Bluesdoodles Listening to Live Music 2015


Bluesdoodles Listening to Live Music 2015


Bluesdoodles Listening to Live Music 2015Northsyde @ The Convent, Stroud – December 2015
Stark @ The Convent, Stroud – December 2015
Chantel McGregor @ The Tunnels Bristol – December 2015
Waterboys @ Colston Hall, Bristol – December 2015
Planet Rockstock 
Jamie Smith’s Mabon @ St David’s Hall. Cardiff – November 2015
The Grahams @ The Convent, Stroud via Netgig November 2015
Spikedrivers ~ Pontardawre Arts Centre – Pontardawre November 2015
Joe Satriani with special guest Dan Patlansky ~ Live at St David’s Hall, Cardiff Nov 2015Bluesdoodles Listening to Live Music 2015
Steve Hackett ~ Live at Colston Hall Bristol October 2015
Joe Bonamassa Live @ Motorpoint, Cardiff October 2015
Glenn Hughes & Special Guest Jared James Nichols @ Robin 2, Bilston – October 2015
Steve Earle @ Colston Hall Bristol – October 2015
Martin Simpson & Dom Flemons @ St Davids Hall Cardiff October 2015
Simon Campbell & Suzy Starlite @ The Convent, Stroud – September 2015
Crosby Stills & Nash @ The Motorpoint, Cardiff – September 2015
Kirk Fletcher @ The Convent Club, Stroud – September 2015
Aynsley Lister @ The Tunnels, Bristol – August 2015
Bluesdoodles Listening to Live Music 2015Babajack & Marcus Bonfanti @ The Cube, Malvern – July 2015
Cara Dillon @ The Convent Club, Stroud
James Hunter Six @ The Lantern, Colston Hall, Bristol
Brother Strut @ The Globe Cardiff, July 2015
Coolhand Album Launch @ The Globe, Cardiff July 2015
The Jar Family @ The Convent Club, Stroud, July 2015
Amy Wadge & Pete Riley @ St David’s Hall, July 2015
Elvis Costello @ St David’s Hall, July 2015
Suzanne Vega @ Colston Hall, July 2015
Dave Arcari @ Beaufort Ballroom, Ebbw Vale June 2015Bluesdoodles Listening to Live Music 2015
Doug MacLeod @ The Convent Nr, Stroud, Glos June 2015
Blues on The Farm
Ben Poole supported by The Della Grants @ The Flowerpot, Derby May 2015
Larry Miller @ Beaufort Ballroom, Ebbw Vale May 2015
Dana Fuchs Live @ The Tunnels, Bristol May 2015
Gill Landry Guest of Laura Marling @ Colston Hall May 2015
Kara Grainger: Live @ The Convent Club May 2015
Beth Hart: Live @ Colston Hall May 2015
Dan Patlansky with Tristan MacKay Opening @ The Borderline, London April 2015<a
Mike and The Mechanics @ St David’s Hall. Cardiff April 2015
Band Of Friends @ The Globe, Cardiff April 2015
Duke Garwood @ The Louisiana, Bristol April 2015
Kenny Wayne Shepherd @ City Hall, Salisbury, April 2015
Ben Poole @ City Hall, Salisbury, April 2015
Grand Opening @The Convent Club, Stroud, April 2015
Ian Siegal @ The Tunnels, Bristol March 2015
The Handsome Family @ The Globe, Cardiff March 2015Bluesdoodles Listening to Live Music 2015
Ian Siegal @ The Flowerpot, Derby – March 2015
Oysterband @ The Garage, Swansea – March 2015
King King with support from Laurence Jones @ The Globe, Cardiff – March 2015
Joan Armatrading @ St David’s Hall, Cardiff – March 2015
10cc @ St David’s Hall, Cardiff – March 2015
JAKS & Introducing Stage @ Great British Blues Festival ~ Skegness 2015 – January 2015
Thomas Ford @ West End Club Barry
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman @ St David’s Hall, Cardiff – February 2015
Marcus Bonfanti @ The Prince Of Wales, Ledbury – February 2015
Chantel McGregor @ Beaufort Ballroom, Ebbw Vale – Jan 2015
Paul Carrack @ St David’s Hall, Cardiff
Johnny Cash Roadshow @ St David’s Hall, Cardiff

