Category Archives: Rock music

Rock bands and music

So farewell to Butlin’s Rock & Blues weekends, Skegness 13-15 January 2023

For more than a decade an out-of-season trip to Butlins has been a fixture in my diary at least once each year: numerous trips to Minehead for the Giants Of Rock weekends, several trips to Skegness for the Great British Folk Festival and a handful of additional trips to the same resort for the Rock & Blues weekends. Over the years I’ve rented chalets with large groups, with smaller groups, with family, with friends and with friends I’ve made along the way. Thanks to Butlins I’ve enjoyed tons of live music, met various bona fide music legends in the flesh and connected with likeminded fans from across the country. But now it was finally all coming to an end. Butlins had pulled the plug on Giants Of Rock last year and now this year both the folk weekends and the rock & blues weekends were going the same way.

In response to customer complaints about the demise of the Great British Rock & Blues Festival, the Butlins team have been at pains to stress that the event had been in decline commercially for a number of years. Certainly, the various tribute band weekends that the company stage these days seem to be a far more lucrative option, attracting higher visitor numbers and the stag and hen weekenders who are there primarily for tongue-in-cheek fun and spending vast amounts at the bar rather than the quality of the music per se. And no fat fees for big-name acts to worry about either. If I were running Butlins I’d probably go down the same route myself, particularly as it was becoming increasingly clear that the crowds at the rock, folk and blues weekends weren’t getting any younger and simple demographics dictate that the existing punters weren’t going to be going along forever.

Of course, as an actual punter it did feel rather sad that it was all coming to end. I had vainly hoped that the Rock & Blues weekends in Skegness might continue once Giants of Rock had bitten the dust. But it was not to be. Although my tastes generally lie more at the rock end than the blues end of the spectrum, there was plenty of both to enjoy over this final weekend, however.

Highlights this year included the tremendous Ten Years After (a band I only properly rediscovered live at Minehead last year after seeing them once at Reading Festival back in the early 80s); the irrepressible Steve Gibbons (who announced at the end of his set that he’d had a clear out of all the old merch in his garage and that all the money raised from it was going to the relief effort in Ukraine – of course I bought some); sixties girl singer turned seasoned blues legend, Dana Gillespie (who delivered perhaps the filthiest set of the weekend, with some gloriously innuendo-laden blues lyrics); the Chicago Blues Legends (Billy Branch and John Primer with upcoming legend, Jamiah Rogers); and finally the Verity Bronham Band (I’d seen both John Verity and Del Bronham on numerous occasions at similar weekends over the years and it was lovely seeing them join forces for a stupendous sing-along set of rock classics.)

So farewell then Skegness Butlins. I really can’t see myself trekking across the country for a bunch of tribute bands in future. However, there’s still a decent bunch of off-season festival weekends out there offered by other holiday firms so it could well be time to explore some of those in future.

[Images Steve Gibbons on stage, Steve Gibbons and Darren at the merch desk, Dana Gillespie on stage]

The Great British Rock & Blues Festival 2018

Giants of Rock 2022

Giants of Rock 2020

Giants of Rock 2019

Giants of Rock 2018

Giants of Rock 2017

Graham Bonnet at Giants of Rock 2016

Ian Hunter at Giants of Rock 2016

Mick Ralphs Blues Band at Giants of Rock 2016

Procol Harum at Giants of Rock 2016

Bernie Marsden at Giants of Rock 2015

Slade at Giants of Rock 2015

Mick Ralphs Blues Band at Giants of Rock 2015

This week’s featured artist: blues guitarist Patrik Jansson – new album ‘Game Changer’

Starting out his professional career as a drummer, Patrik Jansson performed with a variety of blues bands, jazz combos, hard-rock and metal acts in his native Sweden. Keen for change in direction he picked up a guitar and began honing his skills as a guitarist, singer and songwriter. Inspired by the heavy blues of the Texas blues scene, Jansson then began putting a band together with a clear idea for the kind of direction he wanted to take things in.

