As we do in our magazine – feature, interview, and review packed though it is – we like to reflect on the News from the Blues from time to time.
So what is going on right now?
Topically, with Britain’s Got Talent on British screens, Andy Twyman, who you may remember from his Naked Noel video at Christmas, has gone even further, paring the Talent judges down to the bone for the new video to Try To Stay Alive. See below, if you dare.
Onto some Live Blues…
On Thursday 12th May, New Yorker, the Right Reverend Swifty LeZarre, Laura Holland, and Sister Cookie assemble with Blues Dancers at Proud Camden for the second British Blues Exhibition live music night, themed ‘Transatlantic Blues’. Tickets here.
Photos from the first night in March including Cream co-lyricist Pete Brown, Saiichi Sugiyama, those Blues Dancers, and Laura Holland are above, courtesy of Paul Dubbelman. Saiichi is, incidentally, one of the acts at the 100 Club along with Corky Laing of Mountain, on 10th May. Tickets here.
Meanwhile, joining the crop of upcoming North American Bluesmen and women travelling to the UK is Fantastic Negrito (now),who is even as we write wrapping up a European tour with Chris Cornell, and Mud Morganfield is here briefly now. Sari Schorr returns to British shores in June, as does New Jersey’s award-winning Billy Walton Band, and Detroit songstress Eliza Neals is also here in the UK at present and for a few more days. Debbie Bond from Alabama has an especially lengthy tour, starting in June and concluding in August. July sees more overseas acts arrive, notably including a debut UK tour for Canadian Chris Antonik. Sad to see that a tour by another Michigan based artist, Michael Katon, was cancelled earlier this year.
The UK Blues Federation has announced the names of the four acts that have been selected to compete in the 2016 UK Blues Challenge which will take place at the Robin 2, Bilston on Saturday 12th November 2016. They are the Dove & Boweevil Band, Rebecca Downes, the Kaz Hawkins Band, and Wille and the Bandits. The winners of the UK Blues Challenge, as chosen by a panel of judges drawn from across the UK blues spectrum, will be invited to represent the UK at the 7th European Blues Challenge which takes place in Housens, Denmark on 6th, 7th & 8th April 2017 and the 33rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee which runs from 31st January to 4th February 2017. The winners will also be offered slots to play at a number of festivals around the UK during 2017.
Tickets for the 3rd UK Blues Challenge at the Robin 2, Bilston priced £10.00 (plus booking fee) can be booked online at www.therobin.co.uk or by calling 01902 401211. More details will be posted on the UKBlues website – www.ukblues.org – where you can further support blues in the UK by joining the UK Blues Federation.
Blues Matters recently learned of the passing of Cliff Stocker, of the band Slack Alice and a man instrumental in the Great British R & B Festival in Colne. He will be missed.
Congratulations to the Blues On The Farm Festival, who celebrate their 25th anniversary in June. Even older, and considerably so, is the Jazz bandleader and a man who is a major part of the history of British and American Blues, Chris Barber, who was 86 recently. Happy Birthday to Chris. You can hear him interviewed here. He mentions working with Eric Clapton, whose new album is out on May 20th.
Good luck to the new Blues venues and nights around the UK, such as in Aberdeen, Mid-Wales, Hereford, and more. Like us, you’re keeping the Blues alive. It is also good to see when British Blues helps out others, as with the Maryport Floods Fundraiser on 12th June, featuring Ian Siegal.