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  2004 Newcastle Blues Festival
  2003 Berry Blues Festival

ABOUT The 2004 Newcastle Blues Festival / February 6-8, 2004
 

I organised my first-ever Blues Festival expecting 500 people and got 1000.

Next, aquiring a great opportunity to present the second and expecting 800, I got 2000!

Therefore, Blues Fest number three was spread over three days. The venue was The Mayfield Hotel Newcastle, located on the central coast of New South Wales, Australia.

This was the lineup...

Lou Lungo's Blue Groove
Encompassing Jazz, Funk, reggae and Rock, yet remaining true to the essence of the Blues. Playing upright Bass, Neville Whitehead has played with world renown artists: Tony Bennett, Liza Minelli and Shirley Bassey. He also tested the waters at the Berlin Jazz Festival. What a Bio!

Taildraggers
A five piece outfit with a great mix of up tempo, modern and traditional blues. The lads pay homage to the Blues masters with a twist of West Coast Swing. Billed as the 'Steel City Favourites' at the Sydney Blues Stage in 2000, and after pulling a fantastic, yet very young crowd at the 2nd Annual Newcastle Blues Festival 2003, "The Taildraggers" will be an act not to be missed, particularly by the younger Blues enthusiasts.

Eric Blues
One of Newcastle's finest up and coming acoustic guitarists. Coached by Australia's premier Jazz guitarist, Jim "Jazza" Charles (famous from the Bobby Limb Band), Eric has a soothing voice and compliments his singing with great acoustic finger pickin'. Eric will be filling in all the breaks between changeovers - so take some time to say G'day!

Alice Stuart
Not often does an artist both entertain and inspire. Alice Stuart does both with style, finesse and a great sense of humor. Alice Stuart began playing her Martin D18 guitar professionally in Seattle during the folk scare of the early 60's. In '68 Stuart moved from Seattle to Berkeley and began to lead her own band. She met and played with blues greats Lightnin' Hopkins, Jesse Fuller and Mississippi John Hurt, plus The Chambers Brothers and even joined forces with Frank Zappa during the formation of the Mothers of Invention. She toured the US and Europe in the mid-70's with Van Morrison, Commander Cody, Michael Bloomfield and John Prine.

She appeared and recorded with such artists as Jerry Garcia, Asleep at the Wheel, John Hammond, Richard Greene, Elvin Bishop, Dave Mason, Sonny Terry, Tower of Power, Bread, and Mark Naftalin and also got written up in Billboard, Guitar Player, and Rolling Stone. When you listen to Alice Stuart today, especially in concert, her broad range of experience both singing and playing (acoustic, electric & slide) is obvious. She spent one of the most creative musical periods of the century making music with some of the greatest artists of that time.

Brewster Brothers
As founding members of the Angels, Rick and John Brewster are well known to the Australian public, being inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Internationally they earned the respect and following of the likes of Guns N Roses and have had songs such as "Face the Day" become staples of American radio. But what now? The Brothers have found a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration. Quietly airing new material in out of the way venues the Brothers have generated a bushfire of word of mouth. Those who have seen and heard the Brothers are reacting positively to their new songs and their new style which has evolved into a personification of their roots and ethics. Their performances today evoke early sixties Dylan, plastic Ono Lennon, with direct and earthy songs that dissect the complexities and compromises of contemporary life. Rick and John have evolved from Angels into Brothers, maintaining and developing their creative integrity.

Collard Greens & Gravy
TInternationally acclaimed Melbourne blues band with their own unique style of delta, garage blues. This award winning trio is fronted by Ian Collard, a gifted and authentic blues vocalist and together with James Bridges - guitar, and Anthony "Shortie" Shortte - drums, scooped the pool at the 2001 Australian Blues Awards winning Best Band, Best Male Vocal and Best Album ("More Gravy") Delta blues at it's best, heavily influenced by the styles of Blind Willie Johnson, Son House and Robert Johnson.

Col Ray & The Scary Cats
Sponsered by Woodstock Bourbon, Col Ray & The Scary Cats will be playin' their raw blues throughout the festival's duration as the 'House' band. Hailing from the Snowy Mountains these guys have had some extensive airplay both here and overseas and are sure to be a highly entertaining act.

Darren Jack
Firmly established as one of the new breed of Australian blues guitarists is Darren Jack. Formerly with nitro burnin' blues outfit "Third Degree" Darren now fronts the band that bears his name. Darren has been a major drawcard at festivals for several years now and always delivers a sensational performance.

Kurt Williams
ASydney based folk and blues singer / songwriter who Infuses heartfelt slideworkwith tough musical arrangements. Kurt is one of the most unique and exciting exponents of true fingerstyle guitar on the Australian scene. His intense but playful vocal style is reminiscent of Nick Cave and Chris Issacs. Apart from headlining his own shows Kurt has played with such acts as Neil Murray, Ian Moss, Mia Dyson and Ash Grunwald.

Lonesome Train
Dougie Dekroo (one half of The Dekroo Brothers) had a National #1 hit back in '63 and is still rockin' the house four decades on! Australasian tours with Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Roy Orbison, The Everley Brothers plus other international acts helped them gain a high profile and become a popular touring act. Today, Lonesome Train play a cool blend of 50's rockabilly and 60's country twang. Dougie is backed up by Gene 'Sticks' Maynard and Christian 'Geetarr' Power, two guys you want to have around when you're ready for rockin'.

Mainline
Essentially a blues based band, Mainline, from Sydney, are prone to head off in the direction of hard rock, and funk with the main focus fixed on their original music. Being the 2001 Jim Beam Battle of the Bands Competition winner has given the band a platform to launch their redhot, rockin' blues to a wider and ever increasing fan base.

Pat Capocci Combo
Combining rockabilly, hillbilly, blues, country and western swing, Pat's idea was simple from the start. To deliver songs as they would have been played 'way back when'. While traveling throughout the country in Newcastle's only rockabilly band 'The Torpedo's' Pat was spotted by Sydney production team Mansfield Robin. They had been looking for a suitable person to replace their Ritchie Valens character, in the stage show 'The Buddy Holly Story'. Pat decided to take the role, which has given him the opportunity to travel throughout NSW and Queensland. This fine band also includes Dom Lindus on double bass and Lukos Hey - Newcastle's most versatile drummer.

Wildflower
Dean Dee fronts hard rockin' Newcastle outfit "Wildflower". Dean has been at the forefront of the Newcastle scene and formed the now ledgendary "Soldier Blue" back in the '90's. After many years touring alongside acts such as The Angels, Ian Moss, The Poor & The Choir Boys Dean Dee on guitar & vocals is on a mission to put the "rock" back in "rock 'n' roll". Brad Conway - drums, and John Corruthers - bass, complete this power trio.

Phil Edgeley
UK born acoustic bluesman who now resides in Sydney. Phil's influences include Robert Johnson, Fred McDowell, Skip James and also Aussie Phil Manning and Jeff Lang. Those that Phil has jammed with inlude The Grimethorpe Colliery band ( from the movie "Brassed Off"). Phils original songs deal with the multi-facets of his life and travels.

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