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.

Zeal & Ardour With Tour Dates and Album plans

Zeal & Ardour With Tour Dates and Album plansZEAL & ARDOR SIGN TO MVKA



Zeal & Ardour With Tour Dates and Album plansThe forthcoming album ‘Devil Is Fine’ – set for release February 24, 2017 –  thematically revolves around more typical black metal fare – rituals, human sacrifice, fire, and blood. Zeal & Ardor take the blaspheme up a notch by delivering the lyrics in the fashion of slave spirituals sung by chain gangs. Black metal from the cotton fields.

Zeal & Ardor is the one-man brainchild of Swiss-American musician Manuel Gagneux. His approach draws on an alternate history and stems from two thoughts: Christianity was imposed upon American slaves (just as it was imposed in Norway) and black metal in the ‘90s grew as a rebellion to monotheism. What would have happened if American slaves had rebelled in the same way? Or put bluntly: what would satanic spirituals sound like?

Zeal & Ardour With Tour Dates and Album plans The double first single, which includes album title track ‘Devil Is Fine’ and ‘Children’s Summon’, is set for release in Europe on November 11.  Pre-orders for the ‘Devil Is Fine’ album, described by Noisey as “one of the year’s most intriguing”, launch the same day.
Having listened to the single’s first side Devil Is Fine, not once, twice or three times it has left me a mixture of excited, intrigued and confused. This is not  Blues  simply revisited and rewritten it has been re-imagined as to what the voices of slaves would sound like today.  The sound is a mash-up as the essence of blues meets metal and gospel colliding with electronica. The beat is pagan, the chains clang with painful memories and the  music is totally dark and modern as the holler of the chain gang rings loud and clear. The pain is deep with the vocals full of open pain and anguish. This is a loud message that will gain attention across the genres of music.  The genre is mixed and has been garnering attention online since April 2016 belongs to Zeal & Ardor.
Gagneux comments, “Devil Is Fine was not created thinking that this many would ever hear it. There is no stylistic compromise or pandering on it. Only things I personally like.”

Zeal & Ardor intend to bring the live experience to Europe in Spring 2017. When asked earlier this year by toiletovhell  about performing live, Gagneux commented, “I’d really like it to be somewhere between a concert and a seriously f*cked up play. Not just something people haven’t heard before, but something people have never seen before, leaving them frightened, weak, and loving it. That is the thing I’m currently striving for.” The following dates are now on sale:

14.04.2017 – CH – Basel, Czar Fest

19.04.2017 – FR – Paris, Backstage By The Mill

20.04.2017 – UK – London, Underworld

21.04.2017 – NL – Tilburg, Roadburn Festival

22.04.2017 – DE – Berlin, Urban Spree

24.04.2017 – CZ – Prague, Roxy

25.04.2017 – PL – Warsaw, Hydrozagadka

26.04.2017 – GR – Athens, Kyttaro

03.05.2017 – IT – Milano, Lo Fi Club

04.05.2017 – CH – Geneva, Usine


Rocking across the Bay @ Planet Rockstock

Rocking across the Bay @ Planet Rockstock

Rocking across the Bay, it must be the first week in December, Trecco Bay, Porthcawl and Planet Rockstock hits town the rocking jamboree from Planet Rock with three days and nights of live music. Bluesdoodles had a rocking good time Rockstock is a brilliantly organised festival, thanks to the hard work, smiles of everyone involved backs stage and throughout the resort. The sound was of the highest quality, the lighting electrified the stage, change over between the bands was kept to a minimum and the background music entertained, the Trecco Crew where helpful serving us coffee, food, beer always with a smile. When Stage 1 was silent during the day there was plenty of music on stage two, a quiz, auditions for Darren’s DIY band. This made the festival friendly, fun and a pleasure to be part of – now what about the rock music.

Rocking across the Bay – Friday Night:-

… the stage was set and the film reel rolled as a dramatic opening for the festival using Star Wars to relate the history whetting our appetites as we cheered for the first of many times the exploits of Wyatt and his magnificent Bike ride to Trecco Bay raising over £33, 000 for the nominated charity CALM. Then Inglorious hit the stage at a high-octane speed with real energy. Inglorious packed a punchy set and the forthcoming self-titled album is waited with even more anticipation by many who heard the band play live for the first time. Inglorious have been getting loads of attention including airplay on Planet Rock and they didn’t disappoint. Breakaway their single was played with rocky riffs and Nathan’s vocals are the perfect tonal shape and control to front a rock band that means business and wants to excite. The debut self-titled album will be in demand when released in February 2016.

