Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home

 

 

Saturday the 8th April 2017 was a big day for blues in the UK because of events many miles away in Horsens, Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back HomeDenmark, the venue for the 7th European Blues Challenge organised by the European Blues Union (EBU) in conjunction with the BluesKartellet of Horsens, a town described by its mayor, Peter Sorensen, as ’a city of music – with streets of blues’ and a city ‘known throughout Denmark for its concerts with renowned artists, festivals and major events’.

For the first time in the event’s history, the European Blues Challenge was won by the UK with Northern Ireland’s Kaz Hawkins Band beating off some stiff competition, particularly from Belgium’s The Bluebones who were placed second. The event saw acts from some 21 European countries competing over two nights at the Forum in Horsens, a venue which, in the past, has played host to many major names including the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Paul McCartney.

In an emotional acceptance of the trophy, Kaz first thanked the UK Blues Federation for making it possible for her and her band to take part in the International Blues Challenge, which took place in Memphis, Tennessee in late January and where the band reached the semi-finals, as well as the European Blues Challenge.

She also expressed her gratitude to the event organisers and to the judges for ‘getting’ her music which is so much a reflection both of her and her life.

In addition to the trophy, the band will also have the opportunity to play at a number of top European Blues Festivals as well as enjoying a considerably raised profile on the European Blues scene.

Kaz’s acceptance speech was full of emotion, warmth and the power of the blues.

Watch the VIDEO HERE

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back HomeBefore the results were announced on Saturday night, The European Blues Union announced the winners of the Blues Behind the Scenes Awards for 2017 which saw the Award for Production going to veteran and legendary producer Mike Vernon whose career spans many decades working with many great artists including John Mayall and Eric Clapton on the iconic Beano Album as well as many other major names over the years. Recently he has come out of semi-retirement to produce a number of albums for 21st century blues artists as well as putting together his own band with which he is touring.

Accepting the Award, Mike commented that he was knocked out to receive it but also very proud. He confirmed that he had no intention of stopping yet suggesting that if John Mayall is still touring in his 80s there was no way he (Mike) was going to quit!

Earlier in the day at the General Assembly of the European Blues Union, Dave Raven, award winning blues broadcaster, Chair of the UK’s Independent Blues Broadcasters Association and Treasurer of the UK Blues Federation, was elected to the Board of the EBU, the first time that the UK has been represented on this board and another big step towards blues in the UK being better represented in Europe.

For the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues), Ashwyn Smyth – Chair – said: ‘ We are both thrilled and very grateful that Kaz and her band have done us and blues in the UK so proud. Whilst the winning was down to Kaz and her band, we are so happy that we were able to facilitate them taking part in both Challenges and the win in Denmark is the cherry on top of the cake and can only serve to raise the profile of the blues in and from the UK!”

 

Bluesdoodles send our congratulations to Kaz Semi-finalists first in Memphis and now the Winner in Europe.

Check out review Feelin’ Good Album HERE

Check out Interview with Kaz after Memphis trip for international Blues Challenge HERE

 

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home

 

Sari Schorr In Conversation about New Album

Sari Schorr In Conversation about New Album

Sari Schorr In Conversation about New Album

 

 

BD: Hi Sari hope you are well, thanks for taking the time to speak to Bluesdoodles, we spoke last year on the release of Force of Nature, and your tour now you are back in the studio and Deja Vue about to tour the UK again.

SS: Thank you for listening to me and supporting music. Everything is going so fast. I am trying to slow down and savour every moment. The reality is I am having too much fun. Last year there was so much pressure with the release of our first album. Now I am doing it all over again definitely trying to relax more and enjoy the process of making my second album. I have a good label with Manhaton and a phenomenal band so I am determined to enjoy the ride. I do believe that everything has a time and place and part of your destiny to get involved with certain projects so grabbing the pleasure of every opportunity I say “get on board, see you wherever the train goes”  BD: Sounds like lyrics of a blues song. SS: Laughing, let’s get together and write a blues song you never know where it will go.

BD: Before we talk lyrics, songs and touring let’s turn to the important dogs in your life, how are they back in Brooklyn?

SS: I will tell them that Aunty Liz in Wales sends her love. BD: Othello wags his tail in delight, sending a doodle woof to your three girls. SS: They are great, not eaten any furniture for a few months. When I get the suitcase out, they think they are going as well to the dog park or store somewhere exciting, they cannot imagine I would go anywhere without them. When they see the suitcases they look sad, Sophie sat in the suitcase shivering it was horrible. I am always really homesick until I am at the airport them I am looking forward to the adventure about to unfold.

BD: What were the highlights last year on the road with the Engine Room singing your distinctive blues-rock sound.

SS: Highlights, for me it is just the feeling of being on the road with this band working hard. The band are always enthusiastic, positive and ready giving one-hundred percent. We all care about each other, we are like a string family. The highlight is sharing our music, it is brilliant to be part of making the music live it can be a challenge but I know they have got my back. When I need a boost they understand, when I am exhausted they build me up. Travelling all over the world singing along to our songs brings tremendous rewards.  Innes and I smile at each other as we see people singing along. It is so fantastic and humbling to see people embracing the album it is a sign that the music has touched them. There is a video of Trish singing in her car, Black Betty connected with this through the power of social media and felt so honoured.

