Review of 2013: Lionel Ross
Posted on: Sunday, Dec 29, 2013
Review of 2013
2013 has been a year full of wonderful gigs, particularly at the three venues graced by the bookings of John and Lorraine Welsh. The Producers were at their very best for the first show of the year at Fogherty’s Function Room as was Big Pete van der Pluijm and his band in April at the Marina. The Hamilton Loomis Band fully met all expectations in May with their customary flamboyance at Garston RBL and Matt Andersen and The Dale Storr Trio blew everyone away at the Marina in June and July respectively.
Despite the incredibly high standard of the aforementioned gigs, the best was still to come in the shape of an awesome performance in November at the Marina from Martin Harley, supported by the excellent Sam Lewis from Nashville. Martin accompanied his powerful vocals with his scintillating guitar playing, interspersed with fascinating tales laced with gentle humour. The icing on the cake was provided by the wonderful Cadillac Kings in Garston in December, who delivered a foot-tapping programme of good time blues, orchestrated by their superb frontman, Mike Thomas.
In addition to the Johnny’s Blues Club shows described above, I also had the pleasure of seeing Robben Ford in Holmfirth, Paul Cox and The Proof with guest star Bernie Marsden in Penrith, Bonnie Raitt at the Liverpool Empire and two delicious helpings of The Hoax at Guisborough and at the Citadel in St Helens.
The Guisborough Festival lived up to its well-deserved reputation for good music and friendly atmosphere and the one day we visited Colne delivered some memorable performances from Chris Farlowe, The Swing Commanders, The Jive Aces and Wilko Johnson. The festival honours, however, go once again to the Carlisle Blues & Rock Festival, which sizzled throughout at an impressively high level. The terrific line-up included Bernard Allison, Jon Amor, The Royal Southern Brotherhood (featuring Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and Mike Zito) and, most gratifying of all, a fabulous set from The Ian Parker Band back to their blues-oriented best.
Several top class CDs emerged during the year, but the pick of them for me were Forty4’s excellent debut album, “44 Minutes”, Albany Down’s “Not Over Yet”, Eugene Hideaway Bridges’s “Roots And Vines”, Samantha Fish’s “Black Wind Howlin’” and, in pole position, Toby Walker’s magnificent “What You See Is What You Get”.
If 2014 can match 2013, we are in for a marvellous twelve months. On that note, I wish a prosperous and healthy New Year to all our readers and contributors, to all promoters and performers, and most particularly to Grahame and Ken for all their commendable efforts in keeping this brilliant website in such good shape.