Inglorious Gallery

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What a start how to follow that with blues that rock courtesy of South African mega-guitarist Dan Patlansky and he rocked the blues out of Trecco bay. The wind may have been howling outside but inside it was the guitar storm that had everyone mesmerised. Focusing on the deft lay of fingers on the six strings, we heard from the album Dear Silence Thieves. Every time I hear him pay live I feel the passion and the music just gets better his manipulation of the six strings, in fact the whole guitar needs to be seen to be believed. You know when he starts to manipulate the guitar strings you are going to hear and see dynamic guitar that is magic. What a start with young guns on the UK music scene igniting the stage.

Dan Patlansky Gallery

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The Dead Daisies, a supergroup that plays rock they want to share and enjoy the interaction with the audience keeping the music fresh and live. Mixing original tracks including some from latest album Revolucion including the single Mexico they added there take on Hush getting in some crowd participation and All Right Now. John Corabi’s vocals were stunning having joined the band in 2015 he fitted perfectly and the 12 string acoustic added another tonal texture. The line-up is fluid tonight we saw a group of musicians who play to the crowd who just want to join in the fun full of energy a music collective that works this is a group that plays classic rock playing such great songs.

The Dead Daisies Gallery

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Closing the night were FM; regulars at Rockstock who closed the night with live music that ensured Friday night rocked; now for Saturday.

FM Gallery

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After auditions a short time to practice before the stage lights shone on Darren’s DIY band Iron Made-Up, taking a leaf out of The Dead Daisies the line-up varied not for a tour but for each song! This was Carosel rock – Foo Fighters, Learn To Fly with Wyatt on Drums rather than a bike! Sounded really good a cracking idea for a festival high-grade audience participation. Then re-building the drum kit for right-handed Kim as she kicked off the beat and Darren completed the rhythm section for I love Rock n Roll all too soon it was Living After Midnight with a flavour of Judas Priest. This is festival fun without mayhem and then the extra number with another line-up Si King and friends performing Wishing Well, what a great start to the Saturday night musical fun.

Rocking across the Bay – Saturday Night:-

DIY Band – Gallery

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Last year they rocked Stage Two and back again by popular demand on Stage One Gun Metal Gray. This is a young heavy rock band that gets deep into the groove of rock they distill the essence of rock in every beat and the lyrics. With the title track of the album played with verve and passion no wonder the merch desk was stormed as fans made tonight wanted a copy to take home.

Gun Metal Gray Gallery

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They were followed by Heaven’s Basement who performed rock fuelled with British influence and sharp lyrics as they sang and shredded tracks including Lights Out in London and I Am Electric. The tempo rose and eased back on the throttle with bluesy influences and this is Rock n Roll that opens up the gates of hell rather than heaven!

Heaven’s Basement Gallery

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The blues today was handled by Joanne Shaw Taylor a rarity at the festival a trio where the focus was on a guitar and a woman performer. JST is no power trio, Joanne handles the fender with authentic R N B and lead breaks that take you deep into the land of music. Delighted that in the pick of tracks from her current album The Dirty Truth she played Wrecking Ball one of my favourites. Joanne distilled her emotional energy and angst deep into the guitar and her vocals rolled around the auditorium as she sang Tried Tested and True a low autobiographical number with a sharp quip at the beginning. More fans were won over to the blues side of rock tonight with her singing and guitar playing.
Joanne Shaw Taylor Gallery

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Then the headliners of the evening Rival Sons, the anticipation rose the standing area became a packed crush once again we all wanted to be up close and personal with this fantastic band the buzz at Rockstock rose to a crescendo of joy. Opening with Electric Man from Great Western Valkyrie the band hit a high note with a barnstorming opening and the crowds sung along and screamed with collective shared pleasure. This is a band that puts on a show and Jay gets the crowd excited with the crowd continuing to sing along after the song finishes the guitar playing rocked and rolled around the chords and the slide from guitarist Scott Holiday using a gun shape slide on his ring finger courtesy of Jetslide Guitar Slides all adds to the rocking event that is Rival Sons. Music comes first with layers of sound and then the rocking cherry on top of a stage show and presence that makes Rival Sons the complete rock package.

Rival Sons Gallery

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All too soon a rollicking Saturday night came to an end with everyone very satisfied, having enjoyed an array of bands during the day.

Sunday got off to a great start on Stage Two with Buffalo Summer and Cairo Sons being mentioned as the pick of the bands in lots of conversations why they played music that hit the spot and added layers of rock tone to the proceedings with some individuality and many were disappointed that Buffalo Summer ran out of CDs the demand outdid supply.

