British Blues Boom
British Blues is booming! Not since the 1960s has the genre been in such a diverse and vibrant
state. To celebrate the fact, Neil O’Brien and Tom Cleary of Live Eye Productions – in association with
Norway-based, Munin Live – recorded an array of artists to showcase the very best examples of blues
talent from these isles. Now, over three weekends, these award winners, crowd-pleasers, critics’
favorites and internationally renowned performers ply their musical wares in a series of concerts.
First, a word or two from our curators...
“The British Blues Boom 2021 is the first online concert series of its kind, and a unique celebration of the
state of British Blues during one of the most extraordinary years for the genre and for live music. We
started our journey in London during lockdown on a cold week in February in Camden, London and
continued into the British summer with our shows in London and the English Cotswolds town of Stroud.
We have tried to capture the warmth and human passion of a live show and the genuine desire of every
musician to 'feel the Blues.’ We think we have succeeded, with truly special performances from every
artist who has taken part. We look forward to audiences worldwide being able to share in watching
wherever they are”
Deborah Bonham offers an immediate connection to the Golden Era of British blues-rock. She is the younger sister of Led Zeppelin’s drummer, John Bonham, and aunt to Jason Bonham, who has played drums on her albums. She has carved her own estimable career as a stunning frontwoman and powerful vocalist. Her lauded debut album, For You And The Moon, came out in 1985. She linked up with Belfast-born guitarist Bullick for her 2008 release, Duchess. The pairing has their debut album as Bonham-Bullick in the can, and ready to drop in 2022 on Quarto Valley Records Worldwide. It covers the waterfront, featuring songs spanning seven decades of music history!
Deborah has played huge venues around the globe, throughout her long career, including the London Palladium and Royal Albert Hall. A notable recent excursion was on the Stars Align Tour in the USA, with jeff Beck and Paul Rodgers, where she received standing ovations on a regular basis. Bullick and the rest of Deborah’s band were Rodgers’ backing musicians on this and his 2017 Free Spirit tour. Paul obviously feeling that Peter embodied the virtues of his former bandmate, the late, lamented, Paul Kossoff of Free. In The States, Elmore Magazine recently had this to say of Deborah – “Strong voiced, personable and
quite the rock & roll singer.” Amen!
Kyla is one of the best singers to hail from Great Britain, regardless of genre. She has a fine pedigree, as the daughter of British blues legend Victor Brox and singer Annette Reis. Kyla began singing in her father’s band in her early teens and then took flight as a solo artist, ably supported by her husband Danny Blomeley – who also plays excellent acoustic guitar in a duo with her – fluent guitarist Paul Farr and in-the-pocket drummer Mark Warburton. Brox and her troupe recently won the British and then European Blues Challenges, and went on to perform to critical and public acclaim in Memphis, representing the UK at the 2019 International Blues Challenge. She has appeared to rapturous receptions all over Europe and released a string of high-quality albums, the most recent being 2019’s, wonderful Pain & Glory.
Kyla has the honour of being one of only three British singers featured on the 50 Women In The Blues Spotify Playlist. The Manchester Evening News, in her native north-west of England, call her – “The finest female blues singer of her generation.” While Tony Wilson of the legendary Factory Records stated that she is “Manchester's answer to Aretha Franklin.” Can’t say fairer than that.
According to many, blues-harpist Errol leads the best blues band in Britain. He recently wowed Joe Bonamassa when the American guitar genius dropped by to see Errol and his top-notch outfit at their Effra Hall Tavern residency in Linton’s native Brixton. That led to an invitation to perform on Joe’s 2020 album Royal Tea, recorded at Abbey Road. Legendary BBC producer John Walters, (the power behind John Peel’s radio throne) made a documentary about Errol in 1990 (catch it on YouTube!), after he had seen him busking on the London Underground – something which Errol did until very recently. He has been feted by the likes of legendary DJs and taste-makers such as Charlie Gillett and Andy Kershaw. Now Cerys Matthews, current presenter of the BBC Radio 2 Blues Show, declares him the foremost blues artist in Britain if not Europe.
Errol’s Jamaican heritage shines through his unique blend of reggae, classic Chicago R&B and funk. From his first cut, Vibin’ It in 1997 – self-financed by busking proceeds – to last year's No Entry – recorded at Grammy-winning London studio, Toe Rag – Errol has stayed true to a genuinely unique blues vision, and continues to delight audiences whether in characterful local pubs or on huge festival stages.
Jones is considered one of the finest blues-rock guitarists in the world. Barely out of his teens when he released his acclaimed debut album, Thunder In The Sky in 2012, he has continued to shine and grow as a songwriter and player over the following decade. Still in his twenties, Laurence has racked-up a formidable list of support credits, including Van Morrison, Elton John, Jeff Beck and Robert Cray; toured with Walter Trout and Kenny Wayne Shepherd; and performed at those two famous Halls, the Royal Albert and Carnegie!
He recorded his second album, Temptation (2014) in Louisiana with Mike Zito. He has released a further four solo albums, culminating in 2019’s Laurence Jones Band, and also appeared alongside Albert Castiglia and Christina Skjolberg on one of Ruf Records’ famed Blues Caravan tours. He has been festooned with awards in Britain and Europe and his American compadres greet him as an equal. Indeed, when he got up to play with Buddy Guy the blues legend opined – “He’s like a young Eric Clapton, damn right he got the Blues”. Praise doesn’t come any higher than that.
