Rise Up With The Rainbreakers Latest EP

Rise Up With The Rainbreakers Latest EP

Rise Up With The Rainbreakers Latest EP



This is the second EP that has caught Bluesdoodles from the Rainbreakers, a young band that is definitely blowing away the rain clouds. Rise Up builds from the foundations of their debut studio recording Blood Not Brass. The five-tracks allow the quartet to explore styles and leaves fans wanting more, Rise recorded at Purple Door Studios, producer Robin Andrews (Conduct, Stereophonics etc.) has developed in the Shrewsbury band a clear sense of purpose.

Opening with a fuzzy, psychedelic sound with clash of cymbals and judicious use of Wah Wah pedal as Ben Edwards belts out the vocals in keeping with the feel of the late sixties. The lyrics explore relationships not meant to be sustained, what is sustained is the infectious guitar riff that drives the track forward.  The vocals of Ben get the songs noticed, underneath is the instrumentation providing so much more than a backdrop. On the title track Charlie Richards’ lead guitar is fulsome, with the sting of a scorpion tail. The rhythm is positive as the lyrics explore the changing world and divides being formed so is it time to Rise Up with Rainbreakers.

Half-way through and following the serious, contemporary questions posed in Rise Up, the tempo is taken down with Waiting On You exploring a relationship full of broken promises. The laid back sound is full of tones as Sam Edwards’ drumming and bassist Peter Adams shape the mood combined with echoing backing vocals. Slow blue suits the hurt and anguish when taking a decision you know is right for you but still hurts.

The band is then back, with a retro psychedelic feel that has a contemporary twist.  There is no doubt that the E.P will ensure the Perception of the Rainbreakers as being in the forefront of modern day British Blues. Perception is a relaxed love song that has a vagueness that captures the soul of the number.

Closing out a far too short visit into Rainbreakers world of music is provided by Living Free. As the precise drumming opens out with vocals that are timeless this is music that fits the bill, entertaining, melodic and full of interest. Developing and using the blues base but never fenced in or curtailed. With the stunning solos from Charlie Richards, you are left wanting more. Solution: Rise Up With The Rainbreakers Latest EP and demand a full-length album.

Rise Up With The Rainbreakers Latest EP

Rainbreakers – Rise Up

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. On My Own
  2. Rise Up
  3. Waiting On You
  4. Perception
  5. Living Free

Bristol sunshine and music thanks to JJ Grey & Mofro

Bristol sunshine and music thanks to JJ Grey & Mofro

Bristol sunshine and music thanks to JJ Grey & Mofro


JJ Grey WM-2149The sun shone on JJ Grey & Mofro as the tour bus rolled into Bristol and parked up outside The Tunnels, under Temple Meads Gothic Railway Station in the second of the three towns he is visiting on this trip to the UK. JJ Grey likes quirky, last night a Chapel in London tonight a club under the Arches, very contrasting locations. A good sign was a queue forming before the venue opened, the sun shone and the buzz was that of excitement to see JJ Gray live and close tonight, a Sunday night that for many meant a lie-in on a Bank Holiday Monday.

JJ Grey WM-2031Tonight, the expectation was high we wanted soulful, heavy blues infused Rn’B from JJ Grey & Mofro. The Mofro are always a band that builds in a layered and textured tone that shapes around the vocals, guitar, harp or tambourine playing of JJ Grey himself. The combination of Bass, Keys and Brass proving an entry level of sound that defines JJ Grey before he has set foot on the ground and opened up his superb vocals for The Tunnels tonight.

JJ Grey WM-1979The set list flowed and the feel of a band that were determined to enjoy playing in The Tunnels tonight with some fantastic free-form singing, lead-breaks from not only the expected guitar including slide from Zach Gilbert but keys and the ever smiling happy bassist Todd Smallie. JJ Grey & Mofro, were tonight no common or garden strawberry jam they were creating premier preserves with music as sweet as honey. The effect was live music that had a buzz, lightness of touch and melodic medleys and harmonies that zipped through the audience who were getting hotter and hotter with the excitement the music was producing. With tracks from his current album as would be expected, Ol’ Glory is fantastic from your speakers at home, but the tracks live have an added dimension. The reason why live music every time has a unique tone and shape created for your ears and pleasure. With his deep back catalogue we tasted numbers from various albums it was music that healed your soul and made the broken-hearted feel rays of hope in life again.

