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  2003 Berry Blues Festival

The Lake Times newspaper online

TALENT The Second Berry Blues and Comedy Festival / December 3-5, 2004
 

The 2004 Berry Blues & Comedy Festival had a great lineup of top entertainment. It was held at The Great Southern Hotel in the historic town of Berry, located in southern New South Wales, Australia.

Here is a rundown on some of the acts who were performing over the three day festival.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (386kb)

Steve Flack
Steve Flack is an extremely well-rounded player and has extensive, live solo experience playing jazz, blues and rock

Steve is also classically trained and has studied with Greg Pikler, one of Australia's foremost classical guitarists.

Apart from classical guitar Steve has gone on to study jazz with the great Ike Issacs, the top London session player from 1948 - 1972. Ike played with legends such as Frank Sinatra and Stephan Grappelli. Steve was fortunate to be able to tap into the enormous knowledge and ability of Ike, an experience which resulted in friendship and live performance together.

More jazz tuition was attained in America under the guidance of Bucky Pizzerelli, guitar player for the great Benny Goodman. Bucky was hired after a true giant of the guitar, Charlie Christian, had unfortunately pass away.

As well as the myriad of smaller gigs, Steve has performed In solo mode at music events such as The Berry Blues Festival, The Tamworth Country Music Festival and The Kurnell Music Festival. Opening for the likes of Phil Emanuel, The Backsliders, Harper, Matt Walker, Eugene "Hideaway" Bridges and Steve Arvey has further enhanced Steve's reputation as a consumate guitar player.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (384kb)

Taildraggers
Since being billed by The Sydney Blues Stage in 2000 as 'Steel City Favorites' The Taildraggers have continued to live up to that name with plenty of solid performance at venues in and around the Sydney, South Coast and Hunter regions.

The band has now well and truly established a reputation, particularly in the Illawarra, with a large fan base and would have to be considered one of the more successful bands in the region, blues or otherwise.

In the latter half of 2004, with a new lineup, enthusiasm and musical direction The Taildraggers are hell-bent on living up to their hard-earned reputation for their exciting brand of supercharged rhythm & blues.

Currently the band is comprised of Warren Ross - guitar, Lawrence Davis - fretless bass, Michael 'Junior' Griffiths - drums, and Wyn Morris - saxophone.

Over the past five years the band has gone from strength to strength with memorable performances at the following high profile events:

Showcase Appearances at:
• The Best Of The Blues’ & ‘Steel City Blues’ - Empire Hotel,
• Annandale 2000/2001
• Balgownie Blues Festivals 2000/2001
• Annual Milton Motorcycle Show 2000/2001/2002
• South Western Sydney Blues & Roots Festival 2003
• Voodoofest 2003 & 2004
• Shellharbour Workers (with Ross Wilson, Kevin Borich, Ian
• Moss, Chain, The Bondi Cigars & The Detonators)
• Berry Blues Festival 2003
• Newcastle Blues Festival 2003/2004

In early 2005 recording with A# Studios will become a priority for the band.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (420kb)

The Jugbusters
Newcastle outfit, The Jugbusters have been performing at festivals, cabarets and pubs for a year now and their act is just getting more extraordinary each time. The foot-tapping repertoire blends swing, jazz, blues, country, folk, music-hall and minstrel styles with a multi-cultural appendage of Mississippi and New Orleans Jug, Hawaiian Jug, Aussie Jug, Persian Jug and Nice Jugs.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (401kb)

Rynsaardt
The passion and charisma of the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan
Michael Smith - Drum Media (March 2003)

Rynsaardt are a powerful, 3 piece progressive blues outfit from Sydney who are fast gaining a reputation as one of the best young bands in the country. The band is known for the crazed, other worldly performances of Jan Rynsaardt (guitar/vocalist for the group) driven by a fat, funky bottom end in the form of Dean Calkin on Bass, and Ekko Gaha, drums. They have a growing following Australia wide and bring a unique, heavy, blues/roots style of music with its own stamp of originality to the stage.