Jansson: I wanted to play blues with a more modern approach. Blues is supposed to feel fresh and alive, it’s a most vital music in my opinion. In short I wanted to play the kind of music that I would like to hear myself and that I think a lot of other people would like and appreciate”.

Several albums with the Patrik Jansson Band followed: a self-titled debut in 2007, Here We Are in 2014, So Far To Go in 2017 and IV in 2020. At the end of October 2022, another change in direction came with the release of Jansson’s solo album, Game Changer. In contrast to previous band releases this one features Jansson playing all the main instruments himself, save for a few appearances by sundry guest musicians on a handful of tracks.

Just as my own musical tastes and the type of acts I cover on Darren’s music blog have always been pretty eclectic, Jansson’s latest album nicely echoes such eclecticism in its own influences, too. Jansson draws on his own musical background playing rock, metal, punk, pop, Americana, reggae, blues, jazz and fusion, bringing all of those influences to the fore in Game Changer.

”I believe there is only two kinds of music, good and bad. Listening to and playing so many different kinds of music, from Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, John Coltrane, Chic Corea and Weather Report to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath to name a few, there has never been a shortage of influences. If it sounds good, it is good! This time it was quite liberating to create music without putting up any limitations or boundaries and the mix of different genres and styles is bound to be nothing less than interesting.”

“This is the first time I have played all the instrument myself. It was a great experience and it was great to have the time to really find the right feel and sound for each song. This album is 100% Patrik Jansson. It’s a mix of everything that I have played and listened to throughout my career. It’s dark, beautiful, rootsy, heavy, groovy and moody. It’s music played with passion and I’m very proud of it.”

From mellow bluesy ballads, to jam-style instrumentals, to Hendrix-esque hard rock, to infectious rhythm and blues, to pumping reggae, Game Changer is an entertaining album featuring Jansson’s  creative and highly personal take on the blues. Well worth checking out.

Released: 28th October 2022

https://patrikjanssonofficial.com/

2022 in Darren’s music blog – the ten most popular posts of the year

I wish everyone a happy New Year. My thanks to everyone who has visited Darren’s music blog during 2022. As usual an eclectic mix of classic rock, folk and glam and a mixture of live reviews, album reviews, tour news and a plug for my own book appearing amongst the ten most viewed posts of the year.

1. Live review: the final ever Giants of Rock, Minehead 21-23 January 2022

Barring the gap due to Covid I’d been going to Butlins at Minehead each January since 2015 for the Giants Of Rock festival. But now the festival is no more, replaced by a tribute weekend, so I’ll be heading to Skegness in January for the Rock & Blues festival instead (although, sadly, that is coming to and end, too). Relive the last ever Giants of Rock weekend here with my review covering the likes of Ten Years After, Geordie, Atomic Rooster and Nazareth.

Read full review here

2. Live review: Suzi Quatro at the Royal Albert Hall 20/4/22

2022 was the year of all things Suzi Quatro for me. Not only did my book for Sonicbond’s Decades series, Suzi Quatro In The 1970s, come out in July but earlier in the year I could celebrate getting it finished, proofread and finally off to the publishers with a trip to London for Suzi’s incredible performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Photo credit (above): Gary Cosby

Read full review here

3. Live review: the Eagles at Hyde Park 26/6/22

I was back over to London a couple of times in the Summer, too, with two separate trips to Hyde Park for the British Summertime series of concerts. The first of these was for the Eagles. Long on my bucket-list of must-see bands I finally got to see them. Even without the late, great Glenn Frey, it was still an incredible experience and just magical being in Hyde Park late on a summer evening as the sun started set watching them perform ‘Hotel California’.

Read full review here

4. Live review: the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park 3/7/22

Just a week after the Eagles I was back in Hyde Park for the Rolling Stones. It’s been over thirty years since attending my first and only previous Rolling Stones gig, when I went with my dad to Manchester’s Maine Road back in 1990. My dad’s thinking back then was that if I wanted to see them live then 1990’s Urban Jungle tour might be my last chance. It wasn’t quite! Thirty years later I’m back for more and what a memorable evening it was.

