Kaz Hawkins Band Created a Warm Red Musical Glow

Kaz Hawkins-5032

Kaz Hawkins Band Created a Warm Red Musical Glow

Tonight, at The Convent, Kaz Hawkins Band Created a Warm Red Musical Glow. Her music is wrapped in the blues but never shrink wrapped in conformity. Her music embraces you with open arms embracing the spirit and soul captured in the power of words and true emotions. The Convent Altar stage was bathed I a warm, enticing red glow as her Band of men picked up their instruments and then started to play, her entrance was bold, loud and a swirl of a deepest red dress. The Black gloves were soon disposed of as this was a night of rejoice. Her vocals have a spectacular range, full of power and they colour each lyric with its own musical tone. Kaz Hawkins is the business, her music is the real deal. Songs are all written from the heart that connects with the hopes, fears and disappointments we have all experienced on life’s journey.

This is a night where we explore her life, inspirations, and her two studio albums. The Feelin’ Good Tour, is promoting her latest album, and building on the loyal following she has around her, and then opening with Don’t Make Mama Cry, from the Feelin Good album. With the gig being streamed live across the world via the magic of The Convent’s Netgig; Kaz with her huge heart dedicated the number to Paul Gallagher who is about to graduate as a mature student and is really ill back home in Belfast. Once a friend of Kaz she is your friend for life, Kaz relishes the joy her music brings as she connects with her fans. Picking up her acoustic guitar adding another guitar tone to those of the electric Dr Nick to her left, the music is empowering with This Is Me, an anthem that celebrates the joy of presenting yourself to the world. Combined with I Saw A Man, affectionately known as Norman’s song in honour of the homeless man who was the inspiration behind the music of a moving track from her debut album Get Ready.

Kaz Hawkins Band Created a Warm Red Musical GlowKaz creates an aura that absorbs everyone around her into a bubble that is ruled by music, including one of the Convent cats, not sentimentally sweet but full of the realities of life. Nina Simone’s classic Feelin Good is given the Kaz treatment as she re-works the number with the energy and electric sparks that is Kaz. Her rhythm section affectionately known as the Slovakian Army are brothers who have settled and made Belfast their home. On Bass, Mr Janny and drumming out the beat that drives the song is Mr Pete, who was joined by Kaz at one point. The music flows with a live vibrancy reflected in the red glow and swish of Kaz’s petticoats and flutter of her fan. Highlights are impossible to pick out as every track is superb. Touching my soul tonight is the wonderful song written for her daughter Because I Love You, and the celebratory feel good sing-a-long energy of Hallelujah Happy People. During Hallelujah, Kaz does her own thing once again, leaving the stage to sit in the audience, yet without missing a beat takes time to apologise to camera as she intuitively decides she wants to sit with us. Closing with her very special re-arrangement of Willie Dixon’s I Just Wanna Make Love; the re-shaping of a classic takes guts and Kaz has the confidence to make the song work for her and more importantly for the audience. It is like hearing the song for the first time and I am positive that Willie Dixon approves. This was a night where everyone’s energies raised we felt the music flow through our veins and deep into our collective souls.

The encore Shake, may only be four minutes on Get Ready, tonight we have a jam and weaving of tunes and songs as we have a very special extra fifteen minutes and that wasn’t enough. A marvelous animated set of great music celebrating the glorious vocals of Kaz as she delivers her commanding lyrics.
Once again, The Convent has created a vibe of miraculous proportions as Kaz Hawkins and Her Band, do more that entertain she invigorates, empowers sending joyous shivers of happiness through our bodies. Tonight is what memories are made of!

 
If you missed the show and want to hear the music then the Good News! You can stream the show via The Convent’s netgig HERE

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Conversation with Joe Louis Walker Everybody Wants a Piece

Everybody Wants a Piece Interview Joe Louis Walker

Everybody Wants a Piece Interview Joe Louis Walker

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK SummerBD: Big thank you for taking time out of your busy UK tour to chat with Bluesdoodles. It was a real privilege when Mascot gave Bluesdoodles the opportunity to review Everybody Wants A Piece album

JLW: Happy to chat we are at the lovely venue The Convent. Had a good English breakfast and yesterday we had a day off and got to see Stonehenge. So things always work out when plans change.

