Bill Barber

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Bill Barber

With a new album officially out, and already heralded by blues legend Lloyd Spiegel as the next best thing, we had a chat with Bill to see his thoughts on the matter and how living in Bendigo has changed his craft.

Hi Bill, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?

Doing great at the moment! Just about to head out to see my mates the Four Lions in Bendigo.

Lloyd Spiegel has said you were next in line to become one of Australia’s blues greats, is that something that sits in the back of your mind a lot? Do you feel any pressure to live up to it?

Honestly it kind of floored me a bit initially, to have pretty much the main guy I look up to in music say something like that. Lloyd’s given me a lot of his time over the few years I’ve known him and to someone in my position, having just started my career, that knowledge is completely priceless.

As far as pressure to live up to it I don’t really see it that way. There’s a lot of really incredible people who’ve offered up their advice and guidance over my career so far and the fact that all those people took that time and believe in my music is something that really helps me go forward.

How do you find living in Bendigo has benefited your career in the blues industry?

Bendigo is by far the best blues town in Victoria, and I’d be willing to bet Australia as well. There’s no other town in Victoria that you can go to and on any given weekend there’s at least five different blues gigs on all within 10 minutes of each other. When you’re a blues guy living in a town like Bendigo it’s hard not to be inspired, by other musicians especially.

Through your career so far you’ve expressed a real passion and dedication to the genre, what is it you love about blues music so much?

For me the love of blues music comes from the kind of raw accessibility it has. There’s no dancing around the topic with blues, it just grabs you and tells you how it is.

Do you remember the first time you really connected with it?

The first time I really remember properly connecting with blues was when I was about 13. I’d bought a compilation CD of a whole bunch of Delta stuff and the first song on it was Grinnin’ in Your Face by Son House. From the first line I was in tears and had no idea why, that’s what I’ve always tried to do with my music – to make people feel something new they can’t explain.

You’re about to embark on a tour for your debut album, how was the recording and writing process of putting that one together?

The recording process was really different than what I thought it was going to be, I’d written a couple of the songs beforehand but I really just wanted the rest to happen in the studio. I booked two days and we laid down 90 percent of it live on the first day. It really just kind of manifested itself without us having to do or change much at all.

Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us, are there any last words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?

Thanks very much for the opportunity to have a chat with you guys. All I’ll say is go out and see a local blues gig! you might just find your new favourite band.

When & Where: Old Castlemaine Gaol, Castlemaine – July 30