BD: Having performed the songs from Force Of Nature live do you have a personal favourite and why?

SS: Favourite, I love singing every track on the set list, with the exception of Black Betty that still scares the life out of me. The look of the set list varies depending on my mood, kick up the tempo with Demolition Man or cooling down the pace with Ordinary Lives. It is the diversity of the tracks that makes them so much fun to play live, they never get boring for the band to play we love them every time. BD: Why does Black Betty Scare You? SS: To do it right there is a lot of emotion, have to sing by taking it on, it is a painful song. I feel that pain when I sing my version of Black Betty. You have to go deep, I feel exhausted by the end of the performance.  Innes has written a middle section, a magnificent piece of music makes me cry, for me it’s the highlight of the song. Some nights I feel that I have not got the strength to sing Black Betty, Innes says okay, then I know I can just to hear his guitar. The melody is bright, the words dark they don’t quite match that is what makes Leadbelly great. The music is accessible to people and then if they wish can delve deeper into the lyrical content. It does not require you to do that, but if you intellectually want to the lyrics take you on an emotional journey.

BD:  Back in The Studio with Mike Vernon producing the sequel what is exciting you about the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Force of Nature? What does Mike as your producer add to the sound and shape of the album?

SS:  This time we are in the UK recording at The Riverside studio, it is awesome, with lots of the vocals being recorded in the same booth as Robert Plant, inspirational. Logistically it was easier to bring Mike from Spain. Majority has been recorded. The sound is a continuation, development from Force of Nature. It has been awesome recording as a live album in the studio true Engine Room sound. I am off to Germany to write a couple of songs. We have no working title it is just The Album, we keep listening to the eight tracks already done and cannot decide which one it should be the title track! Every time we listen we say this one, no this one we will get there.  We wrote the majority of the songs together when we spent time together in Spain the sound is more representative of The Engine Room sound, showing what the band is capable off. Those boys are fierce.

BD: What does Mike bring, is he part of the band or more of an overseer knitting the sound together? SS: Both he can step back, and be an integral part of the band. When searching how to treat a certain section of a song, example the keyboard groove, Mike will conduct, singing the part shaping the groove as a member of the band. On other occasions he will give an overview. He is the kindest most patient man, he never gets rattled he gives us plenty of room always. Then when we are struggling he will throw in an idea, what if you approached it this way. Mike has no ego, which is amazing when you consider what he has done and who he has worked with over the decades. He could have a big ego, be really demanding but no he is the most giving, generous of producers creating an open creative environment everyone can relax in. I always feel I am in the best hands, allowing us to experiment, push the boundaries. Mike is quick to tell us when we go too far bringing us back and preventing us from doing anything too obvious.

BD: Will you be showcasing songs from the new album as part of the 2017 set list. Are they different from Force of Nature if so how?

SS: Sadly, not yet, may do one in the sound check of this tour. The problem is someone will record and put up on You Tube before the record comes out.

BD:   Last time we finished with what your dream band would be this time – what are you listening to and what Sari Schorr track would you liked covered and by whom?

SS: It has to be Robert Plant, which track after some consideration Ain’t Got No Money. I would so love to do a duet with him as well.  At the moment I am loving my label mates King King, the music is so uplifting, it inspires me and I adore Alan he is such a great talent.

BD: Thank you for your time and looking forward to Bristol with the mighty Northsyde at The Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival.

 Sari Schorr is back in the UK 

Sari Schorr In Conversation about New Album

Sari Schorr In Conversation about New Album

A Force Of Nature Sari Drives the Blues

A Force Of Nature Sari Drives the Blues

A Force Of Nature Sari Drives the Blues

Mahaton Records

 

 

A Force Of Nature, Sari Drives the Blues, Sari Schorr brings a wealth of experience from life, influencing her song writing and vocal delivery.  Sari has attracted a huge blast of attention, promising that she can sing and perform. Bluesdoodles confirms this is a reality not hyperbole and the over use of adjectives. Sari Schorr and The Engine Room really know how to deliver the sound they want to create building on the lyrics and surround the vocal power and intensity of Sari. The album title states what Sari and her band deliver – A Force of Nature.

If you want your blues traditional with the feet of the musicians firmly stuck in a swamp then look elsewhere. Sari and her band and guests combined with the superb production skills of Mike Vernon have explored the blues with this is a sparkling sapphire of a performance.

The album is a journey where you are taken on a ride that explores life, highs, lows through a mixture of self-penned and artfully chosen covers.  Step aboard The Force of Nature with – Ain’t Got No Money greed, money addiction, Sari and outsider living in New York looks on and makes her own choices with the pursuit of music rather than wealth. Her dreams are motivation not the lure of the greenback.  No subject is taboo for Sari, the lyrics are full of description, littered with metaphors chosen to whip up the listeners imagination. The lyrics are short stories that encapsulate a novel. The power of the sonnet over the epic poem.

Addiction stays at the heart of Aunt Hazel and it’s destructive. Heroin is the villain who laughs and the havoc it causes as life unravels. Modern themes for a singer with the power to entrance and create blues that has a hard edge reflecting modern life. The lyrics have a relevancy. From addiction, we explore abuse whether domestic or in the work-place. Abuse that is painful and effects so many is captured in Damn the Reason opening with a mournful guitar lick that pulls your emotional heartstrings. With its driving relentless rhythm you are trapped in the music reflecting the feeling of being trapped in an abusive relationship and the inability to escape. Sari’s vocals wrapped in the music and love is the hook that keeps us caged.

