Thoughts and music of double J x

Ian Siegal: ‘One Night’ Live!

IanSiegal_OneNightInAmsterdamIAN SIEGAL: One Night In Amsterdam!

“One of the most innovative, gifted and engaging blues performers on the planet today.” MOJO

Ian Siegal is known as a bluesman, but it’s just one shade in the palette of an artiste who slips between continents, eras and expectations. They say you can’t sing the blues until you’ve lived the life, and when Ian Siegal steps up to the mic, you can hear the slings and arrows. Recent years have seen the songwriter catch fire, with British Blues Awards raining down and consecutive nominations in 2012 & 2013 for Contemporary Album of The Year in the Blues Music Awards – in effect, the Grammys of the Blues. Ian was born in 1971 in Hampshire. It has been said that had he been performing and recording in the sixties he would today be accorded the same reverence as artists such as Van Morrison and Joe Cocker. Instead, he dropped out of Art College in the late eighties to go busking in Germany. From the streets of Berlin he progressed to clubs around Nottingham, then to London and ultimately to major stages around Europe.

Siegal’s forte is playing to an audience. Whether fronting his band, or alone with just an old acoustic guitar, he takes command of the stage in a way very few artistes alive today can match. Sweat, passion, humour, balls-to-the-wind slide guitar and a soul-infused voice big enough to fell trees!  And as his BBC-recorded 2014 solo release MAN & GUITAR shows, he has a neat line in between-songs banter and humour. His career got under way in 2003/04 with two successive European tours as the opening act for ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings (Wyman also invited Ian to record with the Rhythm Kings). This was followed by UK tours as a duo with Big Bill Morganfield (son of Muddy Waters). During this time Siegal was also capturing the hearts of audiences in Holland, Belgium, Austria and Hungary. In 2005 he topped the Soul/Blues/Jazz charts in Holland. And hasn’t looked back. You wait a whole decade for one Ian Siegal live album – then two arrive in the space of a year. For any ordinary performer, the release schedule might seem like overkill.  But with this fascinating artist, it’s entirely justified. Shedding his musical skin and bending his back catalogue into bold new shapes each time he hits the stage, every live snapshot of Siegal’s music is authentically communicated from a different angle. As such, while 2014’s Man & Guitar showcased the award-winning British songwriter as a solo acoustic troubadour, One Night In Amsterdam flicks the power switch, marking Siegal’s first live album with a full-throttle electric band. Chalk up another first for the man that Mojo called, “One of the most innovative, gifted and engaging blues performers on the planet today.”

The new album will be released in the UK on CD and vinyl by Nugene Records (NUG1501) on Monday March 9th 2015. The album dovetails with Ian’s nationwide UK tour which kicks off at the Chester Live Rooms on March 17th (tour date details listed below). Fans can pre-order the limited edition vinyl release. Three songs into his set at the North Sea Jazz Club in April 2014, Siegal halts the band to give the Dutch crowd the mission-statement: “We’re going to play some new songs, some old songs, and some songs by great heroes of mine, who were influences on me in my early days, back in the 1930s…” He’s joking, of course. In reality, Siegal is now in his early-forties, at the top of his game, and able to draw on an astonishing eight-album catalogue that has scored him seven British Blues Awards in five categories (he’s also the only Brit ever to receive two nominations at the U.S. Blues Music Awards). Likewise, the bar for Siegal’s live albums has been set sky-high by Man & Guitar – recently crowned Blues Album of the Year by Mojo– but from the opening notes of One Night In Amsterdam, it’s clear he’s up for the challenge. The new album features Siegal’s relatively new (launched in 2013) Dutch-German contingent and his first band change in ten years. With an average age of 23, Dusty Ciggaar (guitar), Raphael Schwiddessen (drums), and Danny Van’t Hoff (bass), deliver in spades, as though they have been playing with Siegal for as long as they are old. Young Dusty Ciggaar, already well known on the Benelux scene, confirms his status as a guitar god in waiting.

One Night In Amsterdam is the sound of chemistry, of course, but the songs are always the stars. Several of these tracks have never been played live by Siegal before. None have ever sounded quite like this. Before the crowd’s welcoming cheers have even subsided, I Am The Train races out of the blocks, perhaps even more urgent here than when Siegal tracked it in Mississippi for his 2012 album, Candy Store Kid. Also from Candy Store Kid comes the sad-eyed, slide-powered travelogue of Early Grace, Siegal’s raw vocal exposing the tarnish on the Golden State (“California, where all your dreams come true, your nightmares too”). Plus, don’t miss the extended free bonus track Hard Pressed – unlocked via a download key with every copy of Amsterdam, and available from the release day of March 9.