Opening with a perfect song for a Sunday evening gig, 6 Ways From Sunday off the album Lochloosa gets the tunnels vibe jumping we were up for a party tonight. Throughout the set we had entertaining anecdotes from JJ Grey, he knows how to connect with the audience so they feel an integral part of the show. The audiences at any live gig are never bystanders tonight we were welcomed into the band’s space. JJ Grey was enjoying playing close to the audience. The melodic Bristol sunshine and music thanks to JJ Grey & MofroEvery Minute from his current album held us all enthralled with its very powerful lyrics. We were entertained with Hide & Seek; Everything Good; and Ho Cake it was all so very tasty. The set was an object lesson in how to use the power of silence within tracks capturing that snap moment when the venue is swathed in deep silence before the drum cuts in the voice picks up the story or the guitar powers the moment forward. The effect is the added drama of great feel and the shading of volume and silence. Light A Candle was the ballad of the evening and then the encore with a double helping opening with I Believe and the title track of Ol’ Glory. Tonight we all believed in the magic of JJ Grey & Mofro.



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Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ Live

Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ Live

Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ Live



Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ LiveBluesdoodles 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 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 and Suzy Starlite ~ LiveSimon 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 a 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 and Suzy Starlite ~ LiveThis 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.

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James Hunter Six ~ Live in Bristol 2015

James Hunter 6- LAntern Bristol - July 2015_0072lJames Hunter Six entered the stage with their own infectious music a mix of British R’n’B with that added dimension Soul music, performed at The Lantern, Colston Hall as part of the Americana weekend in Bristol. It always amazes me that you can see him at intimate venues with the powerhouse of musical talent – it is a continuing mystery why he doesn’t play to larger audiences. That is the problem when you are, like so many other accomplished musicians a ‘best kept secret’. Everyone who loves live music should start shouting out loud and get James Hunter known throughout the stratosphere. Until that happens his many fans can enjoy the music that conjures up Sam Cooke, James Brown and Wilson Pickett up close to listen watch and enjoy the supremacy of live music played with verve and passion.

James Hunter 6- LAntern Bristol - July 2015_0016lJames Hunter writes great music and the other five members of the band deliver a deep rhythm that gets those dancing feet moving and the energy of music soaring through your veins. We were treated with music from his latest album the superb Minute By Minute including Chicken Switch, The Gypsy a clever tune and lyrics that pull you in and mesmerise you and Let The Monkey Ride. Intermingled in the high-octane set were tracks from his two Grammy nominated albums, People Gonna Talk and The Hard Way including Jacqueline and Believe Me Baby.

James Hunter 6- LAntern Bristol - July 2015_0011lJames Hunter once again delivered Rhythm and Blues that captivated, entertained and were an inspiring delivery that yes is classic but has a modern twist it is music that wants and should be heard far and wide. His vocals can be considered as he pours emotions into a ballad then on a turn of a sixpence he lets out that squeal the tempo picks up he is like a jack-in-the-box on stage full of bubbling energy and a stage patter that is cheeky and never sickly smooth he says whatever comes into his mind in the moment. There is a feeling that nothing is rehearsed it is being developed on stage, but this is no chaotic jam it is music that meshes the layers with James’ hypnotic high speed guitar and vocal range that defies description to his left we have horns that add to the feel that soul is in the air. The rhythm section of double bass and drums give him the solid platform so he can take a musical leap into the blues and play and the keys give him a foil to interact and play off as the keys mimic his chords. The mix is a magic musical soup that is full of tasty sounds and you just want the music to play on. Bluesdoodles says, go see him live you will be hooked.