Read full review here

5. Live review: Fairport’s Cropredy Convention August 2022

After a two-year gap due to Covid restrictions it was nice to be back in Oxfordshire in August for Fairport Convention’s annual Cropredy festival. Both tickets and line-up had been carried over from the event initially planned for 2020 but the passage of time had necessitated some tweaks to the line-up and in my case (due to a change in domestic circumstances), the reallocation of my second ticket to a Cropredy newcomer. Highlights included Clannad, Trevor Horn, Turin Brakes, Richard Thompson – and Fairport, of course!

Read full review here

6. New book: ‘Suzi Quatro In The 1970s’ by Darren Johnson coming in July 2022

Definitely, one of the highlights of 2022 for me was the publication of my book on Suzi Quatro for Sonicbond’s Decades series, which followed on from the book on The Sweet I had written the previous year for the same series. As Suzi herself says: “If you talk about the ‘70s, I was a hardworking artist. I did nothing but tour – recording, touring, TV, you know. I had constant jetlag. Constant black shadows under my eyes but, oh, what a ride! What a wonderful ride. And I’m still doing it now.”

Read original post here

7. Album review – Graham Bonnet Band ‘Day Out In Nowhere’

My most popular album review of the year, I wrote that Graham Bonnet is “clearly on something of a roll at this late stage in his career. Whether you are the more casual fan of his most celebrated albums from the late 70s and early 80s or a dedicated fan who’s loyally followed each and every stage of his long career, there’s lots to like in Day Out In Nowhere. It deserves to do well.”

Read full review here

8. Album reviews: four recent solo releases from the extended Uriah Heep family

Going online to treat myself to the newly-released CD from former Uriah Heep singer, Pete Goalby, I ended up having one of those “customers who viewed this also viewed these” impulse purchase experiences. Before I knew it I had, not one, but four recently-released CDs from the extended Uriah Heep family popping through my letterbox, three of these being released posthumously.

Read full review here

9. Bowie and Iggy Pop icon, Tony Fox Sales, celebrates 45 years of Lust For Life

One of the things I am really looking forward to in 2023 is the tour by Iggy Pop / Bowie bass legend, Tony Fox Sales.  With an all-star line-up, Tony is joined by legendary Blondie drummer, Clem Burke; vocalist, renowned broadcaster and Pet Shop Boys dancer, Katie Puckrik; Iggy Pop and David Bowie guitarist, Kevin Armstrong;  guitarist, Luis Correia, who’s toured internationally with Earl Slick; and classical pianist, composer, and touring member of Heaven 17, Florence Sabeva.

Read original post here

10. Gaelic singer Kim Carnie – debut album ‘And So We Gather’

Gaelic singer, Kim Carnie, launched her solo career in 2018 with the release of her EP, In Her Company. Since then she’s worked with the bands, Mànran and Staran, been much in demand as a session vocalist and in 2021 won the Gaelic Singer of The Year prize at the MG Alba Trad Awards. In June this year she released her debut album, And So We Gather.

Read original post here

2021 in Darren’s music blog

2020 in Darren’s music blog

2019 in Darren’s music blog

Tony Fox Sales re-records the Iggy Pop classic ‘Success’ with Blondie’s Clem Burke

Tony Fox Sales, the legendary bass player from Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life album and David Bowie’s Tin Machine has released a brand-new version of ‘Success’ from Lust For Life. The single is released ahead of a tour to mark forty-five years since the release of the classic album. The all-star line-up on the single features Tony Fox Sales alongside Blondie drummer, Clem Burke; vocalist, broadcaster and Pet Shop Boys dancer, Katie Puckrik; Iggy Pop and David Bowie guitarist, Kevin Armstrong;  guitarist, Luis Correia, who’s toured internationally with Earl Slick; and classical pianist, composer, and touring member of Heaven 17, Florence Sabeva.