 

The first cover is Leadbelly’s Black Betty given a make-over and the single helping to catapult Sari, the album and her music into the centre of everyone’s attention. Following on, with Walter Trout guesting, is Work No More. Walter’s guitar brings a sting to the number so personal to him and reflects the song written with passion and love. Sari adding her lyrical interpretation a women’s empathy into the words with the piano from David Keys adding more layers of emotive textures.

 

The power of her vocals seer through the music the lyrical artistry remains from the highest note through to the sustained notes. Oklahoma and Kiss Me features Oli Brown adding his guitar tone. It is every time the authority of Sari’s voice that creates the mood. She finds lyrics in the mundane as her new found love for Oklahoma as she changed her plans and re-joined the Joe Louis Walker tour, enjoying, embracing the unexpected means this is getting the best out of life whatever its twists and turns.

 

Unexpectedly, Stop! In the Name of Love is included, captured in one-take a perfect cover despite her reservations brings this forceful, poetic album almost to a close but not before Ordinary Life.  Jesus Lavillas piano intro is intimate and leads into a thoughtful, soulful Sari. Leaving us with  a track slower quieter than the others we are left with another side of a talent that is pushing the boundaries  through music that captures our attention.  There is nothing ordinary about the talent of Sari Schorr, as she shapes and bends music to create a Force of Nature.

 

What sets this album above so many you listen to, its heart and emotional flow is determined by the Blues, yet there is more it is the experience of Sari and the musicians she has surrounded herself. They add soul, jazz and music that demands to be listened to. The tracks all have a story to tell, the music shapes that story and the textured layers insuring your musical journey is full of interest. Sari is herself, she is proud and addresses issues that shapes society.   From Greed to Prostitution, Love of Pitt Bulls through to musicians experiences travelling on the road.

 

Forceful blues, A Force Of Nature this is most definitely an album in the running for Album of 2016!

Sari Schorr – A Force Of Nature – Manhaton Records

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

Track Listing

  1. Ain’t Got No Money
  2. Aunt Hazel
  3. Damn The Reason
  4. Cat And Mouse
  5. Black Betty
  6. Work No More
  7. Demolition Man
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Letting Go
  10. Kiss Me
  11. Stop! In The Name Of Love
  12. Ordinary Lives

UK TOUR DATES AUTUM 2016
SEPTEMBER

Sept 9 Darlington RnB Club, The Forum Music Centre, Darlington, UK
Sept 5 Half Moon Putney, London, UK (Album Launch)
Sept 10 Blues Club, Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
Sept 11 Winchester Discovery Centre, Winchester, UK
Sept 14 The Tunnels, Bristol, UK
Sept 15 Southern Pavilion, Worthing Pier, West Sussex, UK
Sept 16 New Crawdaddy, Billericay Town FC Billericay, UK
Sept 17 Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, UK
Sept 23 Selby Town Hall Yorkshire, UK
Sept 24 The Iron Road, Evesham, Worcestershire, UK
Sept 25 Hope Tavern, Caistor Rd, Holton-le-Moor, Market Rasen, Lincs, UK
Sept 28 Vonnies Blues Club, Cheltenham
Sept 29 Cranleigh Arts Centre, High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey
Sept 30 B.A.R Festival, France

OCTOBER
October 1 Hereford Blues Club, Booth Hall, Hereford, UK
October 6 Bar Brunel Bridgewater, UK
October 7 Deux Rivieres Blues Festival, Brittany, France


Bluesdoodles Interview with Sari Schorr – HERE

Black Betty Force Of Nature Debut Single

Sari Black Betty Single-

Black Betty Force Of Nature Debut Single

Sari Schorr, is a Force of Nature. The reworking of Leadbelly’s Black Betty whips up a whirlwind of sound and as the music gains force it picks up like grains of sand collective memories of Black Betty back to the blues tour de force that is Huddie William Ledbetter.

The fates conspired when the Leadbelly Fest gave Black Betty to Sari, combining her vocal power with the magic of her band The Engine Room. The single from her debut album whets your musical appetite for the full album Force of Nature, produced by Mike Vernon ad released on Friday 2nd September 2016.

Black Betty, Force Of Nature Debut Single is the perfect introduction to the power of the album as it combines the intuitive and artistry of Sari’s vocals with Innes Sibun’s burning emotive guitar. This is a pairing that builds on each other’s creativity and into the mix add John Baggot on keys, Nani Conde on bass and completing the rhythm section is Jose Mena on drums, with Mike Vernon putting in an appearance with some additional percussion.

Sari’s Black Betty is different, not a copy of 1977 version by Ram Jam but deeper slower, darker a woman telling Black Betty’s tale. It is a song that is sung forcefully, picking out the grim bones of the song that is about a slave, rape and cracking of the whip.

The single to be released on Monday 8th August is a radio edit with 3 minutes and 23 seconds of power this is shimmering electric blues that makes for compelling listening. The rest of the album promises to build on the power of the single this is blues that opens the portals to a dark place with glorious melodic riffs and hooks.