 

BD: Lets start at the beginning. What were your musical influences growing up on the West Coast, in San Franciso?
JLW: There has been quite a few, music is a constant influence. My first though is definitely my Father. He was from the South and grew up in the area where lots of the old blues guys came from, ploughing in the fields with Howlin’ Wolf. From a very young age the music was just there. It was a Mum and Dad thing, they listened to music on the record player and I was the kid that gravitated to music. It was definitely Mother and Father influences that set me on the trajectory as I was attuned to the music it was a form of happiness and comfort as a kid. I wondered how music came out of the record player, how you made music. Other friends played football, I wanted a guitar to figure out how they did it and made that sound. At school we had the opportunity to borrow instruments. The guitar was always in high demand and checked-out of the loan system like the favourite book in a library! My parents couldn’t afford to buy me one, so I tried out other instruments the violin, then the accordion and the Harp. I was okay on the violin I still have one at home but the guitar captured my imagination. By the age of fourteen I was playing the guitar.

BD: Blues runs deep and you have collaborated with a diverse group of first-class artists including Buddy Guy, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Bonnie Raitt to name a few. Everyone likes to read about a good or bad experience of collaboration what are your recollections?
JLW: Wow collaboration. I have been fortunate and have collaborated with so many of the greats. The list is huge including John Lee Hooker and Herbie Hancock. I am really a student of music for my whole life learning, absorbing from the likes of Ike Turner. I was affected by BB King & Willie Dixon they shared so much learning about music and so much more. How to travel, manage pay roll taxes and conduct yourself on stage and above all simple tips like tucking shirt into underpants so it doesn’t ride up over your trousers on stage. Simple stuff but invaluable. Collaboration is the exchange of ideas and style developing your music and working together. Collaboration gives you a road map – follow the right road, not the wrong road as gospel music says.

The adversity that the old guys went through was incomprehensible but it made the blues. My Dad laughed when I was 13/14 years old at guys coming over and playing the blues and younger guys like Bo Diddley. He said about Yardbirds why white guys want to play the blues. We are trying to get away to make money it was frowned upon as this poor people music. Real Blues guys at the time were not popular. Those who really appreciated them were young English white guys they digged the blues, wanted to know the blues. For the guys who wrote the music, it wasn’t commercial. The likes of Chuck Berry would find out that his songs were number 1 all over the world, but not by you! Accepting someone else enjoying more success with your material than you, that you invented it hurts right. It is the dichotomy of the blues. Some were accepting the likes of Muddy and BB. Being bitter just eats you up inside. Better to celebrate the music that was “inclusive” speaking to the whole world. Not pure, but mixed-up, re-packaged, redone.
Music is and always will be art that speaks to the soul. Ground breakers including, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davies all spoke the language we wanted to hear. Music connects us brings us all together. Reacts to politics, relationships, life all put into music.

If you put into a room every type of musician – classical, rap, hip hop, jazz and are asked to play one song I can guarantee (laughing) yes guarantee it will be the Blues. Why? It is the Common denominator the root of modern music.

BD: Tell our readers about the inspiration of the album Everybody Wants A Piece and does the title reflect how you feel?
JWL: The title is not about me but the Hi-tech world we live in. It is the observation that in the age of the internet we look at so much and feel we should have so much, should be better. Everybody wants a bit of fame, happiness riches. Everybody Wants A Piece is a trajectory of how to get to this by trying this and that to achieve success. Being successful is a huge driver, to have mega riches, mega this and mega that through mega promotions. I know people who are fabulously famous but trapped in a gilded cage. Everybody Wants A Piece of that fame. You can also superimpose the title onto lots of things it is generic making it for a songwriter a cool thing.

On the album, the band and myself played and sung everything, no out of town backing singers or extra musicians. We played in the studio and it was recorded this was the way I grew up making records. There has been recording studio battles regarding separation with the guitarist in one booth and each person separated. I was recording twenty years ago when Scotty Moore, the recording engineer who also backed Elvis Presley in the early days; I went to look where to stand behind a screen and he said “No. Stand in the middle.” I asked what about the bleeding of guitar on drums, Scotty said the bleeds we love it. Elvis, Fats Domino all did it this way with often just one microphone in the middle of the room. Mistakes, as Miles Davis said there are no mistakes. It is just jazz if there is a mistake it makes music real. If it (recorded music) is too perfect it is not human just technical. They used a pitch blender to get a single note in a sequence perfect by isolating it if too flat or sharp. Auto-tuning takes the meaning out of singing. I like my music real and that is what we achieved in the mix of styles of Everybody Wants A Piece.

