Motor City Music Festival: Eugene Hideaway Bridges

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Motor City Music Festival: Eugene Hideaway Bridges

Eugene Hideaway Bridges has come a long way from using a plastic shovel with rubber bands on it as a child and, now with his latest studio album Hold On A Little Longer, he has defined himself as one of the true blues greats alongside BB King, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Buddy Guy.

Reminiscing on that time, Bridges remembers fondly about the first time he picked up a guitar. “I was three years old and about to turn four and there was a sound in my head ever since that time and it really needed to come out. My dad was known as Hideaway Slim and I remember that I used to fall asleep singing the T-Bone Walker riffs he would play in his band.”

From the very beginning music has been in Bridges’ blood, and he’s since established an incredible career from the many opportunities that have presented themselves and through his various studio releases.

Without the radio or records around the house, at the very beginning Bridges only really knew about the blues greats by name. However, it was the plastic shovel that sparked a deep love and passion for blues music and the guitar and Bridges hasn’t really looked back since.

“I received my first guitar, an acoustic starvation box guitar when I was four years old. It was January 2, 1967 and the first thing my dad taught me was a little simplistic Jimmy Reed riff. I only had four strings on that first axe and I had to earn the other two by doing household chores. It was an interesting beginning and it was a blessed childhood as we were downtown country folk from Louisiana,” he says.

Sitting in the airport lounge in Bangkok before boarding a plane to London for the start of the next tour, and despite the phone line dropping in and out, Bridges is excited as we begin to chat about his illusive return to Oz, 17 years on from his first official tour. On this tour (like all previous ones) Bridges is utilising the talents of the ever masterful Clayton Doley. An absolute master of the Hammond organ, when we begin to chat about the upcoming appearance at Motor City Music Festival 2015 which takes over the Geelong Showgrounds on the Labour Day weekend March 11-13, Bridges speaks animatedly about the opportunity in front of him.

“I’m really looking forward to playing this show. Although I’ve never been to the city before, I have heard so many great things about Geelong and Motor City and I am really looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to meeting fans that have heard my music but never seen me play. It’ll be great to experience all of what Geelong has to offer and everyone should come down and boogie,” he says.

With so many studio albums under his belt, the decision of a setlist and what to include and omit must be very hard, however Bridges assures me that he is putting 100% into the performance.

“It’s going to be a wide variety of emotion. It’s going to be a welcome history and I will be remembering my father who has passed on, I’ll be remembering BB King who has passed on, I’ll be remembering my pastor and everyone who has stood up for me and been an influence in my life to get me to where I am today,” he says.

“To be able to travel the world with my music, I will be recognising everyone that has helped me along the way in this show. It’s going to be incredibly energetic and Geelong isn’t going to know what’s hit it!”

From watching various live clips on YouTube, it’s immediately obvious to see the influence of BB King on Bridges’ life. From the stage presence to the live band arrangement, Bridges is keeping blues music alive and well, and remembers fondly the time that he met BB.

“In one sense I didn’t know who he was until I was like 20 years old. It was just a name to me when I was little but I had the opportunity to meet him when I was 7 years old. We were at a barbeque at Fats Domino’s house down in New Orleans and we were all just hanging out and BB just happened to be there. When I was playing a guitar he came over and said, ‘Hey boy, that’s my stuff that you’re playing!’ I thought he meant I was playing his guitar, but he meant the licks that I was playing. My dad was influenced by BB and I was influenced heavily by my dad.”

The latest record Hold On A Little Bit Longer is an album steeped with great tunes and further lyrical inspiration and philosophy. Talking about the concept, Bridges explains that it is reminding people about a previous time.

“I wrote hundreds of songs for this record and a few were shelved but I think this record is about reminding people about yesterday, the past and the future. This isn’t just something I do. Music and making albums is my heritage, it’s my history; my life. I want my music to be there and survive for many years to come and I hope that people can hear that through this release.”

Eugene Hideaway Bridges is a musician that has led a charmed career. From touring all around the world and playing with the likes of Micky Moody from Whitesnake, Lucky Oceans from Asleep at the Wheel and Clayton Doley, make sure you catch this legendary performer at Motor City Music Festival, because the show is going to be full of story telling and the best blues music around.

Written by Tex Miller

When & Where: Motor City Music Festival, Geelong Showgrounds – March 11-13