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Issue 1088

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British Blues Awards 2011

Paul Jones presented with Broadcaster of the Year award by B&S' Simon Redley
Paul Jones presented with Broadcaster of the Year award by B&S' Simon Redley Paul Jones with Lifetime Achievement, Broadcaster and Harmonica Player Of The Year awards Paul Jones with The Blues Awards' happy helpers Paul Jones reading Blues & Soul ...All those gongs AND he has taste as well! lol Ian Siegal wins Best Male Vocal at The British Blues Awards 2011 Ian Siegal perform at The British Blues Awards 2011 Paul Jones with Best Band winners Oli Brown Band @2011 British Blues Awards Oli Brown (Band) wins Best Band at The London Blues Festival 2011 Jenna Hooson perform's at The British Blues Awards 2011 Tim Aves Wolfpack arm themselves at the 2011 British Blues Awards Carl Bingham (Cliff Brown Band) performing at The British Blues Awards 2011 Cliff Brown Band at The British Blues Awards 2011 Claire Black (Tim Aves Wolfpack) performing at The 2011 Blues Awards Giles King performing with Tim Aves Wolfpack at The 2011 Blues Awards

Woke up this morning, and jumped on board a Greyhound to Newarkテ「ツヲテ「ツヲ.Well, more accurately, I blagged a lift in the photographerテ「冱 Kia Sorrento 4 x 4, to the annual national blues awards bash to celebrate all things British.

No passport required though. Not New Jersey. Deepest Nottinghamshire! The British Blues Awards 2011 were held in the grounds of Newark Castle, where the cream of the UKテ「冱 blues industry gathered to celebrate the good and the great at the blues worldテ「冱 Oscars.

Going against the famous quote by Sir Barnett Cocks, that a committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled - the national awards are in their second year, born from an idea by Nottingham Blues Society committee. To recognise and celebrate, the wealth of blues talent in this country. Young, new and established artists. All the awards organisers are volunteers.

The awards are nominated by blues fans, and voted for by blues fans on the internet. Not committees or those with vested interest in the industry. Only the Lifetime Achievement Award is not decided by the public. This year, double the amount of nominations and votes than last year, with 80,000 votes from 100 countries (78 countries last year.) That is possibly more votes than the WC Handy Awards in the USA.

Music and radio legend Paul Jones swept the boards, scooping not one, not two, but three trophies. Former Manfred Mann star and host of BBC Radio 2テ「冱 blues show, lifted the harmonica player of the year and broadcaster of the year awards テ「 the latter presented to him by Simon Redley. Paul was also given the Lifetime Achievement award, in recognition of his mega- successful career in music and blues broadcasting. Paul has been at the helm of the national BBC blues show for 25 years, boosting listener figures year on year.

He told the delighted crowd: テ「廬 donテ「冲 do pride. But I am honoured, delighted and surprised to be winning one trophy, let alone three. I thought you only get a Lifetime Achievement award when you are old.テ「 Paul (69) turned to MC Simon Redley, jokingly holding his mouth with both hands, and said: テ「廛onテ「冲 you dare. Say nothing young manテ「ツヲテ「 He was on stage not only to collect his own trio of awards, also to present a couple.

The day began with a moving ceremony, when a plaque in the rose garden was unveiled in memory of blues singer, guitarist and prolific songwriter Kevin Thorpe. Kevin died soon after coming off stage at last yearテ「冱 Newark Blues festival, in the same castle grounds. Kevin fronted mega blues band Out Of The Blue, who worked with Robert Cray and The Memphis Horns among others.

He was an acclaimed producer too, with albums by US star Eugene Hideaway Bridges under his belt. His new band, Tipping Point made their debut at the event last year, after which he was taken ill and later died in hospital. Former members of Kevinテ「冱 band, including top session guitarist Eddie Tatton, friends, members of the Nottingham blues society, his close family and local dignitaries, gathered to unveil the brass plaque. A brand new award in his name, The Kevin Thorpe Songwriter of the Year Award, was also announced - the winner being Joanne Shaw Taylor, for her song テ「彜ame As It Never Was.テ「

On the main stage, the event kicked off with the first band of the day, The Cliff Brown Band. Amplifier designer Cliff, and his power trio appeared on the new jazz and blues stage at The Glastonbury Festival last year, and their performance at the BBA 2011 proved why. Soulful vocal and guitar from Cliff, new bassist Carl Bingham on only his second gig with the band, giving Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller a run for their money. His show-boating bass solo using wah wah pedal, deservedly got loud applause. Ian Beestin provided solid foundation on drums. Some strong funky self-penned material, sometimes with a Yellowjackets vibe. Good stuff.

