Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Already booked for the Leeds Blues festival, The Lowdown Blues Band gave the crowded Duck and Drake a spectacular glimpse of what to expect over the bank holiday event. With the fabulous bluesy voice of lead singer Mick Agnew and a band full of quality musicians, its easy to see why the band are mentioned in the same breath as the legendary Dr Browns Blues Band. From Blues classics to Rock ‘N’ Roll favourites every song was sung and played to the fullest effect. To get people dancing at 6-00 on a Sunday afternoon is a rare achievement, The Lowdown Blues Band did it with ease. With an unexpected guest spot from Alex Eden of Crosscut Saw the Duck and Drake faithful were in "Blues" heaven. As Mick Agnew finished the gig singing about a high quality car (Mercedes Benz) the audience realised that they had just witnessed a high quality singer and band. Bring on the festival !

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Continuing their sell-out UK tour, Nickel Creek gave the City Varieties a night to remember. The 100 minute set included music from both their earlier albums and their latest highly acclaimed album “Why Should The Fire Die?” The Californian trio joined by twice named IBMA Bass Player of the Year, Mark Schatz produced an evening which took the audience from delicate harmonies such as “Anthony” to the Celtic-flavoured tune “Scotch & Chocolate” which had everyone foot-tapping. With violinist Sara Watkins and guitarist Sean Watkins outstanding musicians themselves complimenting the wonderful stage presence of mandolinist Chris Thile, this was a night which will last in the memory for years to come. The quality of the performance throughout and the warmth of the final encore of “Doubting Thomas” left a glow and the realisation that Nickel Creek must be one of the finest live performers touring these shores this year, without doubt.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Being able to spend a Sunday afternoon listening to two local singer-songwriters is a rarity especially when the two in question are Ric Neale and Shaun T Hunter. At a packed Fernandes in Wakefield, Ric played the first set with class and feeling which set the scene for a thoroughly chilled out afternoon. When he sang “Run for the hills” nothing could have been further from the minds of the music lovers present. Shaun T Hunter was his usual exceptional self, seeing Shaun “live” and it’s easy to see why he was successful at the recent Leeds Music Awards. His set included songs from his previous albums plus a glimpse of what to expect from his soon to be launched CD. It is hoped the launch of the CD and tour will take place in Leeds within the next few weeks. Such was the effect after being chilled out for two hours by these two quality performers, the world didn’t seem too bad a place after all !.

Monday, February 06, 2006


“The spears on the wall, do not bode well” quipped Chris Harland, the lead singer of Johnson House as the band took to the stage at The Black Swan in York, for a charity gig which raised much needed hundreds of pounds for “worldvision”. With a voice more powerful and sharper than any of the spears hanging from the dark panelled walls, Chris and the band gave a performance of immaculate quality, to the point that the packed audience, no matter how many gigs they see this year, have probably seen the best of the year already.
After changes in personnel over the years, the band now contains top quality musicians in the form of Leon Parr on drums, Johnny Heyes on lead guitar, James Rimmer on keyboards and the band’s bass player of many years Matt Walkin, all blending together to make a tight sounding professional unit.
An extra dimension for the audience of this gig, was the background information given regarding how the songs were written, and how they developed into their present form. This was a pleasant change as it made the songs even more intimate and poignant. The lyrics come from the heart of everyday life, the loves and losses in semi-detached suburbia, a place which most of us could relate to, especially the sundays in the park as described in “Hall Park Sunday” and when Chris sang the line “yesterday is brighter than tomorrow” from the track “Worry Loves” the crowd as one could nod in recognition and acknowledgement.
It’s a tragedy for lovers of meaningful songs and musicianship that due to other playing commitments, this band are not on the road more often, they deserve a much wider audience. If there was a grain of justice in the music world, Johnson House would be headlining the main stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival on a regular basis, enabling the British music industry to show we can still produce class.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


The 2006 Burnley National Blues Festival which takes place on the Easter weekend of 14th to 16th April inclusive, have now made the festival brochure available on line at

Songwriter Stuart Negus is currently working on his forthcoming album which will see Stuart back on the road to promote the eagerly awaited CD.

The Welsh T Band are about to start work on their new CD. It will be their first studio based album following the success of their two highly acclaimed live albums “Baby, Baby, Baby” and “Mochyn Fawr”.

Plans are being formulated at present for a Blues festival to take place in Leeds in early May, potential artists to perform are The Speakeasy Blues Band, The Welsh T Band and Crosscut Saw. Further announcements will appear on this web site when available.

The launch of the new and exciting local band “Swollen Ballz” will be at “The Mixing Tin” on Sunday 5th March at 9-00pm.