Advent Day 18 What Bluesdoodles Talked about in 2017

Advent Day 18 What Bluesdoodles Talked about in 2017

Throughout 2017 Bluesdoodles has had the opportunity to talk to some wonderful musicians. Adding to the excitement We now have Wes O’Neill who will continue throughout out 2018 bringing you insightful interviews; Liz will be adding some as well. Bluesdoodles giving you an inside view of the artists we love to hear play live and recorded. Everyone at Bluesdoodles thanks, to the PR and Record Companies and most of all our gratitude to all the artists for their valuable time and willingness to answer the questions.
Bluesdoodles discussed, new albums, debut Albums, first Headliner Tour and what makes a great song.  Explore the thirty conversations, listen and buy the music and see artist live where and whenever possible

Now to explore our conversations 2017!

Alastair Greene

Chantel McGregor

Jack J. Hutchinson

Dan Reed – Dan Reed Network

Fabrizio Grossie – Supersonic Blues Machine

Brian Downey – Alive and Dangerous

Stevie Westwood – Bad Touch

JW Jones

Mollie Marriott

Rebecca Downes

SIMO

Erja Lytinnen

Five Bands talking about UK Blues Challenge (LaVendore Rogue – Elles BaileyRobert J HunterZoe Schwarz Blue CommotionRainbreakers)

Alan Nimmo – King King

A Thousand Horses

Ray Dorsett – Aka Mungo Jerry

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Feargal Sharkey

Sonny Landreth

Jared James Nichols

Wilko Johnson

Dan Patlansky

Sari Schorr

Ash Wilson

Husky Tones

Ronnie Baker Brooks

Danny Core – The Broken Witt Rebels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Conversation Believe What Rebecca Downes Says

In Conversation Believe What Rebecca Downes Says

In Conversation Believe What Rebecca Downes Says

 

 

BD: Hi Rebecca it is great to speak to you. So much has happened since the UKBlues Challenge last year. Live album and so much more.

RD: No problem life is busy and good.

BD: Lots of touring, the band has been busy off the road. Supporting King King and Magnum as well as headline shows and Festivals. So tell us about your experiences on the road.

RD: I love supporting King King. Being around the King King crowds we knew where we are with fans of their blues-infused rock music. I was much more worried about opening for Magnum.  Would the fans like us and go for our music. They loved our music it was the best gig of last year.  The reaction blew me away. I am always nervous when playing as the support band. Magnum must have approved as we are supporting their 2018 show.  Headlining is different. I still worry, always worrying about getting people to them, how to manage the PR. There is a big difference between Europe and UK. In Europe, people go out and see live music all the time whether in the week or weekends and is on later. Life on the road is a bit of a whirlwind really.  For me, I am anxious and nervous. That said I love what I am doing such a privilege to play music. It does have its ups and downs. Music is not the kindest industry in the world. I have to remember that I chose this and get it all into perspective, at the end of the day I am lucky to be doing it. I got great reviews in the early days; that was fab, it is my baby. Then I got one arsey review, it was quite bitchy, no need for that, reviewers can say they don’t like it, not my cup of tea that is fine. I had to learn to leave the negatives behind and move on.

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Wolverhampton?
RD:
Through my Mum & Dad, they were older parents and loved swing and jazz. The likes of Ella Fitzgerald; Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Julie Covington, Sammy Davis Jnr, etc. Both of my parents had been to see Ella Fitzgerald before they met so had this is common. Especially female singers of this era were the best of the best. The Carpenters were the most pop Mum listened to. She said to me if you are going to be a singer be like them.  It is the notes, choice of melody, tone, and timing that sets them apart. I know how tricky they are. As a vocal coach people ask me all the time how can I sing like Ella. The key is to have your pitch right. What unbelievable changes she achieves with her voice. Her voice can mimic even the brass section.

BD: There has been lots of Rebecca news. Your exciting trip to the States; will you be touring over there next year.

