UKBlues Federation is proud to be hosting the Sixth UKBlues Challenge. The challenge will be taking place at Bluefunk Rhythm & Blues Club, Poynton on 14th September 2019 Tickets on Sale Now – keep the date for your diary
Bluesdoodles is delighted to have once again the opportunity to have a conversation with the invited participants for the Sixth UKBlues Challenge. The judges are going to have a real challenge in deciding the which of the five bands (Ash Wilson, Connor Selby Band, Crossfire and The Achievers with band number five to be announced after Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival, Jessica Foxley stage will be choosing the fifth band!) are going to be heading off to represent the UK at the 36th International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2019 & 10th European Blues Challenge in Zaandam in the Netherlands in April 2020.
The third conversation in the run-up to the 2019 challenge with Liz over at Bluesdoodles is with Crossfire.
BD: Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 6th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.
Crossfire:Our pleasure, entirely!
BD: 2019 sees the sixth UK British Blues Challenge. Tell us what it means to Crossfire to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in International Blues Challenge in Memphis and European Blues Challenge in Zaandam in the Netherlands in April 2020. Crossfire:
BD: 2019 sees the sixth UK British Blues Challenge. Tell us what it means to Crossfire to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in International Blues Challenge in Memphis and European Blues Challenge in Zaandam in the Netherlands in April 2020.
Crossfire:Just to be asked to take part is an enormous compliment on its own, especially seeing the excellent artists we are competing with. We are still relatively new to the circuit so we were overjoyed to be given an opportunity like this one.
BD: What are the Blues to Crossfire? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?
Crossfire:What are the Blues to us… That is a very big question!
The Blues (as both a feeling and a music genre) is a beautiful paradox, simultaneously universal yet unique for each person. Everyone on the planet has experienced their own specific sadness which can be isolating. Revelling in blues music of any kind, whether listening or performing, connects us all. We all feel it together, which is comforting in its own strange way, don’t you think?
Of course, all blues lovers have the African American community to thank for the birth of the genre and countries worldwide have now shaped the Blues with their own distinctive cultural identity, which is awesome. British Blues is infused with folk music and influenced by our rock n’ roll royalty from the 50’s onwards, making it totally unique – British Blues smells of sweat, grease, whiskey and coal.
Alice and Marcus are the writing force behind Crossfire, making our band’s specific brand of blues a combination of soul and jazz flavours that support emotive guitar solos and narrative, melodic lyrics.
BD: Who has influenced your playing, songwriting and performances?Crossfire:Wow ok, how much time have you got?
Well, Marcus draws inspiration from a huge range of iconic musicians including B.B. King, Albert Collins and Robben Ford, as well as having attended live British Blues gigs with his mother since he was in nappies. He soaks up new artists, techniques and genres almost daily, constantly evolving and surprising the rest of the band and our audience.Alice was raised on soul and blues by music-loving parents and had a very artsy education. Her father introduced Alice to the music of Etta James, Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin, whilst her mother would blast Van Morrison and sing in the car on the way to school, over which Alice would harmonise. Cassette tapes of Round the Horne and a Goon Show compilation gave Alice her signature stage presence and sense of humour.
Graham is a solid foundation on drums and has worked with the likes of Gary Moore, B.B. King, Albert King, Albert Collins, Mick Jagger and George Harrison. Eddie’s vibrant and distinctive style has shared the stage with artists including Jet Harris, Tom Jones and Wanda Jackson.
BD: What are the plans for a Crossfire Album?
Crossfire: We make jokes during our gigs about the ‘ghost’ album as we are always talking about it and performing our original material, but it doesn’t actually exist yet! Marcus and Alice have spent several months feverishly writing some extra songs and we finally have dates booked in the studio which is very exciting. Fans will be glad to hear that the album is definitely out by the end of the year, though the track listing is still being devised, as is the name!
BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to UK Blues? What would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?
Crossfire:More gigs for more artists in more places! The digital age has brought with it many pros and cons for our industry and the fans who keeps it alive. Year by year the audience grows older and fewer members of the younger generations come to gigs that are not in the inner cities. Many venues can no longer stay open and our opportunities to play and hear live music dwindle. The UKBluesFederation is an invaluable source of information for artists and fans alike, where members can work together to ensure British Blues enjoys a dynamic future by connecting with new audience bases and the younger generations.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
Crossfire:Ooh, that’s a tricky question with a tricky answer! The chemistry between musicians on stage can have as much influence on the overall sound and energy of the music as the skill or style of the individuals playing, how could you possibly know if Van Morrison and Janis Joplin would gel on stage?
We could sit here all night deliberating who would be the ‘perfect’ line up (especially with some drinks and chips to hand), but the answer could be different from day-to-day…
6th UKBlues Challenge is being held on On Saturday, September 14th at Bluefunk Rhythm and Blues Club., Poynton, Cheshire. Doors at 18.30 and the evening will close at around 23.15. Demand for tickets is already very high and there is a very limited number of tickets available so, to avoid disappointment, we do urge you to get yours now before they are all gone. Tickets are priced at £17.50 (plus booking fee) seated and £15.00 (plus booking fee) standing and can only be purchased via SeeTickets.com – Tickets available HERE