Rocking across the Bay – Sunday Night:-

Sunday evening on Stage One kicked off with Scorpion Child and finished with The Darkness with a full range of bands interpretations of rock in between. Scorpion Child’s use of synth keys to add to the rhythm section combined with punchy riffs from lead guitar caught your attention. This was a short set and may not have given the band scope to expand and shape the music. They certainly opened the evening and got the crowds in a rocking mood.
Scorpion Child Gallery

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Many were excited to hear Crobot, for me this was the band that impressed me the least over the weekend. For me the head banging and antics on stage did nothing to add and in a way disguised the quality of the music. The bass player’s attire or lack of it left nothing to the imagination. As ever music is subjective and many loved them.

Crobot Gallery

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Danko Jones a rare power trio followed as he delivered fast furious and frantic rock. Danko’s tongue curled around and shaped the lyrics ass he spat them out like crushed gravel, Danko Jones knew how to entertain with quips and songs that connect to a Sunday night crowd who wanted the music to be fun this is music from a stalwart of a festival a crowd pleaser.

Danko Jones Gallery

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Fozzy up next another powerful entrance with Chris Jericho wearing a jacket of jewels that glittered like a Christmas Tree. This is a band full of the theatrical combined with heavy metal that wanted the crowd tonight at Planet Rockstock to participate and we were happy to oblige. This was a set of heavy, grungy sound, it was a great set full of hefty numbers and then a great take on ABBA’s SOS. Proving once again a great song written well can be reinterpreted across the spectrum that is music. For a few minutes there was a sixth member – Gregory in the crowd who held the microphone, this is festival fun at its best combined with music that went down a storm.

Fozzy Gallery

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All too soon it was the final set of Planet Rockstock 2015 – The Darkness. Justin Hawkins in a silky suit and his hair cropped ruled the stage and the audience. They blew the roof off with the opening number, despite the sound on vocals being poor. This was quickly rectified. Then the snare drum was replaced but the banter between Justin and the audience was entertainment in itself as Rufus Taylor the drummer and crew sorted the drum kit into working order once again. The high notes from Justin were electrifying and adding a cowbell and this certainly is a band with chemistry. British Rocking and rolling that pleases closing the festival on a high energy riff that will sustain us all until next year.
Bluesdoodles, had fun heard bands live for the first time took far too many photographs and met many people. Bluesdoodles says hi to you all and a special shout out and thank you to Claire and Vincent from Coventry who stood up front he whole weekend and made sure that I could get back up front to take the photographs that hopefully captures the essence of the weekend.

The Darkness Gallery

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Planet Rockstock organisers deserve applause and all the plaudits as they managed to weave the variations within the rock family and created a festival where bands reflect the wide ranging tastes of everyone. Talking to people there was approval for the guitar wizardry of Joanne Shaw Taylor and Dan Patlansky from the Blues corner – Gun Metal Gray for many was the band of the weekend also mentioned in dispatches must be Rivals Sons and The Dead Daisies. Summing up Planet Rockstock in three words, organised rocking fun. Rocking across the bay 2016 is going to be even more fun until then there is wall to wall rock playing over at Planet Rock Radio.

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RUNRIG Celebrates – Final Studio Album plus a UK Tour






Runrig release The Story – their 14th and final studio album on Friday 29th January, 2016.  The 11-track album brings the curtain down on a remarkable and unique recording career.

The new album will be released on Deluxe CD format that comes with an exclusive 32-page booklet, a 2-disc gatefold vinyl with bonus track (The Story – radio edit), and digital download. The album is released on Runrig’s own independent label, Ridge Records.

The band will support the new album with a 14-date Scottish/UK tour that starts at theAberdeen Music Hall on Wednesday 10th February.

Having celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2013, Runrig have taken the decision to embark on one final creative journey into the studio. The result is The Story; an album of emotional resonance and reflection, placing at its heart, a narrative that is very much part of the band itself.

This is the band’s last studio recording, a hugely significant milestone for us all and one that we really want to celebrate,” says Rory McDonald – Runrig’s bass guitarist, backing vocalist and one of their original founding members.

Photo Credit: © Matt Liengie
Photo Credit: © Matt Liengie

Band Line-Up

Bruce Guthro – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Rory McDonald – bass guitar, vocals
Calum MacDonald – percussion, backing vocals
Malcolm Jones – guitar, pipes, accordion
Brian Hurren – keyboards, backing vocals, accordion
Ian Bayne – drums



The Story was produced by the band’s youngest member, keyboard player, Brian Hurren.  From the outset, Brian expressed a strong desire to drive the production agenda on this project, bringing to the table his exceptional musical and audio skills, along with a unique perspective on the historic sound of the band.