Read between conversation Bluesdoodles and Sari Schorr HERE

Black Betty (Radio Edit: 3:23) Single released Monday 8th August 2016

Taken From the Debut Album

Force Of Nature Sari Schorr Talks to Bluesdoodles

A Force of Nature

Produced by Mike Vernon
Released Friday 2nd September 2016 on Manhaton Records

SARI SCHORR AND THE ENGINE ROOM
2016 UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR DATES

BOOK TICKETS VIA BANDS IN TOWN:
http://bandsintown.com/SariSchorr

 

AUGUST

August 4-5 Notodden Blues Festival Norway
August 26 Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Rd, Maidenhead, UK
August 27 Varenwinkel Festival, Herselt, Belgium
August 28 Seacroft Double Festival, Norfolk, UK
August 29 Great British RnB Festival, Colne, Lancashire, UK
August 28 Seacroft Double Festival, Norfolk

SEPTEMBER

Sept 9 Darlington RnB Club, The Forum Music Centre, Darlington, UK
Sept 5 Half Moon Putney, London, UK (Album Launch)
Sept 10 Blues Club, Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
Sept 11 Winchester Discovery Centre, Winchester, UK
Sept 14 The Tunnels, Bristol, UK
Sept 15 Southern Pavilion, Worthing Pier, West Sussex, UK
Sept 16 New Crawdaddy, Billericay Town FC Billericay, UK
Sept 17 Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, UK
Sept 23 Selby Town Hall Yorkshire, UK
Sept 24 The Iron Road, Evesham, Worcestershire, UK
Sept 25 Hope Tavern, Caistor Rd, Holton-le-Moor, Market Rasen, Lincs, UK
Sept 28 Vonnies Blues Club, Cheltenham
Sept 29 Cranleigh Arts Centre, High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey
Sept 30 B.A.R Festival, France

OCTOBER

October 1 Hereford Blues Club, Booth Hall, Hereford, UK
October 6 Bar Brunel Bridgewater, UK
October 7 Deux Rivieres Blues Festival, Brittany, France

Force Of Nature Sari Schorr Talks to Bluesdoodles

Force Of Nature Sari Schorr Talks to Bluesdoodles
Photo Credit Rob Blackman

Force Of Nature Sari Schorr Talks to Bluesdoodles

BD:  Big thank you for taking time out of your tour schedule to chat with Bluesdoodles. Thank you so much for letting Bluesdoodles have a copy of your debut album A Force Of Nature, your forthcoming album before its release. More of that later I am sure.

We built a rapport talking about my hair colour, album covers, dogs and more this is what Sari said about the album cover and more.

Sari: For example, I had a beautiful picture of a tree I tried to convince everyone would be a perfect album cover, but I lost that argument. Yea I am learning to pick and choose my arguments, try and argue those that I am going to win. The good thing about the album cover is that it was a last-minute photo shoot. I had no idea I was going to do it so I didn’t have to think about it. I didn’t plan for it I just thought it was a few extra publicity shots so there was no pressure as we already had the album cover it is now the picture inside of me dancing taken by a friend of mine Amy Kirwin we thought that was going to  be the cover. So that is why that shoot was one of the most pleasant photo shoots I had ever been on with Rob Blackman.

I am a hobbyist photographer I am working on a book about my three Pitbulls. I turn my tiny Brooklyn Apartment into a studio and when my husband came home it was like something out of Lucille Ball  “Whatever have you done” Sari laughs. The ridiculous costumes the dogs were in, lights everywhere, blue screen it was ridiculous. We chatted about walking dogs great to find another common point including walking the dog first thing in the morning. Sari has five flights of stairs and three walks, lots of exercise, they love Brooklyn Park, Prospect Park and into Manhattan they love Central Park where there are a couple of lakes they can swim in.

Let me thank you for scheduling it a bit earlier,  I suppose everyone wants to speak to you now  I am so busy yea  overnight success after a life time of work. But it makes you a lot more grateful.  Yes, we all have hiccups in life and sometimes is too easy at the beginning they can be a real shock to the system.  I think without these hiccups, I like the way you put that these opportunities for growth have given me lots of opportunities for some great song writing material.  We will be talking about your amazing songs later but let’s start at the beginning.

BD: What were your early musical influences were they classical through your Opera singing training?

Sari: My earliest was jazz Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan Nat King Cole and then from there I started digging backwards. Who were their influences that I discovered the great classic female blues singers, Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, Big Mama Thornton etc. then it was this realization these women just completely connected with me. Their voices resonated in a way I could identify with because as a Jazz singer I was always overpowering the band. I was always told “Could you try and tone it down a little?” “You have a five-octave range but do you have to use it”. Laughing, you have a loud voice do you have to use it. I was always trying to be less, be demure and finally when I discovered these women who lead me into the blues just this felt like the key that really opened me up to realise who I was.  Yes, you do have a big voice.  Yea, nothing petite.   You have a big voice tuneful but keeps its shaping of the tone  Yes, absolutely right about that I think  Studying with an Opera teacher really early was a good thing made me conscious of tone and pitch the quality and placement of voice its technique has so much to do with it. Then you have to find a way to get past the technique forget it and become the storyteller the singer. Just the singer you can’t do both thinking about technique and trying to deliver a message. Yes, that is like all art forms it is about being instinctive. It has to become instinctive, that is the artistry when technique becomes invisible to you and it’s rooted in your subconscious. Everything else in your conscious mind becomes the artistry and that is when you really connect with the audience and goes straight to the heart. Easy to connect to negativity human brain right away goes to negativity in order to be an artist and inspired you have to be open and positive be an individual and understand who you are.   That was also part of my journey finding my real voice, early on you are influenced by artists you admire. You want to emulate and emulation is the first step to achieving artistry. But you have to move beyond that to find out who you are and that is a very, very hard journey and is what separates out the great artist from everybody else. It’s that extra thing that uniqueness, that some great artists are able to achieve as they have great awareness of themselves and that means the good and the bad. You have to embrace all those things about yourself take it all on use all that stuff, it all has something to say. All those life experiences, personality’s flaws and those opportunities for growth all lead you towards being able to communicate in a much more honest way. They all add up to artistic integrity, you have to have all those resources. You can’t be self-conscious, you can’t be yourself the singer singing the song you have to be the song itself. It sounds I know a little bit odd, but you have to dissolve into just being the vehicle for the song and you are communicating with the audience.  It is not about you, that is the other thing that is so hard, because there is so much attention in the artist, the truth is I am the least important part of it; it’s the emotion the message I am sharing I am just a vehicle for all of those things for the benefit of an audience who wants to hear it.