Tony Fox Sales: “The Lust For Life album as a piece of work itself meant so much to me. To work with David and Iggy in Berlin was the highlight of my career at that point. It was a very creative and inspiring project to work on. It’s been fun for me to revisit ‘Success’ and re-record it with Clem and the others. I’m forty-five years older. I put a different bass track on it and I’m very proud of our new version. It moves. It’s going to be a lot of fun to perform it live. I hope you come and see us. Everybody’s pumped to do this.”

Vocalist, Katie Puckrik, adds: “Out of all the great songs on Lust for Life, ‘Success’ has a tangy little hold on my heart, which is why I wanted it as the single for our project. The glammy swagger of the tune is so damn cocky, but it’s the wit of the lyrics that tickles my pickle. After a tally of the winner’s spoils (a car, a Chinese rug), the line “here comes my face” cracks me up every time I sing it. It’s braggadocio meets neediness, the perfect distillation of the fame game.”

“It was a blast to perform this wry, sly song along with Tony Fox Sales’ thundering, musical bass, Clem Burke’s rhythms-within-rhythms drumming, and Kevin Armstrong’s soaring/slashing guitar. So thanks to some of the coolest musicians in the world—here comes my face.”

The single is available from 16th December on all the main digital platforms.

The same line-up will be touring next year, with a full UK tour alongside dates in Ireland and Japan. On the tour, the band will perform the Lust For Life album in full, as well as revisiting songs from across the individual band members’ careers with legendary artists such as Blondie and David Bowie.

Looking forward to the tour, Tony adds: “I’m very excited to get back on the road. I haven’t been on the road since I last toured with David Bowie and Tin Machine in 1991, but I’ve been a professional musician since I was twelve years old and I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The full 2023 tour dates are as follows:

Mon 20 Feb – Billboard Live, Osaka, Japan

Thur 23 Feb – Billboard Live, Tokyo, Japan

Tue 28 Feb – Exchange, Bristol, UK

Wed 1 March – The 100 Club, London, UK

Thur 2 March – The Cavern, Liverpool, UK

Fri 3 March – Social, Hull, UK

Sat 4 March – Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, UK

Sun 5 March – The Vodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, UK

Wed 8 March – Whelan’s, Dublin, Ireland

Thur 9 March – Arts Centre, Colchester, UK

Fri 10 March – The Piper, St Leonards, UK

Sat 11 March – The Lexington, London, UK

Sun 12 March – The Lexington, London, UK

All tickets available via: https://tonyfoxsalestour.com/

New book coming soon: ‘Slade In The 1970s’ by Darren Johnson out in April 2023

Following my books on The Sweet and Suzi Quatro I’m absolutely delighted to confirm that my third book for Sonicbond’s ‘Decades’ series, Slade In The 1970s, will be published next April.

You can pre-order from Amazon’s website here and it will also be available via the publisher’s online shop at Burning Shed as well as other major retailers in due course.

Slade In The 1970s – synopsis

Slade were one of the biggest British bands of the 1970s. One of the early pioneers of glam rock they enjoyed an incredible run of six number one singles, four top-ten albums and a succession of sell-out tours. However, after a failed attempt at an American breakthrough in the mid-1970s, Slade returned to Britain and faced dwindling record sales, smaller concert halls and a music press that had lost interest in them. By the end of the decade, they were playing residencies in cabaret clubs and recorded a cover of a children’s novelty song. But then came a last-minute invitation to play the 1980 Reading Festival, setting into motion one of the most remarkable comebacks in rock history.

As we come to the fiftieth anniversary of Slade’s 1973 annus mirabilis that saw ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’, ‘Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me’ and ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ all enter the UK charts at number one, this book celebrates the music of Slade. From the band’s beginnings in the mid-1960s through each year of the decade that gave them their biggest successes, every album and single is examined, as well as their raucous live shows and colourful media profile.

