Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

 

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

 

 

Who are the four excited bands talking about 4th UK Blues Challenge? They are Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion; LaVendore Rogue, The Rainbreakers and Elles Bailey. There will be a fifth band joining the quartet of superb bands. The fifth band will be announced shortly after the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival taking place at Colne 25th-27th August. The Jessica Foxley Unsigned bands who will be playing on the main stages have now been selected. From these Eight bands one will be chosen to join the bands already announced to take part in the Challenge on the 10th September. Find out who the eight bands that are in with a chance HERE.   

While we all wait in anticipation as to which band are joining the four who have already been nominated read about the bands and what they said when Bluesdoodles spoke to them.

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeFour Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeTell us what it means to Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

 ZSBC: Firstly, the fact that the number of our peers nominating is so large gives real credibility to the artists involved, so we are also proud about that.    We are also proud to be nominated as we see it as a recognition of our original music, concept and style.  We don’t write the songs to any kind of formula or to fit in with any cliche or pre-conceived ideas of what defines blues in 2017. Read more…..

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeFour Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to LaVendore Rogue to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

LVR: We’ve been to hell and back a few times over the years, and playing in the states has to be a dream of any UK musician, so it’s an honour to be considered for the UK British Blues Challenge – we’ve been working hard over the last few years, and it’s great to see its been recognised by the UK Blues Federation. Read More …

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeRainbreakers Talks About 2017 UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to The Rainbreakers to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

RB: We were overwhelmed to have been nominated, especially when we don’t really consider ourselves to be a blues band as such. We think it shows willingness from the scene to accept the new approach to the blues that some of the younger bands of today are displaying. Obviously we would be thrilled to go through to the European and American challenges especially as we are hugely influenced by a plethora of bands from the states! Read More….

 

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to Elles Bailey to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

EB: Love the fact that European Challenge at Hell – didn’t know it existed on Earth. I am chuffed to bits to be performing in the Challenge this year. I am a newbie on the scene over the last twelve to eighteen months I have been quickly accepted in the Blues community. It has just exceed my expectations, definitely delighted to be performing in Liverpool and looking forward to seeing the other acts. It is definitely going to be a great night. Read More…

More about The UK Blues Challenge

What is the UK Blues Challenge (UKBC)?

An annual event organised by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) at a different location in the UK at which a number of bands/acts compete in front of a panel of judges drawn from across the blues spectrum. The winning band/act is invited to represent the UK at the following year’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis and European Blues Challenge (EBC) which is held in a different European country each year.

The International and European Blues Challenges are organised by, respectively, the Blues Foundation  and the European Blues Union (EBU)

We are very pleased that this year’s event will take place at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool on Sunday 10th September 2017 starting at 16.00. More details can be found  and how to buy a ticket for the event HERE. UKBlues is excited to be bringing the blues back to the Cavern sixty years on!

How are the contestants in the UKBC chosen?

As an Active Member of the EBU meeting the EBU’s laid down criteria (see EBC rules here) and the sole UK Affiliate of the Blues Foundation, UKBlues are honoured to be invited to create and manage the selection process to choose the band or artist who will represent the UK at these prestigious events each year.
The first stage of the process this year saw a panel of more than 250 people from across the blues spectrum in the UK which included members of UKBlues, all UK based Active Members of the EBU, members of the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association, festival and gig promoters, writers (both online and print media), musicians, fans and blues supporters etc. being invited to submit the three UK acts that they felt would best represent the UK at the EBC and IBC.

Members of this panel were asked to place their choices in order (first, second, third) and points were awarded according to the position in which the acts are placed by you.

The 4 top scoring available acts after this process was complete were invited to participate in the UKBC where the contestants will perform in front of a panel of judges who will use the same criteria to award points to the contestants as are used at the EBC and IBC.
In a new departure this year, a fifth band will be invited to participate which will be selected from the bands who have been invited by Jessica Foxley Unsigned to play at the Great British Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Festival which takes place in Colne over the August Bank Holiday weekend –  These bands are, generally, under the radar and being selected to play at Colne is a big step up for them.

