The Tasmanian Devil, Rob Tognoni, will be back on tour in the UK and Ireland in August and September 2017. All dates feature Gaz Rackham on bass and Mike Hellier on drums. “From Australia & introduced to Europe by blues master Dave Hole in 1994, Rob Tognoni delivers a 100% powerfully charged experience with every performance. There is simply no compromise, which is strongly evident in his music. After 30 years his explosive guitar playing and unique songs are now being compared with the greats of his genre and have firmly established him in the European venues & festivals as well as gaining many fans of hard blues rock worldwide.“
Bluesdoodles thoroughly enjoyed Rob Tognoni at HRH Blues 2016 we said “Sunday Brunch, was hardcore not for the faint-hearted this was rock heavy blues from the Tasmanian Devil himself Rob Tognoni. He tore up the main stage what a start to the second day of HRH Blues.“
Rob Tognoni The TasMANian Devil New Album Brave Now Out
Having heard Rob Tognoni live at HRH Blues 2016, I was excited at the opportunity to listen to the single Brave from the album. Bluesdoodles predicts that the single will get lots of airplay. Why? It is strong, brave rock with a hard vein of blues flowing through. The vocals have power and purpose the drumming kicks up the beat and then the blue icing that fills the track Rob Tognoni’s guitar. The tone, pace the riffs that fit into a pocket earworm that you want to carry around this is a confident number that sets out the stall and makes you run to get the album Brave. This is easily done as Rob is on Tour in the UK throughout November.
Best wishes Joining Rob Tognoni are Gaz Rackman – bass and Mike Hellier – drums
“A stunning guitarist with killer licks, and a fine blues rock feel…” Jazz FM, London
From Tasmania, Australia & introduced to Europe by blues master Dave Hole in 1994, Rob Tognoni delivers a 100% powerfully charged experience with every performance. There is simply no compromise, which is strongly evident in his music.
After 45 years his explosive guitar playing and unique songs are now being compared with the greats of his genre and have firmly established him in the European venues & festivals as well as gaining many fans of hard blues rock worldwide.
His latest release “Brave” is a testament to his writing and production skills. The album consists of 12 original tracks with the influences ranging from Rory Gallagher to Frank Zappa.
This latest album from Hamilton is alive with energy there is a zip of brilliance about the guitar playing, the band and the production of Give It Back. The vitality drives the tracks on that really should be getting repeated airplay on mainstream radio. The music is easy on the ear and heavy on blues with a dash of funk and twist of jazz and a generous dollop of freedom to bend and shape the sound to suit the mood of the music and lyrics.. This is music that is full of maturity tonal shades and deft guitar riffs and licks with searing undercurrents provided by the saxophone of Fabian Hernandez, inventive drumming from Armando Aussenac and completing th e rhythm section Dante Ware on bass with some tasty licks and grooves and a depth of character to every track.
In the opening track Stuck In A Rut Hamilton and the band definitely are not this it fizzes with a Texan funky groove this sets the tone he means business creating a Loomis sound across the 11 self-penned tracks and A Woman Like You by S Smith, this is a track that has a languid pace at times full of soul and influence from the master of a funky sound aka Prince. In the day of the discos this would have been a favourite request for the last track of the night and would have been a hit single. She Had Enough has a driving heavy rhythm which chugs along showing a darker side of the affable ever-smiling Hamilton, with drum and bass dominant and then the searing saxophone across the top. Hamilton’s voice is a little but gruffer and full of emotion giving this song loads of feeling.
This is an album where each track has its place and despite being recorded in a studio has a live feeling it gives you back energy; the title track Give It Back is a typical Texan Hamilton with some great backing vocals and interaction and a riff that makes you sit up and listen.
The closing track Peer Pressure has the riffs, licks and musical motifs that makes Hamilton instantly recognisable to his fans and this is a feel good instrumental where the voice would add nothing it is about the pressures of each instrument augmenting each other in the band and not letting anyone down; and this album certainly doesn’t do that. Give It Back is an album where the musicians are all giving the listener part of their souls so give back some love and go see him live, buy the album you will not be disappointed.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of EIGHT doodle paws a doodle rating of
Opening tonight was Bella Collins and The Blue, this Cardiff based band is becoming a firm favourite as a popular opening act for gigs in Cardiff and beyond. There is no doubt that Bella is gaining a following and beginning to create her own vocal style; delivering blues, gospel songs known by all. The is no doubt that Bella has power in her voice which she controls; I do feel that sitting down clutching her acoustic guitar makes the act a bit pedestrian she needs to develop her stage persona communicating with the band behind her and the audience out front excellent stage craft engages the audience making them feel part of the show, so open your mouth sing out loud and clear talk to the audience and this act could go from strength to strength, being more than a popular support band.