About the Author

A former politician, Darren Johnson spent many years writing about current affairs but after stepping away from politics he was able to devote time to his first love: music. His first book, The Sweet In The 1970s, was published by Sonicbond in 2021, followed by Suzi Quatro In The 1970s in 2022. Now he turns his attention to the first band he truly fell in love with: Slade. A keen follower of both rock and folk, he maintains a popular music blog Darren’s Music Blog and has reviewed albums and gigs for a variety of publications. He lives in Hastings, East Sussex

Related posts:

The Sweet In The 1970s

Suzi Quatro In The 1970s

Satisfy / So You Say – Double A-sided debut from The Resolve

The Resolve are a five-piece rock band from Kent who channel the big choruses, catchy melodies and high energy delivery from bands like Oasis, Kasabian and The Who with those stadium-sized guitar riffs instantly reminiscent of the mighty Foo Fighters.

Formed in 2019 as the covers band, Paisley Park, they cut their teeth on the local music scene around London and Kent and soon gained a faithful following, rapidly progressing to regular slots at local festivals – including headlining the Danson Park Firework Spectacular for an audience of 35,000. Now, with a new name and a new determination to create high-quality original music, The Resolve released their debut double A-sided single. ‘Satisfy’ / ‘So You Say’ on 25th November.

The Resolve: “After a number of years working the circuit as a covers band, we cannot wait to release our own music. We are so excited to finally get the songs out there, and to see where this new path will take us. The first track of our debut double A-side is ‘Satisfy,’ which is a song that jumps straight in to capture that feel of a great classic rock tune. For the second track, ‘So You Say’, we wanted a song that grabbed your attention from the start and then took you on a journey, from its mellow acoustic feel early on into that huge great chorus!”

“The inspiration for our music has come from all over, and from knowing exactly what a crowd wants through all our past work as a go-to covers band. Our mission is to channel the high energy from bands like The Who and The Foo Fighters with the crowd-pleasing, catchy choruses that define all of those great songs from The Beatles, The Jam and Oasis.”

The Resolve are:

James Cox – Drums

Simon Hawkins – Lead Guitar

Matt Kemp – Rhythm Guitar

Chris Regan  – Bass

Tom Wiltshire – Vocals

Both tracks were recorded at The Joplin House studio by producer Dan Lucas who says of The Resolve: “After nearly twenty years in the production chair, it’s amazing how many bands I’ve encountered who can play but can’t really write a ‘song’. I had my faith restored this weekend. So many artists are out there with cobbled-together tunes, throwaway lyrics or tracks that are devoid of any substance. There’s a reason the ‘90s was such a successful decade for guitar music!”

Work is currently underway on The Resolve’s debut album, scheduled for release in 2023. The album promises everything from hard hitting rock tracks to melodic catchy belters.

‘Satisfy’ / ‘So You Say’  – released 25th November on all the main digital platforms.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/TheResolveMusic/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheResolveMusic

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TheResolveMusic

‘Ain’t Done Nothing Wrong’ – new single from Burnt Out Wreck ahead of December album

In advance of their forthcoming album, Burnt Out Wreck have released a second single. ‘Ain’t Done Nothing Wrong’ follows an earlier single, ‘Stand And Fight’, which will also be the title track of the new album when it is released on 2nd December.

Formed by Gary Moat, drummer and chief songwriter of 1980s rock/metal band Heavy Pettin’, Burnt Out Wreck released their debut album, Swallow, back in 2017. That was followed by This Is Hell in 2019. Their brand of swaggering, old-school, rock and roll boogie immediately found a receptive audience and many comparisons to Bon Scott-era AC-DC have been made in the five years that followed. That basic template remains unchanged but Moat is especially proud of this latest album.

Gary Moat: “These are eleven of the best songs I’ve written. This really was the ‘difficult third album’, inspired by the worst one and a half years in my life, but the end result was worth the struggle, and this is something I’m really proud of. I invite you all to ‘Stand And Fight’.”