The result is an outstanding album of raw beauty, both celebratory and nostalgic, with a sound palette that ranges from the contemporary, to some of the sonic milestones that are so ubiquitous to Runrig’s past.
This is a hugely significant album for the band. It’s an album that wears its heart firmly on its sleeve.

“One of the highlights of the album was being able to go to Prague to record the 32- piece Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, says Brian Hurrren, who produced the new album and plays keyboards, accordion and sings backing vocals. “It was an incredible experience and it really helped to bring out the emotion in the songs.”


Adds original founding member, percussionist and songwriter Calum MacDonald – “There are many stories on the album but none more so than that of the band itself. A lot of the material and Brian’s production taps into that – and it’s fair to say that a number of the songs have a definite reflective quality.”

The title track, The Story, is available now, and is accompanied with a music video – a powerful uplifting presentation of one man’s relationship with his culture and with his past, and the hold these memories still have over his life and the stories inside all of us.

The single ‘The Story’ sung by Rory, starts of in Gaelic, before bursting into an upbeat chorus and then into an euphoric almost dance beat instrumental with Runrig’s trade mark soaring guitars and Brian’s keyboard wizardry, and of course Runrig’s usual fantastic thought provoking lyrics which really do tell a story – make sure you check out the YouTube video too!

It’s a unique sound, created and sung by talented musicians that comes from the heart, a sound as vast and magnificent as the great Scottish landscape which inspires it!  Can’t wait to see them live in 2016, if you haven’t then you are missing out on an amazing experience! If this is Runrig’s last story to tell, then I can’t think of a more fitting song to end it on.



24 HOUR BOX OFFICE: 0844 844 0444

24 HOUR BOX OFFICE: 0844 338 0000


Wednesday 10th February – ABERDEEN MUSIC HALL – Tickets: £28.50 / Box Office: 01224 641122 SOLD OUT
Thursday 11th February – GLASGOW ROYAL CONCERT HALL Tickets: £28.50 / Box Office: 0141 353 8000 SOLD OUT
Friday 12th February – DUNDEE CAIRD HALL – Tickets: £28.50 / Box Office: 01382 434 940
Saturday 13th February  – EDINBURGH USHER HALL – Tickets: £28.50/ Box Office: 0131 228 1155 SOLD OUT
Tuesday 16th February – NOTTINGHAM ROYAL CONCERT HALL – Tickets: £28.00 / Box Office: 0115 989 5555
Wednesday 17th February – GATESHEAD THE SAGE – Tickets: £28.00 / Box Office: 0191 443 4661 SOLD OUT
Thursday 18th February – BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONY HALL – Tickets: £28.00 / Box Office: 0121 345 0602
Friday 19th February – PORTSMOUTH GUILDHALL – Tickets: £28.00 / Box Office: 0844 847 2362
Saturday 20th February – IPSWICH REGENT THEATRE – Tickets: £28.00 / Box Office: 01473 433 100
Tuesday 23rd February – MANCHESTER O2 APOLLO – Tickets: £28.00 / Box Office: 08444 777 677
Wednesday 24th February – BRISTOL COLSTON HALL – Tickets: £28.00 / Box Office: 0844 887 1500
Thursday 25th February – SHEFFIELD CITY HALL – Tickets: £28.00 / Box Office: 0114 2789 789
Friday 26th February – LONDON O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE – Tickets: £30.00 / £32.00 Box Office: 0844 477 2000
Saturday 27th February  – CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE – Tickets: £28.00 / Box Office: 01223 357 851

Dylan LeBlanc returns with third release, Cautionary Tale


Muscle Shoals’ singer/songwriter Dylan LeBlanc returns with his third release, Cautionary Tale, which hits January 15 on Single Lock Records. LeBlanc’s first two releases were the acclaimed 2010 recordings Pauper’s Field and 2012’s Cast The Same Old Shadow. With his reflective, mournful songs that belied his age, critics previously hailed the young singer; The Guardian noted that LeBlanc was “favourably compared with Harvest-era Neil Young and country-folk breakouts Fleet Foxes.” The title track “Cautionary Tale” is available today at all digital outlets; buy it on iTunes HERE.