BD: Your set at Blues On the Farm was excellent

Sari: Thank you so much, we were hoping for sunshine, but it turned out that the rain added a great feeling to the whole thig. I still have mud on my boots, I love it. It was a wet weekend

BD: Currently on tour with your new band The Engine Room. It was really obvious when I saw you live that you have a real connection on stage with Innes Sibun on guitar

Sari: Innes is an unbelievably good guitarist, I never in  a million years thought  I would have the good fortune to be in a band with him and feel he is my brother. He is my brother from another mother, we joke about it all the time but we are so connected with each other spiritually, musically, and artistically. We often say it’s amazing he hears me sing and if his guitar could sing it he says would sound like my voice. The same is true if my voice could play guitar it is what his guitar does would represent my voice. We anticipate each other’s moves, no show is ever the same we are completely in the moment. That takes a lot of courage as this can go terribly wrong in a moment but laughing we like to live dangerously. We are on the edge all the time.

BD: How did you and the band hook up.

Sari: For the album the band hadn’t hooked up.  On the record, Nani Conde played bass he is one of the greatest bass players in Spain, the band hadn’t been formed yet. Because Mike Vernon lives in Spain his beautiful villa outside Malaga we had recorded a couple of demo’s in Spain pre-album and  I fell in love with the studio. I fell in love with the people who worked there, it is a more intimate studio it felt very personal not like the big corporate studios I am accustomed to recording in. I said to Mike I would really love to record the album here where everyone can go for lunch around the corner a two-hour break that costs $5 for a four-course meal I can live with this I thought. So when Mike asked me who would you like featured on your album, create a short A list. Innes was on top of the list because I knew Mike had done couple of albums with him, I knew we had this mutual connection and I was living in Paris at the time working on an Amnesty International project. I was asked to sing on a project sort of   We Are The World with lots of international artists. I also had to go back to New York to produce Carly Simon’s session, it really didn’t need any producing I hit the record button

“Carly go!” and she did it in one take and that was the extent of it. While I happened to be back in  New York  there was a  Rory Gallagher Tribute at the Iridium and I was asked to perform I agreed to it and Innes Sibun was a guest so we met for the first time at that Rory Gallagher tribute. We met backstage we probably said two words to each other, I was intimidated and everyone wanted to talk to him and I didn’t want to get in the way. Two years later when Mike asked who did I want? on the record I said Innes. He called, Innes was on tour in Germany and he said he would love to I couldn’t believe it he said he’d be back the next week which was perfect. After the recording Mike and I were so depressed it was so perfect.  Now how are we going to produce this live, Innes it’s a one-off what are we going to do. How are we going to put a band together that sounds as good as the record. Innes came in our words were still hanging in the air. He said “I love this project so much, I believe that this project is going to be so great and important I would love to be the guitar player” Mike and I looked at each other, our mouths just dropped and then we said Yes. Soon as we had Innes on board everything else would fall in place. And it did. We got Kevin Jeffries on bass, Kevin O’Rourke on drums, and Anders Olinder on keyboards. We have The Engine Room. <em>Will they be touring in America and beyond? </em>Yes, they will be with a bigger tour of America in 2017 planned. This is the band I will tour all over the world with.

 

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of songs. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting it is not just personal, lots of politics and other themes, there is a real narrative to it.