BD: Tell us a bit about the band
JWL:
Played together over the years. Lenny Bradford on Bass has been with me for 7-8 years. Played with Bo Diddly, Moody Blues and many more, so brings deep bass grooves. Completing the rhythm section is drummer Byron Cage who is like a son. Then on keys on the album I had a choice of two, Phillip Young and Jimmy Smith. The band is like a rotating family we have covered a lot of space over the years. The musicians reflect the lot of variety there is in roots music. Not pure blues from the likes of Chicago /Mississippi but blues that is of my generations. Younger people growing up with wider influences rock, pop and FM radio, festivals such as Monterey when I was growing up in San Francisco. We were always discovering things. Grateful Dead lived up the road, Sly Stone. Then there were the blues guys coming out and gigs where it was a mix of styles like Jefferson Aeroplane, or James Cotton a Jazz quartet. I have been fortunate to have experienced a full dose of everything musical. All shape who I am today. I have never been a blues player, I have listened and played jazz, rock-blues. Perfect education as I listened to all styles, keep your ears, heart and mind open is how you learn. I like Peter Green as much as I like Sun Seals or George Jones almost as much as Howlin [Wolf]; John Lee Hooker as much as BB [King] and Bob Marley as much as Gil Scott-Heron and so on. I enjoy all music whether heard in Synagogue, Nashville, Mississippi it makes no difference music connects. Musicians love to meet up and discuss music across the genres.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting? Is it always personal?
JWL:
The guitar captured my imagination. Not everyone gets the intricacy of a musician playing. Whereas the spoken word is the first to grab your attention so lyrics are vital. The first rhythm that people hear is the drums. The chords shape the mood Majors are uplifting Minors associated with not being so happy. Chuck Berry’s Back In USA and Sweet Sixteen are in Major chords and push the blues. A sad lyric will always have a minor chord. Lyrics and the voice is how we communicate the feeling, via the message of the lyrics. Vocals communicate when softly sung or really hard you don’t learn when to use which approach overnight it is by trial and error and lots of practice. You can draw the crowds in with both harsh and soft when you get it right.
Lyrics get inspiration everywhere from sayings. In the past when in England band travelled in the van, I took the train. The Rhythm of the train, click of the wheels and conversations heard were all inspiring. Some are topical, others autobiographical. Sayings for me are interesting the little things people say like ‘Lie’. Lie your pants on fire, Inspiration can be found when you pick up the paper. So much to do and say it is about keeping your eyes, ears and mind open and let the inspiration flow in. The world is rich with so much, full of communicating. If you sing about being happy or life’s tribulations 9 out of 10 people listening will have been through it too. Anyone can then relate to the lyrics you are communicating. Two trains are running, but one ain’t going in my direction. So do what you want to do take your own road.

BD: Tell Bluesdoodles readers about Blues For Peace the grass root movement you are involved with?
JWL:
Started when my friend Michael Packer. Michael is the same generation lived through the 1960’s we had to march and demonstrate for women’s rights, interracial relationships, anti-Vietnam protests. Right now especially in the last ten years, there has been incredible divisions in society, they are harmful. Beheadings on the internet, blowing up buildings, music venues such as Bataclan in Paris, we have politicians who are incredibly narcissistic talking about dropping a nuclear bomb on Europe. It is so negative. So how can we counteract and not be negative? We can Do Blues for Peace. Then partnered by UNHCR by Unesco and UN with 200 countries linked playing Blues for Peace from Israel to China to Lebanon. The loudest voice the craziest acts get noticed with 24-hour news the biggest gets the most attention. Blues for Peace is part of a conversation to negate this every little bit helps. The majority of people in every country, from every religion, wants to live life peacefully get along with it. They do not go to bed worrying about gays marrying or refugees getting into their homes it is just certain segments of politicians and sections of religion. Blues for Peace is carrying on the message of John Lennon, Give Peace a Chance, Bob Dylan Blowing in The Wind, Jimi Hendrix Peace Sign etc.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
JWL
: Now that is a good question and a trick question what is a perfect band? It has been done putting together a bunch of stars and they suck as a band. A band is a group of musicians and personalities that work together. Now Muddy Waters first band that was something everybody playing its part. Put together greatest Rock n Roll band they would have to want to play collectively. In reality, they would argue about what the band should play, who takes the lead and the interpretation of the song. Yes for me it was Muddy Water’s first band that really shone.

