Kent Duchaine at The Fleece, Bretfort0n 29/08

Ken

The 600 year old Inn near Evesham, hosted the young 80 year old Leadbessie, cradled in the arms of Kent Duchaine, who gave his tightly strung ward a damned good thrashing, (not to mention putting a bottle to Leadbessie’s neck too)

This was the start of the inaugural Beer & Blues Festival at the lovely old Fleece Inn, plenty of good ale, cider and blues over 3 days.

We were here to see Kent, a world renowned bluesman with his battered ‘Bessie’, a ’34 National Steel resonator. What I had not realised, was that he is also a raconteur who strings his songs together with tales of long lost friends, life on the road and broken relationships. All told with reverence, and maybe a rascally sparkle in the eye. Many have inspired the music he plays, blending anecdotes and southern blues into his show.

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Many of you who glance through this, will already be familiar with his style, it was the first time I had caught up with him, so humour me! First, ‘Leadbessie’, is a bit of a legend, Kent has travelled with this scarred old warrior for over 37 years. ‘she’ is patched and taped, discoloured and barely recognisable, her proud National emblem, all but disappeared; but, given the acoustics of this old barn, she sounded OK. Kent plays her hard, and the battered body is all his own work.

The songs are tales of travel, eulogies to some of the greats he has met and performed with. Songs about Muddy Waters, Son House and Bukka White’s, ‘Aberdeen’. Robert Johnson’s ‘ Preachin Blues’, and tales spending time fishing and performing with Johnny Shines. Fishing and wives feature a lot in Kent’s stories of home, ‘The Storm’, tells all. A dedication to the late Johnny Winter, and on to a bit of Howling Wolf. It seems Kent Duchaine has met and often played alongside all the blues greats of his time, Willie Dixon helping him along, sharing reefer and champagne with Muddy on the way. Not sure who has the better voice, Kent or Leadbessie, I know which one looks more age weary, but that doesn’t seem to matter much as long as there’s plenty of gaffer tape around to bind the wounds. This is raw, passionate blues, rooted in the Mississippi Delta delivered to the UK by a master of the acoustic guitar. A wonderful version of that well trodden favourite, St. James Infirmary Blues had ended the first set. ‘Sweet Home Chicago’, opened the second, nods to Freddie King and John Lee Hooker, more home tales, a wry smile, Gershwin and ‘Summertime’. We are at the close for a bit of a sing along, a Brit anthem, ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ sung with gusto by all, and quickly on, to marching saints. Its been a brilliant evening in this draughty old barn, the air warm from the press of bodies, here to see the legend that is Kent Duchaine.

We enjoyed it so much, were going back for a second session, only 48 hours later at another historic Inn, The Prince Of Wales at Ledbury, just what Sundays are for.

 

Words & Photos Graham Munn

 

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Having recently reviewing the incredible new single, A Place Called Home, I thought it would be intriguing to try to discover those perfect ten albums that inspire and influence frontman, Johny Brown

 

TOP TEN ALBUMS

These are off the top of my head and written under the worst most crushing hangover I’ve had in years. I can’t believe someone has just put me up for that ice bucket thing… Christ, I’m going to avoid the world and my bed for a few days with me heavy dose Cornelius Cardew book that I will never finish… anyway, ten albums…

 

BITTER SPRINGS

THAT SENTIMENTAL SLUSH

I love the lyrics on this album. Simon Rivers is an English wordsmith of the highest order. Bitter Springs are a proper band and the inspired songs on here have seen me through some dark days sure enough. Gathering Dust always gets me emotionally and Ice Cold Glass of Beer is my song of preference for sitting with an Ice Cold Glass of Beer. This is my favourite music at the end of the day, this is what I love and gravitate towards… post punk bands, straight up outsider outfits, with a love of Northern Soul, New York Beat, and French Cool, a bit of emotional investment, a curious nature, and a weird slant to the song composition. Springs, Sect, Sexual Objects, these are the people I always return to, my Dylan’s, my Bowie’s my Young’s, definitely, these chaps.

EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN

ENDE NEU

This is a later Neubauten album and quite smooth in comparison to the earlier recordings, but all the better for it, takes you to some very interesting places. The Garden is classic and Nnaaaaammm is a great track for running through Northern pine woods until you collapse in a heap of midgie bites…

FRANK SINATRA

WATERTOWN

What the fuck… A Sinatra concept album! Frank lives a comfortable life in a small nothing much happening town upstate and has a chick on the go, who is ‘a really good little cook in the kitchen’ only problem is she is after running off to New York City to find herself and probably become Lydia Lunch or Kathy Acker. She tells him this over good coffee and a slice of apple pie in the local diner. Frank is heartbroken and sings some of the best most obscure songs of his life as he tries to get his head around the fact she’s leaving, nay, gone, from Watertown. A stunning album.

DONNA SUMMER

I REMEMBER YESTERDAY

I love every track on this album, and also throw in Wasted from the same period, it is Disco as art form, and through taking a song from most periods of American 21st Century culture, classical, jazz, soul, rock and roll it transmutes into something timeless which is still fresh sounding today.

IGGY POP AND JAMES WILLIAMSON

KILL CITY

Great nasty portrayal of mid seventies poisonous excess in Los Angeles, every song hurts.