Sari: Thank you for recognising that, I struggle with the lyrics, it hurts. When I have to sit down and start working on a lyric it feels like diving into an ice-cold bucket of water. It stings my whole body, I procrastinate because it scares me to death writing lyrics. I really work on lyric melodies, music comes easily to me it is the lyrics that provides the challenge. It is important to me to find relevant subjects something that I can bring to the subject through my own perspective and life experience and to be able to sing with weighty lyrics makes me feel I am contributing something of value that is it I want to contribute something of value and I can only do that if I am singing about relevant subjects that have meaning to people that are inspiring and also painful, that is life. I really believe we are all spiritual beings having a human experience.  When I sit down to write, the first thing I do is clear my mind okay we are spiritual beings what is the connection between all of us what is resonating and I just tap into something that’s definitely bigger than me. Even with Letting Go one of the songs I wrote with Mike Vernon.  That is one example of a lyric I wrote very quickly, well honestly I didn’t write it – it came to me. Mike Vernon lost his wife about a year ago, we were sitting in his dining room and there was a picture of his beautiful wife Natalie on the shelf and I kept looking at this picture. I was thinking how hard it must be for Mike being without her now. I came up with a melody, I was thinking about Natalie and those lyrics were completely formed I honestly feel she sent those lyrics to me as a gift and every time I sing that song I always thank her for that song. Some of the great lyrics I write, that sounds arrogant, but I saying that because I don’t think I wrote them, chuckling, I look as those lyrics and think Oh My God! I am not smart enough to write this that didn’t come from me laughing. I think we are all capable of doing things well beyond our means when we tap into the some kind of creative energy that surrounds all of us. As Artists we just spend more of our lives trying to harness that creative energy, we catch onto it a little bit more often because we dedicate ourselves to doing that, we dedicate ourselves to the pain and suffering to be creative. Art is a living breathing thing, we are always developing, always changing. I never sing a song the same way, never.  I was talking about this to my bass player and he said he never plays a bass line the same way there are subtle differences we are not the person we were a moment ago. We are not the better version of ourselves that’s  coming two minutes ahead so we have a lot to look forward to laughing that is why we are allowed to make mistakes now because it is us and the past in two seconds it will be that was when I was very immature then. <strong>Laughing I am still immature at sixty too late for me to reach maturity. </strong>Good trick is never grow-up! Every day is the first day of the rest of your life I honestly believe that. I have reinvented myself many, many times. Finally, figured out who I am and I can make a contribution.

 

BD: The title A Force Of Nature reflects your personality and musical signature, rather than taking a track as a title.  Tell us a bit about making the album and the importance of Mike Vernon as Producer in shaping the finished product.

Sari: He is so talented. It is no wonder that he is a living legend an iconic producer because I have never worked with someone with his deep sense of awareness of music.  He hears everything. And then he has a vision like he can see what it is supposed to sound like before it happens, he sees the picture painted while the canvas is still blank because he knows so clearly what the end result should be he can guide the musicians and artists to get there without putting his own imprint on it. He doesn’t force his own sound, he brings out the best of the people he has in the studio which is incredible. Somehow he knows what we are capable of, what we don’t even know. He pushes you in such an inspiring way, I have worked with producers that brings you to tears, frustrate the hell out of you it is all negative. I have seen musicians storm out of sessions but with Mike everyone is hanging on to his every word, they want more feedback from him because he does it in such a loving and inspiring way. The truth is you have to be like a psychotherapist to work with a bunch of musicians in a recording studio, basically telling them that’s good but not good enough, musicians are very sensitive. He does it in a way that brings out the best in everybody, as soon as you tell someone they’re not good or you criticize, the brain shuts down and creativity can’t happen under a negative influence, it is just not possible, the human brain really does not function under negativity.  That is the thing that so many producers just don’t understand, they do not understand human nature but Mike is a genius, he has got an incredible intuition, he has confidence to trust his intuition he is opinionated when he knows he is right and for the benefit of the project and believe me when you are in the studio with him, everybody trusts him. You put your life in his hands gladly and it was his idea to call the album Force Of Nature, it was a line from a review he had remembered that particular sentence from the review and it was his idea.  Alan at record label (Manhaton Records) agreed, and I was still thinking we can have a nice picture of a tree on the cover. It would have been ridiculous laughing, it is a beautiful tree, I took the picture in Germany it’s a magical tree I was wrong about that. Sometimes I have to step out of the way and let them make marketing decisions, they always run everything by me, but I am not one of those artists that would ever say I make all the decisions that the album is all about me. It is not! It is about all the people I am so fortunate to work with. I give them all the room they need to succeed. I am working with Mike because I trust him completely, even with Stop In The Name of Love, when he suggested doing that I thought there is no way I can do justice to that song, I can’t do this. Mike said listen to me, if you do not feel comfortable with this song we won’t do it but I said I am working with you because I trust that you can see things I can’t I am relying on you to see where my blind spots are, everyone has  a blind spot. If you think it’s a good idea I will try it and we did and we basically got the song in the first take. Just because I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it, so I had nothing to lose I just went in and went for it thinking they would say you are right this isn’t working. Ended up being basically the final take.

 

BD:  That leads on to the next question. The album is predominately your self-penned numbers, you told us how Stop In The Name Of Love got included.  So how did the other two covers get included Leadbelly’s classic Black Betty performed in a completely different way and the Walter Trout Number, Work No More?  

Sari: I was so honoured when I was asked to sing at Carnegie Hall, on the Leadbelly Fest, they chose the Black Betty for me.  When I was studying Ram Jam version, I thought if I am going to do this I’ve got to find a way to make it my own sort of meditated on what the song meant to me. It became very clear where I wanted to go with the Song. Then I met Walter Trout, when I was on tour Joe Louis Walker, we re-connected at the Leadbelly Fest in Carnegie Hall heard I was making an album and he said I would love to part of it. So I said we would love you to be part of it.  I wanted to honour him by doing one of his songs, we talked about a bunch of different ideas. He said there is one song that is important to me it is about a woman who practically raised me and I really loved her name was Irene and it was Johnny Winter’s favourite song so I said let’s do that one so that is how we ended up going with Work No More.

