Thursday, March 06, 2008

Delta Blues via the Netherlands at the Basement Discs

The first of the March extravaganza of in store performances was a generous set from Dutch bluesman Hans Theessink (pronounced Tay-sink). Hans, as well as being an ace guitarist, is also a fine singer-songwriter with a warm baritone voice.

I have seen him perform previously at Basement Discs back in 2006, so I knew it would be – whenever isn’t it? – a pleasant diversion on a lazy Thursday lunchtime.

Hans Theessink didn’t disappoint this time round, though he seems to have kept the same stage patter, when introducing himself regarding how Big Bill Broonzy was his main inspiration for getting into the blues back in the 1950s and how he has dedicated himself to the genre ever since.

After his introduction he segued into a song he wrote as a tribute to Broonzy, Big Bill's Guitar.

The highlight of the mini show was Hans’ version of St James Infirmary Blues which is based on an old English folk song, now mostly sung as blues.

He also performed a song about the Cyclone Katrina disaster to the tune of an old bluegrass song where the chorus went: “Oh Liza, Li’l Liza Jane.”

Next Week at the Basement Discs there are two shows, Danny O’Keefe with Kristina Olsen and Peter Grayling on Wednesday, then next day, what surely will be a fantastic in store, Ruthie Foster, the new queen of blues and soul, will be performing.
On the subject of recorded music, yesterday I picked up the new Kathleen Edwards CD “Asking for Flowers”. I’ve only listened to it once so far, through headphones on my computer, but this initial audience gave me the impression that Kathleen has created a great little rock 'n roll record. This is her third recording following on from Failer and Back to Me, both of which CDs I am fond of. I’ve seen her live once, at the Northcote social Club in February 2006. I wrote a review of the show for Nu Country which can be found here.

Kathleen Edwards is a Canadian artist, sort of alt country/rock. Her admitted influences include Ryan Adams and Tom Petty. She is not in the least in the category of sweet and soulful, but is an artist with attitude - sort of a female version of Ryan Adams - and writes wonderfully scathing lyrics in some of her songs.

Another CD that impressed me recently is Ray Bonneville’s “Goin’ By Feel” a sort of country blues record.

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