Lisa Mills and Ian Jennings hit the stage like a musical tornado; Sunshine bringing an energy to the venue drawing in the audience we knew we were in for some fun. Lisa has a wonderful stage persona as she shares anecdotes and tells you little tales about the music that makes you feel part of the show. Running on 3 hours sleep having played at Grand Blues Sassari Festival in Sardinia the previous day there was the incident of a song being played in the wrong key! Did that phase Ian? no he adjusted and the song played on… one wouldn’t have noticed if Lisa in her open manner hadn’t told us. It is as ever Lisa’s voice that stole the show, yes the guitar work is deft but it is when she opens her mouth so that all her music pours out like a fountain of sound as she sings Smiling you just have to find her beat and smile too. The interplay between her and Ian is that of chums having fun at the same time every note is played with feeling and every word is given the right cadence.
We were treated tonight to a wide selection of blues, country and a mix of the two genres including You Are Not The Only Game In Town; written with help from friend George Borowski when Lisa was visiting Macclesfield and a lovely rendition of Texan left-handed guitarist Barbara Lynn a song about an ex called You’ll Lose A Good Thing. We were also treated to a selection of tracks from her current Album Tempered in Fire; including Tennessee Tears the opening track and it is those pipes that produced a turbo-charged voice, tonight we were treated to that live in Barry. The medley was cleverly constructed with little spoken interludes with Johnny Cash for her Dad and Elvis Presley for her mum… for the audience pure musical delight’
Lisa owns the stage as she enthralls the audience and entertains with Ian providing a superb bass – like enhancing and adding tonal colour to every song sung, there can be no argument that Lisa Mills is the real deal when it comes to Country Blues.
She is the mistress of the vocals they soar with power above the audience out of the open window and into the hot night air she was a nightingale that visited Barry tonight she bent a twisted and shaped the notes to fit the lyrics. The guitar and double bass played second fiddle to Lisa and her powerful vocal chords. Her beautiful rendition of Otis Redding‘s These Arms of Mine – this version really suits her vocal dynamics with 99% of the audience sat listening in awed silence BUT… then there had to be the few… why not leave and sit somewhere else there is a bar downstairs where you can talk as much as you like without ruining the moment for the majority.
That said the audience were delighted with the show we had the cake, delicious icing and now for the cherry on the top for the encore we had a very special version of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing which I believe is going to be on the forthcoming album and a re-mix of I’m Changing. Lisa you didn’t need to change anything tonight you were just perfect…
As ever Mick delivered a display of quality blues guitar playing, this was no blues power trio it was a quartet of fine musicians with Jools Grudgins playing quality keys that blend, inspire and added depth to the sound and a very solid rhythm section, Drums and Bass. A highlight was Mick’s rendition of ‘Catfish Blues‘ giving it a funky edge with great guitar licks and superb key playing by Jules. This was a band that understood each other and they bounced of each other perfectly forming a complete unit delivering a rocky guitar driven blues sound that was perfect to get the festival up and going with an enjoyable act with a set of great blues standards given the distinctive “Pini” treatment including ‘All Along The Watchtower‘ and ‘West Side Blues‘. Abertillery 2013 was up and running at a high-speed and quality from the off.
Then the stage was taken over by the ebullient character Vincent Flatts with his own take on Southern Rock, this may not be the blues but boy was it fun on a hot summers evening as he entertained the crowd with a combination of hard-hitting riffs and clear vocals delivering a bourbon-infused combination of tunes from their latest album and a wide range of artists. This got the crowd dancing and foot stomping, Vincent Flatts heard the sound of a Saxophone off-stage in the crowd and invited him on stage, this was a surreal first for Abertillery as an unknown guest musician from the crowd joined the act on stage and jammed as they did a number or two, this was no set up the band didn’t know him and having played a couple of tunes he left the stage. This was a great set – how can other bands follow the high-octane, bourbon fuelled act that is Vincent Flatts. With a brief break that gave the crowd time to fill our glasses and enjoy the cooling night air that seemed to have invited every gnat in Wales to come and enjoy the musical vibe!