Joe Louis Walker Playing The Convent Live

Joe Louis Walker Playing The Convent Live

Joe Louis Walker Playing The Convent Live

The Convent, Stroud tonight makes a beautiful and gospel fused arena for Joe Louis Walker to play his stuff, his tour of England drawing to close tonight. The multiple music award winner is bringing his message of the blues to the audience in the venue and further afield, thanks to the wonderous service they provide Netgig. Joe Louis Walker is no bluesman that confirms he mixes it up as his current album Everybody Wants a Piece demonstrates. It is unsurprising that within the magnificent licks and riffs we hear homage to the British Blues revolution of the 1960’s and the myriad of greats he has played with, from Jimi Hendrix to Miles Davis, Mike Bloomfield and John Lee Hooker and the blues giants BB King and Muddy Waters. He has been there and played his guitar with passion and pride.

The band steps on the stage in front of the altar to pay homage to live music’s power and devil magic. The Drum picks up the rhythm as Joe introduces the band on bass played with the greats including Bo Diddley and Solomon Burke is Lenny Bradford. Drummer Byron Cage and laying down the rhythm organ and keys Travis Reed now a trio of sound laid down for Joe Louis who joined in with his guitar, with vocals introduced last as the groove deepens and the vibe is heating up. The Gibson sound is crystal clear and as the instruments play they are definitely not Messin’ Around this is a quartet playing tighter than tight. The business tonight is music, blues infused with roots and all that jazz. Travis moves off electric and plays The Convent’s Grand Piano as the Jazz infusion cools the licks down as the blues shuffle in with Albert Collins T-Bone Shuffle instrumental which has Joe Louis playing the Gibson into white-hot blues – he is the Satriani of the Blues with virtuoso playing. The dexterity and lightness of touch with deep tones and sharp textures are mind-blowing. A Masterclass. A change of mood with an old time foot tapping Rock n Roll song Don’t Let Go. Timing, harmonization makes every song special with its own character and beauty. Joe Louis Walker reminds me of Lucky Peterson with his relaxed fluidity and consummate professionalism mixing to entertain and delight with every note played. Now a track off his current album, Everybody Wants A Piece, One Sunny Day; he continues to dip into the album throughout the evening no hard sell just quality tracks.

Dedicated to guitarist Earl Zebedee Hooker cousin of John Lee Hooker, who played on many hits and a special slide guitar. Matching Earl is Joe Louis, slide work stingily sharp hitting the music vibrator in your spine and making hairs stand up at the back of your neck with delight. Joe Louis, making the guitar talk with crying pain then a gentle reprise to soften the hurt and anguish, leading into the spiritually up lifting, Wade In The Water from his current album. We are all wading in the delights of Joe Louis and his band tonight at The Convent. He recalls “Been a while since I played in Church but coming back now as we get back to the blues” with his own number Ain’t That Cold; the grand piano was soulful in its blues. In the inspirational In The Morning When I Rise, the guitar makes a glorious sound the beat curls around and the guitar soars up high into the Chapel as they sing ‘ I kneel Down and Pray’, the altar a perfect backdrop. The electric organ solo takes over as Joe & Lenny swing in harmony this is live music that catches deep in your solar plexus. The music has pure soul with a lightest touch of a reggae ambiance.

JoeLouisWalker_01_byMarilynStringerInto the jam add The Kinks’ You really Got Me then the riff died away and the music flowed, Joe and Lenny dancing and the piano leading the melody, music that is sassy, live and fun as they sung Too Drunk To Drive. We are definitely drunk on the glories of blues / Rock n’ Roll in the hands of the maestro that is Joe Louis Walker.

The encore is a smoking walking blues medley, Down, Down with a cheeky electric organ kick and the mesmeric, stunning virtuoso guitar from Joe Louis Walker on his Gibson. Contemporary blues at home in the vaulted Convent auditorium.

