Ruby Tiger Creating Bluesy Vistas on Her EP

Ruby Tiger Creating Vistas on Her EPRuby Tiger Creating Bluesy Vistas on Her EP

Olivia Stevens (aka Ruby Tiger) is a British blues & soul singer that deserves to be heard – and Vistas provides the perfect opportunity.

The five tracks that make up this debut EP go beyond the realms of a standard 12 bar blues and take in elements of soul, jazz and more. But make no mistake, these guys certainly know how to play the blues when it’s called for. ‘Big feeling blues’ is a great example of that. It’s a real gem of a track which they went all the way back to 1928 for. Originally recorded by Ma Rainey, It features a stompin’ groove, tasteful harmonica and guitar solos and best of all – a vocal duet between Ruby and guitarist ‘King Rollo’. Doesn’t get much better than that! Or does it? Well , there’s also a fine version of ‘damn your eyes’. While there is certainly no shortage of Etta James covers out there, not many actually do justice to the great lady. Aside from Beth Hart and Warren Haynes, I can’t think of many – if any- that have done as good a job as Ruby has here. She really sings it like she means it, pouring her heart and soul into every word. The band deserve a lot of credit for this arrangement too. There’s bass, drums, guitar, keys and sax all audible amongst the purrs of their big cat band leader – but there’s never any danger of them treading on each other’s toes (or paws).

As well as the two covers there are a few original recordings on offer too. ‘Shattered not broken’ is a fun-time boogie blues track that sees Ruby Channel her inner Susan Tedeschi.

‘Me & my tears’ demonstrates another side to the band altogether – Close your eyes and you can imagine yourself in a smoky Parisienne jazz club. This self-penned number is full of slick changes and seriously smooth sax playing.

As you can probably tell, the EP offers great variety and for the most part, manages to flow quite nicely. The only anomaly is opening track ‘best friend’. Comprising of just bass and a slow arpeggiated guitar part sitting under the brooding vocal lines, this stripped back track is quite a contrast to what lies ahead. It’s by no means bad but doesn’t quite sit comfortably with the rest of the songs on offer.

Sussex based Ruby Tiger is undoubtedly the star of the show, but the real triumph here is the sum of all parts. The band is tight, inventive and full of energy. When a solo is played – Whatever the instrument – it’s always played with the song in mind.

Despite the slight disconnect between the opening track and the rest of the EP, there is a distinct, memorable sound on offer here. A welcome sound on the British blues scene.

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track List:

  1. Best Friend
  2. Big Feeling Blues
  3. Damn Your Eyes
  4. Me & My Tears
  5. Shattered Not Broken

 

Ruby Tiger Creating Vistas on Her EP

 

Sisters Bring Blues and Friendship To The Stage

Sisters Bring Blues and Friendship To The Stage

Sisters Bring Blues and Friendship To The Stage

 

Sisters Bring Blues and Friendship To The Stage Tonight Celebrates the long tradition of women vocalists and the blues. Five members of the Blues Sisterhood UK hit the stage at The Convent. This consisted of the five acts and a Q&A session between each act all streamed live via Netgig. Without weeks of planning, hours of rehearsals tonight was the outcome of short collaboration and run through. Achieved by  women supporting each other and producing the goods, two hours of music and smiles. Massive thanks to the dual forces of Matt Roberts at The Convent and the powerhouse that is Kaz Hawkins without this collaboration tonight’s unique celebration of the blues would never have happened.

The sound check ensured that the three drum kits, four guitars, three bass guitars, keyboards and five vocal mics were ready and waiting for the show to begin on the stroke of nine when the Convent stage went live on air. The logistics in place for the night was going to be a rollercoaster of energised music celebrating women, blues, and rock.