 

BD: That is lovely, so often covers included in an album feel like fillers, but these have deep stories attached to them why they are in the mix and they fit so well. Sari: We had to leave of some originals, we had too many songs for the first album and that was the hardest thing choosing which songs would have to be put on the side. There will be another album, Innes and I are already starting to work on material for the second album even though we have material already the songs that had to wait from the first one.  You know, you have your whole life to make the first one but only very short amount of time to make your second one so already working on it so we don’t disappoint anyone.

BD: The album includes some special guests including guitarists Oli Brown, Walter Trout and keyboardist John Baggot.  What extra dimensions did they add to the tracks they appear on?

Sari: Mike worked with Oli Brown when playing the blues, he is an incredible guitarist, what a nice guy I enjoyed working with him in the studio. Soon as he stepped in we had a connection right away it was fun we ended up doing a couple of extra songs with him. Initially only coming into to do one song but we were having too much fun. I think everybody comes from their perspective. All the artists we have on the record bring their own special qualities. We have a couple of incredible pianists on the record from Spain, incredibly accomplished players.  Jesus Lavillas who is playing on Ordinary Life comes from a beautiful jazz background and having a little bit of jazz infused on the record. John Baggott, playing I don’t even know how to describe him, he is a multi-instrumentalist he can do everything, Jazz, rock, Blues, Soul and he just puts so much sparkle yes he adds  beautiful sparkle to the tracks. Walter – the beautiful solo that he did. He did the solo in one take, he was so inspired it was so emotional he did it and the engineer said we’re done, he listened back and said yep, we’re done.

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

Sari: What a great question. I have to say I really do live in the moment so would have the exact band I have at the moment they are a tremendous gift that I recognise because I am  so honoured to be working with these musicians, that is why I gave them a name. I wanted them to have the attention they deserve, the recognition and not just be my name. The Engine Room represents the band of my dreams.

BD: Excellent, You have the band but if you could time travel back into the past and listen to in the moment?

Sari: Jimi Hendrix, I never got to see him play love to hear Jimi Hendrix play his guitar and also to be able to sit in a small New York jazz club in Harlem and hear Billie Holiday that would be my dream

 

BD: Thank you so much for you time the laughter and sharing making the album like you said the conversation could have gone on a lot longer. With a goodbye, Sari went off for her next demand on her time a radio interview.

Black Betty (Radio Edit: 3:23) Single released Monday 8th August 2016

Taken From the Debut Album

Force Of Nature Sari Schorr Talks to Bluesdoodles

A Force of Nature

Produced by Mike Vernon
Released Friday 2nd September 2016 on Manhaton Records

SARI SCHORR AND THE ENGINE ROOM
2016 UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR DATES

BOOK TICKETS VIA BANDS IN TOWN:
http://bandsintown.com/SariSchorr

 

AUGUST

August 4-5 Notodden Blues Festival Norway
August 26 Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Rd, Maidenhead, UK
August 27 Varenwinkel Festival, Herselt, Belgium
August 28 Seacroft Double Festival, Norfolk, UK
August 29 Great British RnB Festival, Colne, Lancashire, UK
August 28 Seacroft Double Festival, Norfolk

SEPTEMBER

Sept 9 Darlington RnB Club, The Forum Music Centre, Darlington, UK
Sept 5 Half Moon Putney, London, UK (Album Launch)
Sept 10 Blues Club, Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
Sept 11 Winchester Discovery Centre, Winchester, UK
Sept 14 The Tunnels, Bristol, UK
Sept 15 Southern Pavilion, Worthing Pier, West Sussex, UK
Sept 16 New Crawdaddy, Billericay Town FC Billericay, UK
Sept 17 Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, UK
Sept 23 Selby Town Hall Yorkshire, UK
Sept 24 The Iron Road, Evesham, Worcestershire, UK
Sept 25 Hope Tavern, Caistor Rd, Holton-le-Moor, Market Rasen, Lincs, UK
Sept 28 Vonnies Blues Club, Cheltenham
Sept 29 Cranleigh Arts Centre, High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey
Sept 30 B.A.R Festival, France

OCTOBER

October 1 Hereford Blues Club, Booth Hall, Hereford, UK
October 6 Bar Brunel Bridgewater, UK
October 7 Deux Rivieres Blues Festival, Brittany, France

Take Me High With Laurence Jones New Album

Take Me High With Laurence Jones New Album

Take Me High
With Laurence Jones New Album

 

 

Back in the studio, Laurence Jones has produced an album that will make you want to return as you have a place to go despite the album’s title. Take Me High, produced by Mike Vernon, Laurence’s style and approach is mature, a real sense of purpose the blossoming of all the potential recognized in this young guitarist. With three studio albums under his belt and thousands of miles travelled to play the blues live, definitely a young guitarist with power, commitment, and a gritty determination.

This is an album whose music and lyrics ebb and flow. The collaboration between Laurence & Mike, has create a collection of songs that moved through the album like chapters in a book. Laurence with his new drummer Phil Wilson, bassist Roger Innis and Bob Fridzema on keys & organ wanted an album that fizzed with the energy of playing live.

