The crowd at the Arriola XXII JazzBlues Festival in Elorrio
November has very much been a behind the scenes month with not a lot of public activity apart from a few gigs, most notable among those being our gig at the Arriola XXII JazzBlues Festival in Elorrio up in the beautiful Basque country near Bilbao. As always, the capacity crowd was really appreciative and danced for pretty much the entire three hours of the performance. There are a few photos from the trip on the Sons of the Delta Facebook page. We look forwards to heading back over to Spain next year.
I’ve been busy writing new songs for the next Sons of the Delta album with at least four songs in the bag and a few more on the way. The album will be a mix of band and duo songs to best represent both permutations of the Sons live. The songs on the first two albums have all been originals but on the new album we may include studio versions of a few cover songs that we do live, mostly obscure and re-worked, that always go down well and have become favourites with the audiences. I’d like to avoid any obvious covers – ones that have been covered a hundred times before – as that would be lazy and not really add anything to the global blues collection.
The Jigantics debut albums moves forward. Most of the recording has been completed so now comes the task of mixing. There is an equation when it comes to studio time: allow twice as long for the mixing as you did for the recording. So with that in mind, the album is still a little way off but hopefully not too long!
the Myers Brothers Band, who I had the privilege of gigging and recording with in Ottawa in October, have just released their latest album ‘Drive’. The album was recorded during both my trips over to Ottawa and I am delighted to be involved in the project both as a guest performer (harmonica and Hammond organ) and as co-producer. The album is available now as a download via CDBaby – click here to visit the page – and the CDs will be available in the next few weeks. A big thank you to Mike and Stevie for inviting me over and I look forward to revisiting Canada next year.
If you want a flavour of our trips over to Mississippi, try and watch ‘Rick Stein Tastes The Blues’. It’s no longer on the BBC iPlayer so you’ll have to keep an eye open for its appearance on YouTube. He meets several of our Clarksdale friends and also stays in the very shack at the Shackup Inn that we stayed at last April. The programme is a great mixture of music and food, so what’s not to like?
Right, I’ve got another tune in my head so I’m off to do some more songwriting.
The Myers Brothers Band with Mark Cole at the Rainbow, Ottawa
I did take my laptop to Canada but I was way too busy to think about anything other than the odd Facebook update and too busy since my return to do this post.
Canada was, as expected, fantastic and the Myers brothers looked after me exceptionally well. Last year when I visited we recorded the basic tracks for an album and we were determined to get the album finished this trip. But first we had our Ottawa gigs – Saturday night at the Bass Line Station and Sunday night at the prestigious Rainbow, Ottawa’s long-established premiere blues venue. Both gigs went really well and it was a special joy to play at the Rainbow and to add my name to the many famous names written all over the dressing room walls (thanks to Jamie Cashin for his Rainbow gig photo at the top of this post). The Myers brothers, with Pepé Lopez Jr. on drums and myself on harp and occasional slide guitar, kept the venues rocking with two sets totalling nearly three hours. Those boys deliver! Back to the recording and we managed to get some of Mike’s vocals completed at the Ottawa studio early the following week then it was off to Mike’s lakeside cottage up in Quebec. Most of the time was spent at Pine Door Studios finishing the vocals, some extra guitar work and mixing down but we had some time to relax at the cottage and take the boat out. You can’t beat the taste of food cooked out on the BBQ next to the lake! On Saturday night we made the short trip through the woods to Maniwaki and played at Le Resto. It was a return visit and I really enjoyed catching up with the friends I had made at the gig there last year. They are a really appreciative and friendly crowd who really know how to party! Everyone was up dancing from the first song and by the end of the night I was playing harp on the tables and Mike was crawling on his back across the floor as he played guitar. Wild! It was a late and crazy night but we rose fairly early the next day and managed to get the album finished, including an impromptu acoustic track which we recorded at the cottage. It’s getting mastered over here in the UK and the CD should be on the shelves in time for Christmas. Don’t worry, there’s one reserved for you ;) and if you prefer downloads then iTunes will have it early in the new year. Keep your eyes open for “The Myers Brothers Band – Drive”.
There was no time to rest after my return – I had to repair a guitar that broke just before I flew to Canada and also one of my harps which took a hammering while I was away. Then the following three nights I was out gigging and then in the studio for the start of the mixing down of the Jigantics debut album. Sunday night I saw the excellent J Alexander and the Blues Devils at the newly formed Gloucester Blues Club and Monday night Steve Earle at Birmingham Symphony Hall. What a superb concert. Over three hours of songs old and new, with a great band – the Dukes and Duchesses – which included his wife Alison Moorer. If you haven’t seen him make sure you don’t miss him next time he’s in your area!
So that’s why this post has had to wait a while. I’m now off to write an article on my time with the Myers Brothers plus transcribe an interview I did with them, to be printed in a British blues magazine in the very near future. It’s all go! Not so many gigs this month but I need to concentrate on finishing the Jigantics album and write new songs for the next Sons of the Delta album. No rest for the wicked! ;)