Elsewhere, true to his promise of “old songs”, the bandleader digs deep into his oeuvre. He pulls out the funk-blues strut of Kingdom Come (from 2009’s Broadside), with its tough vocal telling of a woman with “the wings of an angel and the eyes of a shark”. He revisits the evergreen Brandy Balloon (from 2005’s Meat & Potatoes), and even dusts off Queen of the Junior Prom (the pick of 2002 debut Standing In The Morning), with the crowd reaction suggesting that Siegal’s earliest fans have never left his side. In Siegal’s hands, the old is every bit as thrilling as the new. Even dog-eared cover versions can feel like they’re being born right in front of you. At the North Sea Jazz Club, he shows his scholarly appreciation of the masters – whether re-imagining Tom Russell’s classic cockfighting fable, Gallo Del Cielo, or revisiting his own back-pages in Nottingham, England, where local legend Harry Stephenson entranced the crowds. “I just really wanted to do one of Harry’s songs,” explains Siegal, before launching into Stephenson’s gutsy rocker, Writing On The Wall. For the final two tracks of the album Ian is joined by siblings, Joel and Tess Gaerthe, from the popular Dutch indie band, Ashtraynutz. One night. A thousand highlights. And yet another reason why Ian Siegal is leading the musical pack in the post-millennium.

Ian-Siegal-photo-by-Will-Ireland_8118-smRECORDINGS

His 2005 album Meat & Potatoes – the first to gain a full retail release – has been universally praised and gained a maximum four star (excellent) rating in the Penguin Book of Blues Recordings. Ian is one of only two living British Blues artists to gain this distinction. Meat & Potatoes was later re-released as a limited edition together with a DVD of his stunning 2005 performance on the main stage at the North Sea Jazz Festival. That was followed by Swagger his 2007 release, which again received universal praise, “No less of a testament to the talents of one of the most innovative, gifted and engaging blues performers on the planet today.” MOJO magazine ranked Swagger as their no.2 Blues album of 2007. In response to fans’ requests for an acoustic album The Dust was released at the end of 2008. A collection of new songs and some old favourites (with noted pedal steel guitarist B.J. Cole appearing on some tracks), the CD quickly entered HMV’s roots chart, and again made No.2 in MOJO magazine’s Blues album chart – this time for 2008. His 2009 release Broadside finally gave Ian the top spot in MOJO’s annual Blues album chart, the first non-American to achieve this status.

Having previously recorded exclusively in the UK, for his 2011release The Skinny Ian went to America to work with Grammy nominee Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars as producer. A band was assembled from musicians in the North Mississippi area including Gary Burnside, Robert Kimbrough and Rodd Bland, all offspring of notable bluesmen. The Skinny gained Siegal his first Blues Music Awards nomination for Contemporary Album of the Year and he performed at the 2012 Awards ceremony in Memphis. Ian returned to north Mississippi in 2012 to collaborate with another dream-team of local legends that he collectively coined The Mississippi Mudbloods. Joining Ian and Cody Dickinson were Cody’s brother, Luther Dickinson, and Alvin Youngblood Hart. Ian first met Alvin during The Skinny sessions, when the Grammy-winning guitarist swung by the studio and ended up tracking some guitar and backing vocals. The end result of this second visit to the Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch Studio was Candy Store Kid released at the end of 2012, which quickly reached no.1 in the iTunes UK blues chart and garnered a swathe of awards in the UK and another nomination in the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards.

2014 saw two album releases. Man & Guitar (May, 2014), showcases Siegal’s supreme ability as a solo performer and his force-ten charisma. Recorded by the BBC at the Royal Albert Hall London Bluesfest, it is Siegal at his belt & braces best – a world-class performer bleeding into his favourite songs. This scored Ian another no.1 spot in MOJO’s annual chart of Blues recordings. That May release was followed in November by THE PICNIC SESSIONS, a low-fi back-porch project with friends in the USA. What was intended to be a fan-club-only side project quickly gained momentum, resulting in a label-backed full release in January 2015. The album has Ian, Luther Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Jimbo Mathus sitting semi-circle around an old ribbon microphone, simply chatting, singing and playing. Recorded in two afternoon sessions, The Blues magazine made it their Jan/Feb 2015 featured album, saying “The strength and feel of Siegal’s voice shows just how effectively and legitimately he can inhabit the vocal traditions of Mississippi.” In 2013, after 10 years of touring Europe with an unchanged band, Ian recruited entirely new personnel, three young players based in Holland (average age 23). It was, he says – “one of the best decisions I have made in a long while.” The band brought a new energy and a fresh approach to Ian’s songs. Eager to let the world hear the results, ONE NIGHT IN AMSTERDAM was recorded at the North Sea Jazz Club in Amsterdam and releases March 9, 2015.

Ian-Siegal-by-Christie-Goodwin-smIAN SIEGAL: MARCH 2015 UK TOUR PLUS SPECIAL GUEST // BOOK ONLINE: http://www.iansiegal.com

CHESTER, LIVE ROOMS
TUESDAY 17th MARCH 2015
Tickets: £16 / Box Office: 0871 220 0260
Book Online: theliverooms.com
1 Station Road, Chester, CH1 3DR
theliverooms.com

GLASGOW, STEREO
WEDNESDAY 18th MARCH 2015
Tickets: £16 / Box Office: 0141 222 2254
Book Online: Synergy Concerts.com
22-28 Renfield Lane, Glasgow, G2 6PH
Stereo Café Bar Website

ABERDEEN, JAZZ FESTIVAL
THURSDAY 19th MARCH 2015
Tickets: £15 / Box Office: 0845 111 0302
Book Online: Aberdeen Jazz Festival
Blue Lamp, 121 Gallowgate, Aberdeen, AB25 1BU
http://www.jazzatthebluelamp.com

HARROGATE, RIPLEY BLUES
FRIDAY 20th MARCH 2015
Tickets: £15 / Box Office: 01423 860340
Book Online: ripleylive.com
Town Hall, Ripley, Harrogate, HG3 3AX
ripleylive.com

DERBY, FLOWERPOT
SATURDAY 21st MARCH 2015
Tickets: £15 / Box Office: 01332 834 438
Book Online: http://www.rawpromo.co.uk
25 King Street, Derby, DE1 2DZ
http://www.flowerpotderby.co.uk

SCARBOROUGH, TOP SECRET BLUES FESTIVAL
SUNDAY 22nd MARCH 2015
Tickets: £48 / Box Office: 01723 821888
Book Online: Scarborough Spa
Spa, South Bay, Scarborough, YO11 2HD
Scarborough Blues Festival Website

NEWCASTLE, CLUNY
TUESDAY 24th MARCH 2015
Tickets: £16 / Box Office: 0191 230 4474
Book Online: See Tickets
36 Lime Street, Ouseburn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 2PQ
The Cluny Website

BOLTON, RAILWAY
WEDNESDAY 25th MARCH
Tickets: £15 / Box Office: 01204 306 450
Book Online: Railway Venue Website
37 Chapeltown Road, Bromley Cross, Bolton, BL7 9LY
Railway Venue Website

BRISTOL, TUNNELS
THURSDAY 26th MARCH 2015
Tickets: £15 / Box Office: 0845 6050 255
Book Online: thetunnelbristol.co.uk
Bristol/Exeter Mews, Lower Approach Road,
Temple Meads, Bristol, BS1 6QF
thetunnelbristol.co.uk

NORWICH, ARTS CENTRE
FRIDAY 27th MARCH 2015
Tickets: £15 / Box Office: 01603 660 352
Book Online: Norwich Arts Centre Tickets
St Benedict’s Street, Norwich, NR2 4PG
Norwich Arts Centre Website

LONDON, JAZZ CAFÉ
SATURDAY 28th MARCH 2015
Tickets £17.50 / Box Office: 0844 847 2514
Book Online: ticketmaster.co.uk
5 Parkway, Camden Town, NW1 7PG
TheJazzCafeLondon.com

SOUTHAMPTON, TALKING HEADS
SUNDAY 29th MARCH 2015
Tickets: £12 / Box Office: 02380 678 446
Book Online: TalkngHeads.co.uk
320 Portswood Road, Portswood, SO17 2TD
TalkingHeads.co.uk

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s