After the success of his first two albums, LeBlanc slipped into a blur of booze and self-doubt. At just 23-years-old, Dylan came home to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to write a new life for himself.  In between the moments of clarity and a few familiar falls, he wrote Cautionary Tale: a collection of shimmering, arresting songs with the same haunting vocals that caught the attention of Lucinda Williams and Bruce Springsteen, now with a sharpened edge honed by hastened maturity.
Cautionary Tale features Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) and is produced by John Paul White (Civil Wars) and Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes). White and Tanner perform on the release as well. Tastemaker NPR affiliate KCRW has been the first supporter of LeBlanc’s new music, since highlighting the title track this summer.
About Dylan Leblanc, John Paul White notes: “I’m extremely fortunate to have been involved with this record. He’s weathered many storms, came out wiser, and we all now benefit – because this record wouldn’t exist without those trials and tribulations. It continuously rides that fine line between empowerment and despair. “
LeBlanc has been getting rave reviews on the road, at sold-out shows with George Ezra and David Ramirez in the States. UK shows to be announced soon.

E.P. Review: Rob Richings ~ Half Way Up

Rob RRob Richings
Half Way Up
Crescent Records

RELEASE DATE 20th November 2015
This four track EP is a delightful taster of the power of singer songwriter Rob Richings, and like any taster it whets the appetite and you are left wanting more, already anticipating a full length debut album of magical delights, which one is assured will be started once current touring commitments have been met.
Opening with the title track, on a personal and totally illogical note, I prefer the title track nestled into the mix so it almost unnoticed in the track list. That said Half Way Up is a wonderful track to open the album, close the record or anywhere else.
There is no doubt that it is the lyrics that are the heart and soul of the EP and the instrumentation has been crafted with care to augment the lyrics and never overwhelm, Rob is a modern day travelling minstrel who entertains. The authenticity of the words shine through there is a truth in the words that they come from his heart and personal experiences. Carnival is a track of pure beauty with a lead break of haunting strings, the power of piano and the added layer of a chorus, despite all this studio artistry it is the song and guitar that beats the Carnival spirit.
Rob is back working and touring after a life changing illness and the final track of the E.P was inspired while sitting in a 17th Clandestine Church in Amsterdam, Rob found it a deeply peaceful and spiritual place, and wrote the song Lord In The Attic on the spot, a mesmerising song full of beauty like sun shining through a stain glass window. This is four gems that shine and make a musical collection all the better for having Half Way Up in the collection an E.P. short, fragrant and perfectly formed.


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

Track Listing

1. Half Way Up
2. Richer Man
3. Carnival
4. Lord In the Attic

Don’t take my word for it go see Rob live at one on the gigs during a busy November
Tour Dates:

4th – Glad Cafe, Glasgow (Tom Baxter support)
5th – The Caves, Edinburgh (Tom Baxter support)
6th- South Beach Sessions, Troon (Tom Baxter support)
13th – St. Mary in the Castle, Hastings (Fishermans Friends support)
19th – Phoenix, Exeter (Tom Baxter support)
20th – Railway (Attic), Winchester (Tom Baxter support)
21th – Convent Club, Stroud (Tom Baxter support)

Jared James Nichols and Glenn Hughes Live @ Robin 2

Jared James Nicholls - Robin 2 - Oct 2015_0058lSpecial Guest Jared James Nichols and Glenn Hughes
Robin 2, Bilston
26th October 2015

Glenn Hughes - Robin 2 - Oct 2015_0156l


Jared James Nicholls - Robin 2 - Oct 2015_0130lMonday night and the Robin 2 was jammed to the rafters for the opening act Jared James Nichols from Wisconsin USA hit the first resounding chord and we knew that this was going to be a show of rock infused blues. The set was a blinding display of how six strings can be manipulated with scorching licks, riffs that produce rivulets of sound and hooks for the lyrics no wonder the crowd were mesmerized. If that wasn’t enough out came the transparent glass slide and we dropped the tempo cranked up the emotion for a glorious rendition of Robert Johnson gone electric Come Into My Kitchen showcasing the depth of James Jared Nichols’ talents. The power of Erik Sandin and Dennis Holm as the rhythm section that powers and allows the control that Jared achieves as he shreds up his glorious guitar playing to fever pitch. With the set starting out with tracks from his superb debut album Old Glory and the Wild Revival including Crazy & Haywire showing that the music transcends the studio and hits the stage with a full-on glorious sound. His cover of Mountain’s Mississippi Queen was sublime Southern Rock the set was too short would love to have heard more of his scintillating guitar playing whether blues rock, delta or southern inspired music we wanted more slide, shredding or melodic manipulation of the fretboard. Jared James Nichols tonight was the perfect special guest left the audience wanting more guitar, more rock and more music and they didn’t have to wait long.

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A short break whilst everyone gathered their breath and for many an opportunity to purchase the album to take the magic of Jared home he made a huge impact on the crowd who had come in the main to see Glenn Hughes.