NECTARINE NO 9

IT’S JUST THE WAY THINGS ARE JOE, IT’S JUST THE WAY THINGS ARE

Davie Henderson / Jock Scott / Walter Tevis – a winning combination

SAINT ETIENNE

FOX BASE ALPHA

The best British pop album ever made. Nothing Can Stop Us Now still blows the mind

SEX PISTOLS

LIVE AT ELECTRIC CIRCUS BOOTLEG 76

I’ve had this recording on various cassettes over the years, it was taped onto a cassette recorder by a guy called Mark Taylor who made me a copy early on in my life. I grew up with this recording of pure inspired chaos style and spite. I much prefer it to the album. Great band this, especially Matlock’s bass and backing vocals. I play this over and over. It still totally sets the blood racing and sounds best on a bus travelling through the city.

SPOEK MATHAMBO

MSHINI WAN

I got into this through the greatly weird video of his version of She’s Lost Control but the album goes much deeper. A great new world voodoo shamanic techno album

SUBWAY SECT

WHAT’S THE MATTER BOY

A most underrated and hard to come by album. Make Me Sad is the template and inspiration for many a Band Of Holy Joy song, and Vic is certainly the forerunner of Edwyn / Springs / Henderson and countless others. The man himself has the best taste in modern American R and B and obscure French literature. Great radio guest.

 

To find out more about Band Of Holy Joy, their music and forthcoming live dates checkout their website http://www.bandofholyjoy.co.uk/

 

 

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Hollie April is a twenty-two year singer-songwriter who originally hails from Gibraltar, she first start writing songs at a young age and since those formative years has become an undergraduate at Leeds college of music where she represented the conservatoire at showcases for the likes of Sony, Island Records and Steinway. From there Hollie tasted the festival circuit, opening the mainstage of the Gibralter Music Festival as well as appearing at the Gibralter Jazz Festival.

Hollie released her debut EP, Marionette to great praise, with the track The Sun And The Sea being noted for particular praise from the likes of Soundcloud among others.

Together Alone is the follow-up single which see Hollie gain more support and plaudits, the track is a stunning near six-minute alternative folk epic that opens with Hollie’s mesmeric vocals and acoustic guitar, before developing with added dramatic drums, soaring melodies and Hollie showcasing that jaw dropping vocal range to the full. Hollie’s vocal ability is simply incredible, her voice oozes and simmers with emotion before lifting to a powerful crescendo, whilst the musical accompaniment augments the vocals to dazzling effect.

If the passion and delivery of Together Alone is anything to judge on Hollie April is destined for big things in the alternative folk field and beyond, personally I can’t wait to hear more from this young singer-songwriter.

Rhythm & Booze Rating 10

www.hollieapril.com

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In essence Teenage Wildlife is the work of Shoreditch based John Wright, a renowned film maker and photographer who has worked on films for numerous fashion labels such as Dior and Louis Vuitton as well Vanity Fair and more recently GQ magazine among others.

John has been writing and recording music for numerous years with his material being used as part of the various aforementioned campaigns among others. John was encouraged to create the Teenage Wildlife persona as a means to release his musical output after working with numerous names in the music industry otffered him support. Most Beautiful Thing/The Last Great Love Affair is the first release under the Teenage Wildlife monicker and serves as an interesting starting point.

Both tracks sees multi-instrumentalist John create an intriguing combination of electro soul using synths, keyboards, loops and beats, Most Beautiful Thing also features an unknown yet recognisible female singer delivering a glorious soulful vocal that John loops over a glitchy dub inspired mix to create a lovely slice of modern R&B. The Last Great Love Affair is a little more jumbled, with beats obscuring the delicate vocals a little and yet it’s still an intriguing number (though I’d prefer it stripped back a little).

As starting points go this two-track single is a welcoming opening gambit from an obviously talented artist, it’ll be interesting to hear where John Wright takes the Teenage Wildlife project next.

Rhythm & Booze Rating 7

www.teenagewildlifemusic.com

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Band Of Holy Joy are London based practitioners of the gutter lament, evocative chanson like ballads that bring to mind the likes of Divine Comedy or the criminally underrated Costeau, a band (that like the aforementioned) that create slow burning odes to the human condition that weave an undeniable mesmeric spell with their compelling mix instrumentation and Johny Brown’s brooding croon.

In recent times the author Irvine Welsh proclaimed Band Of Holy Joy’s album Easy Listening to be his “favourite album of the year so far” whilst the likes of Mojo, The Mirror and The Wire all agreed, with favourable reviews of the album.

Band Of Holy Joy’s follow up the acclaimed album with a brand new single, entitled A Place To Call Home, a track that explores living in the inner city and a song that also goes some way to showcase the timeless sound of the

The track is a moody provocative piece that casts a magical spell, the slow, precise structure draws the listener in, before Johny delivers that sensational darkened soulful croon, lyrically the track is captivating, original and inventive, whilst musically the instrumentation draws you in.

There are very few acts that have the same draw as Band Of Holy Joy, few can create such an atmospheric sound whilst even less have a frontman with same aching voice of Johny Brown, if you’ve not heard the band yet, I urge you track down, at the very least this single and prepare yourself to be seduced by the brooding sounds of the human condition.

Rhythm & Booze Rating 9

www.bandholyofjoy.co.uk

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