CD Review – Troy Redfern Band

troyTroy Redfern Band
Independent/Self Release

This is an exciting album from Troy Redfern Band that is not afraid to experiment while still delivering the shape of quality rocking blues with attitude and slide guitar that rips through the soul. This is an album delivered by a band that means business they want you to sit up and listen and this is achieved from the first lick delivered on the opening track, It Stacks the feet are in tune with the music and the ears are in heaven with some delicious slide guitar then you have the blast of vocals from Troy this certainly gets the blood racing. The tone of the album shapes itself around the skills of Troy who fronts the band he is able to deliver this electric fizzing music with the support of a rhythm section of Stuart McDonald, Bass and Phil Greenhouse, Drums; they stabilise the sound and at the same time add swirls of tones, depths and contours. See You On the Other Side is perfect music for any party especially as you approach midnight on New Year’s Eve as the other side is a whole New Year. The band on the album has captured a live sound there is something wild and dangerous about the music that draws you in; at times he reminds me of Gwyn Ashton in his approach, but above all this is a band that plays its own music showcasing Troy’s writing and producing skills on this album that you will want to listen to again and again.

This is an album stepped and shaped by the blues but bringing a fresh original beat to the party as seen on Lions of Zion and in all the rocking tracks there is a rawness that is intoxicating, the highlights are definitely Salvation, War Cry, Backdoor Hoodoo and Running With The Ghosts. This is a band to look out for in 2015 and in the meantime enjoy the CD and the musicianship from Troy Redfern and his band as he delivers music full of authenticity you like high-octane rock driven blues with twists from ZZ Top then you will really enjoy the sound but never expect tame from this talented trio.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

Robert Cray – St David’s Hall, Cardiff –

Robert Cray – 6th March 2013 – St David’s Hall, Cardiff

Robert Cray - St Davids Hall - 6 March 2013 - _0010l

A packed audience filled the tiers that surround the stage at St David’s Hall, with its beautiful acoustics that swirls the sound around and around. The evening opened with Jon Allen, an acoustic act that played mainly self-penned numbers, this young man opened with an impressive set contrasting with the act to follow, it is no wonder he has had airplay on Radio 2 and Jools Holland has said “One of the most amazing voices I’ve heard this year”, with his wonderful finger picking style and voice that did captivate the audience that was waiting for Robert Cray. Robert started the evening off by interacting with the large audience with a reference to Cardiff and he held the majority of the audience in his hand from the first note in his familiar ‘picking strat’ style. The Hammond B provided the bedrock accompaniment and the rapport between them was excellent with Jim Pugh affectionately known on stage as Pastel Motif; the other band members providing the rhythm section were bare-footed Richard Cousins (Bass) and Les Falconer (drums). Robert played the favourites from his thirty-five year Grammy award-winning career, including ‘Strong Persuader’, ‘I Guess I Showed Her’ and ‘Smoking Gun’; with some great solo’s from Mr Pugh what a great sound he produces on the Hammond B. The one thing you can be certain with Mr Cray he always produces a consistent sound, with the songs delivered professionally and with a style that demonstrates why Robert Cray is so popular and loved throughout the world, where the vocals and guitar work using the minimum of effects is spot on. He is smooth and seductive and the audience listened with pure pleasure as he delivers his mix of rhythm and blues, pop, soul, traditional blues and a twist of rock, his music will never be boring. This was certainly demonstrated in ‘Sitting On Top Of The World’ with its times squealing high notes and an emotional guitar solo demonstrating how he shakes various styles, in a cocktail shaker of sound producing his own instantly recognisable style, this will certainly have pleased the Robert Cray fans in the audience.

Overall, I was to be fair in the minority, though I did notice people leaving early but felt rather underwhelmed by the concert which felt a little flat and old-fashioned blues, since I have been spoilt by all the modern exciting acts I have seen throughout the U.K. Robert Cray did receive a standing ovation from the audience at the end of his set and again after the encore so the majority went home delighted to be entertained by a master of the fender whether using the Telecaster or Stratocaster.

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All photographs – copy right Liz Aiken 2013

Catch him at these venues in the U.K.

Tonight – 13 March – Cadogan Hall – London
14 March – The Anvil – Basingstoke
15 March – Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Last night UK Tour – 16 March – Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield