It’s been a hectic time since my last post.
The Gloucester Rhythm and Blues Festival was great fun as always with a great variety of blues and blues-influenced music. I managed to see a lot of acts and also had the pleasure of performing quite a few times during the week with the two highlights for me being our Maxwell Street Blues Band gig in the function room of the New County Hotel on the first Saturday night and our Sons of the Delta band gig at the Pig Inn on the last Saturday night. The back room of the Pig was decked out in Christmas lights for the night and as always the sound in there was tight and punchy, just what we love. Add in to the mix a very hot and sweaty atmosphere and a large crowd and you have all the ingredients for a great juke joint experience. Special thanks for the whole week should go to Tim Porter and Bryn Williams for organising an eclectic and enjoyable selection of bands.
The Jigantics had a great gig at the Bath Fringe Festival and it was a real pleasure to perform in the Bell Inn again. I think the last time I played there was with the Dockery Boys back in the early ‘90s. It hasn’t changed – the sound is still great, the crowds large and enthusiastic and the beer fantastic! Hopefully we will be back there later in the year.
Last weekend the Sons of the Delta played two fantastic outdoor gigs in Spain. We had the pleasure of performing in one of the most beautiful venues that I for one have ever played at – El Patio de Arboles, Torreon de Lozoya in the historic town of Segovia. Visit the Sons of the Delta page on Facebook to see photos. The venue was in a small and very old courtyard which held about 300 people – quite an intimate and select location. We managed to play most of our hour and a quarter set before the rain started to fall and we had to come off stage. We were hoping the rain would stop and we could continue but thunder and lightning followed and that was the end of our performance. Fortunately the ticket price included as much cava and hot roasted almonds as you wanted and so the audience was happy enough after our hour of playing to get stuck in to the food and drink. The second gig, a five hour drive away, was at the Casa de Cultura in Gandia, a coastal town near Valencia. It was a much bigger venue with about 600 seats and this time the stage was covered and so rain wasn’t going to be a problem, although the seated area wasn’t covered. The rain stayed away thankfully. Before the show Rick and I were interviewed by Patricia for the Canal 7 TV station and we ended up playing an impromptu duo version of Few Short Lines. If I can get my hands of a copy of the finished thing I may share it with you. It was a very hot humid night and I think we almost got as wet as if it had been raining anyway! After the show we drank a lot of water then joined the crowd in the garden bar for a few beers. Shame we can’t sit out til 3am in the UK in short sleeves and still feel warm.
In amongst all of the above I took a week out to relax in Fethiye, Turkey. There’s a great tent bar near the hotel with a fantastic traditional Turkish band and I spent many an hour eating great Turkish food, drinking Efes and enjoying the occasional hooka pipe. I couldn’t resist buying two musical instruments (last year I bought a saz) and I came home with a zurna and a cumbus. The zurna is a reed instrument very similar in sound to the classic snake charmer’s instrument and the cumbus (pronounced Choombush) is a 12 string fretless banjo with a deep aluminium bowl which makes it sound more like a 12 string resonator. I have no doubt that it will get used on a recording, maybe even a gig, at some stage in the near future.
Coming up over the next few weeks, a phone interview with Maverick music magazine at the weekend, two local Sons duo gigs and then the Southsea Folk and Roots Festival. Both the Sons of the Delta and the Jigantics have slots at the festival and I’m looking forward to catching up with my buddy Dave Arcari, hopefully while propping up the bar for a few hours after our respective gigs.