The band Rynsaadt began when Jan Rynsaardt teamed up with bass player Dean Calkin and drummer Ekko Gaha - the three hit it off from the word go. It was obvious from the very first blow that there was a unique energy surrounding the group that each gave to the other. This energy was shared then spat out in a frenzy of fat grooves, twisted and contorted feelings that became the big sound of Rynsaardt as known today. Although it's hard to put a label on the type of music they play, one way to describe it is a blues based band with an eclectic mix of funk, rock and metal. The band considers themselves an original act and hold preference to this though are prone to unleash a variety of red hot covers from legends such as Jimmy Hendrix, Albert King and Muddy Waters.

Over the last year Rynsaardt have played Bridgetown Blues Fest in W.A, closed the show at the Great Southern Blues and Rockabilly Festival at Narooma N.S.W, shared the stage with INXS and Killing Heidi at the Harley Davidson Open Road 100th Anniversary Tour and, more recently, played two explosive shows at the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival in Byron Bay that left the crowd crying out for more.

The band are now in pre production for their up coming debut album. Rynsaardt are a very strong, original act combined with an onstage energy that will electrify the soul.

Phil Emmanuel
Australia's Greatest Electric Guitar Player
Phil's musical prowess is so astonishing that there are times when the man becomes the guitar and the guitar becomes the man. His passion is illuminating, his ability is breathtaking -
GLENN A.BAKER

If brother Tommy plays it sweet Phil plays it from the street. Phil's playing has so much fire and his chops on the electric are pretty well as good as you'll get - AUSTRALIAN MUSICIAN

His phenomenonal technical skills thrilled the audience. His fingers looked like tarantulas' legs running down an electric/acoustic web of intricate frets and passages - COURIER MAIL

The last couple of years have been an amazing time for Australian guitarist Phil Emmanuel. Not only did 2000 see him performing to an estimated worldwide audience of 4.5 billion at the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics with brother Tommy, INXS, VANESSA AMOROSI, SAVAGE GARDEN and MIDNIGHT OIL, but it was the beginning of the 'forgotten' son's return to the limelight and recognition that he so undeniably deserves.

After 40 years of hard work, Phil is finally receiving Australian and worldwide recognition as one of our finest musical talents. His versatility is well known and acknowledged - obvious from the shows, and the musicians he has performed alongside, from Jazz - James Morrison, Don Burrows to big-band - Ed Wilson, the Royal Military College Band, to Country - Slim Dusty, Lee Kernaghan, Dolly Parton, to rock and blues - Jimmy Barnes, Roy Buchanan, Don Walker, John Farnham and Ian Moss.

Highlights include sharing the same stage as legendary guitarists John Jorgensen (Elton John, The Hellecasters), Will Ray (The Hellecasters), Bonnie Raitt, Duanne Eddy, James Burton, (Elvis Presley), Carlos Santana, 'America', The Ventures and Eric Clapton at NAMM in the United States in July 2000 - a dream come true for any guitarist. His second tour of Europe in 2000 was also a highlight. Phil was invited to headline ISSENDEN, the worlds' largest guitar festival.

Phil's musical roots stem back to the 50's, 60's and 70's and his style has largely been defined by the classic guitar sounds of this era. His live work includes material ranging from Mozart to Stevie Ray Vaughan, bluegrass to heavy metal. Phil has always been renowned for performing powerful, challenging material, ranging from classical ballads such as Sultans Of Swing to spine-tingling, amazingly fast and furious pieces by Bach and Mozart.

Phil and his band play a wide range of guitar oriented music ranging from their own interpretation of Chariots Of Fire to Santana's Black Magic Woman plus a bit of country, rock, classical to ballads. Their target audience age is 18 to 80 so there is something for all ages, plus a lot of pieces most bands anywhere in the world would not even attempt.

When schedules permit, joining Phil on stage are Rohan Hems on drums, Rob O'Sullivan on bass, Julia Parker on second guitar and vocals (and the leading lady of her band 'Project Winterhaven'), along with newest member, Chris Hartley on keyboards.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (435kb)

Bondi Cigars
This award-winning quartet has well and truly established themselves into Australia's musical heart since forming in 1989 and have built a solid reputation as one of the best live acts in the country.