JoeLouisWalker_01_byMarilynStringerThank you so much, Joe Louis, for taking the time for such and in-depth conversation about music, the world, peace and so much more.

Last night of the tour 13th June The Convent catch it live in Stroud or via Netgig wherever you are

Bluesdoodles review of Everybody Wants A Piece – HERE

Youthful Stark delights The Convent

Stark-1823Youthful Stark delights The Convent

Friday 11th December 2015

 

 

 

Stark-1820Tonight we had blues with a difference, Stark are definitely not orthodox – that said they produce music that is authentic and delivered with verve and passion. Stark are a great young trio from Brighton with real potential to light up the British Blues scene and way beyond crossing artificial boundaries created with a world obsessed with genres and putting music into boxes.

Stark-1833Jamie Francis’s guitar of choice is a resonator played like an electric the sound is both interesting and musically spot on mixing well with his vocals and the trio’s interpretations of blues classics and self-penned numbers. Ensuring the band has rhythm, and another two voices, drummer Evan Carson controls the beat and creates layers of sound with carefully selected array of sticks including mallets, rods and brushes, and bassist Joshua Franklin. Team Stark describe themselves as alternative blues, the reality being that they a have blues running through their core like a stick of Brighton Rock, they just stir the pot up creating a sound that is contemporary and refuses to be trapped behind a label. They want to be heard and judged by the sound they produce not pre-conceptions (often misguided) of Blues in Britain today.

Stark-1795The set was full of power opening with Dylan and closing with a free-flowing version of Whole Lotta Love. Their interpretation of Robert Johnson’s, Crossroad Blues was very much up-tempo and it really did work once again demonstrating what a classic number this oft heard blues song is. In the mix was Jeff Lang’s Copper Mine a lively number, Big Shaky a Kelly Jo Phelps number and those from the lexicon of the blues foundations such as Robert Johnson’s If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day appropriate in front of the altar at The Convent and Blind Lemon Jefferson’s Rising High Water Blues a modern and fresh re-working hitting the high water line.

Stark-1787Stark are more than re-shaping classics, they obviously love, understand and are knowledgeable about the blues as reflected in the self-penned numbers from their current EP Stories From The Ground. Ball and Chain certainly stands out as exceptionally good both lyrically and musically. I Will Change and Feelin’ Good again demonstrate the trio’s talent, the audience was very appreciative and this is a young band to watch out for as they can only get better and the level is high at the moment!

Stark-1818The slide guitar playing on Son House’s Death Letter Blues grabbed your attention proving that Stark are a band of great depth and dimension with tonal layers that build themselves around the lyrics that are the heart of blues.

Stark-1770For me Stark are a trio of talent creating a sound that is distinctive and blues with attitude Bluesiana for the twenty-first century; they are definitely the combining of country and urban blues with a twist of youthful arrogance. If you have missed them when they played live then I recommend catching up with them via The Convent’s Netgig service.

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Two Voices Two Guitars and a Piano

Tom Baxter - The Convent - Nov 2015_0008l

Two Voices Two Guitars and a Piano
Rob Richings opening for Tom Baxter
The Convent, November 21st 2015

 

Introducing the world to the offerings tonight at The Convent, Matt Roberts, welcomed everyone tuning in for a live feed via Netgig and especially to the many Parisians listening in tonight. Live music and the atrocities in Paris are now tragically forever linked.
Two Voices – Two Guitars and a Piano. Tonight at The Convent, Rob Richings opening for the melodic and reflective electric Tom Baxter. (Bluesdoodles reminder read the rest and think why did   I miss out this sell-out gig?) Do not despair help is at hand – pop along HERE to netgig pay a fee and you and watch the magic that was Saturday at the Convent.