RD: Firstly, didn’t say I was going being careful as previously had a similar opportunity and it fell through. We were over in the States pitching what we do to a record company, how we can work with them. Before we went out had all new songs demoed and properly recorded with video. Been speaking with them this week so it will be interesting how this pans out – definitely watch this space.  I do lots of the PR & Admin work myself working until 11 pm. Life for a musician isn’t all the fun stuff but have to keep on top of it. Facebook, people put on a comment and they like you to react to it and say something. That takes time. I now try to only open the messages when I have time to answer them.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?

RD:  Steve Birkett and I work together we both crossover between lyrics and melodies. Sometimes lyrics come first other times basic riffs sometimes both together. I almost always have a hand in the finished song.  I owe my Ex’s most of my PRS statements much of my inspiration comes from past relationships. Think the new album will see a change. It is true – a happy song cannot be written when sad, you just want to wallow in your misery. Uplifting songs will be on the new album along with those inspired by life experiences.

Some songs write themselves Believe is one I just wrote. It was almost as if I was downloading and I was just the vessel that spat it out it was a bizarre experience.

BD:  You are also in the studio at the moment making a new album. Will Chris Kimsey be involved in the whole album or just the re-mix of Sailing In A Pool Of Tears?

RD: Chris Kimsey is mixing and helping record the new album along with Mark T Stuart who records all our stuff. He is the nicest person he gets what we do. It is not strictly blues he gets where we are going slightly darker, slightly rockier. He is an absolute joy to work with. The new album is going to be released early 2018, the tracks include those we took to the States. It is ready to go now working out the release time, PR loads of things that are all in the pipeline.

BD: What plans have you in the pipeline for rest of 2017 and into 2018??

RD: Rest 2017 we have a headline tour of Germany throughout November and a T.V. show over there. Then back in the U.K. Tenby Blues Festival and King King’s Christmas party which will be fun. Then for 2018 making a video, our own tour of Europe and UK; opening for Magnum and more. It is gigging that keeps me alive. Music is my drug.

BD: What are the Blues or how do you define the Blues the perennial debate?

RD: What does blues mean to me? It is music with an emotional depth. Real blues goes back to the acoustic guitar through to the clean sound of the electric guitar. Today it is more rock than blues. With blues-tinged vocals and guitar with its roots firmly in the blues with other influences layered on top.  Blues is 12-bars why do we want to do it still when the past masters have done it better, the likes of John Lee Hooker and the other greats. Now we take the elements and shaped differently. Norman Beaker once said blues is anything that has got emotional depth. A melody link and a bluesy hook. Sound and guitar doing them as well, like the Blues Band who do the originals so well.

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

Vocals: Aretha Franklin
Guitar: Bonnie Raitt
Drums: Dave Grohl
Bass: Kevin McCormick

BD: Thanks for your time Rebecca and in the meantime catch Rebecca Live check out her tour dates HERE and keep listening to her albums they are infectious and will pass the time until her new album in 2018

Bluesdoodles Reviews:-

Be Live – The Leopard says Be Live With Rebecca Downes Rebecca is not defined by the blues but shaped by them with a soulful voice and a stage presence that shines out as wide as her dazzling smile. Rebecca is a singer who loves the stage and the audience loves her back as the music flows and Be Live captures the essence of a Downes live show. Read MORE HERE

Believe  – Believe has Rebecca Downes Singing the Blues …… The album does that crossing genre and with tempos and beats that will appeal far beyond the confines of blues clubs and blues aficionados. Read MORE HERE………

In Conversation Believe What Rebecca Downes Says

 

The Leopard says Be Live With Rebecca Downes


The Leopard says Be Live With Rebecca Downes

The Leopard says Be Live With Rebecca Downes

Rebecca Downes is not a foxy blues singer she has the speed and cunning of a leopard. Anyone who has seen Rebecca live will have two burning memories, the imitation leopard skin coat and the fact that her vocals are not an imitation they are her own and totally real. He voice has a great range and turn of tone she stuns you with her dexterity as depending on the number she makes the lyrics, cajoling, tempestuous, husky or smooth. Who is Rebecca Downes some may ask, well the Birmingham based singer and her band have been gaining attention wherever they play. This is the very reason she has been voted Best Emerging Artist and Best Female Vocalist in the British Blues Awards 2016. They are a sensation.