Burnt Out Wreck are:

Gary Moat: lead vocals and rhythm guitar
Alex Carmichael: bass guitar and backing vocals
Andy McLaughlan: lead guitar and backing vocals
Richard Upson: lead guitar and backing vocals.
Paul Gray: drums

Stand And Fight is released on 2nd December.

https://www.burntoutwreck.com/

Related posts:

This Is Hell – Album Review

Interview with Gary Moat

Heavy Pettin Reissues

Anvil / Burnt Out Wreck / VOiD at The Underworld, Camden 2018

Burnt Out Wreck at Classic Rock Weekender 2018

Burnt Out Wreck at Classic Rock All Dayer 2018

Live review: Diamond Head and Saxon, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill 13/11/22

Back in the day Diamond Head seemed to be one of those bands I constantly read about but somehow passed me by, neither seeing the live nor owning one of their albums. I’ve made up for it in recent years and this is now the third time I’ve seen them. Hugely influential as early pioneers of the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) era and later lauded by bands on the US thrash scene, like Metallica, they never really quite got the recognition they deserved to make it into the big league. But after being absent for the latter part of the 1980s and much of the 1990s the band reformed in the early 2000s and have been solidly active ever since.

Lead guitarist, Brian Tatler, has been the one constant presence in every line-up of the band from the start but the latter-day Diamond Head are a really strong unit and seem to have carved out a niche for themselves as a go-to support act. I saw them at this same venue three years ago supporting Uriah Heep and it’s great to see them, once again, now supporting Saxon. While there may be something of an ‘always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride’ about that, it is nevertheless fantastic to see them perform on a big stage in decent-sized venues like De la Warr. The band’s combination of hard riffing and bona fide heavy metal classics assure them a hugely appreciative audience tonight. Definitely,  a support band you don’t want to miss.

While some veteran rock acts might be content to ease off on the writing and recording of new material and focus primarily on a greatest hits set for their live shows, Saxon continue to deliver some excellent albums and this tour is very much about promoting the latest, Carpe Diem, released earlier this year. Indeed, the name of this tour (‘Seize The Day’) comes from a line in the album’s title track. There’s no shortage of material from the new album on this tour and the first part of the set is heavily dominated by tracks from Carpe Diem. Having bought the album when it first came out back in February, I’ve had a good few months to familiarise myself with it. So as the band blast out tracks like the aforementioned ‘Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)’, ‘Age Of Steam’ and ‘Dambusters’, they sound more like welcome old friends than strangely unfamiliar new material. It helps, of course, that Saxon have always had that knack of turning out memorable songs with great riffs.

There’s room, of course, for plenty of the old classics, too.  ‘And The Bands Played On’, ‘Wheels Of Steel’, ‘747 (Strangers In The Night)’, ‘Denim And Leather’ and ‘Princess of the Night’ all get a welcome airing before the end of the evening. Unforgettable anthems of heavy metal all of them, they have ensured Saxon have remained up there as my personal favourite to come out of the NWOBHM scene.

Biff Byford is in fine voice and remains a compelling frontman, the band power through the songs with incredible energy as those trademark heavy riffs are unleashed and the songs, whether new or old, make for a hugely memorable gig. Thank you, Saxon!

https://www.saxon747.com/

Setlist:

Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)

Sacrifice

Age of Steam

I’ve Got to Rock (To Stay Alive)

Dambusters

The Thin Red Line

Living on the Limit

Dallas 1 PM

Heavy Metal Thunder

Metalhead

The Eagle Has Landed

Black Is the Night

And the Bands Played On

Wheels of Steel

The Pilgrimage

Strong Arm of the Law / Solid Ball of Rock

747 (Strangers in the Night)

Denim and Leather

Princess of the Night

Related reviews:

Diamond Head and Uriah Heep at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill 6/12/19

Saxon / Fastway / Girlschool at Shepherd’s Bush Empire 5/11/16

Saxon – album review: Battering Ram

‘Denim & Leather: The Rise And Fall Of The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal’ by Michael Hann

Synth-rock: album review – The Cathodes ‘So Clear’

The Cathodes are a Greater Manchester-based synth-rock band and their debut album, So Clear, came out this summer. The band describe themselves as “influenced by the melodies and sounds from the ‘80s with a small dash of the ‘60s thrown in.”

