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Archives for May 2010

On tour with Eric Bibb - Part 2

Jon Lewis | 15:39 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Guest blogger Megan Henwood writes:

So here I go into the second leg of the Eric Bibb tour, and I have become quite the expert on the plethora of motorway hotels up and down the UK.

From the awe-inspiring Angel of the North to the breezy Brighton coastline, I've had a great time seeing the sights whilst travelling around this wonderful country.

I've also had the pleasure of meeting many interesting people over the past month, and quite a few colourful characters too! It's been a big confidence boost listening to their gracious and positive feedback to my music.

One of the many things I have learnt from Eric is how fulfilling and important it is to go and mingle with the audience after the show.

He takes the time to talk to everyone, which makes the whole experience more memorable for all. I continue to be amazed at the dedication of Eric's fan-base who religiously come back to watch him play time and time again. I met one American woman who'd been travelling in Europe and flew from Italy for one night to see him in
London!

As my previous blog illustrated I am not at all surprised at their enthusiasm towards Eric and his music. Not only is he an incredible guitarist and vocalist, he is a kind and charismatic man who is as loyal to his fans as they are to him.

Grant Dermody (the blues harmonica player who is touring with Eric and features on his new album Bookers Guitar) is also a joy to watch, in fact I have never heard the harmonica played so melodically - he is also a very lovely man. All in all it's been... well bloody good fun actually. I feel very blessed to have been given such an opportunity and feel that it's improved my stagecraft and heightened my understanding of what it means to be a working musician.

I'd like to thank all the good-hearted people who have helped along the way, and I think a special mention is in order for Tom, the driver/roadie/calmer downer. I'll leave you with some other nuggets of knowledge I have acquired during the touring experience: 1) Always take travel sickness pills whilst driving to Aberystwyth. 2) Yo-yos are an effective way of warming up your hands pre-gig 3) and in the words of Eric Bibb, "guitar tuning is like airplane maintenance... always worth it."

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On tour with Eric Bibb - Part 1

Jon Lewis | 14:37 UK time, Monday, 17 May 2010

Guest blogger Megan Henwood writes:

I have to admit that when the chance of touring with Eric Bibb arose, I wasn't particularly clued up on him, but after investigating online I realised what a wonderful opportunity I'd been offered! Now, halfway into the tour, I can tell you Mr Bibb does not disappoint.

So far we have travelled all over the country visiting venues ranging from the Bloomsbury Theatre in London to Aberystwyth Arts Centre, most of which have been sold out.

My personal favourite (so far) has been The Sage in Gateshead. Despite looking like a giant armadillo it is an amazing feat of architecture built specifically for great acoustics.

There was a vibrant atmosphere in the air and everyone working backstage was helpful and so passionate about the place.

It has been such a privilege watching Eric entertain the audience and I've found myself reassessing my own approach to performing. Songwriting has always been a natural and cathartic process for me, whereas playing live can often be a daunting prospect, and over the past few years I've had to work hard to overcome my nerves.

Watching the relaxed and genuine way in which Eric connects with the crowd has been insightful. He stands on stage wearing his trademark hat (which he never, ever removes) with a soulful confidence and not a hint of arrogance.

His patter between songs is natural and engaging and when Eric starts to sing it's like melted chocolate warming up your bones. Do I sound in awe of him? That's because I am!

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Damien Barber on cutting a rug

Jon Lewis | 11:54 UK time, Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Damien Barber writes:

One studded belt, one luminous tiger print muscle vest, one studded denim jacket complete with picture of Toyah Wilcox, one tartan bum flap, one pair of 'baby bouncer' Airwair, one crew-cut sprayed blue, one fake nose piercing linked by a chain to one real earring, a quick kiss from my mum and I was ready!

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Sausage Me a Gregory

Mike Harding | 10:57 UK time, Thursday, 6 May 2010

I don't know how we got round to it but the subject of strange titles for songs and tunes came up in conversation the other day. There are many of them, and not all have a logical explanation.

Some of the tune titles I know came about because musicians got (and still get) fed up with people asking them what the name of the tune was that they just played. The reply was mostly Gan Anim: Irish for 'no name'. Sometimes however, the musician, in a desperate attempt to get rid of the person asking the question, would make something up. Hence titles like The Floating Crowbar or O'Connell's Jig On Top Of Mount Everest.

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