The band will be chosen by a panel of representatives of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned project and will be chosen on the strength of their performance at Colne.

The winner of the UKBC will be invited to represent the UK at both the 2018 EBC and IBC.

What are the selection and judging criteria?

When making their selections, the members of the panel are asked to bear in mind the following EBC rules which apply:

  • The leader of the band must have the nationality of the country he/she represents.
  • At least 50% of the members of the contestant bands must reside in the country they represent.
  • Acts who participated in a previous edition of the EBC, but did not win, may compete again after a period of 3 years.
  • Bands of which half or more of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 3 years.
  • Bands of which less than half of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 2 years.

Contestants at the UKBC, EBC and IBC are expected to perform at least 50% original music in their set and they are awarded points using the following criteria as laid down by the EBU:

  • Originality
  • Instrumental talent
  • Vocal talent
  • Stage presence
  • Blues content

You can read the full EBC rules here

This process is the same as that which has been used in previous years and is approved by the Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union

Four Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge


 BD: firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 4th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.

ZSBC: It’s our pleasure… it’s going to be a new experience for us, and we are determined to enjoy the whole occasion, performing and listening to the other bands… we don’t normally think of music as being a competition… but it’s going to be a great night.  A big Thank you.

 BD: 2017, sees the fourth UK British Blues Challenge.  This year the UKBlues Federation are “Bringing The Blues back to The cavern 60 years on..” Tell us what it means to Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

 ZSBC: Firstly, the fact that the number of our peers nominating is so large gives real credibility to the artists involved, so we are also proud about that.    We are also proud to be nominated as we see it as a recognition of our original music, concept and style.  We don’t write the songs to any kind of formula or to fit in with any cliche or pre-conceived ideas of what defines blues in 2017.

BD: What are the Blues to Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?

ZSBC:  Being born and raised here in the UK, the Blues to us the germ and seed planted by the British pioneers of the 60’s Blues Boom.  However, our influences have not stopped there, and we have just blended all our collective experiences into what we believe is OUR personal sound and concept.

  

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion Talks about 2017 Blues ChallengeBD: Your latest album is This Is The Life I Choose, to Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion, tell us a bit about the album, and is the title a reflection of your own feelings being a musician in Britain today?

ZSBC:  The title ‘This Is The Life I Choose’ talks about the fact that our current way of living which does not accommodate the existence of live music at all, it is simply not valued by a bureaucratic system that does not accommodate ‘art’.  However, we have no choice, it’s a desire and passion that overrides all else.  The song describes the hardships of making enough money to live on, but on the other hand describes the joy of making music no matter what.   Typically, the songs for this album are very diverse because once again we imposed no artistic restraint or prejudice to the way we felt like writing.

  

BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to the UK Blues what would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?

ZSBC:  Firstly, work towards unifying all elements of British Blues, bringing cohesion and unity, breaking down destructive and unproductive factions working against each other.  From what we hear, and understand, this very element ultimately fragmented and undermined the Blues Boom of the 60’s.

Perhaps the UKBlues Federation can apply for funding with a view to helping bands tour/record/promote.

Provide a central database of information, re venues, festivals, musicians directory, recording studios etc..

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

ZSBC:  We are very lucky that within our band, that the guys are not only personal friends of many years, but also have CVs so immense that they cant help but bring colour, experience, diversity and finesse into the melting pot.   Chemistry within a band is a huge factor.

Rob’s heroes include, Stevie Winwood, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Robben Ford, Matt Schofield.

 

BD: Thank you for your time. The challenge at The Cavern on 10th September will be an amazing night of live music as we hear the five bands – LaVendore RogueElles BaileyZoe Schwarz Blue Commotion The Rainbreakers and the winner of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned to be decided at the 2017 Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival at Colne. Buy Your ticket here and be part of a great night HERE.