Rebecca is not defined by the blues but shaped by them with a soulful voice and a stage presence that shines out as wide as her dazzling smile. Rebecca is a singer who loves the stage and the audience loves her back as the music flows and Be Live captures the essence of a Downes live show. Her voice dances around the lyrics and the musical backdrop her band skillfully delivers.

The live music is a perfect set to demonstrate the depth of Rebecca’s catalogue it is a statement that this is a blues singer who understands the power of the lyric that she shapes with her tongue. Be Live is definitely a statement of intent to deliver music that we want to hear live again and again.

The album is mix of covers and self-penned tracks. Opening with Never Gonna Learn, from her studio album Believe there is one thing for certain buy the album and hear her live to learn what a hothouse of blues music this girl is. This is blues with energy and intensity that makes for sweet hearing. This live performance shows that Rebecca is learning and her skills are being honed having opened for King King and Norman Beaker. With another of her numbers Fever In the Night, the light jazz feel and the feeling of seduction Peggy Lee’s Fever is immediate comparison for all the right reasons. There is a raw animal vivacity about her singing throughout the thirteen tracks.
We all like something funky with an intro of drums guitar and keys on My Sweetness as the band are introduced. They are more than a foundation they are the glittering rock that allows Rebecca to soar and play with the lyrics as she wraps them around her tongue and delivers them with sweetness. The band tonight are Steve Birkett (Rhythm guitar, slide guitar & vocals d guitar and co-writer); Rick Benton (keys); Dan Clark (bass); Lloyd Daker (drums) and Rik Sandford (lea). This is a track that has funky vibe with some hot Southern licks.

A cover that stands out on the album is Etta James’ I’d Rather Go Blind; often covered and Rebecca has re-shaped the classic to suit her delivery. Steve Birkett’s lead break builds with intensity and hurt, maintaining the tension as he fades Rebecca introduces him and the keys cool the emotions before she picks up the song again gentle with hurt and despair.

We have a gentler tempo with Sailing On A Pool Of Tears, the blues guitar has the tempo that counters the voice that is full of emotional hurt, the feeling of despairing loss captured within this heartfelt song.

Closing the album and another friendly comment that warns the audience to Rebecca as she says We couldn’t do this without you. Live music needs an appreciative audience as she closes out the night with Beatles classic, With A Little Bit Of Help With My Friends. There is no doubt that this album, touring Rebecca will be destined to make many more friends through her music in 2017.

Rebecca Downes – Be Live – Mad Hat Records

NINE pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Never Gonna Learn
  2. Fever In The Night
  3. Another Piece of My Heart
  4. Night Train
  5. Long Long Time
  6. My Sweetness
  7. Back To The Start
  8. Rather Go Blind
  9. Basement Of My Heart
  10. Sailing On A Pool Of Tears
  11. Believe
  12. 1000 Years
  13. With A Little Bit Of Help From My Friends

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..

 

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..

 

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS….. that will have to wait a moment since there are four acts to listen to first. Tonight is the third UK Blues Challenges that decides the band that will be representing the UK at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and The European Challenge in Denmark in 2017.  Tonight is the second time that the Challenge has been under the auspices of the UKBlues Federation and what a success tonight is, thanks to sponsorship from the award winning, crowd pleasing Upton Blues Festival and the support from The Robin 2, Bilston with superb sound, lighting and the support staff who ensured there was food, drinks and a welcome on the doors.

