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Duke Garwood - Garden Of Ashes

  • Published in Albums


Blowing away the cobwebs of last year and accepting the impending doom of the apocalypse we have a saviour. Duke Garwood has returned with a new album in an attempt to provide us with a safe house or some form of sanctuary. In his own words Garwood describes the album as:-

“This record is fantasy music, Beautiful apocalypse love music, it doesn't hide from reality, but it could hide the listener from it all for a while.”

Garden Of Ashes is his 6th studio album and builds on the critically acclaimed album Heavy Love from a few years ago.  

It’s more of the same from South London’s most unlikely bluesman as he serves up a soothing realism that has an intensity that stops you in your tracks. Lead single ‘Coldblooded’ oozes with a hypnotic gruffness and haunting lyrics which are superbly complemented via his catchy fuzz guitar. Using a heap of metaphors to explain his sorrow at the current state of the world Garwood laments “Cold blooded in the blaze of the sun/Set the lizards free/Run before they burn”

Are we the lizards and is the sun the media onslaught we are subjected to? Garwood explains further that during the process for making this album he came to realise that we needed “To become masters of our fate and stop listening to the snake talkers who would steal our last breath. It’s time to go Elvis and shoot the cursed TV.” 

There has clearly been some deep soul searching which is evident in tracks like the title track which is sumptuous in its laid back tempo that describes natural beauty. This is continued within the album via ‘Sonny Boogie’ which acts as an escape from the impending doom and ‘Heat Us Down’ which is a straight up love song about the wonder and beauty that surrounds us all if we only open our eyes and ears to it.  

‘Sing To The Sky’ illustrates Duke’s strength to create an intense yet warming track which is drenched in a blues tradition yet is fresh and modern. This track sums up his ability and reassures us that as an artist for over 20 years, he has collected a clarity and ferocity that we all need to lend our ears too.

Garwood’s album is beautifully hypnotic as he spreads his vision like some old town crier who is predicting the end of the world. Yet whilst in the past these doom mongers may have been dismissed, Garwood acts more as a visionary that has glimpsed the future and he’s here to tell us that the future isn’t too bright. By his own admission he is an angry man. Yet he equally states that the world doesn’t need any more angry music. We think that Duke sums it up best "Everyone can turn on the TV and see the horror show, they don't need to hear it coming out the stereo. I’m trying to distil this frustrating feeling we all have right now into something more focused.”

Garden Of Ashes is available from amazon & iTunes.


Red Rooster Festival - A Preview

  • Published in Live


"I’ve got a good mind to give up living, and go shopping instead, to buy me a tombstone so I can be pronounced dead" - BB King

Next month an area of sleepy Suffolk will see the arrival of a small part of the Deep South of the USA. The second annual Red Rooster festival, set in the beautiful grounds of Euston Hall and will take place from 5th June through to 7th June. Although still in its infancy the festival has expanded and has some of the finest talent around. 

One of the organisers of the festival, Harry Grafton explained the festival's ethos and what festival goers can hope to expect: “It’s a small boutique festival that’s a celebration of all good things from the American south: - Blues, country and bluegrass along with great soul food and cooking.”

The Festival prides itself on selecting its acts as they are kind of particular about the music they champion, which is why you will find only the finest R&B, Americana, Soul, Blues, Roots and Country musicians on the bill. 

The Friday night will see two of the best UK blues acts in Kitty, Daisy & Lewis and Ian Siegal’s band. Although these two acts are vastly different in their approach, the music that has inspired them is central to the festival's core. Kitty, Daisy & Lewis are the young singing siblings from Durham who have attracted a great following over the past few years with their interpretations of blues classics whilst Ian Siegal is more of your classic bluesman with a host of British Blues awards to his name. His much acclaimed 2011 album The Skinny was recorded in North Mississippi and well displays his wonderful abilities. 

On the Saturday night you can expect to see Son Of Dave's one man blues attack. Not necessarily one for for the purists as he uses a loop station alongside drum machines and a variety of magical pedals and a whole host of modern tech to deliver deep blues from the 21st century but who's to say even the blues can't develop? On the same night Aussie CW Stoneking is scheduled to deliver straight up traditional blues so traditionalists shouldn't be too greatly put out as this much lauded performer sets things back on track. 

Elsewhere on the event bill you'll find Duke Garwood (whose Heavy Love is one of the finest of 2015 so far in any musical style), the wonderful guitar talents of Marcus Bonfanti as well as the rocking blues sounds of Dollar Bill - all of whom we're looking forward too ourselves.

If that wasn’t enough the whole event is supported by the wonderful folk from The Blues Kitchen, home of one of the best podcasts on the web and who also have brought along their own gospel choir to play at the event.  

Like all great bespoke festivals the organisers understand that people dance and party once they have satisfied their bellies and with such a specific set of sounds on offer it’s obvious that the food has to match the occasion. Therefore the whole weekend is supported by a taste of the south which is based on delicious soul cooking. This will include the wonderful folks from MEATliquor where you can treat yourself to a Dead Hippie burger (real hippies not included). Alongside this is a wonderful array of foodie street food talent which includes Club Mexicana for all your Mexican needs plus such wonderfully named vendors as Colonel Tom Gumbo, Soul and Pepper and the Mac Factory.

It promises to be a wonderful weekend and if you are quick you may just get one of the few scarce tickets left here.   

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