Tonight was all about celebrating female vocalists and their contribution to the contemporary British blues scene. A wall of sound started the fiesta with all the artists on stage, the three drum kits merged the guitars blended and the groove was deep in this mass 12-bar jam. Kaz started off the vocal jam as the five women vocalists sang I Believe, the baton passed onto to Olivia, Andi, Lorna and then Victoria and back again. Wow! this was music that raised your heart beat capturing the community of music that binds us all. We had the pure joy of stage magic in action. With the acts leaving the stage, Bluesdoodles had the first interview session with Kaz. The first band was Husky Tones with Victoria combining vocals and drums, everyone knows Victoria is in charge as she joyously points drums sticks first at Chris Harper on guitar and bassist Matthew Richards. With a mix of blues slow, and fast this as a set that left you wanting to hear more. Husky Tones certainly gives blues a lift with style and smiles, closing with a new track, potentially the title track of their new album, they certainly gave the show Momentum. Then from the first duet of the evening singer Olivia Stevens of Ruby & The RevelatorsOlivia calmly walked on stage joining Frazer Wigg on keys. The contrast worked well with a stripped down take on the blues. Olivia’s vocals were full of emotional tone and texture adding layers of blues power. Her set of four songs was a mix of originals with Shattered Not Broken particularly capturing the sorrow and the hope of the blues.

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The music empowering women to continue growing in strength whatever life throws at them. Next up a complete contrast as rock band Eve’s Secret took to the stage. With Bluesdoodles interviewing their up-front vocalist Andi Hall before they started their set. Rock is the next door neighbour of the blues and the links are strong. Andi Hall fronts the band as a rock diva with her bassist Jeanette (Tig) Kirkham and the two women joined by guitarist Bruce Drummond and drummer Dermot Hall. The rock flared out of the stinging guitar and hard-hitting drums and Andi’s vocals powered through the three tracks, including Bad, Sad, Glad. There was definitely an air of the bad vibe, the music they played was definitely not sad and they were definitely glad to be rocking out at The Convent tonight. The tempo changed as the Northsyde duo Lorna and Jules, sat side by side on stools. Jules on acoustic guitar and Lorna with her voice. The power seared through the night air with vocal colour, emotional texture and empathy with the heart and soul of the music. This was a delightfully different dimension to Northsyde. A marvelous acoustic duet with Lorna and Jules playing in complete stripped down harmonies. The acoustic vibes of the Allmans reshaped poured out as the blues from the porch recreated this was definitely a set you wanted to hear more of. Laid back, musical and dipped deep into the essence of the blues.
Up last and definitely not least was Kaz Hawkins Band with her larger than life stage presence. Vocals that wrap around you, drenching you in layers of emotions, from the travails, joys and hope of life. Gospel meets Blues with buckets of soul Kaz supported by her band that combines deft touches of guitar from Nick McConkey his solos contrasting with Kaz’s vocals. The rhythm section brothers, drummer Peter Uhrin and Janny on Bass. There couldn’t be a better act to wind up the fiesta celebrating women in the blues. Even with a short set Kaz’s energy, class and joy she shares when performing shone through. What a phenomenal performance as she sang Soul Superstar. Kaz is a superstar. With all the sisters joining Matt and Bluesdoodles on the sofa for a group hug and short chat the bands congregated on the stage. The jam kicked off with the drums and proceeded to gather momentum as the vocalists re-joined and the closing minutes were full of smiles, camaraderie and the shared joy of live music.

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Sisters Bring Blues and Friendship To The ConventThroughout the evening each of the vocalist took turns to answer questions from Liz, Aiken, Bluesdoodles. Providing an insight into inspiration, the role of the newly formed Blues Sisterhood UK it was a friendly, fun and informative interludes between the main focus of the even the glorious music. Tonight, was an impromptu celebratory festival of the Blues Sisterhood and it went not just very well, it exceeded expectations in brilliance, companionship and the power of coming together through the Blues.

Sisters Bring Blues and Friendship To The Stage

Big Thank you to Eric Hobson for some of the photographs used – check out his website HERE