The great duo of British harmonica maestro Paul Lamb and Chad Strentz, guitar and vocals, return to The Rodewald Suite at The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, on Saturday, 8th February – following a quite exceptional gig last year.
Early notification in from Pete Evans of the line-up for this year’s Bangor-on-Dee Blues and Real Ale Festival – a fine looking bill:
Confirmed are The Ian Parker Band, David Migden and The Twisted Roots, Wooden Horse, The Blues Duo, Lyndon Anderson Band, Rosco Levee and The Southern Slide, Swampcandy, Sean Webster Band and Steve Pablo Jones (tbc).
Uncompromising Glaswegian bluesman Craig Hughes is back with another raw collection and boy, he is p*ssed off again, big style. His raw, stomping blues are probably amongst the toughest around, and well worthy of your attention.
Coming from the same ‘turf’ as fellow Scotsman Dave Arcari, Craig’s music is in a similar mode and, as mentioned, as raw and honest as it comes . . . from his ‘bear’ of a voice to his slide and fingerpicked guitar – he also plays bass. The ten tracks on “Losers And Bastards” are all self-penned. Like the previous, and again possessing a quite superb title, “P*ssed Off, Bitter And Willing To Share” – he is firmly taking no prisoners!
The songs deal with the despair of everyday life, and you get the impression that Craig does what he does and if you like it fine, and if not . . . well I like it. The music ranges from uptempo Delta blues-styled stompers and gentler tunes such as “Future After All” . . . he ‘rocks out’ on the wry “Beans And Bread” . . . maybe sounding like ZZ Top if they came from Govan . . . excellent!
The electric “Everyone’s Got To Cheat And Lie Sometime” is a standout, as is the closing and lengthy “Wood And Wire”, with Hughes grungy electric guitar and the drums of Tommy Duffin, who also contributes guitar on one track – telling how a man can always rely on his guitar. Recommended for those who like their blues served raw!
News is in from Peter and Roger at Village Hall Music about their first gig of 2014.
We are delighted to welcome Jim Crawford back to the village hall after an absence of what must be about 5 years.
Jim has toured much of Europe and the USA captivating audiences with his intimate country blues style. Although softly spoken, his barrelhouse blues vocals complement perfectly his finger picking and slide guitar work.
His repertoire includes many blues standards as well as his own Americana influenced compositions. Years ago my youngest daughter heard Jim sing ‘When the Rains Came’, and years later it’s still one of her favourite songs – if you’ve heard it you’ll know why!
It’s a really good way to start our 2014 season and we would be delighted to see you there.
Only 60 tickets available. (£10 from Village Hall or Roger 07946 378599).
Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective – Dug Deep, Found Steel
Here you will hear elements of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Ry Cooder, with perhaps only that last name really belonging in these (web) pages – but Jamie and his associates often play at blues events, and despite the strong sounds of Americana that this band evokes, these events tend to take place in the band’s native south-east of the UK.
Maybe though, that Essex connection helps to explain why the band in several places also has a gritty sound that made me think of the sound of The Kinks of the mid-sixties (or imagine The Feelgoods with acoustic guitars), and there are a couple of numbers that would definitely pass as blues in most contexts – take a listen to ‘Stone Drunk’ and ‘I Want To Be Happy’.
I’ll also just mention Nick Garner’s fine blues harp blowing on the majority of the tracks before I close by advising you to check this out is you do indeed have a fondness for Americana.
Jamie Clague writes to inform us about a jam night in Parkgate.
We have a jam night held every Sunday at The Old Quay in Parkgate on The Wirral under the name Guy’s Jam Sessions. It’s co-run by Guy Liversidge, Chris Davies and myself, very much based in the blues and rock however anything goes and we’ve had some great performers, coming up to the first anniversary now with it. There have been quite a few bands form from the nights and performers gone on aswell already. We have a full backline there, including: 2 guitar amps(fender blues deluxe. Palmer mark 1/H&H VS Musician), full drum kit, Bass amp (Stamp prototype), keys and can accommodate for pretty much any instrument people want to play. The nights begin at 8:3pm and go on until about 11/11:30pm.
We are on Facebook under /GuysJamSessions, where people can have a look at photos and such of past nights.