The next band, Jo Harman and Company has been receiving a lot of positive publicity regarding her latest CD “Dirt On My Tongue”. This was her first live performance in Wales so expectation was high. The Company are a tightly formed mix of musicians who provide Jo with the musical foundation so that her voice can soar into the rafters at any location. Jo has a powerful voice which takes you on an emotional journey of hopes and loss, love and tears. The Bobby Blues Bland number ‘Ain’t No Love‘ was a great choice and a fitting tribute to the great bluesman himself and she thoroughly enjoyed the impromptu singing as much as we did listening to her. The great licks provided by Scott McKeon, whose guitar skills are without doubt a little bit special whilst on the bass Phil Mulford’s skills added interest to each and every number also in the Company was Steve Watts on drums and Martin Johnson on keys. Jo Harman leads the band and they interact with her creating a very special bond which shows through as they play to please the crowd and not to build up their own egos. The set was populated with numbers from her excellent CD proving she can perform live as well as in the studio, in fact the live sound as ever added a little bit extra it had an edgier less polished feel, making them classier.
Jo may not have been everyone’s idea of the blues, though for some she was the act of the weekend or at least Friday night but she is a singer/writer who can perform and charm and whose reputation is growing all the time. She certainly made lots of new friends and fans at Abertillery. It was a great set delivered with lots of passion; Jo certainly deserves all of the positive publicity that she has been getting recently. All too soon the shadows were lengthening and it was getting darker and the last act of the evening was stepping onto the stage:-
Mud Morganfield with his backing band that are a talented group that deliver time and time again with tight playing and perfect timing and rhythm. The band consists of Mike Hellier (Drums); Double Bass; Ian Jennings, Blues harps-man Steve West Weston, guitar ? And Keys?. Together they delivered yet again at Abertillery scintillating authentic Chicago blues. Mud sings with a clarity stripping back the vocals so that the legacy of his father Muddy Morganfield shines through with clarity. The song that summed the set up was ‘The Son of The Seventh Son‘; no wonder he has been nominated in four categories of the Living Blues Awards. No one can have any complaints about the quality of the blues delivered by Mud and his friends. His performance delighted a delirious crowd as some great Muddy waters standards were sung across the marquee and beyond with the ghost of Muddy Waters echoing the words back from the Welsh hillsides.
Mud Morganfield & Band Members:-
Larry Williams (Mud Morganfield) – Vocals
Ronni Busack Boysen – Guitar
Eric Ranzoni – Keys
Steve West Weston – Blues Harp
Ian Jennings – Double Bass
Mike Hellier – Drums
What was your first musical memories growing up in Australia? My source was my Father’s vinyl collection BB King, Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, it was all down to his good taste, opening my eyes and ears to blues and blues-based music.
Other than your Father’s Vinyl’s, who were your early musical influences in Australia? Australia has a rich source of musical talent including Jeff Lang, Chris Wilson, Geoff Achison and Tommy Emmanuel, and in the days prior to the internet it was much harder to link up; but these three great guitarist; singer/songwriters showed me that I could make a living out of the music I loved.
Did you always want to be a musician? Once I picked up a guitar yes! I felt an immediate connection; I started off on electric when I was 15 and lucky for me it came easy, I naturally seemed to understand the guitar and developed my skill splaying in bands playing blues/rock for 5/6 years; at 16 I dreamed of being the ‘White Aussie Jimi Hendrix’. Then I found acoustic when I was 23 and this felt right, this is what I wanted to work with the acoustic guitar spoke to me and let me explore the areas of music that I connected to and spoke to people. The acoustic expresses feelings and personally the electric guitar cannot compete.
Who influenced your song-writing? My song-writing has been influenced by many people and music and lyrics heard whilst travelling been about my own experiences; to name them all would look like a list but the two that definitely are at the top of the list of influences are Bob Dylan and Richard Thompson.