Tonight, after a couple of short lived projects Black Country Communion and California Breed, bassist Glenn Hughes is joined on stage as part of his solo band by former Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich, and his drummer for many a show Pontus Engborg. The set entwined the many bands and projects Glenn has been associated with opening with the third re-incarnation of Deep Purple with the instantly recognizable Stormbringer showcasing his great voice, and raising the temperature even higher in the sold out Robin 2 on a Monday Night. Hughes told many amusing stories as he travelled like a time lord through the four decades of music-making he has been involved in. He took us back further in time back to the musical roots of a young boy playing in bands in the Black Country not far from the venue, as Glenn said it was like coming home tonight. The interplay and chemistry between Glenn and Doug was evident as the guitar and bass played off each other whether playing numbers by Trapeze and Whitesnake it was the rock vibe that mattered tonight. We heard Trapeze, Way Back To The Bone and another number dedicated to the late Mel Galley Touch My Life. Into the mix we had a Whitesnake classic Good To Be Bad, once gain showing how much they were enjoying playing music on stage live together, it is a partnership that works. The show was shaped so that everyone had a solo spot it was about all three musicians, and the tracks from Black Country Communion received a rapturous cheer as we heard One Last Soul and Soul Mover as the set reached the climax and then it was the end, the stage feel silent, the audience wanted more… Rewarded with an encore, fittingly tonight the extra music started with Black Country from Black Country Community and the lyrics may say It’s cold on the mountain, It’s cold in the wood… it was hot, very hot at the Robin 2 as the last track of the night Burn what a way to close the show on a Monday night in the Black Country!
Glenn Hughes - Robin 2 - Oct 2015_0151l

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John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – ‘Live in 1967’ – Vinyl

John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – ‘Live in 1967’, is now available on VINYL via Forty Below Records.

The vinyl version of the album comes six months after the successful release of the CD and is presented as a special double LP, pressed on 140-gram vinyl.

It is released in gatefold form and the inside contains large pictures of John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers at the time – the ultra rare, and short-lived, line-up of Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

Bluesdoodles loved listening and reviewing in digital now authentic 1967’s sound on vinyl – check out the original review HERE

Track Listing:

1. All Your Love
2. Brand New Start
3. Double Trouble
4. Streamline
5. Have You Ever Loved A Woman
6. Looking Back
7. So Many Roads
8. Hi Heel Sneakers
9. I Can’t Quit You Baby
10. The Stumble
11. Someday After Awhile
12. San-Ho-Zay
13. Stormy Monday

Tracks 1, 3, 7, 12 & 13 – Recorded at Manor House on 5th May 1967
Tracks 2, 6 & 11 – Recorded at Bromley on 29th April 1967
Tracks 4 & 10 – Recorded at The Marquee Club on 27th April 1967
Tracks 5 & 8 – Recorded at The Ram Jam Club on 1st Feb 1967
Track 9 – Recorded at Klook’s Kleek on 28th April 1967

Chantel McGregor In Conversation with Bluesdoodles

Chantel McGregor - The Beaufort - Jan 2015 - 5 - _0023l

Chantel McGregor thank you for sparing the time in your busy tour schedule and the exciting launch of your new album Lose Control and it was fun chatting with you.



While reading this listen to the the first single from Lose Control – “Take The Power”, is released on Monday September 28th, and is accompanied by a promo video filmed on location in Edinburgh, produced by Sine Wave Media and directed by Richard Weston.

BD: Chantel tell us a little bit about the journey from your debut album to now, your music has changed Lose Control is testament to a pit stop on the road of your musical development?

CMcG: My debut album, Like No Other was a response to demand for an album and was a collection of songs some first written when I was fourteen. Since the release of my debut album I have played a lot and thought a lot resulting in Lose Control – a cohesive, concept album the songs all made sense together and yes some of the lyrics and songs are very dark. I have always been attracted to the dark side of art, novels and films, life is disturbing plus being frothy is not me and it is hard to write about love when not in love…

BD: Lose Control – the difficult second album has a cohesive feel and a different tone and feel. How have you achieved this mature sound?

CMcG: In a way this feels like a first album, it really is my baby, I wrote all the songs with a little help from some friends on a couple of tracks. I had input into the album every step of the way it was in my control before and in the studio I had a clear vision of the shape and sound of Lose Control.

BD: Are there any particular songs you play that have a special meaning to you?

CMcG: Actually it is the reverse I don’t play Eternal Dream live, it needs space and can’t do this number with the number of people who talk at gigs especially when it is a quieter song.

BD: Talking at Gigs!

CMcG: Yes, why do people go to a live music then talk, it is not in my personality to tell them to shut UP!