The running order tonight, Wille and The Bandits; Dove and Boweevil; Kaz Hawkins Band and Rebecca Downes, four acts that show the depth and diversity of blues across the UK in 2016. The bands were from across the country from Cornwall to Norfolk; Belfast to Birmingham and they knew how to play live in a way that would challenge the judges as to who had the winning combination of originality, vocal talent, musical interpretation and more. Without the judges there would have been no challenge, no winners so the Federation owe them a big thank you to Becky Tate, Kayla Brox, Peter Noble, Alex Butler, Oliver Carpenter, Mark Housley and Ruth Etheridge. The task we set them was a challenge in itself as every band was different with music that delighted the crowds. The judges listened hard, danced to the music enjoyed the Blues and after much thought, they marked each band and a winner was found. Before that, there were four bands to listen to and enjoy.

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..With Ashwyn Smythe the chair of the Federation getting the evening underway as compare, the lights were shining and the crowds expectant as Wille and The Bandits opened the proceedings. The band have their own rocking interpretation of the blues. The sound is hearty, rooted in tradition with lap slide, guitar upright bass and drums that beats out a sound full of originality and confidence. This is blues stretched and reformed, with a selection from their new album, Steal out in January 2017 and old favourites including Gypsy Woman ensured the audience was engaged from the beginning and the audience showed their appreciation – what a start – had the night peaked too early?

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2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..Following on, we were treated to Dove and Boweevil. Lauren Dove floated as she blended roots, soul and the taste of the east as the beats and rhythms floated around the Robin 2. Opening with Lady Lavoo, from their current album This Life; a song that is full of swampy beats and the sound has a mystical dark sound suiting Laurens vocals and Mark ‘Boweevil’ Howes guitar. The five piece enthralled the audience though at times the vocals got lost among the instruments.

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2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..Third band of the night raised the energy levels as Kaz Hawkins twirled like a whirlwind across the stage. The energy was electric and the vocals spellbinding. Kaz, takes the lyrics, squeezing the emotions out so that the audience is drawn and captivated by the soulful blues.  The petticoats were swished the red gloves thrown into the audience, yet, if Kaz had stood perfectly still it would have been the voice that is full of charm and depths that hit your musical soul. The band are a trio of talent with the solid rhythm section providing the perfect platform and Nick McConkey’s guitar work is stunning. In the mix we heard the song dedicated to her daughter, Because I love You which one of my favourites. The audience cheered, clapped, stamped their feet as they showed their love to Kaz Hawkins’ take on the blues.

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2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..How to follow that with the energy levels were so high, emotions so stretched easy close the night with Rebecca Downes. With her trademark leopard skin coat she took up the microphone and sung the blues.  Rebecca belted out the vocals soaring above her band all eyes were focused on her she was charged with an electricity and glowing energetic fire. Again, the blues was threaded with rock, soul and jazz that gave Rebecca’s blues a depth of tone and interest she is a blues vocalist who delivers the music she loves and believes in.  The band once again played to Rebecca’s tonal strengths so the voice got hotter and the coat was discarded. Rebecca owned the stage and had the audience in her hand and purring with delight.

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As Rebecca Downes and her band left the stage and silence fell, what a night of live music four different and superb acts. All gave the blues a touch of difference shaping the music and delivering with energy and love. Now the scores were counted, the raffle drawn and we waited and discussed our favourites and who we thought the winner would be…

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS….. 

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..The Judges verdict was Kaz Hawkins Band. They are now off to represent the UK at the 33rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, which runs from 31st January to 4th February 2017 and at the 7th European Blues Challenge, which takes place in Horsens, Denmark on 6th, 7th & 8th April 2017.

 

Watch this space the date and venue of the 4th UK Blues challenge will be announced by the UK Blues Federation soon. Support the blues and check out the page www.ukbluesfederation.com

2016 UK Blues Challenge delights Bilston The Winner IS….. Once again congratulations to the winner Kaz Hawkins

The UK Blues Federation (UKBlues), is a pan-UK Federation that has been established to promote and support Blues in and from the United Kingdom in all its forms and styles.

We have created a not for profit federation of musicians, organisations, associations, groups, venues, companies, individuals and any other interested parties within the UK who already work to support, promote and encourage blues of all sorts within the UK, to work together to achieve UKBlues‘ aims.