The awards are hosted as part of the three-day Newark Blues festival. Bands at the festival included award winner Ian Seigal, Hokie Joint and Jon Amor. Punters at the awards ceremony on the Sunday, were treated to blues from Tim Aves Wolfpack, Hooson from Yorkshire テ「 fronted by powerhouse vocalist Jenna Hooson, Idle Hands Blues Band, and the Cliff Brown Band.

MALE VOCAL: IAN SEIGAL - Ian was the winner of the Best Band category last year. Ian (40) is spending a lot of time in the USA lately, working with some big blues names. His influences include Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Son House, Junior Kimbrough and Tom Waits.

Ian was a late テ「80s art college drop out, busking around Germany. He lived in Nottingham for five years, toured Europe in 2003 and 2004 with former Stone Bill Wymanテ「冱 Rhythm Kings. Ianテ「冱 CDs テ「廴eat & Potatoesテ「 and テ「彜waggerテ「 helped put him on the map. Mojo magazine made his album テ「廝roadsideテ「 their blues album of the year in 2009. This year he released "The Skinny," recorded in North Mississippi, with an all-star cast.

This guy is the real deal. He lives the blues, and has paid his dues on the road over several decades. Re-invents himself every album, but stays true to his roots. Well deserved, and a lot more to come from him. Look out for Ian and his band on a UK tour with Wilko Johnson this Autumn.

FEMALE VOCAL: JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR - Ten years ago, when Joanne was just 13 years old, I photographed her at Bishopstock Blues festival in Devon, in a young musicianテ「冱 contest. Three stunning guitarists battled it out. Andy Cortes, Scott McKeown and Joanne. She amazingly failed to make the top three places, but she was something very special. The winner was a young girl singer in the Janis Joplin mould. I then saw Joanne a few years later, at a pub gig in Derbyshire. She was awesome both times. Guitar playing sizzling. Voice needed to mature, and now it has. And some.

But she has come on so much since then, got snapped up by Dave Stewart and joined his super group D.U.P. for a world tour. Joanne is currently in the USA on her own tour, promoting her debut album テ「弩hite Sugarテ「 on German label RUF records. Still only 23-years-old. Phenomenal guitarist and matured into a lovely vocalist, and fine writer too. She won the new Kevin Thorpe songwriter award today too.

UK blues is in safe hands for the future, not only with the young up and coming stars, but also in female hands too. Joanne is touring the UK in November. Go see her while you still can. The Americans and Canadians seem to be adopting her. Legendary blues producer Jim Gaines テ「 Clarence Gatemouth Brown, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Santana テ「 produced her debut album. Record label promotions man Golly Gallagher accepted the award on Joanneテ「冱 behalf. Sandi Thom came second.

BAND: OLI BROWN BAND - Oli Brown is just 22 years old. He was signed to the German blues label Ruf Records at just 18. He released his debut CD, テ「廾pen Road,テ「 in July 2008. Legendary blues producer Mike Vernon テ「 Freddie King. Peter Greenテ「冱 Fleetwood Mac. Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Roachford - was coaxed out of retirement to produce his second and current album テ「廩eads I Win Tails You Lose,テ「 released in 2010. In the same year, Oli made his debut at the Glastonbury Festival.

At last yearテ「冱 British Blues Awards, Oli was named テ「廝est Male Vocalistテ「 and テ「廝est Young Artist.テ「 About to tour the UK, as special guest of blues legend John Mayall. He had five nominations this year. His band are Wayne Proctor on drums and Ron Sayer on bass. Oli from Norfolk, first picked up a guitar in 2002 aged 12. Two and a half years later, he was in the USA gigging with Taj Mahal and Buddy Guy. He even has his own signature guitar. Oil and his band were all on stage to collect the trophy.

