We can’t go to blues gigs, so here’s how to get the gigs to come to you

We can’t go to blues gigs, so here’s how to get the gigs to come to you

Words by Dr John Lamp.

The local blues community hasn't given up.

I’m going to take this away from our recent climate of doom and gloom.

August is one of those months of change. We’re coming out of winter, the days are getting longer, so thinking about some more uplifting things is a seasonal thing to do.

August also marks the birthdays of some of the biggest names in blues music. Robert Cray, Magic Slim, Sam Collins, Percy Mayfield, Luther Allison, Curtis Jones, Isaac Hayes, John Lee Hooker, Lester Young and Dinah Washington were all born in August.

Right now, you may well be thinking that I’ve left out (insert name here), and I probably have. I could keep listing names for the rest of this piece, and I’ll still be leaving some out, and you’d be bored witless at just having a shopping list of names.

Or would you?

A shopping list is not such a bad thing, and while at present, it’s hard to get out to the gigs, you can get the gigs to come to you.

OK, some shopping tips…

First up, check your favourite musicians, especially the local ones you are missing. Many musicians are taking the opportunity (hah!) given by having no gigs to get back into recording.

Second, get into the social media sites, good places for keeping tabs on what’s coming soon and what’s out now. These days, it’s more recordings than gigs, and that’s what we’re looking for.

Just scrolling down the Geelong Blues Family Facebook group has some names flashing past. Dean Kruger has some demos and tracks he is working up. Charlie Bedford, Melinda Traves, Slyde Back, Blue Sunday are all on there as well.

Over to the Melbourne Blues Family, Michael Charles has put the music from his recent sessions together as a downloadable album. Moses Jones & Love in Vain has a socially distanced live recording.

40 Thieves have a new album, “Recorded, arranged and produced… Lock down style” and available on Bandcamp.

Don’t miss Matt Dwyer’s videos showing how different performers used and modified chords in their songs, and Chris Turner has a link to a new YouTube video combining stills from concerts with footage recorded at home.

Those home videos give a whole new insight into the glamour of a music life. Doonas used for acoustic dampening, I’m sure the bass player didn’t have that many empty stubbies behind him when the video started…

This is a time you can be more than a passive consumer. If you are impressed by a particular track, tell them, if you’d like to see it move in a different way, tell them. Don’t bag, be positive. A few years ago, Mihirangi (now back in New Zealand) actually organised selected fans into a production panel. She sent around drafts and invited comments on how to develop them. It was great to get a CD at then end and think, “I remember when we decided on that sound.”

If you’re a musician, check out Ben Wicks’ video on getting some merch together “with no money down.”

So this time round, a bit of a different spin on what’s happening in the local blues, and more widely.