Join HERE  today and help support The Blues throughout the U.K.

UK BLUES CHALLENGE 2016 at The Robin 2 Bilston

UK BLUES CHALLENGE 2016 at The Robin 2 Bilston

 

UK Blues Federation are delighted once again to be organising  the challenge.  UK Blues Challenge 2016 at The Robin 2 Bilston, where four exciting acts are performing for the opportunity to represent the U.K. at the European Blues Challenge 2017.  The Challenge takes place at The Robin 2 Bilston on Saturday 12th November 2016 – Tickets available £10 in advance. The successful act will travel to Norway to represent the U.K. at the 7th European Blues Challenge 2017.

The popular  four acts performing in front of a panel of judges selected from the UK Blues scene (in alphabetical order)  are:-

Dove & Boweevil

Kaz Hawkins

Rebecca Downes

Wille and The Bandits
UK BLUES CHALLENGE 2016 at The Robin 2 Bilston

Believe has Rebecca Downes Singing the Blues

RD_Believe_Cover

Believe has Rebecca Downes Singing the Blues

 

 

 

The sophomore album is never easy. Following on from Back To The Start meant Rebecca and her band had to jump higher. Believe has Rebecca Downes singing the Blues and so much more this is a game changer. Rebecca and her band believe in the music they just want to play for you. This is contemporary Blues pulling in strands of jazz, soul and gentle rock weaving them into a tapestry of musical pleasure.
Rebecca’s voice scorches through the instrumentation that adds a layer of sound for her vocals to work with exploring emotional tone and textures as on the opening song Never Gonna Learn. I know that Rebecca is learning, developing her style and growing in confidence the title of the album is a reflection that Rebecca believes in her abilities and the prowess of her band. As Rebecca says “The album title represents the belief that I have needed to get this far and the belief we now have in the quality of our music and our live performances. 2015 allowed us to measure ourselves against some of the best around and we believe we made our own mark.
With the swish of blues guitar the mood is created for Sailing On A Pool Of Tears as the tempo quietens, her voice takes on the coating of hurt and despair as she sings the lyrics we are pulled into the darker side of love. Half way through and piano and vocal duet on 1000 Years sounds fine. This combination suits her voice and has an intimacy that then opens up as the band joins the party.
The beat changes with blues harp joining in on the sultry number as her vocals curl around Long Long Time, the power is in the sustain and then letting the instrumentation pick up the beat and carry the tune forward. With lap steel and piano the mood changes the fire is tempered and we are back with the intimate Rebecca.
As we head to the last four tracks we are treated with the mischievous Mommas Gotta Gun, gravelly and low down the scale Rebecca shows another facet to the jewels in the box of Rebecca Downes’ Believe. The dance rhythm of Salt Winds has the feet tapping and the ear mesmerised with the glorious vocals on another standout track. The title track is left until last with another musical feature with a swampy southern sound bring Believe to a close a second album that will definitely get Rebecca Downes noticed for all the right reasons.
Believe the follow-up album to Back To The Start combined with the power of her stage shows proves that Rebecca is on the up carving the bluestones out of the road to stardom. Believe Written by Rebecca with co-writer Steve Birkett and the production by Mark V Stuart (Magnum etc,) has hit the right note. The album does that crossing genres and with tempos and beats that will appeal far beyond the confines of blues clubs and blues aficionados.

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

Believe has Rebecca Downes Singing the Blues

 

 

Available for pre-order HERE

 

Track Listing

1. Never Gonna Learn
2. Night Train
3. It’s That Easy
4. Sailing On A Pool Of Tears
5. Sweetness
6. 1000 Years
7. Could Not Say No
8. Long Long Time
9. Momma’s Got A Gun
10. Salt Winds
11. Come With Me Baby
12. Believe

January has to be Rock and Blues @ Skegness: Friday Night

January has to be Rock and Blues @ Skegness: Friday Night

 

 

The journey completed, the rain has stopped and the music begins to play. The Introducing Stage fills the gap between unpacking and the evening entertainment plus a perfect way to hear new bands and catch up with friends.

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The honour of getting the Butlins Rock and Blues weekend rollercoaster off on the right note and creating a party mood were Sugarman Sam & The Voodoo Men. A quartet playing great electric Rn’B interspersed with slower blues classics, including I Don’t Know Too Much About Love, the Sugarman certainly knew how to tick the right boxes with the crowd. The stage is proving to be a real success. The Black Circles picked up the baton and set out their stall hoping to be the one of tonight’s four bands who would have a spot on one of the main stages of 2017. They certainly claimed a stake as The Black Circles are a force-field in the rising bands of Blues rock, Sam Bratley certainly plays his guitar with passion and drive.

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Third band of the night, The Blue Horizon a trio that have a power trio feel with rock infused blues. The sound is robust and the improvisation on some of the self-penned numbers certainly had people listening and enjoying the groove they were setting down. Justified was a number with a funky edge once again showing the synergy between the bassist and guitarist. Last but not least Trident Waters, the rockiest with a dirty sound from the guitar, with a rawness that wasn’t helped by some sound problems early on. This had improved by the second number and they then got into their stride with some powerful licks and strong riffs that proves the depth of talent on the scene today and the power of the Introducing Stage in getting these bands noticed and people were voting for their favourite of the four.

Eight pm, the centre stage curtain rose as the DJ introduced Rebecca Downes and her band, the winners of Friday Nights Introducing stage 2015, as they stepped up and got the Centre Stage off to a polished start. Rebecca was very good last year, but what a difference a year makes. Full of smiles and confidence her silver-toned voice was polished with power and style, Rebecca connected with the crowd and they loved it. Very smooth moves between numbers as the tempo picked it up then slowed it down as style of song and rhythm changed again. The constant was the quality remained at the top of the pack. Rebecca hit the high notes in centre stage and had the crowds enthralled with here version of I’d Rather Go Blind. Her own self-penned numbers created a vibe that will become recognisable as the Downes way and the anticipation for her forthcoming album continues to rise. From Introducing to centre stage in a year where will she be in 2017 the only way is up for Rebecca and her band.

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Off to Reds for some Rock from House of X, for X replace have played for UFO! Upfront Danny Pyronel, kicking off with Let It Roll from UFO with other tracks we love with the great Laurence Archer laying down the hefty guitar riffs. Added to UFO memory lane with their own No More Tequila with the good vibes of a UFO number, without the power of vocals that made UFO tunes so recognisable. We are now rocking at Butlins 2016! With some music as the bands changed before FM.  As ever a really strong set from this band that delivers every time. FM plays stonking rock, keyboards adding another dimension.  This is a band on form tonight and playing all their favourites. That Girl as ever went down a storm, as the vocals powered across the crowd at Reds.

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Now for a quick jaunt across to Centre Stage for some Texan blues smooth and delivered with a smile as ever by the genial . Eugene treated us to some glorious clean-cut Louisiana blues. The first authentic blues sound of the weekend and filled the stage and across the auditorium and the feet were tapping and the crowds smiled with joy of the blues vibe. Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges vocals are rich and the lyrics curl around the ear. His character is full of colour and smiles as he shares tales and the music that he loves. The guitar licks are silky smooth with edgy riffs delivered in perfect timing. The finger picking on a Gibson 335 – it really is blues manna from heaven. As the notes died away the curtains closed and blues lovers sighed with collective delights. Up next was blues with a modern twist driven by the beautiful blues-harp from Giles Robson. Giles Robson and The Dirty Aces played the first blues-harp of the weekend. Giles achieves a special tone and shape from this tiny instrument that always packs a bluesy punch. Tonight Giles delivered blues full of tradition suiting his virtuous style. He is one of only a handful of genuine lead-harp players around as proved on every tune played. His specialisms is the high notes on the harp, leaping the octaves and shaping the notes. His vocals are laid back and rich contrasting with the sharp harp. The Mighty Incinerator was as ever a highlight and then the train sounds he produces from the harmonica is a blues-man equivalent of a magician pulling the rabbit out of a hat a party trick that always delights.

