Bluesdoodles In Conversation Across The Years

It is always fascinating, hence Bluesdoodles In Conversation Across The Years. Read about the thinking behind making albums, producing albums and who would be in their fantasy band.

Bluesdoodles Interviews – 2016

Eric Johnson
Fee Waybill – The Tubes
Paul Bowe – Federal Charm
Walter Trout
Debbie Bond
Sari Schorr
Coleen Rennison – No Sinner
Jared James Nichols
Joe Louis Walker
JJ Grey 
Wayne Proctor
Kaz Hawkins
Dan Patlansky 
Dan Reed 
JD Simo

Bluesdoodles Interviews – 2015

Laurence Jones – In Conversation February 2015
Dan Patlansky – In Conversation April 2015
Alan Nimmo – In Conversation May 2015
Julian Moores – In Conversation May 2015
Chantel McGregor – In Conversation October 2015
Erja Lyytinen – In Conversation October 2015
Rob Richings – In Conversation November 2015

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.

Rob Richings chatting with Bluesdoodles

Rob R

Big thank you to Rob Richings for chatting with Bluesdoodles


BD: We catch you on a break in your current touring
RR: Tom Baxter is great fun to open for and this is the second time so it must be working, just completed three dates in Scotland and have further dates through November with Tom and one opening once again with Fisherman Friends. Fisherman Friends from Port Issac is a very different style of music it is an unusual combination it seems to work the crowd gets my music and the auditorium is warmed up for the main act. Tom Baxter has fantastic guitar skills and his support has been fantastic.
BD See end of interview for dates and links to venues
BD: I see you close your touring at The Convent on the 21st what are your plans for the rest of 2015 and beyond?
RR: Busy time ahead day after the last show I am off to Sydney to record my album – (BD: wow why Sydney?) I met the producer in Paris of the band Passenger, well and so off to a studio in Australia. I went over in August and did the pre-production so will be spending a solid ten days concentrating on finishing the album. I have got to nail it whilst in Austrialia so giving it 100%.
BD: So will you be using session musicians?
RR: Yes, happy to use session musicians to shape the tones on the album. My shows are not about reproducing recorded material I prefer the stripped back form for my live act.

BD: We have talked about the excitement of the album, you currently have a EP Half Way Up.
RR: The EP is four tracks that all work well together and are a taster for the main event. The album will be all new material as we go forward I have plenty of material so no need to duplicate.
BD: So what inspires you as a song writer?
RR: I tend to use real life experiences, I was quite ill for a while with major surgery having survived and come out the other side I have lots of material. I also people watch, sit back and observe what is going on around me. I do not have Colitis any more after a series of serious operations and surviving the cancer caused by the Colitis. I spent a long time in hospital. I got over it and music helped my recovery, gained lots of inspiration and my song writing improved so there were some positives.
BD: How do you approach you writing is it lyrics then melody or the other way around?
RR: Happens both ways. Sometimes, it is a chord and the lyrics build around that. Or I find a line and build a song around the idea. I really think it is important to get the song across. I am never sure where the first line comes from. Yes there are formulas to shape a song but you need the inspiration when that hits the hard work begins as the song takes shape.
BD: What came first singing or the Guitar?
RR: Guitar is an important part but not the main it is underneath the songs that are the important part of my act. I am not a fancy guitar player but I am good at capturing the sound underneath the lyrics. I picked up the guitar around 12 or 13 and did covers of Nirvana and Brit Pop of the 90’s. I was self-taught and the covers developed my guitar skills.
BD: So who has influenced you?
RR: There have been lots of influences including Ron Sexsmith and Damon Albarn his music is immense across genres and has stood the test of time and of course Tom Baxter. I used to listen and watch Tom and always thought I would love to be asked to support him and it has happened.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
RR: It would be a trio of vocalists myself, Damon Albarn and Freddie Mercury – what a front man to have.

BD: Describe what an audience should expect from your singer/songwriter approach to music
RR: I am one man and a guitar with strong hooks into the lyrics that tell a tale. Simple guitar, strong words and I will often explain the song and background before singing to help connect with the audience.

Read what Bluesdoodles said about the excellent EP Half Way Up HERE and we are looking forward to the album out in 2016.

Sneak preview then catch him live before Rob Riching sis off to Australia

Tour Dates
13th – St. Mary in the Castle, Hastings (Fishermans Friends support)
19th – Phoenix, Exeter (Tom Baxter support)
20th – Railway (Attic), Winchester (Tom Baxter support)
21st – Convent Club, Stroud (Tom Baxter support)

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

Rob RRob Richings
Half Way Up
Crescent Records

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


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

Track Listing

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

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

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