With their fantastic mix of blues, soul, funk and R & B, they have maintained their status as one of this country's most in-demand touring acts, with shows numbering over a hundred and fifty each year.

The band has been invited to perform at festivals such as The Melbourne International Music & Blues Festival, Great Southern Blues & Rockabilly Festival, Moomba Festival, Queenscliff Festival, The Byron Bay East Coast Festival and The Kangaroo Point Festival.

The band are also regular guests at leading Australian venues such as The Governor Hindmarsh in Adelaide, The Basement in Sydney, The Healer in Brisbane, The Charles Hotel in Perth and The Corner Hotel in Melbourne.

As with all great bands, the sum of the whole exceeds the sum of the parts and The Bondi Cigars are no exception.

Shane Pacey (vocals and guitar) the principle songwriter and vocalist, came to the Cigars after playing with bands such as Sydney's Earls Of Duke.

His song writing and dynamic vocals, teamed with the fluid rhythms of Alan, have largely defined the sound and direction of The Bondi Cigars.

Alan Britton (bass and vocals) brings to the band his many years experience playing with some of this country's foremost roots outfits including the Mangrove Boogie Kings, the legendary Dynamic Hepnotics and the Foreday Riders.

His instinctive feel for a groove and ability to ride the rhythm lay the base for those great Bondi tunes.

Eben Hale (guitar and vocals) Eben's burgeoning song writing talents and effusive guitar lines add an extra dimension to the already vibrant sound of the Bondi Cigars.

Frank Corby (drums). Since arriving in Australia from Boston, Massachusetts ten years ago Frank has lent his awesome skills to acts such as Gangajang, Floyd Vincent and the Childbrides, Guy LeClaire and Latin big band Babalu.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (443kb)

Alan Mulley and Blues Revue
Having been on the Shoalhaven, Illawarra and Sydney blues scene now for a few years, Alan Mulley and Blues Revue have gained a reputation amongst musicians and blues fans alike as one of the most dynamic bands around who always put on a good show.

Frontman, guitarist and vocalist Alan Mulley started playing guitar in the 1960s after seeing The Shadows and Duane Eddy at local gigs in Wales where he was born. Soon he was playing in bands alongside local musicians such as Dave Edmunds, Andy Fairweather Low and Tom Jones, and sharing the stage with Van Morrison, Chris Farlow, The Who, and Fleetwood Mac.

It wasn't long before he was introduced to the blues by Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Jimi Hemdrix. From there it was only a short step to Albert King, BB King and Freddie King whom Alan counts as the major influences on his playing today.

Alan has created his own, unique style of playing, and few can match his bending of notes. Keyboard player Stewart Harrison is an accomplished musician and regularly appears with bands from Sydney to the Victorian border.

His musical ability, and the experience of playing with such noted blues artists as Albert King makes him the perfect partner for Alan Mulley's Chicago style blues guitar playing and singing..

Bass player Steve Vickers and Drummer Troy Lever, both experienced musos provide the rhythm and the pocket for the band.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (355kb)

Dean Dee & 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 on drums and Crooksy on bass complete this power trio.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (516kb)

Eric Collier
Eric Collier is 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!

Click here to listen to a sound clip (397kb)

Brian Fraser
At the Victorian Blues Awards in August 2003 Brian won the " Male Artist of the Year".

Brian Fraser’s songwriting and finger-picking guitar-playing talents, combined with his gruff vocal style and entertaining showmanship, have been acclaimed around the country.

This was proven again in 2002 when his 2001 release "Sitting On The Corner" was in the final nominations for Australian Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year, at the Australian Chain Awards.

Brian released his debut solo acoustic album, titled ‘Don’t Ask Me’, in 1999. The album won Album of the Year, and Brian was in the final nominations for Best New Artist at the Australian Blues Music Awards, held at the Goulburn Music Festival in February 2000.

Brian takes his show all over the country, whether playing standard acoustic guitar or acoustic slide, Brian showcases everything from slow heart-rending ballads, foot-stomping blues and traditional delta styles to some well-known standards.