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

4th UK Blues Challenge At The Cavern Liverpool

4th UK Blues Challenge At The Cavern Liverpool

 

4th UK Blues Challenge Announced At The Cavern Liverpool

 

 

UKBlues Federation are delighted to announce Tickets for the 4th UKBlues Challenge, which will be held at the world-famous Cavern Club in Liverpool on Sunday 10th September 2017, are now on sale via the Cavern Club’s website – HERE They are priced at £10.00 in advance, £12.00 on the door.

Members of the UK Blues Federation can enjoy a reduction of £2.50 per ticket (maximum 2 tickets per member). This discount will be applied when they next renew their membership after 10th September 2017. Join the UK Federation Today

The bands/artistes appearing are, in alphabetical order

Elles Bailey

LaVendore Rogue

The Rainbreakers

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

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4th UK Blues Challenge At The Cavern LiverpoolThe fifth and final band for 2017 is an exciting new addition to the Challenge.

As recently announced, they will be joined by the young band chosen by representatives of Jessica Foxley Unsigned at the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival at Colne 25th – 27th August.

 

 

Get your tickets now for what promises to be a great celebration of Blues in the UK.

Doors will open at 15.30 with the first band on stage at 16.00. It is anticipated that the event will finish by about 21.00 and will close with a set from the winners and, we hope, feature some top guests who will be at the event.
Bluesdoodles invites you to  share this news, help support UKBlues in what it is doing. Visit our website – UKBlues to read about membership benefits and to join

UKBlues Federation supporting the 4th Challenge

“Bringing the Blues back to The Cavern 60 years on….”

4th UK Blues Challenge At The Cavern Liverpool

This Is The Life I Choose Says Zoe Schwarz Latest Album

This Is The Life I Choose Says Zoe Schwarz Latest Album

 

 This Is The Life I Choose Says Zoe Schwarz Latest Album

 

 

With three studio albums under Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion’s belt the fourth is definitely not running out of steam, it is full throttle blues. The blues are stylish, a mix of pathos and humour, reflections and looking forward, sadness and hints of joy.

With hundreds of gigs notched up on the road, the miles piling up all shows on an album that reflects the lifestyle of the band This Is the Life I Choose, making music that pleases and makes you sit up and listen. Zoe and the band are getting noticed, the blues is distinctive, fresh and modern without gimmicks and bells but some excellent guitar work from Rob Koral, The pairing of Pete and Paul on Hammond and Drums respectively providing the deep grooves that allow Zoe’s vocals to sparkle. The whole album has a fiery energy and the addition of Sax from Ian Ellis and Andy Urquhart on Trumpet on some of the tracks makes those three tracks pop with a burst of brass power.

Zoe opens with Hold On, and yes we will as she and the band are going to take you on a musical high-ride experience blending blues, jazz and soul into an explosive musical experience.  The whole album has a relaxed feel of a singer and band in harmony with the music they are playing.  The music has a freedom and sense of purpose from the off with the instrumental breaks a listening delight and then the sultry distinctive vocals that are Zoe pulls the track together with lyrics that have something to say.

The second track has a cheeky acoustic beat with lyrics delivered with ironic humour as Zoe sings “high-ho life is sweet because my baby said so” despite being broke, no money to get to a gig, the sax adds to the feeling of desperation of swimming against the tide but we will get there with the support of people we love. The infectious beat and movement through the music continues with People with a dancing/marching beat as the percussion drives the melodic vocals forward with purpose. Every track has a nuanced turn of phrase the fun of delivering the music comes through with the up-lifting I Wanna Get Something Started With You, blues shuffling adds textures and optimistic tones fitting in with the lyrics that ‘Today Is going to be a good day’.

The title track is a reflection of the life of artists, the drive and dedication required to make a success with your own artistry in a corporate environment. Zoe Schwarz Blues Commotion have chosen the blues they want to play, remained true to it and this is an album that delivers. No song is constrained by a set length some are shorter others longer depending on the feel of the music. The feel for me is very very good.

