Circle the 8th of March in your diaries Bonn Blues lovers – The RUF Records Blues Caravan is coming back to The Harmonie.
Would you believe, it’s been seventeen years since Thomas Ruf first had the brainwave of a showcase tour. Three rising stars from the roster of Europe’s most respected boutique record label. Three live sets that run the gamut of emotion and genre. And a finale each night, featuring the mother of all live jams, with all three performers cutting loose together.
Layla Zoe certainly didn’t make it easy for herself. 2018’s superb double-disc ‘Gemini’ seemed to say everything that could be said and in the best way possible. It was electric, it was Blues, Funk, Gospel and Rock. It was the sum of all the releases before it. The subsequent ‘Retrospective Tour’ and disc suggested a watershed moment had been reached. Did it also leave the self-proclaimed firegirl literally with ‘Nowhere Left To Go’? – is this perhaps the aptest album title ever penned? Well, no, as it thankfully turns out. Whilst NLTG doesn’t re-invent the wheel as far as Layla’s music is concerned it is, thanks to plenty of new faces behind the songs, still a fresh as well as a strong statement from the heart. It also still showcases the lady’s amazing voice with that trademark emotional intensity that is the secret of Layla Zoe’s success.
It might look smoothly asphalted to the eye, but the road to Dotty’sSports Bar for Folk Club Bonn‘s September meet was a rough one indeed. A long one too, as John Harrison will tell you. Involving numerous meetings with the owner and correspondence between Folk Club and the powers that be in Bonn. In the end, though it was a worthwhile journey. The Hockey pitch at Dotty’s proving to be an excellent open-air venue, and the weather being much kinder than anyone had a right to expect in the early days of Autumn. Perhaps God is a folk music fan? Or perhaps he just realised that good music was good for the souls of his creations in this Pandemic riddled World we are all enduring.
In June 1995 I had been living in Germany for about five years. After arriving in Germany and taking one dodgy job after another I’d finally found a job with a future in the accounts department of a major bookshop in Düsseldorf. It was my habit during my lunch break in those days to walk around the corner to Düsseldorf’s premier location The Kö. It was where all the top fashion shops were, but more importantly for me it was also where there was a small booth selling international newspapers. It was the cover of the local Rheinische Post newspaper that caught my eye though – Rory Gallagher’s picture was on it. Rory was dead. A Liver Transplant that seemed to have gone well had led to complications… I bought The Sun and the Daily Mail and headed back to my office with a heavy heart.
The new disc ‘Means of Escape’ was recently nominated for Best Album of 2019 in the European Blues Awards, as well as being included in Joe Bonamassa’s personal Spotify Playlist of music from musicians who are keeping the Blues alive. It was recorded in as few takes as possible says the English guitarist behind it, in order to keep the live feel. Here we are then to test out just how well that live CD vibe aimed for by Danny Bryant matches a room full of Blues fans on a chilly November evening at The Harmonie
“I got ‘A’ listed on my latest record on the Radio in Holland, so it’s going out to the masses which has been great you know. There are still massive Blues elements in there though and I’ll always have that Blues guitar no matter what I do”
Good news then for the many fans of British Blues musician Laurence Jones who paid his early musical ‘dues’ touring alongside top Blues musicians like Johnny Winter and Walter Trout. With a new Band, a new CD and a new beard there was a lot to talk about when I met Laurence after his recent concert at The Harmonie.
“Sing along if you recognize this one!”Laurence Jones calls out, before launching into a powerful version of the John Fogerty classic ‘Fortunate Son’ at Bonn Harmonie on Monday. Those present were indeed fortunate, this really was a devastating performance from the acclaimed British ‘Blueser’, truly live music from the heart and soul. For his last appearance here with Blues Caravan in 2014 Laurence Jones was just a youngster with star potential under the RUF Records roster, at 27 though he has very definitely made the step up to Premier League status.
It’s not very often that you see Blues-Rock being played by just a drummer and guitarist. It’s rarer still for the drummer to be both female and pregnant. Welcome to the unconventional musical World of CC and Tone aka Little Hurricane as the duo bring their very individual brand of Lo-Fi-Indie Rock to Cologne’s Luxor venue. 3songsbonn generally stays true to the name. Every so often though there are bands playing not too far away that are just too promising to draw boundaries on.