Are you considering bringing the Dylan project that you were involved with last summer to the U.K? NO! in one word, it was great fun and sold lots of tickets and was very, very popular, we all had a great time, Ian Parker myself and Spanish guitarist Miguel Banon. The trouble with the project ironically was it was too popular; and we could quickly be tagged as the Dylan cover specialist and that would then be what audiences would expect from me every performance.
How Do You View the Current Live Acoustic Blues Scene in U.K? The circuit is vibrant with plenty of good acts; and the use of social networking and the internet makes it easier to find gigging venues that are thriving and to connect with both established and new audiences that appreciate my style of delivering the blues. Having toured the U.K. since arriving here from Melbourne 10 years ago, I am busier than ever so no complaints from me; you do have to adapt with changing times and good promotion is vital with the growing importance of all the strands of social media.
Last Year also saw a new CD; how does this differ from your previous albums? Yes, Distant Empires, this is different from my previous albums, it is less of an introspective on personal experiences it is more outward looking. Writing an album is a long process and has a world perspective and has been a good challenge. When writing for a new project I tend to get the chorus and music then build around this, though during the process the chorus often gets modified! The finished result is my latest album ‘Distant Empires which is a little bit different.
What plans do you have for the future?
Well going to take couple of months off over the Summer and then start touring with a band later this year, touring as a duo has been great fun but feel that it is time to change.
Now on with the live music event review.
The evening was kicked started by a stylish upbeat solo performance by the ever popular local talent John Lewis, who always delivers a foot stomping and lively set with his mix of self-penned and a selection from his vast lexicon of tunes that are the very best from Rock n’ Roll/Rockabilly discography of the 1950’s & 60’s. He has a wonderful tenor voice which brings passion and verve to the set, combined with skilled traditional engineering skills when his faulty amp played up a kick quickly resolved the issue and the show was back on track. This is what a supporting set should be great music, entertaining repartee and being left wanting more, whilst looking forward the main event of the show.
A quick change-over and Derrin Nauendorf and Rick Foot were on centre stage, and from the off the audience knew this was going to be an evening of fine musicianship, with Derrin demonstrating the power of the acoustic guitar; he certainly uses the whole instrument getting a great percussive note out of the wood at the sides which amplify the words and emotion of this singer/songwriter’s superb songs. Adding to the emotion is the superlative Double Bass playing of Rick Foot whether plucking or using the bow, Rick gets every ounce of emotional tension out of the instrument as the growl and oft mournful notes grip your very soul and tug at your heartstrings. This is a duo that delivers a full sound that makes you feel good about live music and certainly gets those endorphins going – so it was no surprise to me that spell-checker gave me the option of endorphins for Nauendorf, a really fitting suggestion. The two sets delivered a mix of Derrin’s self-penned work from previous albums and his latest Distant Empires’ which since its release in October 2012 has been receiving critical acclaim; and into this heady mix some interesting covers.
‘Ghost Town’; gave Rick foot the opportunity to use the bow on his double bass creating such haunting sounds that perfectly complimented Derrin’s beautiful guitar skills and melded in and accentuated the lyrics and Derrin’s melodic voice. The other sparkling gems included ‘Shipwrecked’ and ‘History Repeating’ & ‘New World Order’ from Distant Empires, demonstrating how this album is different from previous recordings with outward looking lyrics and shows that Derrin’s skills are growing developing and changing. This is not an artist in a rut that he has formed and frightened or unable to get out, which is why every live performance is different and he will always put in something different and unexpected – tonight it was in the second set with an acoustic version of Rolling stones; ‘Wild Horses’; as Derrin said “Stones for a Tenner!” Also it was an opportunity for the audience to have a sing-a-long which was enjoyed by all. The next surprise was the totally mind-boggling awesome acoustic Hendrix/Pink Floyd medley. The Duo started with ‘Voodoo Chile’ which then melded into ‘Another Brick in The Wall’ and back to ‘Voodoo Chile’; illustrating what it is possible to accomplish by an acoustic duo when in the hands a pair of master musicians – wow the audience loved this.
What made this evening of live entertainment so special was the interplay between Derrin and Rick throughout the set served as an object lesson in musicianship of the highest order, which they combined with warm, friendly interaction with the appreciative audience. Then they were both happy to chat with the audience and sell the CD; one thing for certain this Duo is welcome to come back to Barry very soon; this may have been the first time the duo had played in South Wales but I am sure it will not be the last!