoustic guitar and wine box guitar which he makes himself and provides great vocals Trevor and providing a layer underneath this was the bass addition provided by Adam. It is no wonder that Babajack is so popular where ever they play. No Babajack set is complete without their trademark songs from previous albums including ‘Money’s All Gone; Death Letter’s Blues’ and ‘Gallows Pole’; this is not a band trapped in the rut of tradition every rendition is given the Babajack treatment giving the songs a modern and exciting edge whilst remaining true to the very soul of early blues music; understanding what made the likes of Leadbelly so very special. Trevor’s vocals are always a delight and tonight there was a roughness perhaps picking up the gravel tones of Dave Arcari, and demonstrating why there is such a great synergy between these talented artists; this was especially apparent on ‘Burn All The Bridges‘ and definitely added another tier of emotion to this powerful song.

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Not only has Trevor been nominated for the British Blues Awards; but the title track of their last album ‘Rooster Blues‘ has been included in the final voting round of the Kevin Thorpe’s 2013 Award for Original Song – so Babajack will be celebrating long after Trevor’s 50th birthday is a distant memory. as well as old favourites interspersed throughout the set was tracks from their much-anticipated new album “Running Man”; this was an opportunity for Becky to thank all the contributors to making the album possible, this was received with a cheer as so many supporters were standing enthralled by the music at this sell-out show. A work song, ‘Hammers and Tongs’ was a duet with Becky on vocals and Trevor on harp, not a guitar in sight using a chain gang style, was effective and was for me the highlight of a wonderful set. Another new song from forthcoming album “Running Man”, ‘Falling Hard‘; followed by a dramatic rendition of ‘Skin and Bones‘. What an evening of full-on entertainment which included a rousing birthday song to Trevor; an end to a fantastic evening of music at The Re-Con in Malvern but  I am positive Babajack will be celebrating throughout 2013…

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