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.
BD: Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 6th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.
TA:Our pleasure – always nice to have a chat.
BD: 2018 sees the sixth UK British Blues Challenge. Tell us what it means The Achievers 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.
TA: It means a great deal to us – we’re really pleased to have been nominated and we’re looking forward to doing our thing on the night. It’s quite encouraging that a band like us – that exists on the fringes of the genre – would be invited to take part.
BD: What are the Blues to The Achievers? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?
TA:We’re quite pragmatic about what ‘Blues’ is – it’s a complex genre isn’t it?! Each of us have very diverse musical tastes but if we were to draw a Venn Diagram of all our influences and interests they would definitely cross over at Rhythm & Blues. Our songwriting probably has things in common with Rhythm & Blues and it’s origins in American roots music, Gospel and the European Traditional music that made it’s way there. Most of what we listen to in that vein is about having a good time, being positive, being grateful and generally trying not being a dick to other people. These themes flow in and out of our music – and thankfully they’re fairly universal so we’re at ease with having something to say about them.
Regarding the second part of your question – there’s some really interesting blues music happening around the world right now. There’s Delgres (France via the Carribean) and Songhoy Blues (Mali), both of whom we love. Also, Fantastic Negrito – an American with Somali heritage. We love all that stuff, it’s a good time for blues and roots if you look in the right places.
BD: Who has influenced your playing, songwriting and performances?
TA:We’ve all written and performed in different styles over the years, but the principles of popular songwriting are always there – write catchy melodies, add good lyrics, sing well. And we’re quite drawn to the music of New Orleans and southern soul/blues labels – like Stax and GoldWax – so it all comes together somewhere in that ball-park.
On top of that we try to write and sing in our own ‘voice’ – as British people of a certain generation. There are five of us involved in the songwriting and we’re quite disciplined about it, generally. The famous studio bands like the The Wrecking Crew and The Swampers are real heroes to us. As well as the actual playing, their work ethic and dedication to always serving the song really speaks to us.
BD: Do you have any plans to be back in the studio to follow up on your live album Live At The SVA?
TA:We recorded our 2nd Album ‘The Lost Arc’ in May, and it’ll be available over the summer.
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?
So, I guess we’d like the UK Blues Federation to continue encouraging, enabling and rewarding the creation of new blues-based music.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
TA: We debated this in the van the other day, and decided it was a very difficult question! For example – would the band have to actually gel together? Also, are they writing their own music? Impossible! We were being pretty geeky and pedantic about it and the conversation wasn’t getting anywhere. Peter Green got mentioned for guitar, as did Steve Cropper. I advocated for Mahalia Jackson or James Carr on vocals and Rufus couldn’t decide between Little Walter and Junior Wells on harp. James Gadston and Bernard Purdy got mentioned on drums, as did Mick Fleetwood. James Jameson was mentioned on bass, but Rick Danko’s writing chops are better than most – not better than Willie Dixon’s though it seems! Then John McVie got mentioned. Booker—T or Dr. John on keys. It was a nightmare and we couldn’t make any definitive progress. But thanks for asking!
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