BD: I see that you have created your own independent boutique record player Tis Rock Music; what made you decide to go down this route?

CMcG: I recorded my debut album on Tis Rock Music as well. I made the decision to set up my own label, so I had the freedom to pay what I liked, wear what I like be my own musician.

BD: So created own record label to have control over your own art?

CMcG: Yes, absolutely there were too many people telling me how I should play, and not to wear dresses on stage. I love wearing my dresses, and did not want to wear jeans on stage, I make an effort to dress up for stage performances so that I feel different. People are always surprised if they see me before a show in jeans and a jumper. So Tis Rock Music simply allows me to be the Chantel McGregor I want to be.

BD: You are back on tour can you buy the album at shows?

CMcG: The release date is 9th October – and it is available to pre-order along with some snazzy T-shirts.. check out the web-site

BD: Talking about the new album and sound have you used different strings/ guitars Amplifiers?

CMcG: No I haven’t similar to the set up on the last studio recording. What I have done is lots of experimenting, exploring the idea of sound it was self-produced at home initially the domo’s shaped the finished studio product. There are more layers of sound and distortion this is an album played at 11.

BD: Do you consider yourself as a guitarist first, vocalist second or they equally important

CMcG: I started off playing a guitar it was a natural thing to pick up the guitar, by the age of eight I was the youngest to pass a Rock School Exam, and at 12 I was jamming. Whilst jamming I realised that I also need to learn to sing so started to sing Corrs and Cheryl Crow songs. The next challenge was learning to sing and play guitar at the same time, once mastered I know I was seen as a guitarist who sang a bit. On the first album I had had my wisdom teeth out and could open my mouth properly but that didn’t help. Now I have a mature stronger voice and Lose Control I see myself as both aspects of my music are equal the singing of the lyrics are as important as the guitar chords.

BD: Do you consider yourself as a rock or blues guitarist or do music boxes not matter once you pick up your instrument of choice?

CMcG: Boxes shouldn’t matter but there is always public perception, personally like to be seen as ‘she plays music’ and hopefully they think it is good. In reality I have never said I play the blues, or a blues guitarist to me it is Chantel music. Blues has evolved into rock, and yes people like putting your music into boxes.

BD: As an award winning guitarist do you still come across the male naysayers – girls can’t/shouldn’t play guitar?

CMcG: (Laughs, and sighs) All the time it is totally insane I get this all the time, there is no physical reason, yes I have tiny hands but so do men – look a Prince. It is a pre-conception and it is a conception that belongs to the stone-age that women should be tied to the kitchen sink, sadly seems like it will always be the case why? It’s tradition! The gender gap is closing women are doing their own thing I’m here I play guitar, I sing get used to it. My message to men is No I am not a bitch I am a musician.

BD: What are you looking forward to on this tour, is there going to be an opening act and I see that in between the UK dates you are off to Europe.

CMcG: Yes, love it so exciting Europe during November and December, and yes Europe is different. It is going to be fun, German audiences are always very vocal and into going to see live music at their local venue. UK lots of new venues, many are theatre style so a different vibe from standing venues and will be mixing up the sets as many people come to see more than one night, it is amazing that people travel so far to see me play. Love audiences meeting different people and the improvised solo on Walk On Land the final track of Lose Control will be different every time I play.

BD: Who has influenced you the most in your music writing and playing?

CMcG: Not one person or even one style of music though the guitar playing by Richie Kotzen is inspirational as is Ryan Adams.

BD: When not playing your own music who do you listen too?

CMcG: Lots often just listen to random on Spotify, Jazz, Dubstep what has just been released. If you only listen to Rock, Blues, acoustic you will never be the best you can. Form your own opinion on music for me it is about keeping an open mind listen to varied styles and absorb what you like.

BD: What advice have you had and what advice will you pass on?

CMcG: I have had loads advice some good and some bad; I have even listened to bad advice you learn more if you step back and make your own decision. I have had brilliant advice support from Joe Bonamassa and so many others it is brilliant how artists share. It is so important to be business-minded and astute if offered a deal is it the right one for me. It is scary how easily it is to be taken in by people you trust. In reality it is a hard business despite loads of gigs you have even more expenses and you have to love what you are doing and keep on working and be true to your own convictions.

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

CMcG: (Laughing, a moment’s thought) The band I have now they are totally insane she says with a beaming smile! It is what it is a three piece rock band; myself on guitar and vocals then the most amazing Rhythm section Keith McPartling on Drums and Colin Sutton on Bass giving me the space to create yes cello’s are great in the studio where you can have everything and the sound is balanced and there is space. Live it is different the three of us are perfect more and it can be hard to get space.


