UKBlues Federation is proud to be hosting the Fifth UKBlues Challenge. The challenge will be taking place at Worthing Pier’s, Southern Pavilion on 8th September 2018 Doors open at 18.00 hours. Tickets are in demand so get yours today – over at SeeTickets.
Bluesdoodles is delighted to have once again the opportunity to have a conversation with the invited participants for the Fifth UKBlues Challenge. The judges are going to have a real challenge in deciding the which of the five bands (Greg Coulson, Tom C Walker, Kyla Brox, Catfish and Carl North & The Lonely Hearts) are going to be heading off to represent the UK at the 35th International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2019 & 9th European Blues Challenge in Ponta Delgada in the Azores in April 2019.
Fifth conversation with Liz over at Bluesdoodles is Carl North & The Lonely Hearts. The band impressed the Jessica Foxley Unsigned Stage at The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival and are filling the fifth place at the 2018 Challenge. Carl North & The Lonely Hearts are a Rhythm & Blues six-piece from Manchester, U.K. They have been busy generating their own kind of buzz within Manchester’s live circuit and beyond, opening for high profile musicians from all over the world and selling out there last few headline shows. Carl North & The Lonely Hearts have just released their brand new single ‘Blood to Bleed’.
BD: Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 5th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.
Before we start, tell us about performing at The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival in Colne over Bank Holiday Weekend as part of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned bands.
CN&TLH: No problem at all, it’s great to be able to chat about it with you guys at Bluesdoodles
Honestly, the great British rhythm and Blues festival was one of the highlights of our career as a band. We have wanted to be part of the festival for a long time now and when we had the offer to take part (on The Muni stage of all stages!) from the wonderful Jessica Foxley unsigned we were blown away. We knew it would be a great show but it completely shattered our expectations. We were so warmly received by the audience, so many blues fans took the time to come and chat to us after our set and it was humbling to hear kind comments and find people wanting to know more. We don’t often get to play to audiences like that and it was nice to be given the nod of approval from so many with their tastes set firmly in Blues music.
Not just this but the festival itself was just superbly run and we were very well looked after by backstage crew and others which is something we couldn’t be more thankful for. So definitely, a real highlight for us and with the Blues challenge coming from it and a number of other contacts made it’s already opened doors for us!
BD: 2018 sees the fifth UK British Blues Challenge. Tell us what it means to Carl North & The Lonely Hearts to have been given the chance to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in International Blues Challenge in Memphis and European Blues Challenge Azores in 2019
CN&TLH: It’s just incredible, we’ve never had the chance to do anything like this and it’s a pleasure to be part of. We were so over the moon to be picked, as a band, the UK challenge alone just means we get to play in a great venue with some of the UK’s best blues bands (I’d hate to have to judge it, the line up is fantastic), that alone is a big achievement I would say. Like the hard work is paying off. That and the fact that we actually stand a chance of travelling to play our music to audiences in different parts of the world, representing the UK, would be an unbelievable privilege and definitely a step up for us as a band.
We’ve always wanted to head overseas for shows and dreamed a lot of America, especially Memphis, it’s where our heroes and more importantly a big chunk of the blues has come from and grown. BB King, W.C Handy, Will Shade, etc., it’s crazy to have this kind of opportunity so a massive thanks to The Blues Federation, Jessica Foxley Unsigned and The Rhythm and blues fest.
BD: What are the Blues to Carl North & The Lonely Hearts? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, the United States and elsewhere in the world?
CN&TLH: The blues to us is a big melting pot of influences. As a band we draw influence from all sorts of places in music from blues to jazz, soul, punk, funk, the list goes on. We try to get this to come across in our music and it allows us to have a slightly different take on blues music, hopefully creating something a little different and fresh. Our sets are quite mixed musically, all under a blues umbrella, which gives us a lot of freedom to play around and make things interesting whilst allowing us to pay homage to a host of our heroes.
British blues is an entity in its own right, it speaks to people differently and it’s a really interesting take on the original styles as its been influenced by them but used in a completely different context. I (Carl) grew up really into the early 60’s British blues and I think I think the British played the original styles with a little more aggression and urgency giving the whole genre a new lease of life. For us it was the early British blues that allowed us to find out who had created these songs before the 60’s, opening up a whole world of fantastic musicians from across the US that may not have had their deserved success in their time. From then on British blues has just become an unstoppable force. Being British we have different experiences and ways of seeing the world, especially with the state of the country at the minute so it’s great that blues can relate as a musical style no matter what part of the world you come from, whatever your class, race or gender. We have always tried to remain current with our writing and relate it to real experiences, arguably the blues has certain stereotypes and it’s important for bands to break these and show that the music translates as well today as it did in the past, us Brits are pretty good at that for sure!
BD: Your current single is ‘Blood to Bleed’; are there any plans for an album?
CN&TLH: It is! We released it in June and it’s our 3rd single in under a year, which is great to have been able to release that many in such a short time. We’ve had a massive response from it as well as our first track ‘Off Guard’ and so far, has been played all over the world which is pretty amazing to see. You can hear them on all the major streaming sites and through our Facebook and website.
We have a lot more material so an album would be an amazing thing for us to work on, we could really showcase what we are capable of, which we can do live but not so well with singles, so a longer body of work is definitely on the horizon, however, money is an issue as an unsigned act. We have some very hushed plans that we are brewing currently but can’t say too much just yet, just keep your eyes peeled for the near future…
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?
CN&TLH: The blues federation is doing a great job of putting British blues to the forefront, recently there’s been a massive resurgence of country music in the UK and we’d reckon the same could be said of blues music and hopefully this will keep growing in the near future. The blues federation allow bands like ourselves to be part of this movement and as a band, it is great to have an organisation bigger than yourselves that can get your music to a wider audience. It has been hard for us sometimes to find a dedicated blues audience and although in its infancy our relationship with the blues federation, Jessica Foxley unsigned and the rhythm and blues festival has already got our music to a much wider and dedicated audience. As an unsigned act that is just something that we couldn’t be more grateful for.
Having a support like the federation is invaluable, we couldn’t have dreamed of an opportunity like this without it so it’s great to be working alongside a group of people dedicated to getting British blues music heard, not only on our little island but the world over.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
CN&TLH: This is a ridiculously hard question to answer! there as just far too many we could include… We probably all have our own individual list but here are some definite inclusions.
Drums: Bernard Purdie
Guitar: BB King
Rhythm guitar: J J Cale
Vocals: Muddy Waters
2nd Vocal (as we have two in our band…): Big Mama Thornton
Bass: John Paul Jones
Keys: Mose Alison
Can’t we create multiple dream band lists?!
Thank you for your time and insights into Carl North & The Lonely Hearts and the Blues.
CN&TLH: No trouble at all! Thanks so much for having us for your interview! We look forward to seeing you on the 8th September at the Blues challenge in Worthing.