Rob Richings - The Convent - Nov 2015_0015lRob Richings opens the evening of delights that once again shows the captivating power of guitar and a singer/songwriter. The thirty minute opener was shaped by the recordings from his EP Half Way Up. We were impressed and yet again the live version has that extra layer of emotional connection.  This was especially true for Lord In The Attic, a perfect song for the venue. The inspiration was a visit to a Roman Catholic Church in an Attic of a townhouse in Amsterdam, whRob Richings - The Convent - Nov 2015_0016len Catholics had to worship in secret. In addition to the story telling within the songs we found out that Rob is off to Australia the following day to record an album watch out for its release as from tonight’s offering it should be a good listen. Other songs that stood out were Mississippi with its partial capo providing an alternative tuning and the only risk was the capo flying off. That didn’t happen tonight as the music flowed, The Convent warmed to the sounds as the anticipation grew for the moment Tom Baxter would be standing in front of the alter.

 

Tom Baxter - The Convent - Nov 2015_0001lWith a seamless flow Tom was on stage with two electric guitars a selection of songs from his back catalogue and some treasures from his album The Uncarved Block released October this year. If you love your music with meaningful lyrics and a tempo that is hypnotic, a man and a guitar plus some electronic magic; then like the packed house and the many joining the event around the world you are in for a real treat this is music without pretensions or boundaries, there is a stripped down simplicity and the emotions are distinctively authentic. The electronic wizardry was understated adding tonal layers and interest creating a wonderful atmosphere of 3-D sound.  In the mix that flowed through the albums and there was no hard sell as Tom was concentrating in achieving the mix between vocals and muted electric guitar so that the sound soared and swelled around the stone of the Convent. This he achieved on every track as he shared his thoughts behind the songwriting and anecdotes of life that at times made the audience laugh.   The music was the selling point and the audience was held enraptured as the warmth of the sound and strength from one man and a fender so stripped back it is electric acoustic at its orginal best. The title tracks for albums that contain many favourites Feather & Stone and Skybound, reminded everyone of the albums that are the soundtrack for many of the audiences lives.

 

Tom Baxter - The Convent - Nov 2015_0006lIt was for many the new songs we wanted to hear from the title track of the third album The Uncarved Block; that is about how live wears away and distorts the purity of the uncarved block of a new born and how we are all trying to get back to this perfect repose. Sitting at the Grand Piano, The Boy Beneath The Stone the opening track of the latest album, inspired by a serial killer and the mix of Tom’s vocal purity ant the blending of the ivories made the story and song compelling listening. The standout song of the night from the new album was Arc Of Your Mallet the guitar and vocals shaping the body of the song were captivating, proving that Tom has musical magnetism showing that less is often more when the lyrics have power.

Bullets linked two very different songs written for two diverse arenas where bullets are central to the soundscape.  The nearly Bond film theme tune, You’re Bullet Proof, and The Last Shot a homage to the fallen of World War 1; capturing the power of fiction and the tragedy of reality.

This was a night when songwriting and guitar were celebrated and there is no argument that Tom Baxter
will cajole you with vocals that stride through the octaves from light to moodilyTom Baxter - The Convent - Nov 2015_0003l intense and you will be immersed in a sea swell of sound that reaches deep inside your soul. Tom Baxter is music that speaks to you on a one-to-one level even when sat in a packed venue.

Another winning gig from the team at The Convent.

The Grahams @ The Convent, Stroud via Netgig

convent logo

The Grahams The Convent, Stroud via Netgig.

 

 

Once again Bluesdoodles was not disappointed with the service via The Convent website –  a couple of clicks, payment made and the link to access the show was in my inbox.

Copyright Photographer Mark Jarvis
Copyright Photographer Mark Jarvis

Now for the important bit;  was the show good?, did listening at home feel like a show reflecting the power of live music and the energy that The Graham’s always exude? – Yes! It is different but with a glass of wine and the discipline of silence this was the next best thing to live music.