Elles is a smoky-voiced human dynamo, who straddles the worlds of Americana and the blues, garnering accolades in both. She recently worked with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys in Nashville, writing the song Little Piece Of Heaven with him and Bobby Wood. It won UK Americana Awards Song Of The Year. Also in 2020, she scooped Artist Of The Year from the UK Blues Awards for the second time in succession. Her singing and songwriting skills are of an equally stratospheric standard as evidenced on albums Wildfire and the garlanded UK Blues Awards’ Album Of The Year, Road I Call Home.
She has powered through the pandemic, releasing both a live album, Ain’t Nothin’ But, and her first child! She hopes to further her reputation as a road warrior as COVID restrictions lift. Previously she has toured with Grammy Award winner Mike Farris, The Kris Barras Band and King King. She also shared the stage with Beth Hart at Ramblin’ Man, The Temperance Movement at Swing Wespelaar and appeared at Nashville’s Americana Fest as part of the ‘House of Songs’ collaboration. Her new album is due in early 2022. There is much, much more to come from this hard-working chanteuse.
Ten Years After, are perhaps most famous for their appearance at Woodstock and that performance of I’m Going Home, featuring the fretboard pyrotechnics of Alvin Lee. They offer a bona fide link back to the halcyon days of the First Blues Boom of the 1960s. They went their separate ways in 1976; but reformed in 2014, revitalized when original members Chick Churchill (keyboards) and Ric Lee (drums) were joined by British Blues Award winner Marcus Bonfanti on guitar and vocals, and bassist Colin Hodgkinson. Hodgkinson has worked with a veritable Who’s Who of British Blues including Alexis Korner Ian Stewart, Maggie Bell and Zoot Money. They added another excellent album A Twist In The Tale to their catalogue
Rest assured you will hear tracks from US Top Twenty albums such as Sssh, Cricklewood Green and A Space In Time as well as current favourites, when these true legends of the original Blues Boom strut the boards once more.
Bonfanti is a triple- threat – a superb rock vocalist; a scintillating guitarist; and a charismatic, good-looking performer replete with the requisite swagger. He’s equally adept on acoustic (indeed, he won the Best Acoustic Performer at the British Awards in both 2013 and 2014) and electric guitar and has supported the likes of Robert Cray, Jack Bruce, Beth Hart and John Mayall, as well as being a guitar-for-hire for artists such as Rebecca Ferguson and Johnny Hates Jazz. His recorded output is a testament to his deep strength as a songwriter too, stretching across four solo releases, Hard Times, What Good Am I To You?, Medicine Man and Shake The Walls.
The multi-talented Bonfanti also leads the new line-up of Ten Years After and the British blues assemblage of all the talents, Jawbone.
No one can fail to be entranced by Martin’s mastery of his beautiful Weissenborn lap steel guitar. He is an unparalleled playerwhether solo or in band format. Most recent album Roll With The Punches has been eulogised widely for its scintillating guitar-work and superb songwriting. It follows releases going back nearly twenty years, which include the beautifully rendered live album, Live At Southern Ground with Daniel Kimbro. Harley is a fascinating character. He took part in what was officially labelled the highest gig ever played, 21,000ft up the Himalayas; has journeyed through west Africa playing with local musicians (a DVD of those travels is due out); and undertook an entire UK tour by bicycle called Blues Gone Green. All these experiences translate into some of the best between song patter you are ever likely to hear!
“Harley offers the listener a masterclass in taste, style and roots blues” – Guitarist Magazine
“Spellbinding” – The Guardian
Grainne is Irish guitar goddess, hailing from Co. Monaghan. She is raw, honest singer who blends soul, blues and rock to stunning effect. Her latest album – this year’s Voodoo Blues – has received widespread admiration for its combination of skilled songwriting, musical prowess and powerful performance. Onstage she’s a positive livewire, with charisma to donate to charity! Something you can savour on her tremendous 2015 album simply entitled, Live. She’s a true Queen Of The Road having appeared at festivals ranging from Glastonbury to the Phuket Festival in Thailand, Notodden Festival, Norway and Dark Season Festival in Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle. She also recently presented the excellent Grainnie Duffy Rocks, a personal exploration of rock music on BBC Radio Ulster. A Renaissance woman indeed.
‘She’s the real deal’ Classic' - Rock Magazine
‘A blues singer of real integrity’ - The Sunday Times
‘Deliciously soulful voice & gutsy blues-inflected guitar work in one compelling package’ - Guitarist Magazine
An association of several of the finest rock and blues musicians in the UK, established solo artists Paddy Milner (keyboards, vocals) and Marcus Bonfanti (guitar, vocals), bassist for all-seasons Rex Horan, and Kiwi wonder-drummer Evan Jenkins. They have played with everyone! Robert Plant, Dave Gilmour, Jack Bruce, Ten Years After, Van Morrison, Ginger Baker, Ronnie Wood, Shuggie Otis, Laura Marling, Garth Hudson, Jimmy Carl Black and many more. In January 2018, Jawbone were chosen to back Eric Clapton, Van Morrison & Tom Jones at Paul Jones’ renowned charity show at G-Live in Guildford, gaining rave reviews from the artists involved and the sell-out audience alike.
Their self-titled album was released in 2018 to critical plaudits and praise from listeners. The distinctive voices of Milner and Bonfanti complement and contrast throughout. Horan’s searing falsetto vocals create the three-part harmony that has become a hallmark of the Jawbone sound. Taking influences from Little Feat, The Band, The Rolling Stones and Crosby, Stills Nash & Young but also mixing it with the eclectic musical backgrounds that each member brings, allows Jawbone to create a very fresh take on rock’n’roll. And onstage, their organic, joyful interaction is a thrill to watch.