Read the Conversation with Joe Louis Walker before this show – HERE

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
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?
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?
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?
: 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

Michael Messer’s Mitra Live at the Convent

Michael Messer’s Mitra Live at the Convent

Eastern Shades of blues tonight fills The Convent in Stroud

Sometimes life just doesn’t go to plan. Friday 10th June was one of those days. Thanks to netgig, I didn’t have to miss out on the much anticipated Michael Messer’s Mitra Live at The Convent


Opening - Convent - copyright - Mark Jarvis - Apr 2015 - 5 - _0021Starting off with a tune using Eastern and Western approaches to slide guitars as Michael & Mannish showcase their respective slide skills with Sweet Heart Darling from the album Call Of The Blues. The hauntingly sweet sound from Manish Pingle echoed by the deeper hue of Michael’s resonator. The instrumental floated and glided across the stage in front of the alter, as the two styles spoke to each other and found harmony in the music. As Michael re-tunes he effortlessly chats to the audience about how he met up with Manish when at Mumbai Blues Festival. He has had a long ambition to play slide guitar blues with a Hindustani guitar. It was a collaboration of musical understanding, playing gospel blues and they connected. Tonight, the convent audience was treated to country blues melded with an Eastern essence of spiritual understanding with the Tabla adding a percussive beat thanks to the skills of Gurdian Rayatt. This is blues textured, controlled and played with immense feel and lightness of touch portraying deep dark emotions of the Blues. Yes! You Got The Blues tonight in The Convent.

The lights shimmered with a deep blue resonating with this unique take on traditional country-blues from the delta including Fred McDowell, Michaels’ vocals sang the blues along with the beats and musical textures and shapes from Manish and Gurdian, blending and at times leading the resonator we are used to hearing accompany country-blues. This is sitting on a porch listening to blues in a totally new and exciting context. The instrumentals show the melding of cultures, I love Michaels phrasing as he sneaks in Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. The informative interaction as Gurdian explains the complexity of the Tabla provided a fascinating insight into a new percussive instrument. We heard the simple sounds, phrases and then sentences and showed it was like a language as Manish spoke the Tabla language then Gurdian played the increasingly complex phrases, informative and entertaining as the two spoke to each other in Tabla and music was made. The commonplace, well-known tunes became uplifted being explored again with a compilation of Rollin’ & Tumblin; If The River Was Whiskey it was fun. The added technology with the use of a loop on Luck Charms, you know when it is live when there is a technical hitch on stage. This was soon resolved and Son House’s County Farm Blues followed. With a track played for Matthew Roberts who could not be at The Convent the music flowed across the venue and further afield like this music crossing continents and artificial divides. Sweet Baby Mine? Manish turn to explain it is a modified guitar. The Indian slide guitar with its many strings first three strings the melody and the others are drone strings This is a new instrument first played in the 1960’s and is being modified giving an Indian sound. Now they swap guitars essentially a three stringed guitar says Michael gave demo that it doesn’t sound Indian as they play Steel Guitar Rag. Whereas, Michael’s takes on the spice of India showing music is interpretation and feel. What a collective thrill the music was blues with a twist of spicy intrigue. The encore Bluer That Blue summed up the evening of music with every shade of blue shaped by textures and timbre’s connecting East & West through the soul of blues.

Tonight’s, performance shows that music of the folk has an integrity that is understood by all and transcends boundaries laid-down by treaties and geography books, It is the music, beat and the truth within the lyrics that speaks to all and makes for a better place, listen to music and connect to humans on a basic and wonderful level. Thank you, Michael, Gurdian and Mannish for refreshing display of blues with feeling and respect.

Michael Messer’s Mitra Live at the Convent
Eastern Shades of blues tonight fills The Convent in Stroud available on Netgig

Bluesdoodles review of Michael Messer’s Mitra – Call Of The Blues HERE

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK Summer

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK Summer

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK Summer

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK Summer, announces a 5 date tour

Thursday 9th June – Dingwalls, London – TICKETS £22 Adv

Friday 10th June – Worthing Pier’ Southern Pavilion, Worthing – TICKETS £29.70 Adv

Saturday 11th June – The Brook, Southampton w/Cisco Bluesman –TICKETS  £15 Adv

Sunday 12th June – The Globe, Cardiff w/The Mojo Sinners –TICKETS  £16.50 Adv

Monday 13th June – The Convent, Stroud – TICKETS £11.25 Adv



“album that is a powerhouse of blues that rocks, rolls and thrills” Bluesdoodles Read the rest of the review HERE

“Compelling prospect” Daily Mirror

“A stunner, powered by feel and wonderfully emotive solo after solo” The Blues

“Blues aficionados should be in heaven” Powerplay




Listen to Everybody Wants A Piece

Watch the Lyric Video One Sunny Day then buy a ticket

live Joe Louis Walker will stun you with thrilling Blues



Following on from the release of his latest album Everybody Wants A Piece on Provogue/Mascot Label Group, Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner Joe Louis Walker will be returning to the UK for 5 special shows.