Bluesdoodles thanks Chantel for her time and catch her on tour and listen to Lose Control –  I know  you will not be disappointed. Read what we said about Lose Control HERE

Thursday 1st October 2015 – Birmingham: The Institute, The Temple
Friday 2nd October 2015 – Ruislip: The Tropic
Friday 9th October 2015 – Halifax: Playhouse
Saturday 10th October 2015 – Southport: The Atkinson Blues Festival
Friday 16th October 2015 – Doncaster: The Dome
Saturday 17th October 2015 – Retford: The Elms – Box Office: 07737 130534
Wednesday 21st October 2015 – Sheffield: Greystones
Thursday 22nd October 2015 – Edinburgh: The Caves – Box Office: 01472 349222
Friday 23rd October 2015 – Glasgow: Nice N Sleazy
Saturday 24th October 2015 – Carlisle: The Venue
Monday 26th October 2015 – Salisbury: Arts Centre
Tuesday 27th October 2015 – Exeter: Phoenix
Wednesday 28th October 2015 – Bridport: Arts Centre
Thursday 29th October 2015 – Brighton, Komedia
Saturday 31st October 2015 – Lincoln: Engine Shed
Saturday 12th December 2015 – Ripley, Town Hall
Sunday 13th December 2015 – Newcastle, The Cluny
Monday 14th December 2015 – Morecambe, The Platform
Tuesday 15th December 2015 – Leeds, The Brudenell
Wednesday 16th December 2015 – Bristol, The Tunnels
Thursday 17th December 2015 – Derby, The Flowerpot

Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ Live @ The Convent

Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0027l

Simon Campbell & Suzy Starlite
@The Convent 25th September 2015



Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0049lBluesdoodles is back for the second time in a week to this unique and very special venue, the welcome and warmth from the moment you step in to The Convent, through to the show where the sound has a depth that you would not expect from an old chapel sound that resonates with echoes of the stone and vaulted ceilings. Tonight in Stroud and across the world via Netgig we have Simon Campbell & Suzy Starlite a duo who create music with a wealth of skill on guitar and bass, and joining them on the stage was Danilo Adriano Argenti Gener completing the rhythm section on drums and Christian Madden on Hammond and Grand Piano filling in the sound so that the audiences were drawn in to every varied rack offered tonight.

Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0067lSimon is definitely upfront with guitar playing that ranges from controlled blues, melodic acoustic, Rock n’ Roll energy and the exploration of the strings in the style of Prog Rock, in his white suit and straw hat he grasped your attention; and, more importantly, it was retained throughout the gig. He would not have the freedom to explore his music if he did not have a rhythm section that was that rare combination solid but not staid, the drumming from Danilo was inspiring sometimes showing that it can be more effective to do less with well-timed drum beats augmenting the full sound being delivered by the guitar keyboard combination. Danilo’s little half-shuffles and the use of sticks, standard, percussive mallets and brushes often with more than one type of stick in one hand there is a tonal texture and subtlety not normally heard from the back. Supporting Danilo in creating a rhythm section with hidden depths is Suzy Starlite whose bass playing engaged and was the perfect foil for the enthusiastic playing from Simon; it is amazing that she has being playing Bass for just eighteen months as she has a natural feel for creating the bass tone that compliments the tracks that varied across the set. The keys from Christian were sublime from full organ crescendos through to gentle notes he wrapped the third layer of chords around Simon’s guitar adding shape and texture to the lyrics as the story unfolded. This was a quartet that wanted to talk to you through their eclectic mix of tones on tracks including a collection from their current album The Knife, including the title track, Dreamer and Affairs of the Heart re-affirming the quality of the songs included. We also had an early listening opportunity for their anticipated forthcoming album The Coat; the title track saw Suzy leaving the bass and sitting behind the majestic Grand Piano, her vocal prowess had already been confirmed with some stylish Harmonising with Simon and she now sung a song very special to her and for everyone who has lost someone important or they are not there and was dedicated to her mother who has early onset-Alzheimer’s an thought-provoking and emotionally stirring number. The last song of the night Hello, which is also on the forthcoming album, had five distinct movement and, is definitely more Prog Rock than blues but worked so well with Suzy’s vocals, clever guitar solos. Each movement had its own distinctive shape and tonal character and for me full of interest and the pick of the set for me.

Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0062lThis was an exciting, intriguing at times challenging set stretching across all the styles of recorded modern music and it worked, they are certainly worth checking out as they will surprise and the musicianship is spot-on. Listen to what you missed from Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite via The Convents Netgig; Bluesdoodles will and we were there on the night…

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