The album has a deep connection with all sides of humanity the eleven originals drawing lyrics from in the main the winning partnership of Zoe Schwarz & Rob Koral with others written by other sources including Pete Feenstra, with his words shaping No Money In My Pocket and Call Of The Night. The mood changes with a harder edge, the riffs are strong raw with anger reflected in Zoe’s snarl as she spits out the lyrics. This number may be surprising for some but as Zoe says “but they shouldn’t be; I was a big Clash and Stranglers fan”…  The poetic shaping of the Call Of The Night is reflected in the stripped down acoustic tone. The poem is allowed to be the star as a hypnotic melody pulls you deep into the night. Stunning.

The album closes with two bonus tracks, first Jack Bruce’s We’re Going Wrong and closing with Feeling Good, summing up perfectly how you feel having listened to Zoe Schwarz Blues Commotion. A commotion everyone will enjoy.

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion – This is The Life I Choose – 33 Records

 

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Hold On
  2. My Baby Told Me So
  3. People
  4. Broken
  5. I Wanna Get Something Started With You
  6. Free From You
  7. This is the Life I Choose
  8. Exit
  9. I Can’t Live like That
  10. No Money In My Pocket
  11. Call Of The Night
  12. We’re Going Wrong
  13. Feeling Good

This Is The Life I Choose Says Zoe Schwarz Latest Album

Livewire describing Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

Livewire describing Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

Livewire describing Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

The depth of material available at Zoe Schwarz’s fingertips is demonstrated in Livewire building on the 2015 live album I’ll Be Yours Tonight. Recorded at Chaplin’s Bar, Boscombe, Livewire is alive with passion and emotion as Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion deliver twelve tracks a mix of covers and songs written by Koral and Schwarz. We are in for a treat as we can share the evening with an audience obviously thrilled to be in the presence of a band that will always entertain.

The energy kicks off as Zoe and the band reveal that The Blues Don’t Scare Me. As on previous outings a true statement, Zoe Schwarz vocals give the blues a textural tone distinct and pure whilst the Blue Commotion harmonise around the lyrics. The two Pauls combine to give the album rhythm and punctuation that acts as a springboard for Zoe’s vocals and Rob Koral’s stellar manipulation of the six-strings. We are in for a treat as an original number gives ways to applause and a Portishead cover Glory Box. The reworking is stylish, accomplished slowing down as stripping back the number and re-forming with the tone of the blues and Zoe’s voice suits the re-working. The other covers have been carefully selected, fitting in with the tone of Livewire and showcasing Zoe’s instantly recognizable voice that purrs, growls and hits the top notes on Jay Hawkins’I Put A Spell On You. This is seductive, alluring and spellbinding. Into the mix we Move Over for Zoe as she takes on the mood and inflections of Janice Joplin, whilst not slavishly copying. The reworking of Bobby Parker’s Blues Gets Off My Shoulder, is slower more considered and suits the Commotion’s style. Into the live mix we have eight originals, penned by the partnership that is at the heart of the band Rob Koral and Zoe Schwarz. The songs all reflect the sound and shaping of the blues to their own unique style. Blues that has a feel of jazz and the clubs that were smoky and down some stairs, mysterious and a hint of something naughty. This though is not blues of the past the lyrics and delivery are contemporary and the fans just love what they do to the Blues. The audience and listeners are definitely In The Mood to sit back and enjoy the music that is grooving all night long. The beat picks up and the feet join in as Rob’s guitar introduces Heartbreak Tears and the vocals that are sung with sultry sadness by Zoe, compelling listening and a clever track drawing the album to a close. Not like all live performances we have an encore, in the shape of a bonus track. They say you can have Too Much Of A Good Thing, well not in the case of Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion, this is blues that doesn’t rock with electric overkill, it is smooth and has a style that has one foot in a bygone age and the other foot firmly in the here and now. The closing track has humour and a sense of playfulness as Zoe’s vocals plays tag with guitar and we know there is more of this good thing to come. Zoe once again moulds her voice to suit the tempo, pitch and feel of the blues they love to perform and share with the audiences.