He regulary performs at major festivals around the country, including the Australian Blues Festival (Goulburn), Wangaratta Jazz & Blues Festival, the Bluestone New Years’ Eve Festival, Tasmania's Woodstock Festival, the Forth Blues Festival and Hobart’s Southern Blues and Roots Festival, as well as the The Bridgetown Blues Festival in W.A. and N.S.W.'s Entrance Blues Festival.

Since beginning his solo career, he has shared the stage with such renowned Australian blues artists as Chris Finnen, Dutch Tilders, Doc Span, Andy Cowan, Jeff Lang, Phil Manning, Pete Cornelius, Steve Tallis, Kate Meehan and Derrin Nauendorf.

Brian’s love of blues music is apparent in every aspect of his approach to his performances, and this ensures that audiences everywhere find his shows highly entertaining, soul-moving and a whole lot of fun.

The Dickster
The Dickster (aka Richard Kaminski), is a dinky di, down to earth kind of bloke, and this enables his comedy to relate to any Australian audience.

He is also very, very funny and will be keeping the gags coming over the entire festival weekend!

The Dickster is one of Australia's fastest rising comedians on the Australian live circuit.

He burst onto the comedy scene in November 1997 at the Harold Park Hotel where he made his first comedy debut as part of the 'Virgin Sacrifice' organised by Lyn Pierce. He was subsequently booked for his first paid gig that night!

The Dickster then went on to tour the North Coast doing comedy between sets for a swing band, working the many clubs and pubs along the way, both large and small.

1998 saw The Dickster as the feature act during the Kings Cross Theatre Festival.

It's not just the audiences that are loving The Dickster, his industry achievements include: Finalist 1998 Canberra Green Faces Nominee, 1999 Sydney Comedy Festival Comic of the Year Performance in the Melbourne Comedy Festival Television credits include a role in a short fim called 'Beating Off' (ha!) plus a main role in Aden Young's short film, 'The Order'.

The Dickster has also featured in the Sydney Comedy Festival's Regional Road Show and has been a feature act during the Sydney Fringe Festival, where he received excellent reviews from the Sydney Morning Herald.

So get ready as The Dickster will be primed with a sack full of jokes and yarns to give ya laughin' gear a good workout!

Click here to listen to a sound clip (386kb)

The Cosh
Formed in 1996, The Cosh is a well-experienced rock blues band – all from the Shepheard family of Bateman’s Bay, NSW, Australia.

Clyde is the lead vocalist, and lead & rhythm guitarist. He has audiences captivated with his talented guitar playing, powerful voice and his natural showmanship.

Clyde is not your average run-of-the-mill guitar player; he plays the guitar behind his back and with his teeth. An energetic young performer who can play and sing with the experience and talent of an older pro.

Jessica plays piano, bass, and organ and is also sings backing vocals. Jess keeps the band together with strong bass lines, exciting leads, sweet vocals and constant rhythm. Dean is undoubtedly one of the most experienced 14-year-old drummers in Australia.

Dean holds a great beat, and plays a mean drum solo.

The band has two EP’s and an album to their credit to date. The album (entitled “Foxy”) was released in July 2003 and has received significant airplay across Australia. Numerous international radio play lists have also added tracks. Following the album release, The Cosh travelled to Europe as part of a CD promotional tour, playing a host of clubs and live music venues across Belgium and Holland.

Further tours of Europe, UK and USA are planned for the near future.

The Cosh has performed over 400 gigs to date, including supports for Dave Hole, The Murder Dolls, Soul Fly, Little Charlie & The Nightcats, Angry Anderson, and many others.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (390kb)

Col Ray & The Scary Cats
Col Ray & The Scary Cats are a raw, roots based trio that play hillbilly style blues and rock 'n' roll and are one of the very few blues and roots music acts in Australia to have a corporate sponsor, that being Woodstock Black Label Bourbon.

These good ol' boys hail from The Snowy Mountains region of Oz and are a sure thang to get a house arockin'.