Tonight as a trio The Grahams, Alyssa and Doug joined by percussionist Mike Meadow. They now based in Nashville and reflected in the sound created. Originally Doug and Alyssa were from New York and Mike is from Texas, these early influences form an integral bedrock to the musics. The music was Americana, a sound that is difficult to capture in a few words, it is an artful blending of all the roots of American music, African, British folk and native American swirling the sounds and textures add a generous pitch of American can do and country attitude that is the magic of Americana.

This was a show that revolved around three sonic sounds the crystal smooth tones of Alyssa’s vocals, the mid tones of Doug’s guitar, whether slide or picked and the National had a beautiful depth of tone and the bass provided by a snare and array of percussive sounds from Mike creating a tumbling musical movement that shaped itself around the strong lyrics the very purpose for the musical backdrop. Every song had a story, meaning reflecting the travels and adventures that often occurred on the extensive rail journeys around USA.  As The Grahams said “There is a special connection between American folk music and the railroad that has no parallel elsewhere in the world. Rail lines stitch together the sprawling fabric of American song. As writers of Americana music, our goal is to draw on the deep, recurring sources of American folk culture, giving them new shape.”  Tonight was an opportunity to hear a selection of songs from their current album Glory Bound they have been involved in a documentary Rattle the Hocks (released digitally) filmed on the move and in venues from Sun Studio to Amtrak’s famed City of New Orleans train, produced and directed by Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, which chronicles their train-bound excursions and the influence of train travel on American roots music.

We were informed about Southern biscuits before hearing a absorbing live version of the suitably titled number Biscuits as well as Blow Wind Blow and Lay Me Down. The tonal tapestry changed with slower numbers more reflective and those that conjured up a barn and  a line dance full of energy and the beat to get your body on the move. The Grahams have a style that is full of warmth and a generosity of spirit that ensured the audience were happy to join in making it music in the round.

The grahamsGrahams in The Convent definitely entertained,delighting the crowd with their contemporary Americana sound that is without doubt infectious music that is Glory Bound.  Read what we said about the album HERE

The Grahams – UK & Ireland Tour – November 2015 still a chance to catch them live…
Wednesday 11th – The Musician, Leicester
Thursday 12th – The Met (Studio), Bury
Friday 13th – Private House Party
Saturday 14th – The Con Club, Lewis
Tuesday 17th – Levis Corner House, Balleyhob, Co. Cork
Wednesday 18th – Dolan’s, Limerick
Thursday 19th – Monroe’s Live, Galway
Friday 20th – The Errigle Inn, Belfast
Saturday 21st Seamus Ennis Cultural Centre, Naul, Ireland

 

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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Kirk Fletcher Live @ The Convent , 20th September 2015

Kirk Fletcher - The Convent - Sept 2015_0091lKirk Fletcher
The Convent, 20th September 2015

 

 

Nearly a year ago Bluesdoodles discovered two greats a venue and a guitarist and tonight they are re-united as Kirk Fletcher and his band once again stepped in front of the Alter at The convent to share with a much larger audience than last time reflecting the impact Kirk made in 2014 and far and wide via live-streaming from Netgig.

The Convent and audiences are ready!

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Opening with an instrumental shuffle the band were chasing and capturing the tempo through the strings and beats; Wes Johnson on drums kept the twin guitarists, Kirk & Dudley upfront and in order and the rhythm section was full of funky bass interest thanks to Joe Sam on Bass. The instrumental was full of texture and tonal depths hinting at the stupendous musical journey we were all going to enjoy tonight as Kirk’s six strings explored the forms and structures of blues, soul and funk to create music that touched your musical inner core.

Kirk Fletcher - The Convent - Sept 2015_0120lThe guitar from Kirk was silky smooth with a an inner steel as he explored the groove the tone grown, explored and played with by British Blues Award nominated guitarist Dudley Ross, at times it was a duel, others a compact of friendship and then the moments where the harmonies touched perfection. The tempo changed but there was a constant Kirk Fletcher delivery of scintillating riffs, licks, lead breaks and clever hooks for the bass to take the lead and explore the lower cadences and frequencies that Joe’s five-strings could develop.  The version tonight of Bobby Womack’s I’m In Love was special full of feeling  the emotions were held captive and then let free in a lead break from Kirk no one wanted to end; the passion rose as Dudley & Joe added layers of tonal excitement.