GUITARIST: MATT SCHOFIELD - Guitarists and axe mags globally, all hail this Britテ「 as one of the greatest spankers of the plank to ever come from the UK. Well, let me tell you, they are spot on. Mr S is a stunning talent, and gets better. Whatテ「冱 more, despite moving to Canada and touring there and the USA, working with massive stars, Matt (34) stays put on a UK based record label. A few years ago, he played rhythm guitar for me when I produced blues great Sherman Robertson. Sherman テ「 who was on Paul Simonテ「冱 Gracelands album, gave me Mattテ「冱 debut album in 2004 and told me: テ「廩ereテ「冱 your man. Why bother with me, when this amazing guy is in the UK?テ「

One listen to this chapテ「冱 awesome guitar playing and vocals, literally blew me away. Think Robben Ford and Larry Carlton meets Steve Cropper, with a massive dose of Matt Schofield thrown in. World class. Jonny Henderson on organ, playing bass lines with one of his hands, and his feet! Mind blowing. The UK blues scene should be very proud of what Matt has achieved, and for Richard Pavittテ「冱 unwavering support with his label Nugene Records. Often compared to his hero Robben Ford - but Matt is Matt. You can hear the awesome Meters influence in his work too. No one deserves this award more than this guy. He won three awards last year, including this one. A pro from 18-years-old, he toured and recorded with Lee Sankey and Dana Gillespie, before forming his own band. Label boss Richard Pavitt accepted the award for Matt, who is on a US tour. Robin Trower was second, and Oli Brown third.

HARMONICA: PAUL JONES - What can you say about this man? Legendary singer, harmonica player, songwriter, frontman, broadcaster, actor, author. Manfred Mann. The Manfreds. The Blues Band. Duo with Dave Kelly. Solo career. Sought after as a guest star singer and harp player. Respected by his pals, including Eric Clapton who guests on Paulテ「冱 recent solo album. Paul celebrating 25 years hosting the BBC Radio 2 blues show, formerly chaired by the late Alexis Korner.

Paul turned down an invite from Mick Jagger and pal Brian Jones, to front a new band they were forming. A band that turned into the mildly succesful Rolling Stones! Paul began as PP Pond, and duets with Elmo Lewis, aka Brian Jones. He had huge success with Manfred Mann, before a solo career from 1966. In 1967 he starred in the cult classic movie テ「弃rivilege,テ「 with Jean Shrimpton. He starred in the West End and on Broadway. He also became a celebrated TV actor.

US blues star Joe Bonamassa invited Paul to join him at the sold-out Royal Albert Hall in May 2009, to play harmonica. He is President of the National Harmonica League. Winning this same award at last yearsテ「 awards too. Paul has broadcast on all five BBC radio stations. Ten years ago he got the big red book treatment for テ「弋his is Your Life.テ「 He formed The Blues Band 32-years-ago, which helped kick start British blues again since its テ「60s hey day.

KEYBOARDS: JONNY HENDERSON. Stunning Hammond player for Matt Schofield since 2004. He got this same award last year. He also plays with Ian Siegal. In 2009, he released a solo album, with the great title: テ「弩here Did I Leave My Keys?テ「 He appears on Otis Grandテ「冱 2009 album, and on all five Matt Schofield albums.

BASS: ANDY GRAHAM - Bassist for Ian Siegalテ「冱 band since the mid テ「90s. Born in the South of England, brought up in South Wales. Moved to Italy to teach English. A much sought after session player. Andy has played at huge gigs in Hyde Park, backing some big names. He is also a qualified osteopath. Owns a timid but huge Great Dane, who sheltered on the window ledge of a 3rd floor flat - on the outside, in a bad storm! Perhaps the dog suspected an imminent bass and drum solo?

DRUMS: WAYNE PROCTOR - Drummer with Oli Brownテ「冱 band. He has played with Ainsley Lister, former Hoax axe man Jon Amor, Ian Parker and King King. Wayne is an acclaimed producer. An endorsee of Slingerland drums, and a producer. It just had to be a drummer, didnテ「冲 it, to be the only winner to drop his glass trophy on the stage in front of the crowd and cameras! Oops.

INSTRUMENTALIST: SON HENRY テ「 Originally from New York. Superb lap steel player. Cross between Kelly Joe Phelps and Jeff Healey. Not your average blues band. Tight rhythm section. He plays blues harp too. Explosive front man. Hooked on blues at 12, when he saw BB King. Son was unable to be there to collect his award, as he had injured his back at a recent gig. Where was Andy Graham when he needed him?

