British blues singer/songwriter Rebecca Downes has topped the IBBA charts two months in a row with her excellent Stripped Back acoustic album. But we poised the question to Rebecca what are her top five blues songs of all time? And what a great list of choices we’ve received from the award-winning artist.

1) Bonnie Raitt – Guilty

I’ve had the pleasure of singing this song quite a few times over the years and it’s one of those songs that delivers straight to the heart. Trying to sing it and hold onto your emotions is always a balance that you have to work hard to achieve. One of the best concerts I’ve ever seen was Bonnie at the Symphony Hall Birmingham with John Caswell form the Steve Gibbons Band, and we were both utterly blown away by Bonnie and especially this song.

2) Etta James – I’d Rather Go Blind

This is one song that was in the set for a while, and I truly love. I love Etta and her voice is so evocative, yet strong and powerful with real edge. We tried to really bring this song down volume-wise to start and then after a full-on guitar solo, building it up vocally and push it until the end. It’s one of those songs where the timing is so instrumental in locking in the emotion, and the way you change this and manipulate it as a vocalist is a big part of the joy of singing it.


3) John Mayer – Slow Dancing In A Burning Room

I adore John Mayer’s voice and songs; he’s such an incredible songwriter and vocalist. Obviously he is a great guitarist too, but for me his songs are his true strength. He tries to use Blues as a building block upon which to write and I really do think he expands the genre in terms of song-writing. This particular song is a great example of what an immense song-writing talent he is. It’s also heartbreakingly familiar to me in its lyrics and really hits home.


4) Ella Fitzgerald – Summertime

My favourite female vocalist of all time has to be Ella. There’s no one like her in my opinion to match her tone, dexterity and timing. This song shows how great her vocal control is, releasing vibrato and changing how wide it is throughout the held-on notes. Live versions of this always take my breath away. I was brought up listening to this lady and for me she’s always going to be the one I am primarily inspired by vocally. She’s the Queen.

5) Gary Clark Jnr – The Healing

Such a beautiful Blues voice and I love the way he stretches the genre adding parts from Hip Hop and other styles. His guitar style is so hard hitting and edgy, which matches his vocal style full on. His guitar playing also mimics and echoes a lot of his vocal riffs, which is very like John Mayer and I love this. As soon as I heard this song, I was instantly a fan and have been listening ever since. As it started I was captured right from the off, and I love the hard-hitting drums and overall production. This is Blues taken to the next level for me.