Well, we’re nearly out of January and the festive season is well and truly past. Did they really start selling hot cross buns on January 2nd? I was told they had a use-by date of January 26th!
Well, I don’t know what you got up to around Xmas, but I was waist-deep in relatives. New Year brought Bluestone, and a great session.
The blues community here is growing, and yet it’s still small enough to be a friendly bunch – almost an extended family. This year Bluestone went off like a frog in a sock – the artists were tight (musically, not the other way; well, not until after their set!), the venue was great and the atmosphere was good. Brian Fraser opened, followed by Stringybark McDowell. Geoff Achison was a highlight, with an amazingly skilled and polished set. He alone was worth the entry fee. But the surprise of the night was Greg Dodd’s second set, because he was joined by Sammy Owen, who happened to be in the crowd … and to have his Fender… A true example of the old adage that you can plan all you like, but on the night magic happens. And it happened in that set.
Local band JJ & the Blue Dogs had the unenviable task of geeing up the crowd on New Year’s Day, and they did it in spades! Kay has an amazing voice, and with the likes of Gary “Quickie” Quick on keys and Ian Wilson on lead guitar, it got better and better.
Blue Eyes Cry followed, then Sweet Felicia and the Honeytones, with Chubby Rae and the Elevators to finish the day off. I don’t know about the day being finished off, but I certainly was.
A week later in January, the Blues Bootcamp was in full swing at the Potato Shed. This year’s tutors consisted of guitarist Wayne Jury, Hammond organ specialist Tim Neal, Bellarine ukulele artist Sarah Carroll, ‘Mr Black and Blues’ Michael Pollitt, Chris Wilson, Kelly Auty and percussion expert David Robertson. About forty musicians aged between 11 and 25 attended the intensive session of tutoring in music and the music industry – playing, performing, arranging and even using social media.
The Bootcamp culminated in a packed performance, with students putting their new skills into practice. These are the musicians of the future – not always blues musicians, but the skills are largely transferrable. I know Wayne gets a buzz when he’s at a gig and one of his students from the past six years of Bootcamps is up there putting it all to use.
So, what’s happening around Australia Day? Pistol Pete has Mr Black & Blues on the 23rd and Mick Dog’s Bone Yard on the 24th, with Pugsley Buzzard and Andy Phillips the following weekend. Lazy Eye from South Australia is playing at Martians on the 30th – a sensational trio with a Hammond B3 at the centre.
Myself, I’ll hang out to the 6th of Feb: Jeff Lang is at the Chook Shop!
By John (Dr John) Lamp / Proudly presented by the Sleepy Hollow Blues Club