YOUNG ARTIST: CHANTEL McGREGOR - She picked up her Dadテ「冱 guitar as a nipper to get attention. It worked. Patents bought her a half-size acoustic guitar at the age of three. She had lessons at seven and at eight, she was the youngest in the UK to pass a Rockschool grade. At 12, Chantal experienced her first jam session, where she sang and played guitar at a hotel near her Bradford home. Described then as a テ「徘rodigyテ「. At 14, the head of A&R for a major label went to see what all the fuss was about, and told her she had a great voice, but テ「徃irls do not play guitar like that.テ「 He added, and I am serious here: テ「弸our playing is too intimidating for the boys. Change your musical style.テ「 She refused, luckily, with the response: テ「弋hatテ「冱 their problem.テ「

Chantel studied to be an English teacher. Passed her A levels, then chose music at Leeds. She is the first student in college history to get a 100% pass and 18 distinctions. She graduated with a first class honours degree in music in 2009. Her debut CD テ「廰ike No Other,テ「 has attracted good reviews. She is featured on The Universal Records compilation, テ「100 Years Of The Blues.テ「 Her power trio band are drummer Martin Rushworth and bassist Richard Ritchie. All eyes have been on Joanne Shaw Taylor, flying the female flag for UK blues around the world. Well watch out for Chantel. Sheテ「冱 on her wayテ「ツヲテ「ツヲテ「ツヲ.and still only in her very early 20s. Up against very strong competition in Oli Brown and others, including a youngster from Glossop worth watching out for. Alex Mckown.

BLUES FESTIVAL: GREAT BRITISH RnB FESTIVAL, COLNE - For 22 years, the sleepy Lancashire town of Colne comes alive with live blues every August bank holiday weekend. Organised by Pendle Council, and now run by Alison Goode. This year they excelled in the international soul arena, with the great Mavis Staples, the great Steve Cropper, the great blue-eyed British soul boy James Hunter and US blues legend Sherman Robertson, all on the same day on the main stage. Also featuring Jack Bruce and Oil Brown among four days of many acts on several stages. Alison accepted the trophy with the broadest grin of the day.

OVERSEAS ARTIST: JOE BONAMASSA - Barry Middleton, the chairman of the Blues Awards, booked Joe at the former number one blues venue in Nottingham, the tiny Running Horse, and then the larger Rescue Rooms. Joe filling arenas these days. Born in New York, the late and great Danny Gatton his mentor. He opened for BB King at 12 years old, and BB was staggered at his talent, and told people to watch out for him. Joe cites UK and Irish bands as his main influence. Jeff Beck, Clapton, Rory Gallagher. Gary Moore. Jimmy Page. Joe, 34-years-old, is also in the supergroup, Black Country Communion, with UK rock singer Glenn Hughes.

BROADCASTER: PAUL JONES -His Radio 2 blues show used to be on Thursday nights, now on a Monday at 7pm. Paul praised all seven producers he has worked under in his 25-year tenure. Specially current supremo Paul Long, who has breathed new life into the show. He has introduced a lot more live concerts, from major blues festivals and gigs. They broadcast the Tedeschi Trucks/Robert Randolph gig at Shepherds Bush Empire (see B&S Live section for review and pix) in two separate shows recently.

ALBUM: テ「廩EADS I WIN TAILS YOU LOSE.テ「 OLI BROWN - Young Oli was keen to get off stage with his second award of the day, to nip backstage to dial producer Mike Vernon at his home in Spain, to tell him the news that the album he produced (instead of continuing his retirement in the sunshine,) had won the biggie.

Chairman Barry Middleton summed up the event and this yearテ「冱 winners. テ「廬t was a tremendously successful day, and the number of people who voted from 100 countries was overwhelming. It just goes to show how healthy British blues is, and the interest it has around the world. All the nominees were winners, and those who picked up a trophy thoroughly deserve the attention. Next year will be even bigger and better, with exciting plans to expand and improve it.テ「

Sponsors for the awards, were: Blues in the South, Fredericton Harvest Jazz & Blues Festivalテつ(Canada), Moonshine Magazine, The Greyhound テつBeeston, Varmint Radio Show, GFI Promotions, Nugene Records, FM Events, The Blues CD Store, Digital Blues テつradio show, Shetland Blues Festival, Bentworth Blues Festival,テつNew Crawdaddy Club, New Brunswick テつTourism (Canada), Blues In Britain and The Blues SessionテつRadio Wey.

For more info on the British Blues Awards, go to britishbluesawards.com

Photos: Ian Shipley
Words SIMON REDLEY

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