His new album cements his legacy as a prolific torchbearer for the blues.  Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares, “I’d like to be known for the credibility of a lifetime of being true to my music and the blues. Sometimes I feel I’ve learned more from my failures, than from my success. But that’s made me stronger and more adventurous. And helped me create my own style. I’d like to think that when someone puts on one of my records they would know from the first notes, ‘That’s Joe Louis Walker.'”


Always an artist deeply expressive lyrically, Walker continues to write and sing about themes that are universal.  On “Black & Blue” he talks about a love affair that’s falling apart, but there’s an effort to keep it going.  He offers, “The lyric ‘Let’s find a quiet place, A place out of town…We Need to talk this thru, Be honest & True’ says it all in trying to save the relationship.”  He cites the title track as a composition that might not have a deep meaning, but in presenting the thought, “Everybody wants a piece of your love,” offers a double entendre that speaks for itself.  With a deep history and background in gospel, Walker looks towards Wade in the Water” as an instant all-time favorite.  He reveals, “The inspirational lyric ‘The water is deep, the water is cold, it chills my body, BUT NOT MY SOUL” is expressing my belief that the spiritual will carry you through when the physical can’t.”


A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter, he has toured extensively throughout his career, performed at the world’s most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans.  Walker’s 1986 debut album Cold Is the Night on HighTone announced his arrival in stunning fashion, and his subsequent output has only served to further establish Walker as one of the leading bluesmen on the scene.


Album Pre-order 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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The Convent turns up the volume with Northsyde

Northsyde-1844The Convent turns up the volume with Northsyde

Sunday 13th December 2015


Northsyde-1887Any nuns in the house wished that their wimples had bobbles so that they could join in the fun that is Northsyde, a band with bucket loads of blues attitude delivering music their way. From the Alter to the Bar – The Convent was alive with the sound of Northsyde.  As ever the band was led from the front by vocalist extraordinaire Lorna Fothergill, tonight she definitely meant business her trademark bobble hat had not one but two bobbles. Lorna is more than a singer as she bends the band around the sumptuous notes that filled the rafters. The rest of the band are a well-honed trio of musicians a rhythm section that funks up the line when necessary and then with a twirl of a drum stick kicks in rocky blues, Haydn Doyle and Ian Mauricio are in perfect harmony. That leaves the guitarist Jules Fothergill, his skills are awesome whether finger-picking using plectrum or slide the sound cascades from the guitar filling in and augmenting the spaces around Lorna’s intense vocals.


Northsyde-1873The set was strong with tracks from their albums including the critically acclaimed current Story Tellers Daughter; added into the mix was Northsyde’s versions of some specially chosen songs; including what has become a Northsyde signature track – Whipping Post by The Allman Brothers. This is special for two reasons the way Lorna sings the lyrics combined with the perfectly timed and quite beautiful guitar solo from Jules.  For me the tracks that showed Northsyde at their very best were Hard Shoes, one of my favourites; the title track of their current album and Cherry Picking.


Northsyde-1863What makes Northsyde stand out from the crowd is the passion and energy as they captivate the crowd with songs that wind around your emotions and seep in to your musical DNA.


Northsyde-1849Northsyde always excites, tonight at the convent the volume was turned up to ten and the alter shook with delight no-one was drowning tonight we were energised and entertained.  The gig may have been a ‘secret gig’ at The Convent; there is no doubt that the word will spread and those that missed out hearing them live will dash to catch the sound on Netgig.

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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


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

REad teh review what to experience Cara Dillion live yourself – YOU CAN thanks to Netgig follow the link to CARA experience HERE

Cara Dillion Photographs from Albums on Cara Dillion’s website