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Gerry Jablonski-2655Early night…? –  no popped into a busy JAKS bar to catch Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band who delighted everyone there looking to keep on the festival feel. For me the time caught up with me and time for sleep busy day ahead tomorrow, Friday night left music humming in my head with rock riffs and bluesy shadows merging what a start to the weekend. There may be complainers but for bluesdoodles the music told the story notes for every taste.

Skegness 2015: JAKS and Introducing Stage

Red Butler - Skegness - 23rd-15th Jan 2015 - _0075l

Great British Rock & Blues

Butlins, Skegness 2015 –

JAKS and Introducing Stage

 

Split Whiskers Band - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0029lThe music plays for three days and nights across four stages at the Great Rock & Blues Festival, Butlin’s, Skegness, the last weekend in January draws many to the cold East Coast.
There is so much to offer that there is no way to see and take in every act and for many people there are favourite stages especially for many of the regulars and there are a loyal band who spend the majority of their time in the Blues Matters sponsored stage JAKS with its quirky décor and a mix of music through the day from midday and late into the night only taking a break between 4.30 – 8pm where the Introducing Stage in the Sky Pavilion fills the gap.

Jack Hutchinson Band- Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0031l

I saw and missed some amazing moments on both stages, I needed to eat re-charge my batteries and catch up with people and sometimes get away from music!

Mick Simpson & Malaya Blue - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0054l

Rebecca Downes - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0007lFriday the music started for me on the Introducing Stage, after a long drive coffee and music was the perfect antidote. The band that opened the music fest was Starvin’ Sid a great entertaining act to get the weekend off with a smile and this year every day we had a chance to vote with a plastic token for our favourite act; the process overlooked by Blues In Britain team; the prize the chance to play a main stage in 2016. The sets that followed were varied and full of live music energy including Jack Hutchinson who was impressive and must have been a contender and we would see his style again during the jam at JAK’s. Ged Wilson was a solo acoustic performer who delivered a mix of standards and self-penned and like Starvin’ Sid would make a music pub a real attraction. The last act was Rebecca Downes; who went on to win the popular vote she has a great voice and her stage presence is dynamic as the crowds grew the excitement in the Skyline grew. Her act was much more interactive and full on with real character and a great backing band. Rebecca Downes certainly attracted all the right attention tonight.

Split Whiskers Band - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0016lIn JAKS the atmosphere was building and was hot with a happy crowd when I dropped by to hear the end of a great set from Split Whiskers who as ever entertained with an array of numbers that got everyone in the mood for music to dance. They are a colourful band with a great full-on sound which went down a treat. Red Butler followed, this is a young band that just keep on delivering stunning displays of musicianship. They hit the road running with a real racy number that showcased Jane as the vocal diva of the band and Alex’s exceptional slide guitar playing on Movin’ On. The set had a mix of songs and throughout were numbers off their excellent debut CD Freedom Bound; starting off with Pension Blues. There is no doubt this is a band that we will be seeing more of during 2015 they are talented, have charisma and really want to entertain you. With Jane’s vocals, stage presence and great backing musicians they really hit the spot, with their take on Shakin’ All Over being quite unique and is fast becoming a signature. For many they were the band of the whole weekend. They did have the whole of JAKS lapping up music and a great new number Gambling Man was very reminiscent of early cream no wonder they were the talk of Butlins 2015. Red Butler - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0008lThe tempo went down a notch with Malaya Blue Band; as Malaya’s voice lacks the power of Jane’s and has a more jazz blues feel, though without doubt this is a lady who can sing, with a great band to back her vocals with a strong rhythm section of Simon Dring & Trev Turley. Though personally the music was fine and the interpretation was distinctive on the whole this was a nice set that lacked the high-voltage energy thaMick Simpson & Malaya Blue - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0042lt a late night session at JAKS normally has. What it did show was the wide range, depth and breadth of female vocals delivering the blues in their own unique way in Britain in 2015 as Malaya was the fifth charismatic female vocalist of the weekend so far across the stages.