The band has enjoyed some good airplay on Australia's East Coast receiving great reviews from stations such as 3PBS FM Melbourne. As well as other places on the rock 'n' roll radio highway such as Albury, Illawarra, Goulburn, South Coast and strong support from ABC NSW. The best reviews have come from South America and Northen Europe at FM TOP in Argentina where they peaked at # 9 and Denmark where they reached #4 on the charts.

Their current album has also had some airplay in North America reciving airplay in the states of Illinios and Tennssee in the USA as well as in Canada.

Helpin' Col Ray out in the hellraisin' department is Johnny 6 Pack - guitar, Scoot Cochrane - percussion and vocals and The Rev. Larry (Harp Dog) Gorden - Blues harp, whooping.

Listen up and repent - your rock 'n' roll soul will be saved!

Click here to listen to a sound clip (478kb)

Harper
English by birth, but raised in the beautiful coastal city of Perth, Western Australia, Harper is known for his huge soulful vocals, unique harmonica performances and his innovative original compositions.

Self describing his style of writing as "roots rock" because it mixes Motown grooves with English blues, Harper uses his voice and harmonica as a vehicle to enhance the emotional impact of his finely crafted songs.

Harper experiments with the tonal qualities of the harmonica through careful manipulation of his amplifier to create incredible sounds and harmonic effects.

His virtuoso scaled passages, wild squeals and amazing feedback effects makes one ask, how does he do it?

Harper also understands the subtlety of the acoustic harmonica and uses its beautiful tone to increase the emotional impact of his music, which is evident on his latest release "Way Down Deep Inside", a truly innovative approach to the roots music genre by his unusual combination of the blues harp with the Australian indigenous instrument, the didgeridoo.

Harper has been taking his music to the world performing in Australia, the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Singapore and France.

Harper was recently awarded "Best Male Vocalist of the Year", and "Song of the Year" ("I Swear Im Innocent") by the 2004 Australian Blues Music Awards. Harper also received TREV award for "Best Acoustic Act of the Year".

US Magazine "Guide to the Best of the Blues Harmonicas & Beyond" voted his new CD "Album of the Year" and he also received two harmonica awards, "The Sweet Harmonica Award" and "The Nasty Harmonica Award".

Harper will again be touring the USA from June to October, 2004 just prior to his Berry Blues Festival appearance and will be in exceptional form come December.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (377kb)

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.

Click here to listen to a sound clip (385kb)

The Slide Devils
The Slide Devils were founded in 1993 until the band split to go their separate ways. Steve and Marion formed Award winning Band ''Salty Dog'' scooping up five awards since 1999 including the National Australian Blues Awards - Band of the Year 2002 and most recent - Female Artist of the Year at the Victorian Tasmanian Blues Awards held in Melbourne July 29th.

The Slide Devils are gathering a new following since reforming 18 months ago and punters from the 90's are happy to see the band hit the stage again.

Audiences can expect to hear Steve Plater, one of Australia's hottest guitarists - deliver scorching slide guitar/electric guitar, Marion with her powerful vocal styling and harmonica, Ian Amor the charismatic stand up bass slapper founding member of the successful band ''Big Blue'' Geoff Hassall on drums - Geoff has worked with Ross Hannaford many times since 1979 and recorded with Matt Taylor (chain) cd ''Spirals and Pyramids'' which was produced by Wayne Burt who was the founding member of Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons and the Black Sorrows

FESTIVAL APPEARANCES INCLUDE:
Melbourne International Blues and Music Festival
National Toyota Gympie muster
Great Southern Blues and Rockabilly Festival Narooma N.S.W. Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival. Vic
Bridgetown Blues Festival.. WA
plus many more throughout Australia.

Some of the artists who have appeared with The Slide Devils and Salty Dog include:
Chris Finnen
Phil Manning (Chain)
Geoff Achison (Soul Diggers)
Bo Jenkins
Alvie Lee Johns (USA)
Damon Davies
Jimi Hocking (Screaming Jets)
Geoff Lang
Marco Goldsmith (Blues Heat)
Bayou Brothers
Broderick Smith
Fiona Boyes

Click here to listen to a sound clip (384kb)

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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