A few belated words on the year just gone . . . 2013 . . .
Ten releases I enjoyed last year . . . in no particular order! (OK, technically 11, with the two Gary Fletcher albums)
1. Wooden Horse – This Kind Of Trouble
2. Thomas Ford – Breaking Everything But Even
3. Trickbag – With Friends Vol. 1
4. James Cotton – Cotton Mouth Man
5. John Ginty – Bad News Travels
6. Gary Fletcher – Giant From The Blue / In Solitary
7. Mike Andersen – Self-titled release
8. Kara Grainger – Shiver & Sigh
9. David Migden & The Dirty Words – Killing It
10. Devon Allman – Turquoise
Also enjoyed Anders Osborne “Peace”, Larry Miller’s “Live & Outlawed” and EP releases from our own Sam Hare and the fine German band, Cosmic Finger.
Many thanks to all who sent CDs for review. With our very small team we endeavour to review as many as possible and ALWAYS have a huge backlog . . . it’s not always possible to review everything, but we do our best, and also endeavour to listen to as much as possible that a pesky day job will allow (in my case!).
Remembering Little Walter, the live tribute to harp virtuoso and innovator Little Walter Jacobs, has been nominated for a 2014 Grammy as “Best Blues Album.” The CD features five of the finest harmonica players on the current blues scene -Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia, and James Harman.
Blind Pig Records has just released the latest video from that memorable evening – Mark Hummel’s chromatic performance of Walter’s “Blue Light.” To watch the video, please click HERE.
Mark is accompanied by Little Charlie Baty on guitar, Nathan James on guitar, June Core on drums and RW Grigsby on upright bass.”With a veteran lineup like this and such rich source material to pull from, the live album sounds just as good as one would expect.” - Living Blues
“An unequaled evening of reed-bending ecstasy.” - No Depression
To hear more from the album, or to learn more about it, please click HERE. The recordings are also available at iTunes HERE.
An excellent line up for the winter and spring has been announced for the Citadel in St Helens.
The Citadel Arts Centre, St Helens – Blues and Soul listings for February and March
The Blues Band
Friday 21st February 2014, 7.30pm Tickets £20/£18
Solid tradition, musical showmanship; the finest bluesmen in Europe. The Blues Band are the ultimate good night out – if you’re looking for spirited blues with a peerless pedigree, your search is over.
Geno Washington and the YoYo’s
Friday 28th February 2014, 7.30pm Tickets £14/£12
A brand new show for life’s ‘Ups and Downs’… Geno’s recession-blues busting, ‘kick ass’, up-tempo, house rockin’, R&B band features members of the legendary Ram Jam Band who join him for a blistering set of Street Soul, Rock ‘n’ Roll and down and dirty Blues… And the joints are jumping!
Andy Fairweather Low and The Low Riders
Saturday 8th March 2014, 7.30pm Tickets from £20
Andy Fairweather Low of ‘Amen Corner’ fame has rocked with some of the biggest names in the music industry over the past 40 years. Join him and The Low Riders Band for an evening promoting the release of their wonderful new album – Zone-O-Tone.
For further information or to book tickets call the Citadel Box Office on 01744 735436 or visit the Citadel website www.citadel.org.uk
Here’s a cracking three track EP from The Dirty Aces, led by Jersey harmonica ace Giles Robson, with guitarist Filip Kozlowski, and on these recordings Mike Hellier on drums and Ian Jennings on bass – the road band will mainly feature Simon Small on drums, and Adam Bertenshaw on bass. Presumably a taster for a forthcoming album – which should be a treat if these cuts are anything to go by.
The title track has a raunchy, garage r&b feel that combines American grunge and the more British flavours of the likes of Dr Feelgood . . . with Giles Robson’s tough-toned harmonica to the fore with Filip Kozlowski’s fine guitar work and the driving rhythm section of Mike Hellier and Ian Jennings.
“That Simple Step” is no quite so frantic, kicking off with more explosive harmonica – it has a Stonesy swagger to it; the EP rounded off by a guitar salvo intro from Kozlowski on the punchy “Ain’t No Forgettin’” – it’s a tough rocker that fairly rattles along, with key contributions from all band members.