Review: Blues Boy Dan – True Blues Club, Earlestown

Posted on: Thursday, Jun 21, 2012

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Friday, 15th June, 2012

Blues Boy Dan – True Blues Club, Earlestown

It was my pleasure to view and to listen to two(*) contrasting legs of the blues genre by excellent talented artists at this fantastic venue which is becoming a shrine to the ‘true blues’ label and what that entails – if you missed it that’s a shame, perhaps next time.

To start with I was pleasantly surprised by a young man of 20 years of age from the Shrewsbury area, travelling with his very proud father, and the name of this young talent is Dan Owen, otherwise known as Blues Boy Dan. Dan sat on a chair and with his acoustic guitar across him a harmonica wrapped around his neck and a stomp box placed under his left foot it, doesn’t come any more basic than that.

As suggested to me I shut my eyes, I was full of wonder and anticipation and then, wow. I imagined an Afro-American from the south of that country aged about 60 in years and had had a hard life, in other words a stereotype of the 20s and 30s blues performer of that era, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Here stood on stage in front of me was a six foot young man slightly shy, but bristling with talent, from the first chord struck to his opening note I knew we were going to see and hear this young man play his blues and play he did.

His mature voice, similar to Howlin’ Wolf say, to draw a comparison –  I could not believe it. If there is such a thing as raw talent I was watching it. Workers from the cotton fields and the dirt poor farmers struggling to make a living let alone any money, worked from sun up to sun set and then entertained themselves before sleep got the better of them and they had to do it all over again the next day. This came through in his music, stories of hardship and conflict and the day to day toil, and how to cope, oh Lord have mercy on us all.

The audience was hooked and so was I. The performed works were of the classic blues – but what covers, sung with conviction and with brilliant guitar and harmonica work – I couldn’t get enough. In my humble opinion for what it is worth, and I think the audience sensed it to, as they watched this exceptional young talent perform, that something was happening in front of them that was the essence of the blues before the sophistication of the electric guitar, it was quite a moment, for all who witnessed this blues boy, called Dan.

Keith Blackledge: National and international music reviewer

(* Blues Boy Dan was opening up for Dani Wilde – Keith’s review of her set to follow)

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