We heard and enjoyed the hefty drivin’ rhythms of My Turn, a song to really to get the juices running with some grat interchanges between Dudley & Joe, featuring a Wah pedal Bass stunning!

Kirk Fletcher - The Convent - Sept 2015_0090This was a band that knew how to entertain with a modern fresh re-working of modern music engaging with the roots of the sound but never finding themselves trapped in a boring loop of conformity. Kirk was brilliant last year tonight he was scintillating he and his guitar were one it was a true communion of the power of music to talk to the heart of everyone who takes a moment to quieten their thoughts, engage with the flow of the sound and have a journey where emotional highs and lows explored. The whole set was phenomenal, the crowd tonight were privileged to be treated to such a masterclass in Blues musicianship by the whole band and Kirk he was sensational. The encore Let Me Have It was a tour-de-force and then the music died away for the last time, well not quite he is now in the vaults of Netgig so can be revisited.

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Cara Dillon ~ Live @ The Convent

Cara Dillon Live 2010A huge thank you from Bluesdoodles for the wonderful Netgig service, we could listen enjoy and be delighted by Cara Dillon and her band who wove an evening that musically shaped an Irish landscape.

We had a fiddle, squeeze box and acoustic guitars a voice that is blessed with angel kisses and Cara plays a mean penny whistle from descant through to the tenor the tone matching the lyrical beauty of the traditional and Cara’s own songs whether sung in Gaelic or English they all weaved their own enchantment.

This is folk music that is full of tradition but has a modernity about the style together with her musical partner Sam Lakeman she has explored music and the journey has been interesting but as we see tonight she is now firmly entrenched in her Irish roots.

Sam opened the evening on piano as Cara’s voice soared across the alter and down the Choir stalls at The Convent, the venue suiting the tone and quality of the music and then the a traditional Donegal number Jacket So Blue, a jig with the fiddler picking up the dance of this happy tempo delight.  The songs all have a story and the instrumentation changes creating a textured tapestry as squeeze box takes over from the fiddle and the guitar fades and then the emphasis changes, keeping the set interesting and full of musical energy. We heard songs in Irish about a very drunk man, you did not have to understand the language the emotional tone and lyrical cadence was all you need to be drawn into the music.

Coming back from a short break, where we were entertained by a playlist from the convent the music back catalogue flowed with perfect simplicity as a trio opened the second half; Cara, Sam and the fiddler Niall Murphy. Then as Cara described probably the saddest song you will ever hear capturing the full grief and gamut of emotions described as homesickness felt by a County Derry man who left the land he loved Winding River Road, starting acapella it was spellbinding then Sam on Piano picks up the tune to accompany Cara. A change of tempo with Sam back playing his stylish acoustic guitar and Cara picks up the pace with a lively rendition of Den of Thieves full of energy raising the temperature with the change of tempo; definitely a favourite with the lively and appreciative audience. Sam introduced as the China Set, Cara has many fans in China, an instrumental medley that allowed Cara to have a well-deserved break. Kicking off with a solo from All Ireland Fiddle champion Niall Murphy who played a reel that just had to be danced to!  With Sam on guitar, Luke Daniels on squeeze box and Ed Boyd on guitar. Then the voice we all want to hear returns to the stage piano and her Irish lilt is just harmony personified the songs ebbed and flowed the sustaining force was the clarity and beauty of a voice that has to be one of the best female voices of the twenty first century. It has a timeless ethereal quality that’s firmly rooted deep in the soul of Irish music and culture.  Closing with a song they composed in the form of a traditional folk song with a long complicated narrative that really works as she warmly thanked the audience for listening in appreciative silence, this was broken with a spontaneous Happy Birthday sung by The Convent audience for Cara before she could start the song you can only get this spontaneity at a live music event. Then an encore a duo that weaved the magic we all wanted to continue live music up close, personal and delivered with love.

 

The Convent - copyright  - Mark Jarvis
The Convent – copyright – Mark Jarvis

Netgig, The Convent and Cara Dillion plus the talented musicians was a wonderful way to spend a Friday evening and the wine tasted very sweet as an accompaniment to Irish traditional songs.Cara Dillon Live 2 2011

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Cara Dillion Photographs from Albums on Cara Dillion’s website