Blues Caravan 2023 in Bonn

Now in its 18th year, The RUF Records Blues Caravan shows no sign of running out of gas. The formula has remained unchanged – three acts from the RUF records blues stable go on the road. There’s usually a Caravan ‘veteran’, an established RUF artist and a newcomer. That road has gotten longer over the years to take in more and more countries but the formula is a winning one and remains. This year’s ‘veteran’ (her first appearance was in 2019) is a young 24 years old and currently sitting pretty indeed at the top of the Billboard Blues Chart. Ally Venable is her name and that album contains contributions from no lesser Blues Gods than Buddy Guy and Joe Bonamassa. Chicago-born Will Jacobs is on his second Caravan and Manchester Blues rocker Ashley Sherlock is the newcomer. Join me if you will at the merchandise stand where the Caravan mastermind and label owner Thomas Ruf is smiling the smile of a man who knows he’s right on the money again…

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Layla Zoe – Harmonie date 4 May

If you’ve forgotten what Layla Zoe looks like – this picture from 2018 won’t help you! So come down to the Harmonie on Thursday (4 May) and be reminded. You will also get to hear one of the best raw Blues singers to come out of Canada in many a year. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Klassik!Picknick details

A highlight of the Kunst!Rasen season for many years now has been the Klassik!Picknick. On 18 June it will again offer a popular concert program in a relaxed atmosphere to which all music lovers are welcome. The picnic starts at 5 pm; the concert itself by the celebrated Beethoven Orchestra Bonn (under the baton of Dirk Kaftan) will begin at 7 pm. It’s certainly a colorful program, with a starting point in the “other Beethoven city”, Vienna.

General entrance is free, but the picnic is financed by sponsor tables. These are tables set up in the VIP area for 8 to 10 people. Those booking such a table will be served with culinary picnic compositions and refreshing drinks. The seats at the tables can also be purchased as individual seats. The price per seat is 85€ plus fees.

NOTE: The event will be held under the regulations in force on the day of the concert. Short-term changes cannot be excluded. Please inform yourself in advance on the websites or

Maik Krahl Quartet Flowing in Bonn

Whilst I don’t pretend to be a clued-up jazz fan, I do know what I like.   One of my jazz world heroes is most certainly Chet Baker.  In Germany that name tends to lead somewhat inevitably to Till Brönner, so it seemed promising when I discovered that Maik Krahl studied jazz under that very gentleman.  Krahl and his Quartet did not disappoint – short melodic flurries ala Baker were a joy, but Krahl is much more than an imitator as his appearance at the Dottendorfer Jazznacht proved.

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Utopia is possible…


One leaves the concert hall, in this case, Bonn’s Bundeskunsthalle, with a feeling of community. It sounds superficial, but it’s actually deep. To understand, you need to visit a concert by the Minimal Utopia Orkestra. On that basis, if you live in or near Berlin you are very privileged. If you live in Bonn though… you will need to wait until the next visit.

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New Life to old Classics – Band of Friends at the Harmonie

The claim that, when asked how it felt to be the world’s best guitarist, Jimi Hendrix replied “Why not ask Rory Gallagher?” has long since been debunked as myth. Then there is the story of Rory’s being invited to join the Rolling Stones. The fact of his joining them to jam together seems substantiated, but the details after that are hazy and disputed. What the two stories do tell you however is how highly the G Man was rated in the rock music world of his time. Even now there are a great many tribute bands throughout the world, with every sort of name you could make up out of a Gallagher lyric or album title; From Italy’s ‘Blue Print’ and ‘Big Guns’, through Scotland’s ‘Against the Grain’, Ireland’s ‘Shin Kickers’, England’s ‘Sinnerboy’ and onwards to the bizarrely chosen Norwegians ‘Bearded Lady’ (From the Rory song ‘Tattooed Lady’). Band of Friends are not a tribute band insists Bassman Gerry McAvoy, they are commemorating Rory’s music. Is there a difference between a Tribute and a commemoration? Well if there is, then it’s most likely down to who is in the band and the replacement of Brendan O’Neill on drums after Ted Mckenna’s untimely passing keeps the original Gallagher band quota high, but most importantly of course there is THAT man on bass guitar, Gerry McAvoy…

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In Celebration of Dandelions – Folk Club #134

The late American psychologist Dr Wayne Dyer famously remarked that “The only difference between a weed and a flower is judgement”. This extends into the cultural herotage of songs and poems too I realised. I mean, there are zig-thousand references to roses and lilies, but how many devoted to the common dandelion? Thank you John Harrison for bringing this deficit to our attention with an evening devoted to songs about dandelions…

So are there actually any such songs? One was actually found. More on that later. Special Guest Matthew Robb has a dry, desert-like musical style that doesn’t contain any references to dandelions – but plenty of excellent lyrics on other topics to enjoy. Join me for a round-up of April’s Folk Club meet at Dotty’s. Be prepared to stand up though as it’s already crowded…

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