 

Saturday afternoon is all about the Jam in JAKS run with precision making this a perfect venue for musicians to enjoy participating in the jam and the audience to delight in the rawness and never knowing what act was coming up next.

Riotous Brothers - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0045lThe popular act on The Introducing Stage was first up Lost Minute who started playing to about 100 the music bought people to the stage and by the end the area was packed with over 500 music lovers demanding an encore. This band definitely hit the right spot and was the winner tonight. The other two bands I heard on this stage were Riotous Brothers and I was looking forward to the set having reviewed their album and I was impressed. The band connected with the audience with dancers enjoying the lively and entertaining set. Riotous Brothers certainly understand they are there to entertain and they did just that. I also heard Pierre K Band who had travelled from Belgium to entertain us and they delivered blues, with hefty takes on blues standards, tonight the keys were missing and this was a loss and as a three-piece they didn’t quite deliver the sound produced on their current album.

Pierre K Band - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0001l

Richard Townend - Sunday - Butlins, Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0017lAll to soon it was the last day of the weekend, with another two sessions that would suit the mood, starting with laid back and a quality acoustic set from Richard Townend; this was a perfect start to a Sunday JAKS always hit the spot on the Sunday afternoon, we heard some acoustic gems and a moving tribute to Alan Turing as he delivered an entertaining set, looking forward to 2016 when he brings back to JAKS with his band The Mighty Bosscats. I also popped back to hear Malaya Blue Band acoustic set for a short time, this afternoon she was joined by Will Johns as well has her band and the stripped down suited her vocal range. I was a bit disappointed that from what I heard it was the same set as Friday but suited this slot on a Sunday. The Introductory stage bough another four bands and another chance to vote the stage was getting more popular and Stark opening the proceedings and were very popular form comments I heard, Struggle Buggy were a competent country Blues band but the accolades went to the last band of the weekend on this stage The Della Grants, it was no surprise to hear they won the popular vote. This young four-piece blues bands delivered with great vocals and played some genuine blues, they certainly have bags of potential.

The Della Grants - Jan 2015 - _0017l

Laura Holland Band - Jan 2015 - _0041lJAKS on Sunday night was ready to party as Roadhouse filled their spot with the music they love to play and the crowds certainly enjoyed them once again. Laura Holland Band who delivered Rock N’Roll/Swing style music that certainly filled the dance floor. Laura fronted the band with aplomb, with here great stage presence and vocals that’s suited the music being delivered. JAKS felt like it had entered a time-warp and was back in the late 1950’s with tracks including Spoonful and I need your love So Bad. The music played on until the early hours with The Robin Robertson Blues Band but an earlyish night beckoned been another music packed weekend once again.

JAKS BAR
Friday: 8 -2.00pm
Split Whiskers Band*
Red Butler*
Mick Simpson & Malaya Blue*

Saturday: Midday – 4.30 pm 8– 2pm
Roadhouse Jam
The Dave Thomas Band
Sharon Colgan Band
Jed Thomas Band

Sunday: Midday – 4.30 pm 8– 2pm
Richard Townend*
Jo Bywater
Mick Simpson & Malaya Blue (Acoustic)*
Roadhouse
Laura Holland Band*
The Robin Robertson Blues Band

Introducing Stage
Friday 4-8pm
Starvin’ Sid
Jack J Hutchinson*
Ged Wilson
Rebecca Downes*

Saturday 4-8pm
Lost Minute*
The Riotous Brothers*
Victoria Klewin & The Mojohands
Pierre K Band*

Sunday 4-8pm
Stark
George Shovlin’ and the Radars
Struggle Buggy*
The Della Grants*

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