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

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion – Breaking and Entering – 33 Records

Track Listings

  1. The Blues Don’t Scare Me (Koral/Schwarz)
  2. Glory Box (Portishead)
  3. There’s Only You (Koral/Schwarz)
  4. I Put A Spell On You (Hawkins)
  5. Move Over (Joplin)
  6. I’m In The Mood (Koral/Schwarz)
  7. Come Home Sweet Baby (Koral/Schwarz)
  8. Blues Get Of My Shoulder (Parker)
  9. You Knock Me Out (Koral/Schwarz)
  10. I Won’t Cry Over You (Koral/Schwarz)
  11. Heartbreak Tears (Koral/Schwarz)
  12. Bonus Track – Too Much Of A Good Thing (Koral/Schwarz)

CD Review: Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion ~ I’ll Be Yours Tonight

FolderThe live album opens with verve with a distinctive and instantly recognisable sound and then Zoe’s vocals hit the airwaves and you can only be listening to the Blues Commotion’s jazz, funk and soul inspired blues that has hints of rocky fire as on the opening number Your Sun Shines Rain. The band creates a sound that zings and every instrument has a role to play creating a carpet of tonal textures for the vocal clarity that is Zoe with a voice that caresses the music making it bend to her emotional will. This is their fourth album, and to ring the changes a live album recorded by Richard Dunning at Tuesday Night Music Club; was this the result of months of careful planning… no it was a snatch opportunity so this lively performance can be enjoyed by the many rather than the lucky few who were at the London club on a November night.

As with any live performance we hear songs that have been recorded in the studio and tonight is no different with Angel Of Mercy, Smile, Let Me Sing The Blues from the acclaimed Exposed album and Liberated Woman, Your Sun Shines Rain, I Believe In You from The Blues Don’t Scare Me.

There is no argument and this album nails it Zoe and the band adore playing live and there is a fluidity in the delivery that can be missed when being recorded in the studio. The rendition of Billie Holiday’s Fine and Mellow; the arrangement by Zoe and Rob Koral slows the pace and adds the jazz to the proceedings that suits Zoe’s approach to singing. Not one of the tracks is just about the vocals the interludes from Peter Whittaker on Hammond are wonderful lightening up the verve as seen on many of the tracks then another layer of six-string magic from the stylish guitar tones from Rob with Paul Robinson on Drums laying down a deep groove that allows everyone to explore the musical map they are creating and have fun. The addition of Si Generao on harmonica ad tenor saxophone from Ian Ellis and trumpeter Andy Urquhart means that around every musical bar there is a gem of sweet blues.

This is Zoe and The Blue Commotion sharing the music they love and connect to and the crowds enjoyed every moment we know because the warm applause can be heard reflecting the warm deep emotional tone that Zoe brings to every song she sings coming towards the end of a balanced live album is Beatitudes that is full of gospel soul driven emotion that will always make you sit up and listen.

Live music has that special edge and you can have Zoe and her band playing live where ever you go with this album that captures the heart and soul of the blue Commotion.

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

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion ~ I’ll Be Yours Tonight – 33 Records
Track Listing

1. Your Sun Shines Rain (Koral/Schwarz)
2. Fine and Mellow (Holiday arr. Koral & Schwarz)
3. Let Me Sing The Blues (Koral/Schwarz)
4. Smile (Koral/Schwarz)
5. Angel of Mercy (Koral/Schwarz)
6. Liberated Woman (Koral/Schwarz)
7. We’ll Find A Way (Koral/Schwarz)
8. Say It Isn’t So (Koral/Schwarz)
9. I Believe In You (Koral/Schwarz)
10. I’ll Do Anything (Koral/Schwarz)
11. Beatitudes (Koral/Schwarz)
12. Take Me Back (Koral/Schwarz)