The three-piece are Dave Forward (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Paul Cargill (bass, backing vocals) and Barbara Verrall (keyboards, backing vocals). Although relatively new all three are experienced musicians with an extensive track record playing in local bands. Classically-trained, Barbara Verrall teamed up with Dave Forward after meeting at a local church. The duo then came across Paul Cargill at an open mic night in the Derbyshire village of Charlesworth on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. The Cathodes was born, the trio finally coming up with the name just two days before the UK went into lockdown back in 2020.

Although I must confess to often finding a lot of the music of the ‘80s a little synthetic and over-produced and it wasn’t particularly my thing at the time (even though it’s the backdrop to my youth!), So Clear is a tasteful and intelligent album with great melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Songs like ‘North Of England’ (written by Forward’s then musical collaborator, Jon Dean, and originally recorded by the duo back in the 1980s) perfectly captures a mood and immediately takes me back to my own teenage years in Preston around that time.

‘In From The Cold’, meanwhile, is the band’s latest single and, like the majority of tracks on the album, is written by Forward. Written back in 1990 and inspired by Forward’s many late-night freezing walks as a student, it was finally recorded in 2021 and features some superb lead guitar from guest guitarist, Dave Townson, but also includes some classic analogue sounds from the 1980s giving the track a real ‘80s feel.

The album was voted number one in the Chart Of Gold over nine consecutive weeks and for any lovers of ‘80s synth-rock is well worth seeking out.

Released: July 2022 by Creative Dreams & Music Network

https://www.thecathodes.com/

Blues-rock: EP review – Big River ‘Beautiful Trauma’

Kent-based blues rock band, Big River, have been picking up airplay left, right and centre along with a slew of glowing reviews for their latest EP. Deservedly so, Beautiful Trauma is a very classy release. As the band acknowledge, they’ve been on something of a journey since their debut album, Redemption, was released back in 2019.

Bass-player, Ant Wellman, departed recently to be replaced by Simon Gardiner but the biggest change has been the acquisition of front-man, Adam Barron, who replaced original vocalist, Adam Bartholomew, back in 2021. Barron had already made an impact as a contestant on TV’s The Voice, and was snapped up by Mick Ralphs for his own solo band, the Mick Ralphs Blues Band, prior to Ralphs’ debilitating stroke putting an end to that. I’d witnessed Baron in action with Mick Ralphs a couple of times previously, and once with another ex-Bad Company alumni, Dave Bucket Colwell. And I’ve been following the career of Big River with interest ever since they first formed so when the two joined forces it seemed like a match made in heaven to me. And this EP is definite proof of that!

As drummer, Joe Martin, says: “These songs have been performed live and have gone down a storm with all audiences. Through the changes Big River have maintained their thunderous live sound, but it’s that bit sweeter. The future is bright.”

‘Don’t Hold Out’, with its upbeat acoustic passages (courtesy of Barron on ukulele), a blinding guitar solo from Damo Fawsett and its summery vibe opens the four-track EP nicely, showcasing Adam’s Barron’s soulful, bluesy vocals to perfection.

The band then come in hard and heavy for the next track ‘The Long Way’, a great slice of meaty, classic rock which is then followed by another rocker, ‘Slow Burn’, with its striking, jaggedy riff, superb bass and powerful energy. The band then take things down a notch for the final track and the EP’s title rack. With shades of Free and early Whitesnake, ‘Beautiful Trauma’ is everything you could ask for from a classic blues rock song: soulful, emotive, anthemic, with some gorgeous guitar and vocals to die for, not to mention meaningful, relatable lyrics.

Now at a pivotal point in their career trajectory, Big River have delivered an EP of pure class. Anyone with any love of classic-era blues rock is urged to buy Beautiful Trauma right now. You will not be disappointed!

Released: 19th August 2022

https://bigriver1.bandcamp.com

Related posts:

Live review – Big River at The Carlisle, Hastings 2021

Single review – Big River – Don’t Hold Out

Album review – Big River – Redemption

Mick Ralphs Blues Band at Giants of Rock 2016

Dave “Bucket” Colwell at Leo’s Red Lion, Gravesend 2016