The first thing you notice as the album opens with Got No Place To Go, the guitar is full, the bass line fat and Laurence vocals full of assured confidence. His guitar breaks, licks, and swirls have always lifted the imagination now his vocals are unveiling the story of why he has no place to go. He will always have a place to go with his snake charming guitar playing that lifts the tracks up and makes the sound pop out of the speaker.  With ten tracks this is an album where Laurence is stating I am here to stay this is who I am and Blues is what I play. The plaintiff Something’s Changed has a hard edge from his guitar and the rhythm is full of misplaced optimism as the phone call is waited for. Yes, something has changed Laurence is delivering a mature self-confident sound he is playing to delight and delight he does.  Three tracks in a guest vocalist Reuben Richards joins in as they Live it Up. The tempo kicks up a pace there is an airiness in the chord structure underpinned by Bob on keys. The guitar playing is masterful and the album leaves you wanting to go and see Laurence live, the tracks have that raw intensity that makes blues with a twist of rock addictive listening.

The chapters of a love story are revealed with every track. The keys, underpin the melodic force of I Will. Here we feel the emotion as Laurence promises to keep on loving I Will he sings, and then serenades the unseen lover with his ever-present blistering guitar that should melt any heart. The music changes with a dirty, swamp southern infused rock sound as he is Down & Blue. He is a long way from home, he wants some pills. The emotional angst is heard in the vocals and echoed by the vocals. We are feeling your pain, Laurence. Then the tempo clears and picks up with a clear vision as a cameo from Paul Jones’ harmonica joins the party. The harmonica curls around the lyrics as Laurence sings The Price I Pay and his fingers explore the fretwork. Closer with Higher Ground, the blues is chugging and the lyrics driving you home in the company of Laurence Jones, British, modern and full of the blues.

This is an album that grows with every listen. You hear more of the lyrics a guitar lick and the intertwining of Laurence and the whole band so the music is fat, full blues that captures the emotional feel of contemporary re-interpretation of blues.as personified with the ringing blues guitar with a brittle edge of the title track Take Me High!

 

Take Me High – Laurence Jones RUF Records

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

Track Listing

  1. Got No Place To Go
  2. Something Changed
  3. Live It Up
  4. Addicted To Your Love
  5. I Will
  6. Thinking About Tomorrow
  7. Take Me High
  8. Down & Blue
  9. The Price, I Pay
  10. Higher Ground

September Sari Schorr A Force Of Nature Releases Debut

September Sari Schorr A Force Of Nature Releases Debut

 

September Sari Schorr A Force Of Nature Releases DebutManhaton Records is pleased to announce the debut album “A Force of Nature” from one of the most exciting Blues rock singers, Sari Schorr. Released in the UK and Europe on Friday 2nd September 2016, the album is produced by the legendary Mike Vernon whose credits include Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall & the Blues Breakers, David Bowie, Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Christine McVie and Ten Years After.

In January 2015, Mike received a Keeping the Blues Alive award at the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. The award was not the only highlight of the weekend for Mike. The second highlight occurred when Mike witnessed the performance of one of the most amazing female blues singers he’d seen in years – SARI SCHORR.

The album delivers hard-driving Blues-Rock, influenced by the late ’60s British Blues movement.  Sari (who trained as an opera singer) mixes Blues, Rock, and Soul with concrete melodies and poetic lyrics to striking effect.

Mike was so knocked out, he came out of semi-retirement to produce her new album. Already a consummate songwriter in her own right, with tracks on major labels, Sari has written or co-written almost all the songs on the debut album. Released by Manhaton Records (home of Robin Trower and King King) the new album features guitarists Walter Trout (John Mayall, Canned Heat), Innes Sibun (Robert Plant), Oli Brown (RavenEye) and keyboardist John Baggott (Massive Attack, Portishead).

September Sari Schorr A Force Of Nature Releases DebutNew York-based Sari Schorr initially gained prominence throughout the blues world after several years of touring the US and Europe with Blues legend, Joe Louis Walker and renowned guitarist, Popa Chubby. Schorr was recently inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame.

“My songs are rooted in the blues and honouring that long tradition is important to me,” reflects Sari. “My song-writing draws heavily on contrasting melodic hooks with aching harmonies. I spend a lot of time working over and rewriting my lyrics. I rely heavily on imagery and enjoy using double-entendres that are entertaining to those who catch them. My influences are many and various and include Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, Bessie Smith, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Freddie King, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Peter Green, Robert Plant, Martha Velez and Bob Dylan.”
 

Stop In The Name Of Love – Sari Schorr

Track from Sari’s new album “A Force Of Nature”
out on August 17th on Manhaton Records

Sari’s new band, The Engine Room, features stunning British guitarist Innes Sibun (former Robert Planet guitarist). “The Engine Room truly is a remarkable band,” says Sari. “Something magical happens when we’re on stage together. We’re fuelled further by the audiences’ reaction and everything’s possible. I love touring and enjoy the privilege of meeting so many like-minded people who share our love of the Blues.”

Sari & The Engine Room certainly delighted the crowds at blues on The Farm 2016 – Read about her performance HERE

SARI SCHORR & THE ENGINE ROOM – “A FORCE OF NATURE”
DEBUT ALBUM OUT SEPTEMBER 2, 2016 – PRODUCED BY MIKE VERNON

FEATURES WALTER TROUT, INNES SIBUN & OLI BROWN
RELEASED ON CD, MASTERED FOR iTUNES DIGITAL & STANDARD DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

 

September Sari Schorr A Force Of Nature Releases Debut